Sunday, February 3, 2013

checking in from a flat country

So, I live in a shitty apartment. That's been established.

But sometimes I pretend I live in hotels, like Eloise did.

On this Sunday night I'm writing from somewhere near...Wisconsin I want to say? It's blowing snow outside. I'm staying in a suite, with a kitchen in it, just like a rock star! In fact, I'd go totally rock star and destroy the whole place for the fun of it, but that would be really disrespectful to the people who would have to clean it up. This place has a pool, and a hot tub which is currently in need of repairs, and I have a bath tub, and a bed so big that I can sleep at any orientation I'd like. Tonight: diagonal. Tomorrow: who knows!

I'm in the Midwest and the sky is the limit!
I had dinner at one of those country store restaurants  It was my first time in a place like that. There was a huge fireplace and I got seated right next to it, because I was the only person in the place. Even completely deserted, it was the most cheerful place I've ever been! There was a store attached to it that sold lots of candy and soda in bottles, and the cashier said she'd give me a private tour of all the candy and soda, because there was nothing else going on. You'd better believe I said yes!
Then they served me a pile of stuff on a plate, which was confusing because I thought I'd ordered food.

Now it's night time, and I play the game of Melina vs. Hotel Room Suite. How can I use you to the max? Can I write on every table, bounce on every sofa, how many channels can I watch at once? Can I watch the television from the tub? Is there anything lying around that I can put into the fridge? The full sized fridge?

Speaking of rock stars, my sister opened for Taj Majal last night. Mother fucking Taj Majal. And then my mom was all, "Oh, yes, your dad and I hung out with Taj this morning, we were in the same hotel, he thought your sister was very talented!"

It is february 3rd, the year of our lord 2103, and we seem to all be doing pretty well.

(Hey by the way, whenever I travel I respond to every comment left on the blog. So go ahead, introduce yourself!)

62 comments:

Lindsey said...

You are clearly in need of human companionship! I can feel you bouncing haphazardly and ricocheting off the walls from here.

MissErinHudson said...

Hi! I found your blog through Kelle Hampton's blog and I absolutely love the way you write. I majored in journalism but now I'm a happy, slightly bored stay at home mom of two, living vicariously through your stories. So thank you :)

B. Holmes said...

HI there, Happy travels to you... I started following your blog after you found mine and became one of my very few comments. Thanx for that. Your adventures remind me of myself at your age (I'm a mom with 2 boys in Alaska now). The New Year is BRIGHT.
Take care!
-B. www.alaskanbrothers.blogspot.com

Martha Rule said...

Taj M is great - that is awesome for your sis. I'm hibernating in the Midwest and getting cabin fever, brrrr.

cestlavietlb said...

Hello! Checking in on your bed-bouncing activities from South Africa :) Love the blog, love your story, even the sad chapters. You are one hell of an inspiring person! xx

Monica Justesen Photography said...

I recently found your blog through a friend and I'm absolutely enamored!
I'm taking you up on your offer of introducing myself: Hi, I'm Monica!
It's currently before 7AM and I've already had more than my fair share of coffee, so any typos or non-sensical wording is something I cannot be held responsible for!

Melina said...

@Linsdey:

Yes. Why yes, you could say I am in need of companionship. However! One might say 'bouncing haphazardly and ricocheting off the walls' is my normal state of being. Love that. I might have name a post after that.
lina

Melina said...

@MissErinHudson.

Kelle is awesome, isn't she? I think she is a very fun gal indeed. I'm so happy that you like my writing style, particularly since you were a journalism major! I stuck with fiction writing in college- journalism intimidated me! Good on ya. I hope to have kids myself- we can live vicariously through one another.
lina

Melina said...

@B.

Oh it's you! You write the alaskan brothers blog. Awesome. I'm in awe of you living up there. I could spend the summers there every year (I was outside of Juneau this past summer) but sounds tough in the winter! My brother in law is from anchorage. (Of course, vermont is tough in the winter, where i grew up, but i still love it....)
yes, by the way, comments are really hard to get sometimes. truly. it used to agrevate me and then i'd think of all the blogs i read without leaving comments....and i was like oh, well I guess that makes sense....

xo
lina

Melina said...

