Archive for August, 2008

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Younger Abby vs. Today’s Abby

August 25, 2008

Things younger Abby wouldn’t have imagined possible:
– That I would willing wake up at 6:45am every day during my last week of summer vacation just to have breakfast
– That I would so thoroughly be enjoying living with a house in which two people could be my grandparents and one could almost be my mother
– That I would be keeping a fairly neat room (i.e. one in which the carpet is more than 80% visible at all times)*

Things younger Abby would totally have predicted:
– That last evening I spent the evening playing dominoes with my house and having a grand time
– That part of what makes getting up for breakfast worth it is the long discussions about various books we like and entertainers from before I was born
– That having one’s own lovely room (with south and west facing windows!) makes me really happy.

*The thanks for this goes almost entirely to my Mom, who when she found out I was moving volunteered to come up and help me. In the space of two days she helped me pack, move and unpacked. This resulted in by far the most organized move I have ever done and an actually complete unpacking. Did I mention she also cleaned my new room, giving it the shiniest look it will probably ever have?

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an all american evening

August 19, 2008

You know you are hanging out with quality people when the adults standing on the balcony look down at their kids playing on the beach below and their first thought is water balloons.

*Truth discovered while vacationing in N. Carolina with Erini’s family

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Listening: Wish I Could Forget by the Weepies

August 17, 2008

Actually right now there are a lot of things that I hope to remember for a long long time. After what feels like almost a month of trips and travels, I am once again back in my new bedroom at Cana. My suitcase lies partially unpacked on the floor, a lovely cool breeze that I must have brought back with me from the Northwest is blowing through my window and it is very good to be home. Although at this point of transition I am not entirely sure of where that is. Is home back with my parents, memories of high school and college town of Goshen? Or is home the apartment down the street that I shared with Jess and Erini and Becca for the past year? Or is home the amazing connections I still have with friends from college living in Denver, Portland and Seattle? Or is home the house I am living in now called Cana?

Hmmm, what to say of my trip west? It was in an essence lovely and perfect. And while one would always like more time to reconnect with friends, I got to see each of my dear western friends and felt like in some way I was able to have those times that serve to bridge the gaps between visits and keep me close to them all.

As for those details of what I actually did, here are some highlights:

1. Theo Chocolates – Although I had been on this tour before, there is nothing boring about hearing the details of how an organic fair trade chocolate factory processes chocolate from bean to bar. Besides they give out so many incredible samples that by the end of the time I was actually turning down more samples!

2. A trip to Discovery Park – While the park was quite beautiful, what was really wonderful was the chance to talk about life, love (or the pursuit of it) and travel with some of my favorite people (Becca, Meryl and Katie). And of course we took some pictures.

Such charming conversation partners and lovely friends!

Such charming conversation partners and lovely friends!

3. Taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island – I have to say I mainly liked the idea of this excursion because, ferry! who doesn’t like a boat ride! Seattle is indeed beautiful, worthy of its names as Emerald City, all the glass and steel reflects all the blues, greys and greens of the Sound.

Yet another wonderful trip with my oldest friend (although I should say that she is the youngest of the Evanston girls).

Yet another wonderful trip with my oldest friend (although I should say that she is the youngest of the Evanston girls).

4. Happy hour at the Portland City Grill – Jess, Meryl and I met up with another great friend from college (and high school and junior high, in my case), Laurel. We sipped cocktails ordered tiny plates of cheap but delicious food and enjoyed the gorgeous views of downtown from the 30th floor. It was really wonderful catching up with Laurel and getting a peak into her life. It always amazes me how much people change, yet at the same time remain the people that you liked so much to begin with.

5. Exploring Portland (Powells’ and the Chinese Garden) – There are few things in life I love more than a good used book story, so imagine my joy when I visit a huge independent bookstore that is both gigantic and has a mix of new and used books for pretty darn cheap. The answer is very happy and 7 books richer. After Jess, Meryl and I dragged ourselves away from Powells, we grabbed some pizza, did a little used clothing shopping and then headed over to the Portland Chinese Gardens, which for such a small space, did an amazing job of transporting us far away to the slopes of Emei Shan in Sichuan China. We wandered around and finally got some tea and talked and sipped and talked some more. The whole time in the garden was like a piece of some of my best memories from China.

Doesnt this picture totally make you wish you knew this woman, or if you know her, then you can understand how this photo is Meryl.

Doesn't this picture totally make you wish you knew this woman, or if you know her, then you can understand how this photo is Meryl.

I had forgotten how good tea smells and tastes when properly brewed.

I had forgotten how good tea smells and tastes when properly brewed.

Despite the hubbub of downtown portland, this garden is so quiet and serene.  It probably helps that you cant have your cell phone on inside its walls.

Despite the hubbub of downtown Portland, this garden is so quiet and serene. It probably helps that you can't have your cell phone on inside its walls.

