The Travel Itch

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I hardly know how to start this post. I’m antsy and all over the place at the moment. Frisbee training just got cancelled so now I’m chugging white wine and trying to calm down. Because wine is my answer for everything, wheeee!

I woke up this morning feeling SO thrilled that the temperature was finally below 20ºC. I opened all the windows and sat right in front of the cool breeze wearing a hoodie for the first time since May. As insane as it might sound, I’m fucking done with summer. The heat has made me anxious and crazy and unproductive. I’m ready for autumn. I can’t wait to drink tea and bake pies and be all cozy inside. (It also marks the moment when I switch back from chilled white wine to the red wine I truly desire. Hallelujah.)

It also just started raining for the first time in what feels like a million years, and I am SO fucking excited.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this, so I guess I’ll just get to the point.

As you might have noticed, I haven’t been writing once per week as I promised I would do. At times it has been lack of inspiration, but there’s a bigger (and more positive) reason for my silence.

To paint the picture a little better: my travel itch is really out of control at the moment. It’s gotten pretty severe lately, so much so that even though I have a trip next week, another in mid-September, and another in November, I had to plan yet another in October just to feel like I was actually filling up my calendar. People keep telling me that I travel a lot, and I don’t believe them, because I’m insane and apparently my threshold for traveling is ridiculously high. (Also, I never count frisbee as “traveling,” which I suppose isn’t entirely fair, but I can’t help it. So then I have to plan other trips that are not frisbee just to even it all out.)

The combination of this travel itch, my lengthy unemployment, and me feeling like I’m on the brink of losing my mind all combined in a perfect storm in my brain and led to the following decision: I’m starting a new blog. Eeeep!

This probably sounds really silly to, well, all of you. Because if I can’t even make myself write on this one, why the fuck would I start a new one? But here’s the thing: I’ve spent the last 8 months miserably unemployed, trying to find jobs, trying to figure out what I’m good at, trying to figure out how to market myself as a freelance whatever-the-fuck. And it’s been awful. I’ve hated every minute of it, and I’ve legitimately gotten nowhere.

And then about a month ago, I had an epiphany. I’m already unemployed and have nothing to do. And trying to do things I’m good at (in theory) wasn’t going anywhere. So why not start doing something I want to do, and then see if I can turn that into some sort of career? That was when the floodgates opened and the ideas started pouring out, and I’ve spent the past month trying to sort them out and winnow down and focus and make this thing happen. It’s been overwhelming, but I also haven’t been this excited about anything in over a year, so this is huge. Fucking huge.

I don’t want to get too much into details yet (because, of course, I’m still working them out), but I will be starting a travel blog and launching a travel consultancy based here in Amsterdam. I’ve made a goal to have the blog launched by mid-September, and I’ve already started an Instagram account (you can follow it here, if you feel so inclined). I still intend to use my personal IG account for my own shit, and I’ll still be using this blog for personal stories, but the idea is to professionalise everything and, hopefully, somewhere in the future, actually turn my passion for traveling and writing into a career.

(And don’t worry, just because I’ve professionalised doesn’t mean I’ll lose my voice. It’s still my blog and it’ll still be me writing, for the most part. There will just be less profanity. Because I do realise I curse like a sailor and maybe that’s not the best way to get new readers on board… Fucking losers.)

Anyway. I actually dreamed of being a travel writer when I was teenager. And somehow I lost track of that dream. And it’s kind of exciting to find it again. I feel oddly giddy about the whole thing. Kind of like this:IMG_2439(That emptiness behind me is the life abyss I’m about throw myself into, and I don’t even care!!)

So yeah. That’s what’s up. The life update for the masses, if you will.

And since we’re here, and I’m now slightly wine tipsy and feeling sentimental, I’ll just say one more thing. The past year (as many of you know) has been rough. And losing my old job was a lot more difficult than I anticipated it would be. But, despite the anger and feelings of bitterness I held on to for some time afterwards, I will be forever grateful to that job, because it afforded me the opportunity to travel extensively, meet people from all over the world, and ultimately move to Europe to start a new life on a new continent. And that is fucking rad as fuck. So, I gotta give a little hat tip to Five for giving me fodder and fuel for my absurd travel habit. I’m sure I would have been a travel junkie either way, but I definitely appreciated all those free flights to Europe over the years.

And finally, big love to all the people I’ve met along the way, and here’s to the people I’ll meet in the future. I’ve especially been feeling lots of affection for a very particular group of people this week (@TFTD–you know who you are). Somehow I got the opportunity to put together a frisbee team full of people from all over the place, and they are the most fun and coolest and kindest crew on earth, and every time I think of them or hear from them, I feel warm inside. Thanks for reminding me that communities don’t always live in one place. Y’all are my family. So much love. Can’t wait to be reunited with you all sometime soon ❤

Alright, so that got super sappy at the end there. But if you were here drinking wine with me, I guarantee I’d make you start telling me sappy stories pretty damn quickly. Cuz that’s just the vibe I’m in right now. Also, my roommate who has been away for a month will be home in about 45 minutes, and I’m ridiculously excited to see her. So all the warm fuzzy feelings are happening right now. #sorrynotsorry #bitchdontkillmyvibe

Love you losers. Sailor-mouth Christina will never die, I promise. Mwah.

