Archive for the ‘city moments’ Category
Tonight I decided to disregard the two solid days of rain and the overwhelming sense that it was time to hibernate and made myself an elaborate dinner just for me. Now to re-create this recipe, you will need to a long list of ingredients as demonstrated in this photo:
Then carefully prepare the ingredients, don’t worry about how many dishes and cutting boards this will take, it will totally be worth it in the end.
Add a few finishing touches and then put your feet up and watch an episode of West Wing while you wait for the meal to cook in the oven.
Then after the perfect amount of time, savor the careful blend of flavors and craft a delicate dip for your dinner. [Fries and Edamame not pictured cause I ate them already]
Today when I was arriving at work via the parking garage it suddenly smelled strongly of doughnuts. Durring the day there was traces of blue sky mixed with hail. Then after work when I got off the bus a the U-District it smelled strangely of burnt toast. There is no correlation between these various events (that I know of, conspiracy buffs prove me wrong!), but I thought you all would enjoy hearing about it anyways. Happy Friday everyone!
So of course today should be my post about cooking something and while I have had some good cooking adventures this week (Vanilla Roasted Pears and Pot Roast), I didn’t really take any pictures and I actually spent most of my evening hanging out with some co-workers at a happy hour on Capital Hill. In a recent email exchange with my friend Ruth, who also moved away from Evanston this fall, she talked about how it is really the 2-3 month mark that is the hardest in any big move and I have to say I kind of agree with her.
It is at 2 months that most of your routines have re-adjusted, the basics of a a new city have been learned, bus systems mastered, new jobs figured out, rooms finally unpacked. And then you kind of look up and go “oh, right, I still don’t have friends yet”. Of course I do have Alex and other good friends who I knew before (Katie, David, housemates) and my fellow VISTAS who have quickly become key friends. But the biggest hole is formed by those always ready to hang out, try a new restaurant, watch Star Trek with you on a Saturday afternoon, go to an event or better yet bake brownies and watch chick flicks with you on a random Friday night. It is those friendships and community that I miss the most right now and also the relationships that take way longer than 2 months to create. While I wait for those deeper connections to form and those friendships to develop, taking a couple of hours to hang out with my favorite co-workers makes for a pretty good alternate evening.
Wow, 26 days, impressive, even for me and my general hit or miss blogging schedule (and by that I mainly mean miss). Well, this will hopefully get the obligatory catch-up blog out of the way, so I can get into a more regular schedule just in time for NaBloPoMo. Which if you are unfamiliar with this term, is the month in which some people attempt to write 50,000 word novels and others with slightly lower ambitions attempt to post on their blogs every day. I have been doing this successfully for two years running and you can go see the 2009 and 2010 attempts.
So here are a list of partially written blog posts I have accumulated and few updates of the more general sort:
- Draft post titled: Massive update and plans for the future – in which I attempted to give a synopsis of my parents’ awesome 2 week long visit at the beginning of October and our house plans to disband and move into apartments come December. Never got further than 2 paragraphs, chance of completion: low
- Draft post titled: Some thoughts on the book The Help – in which I wrote up some thoughts that came up both while reading the book and after completion. This one actually got mostly written and I will probably polish it up a bit more before saving it for NaBloPoMo fodder
- Draft post titled: More October birthdays – in which I contemplate how it feels to turn 28 and how my expectations for birthdays have changed over the years. I even drew a nifty graph for this on, chance of completion: medium
- Two nights ago I went to sleep cold (we keep our house at 60 degrees because it is horribly insulated and we are all very
poorcheap) and tossed and turned for close to an hour trying to get warm, until finally I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed my spare blanket and shivered myself to sleep. Only, of course to wake up again later in the night, cold, but this time to tired to go hunt down my third spare blanket. Now I have to admit I was kind of worried that my brief 2 months in Seattle had turned me into a pansy – I mean my down comforter has gotten me through 4 Chicago winters, with nary an extra blanket needed! But the good news is, that our house doesn’t actually have any heat on! Yes, that is actually good news, so instead of the 60 degrees I thought my room was, it was probably in the upper 40s, low 50s. Thankfully we also possess space heaters, which will keep me from totally freezing until we get more heating oil delivered early next week.
- Seattle has turned out to have a much better autumn than I anticipated – leaves have changed colors, repeated days of crisp blue sky weather, etc.
