Friday, June 27, 2008


I have been in four English cities in a week- and I'm leaving for another one (Nottingham) this afternoon. Gloucester is on the itinerary for tomorrow, Cardiff (Wales) on Sunday, and Torquay on Monday. 

Prior to all this though, I somehow managed to pack up my life (complete with goods collected from storage units in Manhattan and Miami) and move everything over to England. I have a few bags in Michael’s father’s house- even more stuff in his mother’s house- and the remainder is either with me (please see: “pack mule”) or strewn around Michael’s car and flat. 
As sad as this sounds- my worldly goods are all in closer range of one another then they have been for years. 
Now begs the question: “how am I going to get everything to Spain?” but that’s the least of my worries.

I’m not complaining- I’m just stating a fact. A fact that has made me reconsider having “things.” I’ve been robbed before- after a move to Mexico City where the apartment I was living in was ransacked and raided. I’ve had bags lost on airlines- where the monetary compensation doesn’t even come close to the value (financial and emotional) of the items I lost. Yet still- here I am, dragging my belongings behind me to every city I am in- paying extra to fly them on airlines who have cut costs by charging for anything more than carryon bags- and breaking my back shouldering the weight of vestiges of my life relegated to pieces of cloth and trinkets collected throughout my travels.

My sincere thought- right now- and every time I pack or unpack a box/suitcase/car, is- WHY BOTHER? It’s just stuff, right? Stuff that eventually goes out of style or loses its meaning. Stuff that is really just stuff- that when I die (not to be morbid or anything) will be left behind and eventually sold for pennies in an estate sale- or passed on to a family member who will leave it behind when its their turn to pack it in (so to speak).
But then again, it’s MY stuff- a collection has never been repeated and could never be replaced- a history of my life told through tangible possessions that mean nothing to anyone- but everything to me.

Thus, I have found myself once more- hauling luggage and causing myself excessive amounts of worry, while collecting and dividing winter clothes from summer clothes- important photos from “sort-of important” photos- current journals from recent and ancient journals- and deciding on what to leave, what to take, and where I should leave what is being left and for how long. And so continues the trail of stuff I’m always leaving behind…in case I lose my way home on my way to finding a new one.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Next Step

I’m back in England- for a limited period of time. It’s kind of that in-between period, neither here nor there, where I am no longer wrapping up my life in America but I haven’t yet moved to Spain.
Therefore, I have this time to reflect, relax, and maybe even define what it is I want out of the next year and a half of my MBA in Barcelona.

After far too much introspection on a trans-Atlantic flight (my personal entertainment system was on the fritz and I cant sleep on flights), I realized one very important factor about this experience ahead of me.
I think, for the very first time in my life, that I am leaving for a new country (and there have been many) and leaping into an entirely new experience, when I’m not “running away” from anything. 
Don’t get me wrong, my life has been great up until now- but I’m fickle and have had a tendency to become bored with jobs/cities/people. 
It’s the whole “familiarity breeds contempt” theory. 
I’m hoping this affliction will change as I get older, but for now- it’s the resentment with what is known to me that drives me. 

Consequently, as soon as I become comfortable and secure in a situation- I begin looking for a way out- the next step. As they say, hindsight is 20-20 and if I am to be completely objective- it would only be fair to admit that it wasn’t only the familiarity of situations that drove me to change my life- but there has always been a tinge of unhappiness polluting whatever life it was I happened to be living at that time. 
For example, when I left DC for Italy, I can’t say that I was completely pleased with what the GW University experience had afforded me. And two years later, when I left Milan for Rome- I hated Milan. And when I left Rome for New York- I was sick of my job and in an intense relationship I wasn’t ready for. And when I left New York for France- I was bored with my American existence. And these are just a few examples- there are at least ten more cities around the globe that I could name…but that would probably scare off anyone who met me in a certain city and considered becoming my friend.

