Life As A Sore Thumb

The adventures & sometimes misadventures of a quarter-life crisis.

Full Moon, Camp Love

The moon is full and sitting low in the sky tonight. The insects are the only motion over the lake and its stillness really sets a finality to another beautiful summer. I’ve been postponing my departure for a week, couldn’t tear myself away from my first home away from home. But the air is cooler, outside life is calling me back and I’m the leftover straggler with the year-round staff. Every summer I spend here in Connecticut has a definitive end date. The sadness is inevitable.

As I walk through camp it’s as if the ghosts of campers and counselors past are still on the grounds. I can hear Michelle’s laugh as I descend into the girls’ unit, or Pau’s morning greeting on Larson porch. The bodies of teenagers running, jumping, lounging still linger in my memory. My community starts just as abruptly as it finishes. It’s always bittersweet after 6am wake-ups and 14 hour days.

However, tonight the lake screams silence. The sky is bright and my soul is calm. Problems are for the morning to solve. Right now is for peace. Take advantage of the love still resonating and look at the lake I love so much.

Image Credit: Guy McFarland

Difficult Girl

newyorker:

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Lena Dunham writes about her childhood anxieties, and growing up in therapy:

“I have only the vaguest memory of a life before fear. Every morning when I wake up, there is one blissful second before I look around the room and remember my many terrors. I wonder if this is what it will…

(Source: newyorker.com)

Many a day I wonder about the simplicity of living off the grid.
I prefer a pen to a keyboard anyway. So if the day comes that I clear my blinding debt, I’ll settle into the wilderness upstate and actually write that book I’ve been “writing.” I’ll simplify my life so that anxiety isn’t always looming and become a phantom simply because I only have a landline telephone. I’m willing to sacrifice my love of .gifs for  solace.

Many a day I wonder about the simplicity of living off the grid.

I prefer a pen to a keyboard anyway. So if the day comes that I clear my blinding debt, I’ll settle into the wilderness upstate and actually write that book I’ve been “writing.” I’ll simplify my life so that anxiety isn’t always looming and become a phantom simply because I only have a landline telephone. I’m willing to sacrifice my love of .gifs for  solace.

Food Trends Worth Biting Into: Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwiches)

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Now, of course, trend doesn’t mean new. When an idea has reached it’s tipping point it becomes a trend as the latest thing that people covet and have access to. Yes, I’m sure you’ve been eating bánh mì sandwiches forever, or listening to that band I’ve never heard of since junior high but it doesn’t deplete the significance of reaching the mainstream. So in that vein, I welcome the world to the amazing-ness of the bánh mì sandwich.

What Is It?

Bánh Mì: fresh baguette with crisp, crackly crust - lighter than a typical western baguette
Meats: sliced pork or pork bellies (gammon), sausage or head cheese - all infused with fish sauce
Veggies: fresh cilantro (!), cucumber slices, pickled carrots & daikon radish, chilies or jalapeños
Spreadables: pork liver pâté, mayo

Where does it come from?

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Bánh Mì sandwiches are a fusion of French and Vietnamese traditions. French-colonial rule lasted from the late 1800s to the mid 1950s. Modern day geographical regions of Cambodia, China, Laos and Vietnam made up the French colonial empire. As with many -ations (gentrification and globalization), usual unpleasantness ensued. I do not make light of the detrimental and imposing effects of colonization, but that’s for another day. One of the benefits to come out of it was that culinary science expanded by blending both cultures. It’s the freshness of the tropics meets French culinary genius – salivation commence.

In America, we’ve now adapted the sandwich by substituting chilies for jalapeños and meats for tofu. Originally a staple street food of Vietnam, it’s easy to find these treats in restaurants, cafés and street trucks in Portland, Austin, Denver, New York, Chicago and probably every large city in between.

Proof of the Trend

Weekend Lifehack: How to Pack For 1 Night

Just because you spent the night out doesn’t mean you have to look like you did.

Some nights you just don’t plan on going home to sleep. Whether you prefer to be prepared just in case or you’ve got a sure thing, this lightweight packing lifehack is a great tool.

"I thought I’d be a successful fashion blogger by now."

"I thought I’d be a successful fashion blogger by now."