P.S. Lisa, sorry I’m gonna be kinda drunk when you get home. But there’s some wine in the fridge for you 🙂

 

A Not-So-Epic but Somewhat Hilarious Mountain Rescue

For those who read my last blog post, thanks for taking the time. Y’all are saints.

As promised, I am writing more often, and it’s not going to be about feelings, because I hate those things anyway. Instead, I’ve realised I have a fucking arsenal of ridiculous adventure and drinking stories from the past many years that I have failed to write about (because of the aforementioned “feelings”). So, it’s time now. Buckle up.

These will not be in order. I have no idea what I’m doing. Join me on this wild ride, won’t you?

***

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This first story is fairly recent, and also a new favourite of mine already. In part because it’s completely ridiculous, and in part because it seems to have become a trend that whenever Melissa and I get together, things don’t go exactly as planned. And it’s wildly entertaining.

In April, I went on a girls adventure with two college friends. We don’t see each other all that often, but when we do, we fall back into that easy way of being friends that is so rare and special and awesome that, well, we certainly wish that we saw each other more often. Melissa lives in Geneva, so she and I have seen each other once a year since 2016. The first time, we had a massively entertaining (and potentially dangerous) adventure on a snowy Swiss mountain. And last year, we went on a tulip adventure that was supposed to be a leisurely cycle and instead turned into 20km+ of walking because we planned very poorly. We are really, really good at getting things not quite perfect. Which is funny because normally I’m super good at planning, but somehow, together, the two of us are so relaxed about the whole thing that we just think “it’ll be fine,” and then even when it isn’t, we make it work. And that’s pretty damn cool.

I haven’t seen Eliza since 2015, which, incidentally, is also the last time the three of us saw each other together. And that trip was pretty tame, because we were just hanging out in Boston and having dinner, and the circumstances weren’t quite right for an epic adventure of “oh shit” proportions.

But April was a different story. The 3 of us decided to go to Corsica. Why? I’m not really sure. Melissa suggested it, and I said yes. No regrets, though. That place is fucking awesome.

Melissa also suggested that we do a 2-day cycling trip around Cap Corse, to which I also said yes, because she does lots of cycling trips and knows how they work. And then we organised the whole thing so carefully that we were convinced it was going to be perfect and lovely and awesome. All the internets told us it was “fun” and “beautiful” and “the best way to see the cape.”

IMG_2950.jpgYou do have to admit, it’s pretty amazing…

What the internet failed to tell us is that it was a motherfucking bitch of a cycling trip. One website said it was possible to do the whole thing in a single day, which led me to believe that 2 days would be fairly leisurely and quite doable for reasonably fit people (but not pro cyclists) like ourselves.

IT WAS ALL LIES. Apparently pieces of this ride are a part of the fucking Tour de France.

We had to scale a fucking mountain. A FULL MOUNTAIN.

TWICE.

None of us was prepared for this. At all. In fact, we were so unprepared that on day one, we ran into a man driving a nice car who told us we were going the wrong way after we had already climbed most of the way up the mountain. So we actually had to go back down and start again. And we were not happy about it.

But we made it. We made it up, and made it back down (soooooooooooo much downhill and sooooooo thankful our brakes worked). And then we stayed in the most beautiful tiny fishing village and it washed all of our worries away. Washed them away so fully, in fact, that we were convinced that Day 2 couldn’t possibly be any worse than Day 1.

IMG_6520Day 2: See? Look how happy and fearless we are!

We were very wrong.

We got an early start on Monday so that we could take our time and not rush to get over the mountain. So we stopped for a coffee. And then for lunch. And then to buy a bottle of wine at a local winery. And we gave ourselves a solid 4 hours to cross the mountain pass.

But then we went the wrong way again. Because Google fucking SUCKS.

And then when we righted ourselves, the grade was so insanely steep, and we were so insanely tired, that we just couldn’t go anymore. We walked our bikes for a while, and tried cycling again, and then had to walk again. And then it was 7:30PM and the sun was already getting low and we still weren’t at the top. And we didn’t have reflective gear or good lights, and couldn’t even consider going down the other side with such limited light.

It was intense. Each of us went through all the stages. The “omg can we do this???” to the “YES WE CAN” attitude, to the “no, no, no, we really cannot, I am going to die” attitude. And at each point, the other two would perk up the 3rd and we’d keep going.

Until the point that we stopped. The point where I nearly had a panic attack, but I tried not to, and then Melissa said, “Soooo maybe we should call someone?” and I just started crying. And we stood on the side of a winding mountain road next to a cliff and called the bike rental company. Because we didn’t know what else to do. And we ate snacks. And we waited. And we called other people. Basically, we made all the phone calls.

After about 35 minutes, the bike rental company said they would come rescue us. Which, let me say, is BEYOND the best possible customer service. They did NOT have to do that. But they did it anyway. And charged us only a marginal fee for the whole rescue operation.

