Tag Archives: traveling

photo friday: somewhere in texas

2 Dec

DSC_0256.JPGYou’d think taking a 20+-hour road trip with an infant would make you want to run screaming deep into this vista, but aside from a couple of minor meltdowns, That Baby did just fine. It was Mommy who couldn’t stop asking, “Are we there yet?” in the 2700 hours it took to drive across Kansas.

photo friday: don’t forget the spice

5 Feb


Wall of spice

I went to Morocco and saw a lot of spices. And Life was good. 

Sometimes I forget that I’ve done things that are really damn neat, because I get so caught up in the day-t0-day and then one day I’m looking through photos and I’m all, “Oh yeah, that’s right, I went to Morocco that one time and saw All The Spices In All The Land at the souk and I should really do more fun things like that.”

And then I get re-caught up in the day-to-day, which is not my best habit, but at least there’s a seed of adventure planted, so I’m pretty sure not all hope is lost that I’ll someday have foreign adventures again.

Plus, I’m running out of Moroccan spice mix, so really now would be a great time to go back.

photo friday: upanddownandupagain

20 Nov
I thought it was never going  to end. Ever. EVER.

I thought it was never going to end. Ever. EVER.

As you may have guessed, Swede and I spent our honeymoon doing a Circle Tour, which here in the Midwest means driving up through Michigan, across the Upper Peninsula, and back down through Wisconsin. (Or vice versa.) We’ve seen and done a lot in Wisconsin already, so the bulk of our time was concentrated in northern Michigan A) because it’s beautiful (not that Wisconsin isn’t just as lovely), and 2) because they have a lot of breweries there that Swede wanted to check out (annnnnd there’s the real reason).

When we weren’t busy trying new brews, we did actually do things and we were actually active(ish). On the first day of mooning over each other, we hiked Sleeping Bear Dunes. Which, if you’ve ever hiked Sleeping Bear Dunes, you can stop reading right now and go get yourself a congratulatory beer, because you earned it.  I don’t care if you hiked it ten years ago, you earned it.

If you’ve never hiked these dunes, then I highly recommend you doing so. Even though you will want to turn back at least 72 times in the process. And even though you will decide this was a horrible, horrible idea at least 89 times. And even though you’ll say to your new husband, “Jesus Christ, just when I think we’re getting closer, it goes down. And then it goes up again. And it just keeps going down. And up again,” at least 103 times. And you will sweat out all that beer you’ve been sampling on your tour of the state, along with all of the beer you drank in college. And at your wedding. As well as all the wine you’ve ever consumed, which is a lot, because those DC years are pretty hazy. And then you’ll realize, once you reach the shore, with its cool breeze and empty beach, that this side of the lake is not made up up hydrogen and oxygen atoms, so much as it’s made up of All the Booze from Everyone Who Has Ever Hiked These Goddamn Dunes.

And it’s beautiful.

And ONLY then will you realize, HFS, now you’ve got to do it all in reverse.

photo friday: books on pub-rade

20 Mar

A couple weekends ago Swede and I traveled to Atlanta to visit some friends, because it just wouldn’t be spring if I didn’t spend a month of incredible weekends being not at home. Swede checked us in the night before our flight, but Southwest wouldn’t let him print boarding passes, and to make a long story short (too late?), the airline gave us each a fistful of cash to take the 1 pm flight rather than the 9 am flight as planned.

Now, I’ve sung the praises of BWI airport, but let me tell you something about airports you don’t know: If there is one in which you need to kill four hours, BWI has nothing on Midway. It’s hard to describe, but let’s just say that the fact that they give you free Starburst on Concourse A really just makes it skyrocket to the top of my airport list. (That and the fact that it’s 15 minutes from my house, but that’s a whole other carryon.) And Swede and I, as we waited for the kind Southwest agents to issue our fistfuls of cash, made the executive decision that we’d hit up Miller’s Pub for a cocktail while we waited. For four hours.

“Listen, if I end up on that show about drunk and disorderly airline passengers, I’m blaming you,” I warned one of the ticket agents.

