Blogtober #1: And Away We Go…

Blogging all 31 days of my favorite month. Can she do it? We’ve done it before, so hopefully, we shall do it again. (For past Blogtobers, shimmy over to the search feature and read up, if you like.) What Blogtober means for you, my dear reader:

Photo by OVAN on
  • Expect 31 days of content from me
  • Even on the weekends! (😳)
  • That emoji simply means that we’re asking TSP to remember to do anything beyond excessive napping on the weekends, much less blog. But she shall. And she continues to refer to herself in the third person, naturally
  • Discussing a variety of topics, which we do whenever I post, but as in Blogtober past, focusing on autumn-y related topics and ideas. (See my previous post from this week; guess I got started early)
  • The point of it all: to focus on consistency and creativity. I’m all about this blogging life, and events like this allow me to push myself to stay focused. All good things.

Since today is Throwback Thursday, let’s go back to October 2015. I was in Europe for two weeks that month, adventuring in Germany and England, seeing the sights and experiencing the highs and lows of solo traveling. During one of our days of sightseeing, my hostess decided to drive me to Luxembourg! Certainly not on the agenda, but I was super excited to visit the country. There was a philharmonic performance that she wanted to take me to; although the performance was canceled, we got to walk around the beautiful concert area and still drive around. Lovely and picturesque, even despite the rainy day. Photos below.

One thing I love about traveling: some of the lovely surprises that come your way. Anywho, it was one of the best autumns I had in the past, spending the better part of it experiencing new places.

Your favorite place you’ve been? Share in the comments, if you please.

Happy Blogtober. Away we go.


That’s the name I’ve given my wig.

SN: wigs are like sliced bread when it comes to my eternal love and devotion. I can slap a wig cap over my two-strand twists that I didn’t feel like taking out–which is exactly what’s going on as we e-speak–and transform my entire look for the day. Pretty cool, no?

Anyway, this morning, I decided that my new wig needed a name. And why not? I name all the other inanimate objects in my life. Cars (Kelly Kapowski Corolla for my first car and um, Idris for my current vehicle), pens, etc. After mulling it over and realized that this particular wig is classy and smooth, I named her Geneviève. Yep, with the French spelling and pronunciation. The name Genevieve (American style) has always slayed me; I went to school with a Genevieve and was struck with wonder by her interesting name. Years later, when I wrote The Cruelty Papers, a short story that kind of transformed things for me as a writer, the protagonist was named–you guessed it–Genevieve. But the story doesn’t end there. When I first went to Europe in 2004, my lovely hostess and friend Clara and I were talking about baby names one afternoon, as we sat in a park in Geneva, Switzerland. (Sounds like a dream, no? Looking back, sometimes it seems like it was.) It was a random conversation for sure; at the time, she and her hubby didn’t have children and weren’t planning on having them (that changed some years later) and I loved discussing creative baby names but had no plans on birthing any (that hasn’t changed lol). Anyway, I told her about my love for the name Genevieve.

Clara: Ah, Geneviève. (Gen-e-vee-ève)
Me (gaping at her and drooling): I love the way you say it.
Clara (smiling): Yes, it’s the French way.


Bid a bonjour to Geneviève, won’t you?

The last pic on the far right is from today, as we e-speak.

Happy Friyay, y’all, and bon weekend.


Meanwhile, in Paris…#1 (Arrivals)

Nous sommes arrivés, mes amis! (We have arrived, my friends.) And if you’re impressed by my amazing French language recall, don’t be. After eight whopping years of French teachers beating me over the head with masculine, feminine, passé composé and conditionnel, I had to type that sentence into my trusty language app on my smartphone and translate it into French. Because eight years means nothing when the language sits there, unused and discarded, like a day-old baguette. 


We’re heeere! Last night, we flew 5 hours, stopped over in Iceland, and then flew another 2 or so hours into France. The flight was just fine and it was nice to experience my new best friend, Iceland, once again. 