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But they wouldn’t just rescue us at a random spot on the side of the road, so we were forced to backtrack to a town we had passed ages ago. (Actually, I think it had been nearly 2 hours since we’d passed that town. But it only took us 20 minutes to get back there. Downhill FTW.) And then we sat on the curb outside the post office and waited. And we waited. And we waited. And we feared that perhaps they would never show up and we’d be stuck in that tiny town overnight. Fortunately, we were sitting right next to a hotel, and we began considering backup plans.

And then the van arrived. And a kind young man emerged from the driver’s side and looked at us with a smile, but you could tell there was pity in his eyes. But, instead of teasing us, he validated us: “Why didn’t you rent e-bikes? Most people do this ride with e-bikes…”

WHY HAD NO ONE TOLD US THAT BEFORE?!

We were so grateful to be sitting in a car, and our driver was so friendly. (I wish I could remember his name…) He drove us to our hotel and wished us well for the remainder of our travels. And basically everyone we met over the next two days looked at us incredulously when we told them about our adventure. “Wait, you DIDN’T have e-bikes? What were you thinking??”

Validation. Also, we felt pretty stupid.

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But hey, we survived. Built some character. And then drank a whole lot of wine. Wouldn’t trade that adventure for the world.

So, Mel: what mischief will we get into next spring?

Trying

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Today is June 4th. Just two days shy of the 7 month mark since I shared this post about the personal struggles I had been facing of late. In it, I discussed the ugly cycle of my SOBs (or States Of Being) and how they were the overwhelming force in my life and dictated my every action. And in that post, I also said that I would like to blog more, because I thought it would bring me just a little bit of joy. And maybe those tiny bits of joy might help knock me out of that ugly cycle. Just maybe.

But of course, things don’t always work out as planned (or hoped). The SOB cycles got worse and uglier, to the point where they were barely even cycles anymore. Instead, they just melted into an endless cloud of despair and failure that seemed to follow me everywhere. And I couldn’t write. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t bring myself to do anything at all, really. It took most of my energy just to get myself out of bed every day. After that, nothing else was possible. I had no energy left.

And I don’t want to get too far into the weeds here, but suffice it to say that ugly cycles and ugly feelings ultimately lead a person to do ugly things. I’m not proud of myself, and have struggled with excessive amounts of self-loathing over the past months because of actions I’ve taken that I truly, honestly believe are not me. I damaged friendships, and worse, I damaged myself. Perhaps one day my friends will forgive me for what I’ve done, but I will never forgive myself.

That was a breaking point for me, so I decided to take some time away. I love Amsterdam. It feels like home and I hope to remain here for a long time. But it’s also been the site of some pretty severe personal trauma and turmoil, and I couldn’t continue plowing through anymore. I had hit a wall. I needed to leave. So I went back to the U.S. and stayed with my parents for three weeks. I didn’t look for jobs or try to “move forward,” if you will. I just tried to be. To relax. To sleep and rest and enjoy what life might feel like if you had absolutely no worries at all (which, essentially, is what life feels like when you’re at your parents’ home, with a warm bed and free meals and nothing to do but be you).

Unsurprisingly, I went through many emotional cycles during that three weeks. And ultimately, it was good. I rested. I cried. I laughed. I learned. I planned. And I prepared to come back to Amsterdam knowing that a) I’m still not “ok,” and b) this shit isn’t going to be easy. But I made a plan, and while I still feel like I’m barely scraping at the bottom of the barrel emotionally, I’m at least somewhat less tired physically, and I am prepared to fight for the life that I want to lead.

This doesn’t mean I’m coming out guns blazing and full of energy and optimism. No way. I’m still sad most of the time, and every day still feels like a lot of effort. But I made some decisions at home that I intend to follow through on. And I don’t feel the need to list all of them here now, but there is one in particular that makes sense to share.

I intend to blog more.

You have every reason not to believe me, because I’ve said this before. But here’s the catch: this is beyond just a vague thought of “I should do this, it’ll be fun!” but more a “I MUST do this, it is now a requirement.” I’ve made a rule for myself that I have to post here at least once per week. Even if I don’t feel like it. It’s now required. It’s on my list of things that I decided. So, I’ll just have to suck it up.

Additionally, this ties into another “decision” I made at home, which I’m not quite ready to share in full, but hopefully will be exciting to some of you. Which also involves writing. And sharing things. And being cool. Or whatever people on the internet are doing these days.

So this all might sound insane, and that’s fair. I am a little bit insane (and always have been, I feel). But right now, my emotional brain is a mess of bad and ugly and crazy and, worst of all, soul-suckingly self-destructive. So it no longer gets to call the shots. My logical brain is now in charge. And my emotional brain is not going to like it, but tough shit. There are RULES now. This isn’t ‘Nam. (It’s also not bowling, but whatever.)*

Anyway. I don’t want to get too carried away here. I just shared a lot of really real shit and it’s a bit terrifying. Plus, I just talked about how my logical brain is in charge, while I sit here at 11:44 PM on a Monday after having consumed 3/4 of a bottle of red wine and spilling my guts on the internet. But whatever. At this point, you’ve probably already passed some judgment on me, and if the “drinking wine at 11pm on a Monday” is the thing that really puts you over the edge, you’re reading the wrong fucking blog.