“Me? Don’t blame me, blame her,” she said, and pointed to her colleague.

“Okay, I can do that.”

ANYWAY, the point is that we sat at the Airport Miller’s Pub for a bit, and then at the Airport Reilly’s Daughter, and then at the Airport Halsted Tap, in an Unintentional Midway Pub Crawl, and I did some writing and Swede did some reading. He just happened to have, quite possibly, the most appropriate book tucked in his bag.

Appropriate pub crawl drinking

Appropriate pub crawl reading

I’m not sure it’s like a full-on joy, but for this nervous flier, let me tell you that a few pops made that flight a whole lot nicer.

photo friday: monticello

18 Oct



Back in August, Swede and I toodled out to Frederick, Maryland for a friend’s wedding, and the day after set off toward adventure to Charlottesville, Virginia. Swede’s cousin and his new wife just moved there, and a visit to them was in order. 

Charlottesville and the surrounding areas are home to many several historically significant locales. You know. Like the one where that one guy lived. You know. That guy. He was a president. The third one, perhaps. He had poofy white hair, because that was original for the time, and no other president or important man of the era had poofy white hair.


I am fabulous with details. 

He also built quite the estate, if you must know, which sits on acres and acres overlooking some of the most lovely country you’ve ever seen. 

I would not so much mind if Swede or I became president and could build a similar estate. I’d even style my coif to poofy whiteness. 

photo friday: animal farm

13 Sep

So I told you about the ice cream we had in Door County, but I forgot to mention that the creamery grounds also featured farm animals. Because why not? And what a life these animals lead—they’ve got three square meals, a spectacular view, and even a jungle gym just for goats.DSC_0725

We should all be so lucky.

photo friday: all the screaming

6 Sep

Ice cream

For the past 17 years*, all I’ve wanted to make a summer complete is to eat an ice cream cone. From an ice cream parlor. Not in a cup, not a pint of Ben and Jerry’s that I snarfle down, but a cone. An actual honest-to-goodness cone.

Why? Because to me ice cream cones are the ultimate symbol of summer. Sitting outside in the hot, sticky sun, with creamy, melty ice cream piled high that you eat down bite by bite.

So when Swede and I took a quick trip to Door County a few weeks ago, I was absolutely adamant that we stop at an ice cream shop and get ourselves a cone. Driving past fields and farms, we drove by a dairy advertising homemade ice cream. I can’t remember the name of it now, but their list wasn’t extensive, which was okay by me. 31 Flavors this was not, and gold medal ribbon was not anywhere in sight, but you know what was?


And thus the discovery was made that I am a sucker for homemade strawberry ice cream.

And thus my summer was complete.

*More like five.

conversations, part IV

19 Jun

At the end of April, Swede and I finally emptied the Walnut House of our belongings in preparation for the Great Closing and Move-In of ’13. In the span of 24 hours, and with the help of my dear friend Panda (who actually LIKES packing) (whuuuut?) (and without whom I would have had a total nuclear meltdown), we stuffed all of our remaining belongings (re: 95 percent of our stuff) in a UHaul, and drove it back to Chicago.

Including the cats.

To say that the two felines—one of whom had left Walnut House approximately never times—disliked the journey fro DC to Chicago would be a gross understatement. They yowled and molted all over the fucking place for the first 90 minutes of the trip, until blessedly Lady Gaga(1) gave up and crawled under Swede’s seat and did not reappear or make a sound for the next 14 hours.(2) The other one, Fat Ass,(3) finally calmed the hell down as well and rested on the seat between us for awhile until he felt he’d given me a sufficient allergy attack,(5) at which point he, too, crawled under the seat to hide. But unlike his silent cohort, Fat Ass would poke his head out(6) every once in awhile and meow, the cat version of “Are We There Yet?”

Each time he’d poke his head out, I took it as an opportunity to have a chat with him about the House Rules for our new home.

Me: Listen, they’re not terribly different from the last place, so you shouldn’t have any trouble following them.

Him: BlinkBlinkBlink

Me: Play dumb all you want, but there will be no jumping on the counters, no scratching of the furniture, and you are not allowed in the human sleeping quarters.

