let them eat poppy


“Birds or bats?”

Asked as a joke referencing a previously-established quip, Cait referred to the swirling cluster of zapping dots adding a dynamic light feast to the Parliament Building. The time was evening in early September, and we were two American expats, a Canadian, and an Italio-Hungarian on the Budapest Chainbridge on our way over to Buda. Our objective? To excavate the amazing Hungarian castles. We called the original joke “fat or pregnant?” and while it was not entirely politically correct, its presence had added a considerable charge to the day’s events as they came to play out.

As an American au pair working in Eastern Europe, it is not everyday that I find myself warmed by the company of a group of international angels, magnificent women who all exceeded my already-low expectations in being simultaneously gregarious, welcoming, witty, well-read, well-travelled, and most enticing to me at the time, well-spoken. Strangely enough, these women were also living in the Netherlands. I say that only because another gem-laden moment had occurred to me about one month earlier, at the castle in Bratislava, and this time, the gift had arrived in the form of a group of beautiful man angels, who yes, were also Dutch. Nights like these helped me to remember that at its best, being an au pair meant sheer limitless travel and essentially, an opulence of opportunity regarding spiritual and intellectual growth.

What does it mean to be an au pair? Had you asked me this about a month ago, I might have said something along the lines of, “Giving up your freedom and control out of an illusory wish to be free from control!” Or, “Agreeing to work for nothing, deluded that you might come out of it well-travelled and bilingual!” Or, “Biting your tongue as you listen to a forceful man spout out sexist jabber, meanwhile cringing under constant criticism regarding the way you fold your clothes from the mom!” Or any other such combination of negativities that had more to do with my personal complexes than the reality I had actually immersed myself into.

No, nights like the one I spent in Budapest with Cait, Simone, Simon, and Heather, or like the one I spent in Bratislava with Romy, Kierys, Kika, Edu, and Edmund, are what help dissipate the looming figures in my head. Alternatively, I am soothed by the lackadaisical afternoons spent meandering along hand-in-hand with Ava, my prodigee. Exalted by the butterscotch-specked broccoli hills of Slovakia and the train crashing in and out of our peripheral visions,  I learn more and more each day about what it means to be present, simply because I see that while walking home from the park, there is nothing on Ava’s mind except for the flowers that she consistently crouches down to glance at.

Yes, in four months I will have to break my teeth on the steel bullet that is the student debt I blindly accumulated over the course of my four years at my pristine, private university in Seattle. It hardly even matters that this stark reality is shared by more than half the nation’s university grads, though it should ease some of the tension, because (I try not to go on Facebook but when I do) I see my peers all prancing and dancing, eager to squeeze and juice the dregs out of our tauntingly finite “grace period” that had me jump oceans in the first place. Convinced that international travel was crucial to my development, certain that Paris had a palace with my name on it, things are not at all as I’d expected (though I expected them to be just that, not as I’d expected), now I wonder how I might not simultaneously freeze and zap into lightning speed the time that I might reunite at once with my love, unlock financial freedom, and gallivant the rolling hills of Europe side-by-side with this darling Slovak girl until she chants English with ease and perfection…Who is to say what the future holds, when it is really nothing but an accumulation of choices shaken up by the divine unknown? Until then, it is poppy seed pastries for me, or as they say in Slovak, makovník.  


halloween stories (zombie palaces)

Happy Halloween. I have a lovely 12-hour day ahead of me tomorrow, and an early wake-up call on Thursday. That said, I’m sure my Halloween will be filled with enough thrills.

I wrote this essay a while back, for my non-fiction writing class, about zombies & childhood demons. I hit an emotional wall that I didn’t actually end up quite leaping over but if you’re interested, it sure feels fitting for the theme of the day.

Zombies Here 

Question of the day: Tell me about the metamorphoses of your Halloween costume? Not really a question, but I’m interested. 

I know personally, I always come up with a brilliant idea around July, or August, or so. Sometimes, it’s earlier than that. I always tell myself I’m going to start sewing / constructing / collecting parts for said costume idea ASAP, and look like a rockstar on Halloween night. Those plans….hardly ever actually pan out, and I usually end up copping out, and just throwing something together from my closet. That said, I’d be interested to know how you personally handle Halloween costumes.

WIAW (first ever) and WHAT a week


What a week, and it’s only Wednesday.

I shouldn’t be blogging, but I’m at work, and no one’s in here. That, and after tomorrow, I believe I will finally be caught up with my schoolwork.

Let’s start with my first ever “What I Ate Wednesday” or “WIAW” post. As if you all care.

