Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dost thou love pictures?

Just so you know that we really did make that epic cross-country trip.

Ali at Mt. Rushmore (Yes, she's actually smiling in a picture)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that everyone at Mt. Rushmore is a little picture happy. Suffice it to say we took pictures just about the whole way up.

Getting looked down upon by famous Presidents

And here I am (sorry for the shadows, but it's one of those trade offs for being in nature).

I actually have very little documentation for the rest of South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, or Ohio so you'll just have to take my word for it that I have as yet learned to apparate and therefore had to drive through them to get to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I know it seems risky, but you can do it. I don't lie that often.

Looking out from Little Roundtop

I have lots of pictures of cute streets, interesting churches, and various segments of the battlefield but here's one that I'm actually in.

Lily wanted to take a picture of Peter and his friend

And then we took one of Lily with Peter's friend

Then I went home and played with kids for a week before spending another week in hotels.

And finally I live in Boston now. Yeah, that's right I've finally broken into New England, which means it's only a matter of time before I make it over to Old England. I'm babystepping.

Pictures to come: Boston, the apartment in Charlestown, and obviously more fantastic adventures.

Also the title of this post is a quote from Taming of the Shrew. I admit that I full text searched it; I thought there was a quote about pictures in Hamlet, but apparently there isn't. Not in your version anyway.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What does the rhino say?

I didn't have a very good answer for this when my two-and-a-half year old nephew asked me. The giraffe I knew and could answer even if he didn't really understand it (giraffes make no noise because their necks are too long for their voicebox/vocal chords; instead they emit low frequency air puffs which they use to communicate with one another though I didn't share that last part with him). But I was stumped by the rhino, so like any responsible and educated adult I made something up. The third time or so through the animals, however, Peter had has own answer ready.

Peter as the elephant: trumpeting noise
Peter as the zebra: horse noise
Peter as the rhino (in a low, gravelly voice): "Juma, get out of the way."

Why didn't I think of that?

In case you're wondering, Peter's middle name is Juma. It's the name he often goes by at home and how he refers to himself.


The other day I watched the film Glory (and yes it is a film with a rating I don't typically watch, but I'd had to watch it for school freshman year of college and I figured I could take it). I cried. I cried like a baby. And I did it before the real fighting even began. Yes, I did go to Gettysburg last week and so I do have the Civil War on the mind, but it was unexpected. I am not, generally speaking, a crier. The world must be coming to an end, it's difficult to come to any other conclusion.

A true New Yorker and "the End of the Road Trip"

Ali and I woke up last Friday with every intention to go to Canada, but then we realized we were really quite tired after our trek and so we did not take on our friendly neighbors to the north--next time. So instead we went to check out the George Eastman House (founder of Kodak), where surprisingly enough I had never been. It turns out he was a bit of a weirdo (no offense to any Kodak enthusiasts or Eastman descendants who for some reason or other may be reading this) and he quite enjoyed decorating with dead animals. Afterward we enjoyed Julie & Julia. I thought it was nice to see a film about relatively normal people in good relationships. I know it's not very exotic, but some people, just a few mind you, do lead normal and even happy lives despite what our egotistic/voyeuristic blogging age may indicate.

Saturday I did the good thing and took my guest to the church historic sites. I mean I really couldn't let her fly back to California without at least going over to the Sacred Grove could I? And we actually had an interesting small world moment. We went on a tour of the Grandin Building (where the Book of Mormon was published) and the Sister missionary giving the tour was originally from Brazil and the other two girls on the tour with us were both from Brazil. They were having a grand old time talking in Portuguese when someone asked where one of them had served her mission. She responded, but frankly I don't recall where not being familiar with the country. Suffice it to say it was not one of the areas where I could recall anyone I know having served. But I did mention that we'd had a friend serve in Riberiao Preto and lo and behold we discovered that was where they were from and that one of their friends had served with Melanie! Granted, their description was tall, blond, and had motions indicating energy and busniess. But we were quite sure it was Mel. Anyway tours accomplished we had just enough time to catch some lunch, Abbotts Frozen Custard, and breeze on out to the airport so I could part with my faithful travelling companion.

At one point during the trip Ali asked me if it was like having a mission companion again, and I suppose in some ways it was. At any rates the most lingering effect of our travels together is my compulsive desire to share all my thoughts with her. Never fear Ali, I am working to master this impulse much to your relief I'm sure.