Him: Mrow?

Me: No, you are not. You do not get to make me allergic while I sleep.

Him: Mrow.

Me: Also, you should know that there is in fact a Kitty Jail in the new place. So when you start acting up, don’t think the Big Man with the Deep Voice won’t throw you in there.

Him: Meow.

Me: Except this time it’s a laundry room rather than a basement. And Guerilla Ninja Cat under the seat there will love it—there are all sorts of shelves she can climb and we’ll put things on them that she can hide behind. You, I suspect, will hate it.

Him: Blink

Me: On the plus side, there is a balcony where we will let you frolic, provided you don’t eat anything we plant out there. Just stay away from my chives and basil, okay?

Him: Mrow. BlinkBlinkBlink Mrow.

Me: No, don’t worry—the balcony is nothing like jumping out the back window.  First of all, there’s a barrier. Second, if you did jump off, you’d be screwed, because we’re three floors up. So I recommend you just hang out, sun yourself, and be your usual, lazy-assed self, okay?

Him: Mrow mrow.

Me: Great. Now go crawl under the seat and make sure Lady Gaga isn’t dead.

Him: Mrow.

Navigational Cat

Navigational Cat says get off at the next exit, he needs a frosty.



(1)Her name has been changed to protect her innocence tand reflect the fact that she’s not a little off-center.

(2)We were mildly worried that maybe she’d worked herself into such a later that she’d had a heart attack. Thankfully, she is just extremely skilled at Being Quiet. It is one of the many reasons I’m convinced she’s part guerilla warrior.

(3)His name has been changed to reflect his current state.(4)

(4)For the record, SWEDE gave him this moniker, I did not. It’s his cat, so he’s allowed.

(5)I made it all the way whopping way to Breezewood before wearing contacts was just too much to handle with my watering, puffy eyes, and I tossed them out and put on my glasses.

(6)In case you’re wondering why these cats weren’t tranq’d and travelling in carriers, I will only say this: we tried. It didn’t work very well. And Swede and I happen to quite like our skin without accompanying scars from where those assholes tried to cleave out the Grand Fucking Canyon with their claws.(7)


photo friday: digging in

5 Apr


A couple weeks ago Swede and I packed our bags and headed down to Florida where my parents have become snowbirds. Because apparently, this is the thing to do when you hit a certain age: You, and the majority of your social circle, move en masse from one section of the country to another section of the country for three to five months, giving the proverbial finger to winter and your children, for whom you did not provide a trust fund, and therefore said children must work during the winter months instead of having a deliriously extended vacation, and have to settle for visiting you for only a long weekend instead.


Anyway, it was a lovely jaunt away from gray and cold Chicago for a few days. We dug our toes in the sand, lolled about by the pool, played an insane amount of cards, and had a Sunday all-day outing to the racetrack. Because apparently that is what I do, now that I’ve hit a certain age. You know why? Because MY future condo in Florida ain’t gonna buy itself, Interwebers.

photo friday: a world away

9 Nov

Swede and I were out in San Francisco in October for Smell and Jeremiah’s wedding. I am not being full of myself when I say that I was an essential part of this wedding. After all, I was the one marrying them. Without me, the show would not have gone one.

Well, I guess it would have gone on eventually, but it would have taken a couple of hours to round up a judge or someone to unite them in wedded bliss. But it wouldn’t have been nearly as awesome as a service as I gave.

Now I AM being full of myself.

What else is new?

ANYWAY, in between wedding weekend events, which included eating, drinking, watching football, more drinking, copious more amounts of eating, Swede and I did get in a little bit of sightseeing. The first day we were in town we hopped a bus from our B&B and headed to a distillery Swede wanted to check out.

The distillery, it turns out, was not at the location as listed on the Interwebs, which was a total Bummer for Swede. On the plus side, though, we did get to walk through San Francisco’s infamous Chinatown, certainly a sight to see, smell and experience.

Chinatown was the first of many neighborhoods we trolled that day, definitely the most vibrant. Gray and clouds banked the sky that day, but Chinatown was anything but dull or dim.