But something has changed…and as detached as I can tend to be, I am at a point where I am unable to step away from myself to consider it. All I know is that I am- at once- excited about what is ahead of me, I can smile about what is behind me, and I am actually a bit sad to leave what is at hand. (And what a good feeling it is!)

This realization has breathed new life into my forthcoming move- if it were at all possible, I am now even more eager to begin. With the knowledge that I am committed to this experience, and I have committed to it for no other reason than the mere fact that it is something I desire for myself, I know that the next couple years will be remarkable. And with the bittersweet sadness of leaving my current life, comes the tremendous realization that I’m doing this because I want it- and not as a means to avoid doing something else. 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jalapeño Hands

Last night I experienced one of the most terrifying things of my life. I would have written about it then, but due to extenuating circumstances (which I will later explain), I absolutely could not.

I’m writing this both as a warning and because I think that someone out there may find it funny. However, before I begin- let me preempt this tale by saying that I am embarrassed and still a little bit shocked.

Here goes... I was home alone and excited for a nice quiet evening of cooking and writing.
My mom has this new cookbook, Hungry Girl, and it’s fantastic. It’s full of low-fat junk food recipes. I can’t personally think of anything better. Therefore, I had decided on a first course of “guilt free” Jalapeño Poppers-“Jalapeño Swappers.” Naturally, the first ingredient was jalapeños- an ingredient that I had surprisingly never worked with before. I unknowingly took out the pack of fresh peppers, and followed the directions to “halve the jalapeños lengthwise and remove the seeds, stems, and membranes.” Hungry Girl reminded me to wash my hands “frequently” and be careful not to touch my face and eyes- which is all well and good. But what Hungry Girl should have said was to be more fearful of these unassuming little peppers than of rabid dogs- and to not go near them unless armed with multiple layers of impenetrable latex gloves. 

Jump ahead about an hour- I had cut, stuffed, seasoned, baked, and thoroughly enjoyed these “jalapeno swappers.” Halfway into my main course (a large Mexican salad of sorts), I feel a tingling in my ring finger and pinkie on my left hand. 
Shortly thereafter, the same thing happens to my right hand. Then all four of my tingling fingers start burning and going numb. I try to ignore it and take a shower. By the time I get out of the shower- both hands are in searing pain and I am convinced the tips of my fingers have gone numb. 
I start googling (never a good idea) “numb burning fingers.” At which point, I had thoroughly convinced myself that I was either enduring the beginning stages of heart failure or some kind of neurological/pinched nerve emergency. 
I admit, I am a bit of a hypochondriac but I had never experienced such an odd onset of symptoms and unexpected pain.

My hands felt like they were on fire, and I was in the throes of a full-blown anxiety attack- my numb hands were shaking, my heart felt like it was in my throat, and I could barely breathe. I was about to call my sister and make her come over to drive me to the emergency room when my mom came home from dinner and saved me.

To be honest, I could barely speak and it took her a moment to decipher what I was telling her about my emergency. It went something like this;
Mom: Hi Morgan! How was your night!
Morgan; My Hands....Burning...Hot! I cant feel them! Dying! I'm dying…what do I do? I'm scared...really scared. It’s my heart…I think its my heart. They burn. Help me. 
Mom: Morgan, are those jalapeños?
Morgan: What?
Mom: Did you make jalapeños for dinner?
Morgan: Yeah, why?
Mom: (Laughing uncontrollably) You're nuts, you know? You burnt your hands when you were cutting the jalapenos. Stop freaking out. Google “jalapeno burns” and figure out what is the best remedy.

About a half hour later, I was finally convinced that I wasn’t, in fact, dying and my hands were immersed in a bowl of skim milk, while my mom rubbed my back to calm me down. 
Crisis averted.

I then spent the rest of the evening watching Woody Allen movies with my hands coated in Fage Fat Free Greek Yogurt. (Hence- why I couldn’t type). 
As drops of yogurt plopped onto my jeans and my heart slowed to a normal rate, I had to laugh at myself (and thank god for parents).

