Saturday, December 31, 2011

Maybe Next Year

This week has been full of playing with my new toys, seeing friends, and trying sushi.  It seems in the blogging world that there has been a lot of planning and resolving for the new year.  New Year's is a strange holiday to me in that it never quite feels like a holiday, but that's a subject for another time.

If you're in need of some last minute resolution ideas, here are 5 Suggestions.

I will be making this Chicken Pot Pie at some point when I get back to Chicago.

This old Yes and Yes post in which Sarah Von imagines dressing as her heritage made me smile.

I will probably get one of these National Parks Passports because I'm outdoorsy like that.  Or at least I like to think I am.  Admittedly, I only discovered these existed because I've recently started following Campfire Chic.

How To Steal Like and Artist.  It's a bit long, but absolutely inspirational.

This week I like: rock climbing, Fringe, driving to parties in Marin, making vague plans of seeing old friends abroad, intellectual conversations that turn trivial in two seconds flat.

Hope you had a good week.  See you all next year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Right Then

{This week instead of doing a Right Now post I'm doing Right Then as an end of the year reflection.  Hope you like it.}

I tried to spend my time more wisely this year and was continuously trying to see where I could be doing things that would better myself.  I'm not sure that this directly lead to more activity, but I think it did make me more aware of the ways that I could be wasting my time less.  It's a start at least.

I took on more responsibility this year, work-load-wise and financially.  It was really comforting to be able to say that I feel prepared for being financially independent.  I know that I'm nowhere near that now, but I'm working with the stepping stones of it.  I also feel more confident in my ability to keep house.  It's strange how domestic I am sometimes, but I really like having a nice place to live in.

I started planning and organizing differently.  I've always been a pretty organized person, but when I moved into the new apartment in Chicago I kind of took it to a whole new level.  This has lead to more health contentiousness and more budget contentiousness.  Awesome.

I learned a lot about myself and how I deal with leadership (not well) by being a leader in InterVarsity.  I didn't really talk about the process and reasons for me leaving on this blog, and may never quite be comfortable enough to explain it on here, but suffice to say I learned a lot and grew in my faith and in knowing myself.

Overall I'm really happy with 2011, and I'm looking forward to what 2012 will bring.  Travel, planning, new projects, and new possibilities are all on the horizon.  Bring it on.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Around Town: Climbing SFMoMA

I've got climbing on the brain.  After a trip to Sports Basement last week all I can think of is when I'll get a chance to climb again.  I haven't been since October, and I'm really itching to go.  This lead to a lengthy discussion of instillation piece that's in the atrium of SFMoMA with my Grandpa.  I'm still a little puzzled as to the exact logistics of how it was done, but I think it's one of the coolest things there.

Of course, the exhibit we went to see, on Richard Serra's drawings, was no photography allowed.  I was a little ticked, but it was still a great exhibit.  Richard Serra is one of my favorite artists, because he forces you to experience his work, not just see it.  This showcase of his early work was a bit different then what I'm used to, but it was beautiful nonetheless.  One room in particular had two black canvases stretching to the ceiling.  When you enter the room completely you can feel the walls grow around you.  So cool.

These pictures are just general around the museum pictures.  Mostly the aforementioned instillation piece, and the sculpture garden.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Discovery: Once Upon a Time

People have been asking me all semester, have I been watching Once Upon A Time.  Well... no.  Based on the previews I figured that it would be overrated, and over budget.  I assumed that by now it would have already been canceled, and I wasn't too upset over it.  I was more interested in Grimm, NBC's response to the fairy tale that seemed more normal to me.

During the last few weeks of school I was implored over and over that I really must watch it.  People who know my taste were telling me that I would love it.  I was still reluctant, but figured that so many people couldn't be too far off base.  So I dipped a toe in when I went to a friend's house for dinner.  We watched the pilot.  Then the second episode.  I was very much so impressed.

First of all it was great to see Jennifer Morrison again.  She was one of the reasons I loved House as much as I did, and her smaller role in it was probably one of the factors in my giving up on the show.  It was nice to see her as more of a key player.  I think she did a great job and I can't wait to see more.