@cestlavietlb

c'est la vie indeed. Thank you for the encouragement. I'm learning (s l o w l y) to love my story, too, even the sad parts. I'm starting to realize all the texture it adds to life is worth it? maybe? I read something recently about tough times that was like 'they will dismantle you, but if you can bear the pain, you will be put back together a much better person." Here's hoping!
xoxo
lina

Melina said...

@martha
i thought you sounded familiar- i've read overnight delight before. You have a really fun style, I appreciate the way you document things. Cabin fever used to destroy me in vermont growing up. but damn, the euphoria of spring made it worth it. (I can say now from a safe distance of 3,000 miles ;)
xo
lina

Melina said...

@Monica

You live in Mass? I checked out your blog- absolutely love your photography. how i wish i could schedule a shoot!!! That would be a dream come true for me.

I grew up in Boston and still have a lot of ties there. (my dad designed the big dig...it was his idea....err....it sure looks nice now, doesn't it?) Hope you're enjoying my home state....love your work.

xo
lina

Amanda in RI said...

Good morning, Melina! I hope you slept well in your palatial suite. :) I've only been reading your blog for oh...a month or so? I found it through another blog, but for the life of me can't remember which. :/

I'm Amanda, life-long RI'er, homeschooling mom to 3 teenagers. :)

Melina said...

Hi Amanda! Welcome! I'm so glad you found me here. Homeschooling 3 teenagers? dang woman you're a hero! I used to teach high school at a tiny tiny school and I think my biggest class ever was four! I adore that age. It's missing from my life right now....I've thought a lot about being 'an older sister' but realize I can't right now because of my work/travel schedule.
I hope you keep reading! I love people from the NorthEast! (I am one myself, and proudly!)
melina

Diary of Why said...

I'm so glad I found your blog. Your life is the kind I daydream about sometimes when every day starts to feel like an eerily similar version of the one before.

Melina said...

@diaryofwhy

that's awesome, because I just visited your blog last week! sometimes i think that no matter how adventurous a life....we all have our patterns that are deeply engrained.....and each day can feel eerily like the last. sort of comforting though, if you think about it.

welcome!
lina

Tela said...

hello hello! thanks for encouraging me to introduce myself. i can't remember if i've commented before, but i've been creeping for a while :)

Melina said...

@tela
hi tela (beautiful name, by the way) ha! no such thing as 'creeping' on this blog, i put it alllll out there and just hope someone reads!

Thank you, come back again some time!
xo
lina

Angie Kroeker said...

I will gladly introduce myself. I have been here for nearly a month or so. Maybe less but it feels like I have spent at least a months worth looking back over posts of old. I was introduced to you through Nici. I have enjoyed reading through bits of your life. Your openness and honesty inspire me to be free in all that I do. I hope this time of travel is relaxing and rejuvenates your soul. Alone, though hard, can be good for us.

Ellie said...

I lived in a house without a bathtub for five years in college/grad school and whenever I stayed in a hotel I just parked myself in the bathtub - even in the gnarlyfunky tubs. Sounds like you're doing that suite proud! By the way, what on earth are you doing in the midwest?

Tonya said...

That looks exactly like the Cracker Barrel where I live in South Louisiana. Love their breakfasts, especially their hash brown casserole. Enjoy your fancy hotel suite : )

Brandi Shope said...

We are driving from Eielson AFB, near North Pole AK, to Anchorage next weekend. Staying in a hotel for 3 nights. Nothing fancy, but still fun! So ready to get out of the area for a few days and take in some new sites!

Sara, Plain and Tall said...

Girlfriend, I thought I WAS Eloise trapped in two bedroom house in the suburbs 700 miles from NYC my whole childhood. I always wanted a pet turtle. Sigh.

Live it up, big bed and all...oh and you better believe I'd be taking a bath in that bathtub, I'm totally not one of those weirded out by hotel bathtubs. Is that weird? :)

xo.

Melina said...

@Angie, hi! I'm so glad you found me, and through dig! she rocks. Thanks for the words about openness and honesty. with the whole break up thing i wondered at times what the f i was doing, putting it out there....i think in the end, it's what made the whole experience worth it.

thank you.
xo
lina

Melina said...

@ellie

oh yes, the gnarly tub has never put me off from taking a bath. even when maybe it should have.