So life has continued at a rather quick pace since I last posted anything here. Routines have been created – wake up around 7am, shower, breakfast, run to catch the 7:53 bus, transfer, get into the office somewhere between 8:30 and 8:40, drink coffee or tea, desk time, meetings, chatting, planning, lunch, desk time, desk time leave work around 5pm (or sometimes earlier, since I make it in half an hour early), catch the bus, wait in exasperation for my second bus (and if the weather is nice give up and walk home), get home around 6:15 or so, make dinner/eat dinner, get sleepy, chat with Alex, read the internets, read my books, hang out with housemates, sleep.
As for the work itself, I am enjoying it for the most part. I think it helps that I don’t really miss my old job (the people yes, the job not really). I like the routine of riding buses (I am reading so many more books now, especially with discovering how well it works to read library books on my iPod) and working in an office with adults. Sometimes it can get frustrating when the end objectives don’t always seem clear, but I really like my fellow VISTAs and I am excited about our goals.
If you check out my Flickr stream from time to time, you can see that I have been up to some fun things including a train ride around Mt. Rainier with Alex’s family, gone to a church related young adult potluck, numerous happy hours with co-workers and new friends, made blackberry jam, granola and a carrot cake for Alex’s birthday, a celebratory after party with co-workers for the United Way Day of Caring, a weekend at Alex’s grandparents’ lake cabin with friends. So in case you missed them, here are some pictures from the past few weeks:
- sore biceps from a two day attempt to tame the crazy weeds in the front and back yard that grow a good 10 inches higher than the grass
- the smell the acrid burning plastic of the weed whacker after it lit itself on fire to escape my over 60 minute long forced march through the forests of the back yard
- laughing at (or should I say with?) the cute baby antics of the adorable 2.5 year old guest at our house’s Labor Day BBQ yesterday evening
- frustrations with the deteriorating state of my room (it shifted from tetris style boxes, to its current configuration of open bins of clothing blocking almost all floor space access
- the related frustration of having more clothes than closet/drawer space
- pleasure in the sense of finding new rhythms and schedules to my day
- the taste of homemade blackberry jam (Katie and I made another batch this weekend) on Alex’s homemade bread
- the ongoing quandary of not knowing more and more what the larger goals of this year are, but still having little clarity on the day to day goals
- successfully navigating two extensive bureaucracies to obtain both a WA driver’s license and food stamps
- lovely video chats with friends in Chicago, Goshen and Florida
- an enjoyable but less than inspiring church visit (leading me to believe that it will be even harder than I anticipated to find another church home like Reba)
- the joy of buying my airplane tickets for my first visit home
Seattle has been my home for little over a week now, even though I have already left it again for another trip. I recently added up all the one-way airplane trips I have taken since January (and that includes the time I flew to Seattle via Kansas City and Albuquerque) and by the time I fly back from San Francisco to Seattle on Friday that number will be 17 (gained through 5 round trip trips and the triangle trip of moving (Chicago – Florida – Seattle)). I don’t want to even think what my carbon footprint will be for this year… But yes all that to say settling in has been high on my priority list, but of course in typical fashion I only really got around to a serious bout of unpacking Saturday night when I discovered that it was the perfect procrastination tool to avoid packing for my current trip. But enough about all that you are probably more interested in hearing what I think about Seattle, how things are going at work, have I made any new friends, etc.
Well the answer to those questions are essentially – I like it – good, but still a bit vague – and yes (my two fellow VISTAs are quite fun and I think we get along swell so far)!. Seattle is a pretty gorgeous city, especially in these few golden months of summer. For example, during my week there, it has only rained one day. The rest have been warm (almost hot even!) full of blue sky and essentially showing off how awesome it is to be surrounded by water and mountains.
This past week I figured out my bus commute and learned lots of little things like 1) the buses are better timed and much faster during the morning rush hour than the afternoon one 2) podcasts really are quite wonderful – my current rotation include This American life (especially one I listened to this week called First Contact, which included the wonderful story of a young American man and his girlfriend who befriended a trio of Iraqi brothers and have had 4 hour weekly conversations with them since 2003), StoryCorp, FreshAir and RadioLab. Which if you draw the conclusion from that, that I am a bit of a NPR junkie, you would be correct and 3) bus routes that involve only 1 transfer and drop me off literally 10 ft from my office door (they can’t get any closer due to a little thing called the sidewalk) are pretty awesome.