Can't wait to see more is the overwhelming feeling for this show that I wasn't planning on liking to begin with.  I guess I can't help it.  I think the idea is solid and workable, but I will admit I'm getting slightly confused.  The stories, especially in their fairy tale versions, are getting mixed up in my mind.  Is David/Charming the character from Snow White?  Or is he the dragon-fighter in the King Midas version?  Or both?  How?  As much as I like that they have plenty of different places to go, I'm also really hoping they have a plan.  Will it end neatly?  I know that's probably not what I'm supposed to be thinking so early in the game, but I can't help but wonder.

To some extent I don't even mind.  The whole show is a thing of beauty.  Between the intricate details of fairy land, and the spot on small town feel of Storybrooke, Maine, I don't care if I ever go back (Yes, I sort of used a baseball metaphor right there. Moving on.).  The details and thought put into everything brings me completely into their world.  And their wardrobes!  I'm usually not one for medieval dress, but these costumes are beautiful.  And the modern costumes too!  I want Mary Margaret's closet.  Peasant tops, A-line skirts, I'm taking notes people, believe me.

Over all I think it's fabulous.  The characters are true, and very well played.  It's absolutely beautiful, and double-worldly and twistedly wonderful.  And that cliff-hanger!  Let's just say that between this show, Sherlock, and Downton Abbey all returning in January, I'm very much looking forward to the new year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

This IS my Vacation (Links Post)

When I'm in school I don't ever have time to scroll far enough in Tumblr to see something I've seen before.  While I'm home on vacation this happens multiple times a day.  To me, vacation means the time to actually read everything in my google reader, and then laze around the house in my PJ's making cookies.  Maybe not glamorous, but good enough for me.  This results in a larger links post.  I'm pretty okay with that.

If you're more of a party person then I am perhaps these hair tutorials would be timely.

With New Year's just around the corner, it's about time to be thinking of Resolutions.  Perhaps filch some ideas from these lovely ladies, who are far ahead of me in planning.

I plan to make one of these in the near future.

And with all my new camera testing I will have to find a time to give this tutorial a shot.

I remember reading this guide to taking care of yourself sometime closer to when it was originally posted, but I found it again the other day, and am now thinking of how I'm going to incorporate some of the tricks into my life next semester.  That's the plan at least.

A few ideas for traveling.

On the art nerd side of things: that happened.

A sweet story about being kind to strangers.

This article on friendships is something I hope to take with me into the new year, growing the friendships that build me up, and checking in on the ones that may tear me down.

An answer to the whole, "Do they know it's Christmas?" debacle.

This week I love: Once Upon A Time (more on this at a later point in time), tea, cookies, Richard Serra drawings at SFMOMA, having clean teeth, spending time with old friends, and watching the stack of presents under the tree grow whilst wondering what's inside them.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Right Now....

playing bloggy catch-up after my break for finals.

celebrating quite a few things.  I got the job I wanted for next semester (though nervousness is beginning to take over), and I got in to a conference I applied to for this summer which means I'm going to be spending a month in Germany.

happy to be home.  San Francisco is home to fog, farmers markets, cable cars, and me.

seeing a lot of old friends.

planning on how I'm going to be using some of the presents I'm going to be getting (*ahem*rockclimbinggear*cough*).

spending time with family.  My Grandpa is hear to visit for the week, and my sister is fun to hang out with when she comes out of her room.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Tis The Season

It is worth noting that I have about 10 versions of this picture in trying to figure out what was up with  the camera.  I actually had to go to a camera store to solve it.  Turns out I just don't know how to use a camera.  Baby steps.
'Tis the season to talk about faith.  Because I believe that faith is true and Jesus is real.  Relatedly, I also believe that forcing other people to listen to what I believe isn't the way to make them change.  I know that I can't make people believe in what I believe, just like you can't make me believe that humans evolved from apes.  I'm not going to try, so feel free to leave now if you're uncomfortable.  I'll wait.

That being said, I also believe that there is a time and a place for religion, and Christmas falls under one of those times.  So, I will come out, tell you what I believe, and that can be the end of that.  Or the beginning, but that's more up to you guys.