I'm in Rockford, IL right now working with low income housing. I travel across the country for work, but definetly spend a lot of time in the midwest.

xo
lina

Melina said...

@Tonya you live in South Louisiana? I love that state. Cracker Barrel was hilariously fun (like, i honestly really enjoyed myself) but all the food was covered in this grey...sauce?

Come back and say hi again!
xox
lina

Melina said...

hi Brandi! I did not know you lived in Alaska. That's awesome. I wish for you some funky off the beaten path lodge places instead of my brick of a building across the street from a holiday inn ;)

xo
lina

Melina said...

@sarah, I wanted a skipper-dee too. I grew up in a small apartment building in boston, and i'd run up and down the steps and fancy myself eloise. that was just the greatest book. then when i went to boarding school- and when i lived on the ship!- i really DID feel like eloise. i even wrote a post entitled eloise.

xo
lina

Carole Mapes said...

I'm a flatlander from Iowa, I migrated to the Southwest for the winter. But I love the midwest. I love Cracker Barrels. And I am loving your writing.

Elisa said...

Melina,
There is a small cafe in a town called Isabella in northern MN. Last time I was there (my family were the only ones) we were outnumbered by all the stuffed animals and fish on the walls: there were 37 of them. But the fresh hash browns were delicious!

I'm Elisa. I love your thoughtful writing and reading of your skiing and traveling adventures. ...it's how I wish I could live. Doing brave and scary things like learning about avalanches and skiing on actual mountains. I generally stick to cross-country skis and snowshoes to get my fresh snow fix!

Enjoy your afternoon!
Elisa

Melina said...

Thank you, @Carole. I love the southwest. I love it in winter in particular. I'm so glad you're reading.

xo
lina

Melina said...

Hey @Elisa! The fact that there is a town in Minnesota called Isabella is fantastic. It sounds like it could be a very beautiful place. Thanks....I loved the avi class but since then i haven't been in the backcountry once!

xo
lina

Brandi Shope said...

Grew up 60 miles west of Missoula in Superior. My husband is Air Force. We spent 14 months in South Carolina and have been in the Interior of AK for 7.5 years. This summer we move to Minot, ND.... Going to miss AK so much!

Jess B said...

Mother fucking Taj Mahal is the only way to phrase that. Love him. Found your blog through Dig. I grew up climbing at the New so it's interesting to read your perspective on the place. One thing, I was spending too many hours digging through your posts one night and couldn't find an ending to Stephanie's story. It's eating at me. Help me end the suffering, please.

Melina said...

Jess, a few things.

First of all, I love the new. I was there kayaking, and believe it or not I never went cragging!!! I'm so into climbing now (and I was then, too, but I couldn't take a day off from the job or river....actually the job was the river) that it just boggles my mind I never cragged when I was there!! It burns at me!

Now, about Steph. I can't thank you enough for reading her story and for inquiring. I get emails from readers asking if she's okay, and if she's alive. I realize I stopped telling her story very abruptly.

Steph's story became so painful and difficult that she requested I stop writing, or at least posting the new links. Of course I respected her wishes.

Fast forward from the till two days ago, when Steph and I were skiing together at Stevens Pass, laughing till we fell down, drinking beer and hot chocolate on the way home. We had to head home early so that she could skip traffic and get back to Ammen and their baby girl, Ella.

This story ends well.

Steph ended up going to the mayo clinic, where they determined she had POTS syndrome, a heart syndrome that was caused by her being bedridden for 13 months. I'm not sure of the details. Essentially, she is now cured.

Shortly after, Steph had Ella who is now my favorite 18 month old on the planet. The three of them are the foundation of my family/friend base in Seattle. And we're so happy every moment that Steph made it through.

Thanks for giving me a little oppertunity to tell the end of that story, finally.

xox
thanks for reading.
melina

Lindsey said...

Why aren't we real life friends yet? I bet we've even stood in line to order a beer next to each other before. We're pretty much neighbors. Well, as in I live in Fremont. Neighborhood neighbors.
Regardless, I enjoy reading your journey.

Melina said...

Hi Lindsey! I just checked out your blog- is it weird that I want to raid your closet??- so now if we recognize each other in seattle, we HAVE to say hi and introduce ourselves. k?

xo
lina

Amy said...