6. Driving down the Oregon Coast on 101 – I had heard stories about Highway 101 before and knew that I really wanted to drive a least a small part of it and I was not disappointed. Much of the highway is literally right next to the coast, especially in hilly regions where the cliffs next to the road lead directly to the water. We drove through fog, sun, more fog and lots of tiny tourist towns and fruit stands, I definitely need to come back to this part of the country.

Just your average pitstop along Highway 101

Just your average pitstop along Highway 101

7. Cape Blanco State Park – This was probably Meryl and I’s favorite campsite due to its wooded, secluded but beautiful setting. Apart from the coldest night of our life due to the same mist that we found so enchanting during the day, our night here was very peaceful and quiet. Unfortunately the mist which looked so lovely blowing down into valleys also completely obscured our view of the lighthouse which rests on the point of the cape.

Meryl and I stopped the car while returning to our campsite and snapped about a gizillion pictures.

Meryl and I stopped the car while returning to our campsite and snapped about a gizillion pictures.

8. Taking lots of ridiculous videos with Meryl and then laughing at ourselves – I think this one is fairly self-explanatory.


First video of many

Originally uploaded by AbbyN

9. The Redwoods – Being surrounded by giant incredibly old trees = very happy Abby

Redwoods from Jedidiah Smith National Park

Redwoods from Jedidiah Smith National Park

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some words about some things

August 7, 2008

When one utilizes one’s option to not blog for a few weeks, one is often faced with the conundrum of what to say when one finally does blog again. I mean I could just right a snappy little post about how much I like Tara’s dog (who I am currently visiting in Denver), or about how I love learning about new music from my younger brother (go watch this). But you see a bunch of cool stuff has happened since I last wrote, like a family reunion, a wedding, a move, etc, so I guess I will do my best to update you with the least amount of blathering.

The family reunion in Lancaster was a fun filled time of lots of cousins, aunts, uncles, cousin babies and one grandma. At first the reunion was a little different in that several of my closest cousins in age weren’t there (at least at first) and so I found myself spending more time with those younger than myself. This made me feel more like the older aunt, which while a very pleasant role to play also emphasized this whole becoming an adult thing. Gone are the days of running around with the crowd of young cousins, peanut scrambles with grandma, staying up late with Laura and Emily chatting about this and that and everything. But while I miss those days, I also welcome the new phase of relating to aunts and uncles as peers, taking young cousin babies under my wing, playing with Laura’s beautiful Lillie, and watching the continuation of cousin bonding extend to a new generation.

Plus while we were in the area we visited my dad’s mom and ran into one of my cousins who is back in the states doing some nursing work (she and her family usually live in Malawi doing mission work). And seeing as my Dad had neglected to inform us of the possibility of seeing her it was a complete surprise and very pleasant chance to catch up a little with her.

After returning from PA, my Mom did me the huge favor of returning with me to Chicago to help me deal with my 250 ft move. Which I must say thanks to her was by far the most organized move of my life, within 48 hours we had my things packed, moved (this part took only 1 1/2 hours, thanks to 9 very helpful neighborhood folks) and unpacked once more. While I still have a few things to get settled in and organized, I feel very much at home and really love my new room. It has two windows (south and west facing), a fireplace (not working, but oh so pretty) and a lovely very slight blue tint to the walls. However I was only moved in for barely 2 days before I headed back to Goshen for a wedding.

I was honored to be a reader at Zeb and Sarah’s wedding, which took place on almost the exact spot that Tim and Charletta’s had almost 2 years ago. A lovely setting for a wedding, with lake, trees and sun all present and accounted for, it was a beautiful ceremony and one of the loveliest processionals I have seen at a wedding. It consisted of the bride and her attendants walking down one aisle singing an arrangement of Sweet Honey in the Rock’s “We are” and walking down the other aisle was the groom and his attendants playing egg shakers. Another great side effect to attending an old friend’s wedding is you get to reconnect with lots of other old friends and this was definitely true at Zeb’s wedding and then throw in watching one of your oldest friends look happier than he ever has and it adds up to a pretty great weekend.

After the wedding it was back up to Chicago for a few blinks of the eye, a load of laundry and a 4:30am wake up call in order to catch Tara and I’s flight back to Denver where I have been hanging out for the past 3 days.  During which I have caught up on my laziness by watching several episodes of Friday Night Lights, taking Tara’s dog Kona on walks, hanging out at the Tattered Cover in Denver and yesterday driving up to the mountains with Tara for some gorgeous views, twisty turns, and blueberry snacking.  We also have cooked two amazing dinners and played several rounds of Wii boxing in which I was completely obliterated by Tara.  Tomorrow morning I head out on another early morning flight to join up with Jess and Becca to visit Meryl, Katie, David and the rest of the seattle gang.

While this whole vacation thing has been/is great there is some appeal to heading back to Chicago in a week’s time and finally adjusting back to normal life just in time to start work and classes at the end of August.