See? I might be depressed, but I can still be an irreverent bitch. And somehow, that’s comforting to me. *insert winky kissy face emoji here*

To everyone who made it this far (and especially to the ones who know I’m not actually an irreverent bitch in real life), y’all are the best. For reals.

Thank you.

 

*If you didn’t catch the reference, look it up. And if you still don’t get it after you’ve looked it up, watch the movie. Not my fave but it’s a goddamn classic and everyone should probably see it at some point anyway.

That time I almost stole a kayak in Poland.

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Ok, I might be exaggerating slightly. But not much, actually. I really did almost steal a kayak. The only thing that held us back was the lack of an oar, and therefore no way to steer ourselves down the adjacent river.

So I suppose the next step in this story is to give you some context. Because you’re probably just thinking I’m some asshole who tries to steal people’s kayaks, but I promise you it’s not like that. (Ok, it’s only sort of like that.) Also, I just switched from “I” to “us” in the previous paragraph without warning, and I swear it’s because there were other people involved, and not because I think of myself in the plural. We’re not that crazy.

ANYWAY. A few weeks ago, I went to Poland for work. As many of you know by now, this usually means I go to a foreign country and I spend a LOT of hours in a field watching people play ultimate frisbee and/or selling apparel to said ultimate frisbee players. And then, once us frisbee people leave the fields, weird things happen. Because that’s how we roll. Also, we’ve all gone insane from spending 12 hours a day in a fucking field, and we don’t know how to properly behave in the real world.

And so, on this particular Saturday night, we got into all sorts of shenanigans. The tournament had ended earlier that afternoon, so all the staff were finally done and allowed to actually let loose and enjoy themselves. So that night, it was time to go. And I mean, “let’s fucking GO” level go.

First, I should begin by saying that the crew involved consisted of 4 Brits, 2 Canadians, and myself. We all work in the ultimate frisbee world, in some capacity. So by default, we’re all a bit weird, and totally 100% awesome.

The night started with champagne. Actually, I think we had hard cider first. But then champagne. And then we went out for a very late, incredibly magnificent dinner which involved a very large beer, and then more wine. (And holy shit so much food. Pretty sure the Canadian dude ate 3 entrees because he is apparently a human garbage disposal. I mean that in the best, and most impressed, way.)

And THEN we went to this insane beach bar along the river, which also happened to be right next to the zoo. As we walked through the forest on the way to the bar, we kept passing ridiculous graffiti showing zoo animals who were apparently going into space. I promise you I’m not lying. The images were very upsetting, just look:

IMG_0471I don’t know what this octopus did to deserve being sent into space against its will, but it made me sad.

I was fascinated by the graffiti, as was this British guy Jon. We were so enthralled by the crazy space animals, in fact, that the two of quickly lagged behind the rest of the group. We stopped to marvel at them and took several selfies. And then we lost everyone.

So when we found a beach bar, we assumed we were in the right place. So we bought a beer, and then looked around and realized that there were definitely no frisbee people there. And I think everyone thought we were insane because we wouldn’t stop talking about the “crazy bird” and the “space octopus.” I only hoped that everyone there assumed these were our code names and that we were really awesome special agents. (I’m certain this is what they thought. There’s no other explanation for our behavior.)

We already had a beer in hand, so we figured we would drink it and then continue onwards to find the group. And frankly I don’t remember if we kept walking, or if frisbee people just appeared out of nowhere, because suddenly we were in the right place and everyone we knew was there too. It all seemed to happen rather magically.

We ordered more beers and then spent some time sitting on a very funky piece of architecture that I believe Jon referred to as a “geometric orgasm.” I wish I had a photo of it, but I don’t. It was pretty cool, though. His description was fairly accurate, to say the least.

And that’s when we saw the kayaks.

So here’s a little thing about me: when I get drunk, I like to do things that a) I probably wouldn’t want to do while sober and b) seem WAY more fun than they actually are. So at that particular moment, I was inexplicably excited about sitting in a kayak. Actually, I think I was more excited about the prospect of going down the river in said kayak, but getting into it was step one.

Fortunately, Jon (who I had only just met) turned out to be as ridiculous as I am, so he was as excited about this idea as I was. So we went to the kayaks. And we crawled into one. And I think we sat there for a good hour, with the very serious intention of actually taking the kayak down the river, but lamenting the fact that we didn’t have an oar. Pretty sure someone was hiding the oars from us, probably because whoever owns the bar is very smart and knows that stupid drunk people will otherwise try to steal their kayaks. (We totally would have stolen that kayak. Totally.)

IMG_0499This is a terrible photo, but it proves the existence of the kayaks and us being in them.