I went to bed at around 3:00 a.m. clenching blocks of frozen spinach in my hands in order to dull the searing pain. Needless to say, I woke up in a pool of water and thawed spinach…but at least I wasn’t dead.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Perm Press

Michael left for England yesterday and as a parting gesture, I took it upon myself to wash and fold his entire wardrobe. As one would expect from any indication of my previous forays into the world of housekeeping- I shrunk everything. I shrunk his t-shirts, polo shirts, shorts, socks, underwear, jeans, everything. I even managed to shrink his football kit- synthetic material that has been washed and dried hundreds of times. How I accomplished that- I do not know.

Luckily, I have a very kind and loving boyfriend who didn't admonish me. He simply gave me a "you're a little naughty" look and told me that I'm not allowed near his laundry anymore. 
That's fine with me.
Although, for one fleeting moment, the absurd thought crossed my mind that "maybe I wont, one day, be as good a wife as I thought." Then of course, I came to my senses and realized that a good housekeeper is not the kind of wife I was brought up to be- or have any desire TO be. And the reason I didn't get in trouble with Michael- is because my little disaster comes with the territory. It's what he bargained for. And I'm happy to let myself believe that he may even find it endearing (he has yet to tell me this himself, though...)

I'm a mess maker. I splatter the stove (and once in a while the walls) when I make sauces or soups. I leave trails behind me wherever I go (in case I get lost), I only wear black because I mess up colors, I break at least one item every time I do the dishes, I can't make my bed to save my life, and I have never followed a recipe. I dribble wine on table cloths when I pour, I miss the garbage can quite often, and I sometimes forget to brush my teeth before bed. There, I admitted it. 

But I wouldn't be me if I didn't make messes- if I didn't live a bit recklessly. 
I live my life with passion. I cook with passion, I (attempt to) clean with passion, I go into everything I do with a distinct level of enthusiasm- reckless abandon, some may call it- I know I do. I don't sweat the small stuff because there are too many major things to do. And therefore- I make messes. 

Luckily, I have surrounded myself with fabulous and extraordinary people- family and friends- who love me despite my flaws and once in a while, even pick up after me...or remind me to pick up after myself. I'm learning. And when I remember to brush- I even floss too.

Then there's Michael- who has ceaselessly cleaned the kitchen after my catastrophes, uncluttered my clutter, and ordered my disorder. And even though he now must buy an entire new wardrobe, he loves me anyway. And in return- I love him back with reckless abandon.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Great Expectations

I think one of the saddest things in the world is being disappointed by something held in high esteem for one reason or another. I say this in reference to the movie I just watched; "Cry Baby." You know the one with Johnny Depp and the tear drop tattoo? 
I was OBSESSED with that movie when I was about 11 years old. My sister (then 8) and I used to watch the VHS incessantly until my mom decided that the content was either too sexual or too violent or too something- and hid it away in a drawer we weren't tall enough to reach. Every so often, through the years, I would be reminded of this beloved cinematic treasure and smile to myself, remembering how much I loved watching it. 

Well, for the first time in 16 years, I watched Cry Baby. 
It was terrible, to say the least. And now that memory is ruined. 
I will no longer hear the the lyrics of "Please Mr. Jailer" and think back to the many afternoons my sister and I sat next to each other on my parents' bedroom floor, cross legged, staring intently at the screen so as not to miss one line or outfit flashed across the screen. Instead, I'll think about that lonely night (tonight) I sat at home- lethargically channel surfing, eating peanut butter with a spoon, and wasting over an hour of my night watching one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Or possibly it wasn't really the worst- I just happened to expect too much from it. 

I learned my lesson long ago not to attempt to repeat my favorite experiences. This particularly applies to traveling (repeating countries/cities). But now? Now, I must begin to rethink my movie, book, and music choices as well. I guess I won't be reading "where did I come from?" as my bedtime story tonight. I wouldn't want to destroy yet another fond childhood memory. Let's hope tomorrow is a better day. 

