Tuesday, October 28, 2008

fleece weather.

Well, it seems like a shit storm is brewing again. Everywhere I turn I see tragedy, sadness, Tyra Banks, pain and heartache. To keep my sanity and my always positive outlook on life fresh, I have compiled a list of non-shitty things in life these days. 

1. Fleece and Wallabee Weather-- Nothing is better than throwing on a fleece and lacing up the ol' wallabees. 

2. I woke up today-- thankful for that. 

3. 30 Rock comes back on this week-- I pretend I am Tina Fey on a regular basis. 

4.  We have DVR-- Greatest invention of all-time. Ever. Maybe even better than the internet. MAYBE. 

5. I am not bald-- some people are. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008



I was driving down Mockingbird Lane yesterday around lunch time and I came up behind a hybrid Toyota Camry and I thought, oh, how nice. She's saving the world.

Then, I got closer and saw that she was just hanging her arm out of the window. Cigarette attached.

Then, I thought, oh, she's saving the world and killing herself. How completely selfless.

Monday, October 13, 2008

ecuador: the hike

The third in a series of posts about my trip to Ecuador to see mi mejor amiga.

After the bike ride of my life, I was actually, honestly, looking forward to the hike.

How could you not look forward to something when this is the beginning? Breathtaking. Absolutely. I started off in high spirits. Giddy almost.

 I was finally understanding the experience and excited about taking it all in, checking a major awesome off of my life list and then...then...2 and a half hours passed and we had made almost no progress. Then, I fell. Then, I fell two more times. Then, we started walking straight up. Then, we started walking straight down. Then, I couldn't feel my legs. Then, I couldn't feel my butt. Then, one of our guides told us, "una hora." And two hours passed by and we had another, "trienta minutos." Lies. All lies. 

I found a stick because I thought it'd help, but the stick did nothing to get oxygen into my lungs.  My lungs felt like they were going to collapse, my legs felt like jello and all I wanted to do was have someone, anyone, come get me. I was stuck. I threw the stick down, then my hiking companions had a little talk and decided one of the guides should take my backpack away from me. Defeat. At its finest. Things only got worse as the last hour of the hike was straight up an 11,000 foot mountain in the Andes. 

 When we finally reached Chugchillin I begged for my mates to sing the Rocky Theme, unfortunately, Brittain, an Israeli, two teenage Ecuadorians and a 30-year-old resident do not make the best chorus and apparently had little to no knowledge of the theme song and I was stuck singing it to myself as small Ecuadorian school children stared at me. 

Victory at its finest. 

ecuador: biking down an active volcano.

The second in a series of posts about my trip to Ecuador to see mi mejor amiga.

Cotopaxi is a stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains located about 50 miles south of Quito. It is the second highest summit in the country, reaching a height of 19,347 feet. Just a little background information. Did I mention, it's active...?

Before we could even get to the volcano, we had to make several stops. These stops ended up being a series of firsts for me. First time to use a restroom and pay for toilet paper, first time to buy a roll of toilet paper and carry it around to make sure I'd always have some, first time to see cows, pigs and horses roped up in yards and of course, my first time to set foot on top of a volcano.

Marking my first stop at an Ecuadorian gas station with a quick photo op. This is prime time Ecuadorian countryside.

Britta just stretching it out a bit at the pit stop. This was right after we were chased down for 5 cents to pay for the toilet paper. I gave her a 50 piece.

We could not get to the top without stopping again and of course seeing some stray dogs.

At times, the excitement was over-whelming, even for us.

Finally, we reached the top. It was freezing, it was snowing/sleeting, there was a solid two inches of snow on the ground and our biking guide told us several horror stories about biking down Cotopaxi. He pretty much made it seem like if I didn't die while doing it, I would at least fall several times and break one, if not 12 bones.

We decided to take this photo at the top in case we did actually die.

Which is why we were "encouraged" to wear the knee pads and elbow pads. They were not the best for my figure, but like I always say, safety first.

I made it half-way down the mountain and had to stop to let all of the other bikers know that I am, in fact, numero uno.

Not too much further down, we met up with these winners. Apparently, they were not as excited about reaching the summit, so they decided to just turn around. Clearly, a great idea.

Like I said, not the best for my figure, but then again...those pants weren't really helping either.
Brittain and I thought we were having a pretty good time on the trip prior to meeting this little gem, but we quickly learned that we didn't know what a good time was until we had our rendezvous with Kathy and some of her Continental Airlines crew.

As I was riding I couldn't help but realize that I was doing something most people dream about-- I was biking down a volcano in the Andes and it wasn't even hard!

The ride ended with some brownies and wine in the back of a mini-bus drinking wine out of a used water bottle (provided by Kathy). And I thought, this is the life.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

ecuador, in many parts.

