Archive for April, 2009


things I like, in no particular order

April 26, 2009

– looking at my contacts on flickr and following comments through to random interesting people, till 30 minutes later I am looking at pictures of puppies taken by someone in Russia.

– sitting in coffee shops with good windows

– watching softball games on warm spring Sunday evenings

– paying bills early, because I have the money

– wearing vintage dresses from the 60s over my freshly shaved legs

– meatballs marinated in Sweet Baby Ray barbecue sauce

– and dippy leftover raw veggies in the extra sauce

– wearing my hair up in clips on humid days, so that lots of little tendrils fall in my face

– being only 3 pages away from finishing my spring semester classes

– giving presents to my brothers on their birthdays

– seeing kids riding on the handlebars of their older siblings’ bikes

– procrastinating


Day 5 & Day 6 (Easter)

April 21, 2009

Day 5

Day 5: Seattle Adventure started off much like earlier ones with some lazing about and discussions of the day, followed by big rush to successfully catch the bus.  Meryl and I rode the bus to Broadway Ave, where we checked ourselves into the very fun (lots! of! tattooed hipster stylists milling about) Rudy’s Barbershop.  They thankfully had no line for their walk-ins, so we each got claimed by a stylist.  Mine was really great and actually sat me in the chair for a bit and listened to me blather on about how I wanted me hair to be curly (it is really only wavy and partially at that) and how I didn’t know if I wanted bangs and could she please give me a great haircut?  Then it was off to washing and trimming and in the end (other than the over-product-ing that took place) was pretty darn pleased with the results.  Overall a pretty subtle change, more layers (texturizing, I think) and some intro bangs (i.e. shortish layers near my face) and basically the best hair experience I have had in number of years.  Meryl also got a bang-up job with some nice layers and very cool bangs, sort of her China haircut minus the mullet part.

We followed up our haircuts with brunch at Linda’s Tavern, which was yummy, filling and again filled with lots of west coast hipsters (attention women I recommend Buddy Holly glasses and skinny jeans, while men should go with even tighter jeans and plan knit stocking caps).  After getting full, we wandered around, stopping at various little stories in search of a replacement hat for Meryl (unsuccessful) and ending with a stop at this amazing costume/vintage store (that I forget the name of), where both Meryl and I found amazingly fun dresses.  And in Meryl’s case she was gracious enough to try out the yellow knit strapless pantsuit I found her, which was just as amazing as you can imagine (think Jasmine from the cartoon Aladdin).

Then in the evening, Meryl borrowed a Zip car and we abducted the lovely Katie for a wonderful gab fest, trivial pursuit dinner at Third Place Books.  It was the perfect way to spend time with two of my favorite women and it felt really refreshing to catch up on both of their lives.  Besides the Greek food we had was spectacular and I finally ended my days long quest to find a copy of “World War Z” which will play a major role in my write up of Day 6.  After supper we dropped off Katie at her house and headed back to Meryl to hang with the two out of town guests and David.  We lounged, lap-top-ed (I think we had 4 macbooks present for 5 people, plus two iPhones and countless iPods, what geeks!) and chatted until the hour became two late.

Day 6
Do to some last minute changes to accommodate two extra folks needing to get to the airport, Meryl drove  us there at the amazing hour of 5am.  I got my boarding pass (no checked luggage this time!) and started the internal debate of sleep vs. coffee.  This was pretty much solved for me when I opened up World War Z* and began to read.  Wow, talk about a world that totally sucks you in.  The book is set up as a collection of interviews that take place 10 years after the world finally fought of an apocalyptic zombie infestation (very infectious and very desiring of your brains).  Told in a straightforward, super realistic manner, this book completely and totally hooked me.  And exactly as Katie warned me, I spent the first week after finishing the book (it fit almost perfectly into my 4 hour plane ride, although I will admit I was so into the plot that I was speed reading), routinely analyzing my life and what I am going to do when the Zs start appearing. Now if you have no interest in long winded zombie inspired drivel, I suggest skipping to the end of this entry.

Basically when you are fighting a foe that 1) has no fear and no ability to communicate or surrender 2) multiplies itself by biting any nearby humans 3) can survive without water/sun/air you really need a great safe room, a ruthless and lots of ammo.  So first off my current house is completely out of the question, full of windows and connecting stairs, it would be impossible to defend.  However when I was walking by the church I noticed that it’s former use as a warehouse/factory could prove quite useful.  Mainly brick in construction with only two fairly easily defensible entrances (one is into a small alleyway that could be blockaded with little difficulty) and high set windows, it could be the perfect place to hole up and fight of the Zs.  But then of course the difficulty with living in a community full of pacifists is that I doubt many of the people I know have guns or weapons of any kind (except for Libby! dear lord she will be so useful when the Zs come!).  In the end I think my main chances of survival depends on having lots of warning and plenty of chance to get out of the city and join up with my family at the Goshen Gunshop.**

Okay enough with the zombie ramblings, the rest of my day was spent eating Easter dinner with my family and trying to plan out my very full upcoming week.  I should note that I do see the incredible irony of spending Easter morning reading a book about the resurrection of the undead while flying on  a plane halfway across the country.

