Earlier this month, Hans and I spent some time babysitting his family's house. We fed it, watered it, gave it a bath, read it a bedtime story, and eventually sang it to sleep before its parents came home a little late and a little drunk.

Okay, not really. But we did feed the turtles, fill the pool, and watch "Wilfred." (Or, rather, Hans watched "Wilfred" in the living room while I pecked away at my Historic Indianapolis article, sneaking glances via a reflection on the sliding glass door.) Other than having to stay up until 4:00 in the morning to finish writing (you know, because I'm a masochist), the weekend was relaxing, calming. We were away from the city, and away from responsibilities. (Other than feeding the turtles, of course.) Unlike the previous weekends, we didn't have to drive to a wedding, drive to Hannibal, drive to something else/do something else. We had a break, and it was lovely.

It was hot, too, and terribly humid. I always forget how terribly hot summer can be, and how horrifying the humidity can get. Each year, I forget I hate summer. I forget until I break from the daily grind and head outside, where the moist air slams into my face and lungs, a brick to the chest.

To escape summer's mocking, I spent some time by the pool. It was teal, blue, sparkling, cool.

This week will be a busy one. I'm finishing up my last week of work as a temporary hire. I'm sorting through my files and backing them up. Hans and I are cleaning the apartment, looking at houses, and shopping for food and the future. I'll also need to throw together at least two Historic Indianapolis articles. Why? Because, on Saturday, I and my two best friends (whom I collectively refer to as "the Tweedles") will be leaving for a two-week road trip! We plan to spend a couple of days around Omaha before heading north to South Dakota, Montana, and--eventually--Seattle and Vancouver. Most of the trip seems like a dream; unreal and unattainable. All I sense and all I know is that, in just a few days, I will see my mother again. (We're staying with her while we visit Omaha.)

Before I leave, though, I'd like to thank everyone for their support and friendship and readership. I've been absent for awhile, I know. Gone from blogging, gone from reading. I've been holding myself back, and I want thank you for sticking with me. For leaving comments. For sending emails. For talking and caring. Thank you. Thank you for more than four years of blogging friendships. And thank you for reminding me that I'm not alone. I recently received my 1,000th comment and, as a celebration of that little milestone and as a small thank you, I'm hosting an impromptu, pop-up giveaway.

The giveaway package includes: a blank journal (with lined pages), a postcard from Two Tone Press, two postcard-sized "mini posters" from Mile 44, a delicate "wishing bracelet" from Copper Roots Studio, a compact mirror from abbeychristine (check out her Bob Ross finger puppet!), a bar of artisan soap from Get Lathered Soap Company ("Sugared Lemons Eye Candy"-scented), and two vintage photographs taken from my own collection. I may throw a couple of small surprises in there, too.

To enter, comment below and tell me about the best summer vacation you've ever had. Or, tell me about a road trip you would like to take. Tell me about the time you cooled off in the Pacific Ocean, during your first visit to San Diego. Or about the time you got stuck in an airport for 12 hours, after just spending a dreamy week and a half in Europe. There's always the time your car broke down in the middle of Utah, too. You know, when it was 103 degrees outside and the red dirt reflected heat and sunshine and mockery. (Oh, wait--that was me.)

The giveaway ends on Thursday, July 25, at 11:59 p.m. So make sure you enter before you slather yourself in sunscreen, throw on your shades, and head out to face the sun. And the heat. And the humidity. And the week.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. First, the pecking you described while watching Wilfred is pretty much an exact description of me writing a blog post while Keith watches anything. It would only take me 25 minutes to complete it if I just did but I sneak so many peeks I cant even get it done in 2 hours. Then Keith goes to bed and me and my over-tired brain have to stay up late to finish the post.
    Anyways, I'm not sure there is a favorite road trip in my memory. I think the older we get the more hilarious trips with my fam get. Clash and blending of personalities, etc. Generally, so much fun.

