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The thing about doing NaBloPoMo every year is it tends to make the holiday season even more discombobulated. Thanksgiving tends to pop out of no where and then before you know it the month is over, you are freely admitting to listening to Christmas music on repeat and you still haven’t bought Christmas presents yet and realize your idea of getting a Christmas tree in your new apartment will have a very short window for display if you don’t get a move on.
So yes, new apartment! In just a few short days, the last of the faithful Hedgehog housemates will be dividing our stuff, dragging things to Value Village, the dump and two different apartments in Ballard, and then settling in. In retrospect moving during the middle of the Holiday season might not have been the wisest idea, but then when is it ever a convenient time to stuff all of one’s worldly belongings in boxes, rent a giant vehicle and haul them across town? This moving distance will be a first for me* so far I have either crossed state lines or just a block or two with my moves. But thankfully having recently shipped all my boxes almost 3,000 miles and only truly unpacked a month and a half ago, packing everything back up is a little less intimidating.
Oh let’s see what else I was going to talk about….ah yes, I do have lots of good photos and little videos from my Thanksgiving visit home, although I will warn you most of them are of Mathilda, my new favorite puppy. And the other half of my photos are of my old housemate Anne’s crazy cute kittens. So basically, expect a post made entirely of kittens and puppies in the near future.
*the only one that would have been a similar distance took place back in high school, but I was off in Germany, so it wasn’t a big deal.
Yay for being done with posting every day for a month. This was a good month and my third consecutive year of completing NaBloPoMo.While I always enjoy the practice of daily blogging, I have to say I am enjoying not having the pressure to come up with a blog post tomorrow night or the night after that. As is typical many of my posts ended up being a bit of one-off attempts to JUST POST SOMETHING, however I also enjoyed the extra post to write some more in depth posts and in general blog more frequently. I hope you all have enjoyed the month and I will do my best not to drop off the radar for all of December like I did last year :) However considering some of my goals for December, that might prove challenging:
- pack, move into new apartment, unpack
- read just under 6,000 pages to beat my 2010 statistic of 31,000 pages read
- finish transferring this blog over to a self-hosting WordPress site
- prepare for Christmas with baking, present gathering, etc
Thanks to everyone who followed along this month and especially those of you who commented! Happy Holidays!
Today has all revolved around travel, which makes sense because when you calculate my departure time from Goshen to my arrival time to dear ole Hedgehog in Seattle, it is a 14 hour trip. Granted that involved around 2 hours of wandering around downtown Chicago, between the train and the plane, but still a very long day. While I am partially tempted to write about all the annoyances of travel (CTA delays that gave David and I the privilege of waiting 30 minutes in the cold and twice running up and down a flight of stairs carrying my 54lb suitcase, the dehydrating nature of planes, how tired one gets after sitting for so long) in the end I am indeed sitting in a chair in a metal tube flying thousands of feet above the air and this 14 hour “grueling trip” would have taken many times as long only 100 or so short years ago.
My trip home (interestingly enough Chicago, Goshen and even Seattle all feel, to some degree, like they fit that description) was wonderful, all too short, relaxing, tiring, full of furious catch-up sessions with friends and definitely something I feel rather reluctant to return from. While I will get to see Becca and Jess in just a few weeks over New Year’s Day, my plans to see family again aren’t currently set and I won’t be able to get home for Christmas this year. Already I am feeling the pinch of both vacation days (by January I will only have 3.5 to get me through the end of August) and money and other than a possible trip in March don’t know when I will get to see my family again. That makes me sad, but I guess it is also part of the big adventure of moving to the West Coast and that is an adventure I am still excited about.
Jonathan Harris visited Bhutan to interview and photograph people about their happiness level. This beautiful project is the result. via Chookooloonks Also if that doesn’t fully sate your interest in Bhutan, Alan Taylor curated this collection of recent photographs of Bhutan.
As a rule, I am a ridiculous fan of Christmas music, everything from classics like Judy Garland’s “Have Your Self A Merry Little Christmas” to modern interpretations like “O Holy Night” by Sufjan Stevens. I generally try to restraint my listening until Thanksgiving (to avoid burnout), but since I am safely pass that deadline, here are two albums I purchased this year and am thoroughly enjoying:
- An Appalachian Christmas by Mark O’Connor – Mixing in twangs of bluegrass with beautiful fiddle arrangements, this album includes a wonderful arrangement of Carol of the Bells and the less familiar Cherry Tree Carol.
- A Very She & Him Christmas by She & Him – Consisting of Zooey Deschanel’s vocals and M. Ward’s back-up and guitar, this album is a great collection of classic carols. My personal favorite is Silver Bells.
As I have written about before, one of my goals for the year was to read as many books or pages as I did in 2010, 126 or 31,358 respectively. While I am still clinging to hope that I can make the pages goal happen (7,361 pages to read during the final 35 days of the year), I think the books won’t happen unless I head into the library and do some damage to the picture book section (48 books left to read). Although thankfully, I finally made it to the top of the holds list at the library for the most recent Game of Throne book, which totals 1,367 pages, so that should help bump up my numbers.
Two weeks ago I wrote a little bit about both Game of Thrones and The Magicians. So I thought today I would include little snippets about several other books that I have read recently and enjoyed:
Eat, Pray, Love, the famous memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert of her year spent eating in Italy, meditating in India and finding love in Bali, wasn’t high on the list of books I thought I would enjoy reading. Wary of the some of the critiques I had heard of it in regards to the privilege Gilbert demonstrates on her travels, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it. However I had already read Gilbert’s sequel, The Commitment, and had been highly impressed with her writing style and very compelling voice. In the end I was glad that I gave Eat, Pray, Love a chance, seeing as Gilbert does a wonderful job of remaining aware of her own follies and creating warm inviting environment that pulls the reader in. And given my own love for travel, this book was a great inspiration to start planning my next trip.
Written by the renowned gay sex columnist, The Commitment is Dan Savage’s memoir of how he and his partner of 10 years wrestled with the idea of marriage. Hilarious and occasionally over the top in it’s biting humor, I enjoyed Dan’s well reasoned approach to contemplating both the overarching idea of marriage or committing to spend one’s life with another and the over-arching issue of gay marriage.
A 27 year old librarian living in Missouri accidentally kidnaps a young boy whose runs away from his controlling parents. A fascinating road trip novel, that deals with both the highs and lows of librarianship and the greater issue of mid twenties angst, I enjoyed this amusing and well-written story.
Probably my favorite of my recent reads, this story is both set in Seattle and narrated by one of the best voices’s and perspectives I have encountered, that of Enzo, the golden retriever owned by a wannabe race car driver Denny Swift. Enzo tells the story of Denny’s triumphs and defeats and his own role in helping his owner fulfill his life long dream. I highly recommend this one.
I am a little late to the David Sedaris game, but this one was a great introduction to this hilarious writer. Whether it is stories of making a living as a performance artist, learning French or a father who hoarded food, Sedaris reliably makes you laugh with self-depreciating and gloriously bizarre stories. I love the short story format and read this on a couple of bus commutes, however fair warning, don’t read on a bus unless you are cool with laughing loudly in public.