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Neurotic As Hell

Choosing Figs Blog

When I was young, maybe eleven or twelve years old, I got a cactus. I named my cactus Mr. Bean and put it near the window of my bedroom. And it sat there, for a while, until it eventually died because I never remembered to water it. Let's back up here: I killed a cactus because I didn't water it enough. I killed a cactus, the one plant in the world notorious for not needing all that much water to survive, because I didn't water it enough. That's about how green my thumb is. In the years since, I've killed many plants. All of...

My November could be summed up in one word: bronchitis. Or, I suppose, one sound: a shrill, wheezing, growling, gasping cough. For the past three weeks I've done nothing but cough. It's something that hits me every couple of years: a cough that lasts and lasts, where I spend my days clutching my ribs in pain while hyperventilating on phlegm. It's not pleasant to be around me. It's also not pleasant to be me....

I have a lot to say about my two week vacation in Thailand. I just haven't yet found all the right words. So instead, for now, I'm just going to share with you what I ate. Because, really, food was one of the things I was most excited about in going back to Thailand. As someone who orders Thai food on a regular basis at home the idea that I could eat Thai food for every meal, every day, for two weeks straight, and not go broke or be judged, had me salivating....

Not much has changed in my living room since I last checked in five months ago. I guess I added the fig tree (I have a FIG TREE!) and the side table-turned plant stand. And I added the ugly-but-ever-so-necessary air conditioner. But really, not much else. The room needs a rug to tie it all together (but, quite seriously, I'm waiting until I can afford to go to Morocco and buy a rug from there...

Twelve months ago I returned home, to Chicago, after three and a half years of traveling the world. Twelve months ago I returned to my old job, the one I held before I quit to travel, and picked up right back where I was before I left. Twelve months ago I returned, for first time in a long time, with a sense of permanence....

I've been trying to recap my months, every month, in Instagrams, a platform I've been at least somewhat diligent in keeping up to date (follow me here), so I can collect for you all the things I haven't gotten a chance to blog about yet. Some months this year it's been the only thing I've managed to say. In October, I actually pushed out several blog posts and I hope, in the coming weeks, months, years, I can start consistently updating again. Soon, hopefully soon, I'll have a few posts my recent two-week vacation to Thailand. But, for now, this...

"Two weeks is more than most Americans get for vacation each year." I reminded myself of that in my Chiang Mai hostel, two weeks before leaving. I'd been traveling for fifteen months, eleven of those in Asia, and it was time to go home. Two weeks, at the time, felt like nothing. ...

  The observation walk at Shawnee National Forest's Garden of the Gods is a quarter mile loop. I knew that because I'd Googled it that morning and thought, "oh, that's nothing." That's less than what I'd walk to get groceries. That's probably less than I'd walk around a Super Target. Before I'd left on my Great River Road road trip my friend Heather told me about Shawnee and said I had to go to Garden of the Gods. "Go to Garden of the Gods," she texted me daily. "You have to go to Garden of the Gods." And so, I added it...

I didn't sell my car before I left to travel the world. I kept it in my mom's garage with strict orders to run it every once in a while and to have my sister drive it whenever she came by. Of course, when I came home, 15 months later, it was completely dead. I suppose I could have sold it before I left, but my original plan involved coming home after nine months to road trip around the US. That was before I fell in love with Asia and stayed months longer than planned....

Two green and white signs at the fork in the road pointed in two directions: straight and left. Both were marked "Illinois Great River Road." I pressed my foot against the brake, slowing the car to a 15-mile-per-hour crawl and tried to determine which arrow to follow. I was driving the Great River Road and had no paper map of Illinois, I had neglected to pull up the route on my iPhone, and I had no written direction. I didn't think ahead. Typical me. As I approached the crossroad, two cars waited impatiently to turn left behind me so I...