Archive for November, 2011


Day 30 – Last day of NaBloPoMo

November 30, 2011

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!


Day 29 – Long Travel Day

November 29, 2011

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.


Day 28 – Fun links for Monday

November 28, 2011

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.

Is it a giant photograph or just a bunch of sprinkles?

Beautiful time lapse video of the earth taken from the International Space Station via Kottke


Day 27 – Photo Sunday

November 27, 2011

Anne has the best kittens

Yeah for girl friends!

Kate and Joseph


Day 26 – Books I have read

November 26, 2011

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.


Day 25 – Random Thought

November 25, 2011

As Thanksgiving usually is, yesterday and today have been full of food, friends, games and even a bit of shopping (but just to the more budget friendly local thrift store). I arrived midday yesterday into Chicago and have been enjoying the chance to catch up with a plethora of friends, many of whom are back in town for the holidays and my friend Kate’s wedding tomorrow! This weekend is making me thankful for the following things:
-sleeping in
-Becca’s crazy good pies!
-homemade stuffing
-blue skies
-playtime with 6 gorgeous kittens
-conversation after conversation with my much missed girlfriends
-the 5th Game of Thrones book to make plane rides go quickly
-the way walking up the steps of my old house makes me feel like I never left
-finding ridiculous faux fur coats in thrift stores
-getting hugs from and trading head rubs with Becca and Jess
-not being at work
-knowing that instead of heading home to Seattle, I get to head on to Goshen to see my wonderful family!

I hope you all are having great times with family and friends!


Day 24 – Guest Post: Thanksgiving Edition

November 24, 2011

I hope you all are enjoying this wonderful Turkey based day.  Currently I am flying over a good portion of the US, to make it to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving with friends.  So this guest post is brought to you by the wonder of scheduled posts and the awesomeness that is my approximate 18 year friendship with David.  And you can tell we have been friends for so long because a) we feel free to post potentially embarrassing photos of each other from middle school and b) we are soon going to be roommates!  

Abby and I go way back, to grade school when her family moved to Goshen and started attending my church. Her brother Jonathan and I became fast friends when we discovered that both of us were interested in computer programming and constructing strange contraptions to shoot things at rabbits in the yard…but since I was spending so much time at his house I got to know Abby as well. At some point we decided that our relationship could be classified as “budder and frester” (I can’t remember where the terms originated but the idea is almost-but-not-quite brother and sister). Since my guest blog post happens to coincide with Thanksgiving, I’m going to give thanks for my long friendship with Abby by reminiscing over some old photos of good times we’ve had together over the years.

In 2000 our Academic Superbowl social studies team won state!

Hiding out from a storm in a tent in the Boundary Waters, ca. 2002.

We were both in the awesome History of the Southwest class in southwest Colorado in May 2004.

Exploring Seattle during one of Abby's many visits before she finally up and moved here.

Checking out the red floor at the central library in Seattle.

On the Capilano suspension bridge with friends in Vancouver last summer.

By the way Abby and Meryl make awesome water buffalo, at least when they can manage to keep a straight face.

Don’t miss the entire series…go here and press the play button:

And finally, a shot from Abby's parents' recent visit to Seattle. (John is blurry either because of my poor phone-camera skills or because he was starting to grab for the cupcake.)

In case you haven’t heard, Abby and I have just rented an apartment together in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, so I’m looking forward to more adventures together over the next year!


Day 23 – Outfits

November 23, 2011

Here are three outfits I wore last week, as always click through to Flickr if you want the details and as a bonus, check out Alex’s new Viking look! 🙂

Last Wednesday
Nov 16th - mid-week work outfit

Last Saturday
Nov 19th - Wore this on a Saturday trip to IKEA and a game night with friends

Last Sunday (taken in my new apartment!)
Nov 20th - Wore this to church and a concert

Alex gets in touch with his Norwegian roots!


Day 22 – Cooking with Abby

November 22, 2011

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:

Assemble the ingredients

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.

Carefully prepare the ingredients

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 watch some West Wing while you wait for the food 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]

Supper is served


Day 21 – Monday Links

November 21, 2011

I think this video is definitely a finalist in Winning the Internet award. Have you ever wondered what how Gollum would handle a night of karaoke? Look no further my friends, look no further. Gollum sings “I will survive”

Good argument about why Wikipedia should not be taken for cold hard fact even with those reassuring citations

Even if you don’t live in Chicago, if you have to ride public transit with any regularity, you will definitely identify with Erini’s list of “13 rules for a tolerable CTA bus experience

Andy Baio takes 4 different videos shot of UC Davis campus police directly spraying demonstrating students with pepper spray and synced them. This is a great example of how citizen based media is the future.