I believe that Jesus is God's son who came to earth as a sacrifice for our sins.  I believe in the whole bit, the virgin Mary, the wise men, and the shepherds out in the field nearby.  I know that we live in a broken world, and I believe that Jesus came to put a stop to it.  I believe that's something to celebrate.  I believe in the forgiveness of sins, and in everlasting life in heaven.  I think there might be some credit to those conspiracy theories, but that's probably a conversation best had in person.

Three more days till Christmas.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We Smell Like Smoke

The Birthday Girl with her lovely boyfriend.
My friend Brittany's birthday was this weekend and so a bunch of us hung out at the beach, made a bonfire, and ate hot dogs and s'mores.  We watched the sunset and we were all taking pictures of everything.  Oh, the Waldorf children that we are.

This was the first time I've used this camera, it's a 6-year-old Nikon D50.  My dad got it for my mom as a present, but it was one of those presents that you say is for the other person, but is really for you.  When he upgraded, my sister laid claim to it, as I was uninterested at the time.  I commandeered it for while I'm home and may even take it with me back to Chicago.  Though, it doesn't seem to want to let me adjust the settings, so I'll have to get it checked out before I drag it all the way back.

Hanging out just before sunset (note the long shadows).

Owen finally arrived.

Playing with the light.

And practicing my framing.

My shoes.  Because I want to.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Better Late Than Never* (Links Post)

This weekend has been spent hanging out with my friends from high school, going to the farmers market with the fam, and taking lots of pictures.  There's something wonky with my my sister's camera that I am in need of fixing, so hopefully I will have some of the pictures up later this week.

In case of any last minute office holiday parties, let this chart be your guide.

I just found out that I will be going on a trip to Germany this summer.  Cheers!  If you're planning any big trips for the near or somewhat distant future, this guide may come in handy.  I know I'll be using it.

25 clever tricks including wrapping paper storage, cord labeling, and ice cream cone cakes.  Awesome.

Because biking is cool.  Especially if you're a girl in India.

This week I love: the 6-year-old camera I'm borrowing from my sister (she says I can take it back to Chicago with me), Nancy Drew Games, warm socks, being done with finals, being home in San Francisco, my church, and having all my Christmas shopping done already.

What will you guys be up to this week?

*I am going to try to have a regular link post, I was hoping to get it out Sunday, but it wound up being Monday instead.  Next time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Finals Week!

This is how excited I am that it's almost time for me to go home!
Finals week is this week and I'm so excited.  I have three exams, none of which I am especially worried about. I'm also super excited to be going home.  I hit up the airport Thursday night after class.  I'm pumped to go home and see my friends.  This will include going to my old school's nativity play, seeing my friend who spent the semester in Uganda, and giving my family Christmas presents that I'm super excited to give them.

All that being said, it IS finals week and I should probably go do some studying for those exams tomorrow.  Hopefully I'll be back with you guys on Friday, if not, I'll see you next week.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Right Now...

excited beyond belief to go home to San Francisco in two weeks.  Is that all?  It seems like so much longer.

slightly embarassed that I wound up writing a paper a whole week early fo my Monday class.  Whoops.  Oh well, now I don't have to worry about it.

ecstatic that I can go the weekend with minimal studying.  I have three exams, but all papers are done.

looking forward to this weekend's plan.  I'm going ice skating and then visiting the Chicago Christmas Market.

amazed at how positive this post is turning.

a little anxious about buying Christmas presents for family.  Thankfully I have a few checked off already.

cold.  We generally keep the heat off in our apartment to keep costs down, so if I get cold the best way to warm up is to cook something warm.  Unfortunately, that's not quite an option when you're knee deep into a research paper.  At 1am.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Not Hard To Feel Like A Badass... When It's 32 degrees

Last week I went rollerblading.  

I always talk on and on about how I don't want to let the weather stop from doing things outside.  I was thinking about this while on my way home one night last week, while thinking about how much I miss rollerblading. Then I got to thinking, why am I letting the temperature stop me?

So Friday morning I got up, put on my long johns and a sweatshirt, and went off on my adventure.  SO AWESOME!  There's something about being out on an empty trail and not being able to feel your fingers that makes you feel like you're on top of the world. 

And yes, it was cold.  Very cold.  But at the same time it was beautiful.  Beautiful in an eerie sort of way.  On my way South I got to ride down my favorite hill without even slowing down for potential run ins with other humans.  There was no one there to hit.  Turning back South I got to see the city skyline, and try to figure out what I think about the new Roosevelt Building being added to it.

