little gold rings

little gold rings, found in covent garden, little lost souls, treasure hunting, one man's trash, london, adventures in europe, picking things off the ground, lost and found, business suits, storytelling

if you happen to glance under my coffee table, you’ll notice this clear, plastic box with a removable tray and multiple compartments. it is ideal for the storage of tiny art supplies or bits of jewelry and baubles. i have filled it with treasure from around the … Continue reading

a glimpse of a year

succulents, propagation, plants, nature, beautiful

i won’t be having the perfect new year’s. i’ll be coming straight from work to a local greek restaurant where my family and a band will be waiting, to bid the old year goodbye. most likely, i’ll slip on my … Continue reading

just go with it

this past sunday and monday was the notting hill carnival. it was raunchy, loud, a tiny bit filthy and absolutely amazing. the carnival is a celebration of caribbean culture, food, and music. standard.co.uk i spent the first three-ish hours totally alone. … Continue reading

“40 days of dating”

the project, 40 days of dating

i absolutely must share this project that i have been following for about a week now. basically, two friends who both have their own relationship-related downfalls and weaknesses, have started a 40-day long dating experiment. their project website is like … Continue reading

surfing in a cemetery

{listening to lightmares – passionate places} a toast is in order. last minute / late night decisions are unlike those made during sound mind and sunny day. is it true that our deepest desires come forward in the smallest hours? … Continue reading

to manchineel or not to manchineel

definitely not to manchineel.

when you are a child and your parents strictly {but lovingly} warn you not to eat wild fruits, i would hope that this sage advice stays with you longer than it did me. but first thing’s first…
why am i not in london?!
it’s not due to the chaotic traveling “adventure” that i just had a few days ago, but is simply a precursor to my time spent there. before london, comes a vacation in beautiful barbados with my cousins, and a get-to-know-you with henry. he’s a total doll-baby. after three days spent beach-combing and diaper-changing, i have never felt more at ease with such a tiny person. and he’s not that tiny! at eight weeks, henry weighs an average 11-ish pounds but is in the top 90th percentile in height. he must have my grandfather’s genes. he was tall, kinda lanky. loved to dance. loved to vacation on the beach and drink and be merry. i remember his version of santa clause the best, played charismatically, whiskey on the breath. i miss him and the fun he instilled into my family. it’s nice to think that his vitality runs through the generations.

as i was saying, barbados is where the action is. lots of action. laughing, puking, healthy crying, playing. on their own, not as exciting, but all-together equals one contented baby henry.

barbados, baby, on the beach, vacation

{we are all acclimating to the heat of the island very well – including this guy}

baby expressions are fantastic. no matter what is happening, their faces either read utter amazement or complete misery. they are learning to use every little bit of their bodies {eyebrow experimentation is my favorite} and i’d like to think that children are the rawest forms of humanity. they tell it like it is- with little to no social influence. this emotional honesty is a thing to marvel at. [reminds me of this cute movie]

little baby feet, sprawled toes

{“even my toes are full of raw emotion!”}

so, what is this about a manchineel??

whilst lying on the beach yesterday, keeping a watchful eye on napping infant-baby, my attention was captured by a pretty green miniature apple. or so i thought it was an apple. every bit of advice my parents gave me concerning this situation flooded my temporal lobe – “do not eat strange fruit that falls from strange trees!” in that infinitesimal but critical battle between my curiosity and wise words of wisdom past, i would have to say that i settled somewhere in the middle betwixt gorging myself on this delectable little find and disposing of the alien immediately. my two front teeth sank into the rough outer membrane and into the fleshy center, but i pulled away before ripping a big enough amount to require chewing and swallowing. in that way, i was able to taste and entertain, but not actually eat.

big mistake.

here is a little bit about the manchineel tree and it’s poisonous fruit.

