This Week's Thoughts

I'm betraying my ignorance, but I did not hear of Wangari Maathai until she passed away this week. When she won the Nobel Peace Prize, she said she went outside and planted a tree. "That's the way I do things when I want to celebrate. I always plant a tree." She sounded beautiful.

Phrase I'm tired of hearing: "In This Economy..."  We've been in this economy for a while.

And another addition for the "words I hate" section of the bitchlog: mouthfeel.  Gross.

I read that New York subway platforms will soon have cell phone service.  I wish they wouldn't.  Mystery seems to die a little every day.

Then something restores your faith.  Two words, two words I would never think to combine, but the result is delicious: Pumpkin Regatta. Look at the last photo!


Jessica Stein

"You know, I've been hearing about 'the one' for I don't know, like 20 years. I guess I thought it would be a guy."

"I know, I know, but look, I don't even believe that any more. I don't believe there's just one person. I think there are, like, seven."



He had a friend who told him to write in the third person.


Internet Roundup

Here are things I read on the interwebs this week:


    Fourteener V2


    We hiked Mount Democrat, outside of Alma (site of Maryann's future hybrid consignment shop and yoga studio called "Alma Look So Good!!!"). If you read the fine print, you will understand this: the round-trip hike is only 4 miles, so only about a 1/3 of the length of the Harvard hike. The elevation gain is 2,150 feet, so still no walk in the woods.

    We camped outside of Leadville, and while on paper, Mount Democrat is not far away, it took about 1.5 hours to get from the campsite to the trailhead, because you had to drive around the mountains.

    View Larger Map

    Here are some pictures.

    View from our car.

    From this vantage point, Heather said, "Oh, that's why it's called Kite Lake, because it looks like a kite." I would not have  made the connection.

    Break time. The peak in the background is what I thought we were aiming for, but I learned a new outdoorsy term: "false summit." In other words, that looks like the highest point but it isn't. The true summit is not visible from our line of sight. Mother Nature is a bitch.



    How do I get into this?

    TRUE summit as seen from the FALSE summit.  Not too far away, thankfully!

    On top, looking back at the road we drove in on

    Summit of Mount Democrat, 14,148 feet above sea level



    More summit, looking east.  One of the bluish mountain blobs in the background is Breckenridge.

    Whiskey makes the hike grow fonder.



    "But I can't keep no secrets
    I wish that you would always stay."


    I Liked the Stencil

    At St. Andrew United Methodist Church, between the afternoon and evening Mass for Peace.

    On September 10th

    On September 10th, I didn’t write. I was still trying to navigate everyday life in a stranger’s house in Lyon, France. Yulia and I landed there on September 8th. I had grand plans to write my journal in French to help practice while studying abroad. On the 8th I wrote about going to see the Peter Sellers movie, The Party, at the Institut Lumière. I listed all the American music I heard on the radio: “Angel” by Shaggy, Nelly Furtado, Dido, Eminem. I noted that by the second day I had already used milk from a Tetrapak box.

    On the 9th, my host family took me to a “festival des fruits” in Thurins. The village was not far from the city, but we got lost on the way. My host dad said “c’est la route touristique." I thought that was such a dad joke to make regardless of language. Everyone remained in good spirits, and I thought it was kind of the family to invite me on the trip. On the road, my host mother pointed out the neighborhood named “Etats-Unis”, because of a collection of high-rises like those in the States. I didn’t know exactly how to write that in French. I wrote “bâtiments qui sont des tours.” She said that kind of architecture was not popular in Lyon.

    It was a great comfort to have a bunch of school friends there with me. Mike, Raina, Yelena, and I all lived together the previous year. We quickly assembled to compare notes and ponder how we would make it through the upcoming season. “My shower is on a stick,” Yelena told us. Raina’s host mother had a live-in boyfriend. “I can’t think of a polite way to ask how long she and Christophe have been together…or a grammatically correct way, which is more my problem.”

    On the 11th, we went to check out Raina’s neighborhood, which was closest to the heart of the city. We ran into Christophe on the street. He was very friendly, but what he was telling us didn’t make any sense. In English, the best we could piece together was, “Something happened. Something like a war.”

    We tried to figure out what that meant, but actually laughed it off. We thought maybe those crazy French were overreacting.

    When I returned to the apartment, my host mom asked me if I had seen the news. She had me sit in the living room and told me I should watch. It was late afternoon in Lyon; it was late morning by then in the Eastern U.S.

    Later I wrote:

    The United States was attacked today. The World Trade Center no longer exists because terrorists hijacked planes and crashed them into the building. The buildings fell this morning. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon, and a fourth somewhere in Pennsylvania. No one knows who did it. The U.S. is a mess. I can’t call there, no flights are leaving or entering, the borders are closed. I spoke to Jenn, who said Mom and Dad are stuck in Staten Island because you can’t get over any bridges or through tunnels. Manhattan and D.C. are being evacuated. And this is all very disturbing because I’m not able to contact anyone.

    I remember the apartment being still, and quiet, like the host family was trying to give me space. I remember dialing phone numbers over and over. I remember the awkwardness of trying to remain calm in a house that wasn’t mine, in front of a family that I had met days before.

    I remember picking up the paper the next morning with the headline, “Nous Sommes Tous Américains.” We are all Americans. I remember believing that.


    Camping Soundtrack

    Allison beat me to the punch on this, but get your Labor Day groove on with these essential tracks from the weekend's camping adventure.

    1) "Blow" - Ke$ha

    2) "Party Rock Anthem" - LMFAO

    3) "Hold the Line" - Toto

    4) "Never Gonna Give You Up" - Rick Astley

    5) "Give Me Everything" - Pitbull ft. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer

    6) "Black and Yellow" - Wiz Khalifa

    7) "Poor Unfortunate Souls" - from The Little Mermaid

    8) "Run the Worlds (Girls)" - Beyoncé

    Hidden track, a.k.a. voicemail from my sister and pals once I got back to the land of cell service, a.k.a. inspiration for last Brooklyn dance party:

    9) "Another Night" - Real McCoy