I wish I could say I had pictures.  But alas, I'm sort of terrified of taking my camera with me.  It's sort of difficult anyway because of minimal pocket-age.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Right Now...

nervous, but confident about my job interview next week.  I think I'm going to get it, but the interview and application process is still a little nerve wracking.

beginning to get into the Christmas Spirit.  Ever so slightly.  I bought a chocolate advent calendar for December which makes me happy.  Looking for other ways to celebrate advent as well.

feeling the weight of the end of the semester.  I have a final paper to write in a week (it's my own fault for procrastinating), a few projects to do, and exams to study for.

thankful of my nerdiness allowing me to not study too much, but still get decent grades.  I go over my notes a few times, but I have never needed intense studying to get grades that I'm happy with.  I was even on the honor roll first semester (not sure that's ever going to happen again).  Hopefully I didn't just curse everything.

trying to figure out how to share work I've done in order to keep myself accountable, and be able to show off thing's I'm proud of, while at the same time not having to deal with copyright stuff.  Ideas welcome!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

21 Before 21: Finish a Knitting Project

Wearing my new scarf.  Scraggly ends and all.
I've been taught how to knit before.  That's why I wanted to finally finish something, I think it was sad that I'd never finished a project.  In some ways I knew this would be an easier goal.  Not only was it fairly easy, but it was really, really fun!  Once I figured it out I could watch TV and knit at the same time which was great because I always feel a little lazy if I'm sitting just watching TV if I'm not super invested in the plot (which lets face it, is often, but not often enough).

One thing I was really surprised with was the conversations that took place while I was knitting.  For some reason a college kid pulling out a half-knit scarf really throws people and can easily wind up in a philosophical discussion about women's roles, religion, or Amish people.  Interesting.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chicago DARSIT

Geeking out with my badge and program.
Where do I even begin?  Perhaps with the nearly two hour long trip it took my old roommate Sarah and I to get to Yorktown Center, where a conference actually called Chicago TARDIS, a tribute to all things Doctor Who, was being held.  We took two different forms of public transit from start to finish to get there.  We then paid the slightly painful price of $60 to get our badges allowing us free reign of the event space (clearly there will be more planning ahead next time).  And then, AND THEN we had a freaking blast.

This was the first time I'd ever been to a convention of any sort.  I wasn't sure about it.  I wasn't sure I would fit in because I didn't have enough time to make a costume.  I'm a normal girl with a bit of an obsession.  Who happens to want to work in the television industry.  That's what I was thinking, but I now quite clearly see that these reasons were exactly why I needed to go.

I needed the first hand knowledge that fandom was not completely crazy.  I needed to see for myself that nerds are awesome and I can fit in just fine with people if I just be myself.  I knew all of this before.  I just forget sometimes and need reminding.

Panels with titles like "People Dig Chicks Who Dig Time Lords" (It's a book.  Which I now own.), "I'll Tumblr For You", "If Silence Falls In An Empty Forest Will River Song Notice?", and "Inspector Spacetime: The Panel"; I nearly didn't know where to begin (and a call from my best friend while she's in London didn't help matters -- love you Al!)

These panel's taught me more that I ever expected to learn from a nerd convention.  I learned about creative licence verses sticking to the book.  I wrote down at least a dozen names that I need to have a proper sit down to google.  I got to know the entire history of a little known show called Inspector Spacetime all through the experts and show creators.  It was fabulous.

I think the best part of all of this was realizing how attainable it is.  With the Doctor Who fandom especially, the people who are now creating the show have been lifelong fans.  It's been around that long.  And the cycle will only continue.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Right Now I am...

nostalgic of Thanksgiving.  It's always my favorite holiday and this year has been no exception.

tearing up over the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.  I don't know why I get so emotional over this parade.  I love parades.  Yesterday I watched bits of the Chicago parade from out my window while eating breakfast.  It was beautiful.

dreaming -- for no particular reason at all -- what life will be like after school.  I know I will never be done learning, but I wonder what form learning will take.  I also rue the day where I don't have to do homework at night and can just sit at home and watch television.

planning for next semester.  I'm applying for on campus jobs, and recently registered for classes.  Organizing myself for more organizing and planning for studying abroad which will be happening a year from next spring if all goes as planned.

feeling thankful.  For all the family and friends that I didn't get to see yesterday, and for the one's that I did see.

