Friday, August 27, 2010


This time of year makes me think of two things: elephant ears and school.

Elephant ears (the food, not the body part) are delicious confections often found at fairs, particularly the North Idaho Fair and Rodeo the third week of August every summer.  They consist of a sweet dough rolled out, deep fried, and covered in cinnamon and sugar.  Oh, and they're as big as the platters you use for the Thanksgiving turkey. My extended family has run an elephant ear booth at the NI Fair since time immemorial... or maybe just 30-something years.  Long enough to become an institution and a landmark with loyal customers the world over.  The profits from the booth go into a family fund of sorts and are applied towards things like helping send cousins on missions for our church.

This is my first year missing the fair.  Ever.  It's really weird.  It's always a party in the booth--a big, close, hot, sweaty, greasy, sugary, loud party.  I don't miss the greasy, hot, sweaty, sugary part, but I do miss seeing all the cousins and eating my fair share of EE's and chocolate milk.  I miss everyone ordering everyone around, complaining if someone doesn't roll/cook/sugar/mix the way they like it done (roll 'em nice and big, no holes, cooked blonde, and evenly coated please!).  I miss getting into the fair free, going to the rodeo after the Friday afternoon shift, bartering for MICA burgers, and watching the summer climax and creep to an end.

And then comes school.  Or not!  This is the first fall I will not start a new year of school in 19 years.  That's a long time.  It's like, 83% of my life.  I should feel weirded out, right?  But I don't.  I thought I might, but I'm over school for reals. I guess I have a talent for appreciating things while they last, then moving on when the time is right.  If I dwell on the past, I miss the exciting things coming up ahead.  I'm really so over and done it would feel weirder if I had to go back.

I still have the urge to buy new clothes and school supplies.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Laundry List

Well, I'm back.  It was great.  Too much to really blog about in its entirety, so here is a laundry list of things I liked, learned, or did.  If I get enough feedback to expand on one I will.
  • Aer Lingus has nice planes, but bring a coat for the flight because they keep the temperature at freezing, more or less.
  • All the museums are closed on Mondays in Milan.  Use that day to travel, not sightsee.  We learned this in Milan, on a Monday.
    • If you do find yourself with nothing to do on a Monday in Milan, there's a great bench at the Castello Sforzesco that's perfect for taking naps.
  • I am quite the navigator as long as I have a map and a public transportation pass.  Just call me GPS.
  • Italy is very hot in the summer.  And humid.  Don't plan on looking cute if you go in the summer, unless you think sweat is cute.
  • The Italian countryside really looks like you'd imagine it on a postcard: rolling hills covered in green orchards and vinyards and pastures of farm animals.
  • The best gelato in the world is in San Gimignano.  Not even kidding.  World Gelato Champions twice.
  • Michelanelo's David= awesome
  • I have Rennaisance crush on Brunelleschi-an architecture.  I climbed his Dome in Florence.  I CLIMED BRUNELLESCHI'S DOME!  THAT IS SOO COOl!
  • The Bell Tower in Pisa leans.  It looks like it is peeking out behind the church, kind of like "Andy popping into frame"
  • St. Peter's is SO BIG.  Like, you have no idea.  So big.  And amazing.
  • The Pantheon is free!  Yah!  And in the top 5 coolest buildings I've ever been in.  And I've been in some cool buildings.
  • Florence has way better shopping than Rome.  Do all your shopping in Florence.
  • I'm sorry if you had European plans thwarted by the France air workers strike on July 21.  You can blame Mom and I for that.  Probably more mom than me because she has a history of causing things like that.
  • Ireland is not hot in the summer.  It's perfect.
  • Ireland also looks like a postcard.
  • Checked another World Heritage site off my list: The Giant's Causeway.  Look it up and be jealous.
  • Ireland has better breakfast than Italy.  Maybe because it's lacking the ridiculous amounts of carbohydrates.  The bacon is to die for.  Literally.  It's all fatty and delicious!
  • Linen is cool! 
  • Quakers are very nice people. 
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