Monday, June 9, 2008

Things I Hate

When I started this blog, one of my first posts was a list of my 100 favorite things. 
I love that list.
I love it BUT- after further consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the “dislikes” of an individual are far more indicative of a personality than the “likes.”
Truth be told- it’s easy to like something…and not much harder to claim to love it.

I believe that a true testament of someone’s character is found when defining their pet peeves, dislikes, and all objects/notions that disturb or irritate them- Most importantly- the things they hate.

So without further ado- below is the (ever-growing) list of the things I have encountered in this life that make me clench my fists, grit my teeth, and roll my eyes.

In my always oh-so-humble opinion, the world would be a better place without…

-Sweaty fingers in mittens
-Elevators without mirrors
-Close talkers (you keep backing up and they keep following you)
-Short pants
-Sports games on the radio (particularly in the car)
-Beards with no mustaches (comb-overs are in the same category)
-Being cold
-Boogers (and people who eat them)
-Alcoholic drinks with no ice (not including martinis)
-Ginger flavored anything
-Sticky keyboards
-99 cents songs on Itunes (even worse...the people who actually BUY them)
-Deserted parking lots
-Bugs (especially moths)
-People who put their seats back on airplanes even before takeoff
-Pushy sales personnel
-The backseats of convertible cars
-Airport security
-Black clothes turning grey from too many washes
-Unnecessarily officious people
-Pretentious novels and their even more pretentious authors
-George Bush (W)
-Mortality (and my obsession with it)
-Losing (I hate losing more than I love winning)
-Hard pillows/scratchy blankets/short sheets
-Self-important bouncers
-Cold pizza
-Flat soda
-Frothy mouths
-Hand dryers in public restrooms
-Guttural German accents
-Superficial people who claim they don’t like superficial people
-Belly button grumnf
-Mozzy bites
-Runny mascara
-Skinny overeaters
-When those little red caviar balls end up on my vegetarian sushi rolls
-Yellow snow
-Alarm clocks
-Cold calls at dinnertime
-Speeding ticket quotas
-Little dogs in designer bags (except for Louis Bernstein)
-Long- term grudge holders
-When my loved ones tell me, “I love you, but I don’t have to like you.”
-Religious extremists (of any denomination)
-Chinese symbol tattoos (especially mine. cringe.)
-Newspapers that just won’t fold
-Double chins
-Swallowing wrong (and then coughing uncontrollably for 10 minutes. Generally in public)
-Nightmares right before you wake up
-Kids (any kind, really)
-Bad art in hotel rooms
-Kitchens without dishwashers
-Burned c.d’s that mysteriously refuse to play
-Cheap tippers
-Plastic corks
-People who know way too much about something inconsequential and then incessantly attempt to impart their knowledge on you
-Affirmative action
-Flowers that aren’t in the ground (above all- flowers in hospital rooms)
-Techno music anywhere but a nightclub post 3 a.m.
-Going to bed alone after a scary movie
-Bugs in my berries (particularly blackberries and raspberries)
-Men in shiny shirts
-Adults who still blame their parents for their problems

(This list is a work in progress. Feel free to add.)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Oh Boy...

The first line of The Beatles, “A Day in the Life” has been ceaselessly running through my head for the past 24 hours:

I read the news today, oh boy…

This incident isn’t a great mystery to me, as I’m pretty sure it is a product of my subconscious letting me know that I’m not the first person, nor will I be the last, to become depressed by the state of the world.

It all began at around this time yesterday morning.
I was sitting in a comfortable, sun-drenched chair, reading the newspaper (Financial Times, to be exact), with the TV on in the background (FOX news, oddly enough).
While trying to figure out exactly what Exchange Traded Funds are (I’m still not sure) and proud of myself for recognizing “indices” as another way of expressing “indexes,” I overheard the modulated news voices in the background. Some newscaster or another was discussing the inevitable end of Hillary’s (by far, the best potential candidate we had come up with in years) campaign and the fact that Obama (ugh) will be the Democratic frontrunner against a septuagenarian who would like to stay in Iraq. Next story was about the fanatical polygamists in Texas- which was naturally followed by oil prices and America’s deteriorating economy (although everyone is too scared to call it what it is: a recession.)