But right now I am not actually in the fair city of Seattle, but sitting on my hotel bed waiting to head downstairs to catch the shuttle that will take us to our first day of TechCamp at Google Headquarters. While I don’t think we will get any crazy cool swag like keys to the Google Private Jet or our own Segways (I just really rooting for the awesome Google Sharpies I have heard about), we will get to meet with folks from the tech industry, learn about non-profit needs and opportunities and also get training on various technologies. Other highlights of the upcoming week include eating in Google’s famous cafes around campus, a rumored bowling event and outside dinner and movie on Thursday evening.
Well I need to get packed up so I can be on time for the shuttle, but I wanted to give you all a brief update on my life on the West Coast. Overall I think I am still in a bit of denial about Seattle actually being my new residence – seeing as I have only been there for a week, it still seems quite feasible that I will be returning to my “normal” life at any time. Also I think after the demands of moving and adjusting start to wear off I think I will also probably start to focus on the all important “meeting and connecting with new folks” part, which if memory from previous transitions serve is always one of the harder parts for me. So I am sure there will still be many ups and downs ahead of me on this transition time, but at least for now I am just excited to be here and about to discover the Disneyworld for techies – Google Headquarters.
For some reason, this draft (just the title) have been sitting here empty for close to a week. I think having big news is sometimes a bit of a paralyzing force for me. Like I have realized before, change is incredibly enticing for me, but the transitions needed to actually make them happen, often exhaust me. But on to the good news…….I got offered an Americorp (VISTA program) in Seattle and I accepted it!!!!! I will give more details of the position later, but I will say it takes me further into the tech/Information Science of my MLIS than I had anticipated back in January (which I find to be super exciting). So as of mid-August I will be living and working in the fair (if slightly cloudy) city of Seattle. I will be filling the recently emptied slot at Hedgehog house, home to both awesome friend David, boyfriend Alex, and two other equally lovely/hilarious housemates (who I shall not name because I don’t know wether to call them by their actual names or Katie’s clever pseudonyms). Now my life is consumed by to-do lists, packing lists, empty boxes, storage containers, shredded old files, papers in need of recycling and all the huge spectrum of emotions that come from such a big life change. Obviously the solution all of this lies in the following photo:
While I may not have my life entirely in order (yet!), I do finally have the summer haircut I have been hankering after for almost a year. Seattle, here I come!
Well I successfully arrived in Seattle late last night (or on my internal clock, very early this morning). Friday was quite a long day due to it being the last day for seniors at the high school, but other than a request for a last period dance party in the library (sorry, but no, seeing as 3/4 of the school still has work to do) and some firecrackers set off outside the library, it was actually a pretty calm day. Then of course I hurried home and did last minute packing and caught a ride to the downtown Evanston bus depot where I took the bus to the airport. There I had some mild anxiety because a) the bus took 80 minutes as opposed to the 60 that I was expecting b) I hadn’t realized that one still had to take a tram in from the drop off spot to the actual terminal c) I didn’t know which terminal to go to because United serves two separate ones. But thankfully I wasn’t checking bags, so after a brisk walk/run between terminals I got my boarding pass, got through security and got to my gate with 1/2 hour to spare. The flight went well and I had a window seat, which always makes me happy. I also noticed that we never actually moved beyond at least a faint sunset (at least not until we began the descent into Seattle) in the far west. Now, I don’t know exactly why this is, seeing as we landed around 11pm Seattle time, but perhaps we were so high up that we could see significantly further west? Either way it was beautiful and oddly comforting. Plus I was rewarded with a gorgeous view of the lights of downtown Seattle as we banked south towards the airport. Such a beautiful city!
Now of course I am sitting in a coffee shop (suitable Saturday morning activity anywhere, but especially here in the city of coffee) with David. Alex is off volunteering at his ESL class and I tagged along with David to his favorite local Top Pot, which features rather incredible “hand-forged” donuts. I have been to others of this local chain on previous trips.
But this time I got a raspberry bismark, which was both delicious and full of powdery explosions. Well now I am probably going to go test my geographic knowledge on Sporcle (thanks to Alex and Becca, this is my new obsession) or some such other random internet-y thing. Unfortunately I still haven’t heard back from THE JOB, but seeing as a three day weekend has now commenced, I am going to do my best to forget about until Tuesday morning at the earliest.