Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'm a Good Person!!!

Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, Vatican.'s the thing.

I feel like it's kind of important--if not just plain American--to know why a rule exists. Which is why I blatantly ignored the NO FOTO signs in Italian museums.

Don't get me wrong--I am not some renegade who makes questioning authority a hobby or regularly practices lawbreaking. I'm not trying to make any sort of blanket statement or stick it to The Man here. I am generally a law-abider and rule-obliger. But...I just have never been given a good enough reason not to take pictures (especially sans flash) in museums. As an art history major, I like to think my reverence for invaluable masterpieces is superior to the average Joe Tourist's, but even I am not convinced of the whole "flash damages the paintings" or "it's for copyright reasons" nonsense. Don't they (the vague, accusatory "they"...) understand how much self-control I am already exercising by not touching anything?

I believe the real reason we are not allowed to take photos in many museums is because they want us to buy photos--in the form of books, postcards, mugs, toilet paper--in the gift shop. Which I do anyway. The problem is that you can't put those on facebook or make slideshows with them. Plus, I am the ultimate consumer of museum store crap. Mona Lisa nightlight? Check. Monet umbrella? Got one. My faithful patronage of the art world should garner some privileges.

Primavera by Boticelli, the Uffizi in Florence.

The Birth of Venus by Boticelli, the Uffizi in Florence.

Michelangelo's David, the Accademia in Florence.

Enough complaining. I actually just wanted to share my forbidden photos with you. These are some photos of the great masterpieces of the world that you are not allowed to take photos of...seriously. I have seen people police-escorted out of the Sistine Chapel for taking pics. I have been sternly yelled at for snapping pictures when I shouldn't have. The stakes were high, my friends...these took skill. Strategy. Timing. Human shields.

I just hope the Italian government doesn't read my blog...

My Verona

Fair Verona is where we lay our first scene of our Italian this point, we had been awake and traveling for about two days, but Verona was the perfect little stop on our way to Venice to recharge our sense of excitement and adventure.
Verona is the Northern Italian city where Shakespeare set his tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Tucked away in a quaint courtyard, entered through a little alley, is the small balcony where the fictional Juliet longed for her Romeo..."Ay me!" I could just imagine a little girl in love on that balcony, sighing and swooning at the stars on a warm summer night. Even in a city full of, like, real historical sites, I loved that there is a balcony dedicated to Juliet in Verona, even if it was added to the house in the 20th Century. Unless your woman's soul is void of a romantic sensibility, I can't imagine this place not wooing you with its charm.
Plaque on the house.
Letters and graffiti to Juliet in the alley.There is also a bronze statue of Juliet in the courtyard, and legend holds that touching her breasts will lead to good fortune in love. So, Hayley and I did some holding ourselves--I mean, if the fate of our love lives was on the line...One of my other favorite things in Verona was the incredibly well-preserved Roman amphitheater, called The Arena. It's the third largest Roman amphitheater in Italy, after the Roman Collosseum and the arena at Capua. Built in AD 30, the amphitheater could hold 30,000 spectators in ancient times.
Today the Arena is used for open-air opera performances. Can you imagine? Ay me!

Next stop...Venice!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Heading Out...

Full report of adventures to follow...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Books, Books, Books.

I just love this. I don't know where it is. I don't know where I got it. I just found it in a file on my computer.

I just love it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Five Days

Things to do before I leave Monday:

Call my credit card company and tell them I’m traveling so they don’t cancel my stupid card like they did in London when I was trying to buy a Rosetta Stone shaped backpack at the British Museum and my card was declined and I still, to this day, do not own a Rosetta Stone backpack.

Go to the bank.

Update iTunes playlists.

See Midnight in Paris.

Clean bathroom.

Clean room.

Finish up work stuff.

Will my back to stop hurting.

Go to AT&T store and ask about international calls.

Get a mani/pedi.

Go to Target to buy little travel things.

Narrow down my book selections to two. Eh...three.


Monday, June 13, 2011

30 Things to Do Before I Turn 30

I’m going to be thirty in exactly a year and a half. Instead of doing what my instincts and flair for the dramatic would want (cringe, assume the fetal position, and commence mid-life crisis), I thought I’d embrace the romance and adventure that aging brings and “with mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come.” --Shakespeare

My friend Allison, whose affinity for lists rivals mine (and whose creativity definitely trumps mine), made a list of things to do before she turns thirty, a marvelous idea that I have now blatantly copied. I must say, making a list of affordable, non-gimmicky, realistic things to do with limited means and time is challenging. I mean, I’d love to “travel the world” and “read a thousand books,” but it’s not going to happen. And daredevil-ish stuff like “sky dive” or “bungee jump,” or overcoming a fear like “hold a tarantula” or “go clubbing” are just as unrealistic, not to mention entirely undesirable.