Right now, as we sit in our lovely borrowed flat for next seven or so days, jet lag consumes us, as well as unpacking and readying ourselves for the days to come. Nevertheless, I glance out of the window and I see Paris before me. Heavy eyelids or not, it’s good to be back after 12 years. Can’t beat that view.

Allons-y. (Let’s go, and that one came from memory. Imagine that.)


Passports ready. Me on the left, my girls to my right.

This Square Peg, Can You Hear Me?

The title’s reference is from here. If you’re a fan, allow me to welcome you into my heart forever. If you’re a superfan, allow me to move in with you because we’re officially besties.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it, since we chatted? And I’d like to imagine that my readers are in a wooded glen somewhere, like Yentl, asking if I can hear you. (Ah, this imagination of mine.) Yes, I can hear you, and yep, I’m here. Life gets in the way. The strange desire to not write or type a thing gets in the way. Planning for a European adventure that begins tomorrow gets in the way.

Hey, y’all.


Yes, dear reader, three months after gallivanting around Germany and England, I’m headed back to Europe, this time to France. I fly out tomorrow evening and will be in Paris for about 8 days. (Seriously, y’all, jump on travel deals like there’s no tomorrow. More on that in another post.) This time, however, I’m going with two dear friends and I look forward to the fun that will be had, as well as the wine I intend to ingest while there. (I’ve been craving wine lately. So weird. I’m basically a teetotaler when it comes to alcohol, but when I want it, I wants it.) Add hot, French croissants to that list of intentions, and you can kiss my good eating regimen goodbye. Worth it, though. While I’m there and if WiFi doesn’t act up, I’ll be documenting my Frenchie adventures (such as how to recall all that French I’ve lost as the years passed me by) on TSP. Read along, won’t you?

Anywho, other than planning and putting off packing until tonight (as I do), and other life stuff, of course, I remain here. What have you been up to?

Blogtober (Redux and Late) #31: Regrets or Nah?

Never mind that it’s November 1. I meant to post my final entry for Blogtober yesterday, but life. Let’s pretend it’s yesterday.

Thank you for supporting this year’s bloggery effort despite the 16-day wifi-related snafu that occurred in the middle. Thank you for everyone that liked a post, followed my little blog this month, left comments. Thank you for reading my travel-themed posts about a journey that I’m still thinking about and ruminating over. 

Because he’s right, you know. Bourdain captured exactly what I felt during my two weeks away. (And really, for every time I’ve boarded a plane toward a new experience, a new adventure.) I experienced moments this past trip that no camera captured. Moments when I was so stressed out that I wanted to shed tears. Moments that had me scratching my head and poised to scratch out a few pair of eyes. There were times when I wanted to find a ticket and just go back home. Times when my mind and soul ached for the warmth of my comfort zone. 

But you know what I’ll next say: all of it, the good, the bad, the weird, left those marks on my memory, my consciousness, and my body. And I’ll take them all. I’ll accept learning more about my myself. I’ll accept understanding that I have personal boundaries that not even I will cross. I’ll accept that when I travel again, some things will be done differently and some things will stay absolutely the same. Yeah, my heart was broken during this trip. But my heart also sang. So I regret nothing. Not a thing.

Here’s to the next adventure, the next Blogtober, and everything in between.

Blogtober (Redux) #30: Mind the Gap.

mindthegapI heard it so many times while riding the Tube that I began to long for it: the soothing, Brit-accented automaton telling me to please mind the gap between the train and the platform. What a kind reminder, huh? To keep me from falling to my death? I’d like to challenge my local public transportation here to do the same. Or perhaps I should challenge them to go a day without a breaking down? Ugh.

I miss London.

Blogtober (Redux) #29: Packing Lessons

Admittedly, I don’t have much panache (or patience) when it comes to packing for trips. Maybe the process reminds me too much of moving, which I once did three times in a year and nearly had to report to a your neighborhood mental health hospital to recuperate from the stress of it all. Maybe it’s because I can’t stand trying to figure just what to pack, where to put it, how to organize my life…All right, let’s not go there.