the adventure guide to barbados

{my favorite bits are: “highly poisonous fruit”, “potentially deadly”, “mouth to burn“, and “stay well away!” – in a book called “the adventure guide to barbados” by harry s. pariser}

green manchineel apples

{www.voiceofnosara.com}

apparently, everything about this beach tree screams poison. it literally reads that herds of cows standing under these trees during a rainstorm have been known to lose their hides from the acid that is secreted from the manchineel’s leaves and sap; it travels down to the animals via the falling rain. can you even imagine? i knew i had a problem when, still at the beach, my mouth began to tingle and then burn. painfully and irritably. it was comparable to the feeling of eating an extremely hot pepper and being completely unable to rid your tongue and inner cheeks of the spicy burn. without internet and trusty google, i resorted to tracking down a local and asking them about the mysterious.. and now entirely evil apple. when they said “poison,” i knew my curiosity had taken me too far. {whatever happened to “look, don’t touch!” ??- or in my case, eat!} dumb, dumb, dumb.. yet also somewhat interesting and definitely educational. below is an actual sign on the island of barbados. these signs are fairly common {meant for the most “curious” of tourists} but alas, i had obviously missed them until now.

warning not to touch poisonous manchineel tree or it's deadly fruit, green apples fall onto beach, found in barbados, eaten by me

{the post bar}

bussa, the emancipation statue

{bussa – the emancipation statue – such a powerful statement in statue-form}

luckily, a run to the pharmacy in holetown was all the help i needed. after some antihistamines and a glass of whole milk [consumed slowly], i was back to enjoying barbados and all of it’s strange sights. and there are many of them. after being claimed by england in the 1600’s, barbados became a popular trading port and eventually, a profitable producer of sugar. it’s history with the slave trade is also quite intense. the villa i am staying in is located just north of holetown, which used to be known as jamestown and was the first settlement on the island. this link has some fascinating and equally appalling information about the vast amount of slaves that were brought here to work in the sugar cane fields and the uprisings that eventually led to their emancipation. history shapes modern-day culture and the story of this people’s journey to freedom on barbados is imperative in understanding the island today.

it’s hard to imagine that my big adventure has barely begun, that i will not be going home but on to london after this wonderful escape to paradise. already, i have seen so many interesting things {and eaten the absolute best breakfast of my entire life at the sandy lane hotel.} barbados is lovely.

dreamhome

{a home to be dreamt of}

beautiful purple flowers

{no landscape without flowers}

after the poisonous apple debacle {snow white, much?} i am now considering every little creature or plant to be extremely hazardous. upon leaning forward to touch this 7-inch long slug, i immediately willed my hand to retreat. i am henceforth using preventative action towards any possible poisonings. starting with this slug that was practically begging to be touched!

slug, barbados

{why must these things lure me so!?}

beautiful barbados, ocean, lovely beach

{too much beauty to handle}

now, onto the beaches. they are phenomenal. the west coast of barbados is known for it’s calm, swimming waters. snorkeling here is extremely popular because beautiful reefs are commonplace. the east coast boasts rockier waters and ideal waves for surfing {something i have always wanted to try!} my family and i will definitely be trekking to other fantastic beaches [including crane beach which travel channel has placed in the “top 25 sexiest beaches”]

here are just a few more wonderful pictures i have taken in the past few days…

wondow

{an adorable window shape that is very prevalent in this neighborhood – the view from my shower}

beautiful baby in barbados

{the first time i really held henry. since then, he has claimed a decent amount of my hair for himself}

grumpy baby

{his grumpiest of faces, he is still so adorable}

bags of fresh almonds

{these almonds were packaged in bridgetown, barbados – i am taking advantage of the inexpensive prices here because elsewhere, they are not so inexpensive}

blowpops taste so much better on the beach!
blowpops, america, barbados, sweets, candy, caribbean

what a way to spend my days.
this little family {my family} will be the center of my life for the next few months spent abroad.
i am so excited to see what opportunities await me.
what adventures arise.
and what fun there is to be had.

my family

everyone, meet tom strobhar.

