All right people, I mean, hello gracious readers, and welcome back to my upbeat, positive blog! (extra big smile, 90% fake). Ha ha. I am actually a pretty happy camper right now, but it is 9pm here in Sicily and I just finished eating dinner after a productive and fun and LONG day out and about. I got to re-visit the Motta Residence Hotel, my first home in Sicilia – which was like getting a great big hug and it was the perfect penultimate end to my day. Penultimate end, you ask? Huh? I am referring to the next-to-last thing I had to do before I got to go home and see my kitties and sit on the couch. The last thing I had to do was drive home, in 7pm traffic, which is sorta like 5pm traffic in the U.S. I feel like U.S. traffic tends to run from 3-3:30pm until about 7/7:30pm, depending on where you live. Here, that block is just shifted a bit, so traffic doesn’t really start up until 4:30/5pm and it goes pretty strong until 8/8:30pm.
The service provider who charges the small fee to operate the Telepass raised the fee this month. Dave and I re-visited the possibility of going without. I mean, it is pure luxury and at non-busy hours of the day we don’t save more than 10-15 seconds. However, the at least five minutes I saved tonight – at LEAST Five! – made the Telepass completely worth it. Heck – if I pay $2 for a redeye at Chock Full o’Nuts on base, I’m sure-as-shit gonna pay less than fifty cents a day for the honor of zooming past a blinking mass of cars inching toward three or four toll booths. Yes!
For those readers still scratching your head about what a “redeye” is – let me quench your thirst for knowledge. The redeye I refer to above is a coffee drink. Pull a fresh espresso and dump it into a big cup, then fill that cup with regular drip coffee. I have found that I prefer this taste to the “Americano.” An Americano is simply the shot of espresso in a big cup, and then diluted with steaming hot water. Americans (presumably referring to North Americans from the United States) are known to prefer sipping on big cups of drip coffee, which really isn’t the way things are done over here. Ordering “uno caffe” here will get you a shot of espresso. Most Italian bars (cafes, remember, not a liquor bar) do not have drip coffee, but on base, Chock Full o’Nuts does. It even has four additional drip coffees that are flavored. I prefer non-flavored coffee, so I go with the house blend. I have been drinking green tea primarily for the past two years, but I still enjoy a good coffee buzz. Yea, going to law school and living in Seattle will do that to a person.
You may be hoping I will get to the point of this blog, finally. The point is to acknowledge my deep appreciation to Logy Express who awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award.
I came across Logy Express early in the beginnings of The Cinquecento Project. I was hungry for inspiration and community in the blogosphere and I was looking at five new blogs a day. If you don’t explore blogs that often, you may not realize what a time commitment that was. I would spend 15-45 minutes exploring a blog. The better the writer, the more intriguing the content, the longer I stayed. Plus, if I had accidentally picked a bomb, I would try to find another blog to fill the gap.
Logy Express writes with a fresh, crisp voice that is obviously weighted down with…something. I haven’t figured out what is keeping her in molasses, but you can almost feel the pull of a force upon her. This is not reflected in her prose or form; it comes through in her content choices. I mean, she straight up tells you which personal struggles she is going through now, but then she writes this stunning piece that makes you realize she has really got her shit together. (two curse words already – I am tired). She is a beautiful writer who weaves vivid images into rich narratives of everyday living. Yet, she somehow makes YOU feel special as you are reading her stories about other people. She has a gift!
Receiving the award is an honor that comes with some responsibility…(anybody else hearing Grandma saying “to she who is given great talent…” or however it goes – you know, the biblical adage about balancing your privileges with a sense of social responsibility). The responsibilities of the Versatile Blogger are to spread the wealth by nominating more bloggers for the award, and to share seven random facts about yourself.
Here we go!
Seven Random Facts About Me
1. I really like to pick my nose. I choose to do it in comfortable places, like home. It began as something I would do when I was studying, to kind of keep me awake by keeping a part of my physically active while I was reading. It has developed into something I do a few times a week. It’s relaxing, for real. (And no, I won’t do it at your house, and yes, I wash my hands a lot).