*While I don’t recommend this book for the highly squirmish, I was actually rather impressed with the writing and the overall hopeful note that the human race would eventually be able to defeat even the undead.  I mean hey, zombies are much harder to crush than global warming people!

**Obviously I should consider reading this book next.  Also these sites might prove useful in your zombie apocalypse preparations.


My favorite fruit as interpreted by Writer’s Almanac

April 20, 2009

“The power of blue. Number one antioxidant fruit,
bantam-weight champ in the fight against
urinary tract infections, best supporting actor
in a fruit salad. No peeling, coring or cutting.
Lay them out on a counter, strands of blue pearls.
Pop one at a time, like M&M’s, into your mouth.
Be a glutton and stuff in a handful, your tongue,
lips, chin dyed blue, as if feasting on indigo.
Fruit of the state of New Jersey.
Favorite fruit of my mother.”

“Blueberry” by Diane Lockward, from What Feeds Us

I have always loved blueberries and today (technically yesterday) this poem was featured on Writer’s Almanac.  So I figured it had been a while since I had mentioned one of these poems and besides who doesn’t need a reminder right now that, yes, summer will eventually be here.  As usual, click on this link to go read the whole poem and while you are at browse around a bit, never a dull moment over there at Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor.


Update on Lent Resolutions

April 17, 2009

So I did end up buying any music or clothes last week?  Well yes on one count, but I feel that sometimes exceptions to Lent must be made for vintage purple pink paisley dresses that fit in all the right places and are an absolute hoot to wear.  However I did hold off of buying music at least until the evening of Easter in which I purchased the catchy amazing Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack (I finally saw the movie in Seattle with Meryl and David) and then last night I finally purchased my Avett Brother’s album.  In the end I don’t think my resolutions really caused me too much work, but they did make me think a few times and consider a bit more what I was choosing to spend my money on.  And so I think that is enough to call them a success.

Although right now I am more concerned with counting down this next 30 minutes and getting myself out the door and towards the weekend.


Day 3 & 4

April 16, 2009

So almost one week past due (which sounds about right considering my posting frequency as of late), here are the belated “daily” photos from my amazing spectacular visit to Seattle.

Day 3
I spent the first part of the day sitting on Meryl’s couch in my pajamas deciding how best to plan out my final day of solo Seattle wanderings.  I finally decided on the Frye Museum with a late afternoon meet up with David.  So I quickly looked up which bus to take there and how to find it and got on board.  It was only after the bus started moving that I realized I had not really paid any attention to the part about where and when to get off the bus.  Fortunately my bus driver was quite helpful (even to the point of repeatedly blowing his horn at the bus I needed to transfer too) and I got off on the correct street.  And all it took was walking a few blocks and a quick double checking of my route with Meryl and I got to the Museum.  I decided to get my lunch in its charming little cafe and I was so pleased to discover that they had a fancy Mac & Cheese on the menu, which was amazing.

After sitting, eating and a little bit of reading, I wandered around the Museum for about an hour and picked out which paintings I would buy for my friends if money were not object.  Have you ever played that game?  It makes wandering around a museum by yourself a bit more entertaining, but unfortunately due to a lack of legal photography I couldn’t actually record the paintings for my friends.  However one painting I do remember picking out for Steph, was one of a beautiful dancing woman who also happened to be Rilke’s lover (To see the painting go here, and click on the second image in the slide show).

After a nice time spent in the Museum I walked downtown and decided to use the excuse of a sunny day in Seattle to buy a new pair of sunglasses.  Then I met David at his super chic office (where he has an amazing window looking out on the sound!!!!) where I persuaded him to leave his laptop behind and show me the wonders of Top Pot.  Which in case you didn’t know has the best doughnuts in all of Seattle and possibly Washington State.  Then David and I headed off to this thing:

Where we looked at the city and saw this:

During our walk to the Needle, we made plans with Meryl to meet up, which meant we got enjoy a rather nerdy (and successful!) attempt to find Meryl through the free binoculars provided along the needle overlook.  We didn’t even need Meryl to set off any of those emergency flares she always carries around in her backpack.

The rest of the day was spent finding some dinner and then heading over to Katie and all’s lovely house for some game watching and chatting.  A round of Settler’s was finished and then a rousing game of taboo took place in which I managed to sneak onto the winning team.  After which we bused our way back to Meryl and David’s neighborhood and I fairly quickly and exhaustedly fell asleep.