"baking".  It feels wrong to say that making peppermint bark is baking, but I can't quite think of what other verb to use in that situation.

beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.  Breaking out the Charlie Brown Christmas music and making lists of who needs presents and things that need doing.

getting ready for Chicago Tardis!  I can only afford to go Saturday, but I'm super excited.  My old roommate and I are going together and we're getting together to make costumes today.  I am planning on creating a masquerade mask from paper plates and construction paper.  It's going to be awesome.  Expect pictures.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

My roommate last night, trying to stay up late so she adjusts to the time difference in San Francisco.  She's left early this morning; her perfect scenario. 
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

I knew when I started college that there would be a year that I wouldn't get to go home for Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday), and it appears that this is it.  I was working all afternoon and evening today and have work again bright and early Monday morning, so it made sense that this was the year I stay in Chicago.

Overall I think it's shaping up to be a pretty good weekend though.  Today I'm going to Grandpa's house for some Turkey and hoping to bring home plenty of leftovers.  Saturday I'm going to a Doctor Who convention with my old roommate.  I'm kind of super excited for the nerdiness that is sure to ensue.  Bring it on.

This year I am thankful for family, friends, and inspiration.  Speaking of inspiration, I'm working on a new weekly series that I'm super excited for -- get excited.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fascinating Stuff

I thought I'd share some excerpts from my weekend, because it was so interesting you guys (only half joking).

“American Icons”
This article talks about the characters on Jersey Shore, how they are becoming international stars, and how that represents Americans. As the audience of Jersey Shore is becoming international and the show is becoming more popular, international audiences are coming to view the people on Jersey Shore as the way that all Americans live. There has also been talk of filming Jersey Shore-type shows in other countries, with varied feedback. One documentary filmed in Saudi Arabia focusing on liberal young people was met with scorn in it's home country. It seems, the article states, that the world is always ready for American stupidity, but not willing to look at their own country in the same way.
I think this is a very fair assessment. I hate the fact that there are people who think Snooki is an example of all Americans, a clearly false idea. I can understand however, the reluctance to see your own culture under that sort of scrutiny, just as I dislike it. I think that as long as people can know and understand that the people on the screen are exaggerated characters, and not necessarily representative of the entire population, than shows like this are okay. But, a lot of people don't see that which creates problems.
Excerpt from my Marshall Field's paper:
D. H. Burnham was a successful architect who planned not only many of Chicago's building, but also came up with what he called “The Chicago Plan” of 1909, subtitled “Paris on the Prairie”. He is most noted for designing the structures that were used for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The Chciago World's Fair was the largest of it's kind and brought people from all around the world to see the city of Chicago who in turn got to see the feat of skyscrapers and cutting edge architecture that made Chicago different. This included the newly completed Marshall Field's Annex as well as the finery of Field's original store on State Street. The Annex is a mix of Chicago Style and Early Renaissance Style Architecture, creating a bold, angular structure save for a few entry-way arches. The building was loved by patrons and office works who ran their business from the top few floors, but scorned by many in the Chicago Architecture community. Louis Sullivan in particular critisized the building as the death of Chicago Prairie Style Architecture. Unfortunately for Sullivan this building, paired with the World's Fair (also called the Colombian Exposition), gave new rise to neoclassical revival Architecture in Chicago.

So, there's some interesting stuff.  Yup.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Right Now...

jumping on a band wagon that has probably been going around for a while, and following in the footsteps of SouleMama, The Frugal Girl, and my friend Paper Armor in doing a "Right Now" post.

bundling up for the cold.  Chicago weather has turned to winter and I couldn't be more excited.  I'm one of those weird ones who loves winter like you wouldn't even believe.

wearing lots of lovely layers.  Also, moccasins.  Because apparently moccasins keep you very warm.  Seriously, I'm not even wearing socks today.

knitting up a storm!  Elspeth, of the afore mentioned blog Paper Armor is teaching / reminding me how to knit and helping me through my first project.  I have about a foot of scarf going so far in a week.  which I think is pretty good time for a first project.