The first in a series of posts about my trip to Ecuador to see mi mejor amiga. 

My 25th birthday was spent exploring the city of Quito and generally mocking tourists. I could not have dreamed of a better way to spend the day. We ventured to some artisan markets, visited some historic sites (see self-time photo above) and then ate some pizza. I have had pizza every year on my birthday for as long as I can remember. 

A few general thoughts on Quito:
  • It is a city of mass chaos. There are stray dogs everywhere. Traffic flow is impossible to figure out. The bus system is scary. 
  • It's cheap. And by cheap, I mean, dollar general cheap. 
  • It is dirty and by dirty I mean, junior high school bathroom dirty.
  • You cannot flush toilet paper down the toilet. Yes, you read that right. So, you sit on the toilet, clean yourself up and then throw the TP in the trash. It's like that all over Ecuador. Apparently the sewer system is bad. 
  • It is beautiful. And by beautiful, I mean, like, a freakin' postcard. Coming from the concrete mecca of the world and flying into this place was seriously awesome. 

Doing some exploring of Church of La Basílica. From the top you could see a lot of the city. And at the bottom, they play pop music. That's right, Fergie. 

Checking out the city. You could see lots of neat things. Including...

People mugging down major. 

Stray dogs should be the national animal. Do countries have national animals?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

soy una americana.

Oh, Toto, I'm not in Arkansas anymore, or Dallas, or God forbid, even Houston. I spent some time (six hours) in the Panama City, Panama airport yesterday. They (you know, "they") say all good writers take notes where ever they are and since I'm not claiming to be good, I tried to take some notes for the blog. I know my readers (shout out to my Mom) are dying to hear about the trip.

P.S. As I'm writing this, the window is open and we are soaking up some good Ecuadorian air and listening to the hundreds of stray dogs bark outside the window. 

Thoughts, in no particular order:
  • For the first time ever, I decided to try out the facilities on the airplane. What a bad decision. Even after "locking" the door, a lady opened it up on me. I was so asleep and confused that I could only muster up an, "Oooohhh, no!" I quickly closed it and then was certain she was staring at me throughout the remainder of our time in the air over Central America. 
  • Panama City, Panama-- Teddy Roosevelt and spring break come to mind. This is not Teddy's airport and I am nowhere near Destin. I am guessing there are 36 other passengers here with me today (that's a rough estimate, there could easily only be 12 or 13). I've seen two planes leave in the last 2 hours. Tourism must be down at the Canal. 
  • I just had my first experience with a native. She asked about 12 questions and I mustered up a "No se." She then said, "Oh, you don't understand?" I was thinking, what gave it away? My look of confusion or the fact that I have American written all over my forehead? 
  • This airport has nothing to offer me. No McDonald's, no coffee, no televisions. So much for imperialism. I really think TR had more in mind for this place when he got that whole Canal thing underway. 
  • The native has been staring at me for the better part of 3 hours. She looks like someone off of MTV's Made.  Maybe she likes my American attire, or is curious about Palin-- either way she and I have made eye contact a solid 12 times in 9 minutes. 
  • I got up to go to my actual departure gate and the native looked so scared and confused, like I was leaving her. She followed me within six minutes. She's really feeling a connection. Maybe she thinks I'm her Made coach?
  • I wish I could do marketing for the country of Panama. I have thought of so many phrases that include things like: Catch the Panamania or I'm a Panamaniac!

I am looking forward so much to the week ahead of me. I'm also excited about keeping count of all the stray dogs I see. My family would be in Heaven here. We are all about stray dogs (shout out to my Reg). Well, the adventure is about to begin. We are off to brunch and some touring...if I can pry the US Weeklies I brought Britt out of her hands...hey! When in Rome...or when in America...or whatevies. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

according to John.

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." John 21:25

That is the final verse in the Gospel according to John, the one who Jesus loved. The more I read that verse the more jealous I am of John. Jealous because John got to spend three years with Jesus. He walked beside Him, he followed Him, he listened to Him. They shared meals, wine and miracles. They were best friends.

What a profound verse. At first, I just think, Jesus did so many other things that John saw. But, then, I wonder was John foreshadowing? Was John alluding to the fact that Jesus was going to do so many more things even after he ascended into Heaven?

And then, I go back to the simplicity of it. What if John really did mean, Jesus did many other things as well. Maybe Jesus was a bad-a basketball player. Maybe Jesus could play the trumpet. Maybe Jesus could walk and chew gum at the same time. Maybe, one time, Jesus got a bad haircut. Maybe, just maybe, Jesus was talented with water colors. Maybe Jesus tripped in front of a crowd once. He was human after all, right?

I don't what John meant to say, but I know what he accomplished.

He got me to want to know Jesus. On a much deeper level, maybe even the way he knew Him.

And I'm fairly certain Jesus never got a bad haircut.

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