Day 4
All of this day was spent sampling, purchasing, preparing, eating, washing up from and generally enjoying a Chocolate themed dinner.  Starting with the always amazing/delicious Theo Chocolate, we eventually worked our way to Pike’s Market for fresh produce and chocolate pasta (actually not as good as it sounds, unfortunately), and ending at a co-op on First Hill.  All in all, shopping by bus takes a little while longer than by car and we made it back to Meryl’s to begin preparations for our feast by around 4pm.  However throughout the shopping trip I kept getting distracted by all the beautiful trees containing lots of these:

The menu consisted of Baked Brie with Cacao Nibs and Lingonberry Preserves, followed by Chocolate Mole with homemade Tortillas and Cacao Nib and Baby Greens Salad with Sour Cherry vinaigrette.  And to top it off Chocolate pasta with Fresh Strawberries, homemade whipped cream and generous portions of Theo’s incredibly rich spiced Sipping Chocolate.  The evening was made even more exciting by the arrival of an old friend from college who had spent the week climbing Mount Rainier (a slightly bigger challenge than my “drink a latte from a different coffee shop in Seattle everyday ” goal of the week).  We were also joined by Katie and Brian, who graciously taught us a rather ingenious game called Munchkin.  Once again much fun was had by all and that night I once again slept the sleep of the contentedly exhausted.

Hopefully this weekend I will finally get around to added Day 5 and my few notes about my flight home, but in case you want a few teasers I will say those days included; haircuts, zombies, photobooths that didn’t “work”, trivial pursuit, hard cider, long flights and big Easter dinners.


Day 2 : Seattle night light

April 9, 2009
Seattle1.jpg, originally uploaded by AbbyN.

This is what happens when you take a picture of the skylight and sunset through the glass of the little pan-Asian place that you and Meryl eat supper at, around 8pm.  Other highlights from this day include the Seattle Public library, wandering around Pike’s Market by myself, visiting Katie, having a few beers (or in my case a hard cider) with Meryl, David and friends at a pub named the Stumbling Monk (a great name!).

While I do enjoy traveling with others, I am finding it kind of fun to have my days pretty much free to arrange in any order I so desire. And I even got up the courage to eat lunch in a busy little cafe by myself, although I did have a great view of the Sound and a good book to read, so that helped a lot.

Also Seattle continues to show me her sunny (if slightly cold) side, but apparently her mood is supposed to shift tomorrow, so I may find myself sitting in a coffee shop all day long.


Day 1 : Seattle

April 8, 2009

My goal for this Seattle Week is to post a picture everyday of neat things I see. Partly as an attempt to force myself to take more pictures and post them and partly as the ever-ongoing goal of taking better pictures.

This was obviously taken yesterday during my flight. I had a really great view of Mount Rainier and the Cascades as I few in, but I didn’t have a chance to post it last night. So hopefully there will be another photo later today to count for Day 2.


copied over from a Sticky note written at O’Hare airport

April 7, 2009

I am sitting here at O’Hare airport with my latte, check-in bag, scone from starbucks, backpack, coat and water bottle.  Unfortunately there is no free wi-fi in this windy city airport, which makes sense because nothing is free in Chicago.  So in case you all were wondering I did indeed recover from my nasty virus of two weeks ago.  But the suckiest part of being sick was missing my friend’s wedding in Goshen that weekend.  Despite the fact that my fever had broken by then, I just didn’t think it was wise to through a weekend trip into the recovery grab bag.  Which probably in the end was a wise, if frustrating choice.

The past few weeks have been full ones, I spent good portions of the past week dusting books, shelves and even heating vents at the library due to a spurt of spring cleaning brought on by my boss.  Probably the highlight of the week was discovering a secret vent hidden behind a book shelf, that had a layer of dust bunnies on it thick enough to put fur on a rabbit.  Sometimes I take a weird delight in random bursts of meticulous detail, so I removed the book shelf in front of it, dusted off all the books, unscrewed the vent, vacuumed it all out and then just to cap it off used a small screw to clean out each little indentation.   I figure this vent probably only gets cleaned once every 70 years, so it was due a thorough going over.

But now I am finally on my long awaited spring break and waiting to board my long awaited flight to Seattle.  I will spend the next week hanging out with David, Meryl, Katie, etc and visiting Theo Chocolates (I have about a gazillion orders from friends and housemates), the new and amazing Seattle Public Library, maybe swinging by Pike’s Market, finally seeing the Space Needle and possibly even a tulip festival.  While Seattle is not exactly a typical Spring Break destination, the fact that we had snow in Chicago this past weekend, will make even rainy days in the 50s a new kind of lovely.

In an interesting side note I am sitting across from a young mother with an infant and a rather adorably precocious toddler.  While the mother could be a bit older than me, we are most likely a similar age and I kind of wonder what she thinks of me sitting over here typing away on my laptop.  There are parts of me that would love to be where she is now (despite the harrowing 5 hour trip she is about to embark on, two children and no visible partner), there are other larger parts of me that is pretty thrilled to still be in the stage of life, where a cross-country flight is a much simpler, easier to plan event.

Oh and one more thing, for my flight entertainment I brought along a crossword book, a John Grishom novel, a thick novel about magicians in Victorian England and my camera manual which I am determined to finally read.  Any guesses what I will actually end up doing on my flight?