You're in Sinbad's House.

My name is Laura.

I am in my late twenties. I am new-ish to Austin, living in Texas with my new-ish husband Kevin, and our pets Hazel, Wink and Lennie Briscoe. I enjoy college sports (particularly my Jayhawks), old movies, popcorn, outdoor dining, Scrabble, bourbon, pretzels, bad reality television, and the Chicago Blackhawks. I'm learning to be a better cook.

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Good, I opened a can of worms when Kevin read my post (he’s a historian, bee tee dubs). He says that visiting a place like Auschwitz or the 9/11 site is a significant part of building a cultural memory. Trauma and events such as these are public, collective experiences and as a culture it should be okay and encouraged to mourn, even if you did not directly lose a loved one as a part of the event. Auschwitz, in particular, is important to maintain and visit to prevent things like Holocaust denial.

So, there you have it. Cool story, Kev. 


The 9/11 Memorial is the site of a massive international tragedy.

It is not a tourist attraction.

It should not be third on your list of things to do in New York.

It is not a normal thing to want to see.

Having the desire to buy a 9/11 Memorial t-shirt is a sign of poor character.

If you have a personal connection to the site, if you lost someone in the attacks or were personally impacted by the wars that sprang from them, by all means, go to the memorial. But that’s not most people. Most people are gawking.

Resist the entropy of getting excited about going there.

If you’re telling yourself you want to go so your dollars can support the families, take out your checkbook. If that’s not as satisfying to you, that’s not why you’re going.


The 9/11 Memorial is the #1 thing that people ask NYC concierges about. Right after “Where’s check-in?” and right before “Where’s the bathroom?” comes “Where’s 9/11?” I don’t know why.

Would you want to visit a death camp, mass grave, or murder site while on vacation anywhere else? If you would, you probably wouldn’t ask where to buy souvenirs. If you wouldn’t, if the idea of gawking at tragedy does not truly appeal to who you are, maybe think about seeing a museum, a musical, an old neighborhood, a famous store, the firehouse from “Ghostbusters,” a bridge, a train station, a restaurant, a river, a cupcake shop, a pizza place, a fountain, a park, a statue, a building.

New York is a terrorist target because it is a singular, spectacular place to be a human being.

Don’t go see the target. 

Go see what makes it a target. 

And no, it does not have a fucking food court.

In theory I agree with almost everything above. But then, why go to any memorial or any historic site ever? 

I went out of my way to visit the 9/11 site in summer 2002. Why? It was my second time going to NYC and the first time I kind of ignored the World Trade Center. It wasn’t as pretty as the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building, plus my mom told me that the towers swayed and whether that was true or not, I was not down with being inside a swaying building. And then 9/11 happened, which I watched and obsessed over through my television, just like everything else. It was a tragedy but one that affected our future, and I wanted to be there to see the site with my own eyes so that I might be able to take in the damage more than I had through my television. 

I’ve also visited multiple memorials, including all of the major ones in DC (or at least what was there the few times I’ve visited). I don’t snap pictures and I didn’t lose anyone close to me in most of the wars memorialized, but seeing names on a wall or spending some quiet time at a memorial (ideally) gives you time to reflect on exactly what it meant or means to our country/the world.

I’m being more sensitive because of the “gawking at tragedy” above related to the death camps. Kevin and I are likely going to Krakow when we go to Germany/Europe this summer, and he wants to see Auschwitz. For him it makes sense— it’s tied directly to what he studies. For me, I struggle— selfishly I’m not sure I can handle it emotionally, but I also think it’s important to see Auschwitz because it is an extremely significant part of our world history and reading about it in books or watching movies about it doesn’t really do it justice. I don’t see that as gawking at tragedy. I see it as reflecting on history. Is that wrong? 

No, you shouldn’t go to a place like the 9/11 Memorial or Auschwitz and take a selfie or buy a shirt or pick up some Osama Bin Laden toilet paper from a vendor outside. I get it. But I just don’t think you have to be directly tied to a victim or casualty in order to have some appreciation of what happened there. 

Just received this flyer in my inbox from our office building operations team. The fonts are so… mesmerizing. 

I saw my hairdresser on Saturday, and (as she always does) she asked me what I have been up to recently. Sure, this is all small talk while I spend a stupid amount of money dyeing my hair too light, but she asks me every time and I never have an answer. 

Here’s what I said:

  1. Working. A lot. Like, SERIOUSLY a lot. I’m allocated at 250% currently for reference. So that’s fun.
  2. I flew to and from LA in one day. That’s fun. 
  3. I applied for my passport, which wasn’t fun but it means I’ve finally accomplished my New Year’s Resolution for 2014… and 2013 and 2012. And probably 2011 too but I can’t remember.
  4. I’ve been training a dog named Smokey at APA, working on getting him to pass his Canine Good Citizens test. This basically is fancy for, “I’m a good dog who might chew on your shoes and eat my own poop but I promise I won’t kill you or your kids or another dog.” I’m hoping to get him passed in the next two weeks. The stats are ridiculous for CGC-certified dogs at APA— they look a lot more appealing and their stays are reduced by 80% on average after passing, which is valuable for a dog like Smokey who has already been at the shelter almost a year. I love him, except for when I’m training him in a small room and he farts repeatedly. 
  5. I’m on my fourth or fifth week of allergy shots— boring. 
  6. I’m getting excited for my Chicago trip in May with Kevin.
  7. I can’t even think about going to Germany at this point. I’m too overwhelmed with work and I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that I’m actually going to be in another country in July. Traveling is amazing, I wish I could do it more often (except not to and from LA in the same day ever again, that sucked).
  8. I dyed my hair too blonde.

I’m sure my hairdresser nearly died from boredom but she got a nice tip and my hair smelled really good which I’m sure she also go to enjoy. And this ends the most boring Tumblr post of all time.

Kevin and I had a nice weekend in Arkansas last weekend. It was lovely, and good to have some time to relax and just hang out with him and my parents. I had to say goodbye to our family dog (who has terminal cancer) which was extremely difficult, but I was glad that I could spend time with her, especially while she’s still feeling okay.

My mom sent me this video of this pug reacting to Homeward Bound. It’s marvelous.

Too many young women I think are harder on themselves than circumstances warrant. They are too often selling themselves short. They too often take criticism personally instead of seriously. You should take criticism seriously because you might learn something, but you can’t let it crush you. You have to be resilient enough to keep moving forward, whatever the personal setbacks and even insults that come your way might be. That takes a sense of humor about yourself and others. Believe me, this is hard-won advice I’m putting forth. It’s not like you wake up and understand this. It’s a process.
Hilary Clinton, on taking criticism. (via ayabug)

(via haygirlhay)

It was a beautiful day at the races (@ the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Arkansas)

After all of my whining this week, I woke up to an email this morning letting me know I’d been added to the Civil Rights Summit guest list today. I get to see President Obama speak today. How crazy is that? (at The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum)

Rejection does not feel good.