  2. I would love to have a pool all to myself! The other day I was giving my dog a bath outside with the water hose because I thought she might like it. It turns out, I liked it even more. The cool water felt so good that even though I was fully dressed, I just sat on the ground and drenched myself. I think my dog(and people driving by) thought I was crazy.
    I feel lame that a certain "summer" trip doesn't come to mind. I hate the summer(because of the awful humidity and heat too) and the sunshine hurts my eyes. I whine so much during the summer. I tend to plan road-trips and vacations during the Fall and Winter. Last summer was great though because Dustin and I got to go parasailing. We've gone with his family a few summers to Gulf Shores and spent some time by the beach. I remember spending all my time looking for seashells and getting stung by jellyfish. Every night we're there, Dustin and his sister and I go down to the beach with flashlights and look for shells, crabs, and little fish. It's spooky to hear the crashing waves but not be able to see out in the distance. The water feels colder and there could be a shark three feet from you and you wouldn't even know. There's kids with flashlights everywhere. Children playing flashlight tags, teens hiding away to makeout with that guy they just met on vacation, all kids of weird stuff. I guess I have to admit, while I do love my vacations up in the mountains during the Fall/Winter, there's something magical about being near the beach. The smell of the water and even the wind. The sounds. Oh god, the sounds. I need ocean sounds in my life at all times. I already have thunderstorm CDS, maybe I need to get some crashing wave soundscapes.

    This comment is ADD.

  3. Ahhh...a summer trip that I've already taken that I have got to say was absolutely amazing: my trip to Indiana a month ago. :)
    I helped with something called Young Money Club, and in the afternoons did random service projects around the city. I learned a lot, and had a lot of fun. I made new friends, and tried new things. :)
    It was just really amazing, and eye-opening and inspiring. I saw the world in a whole new way.

    Also, I always love seeing your pictures, they're always full of color and light and you just take amazing pictures, okay?

    Have a good day (or night)...whenever you read this. :)

  4. My best summer trip was probably my summers when I would miss out on the final day(s) of school to head off to Florida with my family. My favorite trip ever was when my girlfriend Neha, and I were athletic training for boys track. It was the last meet and a lot of our guys were headed off to the state championship coming up and all the guys wanted me there but I flew off the next morning for Florida. My younger sister and I had already bought up our outfits for the theme parks, clubs, and more. We went shopping at the outlet malls, we danced until the club closed, i forced my younger sister on so many roller coaster...we had the best time! Mostly I think because we were both teenagers. Oh I didn't mention, I was 17 heading into my senior year of high school so that also made this trip very special. I have had many trips to Florida with my family from 1996-2008, but that trip was magical!


  5. Ohh this is tough to answer but I think I'm going to say our holiday last year in Whitby - I really needed to relax and just take some photos and thats exactly what we did :)

  6. The best Summer vacation I ever had was probably the road trip to D.C. I saw so many beautiful and historical sights as well as meeting a penpal! She showed me around and we toured the monuments. I also went to a Kentucky Nascar race (not my thing, but still did it with the fam), visited the Quantico Marine Corp Museum in West Virginia, and Stone Mountain in Georgia. Fun fun!

    Congrats on all the comments! I am glad to call you my friend! :)

  7. I´m a Brazilian 24-year-old girl who spent most of my life wondering about wandering in Europe. Dont ask me why, but now I can dream about is a huge road trip in the USA. From NY to California, making all the cliches visits, eating all the traditional dishes (including bacon, of course), seeing all those breathtaking landscapes. That´s waht makes me come to work everyday.

  8. My goodness can I just begin to say how jealous I am of your roadtrip. You must must go to Glacier National Park and also Grand Teton if you have time. I've explored much of the East Coast, but the West Coast is a complete mystery to me. What a beautiful thing roadtrips are though!

    Best summer vacation...would probably have to be this past summer in June when me and 3 friends went up to explore the Northeastern wilderness. We hit the Adirondacks, Hopewell Rocks, and Acadia national park (i have my 3 blog posts of each of the places). I also got to go to China and visit Guilin and the yellow mountains (post coming up for that soon!). All this adventuring and I am headed to NYC tomorrow and then Chicago. It's nice being a nomad of sorts.

    Congratulations on your milestone! Your work is fantastic and I am glad to see it is getting the recognition it deserves. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the giveaway.

  9. These water pictures are stunning! My favorite summer vacation was last July when I went to Orlando and got to visit the Harry Potter world! It was the best experience ever!
    Sincerely, Sara

  10. Too many to choose from! Even though our travels are technically "work" they are sure a lot of fun. I can't pick.


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