Here’s the list:

1. Read fifty books…starting now.
2. Eat a lobster.
3. Memorize the Gettysburg Address.
4. Go to the Grand Canyon.
5. Learn to drive a stick shift.
6. Take the train to San Diego for a day.
7. Learn to skateboard.
8. Ride the Giant Wheel at the Spectrum.
9. Try out for JEOPARDY!
10. Climb Saddleback Mountain.
11. Walk across Hoover Dam.
12. Purchase an iPhone.
13. Rent beach cruisers in Venice Beach and bike to the Santa Monica Pier.
14. Cook a meal from scratch and host a themed dinner party.
15. Read the entire Bible.
16. Learn the Hoedown Throwdown dance from the Hannah Montana movie.
17. Have a really great, cinematic kiss in the pouring rain.
18. Buy dinner for a family behind me in a drive-thru.
19. Take a tour of Warner Brothers Studios in L.A.
20. Do something unexpected with my hair.
21. Grab an in-theater dinner at The Regency San Juan Capistrano Theater.
22. Finish my master’s degree.
23. Visit the Long Beach Aquarium.
24. Lead a small group of college-age girls.
25. Stay at the Montage.
26. Visit Salvation Mountain.
27. Attend a movie premiere in L.A.
28. Do a photo shoot with Nicole Leever.
29. See a symphony concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
30. Have a really, really great 30th birthday.

What else should I do before I turn thirty?

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." --C. S. Lewis

Just Coffee

Last year, a boy asked me out. A boy asked me out. A boy asked me out!

I was taken aback by his out-of-the-blue, to-the-point phone call. Taken aback...but appreciative and impressed enough to suppress my hesitation and accept his invitation.

Our first date was a year ago today. I met up with him at church; he played drums with the worship band and then sat with me during the service. Note: It's very awkward sitting next to someone you're interested in at church when you don't know them well. It's not like you can talk or anything. I tried to listen to the message, but his presence was mostly what I was focused on. I also flipped my bangs out of my eyes a little more than necessary...

After church, we went to the Spectrum and he bought me a coffee at Barnes and Noble. A cute boy treated me to a coffee, my very favorite thing. (How did he know?!) So far, so good...but I was nervous and not sure that we'd have much to talk about. I was just hoping I'd be calm enough to remember to laugh and be myself...and remember his name. (I called him Evan twice...yeah, that would be his brother's name...)

Turned out, we actually did have a lot to talk about, and we talked for a long time. Just coffee...that's how it started. And we haven't stopped talking since...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Literal Trip Around the World

Last December, I received one of the best birthday presents ever from my friend Phil. He gave me a literal trip around the world--a stack of used books that take place in different countries, with a card shaped like an old suitcase. Clipped to each book was a photo of the country in which each story takes place.

Thanks to Phil, I can visit James Joyce's Dublin with Dubliners, experience Paul Coelho's North Africa with The Fifth Mountain, travel to Ian McEwan's England in Atonement, explore Milan Kundera's Prague with The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, venture into Orhan Pamuk's Turkey with Snow, get lost in Salman Rushdie's India with Midnight's Children, travel with Paul Theroux through Asia with Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, and be inspired by Annie Proulx's America in Accordion Crimes.

One single book would have thrilled me, but a giant stack? Used? was a great gift. So thoughtful.

I haven't read much this year (school, dating) but I'm finally ready to tackle this stack and do some traveling this summer. And I won't even have to leave the comfort of my bed!

The Time I Thought Nathan Was Dead for Twelve Hours

Nathan and I live a good twenty-five minutes from each other. It's not terribly far, but it's also not a quick jaunt home, either, especially at night. So we always part with the following:

“Text me when you get home, babe.”

“I will…I always do…”


Here’s the thing…I know I’m neurotic. I’m very aware of it. But if you tell me you’re going to text me when you get home—and past precedence indicates your thoughtfulness in doing so—and you don’t, then I’m going to think the worst. Drowned in a lake, kidnapped by pirates, abducted by aliens. The possibilities are endless.

Seriously though, regardless of how fertile one’s imagination is…if you don’t get that text at the end of the night, isn’t it safe to assume something’s not right?

Well, turns out, what wasn’t right was that Nathan just left his cell in his car that night and didn’t hear me text him twice and call him at 12….12:30…1...2.

In fact, he didn’t get back to me until he found his cell in his car the next day, at 1pm. I was relieved he was alive, but I also wanted to kill him a little bit. I seriously thought he was dead for twelve hours.

But it’s cool, guys. He’s fine.

And he’ll never forget to text me again...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Toile That

Toile always captures my attention when I’m out and about….on dishes, wrapping paper, clothing, whatever…I’m in love with it.

Toile (pronounced “twahl,” not “toil” like I’ve been calling it forever) means cloth or web in French. It refers to fabric depicting complex little pastoral scenes. These scenes are meaningful, bucolic, and beautiful. From a distance, the aesthetic seems lacy and feminine and delicate; up close, the detailed scenes tell whimsical stories. Although toile has been around for centuries, it also looks so smart and modern. Someday I would like to dedicate a room in my house to toile...