the woods are lovely, dark and deep

Random Thing #25
Friends, we have reached the end: the last random thing about me, at least for now.

For the next five days, I will freeze my ass off, and I will complain that I can't feel my feet or fingers — and I will crave boiled peanuts, grits and sweet tea for the sole reason that they are unavailable — but I will love every second of it. I'm flying to Boston tonight, and Ryan and I are going skiing in New Hampshire over the weekend. We're staying at the Colonel Spencer Inn, in Campton (hometown of my heart, population 2,900, which I've written about before).

I grew up skiing, but last February was the first time in 10 years that I attempted it. I started out shaky, but 30 minutes later I was dragging poor Ryan (
who had only been once before) to the top of the mountain.

It's a massive adrenaline rush, but at the same time it can be amazingly peaceful. There is something about being at the top of a mountain covered in snow — the complete stillness and silence of it — that just makes you think... this is Winter as God intended

Be back in March! Until then, I'll leave you with a few pictures of last year's trip: our B&B, a frozen tree branch, ski lifts at Tenney Mt., me in front of our old house.

rest in peace

Random Thing #24

Graveyards fascinate me. I like to walk around and hunt for the oldest tombstone — only during the day, though.
I'm a giant scaredy-cat, so I steer clear after sunset. [photo: Oconee Hill Cemetery, Athens, GA]


sssay, sssonny

Random Thing #23
Family outings mean one thing — five people in a five-person car. Though our destinations always change, there is one constant: I get stuck sitting in the middle back seat — man's most uncomfortable creation.

So to entertain myself (and annoy everyone else) on long trips, I often end up imitating the beaver from Lady and the Tramp... you know the one who whistlesss when he talksss? It's a ssspecial sssort of sssskill, you could sssay.

What makes it even funnier (to me) is that my brother Nick, for the life of him, can't figure out how to do it. Here are a few attempts I captured on video, one in 2006 and one in 2008. (If you listen closely to the first one, you can hear my mom yell "Devon, knock it off!" — we had been in the car for a while that day, and she had had quite enough of me).


favorite lunchbox?

Random Thing #22
Oh, that would be Minnie and Mickey on Broadway. This was the first day of Kindergarten. Yea I rocked the side ponytail, with a scrunchie. Jealous?



means "welcome" in Twi.

Random Thing #21
Another addiction of mine:
traveling. I took this video in the village of Siragu, Ghana. Not on Google Maps, if that tells you anything (the closest I found was Bolgatanga). By far the hottest place I have ever been in my life — I'm talking rivers of sweat running from the nape of my neck down to my ankles. And some of these women were rocking turtlenecks.

When I look back at the journals I kept and pictures I took on this trip, I really wish I'd had this bl
og to document it along the way. Most of my pictures were film, but here are a few I shot with my Dad's digital camera.

sunny sunday

Random Thing #20
I found a new place to spend Sunday mornings:
the Spiritual Living Center of Atlanta, at the Woodruff Arts Center.

I'm not, by nature, a churchgoer; my beliefs don't follow a defined doctrine... plus, I don't like to sing in public (being a Pasquariello, I am utterly tone deaf). My "religion" has become a patchwork quilt of what feels right — I like different aspects of Christianity, Buddhism, Transcendentalism, New Age and Native American Spirituality.

That said, I really enjoyed this morning's service. A guest speaker from the Art of Living Foundation spoke about peace, about the power of breathing, and being in harmony with your surroundings. All very fitting, given that this is the Season for Nonviolence, an annual campaign
inspired by the memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace."
-Thich Nhat Hanh


stupid fun

Random Thing #19
I would like it very much if Danna, my best friend from high school, lived closer to me. Then we could make idiots of ourselves on a much more regular basis. And that would make me happy.

just the chocholate, thanks.

Random Thing #18
Dear Sir or Madam who told the Dove executives it was a good idea to add little "inspiring" messages to the chocolate wrapper,
I paid for chocolate, not a life lesson. I know you meant well, but this shit annoys me.


what's on you wall?