getting frustrated over a group project.  Earlier this week I saw a set of pie charts on what students are supposed to learn from group projects, and what they actually learn from group projects.  In the second chart the majority of the pie was "Trust no one".  That's kind of my life right now.

missing San Francisco.  My mom sent me a picture yesterday of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco covered in fog.

planning my meals out meaning I don't spend as much as I used to at the grocery store.  I still feel like we have a lot of food in the house, but I suppose that's good if I'm spending less money and not going hungry.

looking forward to next semester.  I'm getting the just-after-midterm-blues, plus last week I registered for next semester's classes.  Plus, I'm applying for a job for next semester (along with the Teacher's Assistant gig I have this semester), so I'm going to be busy, but it'll be fun.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm in Love with the Idea of: Drinking Beer in Foreign Countries

I'm a 20-year-old college student, so admittedly I have only drunk when in foreign countries.  No really.  Okay, not quite, but almost really.  Anyway, ever since a conversation that I remember overhearing about how real people drink beer straight from the bottle / can, and reading Gossip Girl after which I associated fruity cocktails with bratty, stuck up, rich kids; I thought that real people drink beer.  Straight from the can.  These "real people" may have a glass of wine at a dinner party or a specialty drink for different occasions (a mint julep while watching a horse race of example), but for the most part real people drank beer.

My problem is: I kind of hate beer.

Beer is light or dark.  It's thick.  It froths over the edges of the glass and makes strange patters on the glass.  Beer makes my teeth feel funny.  Funny in an icky, I-haven't-brushed-my-teeth-all-day sort of way.  Beer is sticky and smells weird.  I just don't really like it.

Cocktails on the other hand... brilliant.  Sugary, liquored up wonders that taste great and make me a little bit happy.  I can drink a few of those, but then again, that's not always the greatest idea in the world...

Friday, November 4, 2011

21 Before 21: The List

This will be an everlaaaaaasting love.  Oh wait, no.  This will be the post where I finally say my list of 21 before 21.  Twenty-one things I want to do before I turn twenty-one.  I've sort of kidnapped this idea from Sarah Von of Yes and Yes, so I always feel like I should give credit whenever I talk about it.  Go check out her blog, it's kind of one of the reasons I started a real blog.

Anywho.  21 Before 21 is my way of doing New Years Resolutions.  Some are more resolute-y than others, but the general idea is to get a bunch of stuff done throughout the year.  Since I have a September birthday it's also a great way of setting goals for the school year.  Well then, without further ado:
  1. Read the whole bible
  2. Go to a clothing swap
  3. Vote
  4. Create a Cookbook of Rachel
  5. Start and complete a knitting project
  6. Do a lead climb
  7. Go snowboarding with friends
  8. Go scuba diving
  9. Bake Bread
  10. Have a real sit-down dinner party
  11. Plant a mini herb garden
  12. Learn how to apply make-up
  13. 100 push-up challenge
  14. Improve my typing speed (I'm at around 60 wpm, and I think it's be really cool to get up to 80 or so)
  15. Dye my hair with Kool-Aid
  16. Go paint balling
  17. Get my fortune told
  18. Go for a month without looking in the mirror
  19. Skip class and go out to breakfast
  20. Go camping
  21. * <edit> Buy Christmas presents with money saved </edit>
The last one is an asterisk because I actually still don't know what it's going to be.  No clue, which is a little irritating to me.  Everything I think of is too simple or completely impossible.  Maybe it should be a reading one, but I wouldn't know what book (to be honest, the "grown-up" section of the library scares me a bit).**

So, there's the list.  I haven't really done anything yet other than start a bible reading plan that will get me through the whole thing (awesome).  I have some recipes collected, some people in mind for a dinner party, and a connection to go diving, but other than that... Let's do this.

<edited to add>I'm adding "Buy Christmas presents for immediate family with money saved" to the list.  In past years I've always gone to get Christmas presents for people with my parents and they they would pay for the gifts.  This year I'm going to buy gifts for immediate family and some friends with my own money.  I've already started looking, and it's turning out to be a little harder than I thought.  But no matter, I'm pretty determined about this one.</edit>

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Going Domestic

It feels strange to say sometimes that I enjoy (some!) housework, but strange as it is, it's also true.  As long as I am not be rushed through everything, then I don't mind doing the washing and the ironing, the cleaning, the cooking and the baking.  I recently came across a list of Victorian Era chores assigned to days of the week (HERE, through another post on THIS blog I follow occasionally).  It seems so simple, so obvious.