But no the real point of this now quite long post was to point out how truly I am a New Yorker (their chosen Civil War uniforms aside). Those of you who know me know that I enjoy literality. I find it funny and I can't quite say why. Well accross 8 of the states we traversed last week the standard exit notices were 1/2 mile with maybe 1/4 or 3/4 here and there. So in Pennsylvania we couldn't help noticing an exit marker for something like an 1/8 of a mile. How odd we thought. Then Thursday night as we were taking on the home stretch in New York we began to see exit signs with numbers like 4/10 of a mile. Sure, that's almost a half mile, but it's not quite 1/2 mile and we New Yorkers don't want to deceive you. But we may taunt you a bit.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


After a stop at the Gettysburg Military museum place with its "Sommeworld" style cyclorama, which we both thought sounded a little too much like psychorama, we did a timely tour of the battlefield. Our favorite stop of course was Little Roundtop. I mean how can you compete with that? Then we worked our way up to Harrisburg where we had lunch with one of my mission companions, the former Sister Fultz, and my first ever ice cream slushy at Rita's (it was good, thanks Fultzes!). Then we made our way through Pennsylvania and New York. Unfortunately for us a long, late, and liesurly lunch conspired to put us on the roads at rush hour so we had to work through some traffic there. But we made up good time and had reached Syracuse at around nineish and were swamped in construction traffic and befuddled by faulty detours. Though we did make it to Rochester, well Pittsford, safe and sound at last.

Number of crazy drivers observed today: 2

Number of accidents we saw today: 1

Number of traffic incidents of any kind in which we played a part: 0

Fun facts:
  • Pennsylvania has no Mobil stations but many, many Exxons. New York has many Mobils, but not really any Exxons (at least not between here and the Pennsylvania border).
  • The North Carolina Gettysburg soldier monument was carved by the same person who carved Mount Rusmore
  • The New York soldiers' civil war uniforms were very "special"
  • people from the state of Wyoming have most likely contributed the least in donations at the Gettysburg Military Battle museum. Their total: 7 cents.
  • According to my interpretation of a sign in the Gettysburg Military Battle museum, many Civil War soldiers tortured the bullets that struck their bones. Those meanies.
Something to look forward to: 10 states down, tomorrow we're taking on Canada--more or less the fifty-first state.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Well we buzzed through Ohio and meandered down Pennsylvania to Gettysburg (with many a comment of "Gorgeous, beautiful, wish you were here."). Seriously I forgot how much I love trees, and hills, and, well, greenness in general. Ali seriously considered dropping her life to move to either Chambersburg or Gettysburg (I think it's the burgs she likes, she'd says its the cute old houses), but is on hold until she has money, which I think is a silly notion. We then wandered up and down Baltimore street in Gettysburg (I think we walked up it at least 8 times), ate dinner at Ernie's Diner, and went on a ghetto fabulous ghost tour of the town.

Number of "homemade" helicopters we've seen being towed on the road thus far: 2

Number of toll cards we've lost in the car: 1

Number of ghosts seen on the ghost walking tour: 0

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Today we've been in five states and two time zones. We made it to Ohio in pretty good time despite major hold ups in and around Chicago. The construction and lack of signs meant that we didn't follow the short cut along the 90 and were in fact reunited with I-80 (oh how we'd missed it after two days apart) which then took us back to our friend the I-90. We didn't have any major stops today, mostly it was just time on the road, but I think it was time well spent.

Number of Military Police hummers: 20?

Number of Military Police hummers we saw that were actually "in" camo: 1

Bug comparison: Wyoming, really big; South Dakota, pretty big; Minnesota, quite small.

Number of bugs we've taken out: roughly 2 million

Minnesota, eh

We're in Rochester, well Rochester, Minnesota. You know the thing is, I know that's not a funny joke, but I couldn't help using it. Anyway we drove over 600 miles today and as already stated are in Rochester, Minnesota. Technically I had a layover here once and so have been here before, but I still felt a kinship to my own Rochacha by staying here over night. Also we already saw the giant corn water tower and even ate dinner at the City Cafe, which as you know was voted the best restaurant in Rochester, MN 3 years in a row (the exact years are unknown), so we feel like natives. But more importantly Ali and I went to Mt. Rushmore this morning--where we not only took pictures of the monument but also our own North by Northwest homages--and we already feel way more American.

Important sites not seen en route: Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, Sioux; Crazy Horse; Reptile Gardens; Dances with Wolves film set.