Random Thing #17
Favorite piece of artwork I own:

Favorite piece of artwork I don't own:


amen, esther greenwood

Random Thing #16
Despite her mental issues and anxieties, Plath could still put together a damn fine paragraph. Feeling a bit like this today...

"I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet." -excerpt from The Bell Jar, Chapter 7



Random Thing #15

I'm a collector of seaglass, foreign coins,
elephants, old books and quotes. A favorite:
"Do not wait for life. Do not long for it. Be aware, always and at every moment, that the miracle is in here and now."
-Marcel Proust


being lazy

Random Thing #14
Yawn. Too lazy and tired to write something new, so I'm posting a poem I wrote for my mom last spring.

Outlasting Consumption

I can’t shake the persistent refrain
Of this one fleeting thought

Which froze my fingers
Turning over a price tag

On a discount Banana Republic dress.

Looking at you over a stack of neatly folded sweaters

Your face lined with graceful

Surrender and knowledge,

And my heart aching for us to always have one another

Like this —

And one piercing thought, like a clove
Into the skin of an orange,
That these dishcloths we are buying,
these shoes from Brazil,
Even if they end their journey in a landfill

They will survive us.

Long after you can walk, and I can walk

When our spirits no longer inhabit these

So-similar bodies

The wax fruit I bought
will still exist
As we know it today.


a real problem

Random Thing #13
I have a real problem with books: I buy them at a much faster pace than I can possibly read them, and once I do read them, I can't bring myself to part with them. The whole month of December, as I packed up my apartment — box of books by box of books — I vowed to not buy any others until I finished the ones on my bookshelf. I have failed miserably.

It started with a Barnes and Noble gift card.

And it ended, predictably, with me spending the entire gift card plus an extra $50, and justifying it as a Valentine's Day gift to myself. Such a sorry excuse.

By no stretch of the imagination am I a "hopeless romantic." But I can make an exception for Pablo Neruda, which is why he was the last thing I read before bed, and the first thing I read this morning. I'll leave you with this short excerpt that I fell in love with instantly:

But I love your feet
only because they walked

upon the earth and upon

the wind and upon the waters,

until they found me.



Random Thing #12
Random, yes. About me, not completely. So maybe I'm cheating a bit. But this video was the best nineteen minutes of my day. OK, thirty eight minutes... I admit I've listened to it twice. Love every word of it. I could just kiss Elizabeth Gilbert.

A few other random things — all courtesy of my boss who attended TED and came back with stories — ranging from wonderful...

to wonderfully terrifying...



Random Thing #11
The past few times I've been in Boston, I've made excuses for not visiting my Nana at the nursing home. I feel guilty, but I'm scared to death that one day she won't know who I am. And even more scared that one day my grandchildren might think the same thing about me.


wishful thinking

Random Thing #10
In my dreams...
I sing like Whitney Houston, think like Ellen Degeneres, write like John Steinbeck, forgive like Mother Theresa, look like Rachel McAdams, orate like President Obama, act like Julia Roberts, laugh like Nana, tell stories like Dad, bake like Aunt Pam, take photos like Trey, pray like Mom, knit like Mimi, draw like Ryan, listen like Nick, fly like a bird, run like a Kenyan, travel like a gypsy, and dance like this:


i said "no"

Random Thing #9
I've been proposed to a few times. It wasn't quite what you're imagining. During a study abroad tour in Ghana, on several occasions I was asked (by men I didn't know) "Marry me, my sister?" This would have been flattering, if I hadn't known that what they really wanted was a legal way into the U.S. Romantic, right?

milk = gag

Random Thing #8
I hate milk. But about a month ago, I discovered that I love love love chocolate soymilk. I've become quite obsessed.


pill popper

Random Thing #7
Some know this about me, but some may not: I take 13-14 vitamins every day. I've done this since I was about eight years old. Some rough math tells me that I've taken more than 80,000 vitamins in my life.

i wish i was a baller

Because I'll be out of commission this weekend (Laura is visiting from Boston!!) I'm posting for Saturday and Sunday in advance.