I remember that as I was growing up.  My mom stayed home with my sister and I and every day of the week was reserved for a different chore.  I'm not sure we had baking on our list, and Daddy did the grocery shopping, but every day was assigned it's own chore.  My sister and I were expected to help.  Especially on cleaning day, dusting and picking up our rooms.  On washing day we would sit on the bed sorting socks.

The list got me thinking of all the things that I should be doing on a more regular basis.  Washing, ironing, cleaning, and baking among them.  Why not have a day for blogging though?  I already schedule posts to appear later than I write them.  Or a day reserved for catching up on all my television shows (I'm a TV major, let me have my fun).  On the more practical side a day for sorting through everything on my desk and dealing with things that need dealing with.  A day to go to the post office (something that's been needing to happen more and more lately).  A day to double check that all bills are paid.  A day to check in with my roommate, a day to change the sheets on my bed.

I can't help by think that I used to have days for things like this.  I can't help but wonder what happened to them.  With my changing schedule and constant homework situation, balanced with my level of procrastination, I do things in strange sequences as of late.  Washing doesn't get folded until days later, and ironing nearly goes forgotten.  Baking happens when I suddenly get the urge late at night.  Shopping is unplanned.  And all this leads to me staying up late into the night, or things not getting done at all.

So starting now I'm re-evaluating my schedule.  I'm creating lists and there are going to be changes around here.  I wasn't even expecting that when I started writing this post, I sort of talked myself into it.  Just now in the last two paragraphs.  But I think it does need to be done.  Ask me about this the next time you see me, yeah?  Cause I have no idea how it's going to work out.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Around Town: Old Friends

Friends come to town and good things happen.

I feel woefully inadequate for creating this post now as opposed to when it happened just over a week ago.  Part of the reason for this of course is that I took no pictures.  I am horrible at remembering to take pictures when clearly pictures should be taken.  Though that's not to say that the weekend wasn't documented.  There were many pictures taken, just not by me.  (Pictures can be seen on my roommates blog HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE)  But regardless of the lack of pictures on my end, we all had a blast.

He was in Chicago to look at a school (I don't want to say which one because I haven't actually told him that I'm writing about him) that he may be coming to next year.  In Chicago!  Near me!  I'm trying not to be super excited about this, because I know college admissions can be tricky, but nevertheless I am very excited about the possibility.

Long story short the weekend was filled with staying up late, getting up early, eating out, the Girl Scouts (more on that in a later post), playing Nintendo in Wicker Park, wandering the city, good conversation, and frozen yogurt.  I wouldn't change anything.

It was strange to see him here in Chicago since I'm so used to him being in San Francisco.  Very strange.  Fun, but odd at the same time.  I miss him a lot since he's still in San Francisco and I'm here in Chicago, but that may change next year (*maniac grin*).  Of course all these people visiting this month has gotten me extremely behind on my chores and some of the homework things I should have been doing, but that's only half relevant, so we choose to ignore it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where are Your Feet?

I have rock climbed in various forms since 7th grade.  It started with weekly classes in middle school, when I broke my arm I took a really long break before getting back into it later in high school.  This past summer my friend Allason and I would go climbing together.  Usually in the morning before she had to go to work.  We would take turns on a few top rope climbs before she had to go, then I would bolder until I was sore.

One week this summer I showed her a boldering problem I was having a lot of trouble with.  I explained to her where my hands were, what point I was stuck on, and what I had been trying to do.

Then she asked the critical question.  Where were my feet?

Too far down was the answer in that situation.

But it got me thinking.  How often do we reach for something that is just out of reach?  We stretch so hard to try and grab something that we want to be ours, all in vain because it's just a bit too far.  What if our problem is not that what we're reaching for is too far, but that our feet aren't in the right spot?  The problem can easily be solved by adjusting our feet so that we can reach new heights.  Could it really be that easy?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

To Worship You I Come

In speech bubble: We are the Children of the King

Under speech bubble:
more than anything
we are his.  Light of the world
City on a hill, and this city is the
city waiting to be changed.