2. Washing my hands a lot comes from working in restaurants for many, many years of my life, from 16-32, with a few years off here and there for school. It all started with the Frost Top in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Rice Lake is my hometown and I was a teenager when I worked at the Frost Top. It was a drive-in that made its own root beer and served it in a frosted mug. I have rarely tasted root beer that is as good as it was at Frost Top. The Frost Top is now a used car lot in Rice Lake (last time I passed through, anyway).
3. I grew up in Northwestern Wisconsin and pretty much think there are few other places as beautiful. What we lack in mountains, we more than make up for in lakes and trees. I was a major lake snob growing up! I wouldn’t swim in certain lakes because they didn’t meet my standards, and I was able to be so picky because there were swimming spots every few miles no matter which direction I drove from my house.
4. One of the restaurants I worked in was on an island in Red Cedar Lake, about a 10-15 minute drive from my parent’s house. I parked at the boat landing and took a pontoon boat ride to get to work. The restaurant was part of a resort that had been a private residence of the Stout lumber baron family. The resort is haunted and is still open for business. Stella McCartney stayed there while I worked there, and Cindy Crawford spent time there in the early 90s. A small claim to fame.
5. While I was working at Stout’s Lodge The Island Of Happy Days (full official name), my car’s trunk was crushed when a septic tank fell on it. Yep. How many people get to tell this story? It is actually pretty boring, but it was much more dramatic as a teenager working to pay for college and hearing that your mode of transportation to make money had just been crushed by some careless a**holes who let an empty septic tank roll off of their truck and bounce onto your car. These guys were delivering the empty tank to the boat landing in order to haul it over to the island by boat. I think they filled it with gas/air and floated it over there.
6. After a close friend committed suicide, I believed that his soul inhabited the lives of flies and that it could jump from fly to fly as necessary. Whenever a housefly would buzz around me, I would look at it and say “Hi Craig.” I was 17 years old. You could say his death contributed to shaping my adult life.
7. If I could choose any profession, I would sing for a living.
Blogs I Love
When I read Versatile Blogger Awards on other blogs, I find myself zipping through this portion of the post, so I will keep it brief and limit myself to five (cinque!) descriptors about each blog I list. I do not follow each blog faithfully, and they are all blogs I love:
Real Fun Food: clever, charming, visually brilliant, England-based/Ohio(ish)-raised, smart
D-Listed: trashy, intelligent, hilarious, less-catty-than-Perez-Hilton, visually stimulating
IBKC (Itty Bitty Kitty Committee): dependable, heart-warming, do-gooder, visually stimulating, a GOOD woman writes here
Logy Express: intriguing, mystical (the long-term-same-job mystifies me), ethereal writing, laugh-out-loud funny, profound
The Big Hard Sun: my brother’s blog, aiming for a Nobel Peace Prize, seeking truth, connecting with other humans, kicking ass at life
KERF (Kath Eats Real Food): upbeat, visually beautiful, a bit commercial but not overblown, too many posts to stay current, spunky
Type A in Taipei: my cousin’s blog, visually stunning, funny, I like feeling connected to her, learn cool things about Taipei
Merikay’s blog: artsy, honest, funny, informative about an area (RVs) I knew little about, mostly happy long-term marriage
Amanda Rudd’s Blog: versatile content, English PhD candidate, insightful, enjoyable read, good writing
PostSecret: brilliant, modern online community, sometimes opportunistic postcards (annoying), hearts bleeding on paper, supports suicide hotlines/prevention
Go Power Yoga: still new to me, excellent posts with enough time in between for you to soak up the great information, inspiring, positive yoga messages, beautifully formatted
From Me To You: inspired photography, model-like author/featured model, New York City, fashion, great title
Four12: friend Erin’s blog, intermittent posts, visually stimulating, pretty and eye-soothing, thoughtful content
The Whole Sweet Scoop: sweet perspective, great recipes, love reading about her family, warm, funny
Insatiable Book Sluts: title rocks, reviews are hilarious, co-authors feed off each other well, good info on books/publishing, love the community feeling I get whenever I read a post
Classy Gallie: hilarious, funny, clever, tender, youthful
Damsel and Family: thought-provoking, heartfelt, funny, insightful, military spouse friend
…that’s it for now! I am sure I am going to slap my forehead later and say, I can’t believe I forgot X blog – and if that is you, I apologize now. Forgive me. It is now 10:30pm and this mamacita is calling it a night!