Category Archives: Everyday

in praise of the men i know.

D. he is faithful

N. he is hardworking

R. worldly things don’t entice him

P. he is disciplined

J. for he will do right

A. he knows laughter

(simultaneously published here).


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My dear friend and former roomie (roommate for three full years! top that.) is celebrating her birthday today all the way across the ocean from me. I really miss you, Brenna Joy.

In other news, I’m not generally an observer of Halloween, but exactly one year ago today, I was navigating four little Saudi kids through a neighborhood to ring doorbells and earn candy for their costumes. Half of the time, we were trying to curtail the youngest’s attempts to run out into the street, and it was a really hot evening to chase kids. But it was such a good time.

And still yet, I have had a really good week here. It’s probably the best week I’ve had in London thus far. Several days, I’ve just found myself musing about how this is so unreal and how grateful I am that I am here. Oh, and I ran five miles today. First time ever.

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As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said through his fictional character, Sherlock Holmes, the small things often are the significant things. Take toast, for example. It’s so simple to make that no one bothers to do it well, so it usually turns out badly. And it’s small so it’s excused. Breakfast usually has tea or orange juice that you can use to cough the stuff down.

Toast is rough, though. Even the most sublime piece has to be consumed within 60 seconds of its creation or it’s just not worth the calories (the same is true of waffles). So don’t bother ordering this at a restaurant, unless the cook is willing to let you dash in and rescue the slices as soon as they pop up from the metal slats.

Besides, you can make it at home. Even common sandwich bread can be respectable. Of course, if you’ve got any snazzy bread, your chances of good toast go up ten-fold.

My toast has two non-negotiables.

One, it must have real butter on it. I’m kind of a snob about this. You can’t cheat with butter and not be found out.

Two, the butter must melt; i.e. it has to be hot bread. The toaster where I’m living now has this uncanny ability to produce browned bread that is room temperature. Now I nuke the bread before I toast it, and that usually works.

That’s it. After that, do what you will – jam, jelly, eggs, cut diagonally- whatever. Just be sure to get in a few bites within the critical period of 60 seconds.

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an american in britain

It’s funny frequently thinking about your nationality. You (or at least I don’t) don’t think about the country you are from until you are outside of it. Over here, I’m like, “Yes! I’m an American!” But, I may add, the Scotsman in our group is just as passionate about his country.

So here, we are, just over a month living in the illustrious city of London.

I’m sharing a flat with two girls, living with 10 people over all. I have a 40 hour work week, a small collection of clothes to keep me warm in this increasing cold. It doesn’t feel like home yet.

I love the river Thames and the Queen’s Walk, which goes along it on the south bank. I have picked up knitting as a caveat to my job, a way to befriend some of the locals. I am reading recreationally again, after four years of university. Right now, I am reading Vanity Fair (all my lit friends would be so proud).

My appreciation and knowledge of coffee has broadened as I have been educated on our espresso machine at work. My career as a barista is burgeoning. So yeah, what I miss of American cuisine is being compensated for over good coffee.

I am working on my goals for the year. I like it here most days.

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orwell on trees


{my brother, Andrew}

“I am not suggesting that one can discharge all one’s obligations towards society by means of a private re-afforestation scheme. Still, it might not be a bad idea, every time you commit an anti-social act, to make a note of it in your diary, and then, at the appropriate season, push an acorn into the ground.”

– George Orwell in Shooting an Elephant

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on my shampoo

I can’t buy everything in London, especially considering the exchange rate and the more expensive prices in large cities. To that end, I figured my suitcase could handle two large bottles, one of shampoo and one of conditioner.

The nice lady cutting my hair a week or so ago acted interested and excited about my year long trip to London. She didn’t neglect to mention how the hair products I normally use happened to be on sale (the two for the price of one deal). Well I was thinking of getting both anyway, so if it truly was cheaper this week, that’s great.

“It’s perfect too,” she said. “Because these bottles last you about a year.”
“Really?” I thought to myself. “I don’t remember that my last round stretched a whole year.”
They won’t.

I happened to look at the size of the bottles the first time I used them.

Now I’m not good at math, so I have used the calculator on my computer as I have composed this post, to insure accuracy. The bottles, both the shampoo and conditioner, are 33.8 ounces each.

Let’s say I use 1/2 an ounce (about a tablespoon size) per shower. Rounding down, let’s figure from 33 ounces

If I use 1/2 ounce from each every shower, it’ll last me 66 uses.
If I shower just once a week, the bottles will last me 1.26 years

However, I like to keep my job and friends

If I shower 5 times a week, at 1/2 ounce a pop, the bottles will last me 20.8 weeks, which is 40% of a year.

It looks like I’ll be buying a new set when I am back for the Christmas holiday.

Just in case you were curious.


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my shower curtain.

I noticed something this morning. The shower curtain at my summer lodings is white with clear letters. There are two or three words per line, the words are different for a couple lines, then the stanzas start to repeat.

Relax, bathe, soak. Relax, bathe soak.
Scrub, condition. Scrub, condition.
Read, loofah, shave. Read, loofah, shave.
Shower, later. Shower, later.

Shower later?!

I looked again.

Shower, lather. Shower, lather. *phew.

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