You better believe I would have said yes to that tour as well.
Super pumped to hear how the bouncing on every sofa goes.

Hamilton Family said...

Hello!!!! I came across your blog through Kelle Hampton and I have enjoyed reading it. I am from WA and I enjoy your posts from parts of the country that remind me of home, as well as parts that I've never been to. Plus, I enjoy blogging as well. FUN! Happy Travels!!
Carrie www.milehighhamiltons.blogspot.com

Hamilton Family said...

Hello!!!! I discovered your blog through Kelle Hampton and I have enjoyed reading it. I am from WA so I enjoy your stories of places that remind me of home, as well as places that are new to me. Plus, I'm a blogger as well. www.milehighhamiltons.blogspot.com. Enjoy your travels! I look forward to your next post.

Tonya said...

I am so so glad to hear that Stephanie is ok! I spent the first day I found your blog reading her story and searched until I found a post with her in it, looking healthy and happy! I had assumed that they fixed her, but am very happy to find out for sure! You have such awesome friends and what is it with all of your guy friends being so damn good looking?! Seriously!!!

Karen said...

So happy to hear the update on Stephanie.

I'm reading the words you write, and I like them very much.

Karen

Karen said...

Very happy for the update on Stephanie. That story had me on the edge of my seat.

I'm reading your words and I like them, so thanks for sharing.

Karen

Daniegirl said...

Hello Hello,

I have to say reading your post about living in a shitty apt made me feel a lot better about my shitty apt.

I was starting to feel a bit like a failure for having three kids in this little place.

But after hearing you say you are focusing on other things I realized I am too - being a teacher and making sure my kiddos go to a good school (which requires living in this expensive ass neighborhood that I can't afford - hence the apt). Oh, and putting my husband through school.

Apparently school is super important to us?!?!

Your life is a joy to read about. Have fun jumping on the beds.

:D

Jess B said...

So glad to hear that Stephanie's story ended happily. As someone who is only 31 and was formally active but is now wracked with rheumatoid arthritis and pain, I really felt like I needed to know it would be ok for her, you know? Because this laying down all the time business is some shit. But onward and upward! Thanks for the response!

Don Cox said...

Okay...I'm a terrible friend and this is the first time I've read your blog. Little did I know THIS would be the entry I learn you've deprived yourself of Cracker Barrel your entire life until last weekend. Being from the south, the Barrel has been a fixture in my life for many a year.
You are an incredibly interesting person, Lina, and I am happy to have known you for the short time we teamed up against the rest of the ultimate world. And my daughter was lucky enough to have had you as a babysitter a time or two...
Take care of yourself, Melina, and I hope our paths cross again...although yours is the infinitely more interesting one. Safe travels!

cloves corner said...

Damn. I guess I first introduced myself when you *weren't* traveling. So...I noticed you when you first started commenting on Dig, who I'd been reading since before Ruby was born. I've checked you out here and there and keep coming back. Now, you're in my reader. You seem to come from a family of incredible talent...this may seem like an odd question but it happens to be on my mind: homeschooled or public schooled? (Or private, I guess that's an option too.) Me? I hail from western Wyoming, the mother of two small daughters. 37 years old. 5'6" (well, probs 5'5" these days). White. Married.

Melina said...

@tonya I KNOW RIGHT???

damn good looking and either taken or friend zoned! it's a fucking tragedy!!

I'm so glad you found photos of steph happy and healthy. i'm trying to convince her to be in a follow up post. she's so much better now.

xoxoxo
lina

Melina said...

@Jess. Hmm. I'm sorry to hear that. Are you reading good stuff when you're in pain? we found that helps. I wish you luck, sister....and (okay, this may sound weird) but I had chronic pain for years. they finally diagnosed me with endometriosis. turns out, it was an incorrect diagnosis. I found a bodyworker.massuese.chranial/saccral therapist (i spelled those all wrong) and she helped me with the pain so much. i've since been experimenting with alternative healing just for fun and it's been an incredibly awesome journey. i'm betting you've done that yourself, but I just want to encourage you. steph had a healer for the entire time she was sick who kept saying, 'i just feel something in your heart....i keep coming back to your heart." and it turns out, it was a heart syndrome! crazy stuff out there. keep me updated. hope to hear from you again.
lina

Melina said...