Eventually we got out of the kayak, because sitting in a non-stolen kayak and doing nothing gets pretty boring after a while. But then we were hanging out on the floating dock next to the kayaks, and the Canadians thought it would be funny to untie the floating dock from the thing it was attached to. While Jon and I were on it.

So for a brief moment, a new idea came to be: Let’s take this raft down the river!

IMG_0500Our Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn rafting adventure begins! (Except not.)

We very quickly realized that was a terrible idea and we would probably die, but fortunately there was still one tiny chain keeping us attached to the mainland. (Without which, we were totally fucked, actually. Because, if you can’t tell from the photo, there was no way off the raft at that particular moment.)

But then, as Jon attempted to pull us back using that tiny chain, it snapped. I was completely unaware of this fact, but he began to panic and kept telling me to “Jump! Hurry, jump to the other dock!” while I kept saying “Dude, chill out, you’re overreacting.” Because I just thought he was being a sissy. But apparently, for a brief moment, we almost actually floated away down the river. Which would have been exciting, but then I probably wouldn’t be around to tell you this story, so I’m kind of glad that didn’t happen.

And of course, in the midst of all of this chaos, we continued to drink beer. In fact, despite the fact that we’d just had a near-death experience*, we managed to continue drinking for several hours. And then a wedding party showed up after their reception, which apparently had been at the zoo. We thought a zoo reception was pretty cool, until this guy kept yelling “DO YOU KNOW HOW SCARY IT IS TO BE IN A ZOO AFTER DARK?! THERE ARE BEARS EVERYWHERE.”

It was about this point that I realized I was far too drunk and tired to be having a conversation with someone who has severe bear-phobia and is still suffering PTSD from his nighttime zoo experience. (Frankly, I think he’s an idiot, because I would LOVE to be in a zoo at night. That sounds fucking dope. You could pretend to be a jungle explorer. You could practice your night vision. YOU COULD STEAL A MARMOSET.)

(I promise I wouldn’t actually steal a marmoset. I barely know how to care for myself, let alone a small monkey.)

So, after many failed attempts at conversation with the terrified-of-bears man, we decided to leave. And before we even managed to make it out of the park, the sun was rising.

Leaving a bar at sunrise? That’s some college-level party shit right there. I haven’t done that in years. Mad props to the crazy British/Canadian crew for partying like rockstars.

I am so proud.

 

*Ok, we didn’t actually have a near-death experience. But it could have been a near-death experience if we had floated away. We just didn’t try hard enough.

*****

[Next time: When in Ireland…]

I really should put things here more often.

IMG_0145Urban beach party! This shit was the jam.

Well, here we are again. Months ago, I recounted the harrowing tale of my new life in Amsterdam. At this point, I’ve forgotten all about that crap. But at the time, it sucked. A whole fucking lot. (Ok, so I haven’t forgotten. The world and particularly the absurd Dutch bureaucracy spent many months telling me to pack up and go back to America. It was infuriating. I might still be a little bit angry.)

BUT. The point is, it’s over now. And guess what? THINGS ARE SO MUCH BETTER! In fact, I feel like I can basically live my life now and the Dutch government isn’t trying to make each day a living hell anymore! So that’s nice. (I’m not being sarcastic. It really is nice!)

But the REAL point is, I’ve been doing so many things and I haven’t written about any of them! It’s a total disaster. (Not the doing things part, just the failing to record it part.) I guess that’s what happens when you live a fast-paced, crazy, completely unreasonable lifestyle.

(I’ve gotta say, I really never expected to be living this kind of life. It’s a bit mad, really. But I love it, so who’s complaining?)

But here’s the kicker: there are two sides to every story. There’s the “my life is insane!” story (in a good way). On this side are some of the absurd things I’ve done over the past many months, such as:

  • Sledding down the side of a mountain in Switzerland while slightly tispy
  • Pouring honey rum into someone’s mouth from the top of a human pyramid 4m tall
  • Watching my father get hilariously hammered at a Gin Festival
  • Climbing on the roof of a building while very intoxicated against the advice of pretty much everybody
  • Drunkenly running around naked in a children’s playground in a London suburb at 3am
  • Falling off my bike while inebriated. Doing it again a month later.

(If you hadn’t noticed, I like synonyms. But also, I promise I’m not always drunk.)

But, you see, there’s also another side to this story. There are all the very sober, very real “my life is insane!” moments that seem to scare the shit out of my non-insane friends. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard “Um, you seriously need a vacation” or “WTF are you doing with your life?” or “You’re doing WAY more than one might consider normal” or the horrified stares I get when I say my next weekend at home isn’t for 2 months.

And to all those people, here’s what I have to say: you are right. This is totally unsustainable. I’m addicted to having a completely unreasonable schedule and I don’t know how to stop!

IMG_0029This is my “I am trying to be normal” face. Convincing, right?

But with all the bad comes the good, right? And lately, it feels like the good has been even better and more fun, so I don’t exactly want to stop, despite the fact that I am highly aware I might just drop dead from stress at any moment. But it’s worth it, damnit! #livingontheedge

[Cue: wine. I am drinking it now. Because why should I start being reasonable NOW? That would just be absurd.]