With my brain actually hurting from doing my very best internalize the pros and cons of the multiple methods of index replications, I freaked out about (going to) business school and my lack of related understanding, and quickly turned to the New York Times article on the death of Yves Saint Laurent.
Fashion- I can do.
But even that depressed me. I may understand it, but I was still reading about death. The loss of someone so talented that brought even more splendor into the public eye- and that was the best I could do? Death?

Before I managed to turn the television off, there was one last news brief that managed to invade the room I was sitting in- and that was about the car bombing at the Danish embassy in Islamabad.

I threw the remote against the opposing wall so hard that the back fell off and the batteries rolled over and stopped at my feet as though bowing in servitude. I left my pile of newspapers strewn around the floor in a massacre of words and torn pages. I couldn’t handle it. I was so wound up that I found I was unable to eat or concentrate on anything I was meant to be doing. This is uncharacteristic for me- as I always remain aware of the state of the world BUT I don’t let the things that are out of my control affect me. I do what I can, take the necessary steps towards being able to do more in the future, and live my life the best way I know possible.

Yesterday however, it got to me. It all got to me- everything that has been building up: eight years of an idiot running (and ruining) the country, an environment sending out signals that it’s dying- that we are killing it- and is almost past the point of no return, wars, extremists, unnecessary death, hatred, incurable illness, hunger, natural disasters, tyrannical leaders…I could go on. I could go on forever.

And then, as music has a way of calming souls, The Beatles came to mind…and either Paul or John- Or Ringo or George- wrote down his thoughts one day- consistent with mine, as he read the news today, oh boy- and went on with his life…and made the world a better place with his contribution.
And hopefully-one day- I will be able to do that too.

Keeping Record

I've always maintained (in my more philospohical moods) that the best times of my life have no documentation.
It's not that the periods of time I've documented are so bad- it's just that the ones I miss are that much better.

The moments in which we are laughing the hardest are always the moments when we eventually forget what we were laughing about.

And I always find myself witnessing stunning events, or standing on the edges of endless auburn mountain ranges at sunrise- without a charged battery in my camera. Or worse, without a camera at all.

It follows that when I am falling in love, I don't write in my journal. I never have. I'm too busy falling in love- too busy "being."

There is a small part of me that regrets this...for fear of forgetting how happy I was, or how happy I can be.

But the other part, the larger part, is thankful for these lapses in record-keeping. Because how can a four by six piece of paper- an image created with a flash of light- embody happiness? True beauty?
It can't.

And how can words ever do love justice? True love. Love that has no words- no boundaries- no definitions. Why even bother trying?

It is with these sentiments in mind- that I am begging pardon for my recent lack of writing with the enthusiasm and regularity of previous months. It seems as though I'm a little too busy living at the moment to write about living.

But I'll do better.

A Bit of Inspiration

I finished Love in the Time of Cholera last night.
I absolutely adored it.
One line, towards the end of the novel, struck me as something beautiful that I would like to share with whoever is willing to listen (or reading my blog). So here it is:

"Then he looked at Florentino Ariza, his invincible power, his intrepid love, and he was overwhelmed by the suspicion that it is life, more than death, that has no limits."

I wish I could constantly remind myself of this simple truth- just to live each day a little fuller.

And along the same uncle wrote down a quote he said reminded him of me (which is unquestionably one of the greatest compliments I have ever received.)

"To Dare! Far better it is to dare mighty things to win glorious triumphs even though checkered with failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory or defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt

(now, lets hope I remind him of one who dares, rather than a soul living in "grey twilight"!)