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… Aaaand I’m back.

Ideally, I’d return from my nearly month-long hiatus with something incredible to share with you – some fantastic travel stories, or a first draft of something exciting, or a preview of some amazing project that is about to launch.

But I got nothing. Sorry about that. Instead, I’ve spent the last few weeks dithering away my time doing a whole lot of nothing. I baked some cookies. I wrapped some presents. I spent some time with people I love. That’s what December is for: whiling away the last few short days of the year with friends and family and stuffing your face with as many baked goods as possible (because come January 1st, we all start anew, and the post-Christmas consumption of an entire pan of cookie bars was shameful, sure, but it happened last year).

And now, good heavens, it’s 2014. Which just sounds absolutely bonkers.

We’ve been down in Palm Springs for the past few days, and it was here, in a spacious and structurally unsound rental house (as best as we call tell, the sewer system is connected to the central air) that we rang in the New Year. I hovered around the television screen with our friends Sarah and Eric, and yelled at Rand to hurry up (every year, he picks the worse time to pee – when there are roughly 58 seconds left until midnight). He bounded out of the bathroom with a few seconds to spare, and we watched the ball drop in Times Square, ignoring as best we could the fact that it was a three-hour old recording, playing again for the convenience of us West Coasters.

Confetti rained down over the New York crowds and we kissed, and there was nothing particularly significant or special about it except for this: it has happened so, so many times before. Which is kind of remarkable, in and of itself – that I have spent 13 New Year’s Eves with my beloved.

And it is from that kiss, and of all the ones that preceded it, that I take inspiration for this post (and after a month of not posting, inspiration was needed). I suppose I could have recapped the year that was with stats and figures, miles flown and cities visited. Instead, I’ve decided to look back on 2013 by sharing a few photos of Rand and I, doing what we do best together.

If you find a series of photos of the two of us sucking face to be offensive or boring or completely not worth looking at, then odds are you aren’t going to like this blog at all in 2014. Because while I have some wonderful and exciting plans for this year, I will, in some respects, be sticking to my old habits.

May they forever die hard.

  1. Bushman’s Kloof, South Africa. January.-
  2. Hayman Island, Australia. March. (more…)

We had a rental car in Philadelphia, but still I walked. I walked through downtown, down to the Italian market and back up again. When I got tired, I took the subway or hopped on a bus. But mostly, I saw the city on foot.

I walked in muggy heat and pouring rain, both of which were in the forecast that week in early October. By the end of it, I was exhausted, but I felt like I’d seen Philadelphia, really seen it, while getting lost down its winding streets.

Oh, and I had my camera with me, too. Here are ten photos from my meanderings.

  1. No Trespassing sign, South Street.

  2. Tidy row of buildings, Juniper Street.

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This is my thousandth post.

My thousandth.

I can’t really get my head around that number. There are few things, short of bodily functions and actions taken to sustain my existence, that I have done a thousand times.

Oh, and I’ve apparently taken 34,000 photos, too.

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I mean, doing a thousand of anything is a lot. I’ve struggled over writing a thousand words, before. Ask me to do a thousand sit-ups and will laugh, heartily, for so long that it will grow really, really awkward. So you can imagine that a thousand posts (from someone who can’t spend five minutes on the internet without wandering off to Zappos to look at shoes, or checking Facebook to see which of my friends have dressed up their pets in hats) is kind of a miracle.

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We weren’t in New York long. Just enough time for a trip to a few museums, a show, and for me to buy a pair of jeans at Uniqlo (they were so cheap that they stain my hands blue every time I wear them, and still I love them).

That jaunt to New York was a blip on the radar, sandwiched between other trips. But I managed to take a few pictures here and there (when I wasn’t forgetting my camera).

Here are ten shots from New York. I hope you like them.

  1. View from our porthole window, The Maritime Hotel, Chelsea.

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  2. Looking upward, Fifth Avenue.

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I’m … um … crap. Honestly, I don’t know where I will be when this post goes up. I’m currently writing it on a sunny afternoon in Seattle, but given the way the next few weeks are going, I might be in Ashland, or New York, or Portland when this finally goes live.

But these pictures? They were taken in Bavaria – there is absolutely no doubt about that. Nowhere else in my travels have I found such blue skies, snow-capped mountains, piles of freshly-baked pretzels, and the most entitled pug to have ever existed outside of a royal court.

Here are 10 photos from our last trip there. It feels like it was just last week, but apparently it was three months ago. If you need me, I’ll be out on the street (in whatever city I find myself in) asking people where summer went.

  1. Anton, who manages to look like he’s suffering, despite being constantly spoiled.

    Do NOT fall for the puppy eyes.

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You can’t take photos in museums, but you can take them on the street.

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We didn’t manage to make it to Centre Pompidou – one of Paris’ main modern art museums. We wanted to go (at one point, we were even in line for tickets), but then we realized we were hungry, and there was pot au feu and steak frites to think about.

And then we found a Chagall exhibit, and the thing about Chagall is this: like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, he won’t be ignored. (Except, you know, with less dead bunnies.) So we went to that instead.

Later, we got macarons.

And I would feel somewhat terrible for skipping the Pompidou, had all of that not been absolutely amazing.

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I have exciting news.

Okay, maybe it’s not that exciting. I mean, I think it’s pretty great news, but I get excited over some silly stuff. Like whenever a vending machine messes up and drops two of whatever candy you selected. Or that time that Rand and I went to a video arcade and the skeeball game kept resetting itself automatically (so I got, like, 20 games for a quarter. Oh, the tickets we amassed).

I guess for me, less isn’t more. More is more.

So I’m pretty thrilled to say there’s been a tiny little tweak to my blog – my posts are now wider, which means that I can accommodate larger photos.

Exciting, right? And what better way to illustrate this than with ten photos I took of the Sydney Fish Market?

More pixels. Less squinting. More squid. Enjoy.

  1. Women shucking oysters.

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  2. Tiny octopuses.

    Chock-full of tentacle-y goodness.

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  3. Not so shrimpy shrimp.

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  4. As advertised: fish head and bone.

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  5. A visual sorbet for those of you who hate fish, but like their kin.

    Get it? Fish kin? FISHKIN? Sigh.

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  6. A squadron of squishy squid.

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  7. Opportunistic herons outside the fish market.

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  8. Needle-nosed little buggers (I can’t remember what they were called).

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  9. Hee. Business in the front, party in the back.

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  10. We’re just going to hope that this is one of those subtle linguistic differences that exist between native English speakers.

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I know I’ve accosted you all with photo after photo of Hayman Island and the Great Barrier Reef. I hope you’ll forgive me if I post a few more, before moving on to Sydney.

Because, damn it, the islands were just lovely and maybe, just maybe, I want to squeeze my eyes shut and pretend that we’re still there. Except that this time it’s a little more affordable, and (as long as we’re dreaming) I look fabulous in a bikini, and there’s tons of free cake and baby sea turtles for everyone! (For clarification, I do not wish to eat the sea turtles. I only wish that they were frolicking around so that we could enjoy gazing at them while eating free cake.)

  1. Rand walking on the beach at Hayman Island before a storm.-
  2. View from our seaplane during our tour of the reef.

    I realize all of these airplane photos are kind of an ad for Air Whitsunday, but you know what? They totally deserve it.

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