So, instead of listening to all the reasonable people in my life, I am doing EVERYTHING and loving it. Who needs sanity anyway? ALSO, I’ve realized I have a backlog of half-written posts about some of the aforementioned adventures, which I am planning to finish right now. Because, why not? Also, wine.

Get ready. The deluge is coming. And this time, I’m not fucking around.*

*She said for the millionth time.

******************

[Next time, on Christina’s totally unreasonable adventures: I’m about to spend a week in Belgium! Let’s see how much trouble I can get into there.]

[Drunk Baking] Adorable Apple Cake

On Sunday afternoon, I got drunk and made an apple cake. It also happened to be super adorable. Here is the story of how the adorable apple cake came to be.

October 5th. The Un-Live Blog.

3:22pm – Open a beer. Drink it. Gotta warm up your drinking muscles and relax your cooking muscles. #science

3:46pm – Open beer #2. Time to start cooking!

4:01pm – Spend far too long cutting apples. Blegh.

4:02pm – Drink a bunch of beer.

4:07pm – Quick clean up. Drink more beer because you’re too sober. Restrain yourself from eating the apples that are now coated in sugar and lemon juice.

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4:17pm – Halfway through beating the batter. Arms are tired. Need more beer.

4:21pm – Seriously, why are you drinking your beer so slowly?

4:28pm – Finish beating batter. Lick the beaters. Chase with beer.

4:29pm – Dance break!

4:35pm – Beat those eggs whites! Listen to “Beat It” as you do so.

4:40pm – OMG THE BATTER IS DONE.

4:42pm – OMG this cake is going to be amazing.

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4:45pm – In the oven! Eat remaining batter off the spoon. Finish beer.

4:49pm – Beer #3!

4:50pm – Dance break.

4:55pm – Dishes break.

4:58pm – Dishes are done!

5:00pm – Cake smells amazing. Still 20 minutes to wait. TORTURE.

5:01pm – Distract yourself by doing something else in the kitchen.

5:05pm – Successfully quarter an acorn squash. This has nothing to do with cake. Also, it only took 4 minutes. DAMNIT.

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5:07pm – Continue drinking beer and dancing around the living room.

5:12pm – OMG HOW HAS IT ONLY BEEN 5 MINUTES. I am too impatient right now. I blame the beer.

5:13pm – Drink beer. Again. Because what else are you going to do?

5:17pm – 2 MINUTES LEFT.

5:20pm – TIMER WENT OFF OMG IT’S DONE.

5:20pm – Shit, no it’s not. DAMNIT.

5:20pm – Set timer for 5 more minutes. Glumly drink more beer.

5:21pm – Beer is awesome!

5:26pm – THE CAKE IS DONE. Look how adorable it is!

Photo on 2014-10-05 at 17.36 #5

5:27pm – Allow cake to cool. Try to figure out how to edit a video. Fail completely. Drink more beer.

5:35pm – ROOMMATE IS HOME! Yay! Now I can actually do something productive with that acorn squash…

[At this point, hours pass. I do, in fact, cook the acorn squash. My roomie and I also make salmon and kale. We be fancy. We eat dinner. I drink about half a bottle of wine. The drunkenness continues. Dinner is delicious. And then cake-time continues.]

8:49pm – CAKE. (Suddenly I have remembered that cake happened earlier.)

8:50pm – Make honey glaze for cake.

8:51pm – Honey glaze is done! (Yeah, it’s basically just slightly-warmed honey. Whatevs.)

8:52pm – Glaze cake.

8:53pm – THIS CAKE IS BEAUTIFUL.IMG_20141005_210914

8:48pm – My roommate and I then proceed to devour said cake. And by devour I mean we each have a small slice that we eat very delicately with a fork. Because we are classy like that. (I mean, we just had salmon + squash + kale for dinner. We be classy folk here in Seattle.)

Ok, I’m pretty drunk. Umm. Yep.

OH. Right. Recipe. If you want it, I stole it from Smitten Kitchen. Cuz she’s pretty much the best. You can find it here!

And now I have no more to say. Happy Sunday!

Los Angeles: That time I got my cousin so wine drunk she passed out in front of the whole family

[This is Part 1 of the Series Where I Catch You Up on My Drinking Doings Since December.]

So between Christmas and January 10th, I actually traveled to L.A. twice. It’s a little disheartening, considering how much I dislike that place.

But I think this latest set of trips may have given L.A. a bit of an upgrade in my book.

The first of my recent L.A. visits was for a family Christmas, the second was for a beach ultimate frisbee tournament. You might guess that the latter was a more fun and shenanigan-filled trip, but you would be wrong.

Family Christmas is the best thing that has ever happened. EVER.

(Reminder: I use an unnecessary amount of hyperbole when I’m drunk. And yes, I’m a little drunk right now. So shush.)