I don’t have a single picture of my actual meals (for once), but I do have a picture of my dessert and I’ll go ahead and shoot the bull, anyway. My eating was a little bit off today, because I was asked to fast, and we went on a field trip, so I didn’t have time for “lunch” per se:

Pre-MD appointment: ~8:00am black coffee

Breakfast: ~9:40am Healthykitschyvegan’s (Danni’s) Apple pie oat bran parfait topped with 1 TBSP (ish) of Justin’s Honey Almond Butter. So. Tasty.

Snack 1: ~12:30pm half a Dave’s Killer Everything bagel with some soy-free Earth Balance. More black coffee, this time Hazelnut flavored (finished off that bag, finally.)

Snack 2: ~3:00pm Half an apple (the remaining half from the one I used in my oats) and Cinnamon Puffins. Decaffeinated coffee from Cafe Vita, you guessed it, black.

Dinner: ~7:15pm My weekly mash up of lentils, quinoa, red kale, green kale, and rainbow chard, this week featuring Daiya cheese and Yumm! Sauce

Dessert: ~10pm After work, I made a batch of Chocolate Covered Katie’s “Pumpkin-Stuffed Cookies” and taste tested a few. I modified it slightly by using a hodge podge of nut butters, including 1/2 TBSP Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, 1/2 TBSP Justin’s Maple Almond Butter, and 1 TBSP of Justin’s Classic Peanut Butter — I wish I’d only used 2 TBSP of nut butter just because it overpowered the pumpkin flavor in the middle but my house mates should be happy to wake up to a fresh batch of cookies anyhow.

As for how many I “taste tested”, it was probably a bit excessive but they were delicious, and my day’s intake was quite healthy soooo that’s that.

Not bad, not great either. I feel like I didn’t quite space my mini meals out far enough in the earlier portion of my day……..allowing myself to stay too “fed”, my blood sugar too “high”. And the only exercise I’ve gotten has been riding my bike to campus and back twice. That’s about….6 miles of bike riding….I feel like a failure and I should probably go home and at LEAST do the 30 Day Shred but I probably won’t, as I have to be up early tomorrow. Oh well, it’s been a weird week. I should be a bit less hard on myself.

I’ve been on a black coffee kick recently…..hm. You know, that’s the ONE thing I actually, kind of truly miss when I’m living dairy-free — coffee with half and half. You just can’t really replace that stuff. The closest I’ve found is Silk Coconut Milk Creamer, but even that just isn’t really the same…..oh well.

Now, onto some bad things that have been clouding up my mind: I haven’t gotten too much exercise in these past few days, not enough at all. Between waking up early for the doctor and being behind in everything and just feeling crappy in general, it just hasn’t happened, and I feel terribly, awfully anxious about it.

I did get my blood drawn today, and should get the results back in a few days, which is the other bad thing on my mind. My brain is currently a propagandistic montage of every “what if” and terrible pathology that’s ever existed. Ever. I’m honestly SO terrified that I have not only Type II Diabetes, but that my triglycerides are too high and I might develop high cholesterol, and that I might be anemic, or have bladder cancer, or a kidney stone, or some other deadly disease resulting from the years and years of gluttony and abuse I performed on my poor little body………..

Anyway, I won’t indulge my own fatalistic thinking, onto other news, and a bit more pleasant: I made the most delicious parfait-style apple pie oats (thanks to @healthykitschyvegan) and they were SO good after fasting for blood work. I ate them right in my class like it was no one’s business. Then again, I often eat during class, especially during my morning class, because who has time to eat breakfast in the morning? I have this weird rule where I can’t skip breakfast, but my appetite doesn’t ever really kick in till around 9 or so, sometimes later, and I can’t eat when not actually hungry, either. So I always end up just eating breakfast in class, on days when I have a morning class. Anyway.

Speaking of class, all of my professors think I’m dying and helpless because, being overly conscientious me, I emailed all of them telling them that I’d been experiencing some random health problems, and that if I’ve been aloof, that’s why, please and thank you for understanding. I didn’t do that for their sympathy, I did that because I’m self conscious about how aloof I’ve been, but whatever. Guess I should be happy they’re even concerned at all.

Moving along, as I mentioned, we took a field trip today, to Lake Washington. Originally, I thought we were only going to Madison Beach, where I’ve been more times than I can count, but we ended up going all the way up north, to Matthew Beach, where I’d never previously been. It was beautiful. We were supposed to kick for bugs and look at them, and I was sort of into it, I guess, but I was mostly into pretending to be far into the woods, splashing around in the stream, and exulting over the bright autumn day and the potpourri surroundings. Here are some pictures:

I feel like I had a point when I started writing this, but realize now that I sort of don’t.