@amy

the tour was delicous and sweet.

i can't spell delicious, apparently.

the sofa was hard and cruel. the bed was expansive and bouncy. worth returning to.

xo
lina

Melina said...

@carrie, yes I've checked out milehighhamiltons many times, ever since I saw some hits coming from there in my feed. (uh...that sounds like an egotistical way to come across somebody's blog but there you have it.) You have a beautiful family. One day, I'll have one too. I didn't know you were from WA!! What part??

xo
lina
(in ballard)

Melina said...

@daniegirl
my parents put education before everything else, god knows what they did to put me through the weird outdoors highschool i went to, and it was the best, best, best, best thing they ever could have done for me. we all agree to that and discuss it frequently when i'm home. so I applaud you. when i'm drinking champagne out of a mason jar (tonight cough cough) in my shitty apartment, i'll raise a glass to people like you.
xox
lina

Melina said...

hi @cloves!! nice to make your acquaintance. I'm 27, almost 28, a SWF.

I remember you introducing yourself before! hello again.

I'll answer that question! I went to a private elementary school for two years in boston, there was really no other option. then a public school in vermont. then public middle school. one year of public high school. then i went off to the academy at adventure quest, a highly unusual outdoor high school full of secrets. i loved every minute of it. then i got frostbite and was in a wheel chair and had to go to public high school for a semester. that was okay, i had a nice time. then for my third year i went back to adventure quest, but then it disolved as a school and so they sent me packing to college, with only three years of high school under my belt. it worked out well, although i haven't done math in 12 years.

i hope you come back and read again. xo
xoxox
lina

Melina said...

@Don? You call it "The Barrel"? Oh Don.

I think about you all the time, dude! Probably cause we were friends during a very influential time of my life. and cause you live in newton!!! And i lived in newton corners for some my yoooouth.

I would sure love to see you, T and the girls again.
xox
lina

Hamilton Family said...

I grew up in Chewelah and learned to ski there at 49 degrees North. It is about an hour North of Spokane. So glad you checked out the blog :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Melina,

Your blog is great and your writing style is appealing, honest and evocative.
I found 'The Wilder Coast' about a month ago and have spent my free time since then trawling through your stories. Your life is a world away from mine both figuratively and literally (well half a world) and I've enjoyed living vicariously through your experiences.
I'm in sunny Queensland, Australia and have just returned to work after having a baby last year. Enjoy your alone time - I have a feeling it won't last too long - and keep writing, I love reading it.

Beth

Melina said...

Hi Beth! sorry it's taken me this long to respond. It's awesome to me that I have a reader in Australia (!) Congrats on your baby, that's a goal of mine (annnnd i just freaked out any boy reading these comments, but really, boy, why you reading the comments?) anyway, I like what you said about my alone time not lasting too long. i think you might be right....so, enjoying it now while I can.

xo
lina

Reem Faruqi said...

Hi! I stumbled upon your blog from Kelle Hampton's blog and really enjoyed your honesty. I hope that one day you are granted your beautiful children ~ I love how you described them and visualize them. I also hope your life works out in the best way possible romantically, spiritually, physically, and adventure-ly :)~ my grandmother loves nature and now has 8 children so she reminds me a little of you. She once climbed really far leaving her kids with the hubby and they had to get a search party to find her! I'm sure your life will be full of adventures even when you settle down! I'm a stay-at-home-mum/photographer at www.reemfaruqi.com ; would love to hear back from you!

Jillian22 said...

I'm late commenting on this one so it's ok if you can't respond. BUT I was wondering- you weren't in Rockford, IL by chance, were you? The Johnny Pamcakes was a clue. :) I live near there and would have loved to grab some coffee with you. Let me know if you're ever coming back to the area! :)

Melina said...

Jillian, never too late. YES i was in Rockford. Good call. I had business there for two days. I know no one in the area and ate a sad salad alone for lunch so hell yeah i'll let you know if I'm back in the area!

Jillian22 said...

I knew it! (*score*) I'm more than serious- sad salads should never happen. Ever. :)

Jillian22 said...

I knew it! (*score*) You better believe I'm serious- sad salads should never be allowed to happen. Ever. :)