Anyway, as you can imagine, I dreaded packing for my 16-day trip overseas, so much so that I waited until the night before I was scheduled to fly out of town. But I should have feared nothing.

Because my sister was going to handle it.

The suitcase. Like a Picasso, really.
Let me introduce you to my little sissy: organized, organized, neat, and organized. She’s always been that way. Years and years ago when we shared a bedroom, her side of the room was like Switzerland. Neat, lovely, like a postcard. My side of the room was Chernobyl. So when she heard me bemoaning the packing I was about to do, she calmly told me that she would take care of everything. As I stood by my closet, she divided her tasks into types: I was to hand her shoes, skirts, pants, tops, any sweaters, etc. I then watched as she expertly positioned these things into my suitcase, calmly dismissing my doubts that everything would fit, waving away my claims that one suitcase wouldn’t hold everything. (I was determined to take one bag that would hold most of my things.) She was right. Everything fit, you guys. Everything. I was mesmerized. And ultimately terrified of unpacking it all and ruining her art. (I should mention here that she’s an actual artist, so it’s no surprise that the inside of my luggage looked like a painting.) Needless to say, her fast and precise packing abilities had us finished much earlier than expected, which allowed everyone in my household to go to sleep peacefully without hearing me loudly sobbing in the next room because of everything I had to roll and smash into a bag.

So I had my medium-sized/kind of large suitcase ready, as well as my carry-on bag that I was planned to use for any souvenirs that I purchased. But let me tell you why I will never take a medium-sized/kind of large suitcase overseas, or really anywhere, ever again:

  • I have no upper body strength. I was reminded of this especially in London when I had to hoist that bag up and down flights of stairs all over the London Underground (short of the escalators that take you out of the stations, there are stairs, stairs, and more stairs) the day I arrived. (Again, my friend who hosted me didn’t have a car.) It nearly brought me to tears. So although thankful for all the gentlemen who helped me, I am resolved to travel from now on with a small, carry-on type suitcase that can be easily lifted by yours truly. I mean, unless the gents really want to help me out, which will, uh, pose no problems for me.
  • Speaking of a small, carry-on type suitcase: I packed way too much for this trip. My sissy’s expert packing is more than appreciated, but in hindsight, I didn’t need all those clothes. Sure, I like variety and having the ability to choose what I want to wear, but quite a few of those outfits remained right in the bag during my trip, unworn. So yeah, for the foreseeable future: some pants, a few tops, and that’s it. Stop trying to be super cute, Square Peg. (Mildly cute will do.)

So major lesson learned: pack light.

Oh, and you travel lovers out there: got any packing tips to share?

Blogtober (Redux) #28: Castles in the Air

That moment in Germany when we went to see about a castle on a hill. 

On this day, we visited the picturesque, quaint town of Bernkastel-Kues, of which the ruins of Landshut Castle overlooked. It was all breathtaking: the castle’s ruins, the expansive view of the River Moselle from said hill, the fact I didn’t pass out from being that high up (didn’t mean my knees weren’t a-quiver as we ascended, though). Just grand. Several photos await you below.


Blogtober (Redux): #25 and #26

Two posts, since Sunday was packed and found me super busy. 

I was tired the day I snapped this photo, taken while walking in London on Oxford Street. I was exhausted from walking all over the city, I was irritated from walking all over the city, and I was incensed from walking all over the city. And here it is, folks: traveling and touristing isn’t always fun and amazing. It can be exhausting and irritating. But you know that. 

So while in my foul, bratty-because-I-ached-all-over mood, I happened to look up and I saw those lanterns hanging in their criss-cross formation against the dimming sky. I saw that golden horizon off in the distance. And I was promptly humbled. I’m of the mind that nothing really matters when you get the chance to look up and see something bigger than you. Sunset, sunrise, whatever–there’s more to life than aching backs and a swell of people around me. I snapped that photo because I snapped back to what was far more important than me.

Abbey Road. Not the infamous shot across the street, but Abbey Road nonetheless. As a Beatles fan by birth, being here was pretty momentous.