Exxon/Mobil stations in South Dakota: 3 (sadly all at the western end of the state).

States with picturesque farms: Minnesota

State I thought would have a lot of farms: South Dakota

Brilliant ideas to make massive fortunes that we've already come up with in the car: At least 8

PS I forgot to put the cord that transfers pictures from my camera to my computer in my travel bag, so pictures will have to come later. Sorry folks!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wamsutter, Wyoming and more

Well we're in Rapid City South Dakota, folks. Today was eventful for Ali, she got to see Wyoming for the first time and then we both got to see South Dakota for the first time. There were stateline dances which I'm pretty sure you are very sorry you missed.

Sites Seen:
  • Wamsutter, Wyoming, which I may have later recalled incorrectly as being named Wamsuckett
  • Pretty much all of Wyoming, actually.
  • Deadwood, South Dakota (an old gambling town that's been preserved--if you count turning it into a kitschy gambling spot. The original buildings are cool though).

Animal Sightings:
  • Bison
  • Antelope
  • Fox
  • extremely patient Prairie Dog (it was sitting up right at the side of the highway, waiting for everyone to pass).

Thoughts on Wyoming:
  • Wyoming along 1-80 is really not very attractive. But Wyoming up along the 25 and 1-90 are really pretty.
  • There are way more Exxons along this route than I'd anticipated, which is fantastic news for me.
  • There is nothing in Rawlins, Wyoming, but Casper and Gillette are really pretty decent sized.
Tomorrow: Mount Rushmore and then on to Rochester, well Rochester, Minnesota.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

And so it begins

Tomorrow (okay so I guess now it's today), I'm leaving on a road trip. Despite the fact that I'm not asleep yet, which I very well should be, I'm pretty much ready to go. The car is even all packed and everything. Look at me breaking Sorensen family road trip tradition. I know you're looking forward to following Ali and I as we traipse across the country; don't even try to hide it.

Incidentally, do you know what I think of when I think of road trips? Yep, I think of this:

Do ya need a break from modern livin'?
Do ya long to shed your weary load?
If your nerves are raw
And your brain is fried
Just grab a friend and take a ride
Together upon the open road

There's nothin' can upset me
'Cause now we're on our way
Our trusty map will guide us straight and true

Every day another new adventure
Every mile another new zip code
And the cares we had are gone for good

I've got no strings on me
I'm feelin' fancy-free
How wonderful to be
On the open road!

Anybody else remember what it's from?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Perhaps. It might have been.

I may or may not have eaten brownies for breakfast.

I may or may not have done this because I'm pretty much out of food I can actually make into meals because I may or may not have gone grocery shopping for two and a half weeks.

I may or may not have made these brownies at 1:00 am.

I may or may not have recently rediscovered a package of microwave bacon that I thought one of my roommates had eaten two months ago.

I may or may not have thought dark things about said roommate when I thought she'd eaten the bacon.

I may or may not still be in my pajamas.

I may or may not be moving in just over a week.

I may or may not have done anything for said move other than decide the route and time frame.

I may or may not have come up with a clever, albeit roundabout, way to get new songs for my iTunes without purchasing them.

I may or may not have stayed up rather late last night listening to an audio book I'd already listened to once or twice in the past six months.

I may or may not have had the song from the trailer of the Proposal stuck in my head for three days.

I may or may not be putting off doing things I really should have done already.

Little Things

A few months ago I noticed that a bird, or well I suppose it would have to be a couple of birds, had built a little nest next to the light fixture at the entrance of my complex's underground parking. Shortly thereafter I got to see baby birds, which quickly grew so large that the Mama bird could no longer actually stay in the nest but had to take refuge on a little mud perch she had created. It was fun to see the babies grow up until one day I'd noticed that they had all quite literally flown the coop and left Mama Swallow (my grandpa told me that because the nest was made from mud these were swallows) an empty nester. Much to my surprise, I noticed last Sunday that there were several new baby bird heads peering out over the edge. Apparently Mama consoled herself by beginning a second brood. I didn't know birds had two broods in one season, I always thought it was a one per year deal. You learn new things everyday.

Now I suppose there are some metaphors or life lessons I could draw from these observations--perhaps I like the baby birds am getting ready to leave the comfort of my "nest" out here in P-town-- but I'm not going to do that. I would rather just appreciate the sweetness of this experience/observation.