This year, for the first time in 15 YEARS (<–that is actually true), my entire dad’s side of the family got together. The last time ALL of us were together at the same time was my grandfather’s funeral in 1997. And at that time, my cousins and I were far too young to consume alcohol or have any manners. (For example: My cousin Ron tried to get us all to go to Six Flags. During the funeral weekend. This is how young/immature/unaware we were.)

So anyway. This Christmas was a big deal. Family. Togetherness. The whole family in the same place at the same time! It was going to be magical.

And of course, I went into the trip with just one important mission: Get my cousin Evangeline really, REALLY drunk.

You are probably wondering why this was my goal. No, it’s not because I don’t like her. And it’s not because I was trying to prove I am a better drinker than she is (because, in fact, I am not).

No. I wanted to get Evangeline drunk as payback. Sweet, sweet payback for the time she got me so drunk I nearly missed my cousin Ron’s wedding ceremony because I couldn’t stop vomiting. (Fun fact: I made it through the ceremony! But then I missed the reception. Dammit, E.)

This drunk-getting plan was made all the easier by my goofy father, who doesn’t really like people, especially family. Because of this, he planned a variety of “activities” for us to do so we wouldn’t have to actually hang out together in my Aunt’s house all week. And one of those activities was wine tasting.

My plan was unfolding perfectly.

The night before we went wine tasting we went to a birthday party for my cousin’s wife’s younger brothers. They were turning 25. We drank a fair amount at that party. I mean, we drank as if we weren’t about to drink for the entire next day. Because why should I censor myself?

The next morning, I managed to wake up feeling pretty peachy, while Evangeline spent most of the car ride to Temecula, CA trying to get rid of her hangover. In fact, she took it so easy at the first few wineries that I was mildly concerned that my plan might totally fail.

But fear not. The day wore on and the wine drinking continued. Now I’m not trying to say I wasn’t drunk (I was). And I’m not trying to say that I didn’t make a fool of myself (I did). And I’m not trying to say that I didn’t run back into a nearly-closed winery to buy two bottles of Cabernet Franc because it was the best wine ever and I held up the whole car but who the fuck cares. (Yes, I did do that.)

What I AM trying to say, however, is that Evangeline was far drunker than I was. She was so drunk, in fact, that she somehow managed to sprawl across the entire backseat (she was sitting in the middle) and completely pass out on me and my mother.

When we got back to my Aunt’s house, I assumed she would wake up. But she didn’t. Like, she just would not wake up. So we got some photos. You know, for posterity’s sake.

DSCN2997(Her older brother Ron took this photo. I wish I could replicate the glee on his face. It was amazing.)

My mother managed to extricate herself from under Evangeline’s legs, and I eventually managed to escape the car myself, and then we had a comatose cousin in the back seat. My mother objected to leaving her there, so we managed to wake her up and get her inside, where more hilarity ensued. I don’t even think I remember what she even said, but she was black-out drunk for the rest of the night and has no recollection of any of it. And considering the entire family was laughing at her, it’s no wonder she got so defensive and hilarious. It’s also probably for the best that she doesn’t remember any of this. I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed that hard at someone else’s expense. It was incredible.

Now, before you go thinking I’m a horrible person, consider this: I will forever be remembered as the cousin who vomited 2 minutes before her cousin’s wedding in order to barely drag myself through the 20-minute beach ceremony without vomiting again. I will forever be the cousin who missed the reception. And sure, Evangeline may have been blamed slightly for my state, but I was still the one who missed the party.

And now Evangeline will be remembered as the cousin who passed out after wine tasting and then drunkenly tried to defend herself afterwards. And sure, we all laughed. But it’s a family story we’ll never forget, and hell, we love her all the more for it.

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P.S. Dear cousins, if you are reading this, much love to you all. And sorry if I hyperbolized too much, but hey, I’m drunk and this is my blog anyway. xoxo

BACON! (or: how to win at life)

Drinking should always be a top priority. Before I even unpacked my groceries, I had opened my wine. That, friends, is commitment.

The wine I chose was a Syrah from Columbia Valley. It was a gorgeous deep purple color. Almost black, even. Thick and opaque like obsidian, with a beautiful translucent ring of violet right at the surface. It was lush and velvety. So velvety, in fact, that I nearly downed my entire first glass without realizing it. So smooooooth.

One glass of wine in seems like a prime time to commit to making some food. Wait any longer, and you may forget to eat. Start too early, and you may forget to enjoy yourself. It’s important to have balance in your life.

And so I moved on to making some food.

And by that I mean BACON.

There I was, in the grocery store. I had just returned from a business trip that morning (6am flight) and had struggled through as much of the day at the office as I could muster. I got home around 4pm and nearly resigned myself to eating whatever crappy/old food I had in my fridge before I decided that, goddamnit, I have EARNED a delicious meal.

And so I went shopping.

And I bought bacon.

It seemed only right.

With a second glass of wine in front of me, I tenderly wrapped some boneless chicken thighs in strips of bacon. I nestled them in a pan together and seasoned them well. I slid the pan into the oven with care, and almost decided to say “fuck it” to the kale I bought.

But then I drank another glass of wine and decided, in my pre-drunk state of heightened awareness, that greens are healthy and I should eat them. Again, balance. It’s important.