OH. This week, I found out I’ll be acting again. I auditioned on a whim for the student directed one-acts, because I told myself this time last year that I would do that, and ended up getting cast as Alison in my good friend (and past creative partner!) John’s play. We’re doing a scene from the second act of Look Back in Anger by John Osborne, and I’m quite excited to continue my work with John (but in a different context). Beyond the excitement of working with John, I’m mostly just excited to revisit an old passion of mine, one I’ve repressed since high school when I kissed it goodbye completely. While I do tend to “under” act (my way of combatting my fear and distaste for overacting!), acting will be especially good for me, especially now, because it allows for me to tap into and put to use my (often overwhelming) pool of emotional intelligence.

Speaking of emotional intelligence, I’m really pleased with my Writing Non-Fiction class. I always seem to pick the EXACT classes that I need to challenge myself and further my own development. Perks to relying on intuition exclusively…..As I was saying, I’m pleased with it, I’m not spending as much time writing and refining my essays as I’d like to be, but I’m happy with the material I’m generating (my biggest issue is finishing these essays strongly…) and I’m also happy with how my memory-recall seems to be picking itself back up.

Yesterday, we were to do an in-class writing exercise titled “On ___”, on either “laughter”, “fear”, or “loneliness”. I chose loneliness, and I was in a great mood, perfectly astute and charmingly sociable. Today I feel the EXACT opposite, I just want to be a wallflower today and I’ve been mumbling something terrible.

But as I said, despite yesterday’s feeling great, I wrote this, which is a near perfect portrayal of my inner turmoil, minus missing people because I’m not really missing anyone terribly, other than Megan, but I’m always missing her.

~*~ “On Loneliness/indecision/restlessness” — stream of consciousness with names changed

Nothing really sounds appealing, and company sounds especially appalling. I’m tongue-tied and anxious & restless and I know I’d be terrible company anyway, but I sort of just want someone to come over and hold me, maybe caress my arms or something, like Mom always used to do. But no, I don’t wish to be needy, I’ll just make some tea and watch a movie or something. But I can’t concentrate. I’ll write something, that’s what I’ll do. Why can’t I write anything? Right, I can’t concentrate. Who would I even call, should I be feeling social? I have no friends. I mean, of course I have friends, but they’re out living their lives like normal human beings. What am I doing with my life? It’s a Friday night and all of my roommates are out. R’s at a show, J’s out with some guy, as is JJ, and S is out with her Americorps friends. Stephanie’s going to Barboza later, with A & J n co, maybe I’ll go out with them. But no, I hate Capitol Hill on Friday nights, especially Barboza. Though, dancing does sound fun. But then I’d have to get ready. I don’t much feel like getting guzzzied. Plus, it’s raining, anyway. I wish S were here, I miss him. I miss his shoulders, and his soft skin, and the definition on his arms, and his — never mind, he has a girlfriend, and a life, and a work ethic. If he’s not out working on some project, surely he’s out camping or hiking with his live in girlfriend. I wish I had a car, I’d sure like to go camping. Camping sounds great. But who would I bring? I don’t much feel like entertaining, I sort of just want to listen to Radiohead on the drive up (Kid A, please) & refrain from speaking at all. I’d make a delicious vegan sandwich (with Yumm sauce, mmm) and climb off the beaten trail, perch down by some secret stream, drink some wine, maybe. THEN maybe my camping partner and I could speak to each other, touch each other maybe, other stuff….if only I had a boyfriend who materialized on command, who existed for no other reason than to go do such things with me. Maybe some day, when I’m 32. But right now, it just isn’t really fair. And I’m still sitting at home, wasting my life. Maybe I’ll try out one of those recipes I’ve been staring at………


Not the highest quality of writing but kind of a snap shot of my brain when I’m feeling lonely but anti social.

I know I’ve already set the precedent for NOT following through on things I say to ‘expect’ to see on here, but honestly, some things to expect: 1. That October/Halloween/Zombie/Mom’s old boyfriend essay I mentioned — I need to finish that for its own sake but I might as well post it on here, maybe that will motivate me to actually finish it and finish it good. 2. Another essay, this time on relationships! I wrote last weeks essay “on relationships” and I’m quite pleased with the first…half or so of the thing. I haven’t quite fleshed it out, and it needs a strong finish (shocking) but I must post this one because, around this time last year, I posted a “note” on Facebook about that very topic, relationships! That post was more of a brain vomit than an actual essay. I’m excited to see how my views have or have not changed over the course of (one eventful!) year. Maybe I’ll write an essay “on relationships” every October for the rest of my life. Who knows.

With all of that in mind, I’m going to get back to the actual work of catching up on my school work.


Questions: What’s your favorite “pass time” or activity when you’re feeling lonesome, but unable to properly socialize? 

What natural beauties exist in your area of residence, and how often do you allow yourself to get out and enjoy them?