The Scourge Whose Names We Dare Not Utter – Job Application (*shivers*)

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Last weekend my roommate and I spent Saturday in full blown job search mode. She, tired of her emotionally draining field, and me tired of being perma-broke spent the day tweaking résumés and lamenting cover letters. She even invited her colleague/ life-coach to help, along with his 2-year-old daughter. In between diaper changes, nap time and playing with dolls, he was able to splice in résumé formatting tips and phrasing advice. We wondered out loud why we couldn’t just skip to the family part and leave out the New York life-sucking part.

Being 20-something and having never seen the glamour of money, I hate looking for a job for the sole purpose of financial gain. However, I have plans and those plans don’t involve stress dreams or living from paycheck to paycheck for the rest of my life. I see the beauty in loving a tiny person so much you’re willing to watch Care Bears on Netflix for an hour. So what happened to the dreamer? Am I bound to give up my artistic life of convictions for stability? Something has changed in me. Without any doom and gloom mentality, unlike when I was 20, I feel like these decisions I’m making now are setting the course for the rest of my life.

Three weeks ago I met my boyfriend Dave’s 89-year-old grandmother for the first time. We were sitting together at their family’s lake cottage in Ontario, looking out a large window at the passing boats and setting sun. Dave was busy in the kitchen prepping dinner with his sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law. Grandma talked about the history of the cottage and how it was built. She told me about her and her late husband’s courtship and as she gazed out, in a matter of fact way she said, “Nothing else besides family matters.” That stuck with me for days. I was mulling that concept around in my brain wondering if I hadn’t become too cynical to believe it. I wanted to believe it. And if I wanted it, wouldn’t that make it true? By the end of our week at the cottage I realized that my abstract longing for kids and a family was definitely what mattered, but that didn’t mean I had the means to maintain one. Family is the only thing that matters, but it’s not a singular entity. Something in my brain switched. The selfish desires of my singledom left me within that short span of time, and I realized that my life plans required more than great stories and epic adventures. I had to get a real job… or maybe even two.

If you believe statistics even remotely, money is the second greatest stressor in the U.S. It is something I see no romance in and it is the dearth of genuine art. For example, I write because it is a passion to express myself and observations of the world. However, if Fox News offered me a staff position for one of their many publications, at this point I’d take it. There is no art in producing  material that goes against one’s convictions – but there’s health insurance and paid vacations. The shift I spoke about earlier isn’t whether or not I’m a sell out. It’s about feeling a new motivation to conquer the ills that plague me where I have control. I choose to write, ergo I must also hostess at a bar on Saturday nights, babysit on Fridays and teach CPR classes when I’d rather be at a boat party around NYC. Even as a staff writer, a scarce position coveted by many, I’m sure it won’t be my only income.

I can already see that my friendships are the part of my life that’ll take the biggest personal hit. I’ve been the friend to say, “Yes!” to every experience and jaunt down to the pub. Now my time is limited and I’m more strict about where my money goes. In a city as vast as New York, there’s no such thing as a quick coffee if you needed to take a subway for 30 minutes. My boyfriend is abroad until December, so he gets much of my time in the evenings on Skype. We’re old enough to know platonic friendships and romantic ones aren’t on the same plain, but it still hurts nonetheless to lose balance in one area to maintain others (sleep, money, work, love). The way I handle my relationships today will most definitely affect my future life.

These are not new feelings for others. This is just the first time I’m feeling the desire to share my life and that means paying back the debt of fun from my earlier 20s. A few years ago I wrote a short observation on Peter Pan Syndrome. It’s not a foreign concept to avoid growing up, especially when you’re still so young, but maybe I’m not so young anymore and my desires go beyond Saturday night. I will still rage but those moments will become more significant in short order. Travel is not a phase I went through, but a part of my being, it just won’t be as spontaneous and it’ll take more time to save up instead of using a credit card.

My life will be robust and happy, no doubt about that. While aspiring professionally may diverge from my passions, it doesn’t mean they’re lost or that I must settle for a life less than glorious. Maybe this is the comfortable feeling 30 year olds tell me about. I’m looking forward to my personal world domination.

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Weekend How-To:

Clogged shower drain? Here’s how to unclog a drain for free in an environmentally friendly way.

Drano is expensive and doesn’t quite cut through your roommates’ and your matted filth of hair. I’ve been using the hanger technique for months now and it’s easy, quick and weirdly satisfying to pull out a wad of hair and watch as the water smoothly runs down the drain instead of pooling at your ankles.

The video above was posted in 2010 by Nick Waters, a non-YouTube personality. I can’t focus on lifehack tutorials if the host is the focal point, so it’s refreshing to watch this short and to the point clip from Nick. Thanks Nick.