So I made kale while bacon-chicken smells wafted through my apartment. I felt like I was absorbing the smells with my body, causing me to relax and feel content. (I had also had half a bottle of red wine. This may have contributed to my relaxed state of being. Whatever.)

After what seemed only a brief period of time punctuated by much wine-drinking, the chicken thighs were done.

THEY WERE MAGICAL.

Bacon. Chicken. Together. It was as if a beautiful love story was unfolding in my kitchen. Finally, after years of being apart, the bacon and chicken finally reunited. They were perfect for one another. Such chemistry. Such compassion.

I nearly shed a tear for them.

But instead, I proceeded to drown myself in more wine and attack the thighs viciously as if I hadn’t been fed in days.

Commitment. Am I right?

No. I’m just a savage.

To be fair, I ate with utensils and not my fingers. Also I ate kale!

So maybe I’m not totally a savage.

Also I’m drunk and can’t figure out how to end this post, so here is a photo I stole of some chicken wrapped in bacon:

BaconWrappedChicken-640x286

 

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[Next time, on Christina’s Drunk Adventures: WINTER BEER. Oh yes. Oh yes yes yes.]

That time I got drunk (again) and baked some things (again).

Well, friends. I did it again. Drunk baking. My favorite pastime!

And this time, it got real drunk.

A few weeks ago, I decided to make one of the most involved recipes on the planet. Like, holy cow. It’s pretty unnecessary how involved this recipe was. As such, since I knew I would be devoting most of my afternoon to the project, I decided to get really drunk.

Oh, and I succeeded. Obviously.

This time, I also did something else new and exciting. I attempted to make a podcast. It didn’t go so well. I got too drunk and disorganized to handle my shit, so it turned into two hours of me rambling, making messes, dropping shit, burning myself, and laughing uncontrollably.

Here’s how it all went down.

The recipe: Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

First, I made pie crust. Nothing too complicated.

Then I made miniature pumpkin pies. Adorable, but still not particularly complicated.

DSCN1488

But then I was halfway through a bottle of wine and things started to get weird.

I managed to make the cupcake batter, but once the first batch was in the oven I sort of lost my shit and this happened:

DSCN1489

Yeah. It was bad. Even worse considering I took that photo of myself. Yikes.

Despite this, I somehow managed to make it to the grocery store and back before the first batch was done!

DSCN1490

But then the podcast seriously went south. I couldn’t stop laughing, and I nearly destroyed my kitchen trying to get the second batch in the oven. I had drunk over 75% of the bottle of wine on an empty stomach and shit was getting weird. I ended up sitting on my floor while the second batch was baking and just eating batter out of the bowl.

DSCN1490

Yes. I ate all of the leftover batter. ALL OF IT.

Thank goodness I managed to stay coherent enough to pull the cupcakes out of the oven at the right time. Because immediately afterwards, I passed out for about an hour. When I awoke, I knew I needed to feed myself something solid, so I made myself a bunch of pasta and (of course) finished the wine.

By that point I was so drunk and exhausted that I simply gave up on making frosting and decided to leave it for the next day.

On the upside, although the podcast was an utter failure (even hours of editing couldn’t make it worth listening to), some of the outtakes seemed worth saving. And so, dear friends, here is a sampling of what happens when I get really drunk and try to make cupcakes:

Happy Thanksgiving!

A list of “sometimes” things.

Sometimes Sunday is the best day for drinking.

Sometimes one glass of wine makes you tipsy because you forgot to eat all day.

Sometimes you get drunk before dinner.

Sometimes you make stir-fry while drunk.

Sometimes you forget how to cut carrots.

Sometimes you’re drunk and you eat all the mushrooms before you cook them.

Sometimes you have to look at the recipe 4 times because you have drunk ADD.

Sometimes you tell yourself you’re only going to have half a bottle of wine tonight, but then you’re already two glasses in before dinner is ready.

Sometimes you think, “That’s cool, I can just have one more glass,” and then you laugh because that is totally ridiculous, why would you ever do that?

Sometimes you dance around your kitchen and then forget you’re cooking and then freak out because shit is burning.

Sometimes it’s not even 7pm and you’ve had nearly half a bottle of wine.

Sometimes your dinner is ready but all you want to do is have a dance party.

Sometimes you can’t remember whether it’s “your” or “you’re”.

Sometimes you manage to eat your dinner, but then you’re really drunk so you feel like dancing, so then you dance.

Sometimes you actually do your dishes, but in the process you feel like you’ve earned more wine, so you do that too.

Sometimes you’re on your 5th glass of wine and it’s Sunday night.

HAHA.

Sometimes you don’t care.

Sometimes you think, “I’m young and reckless!”

Sometimes you think it’s stupid to think those things.

Sometimes you think that’s why society thinks your generation is a bunch of lazy bums.

Sometimes you think society sucks.

Sometimes you dance around your living room to feel better.

Sometimes it works.

Sometimes you drink more wine.

Sometimes Sundays are super awesome.