October 30, 2020

#20Things · Gateway Arch National Park

 Prior to making this list, I was unaware that the National Mall counted as a national park and thought I had never been to a national park before, when in fact I had. That being said, my intention when writing this list was to visit a national park that involved more hiking and outdoor activities. However, with ~rony~, we decided to safely go away for the weekend to St. Louis. It was an overnight trip that would revolve around a trip to the Arch, which I have visited once or twice but have been too afraid to go up in (it's kinda tall.) But, I did it, and only a few tears were shed in absolutely fear of being trapped in a box making an unsettling clunk every so-many-feet.

The parking garage near our hotel had this rooftop. I wish there were better views, but it was still a nice start to the morning. :)

Gateway Arch National Park was about four blocks from our AirBNB, so we walked over that afternoon. We had tickets for a ferry boat ride around 5:00pm and the boat was right next to the Arch. We were able to spend some time on the grounds.

Below is the view from the Riverboat Ferry we took. They offer Ferry rides that depart from the Arch, down the Mississippi River, and back around. The ferry has a large paddle on the back, and history of the places passed is announced over the boat speakers.

A part of the trip we found on a whim, but took quick interest in, was a tour of Budweiser. I'm not a beer drinker, but the Clydesdales are inside. :)
Unfortunately, it was closed due to CoVid. We passed the brew house walking around the Cardinals stadium which, for my Chicago peeps, is comparable to Wrigleyville.

Day Two!

First thing in the morning we had tickets to go up in the Arch.
I've only been around the Arch once, in a trip down to Oklahoma when I was nine, and I was way too afraid to go up. It's so thin and does not look qualified to hold people at the top. 
Due to CoVid, they had limited time slots and the windows at the top corresponded to your car number so we were social distanced. 
Speaking of the car...

Maybe you can see the little tears in my eyes because I panicked a bit when we got in. The entrance is only about four feet big and the car makes an unnerving klunk the entire way up as the car readjusts. AND they tell you how long the ride up and down is. (Up is ~4min and down is ~3min.)

After the Arch, we spent a bit of time getting food and walking around. We only stayed overnight because there isn't much else to do in STL, thus concluding our trip.

On our way back up, we passed Bloomington-Normal. Ten years ago when I was a tiny little 17-year-old starting college, I started as a theater major at ISU. 

Below, I stayed in the dorm on the left. :)

Watterson Towers:

This was the building my acting classes were held in. Surprisingly, the doors were open, so we got to get in and look around a bit. It smells the same, dust and stale coffee. I despised the people in the acting program here, a lot. It turned into a large clique of acting majors who, even worse, hung out on our dorm floor. It was catty and competitive right out of the gate. I dropped my major second semester, left ISU after one year, and have been on the up-and-up ever since. :)

October 19, 2020

Me at 27

 I think Me at 25 is one of my most viewed posts, and I realized I skipped last year for some reason.

I also recognize I have been absent from here for a while, there will be a #CoffeeChat coming on that next week. :)


It's a strange age where I feel young and old. My youth comes into play during work meetings where forty-somethings talk about their kids and reference 80s pop culture and I just smile and nod because I'm unsure of what they're talking about. I feel old when I get a flat tire driving home from Wisconsin Dells with 3 out of 4 of my younger cousins in the car and I am in charge. I feel young because I still live at home and old because people look at me strange when I tell them that.

I have tried to look back at childhood-Layne and see what she would think of where we are now. Not even childhood, but 17-year old Layne, and I can't get a feel for her. I can't grasp her emotions though they once were my nest. I don't know what she would think or how she would feel. I wish I could turn back into her, or speak with her for a few minutes.

You've been doing a lot of pushing yourself to stop looking back and instead to look forward. It's not easy, but you're doing alright. The silver linings of the past are shining brighter each time you look, but don't let them blind you from your future.

You've done some pretty fucking cool things this year.

You started a BookTube channel where you talk about the things you're reading.

You went to the top of the Gateway Arch (and only cried a little bit.)

You went back to Kalahari for the first time in ten years.

You developed a love for Post Malone and saw him in concert.

You graduated with your Masters in Writing and Publishing.

You got out of the bookstore and into a desk job in the publishing industry.

Your mom got engaged!
(Even though you don't even look like you do in this photo anymore LOL)


you got this little fella:

and he gets in trouble for playing jungle gym in the kitchen. He loves playing with his cheeseballs, biting feet, and looking out the window.

Your favorite spin instructor tells your class this often:

You've been to the doctor to talk about your weight and overall health. After discussing the likely possibility of PCOS causing rapid weight gain, you started taking cycling classes at Revival Cycle and it's done good for you inside and out. There will be a whole post talking all about that in the #20Things series after your follow-up appt. :)

You had maybe five months of being 26 before the world shut down due to a global pandemic. When you go out, you need to wear a tase mask everywhere, wash/sanitize your hands, and stay six feet from each other. At the beginning of the pandemic, Tiger King was released and everybody on TikTok was making whipped coffee. Now, the economy is on the decline and the election happening in a few weeks is the vital. There's a bizarre balance between don't go out, we're in a pandemic and if I don't go to open places, they'll shut down. The world is in limbo. You've been working from home since March and struggling with your job a bit, but you're grateful to be working and not having to commute to the city for a bit.

Here is a playlist you'll be constantly adding to of songs that have shaped you and songs you don't want to forget.

I think that's everything. Equally as eventful as it was uneventful. Here's to 27!