followers, meet tom strobhar. strobhar is the founder of the corporate morality action center. the cmac is both anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage. tom strobhar also stands against domestic partner benefits, family planning, and contraceptives. planned parenthood does not report it’s … Continue reading

a cat murder mystery

yesterday was a very strange day. i spent a good portion of it lying about, eating cereal, and watching hgtv. i then proceeded to skip my shower and run some very important errands. keep in mind, i hadn’t showered the day before so with lots of deodorant and a splash of baby powder [baby powder smells somewhat nice and dries up oily hair] i was on my way. the bank. a supermarket for bathroom things. then food. all the while, i was surprised that no one scowled upon my entrance to these public places. when i say my hair was oily, i mean that i could probably squeeze out enough of the stuff to saute some veggies with..
gross.
i was finally finished with the mundane tasks of the day so i left for home. upon my arrival, i got the strange urge to explore. all day, i had talked about this fantastically relaxing bubble bath that i had plans on taking the minute i got home but all of a sudden, exploring the wooded area that is the back of my mother’s property trumped any plans to clean myself. [yes, i am living at home with my mother to save for london and my future move – it’s just the way it is] my original thought was to do a little shed hunting and i set out on this adventure, one black cat in tow.

{so many greens}

{so many greens}

the wandering started off simply enough. binks was traveling with and tripping me every step of the way. there are a lot of strange things in those acres behind the house. a dilapidated red barn, some uber creepy white storage sheds, a dip in the land where the previous owners would dump garbage (?)

binks and i stumbled across deer tracks, a massive uprooted tree [a result of a tornado that killed at least a dozen people and destroyed lots of homes in town] and a shoe.

the lost lake in a dirty shoe

{the lost lake in a dirty shoe}

this cat reminds me of nero corleone, the star character from a children’s book by elke heidenreich. i have no idea where my parents found this little gem of a book but i never really appreciated it’s storyline and content until i became an adult. i have a weird obsession for unique objects, especially books, especially children’s books. and as for nero corleone . . .

Nero was still thinking about what Robert had said long after he returned to the farm. All the time the New Year’s Eve fireworks were blasting off down in the village, all the time he lay in the hay cuddling with Rosa while she licked and polished his fur as she did every night, that sentence of Robert’s lingered in Nero’s ears. Smelling of milk and pork sausage, he tried to give her hints of a better, more gracious life, a life that one could spend on soft carpets and in warm, cozy couch corners, a life where saucers were always full and people ready to admire one for being special, a wonderfully accomplished creature, instead of just an ordinary , barely tolerated farm cat.
Nero told in great detail of his visit to the German couple, what daring it had taken to jump up onto the couch of total strangers like that. News of it spread like wildfire, and soon everyone on the farm was calling him Lionheart. Cuore di leone is how you say it in Italian, or as a name, Corleone, Nero Corleone . . . “Preceded by Don” – which means “sir” — “if you please~” he requested, and so that became his name.

nero corleone

{my little nero. he showed up as a stray kitten and has found a new home with my mother and i}

to be precise, there are two black cats that showed up and both decided to stay. the cat food we purchased probably had a big effect on their decision. i had not seen the other, more skittish cat of the two for a few days, and even though they are more than capable of taking care of themselves outdoors, i admit that i had begun to get worried.

binks and i trampled about the overgrown scenery and i occasionally stopped to snap a photo.

hollow tree

{i have always appreciated my home, growing up in indiana. there is enough untouched land to keep me feeling close to the ground, and plenty of larger cities all around, to offer the escape i need from time to time}