Random Thing #6

If I were a man, I would be a cornerback in the NFL. Either for the Giants,
Falcons or Patriots. They'd probably all fight over me because I would be so amazing. I'd break Paul Krause's record for interceptions with one hand tied behind my back. And my nickname would probably be something like "The Conductor" because getting tackled by me would be like getting hit by a freight train.

smells fine to me

Random Thing #5
I am 24 years old, have a paying job, have a washer & dryer in my house... and I still do the "smell test" to see if an item of clothing can be re-worn before washing.

Does that make me lazy? Or dirty? Or smart because I'm saving water and money? You don't have to answer that.


the heartbeat of america

OK... I'm only on random-thing-about-me number four and already I feel like The Devon Show has run its course. I may not make it to 25.

Random Thing #4
My first love was a 1969 Chevy pickup truck named Bessie. Before we left New Hampshire, we had to sell it. And I cried like a baby.

This truck had holes clear through the floorboards, and even though it was patched up with scrap metal and old license plates, I could still see the ground rushing by underneath. This truck was the first vehicle I ever drove. This truck had those old-fashioned "fly windows" where you turned the boomerang-shaped hook and pushed out to let the breeze in. When Dad and I drove into the National Forest every December to cut down our Christmas tree (and almost skidded off the icy "road" a few times), Bessie was there. When I spilled Swiss Miss all over my mittens and seat, because the frost heaves were four times the size of speed bumps, Bessie was there. When Dad gave me a piece of chewing tobacco — and I swallowed it — and we had to stop on the side of the road so I could drink from a creek, Bessie was there. This truck took us on fishing trips, where I caught seven Trout, and camping trips, where the blow-up mattress flew off the back. This truck went to the dump every Saturday, blasting Paul Simon songs, and (much to Mom's dismay) brought home more than we left with (like semi-broken typewriters and Big Wheels without seats). Sure, there were many mornings when it took three or five times to get the engine going — but in my book, Bessie remains the greatest Chevy to ever roam the back-roads of Grafton County.


another hole in the head

Random Thing #3
Ever since the fourth grade, I wanted to get my nose pierced. I was in Scotland the
summer of 2004, and finally gathered the courage to do it... probably one of the most painful things I've ever experienced. When they pierced it, I had a hollow metal tube up one nostril to 'catch' the needle. And the needle itself, according to my friend Ashley, was about ten inches long; I couldn't bring myself to look at it. But after the actual process was over, and I started breathing again, I loved having it [exhibit A: first photo taken post-piercing]. When I came back home at the end of the month, my dad's response was exactly as expected: that's just what you need — another hole in the head.

Answers to the questions I heard most often: no, it did not really interfere with nose-blowing, and no, snot
did not shoot out the hole. I kept the ring (actually it was a stud) in for about two years, until I graduated college, and realized I had to interview for a real job. What's ironic is that I could probably get away with having a nose ring at my current job... oh well.


under eight

Random Thing #2
Understand this: I'm a jogger, not a runner.
I typically go a few miles and don't pay attention to time or speed, but today I thought I'd time my mile just for "fun." Shocker of all shockers: it took me 7 mins and 30 seconds. I realize this isn't exactly fast, but I beat my high school record — so I'm feeling like I earned the cranberry apple cobbler that I will eat about an hour from now. Now if I could just cut my time down to under seven... imagine all the snacks I could justify.


not quite a valiant effort...

Chances are, if you have a Facebook account, you've been tagged in one of these "25 random things about me" posts. Since I've been such a terrible blogger lately, I had an idea. For the next 25 days, I'll post just one random thing. And just like that, I have a steady stream of material for the whole short month of February. I can't claim this as a tremendous effort, but it is an effort nonetheless.

Random Thing #1
Every day that starts out with a cup of black coffee is a good day. I am not a coffee connoisseur. I am not even the slightest bit educated about coffee. All I know is that I like it straight up, no cream, no milk, no sugar — just as dark and strong as you can make it — John Wayne style. And for some unknown reason, this is one of those bizarre traits that I really like about myself... makes me feel like a little bit of a badass every morning. Makes me think wow, I'm such a low maintenance kind of girl — and then I laugh because I know that is a lie, and I truly fall into the same category as Sally Albright ("you're high maintenance but you think you're low maintenance"). And none of it makes any rational sense, really. But whatever blows your hair back, right? Salute.