{love him}

{love him}

eventually, we crossed an open field and were stopped by a wall of thorny bushes and overgrown shrubbery. this unkempt madness stretched down the entire side of our property; on the other side were neighbor’s houses. with a lot of time on our hands paws, we found enough of an opening to push aside some fallen trees and climb through to the rusty barbed wire fence that marked the property line. everything is quiet when you’re alone and in the woods. i got out my phone to take more pictures and suddenly, a bit of subconscious panic set in. i saw that a man was approaching the area where i was standing and so i slowly lowered myself down, rather uncomfortably, and hovered there for a while. to my horror, he threw a small black mass into the brush and it landed about ten feet away from me. at this moment, binks booked it out of there as though he’d been struck by lightning. i remained frozen (thoughts of dead cats floating in my head) until the man had turned and walked far enough away to be out of ear range to my scrambling sounds. it was impossible to see what had been tossed over the barbed fence, i tried to find a way but every path would have me bleeding from giant thorns. my first priority was finding nero binks and i crawled back through the hole i had come from, and ran to my house. the cat was nowhere to be seen but after some calling and pleading, i saw the little furball bounding towards me from a distant place.

there are some situations where you try to tell yourself that there is nothing to be worried about, that your imagination has gotten away from you. it’s the same situation when you see (what could be) someone’s lost pet walking dangerously close to a busy road. there are people who will immediately justify the precarious situation by telling themselves that the dog/cat probably lives close by and is in no harm. there are some people who will pull over as soon as they can to do some investigating, but personally, i think that those two types of people make up all of us. it’s a decision you make and to be honest, i wish that a passerby had made a different decision when they saw panda, the puppy we had in high school. she had gotten loose during christmas break when our family was in florida, and a friend went there to let the dogs out for a walk. we cut our vacation short to look for her. after searching absolutely everywhere and every day for hours, a week after our return home, we saw her lying on the side of a road close to our house. she had been hit by a car and was no longer breathing. i think of her every time i see a wandering animal and it helps me make the right choice. to investigate.

thorns

i tried to tell myself that i had not seen what i had thought i had seen, but binks had been so fearful all of a sudden and i realized there was no way i could go about the rest of my day, not knowing exactly what i had witnessed. at that point, i grabbed a thick walking / bush-beating stick and traveled back to where i had just come from, this time a bit fearful but very, very determined. after some surveying, i found that there was an opening in the old wire fence about ten feet in the opposite direction from where the “it” had been thrown. i climbed through it, frantically looking around me for signs of another human being, and eventually was standing in the exact place that the man had been. i don’t mind getting a little dirty from time to time but i had enough sense to realize that, halfway up on the barbed fence, i should definitely not risk climbing any higher. instead, i peeked through one of it’s large gaps and that was when my stomach dropped. although far away enough, the black furry mound filled me with a number of emotions. fear. anger. sadness. and hate. i couldn’t climb the fence but the thorn bushes were no longer as big of an opposition as they had been before. i hacked at them with my walking stick, occasionally watching my back, and all the while, daydreaming of every thing i would say to this evil man and to the authorities. ten minutes later, with sticks in my hair and scratches on my cheeks, i was hovering over the scene of the crime. to my shock and confusion, although the mound was not my cat, it was an animal. a matted black chicken that looked as though it had met it’s demise many days before. law enforcement did not need to be called. there are plenty of coyotes in the area and that was a likely answer to the situation, considering the condition of the bird.

dead chicken

{i know this isn’t a pleasant picture, but you have to see why i thought this could be a cat from far enough away}

as i was taking the picture above, i realized that work was calling me. another employee had not come in and i was needed to cover the shift. “twenty-five minutes,” i said, and rushed back to the house, a lightness in my step, to throw on some work-appropriate clothing. i wondered about the real whereabouts of missing black cat #2, and lovingly said goodbye to binks. he had been a great accomplice until his desertion in the time of fear. but cats are cats. and dogs are dogs. i am the one that has the responsibility to stay and investigate. it’s my job and yours to make the right choices because the creatures around us do not have a voice. we are their voices.

and so i left for work, having not taken my bath. if you can’t imagine my filth before the day’s adventure, i hope you can picture me with debris in my hair, thorns in my clothes, and dirt on my face. i am sure that my manager regretted calling me as soon as i entered that building.