Under eye:
And the Rythem of the Night echos in my 
head with the beat of the drum following a thum-
thum-thum.  I believe and I know you
are Kind of all.  King of me at least.

In my InterVasity chapter we talk a lot about how we can use our art as worship in some way.  This is what I came up with when I was given the space to do just that.  Both the eye and the crown have been re-occurring themes whenever I draw these days.  It gives me the idea that God is watching over me.  The crown reminds me that I am an heir to the throne of heaven, just because I am a child of the King.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Way of Measuring a Relationship

A friend of mine had just entered a new relationship, and I called her to ask how it was going.  She chatted happily for a few minutes, but before long I got to ask her something.  "Is he Rob to your Laura?" I asked.  She laughed.  And laughed.  And then quieted.  She thought about it for a while, but said she would have to get back to me on that one.

Rob and Laura are television characters.  Specifically they are the husband and wife on the Dick Van Dyke Show, which my friend and I were practically obsessed with at the time of this conversation.  If you've never seen the show then you should, but for the sake of this post I'll summarize their relationship in two words: absolutely adorable.  They are quite possibly my favorite TV couple ever (which is saying something).

The more I think about it though, the more I realize that this is how I measure relationships.  I compare a real life relationship, weather it be mine or someone else's, to a fictional one.  Josh and Donna.  Angel and Buffy (or Spike and Buffy later).  Chuck and Sarah.  These people are fictional.  It is completely unfair to compare them to people who I know and care about, but I do anyway.  How can a fiction relationship -- where any nuance can be answered away in a short scene and then never mentioned again -- compare to a real relationship where brokenness and hurt feelings linger for days, weeks or even years?  The answer: it can't.  But we do it anyway.

Some people are destined for each other.  Like Ross and Rachel.  But Ross and Rachel had a team of writers behind them making sure that everything worked out perfectly.  In real life it doesn't work like that, no matter how much you believe in destiny.

What is my "destiny"?  What is your's?  I believe that we create our own destiny.  It's impossible to tell how our lives will turn out in the end.  All we can do it make the best choices we can, and trust that God will provide.  He always does.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Only You: Bananagrams Poetry

Only You
The Antwerp replies
Can fully interpret April's cries
These pictures a quite old, but the meaning is still there.  I was bored, there were Banangrams tiles.  This is what came of it.  I hope very much that this can start happening more often as it was truly a jump start to my inspiration.

Under layers of beauty and laughter and rain
Comes finding the lovely in pleasure and pain

Rain makes the sun shine brighter

Paris and Rome have nothing on my San Francisco
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

20 Before 20: A Disappointing Wrap-Up

As many of you know it was a goal of mine to attempt 20 new things before my 20th birthday.  Sadly my birthday has come and gone, and half the list goes undone.  I hold out hope for next year though as I am putting the finishing touches on the 21 Before 21 list, and putting in place plans to actually go do the things on the list.  Yeah.  Anywho, here goes; the list of 20 things that were done or not done by my 20th birthday.

1.  Have a fancy tea party.  Not done, but I threw one for my old roommate's birthday which was immediately after mine.  Counts?
2.  Try out a crown braid.  DONE.  Has become a near-staple.
3.  Knit a hat. Not done, learning this winter from Elspeth.
4.  Bake a pie.  DONE.
5.  Read the whole bible.  Not done, on the list for next year and already working on it.
6.  Sew a pair of pants.  DONE.  Sort of, shorts count.
7.  Grow a herb garden.  Not done.
8.  Go on a hike.  DONE
9.  Go to a real concert.  DONE
10.Learn to navigate by bike  DONE
11.Send a care package.  Not done.
12.Organize a clothing swap.  Not done.
13.Learn to apply make-up.  Not done.
14.Be in a performance.  DONE  Sort of.
15.Go to a Critical Mass ride.  Not done.
16.Teach myself to play a song on the piano.  Not done
17.Post poetry online.  DONE
18.Skip class and go out to breakfast.  Not done.
19.Try yoga.  DONE
20.Go camping.  Not done.

Total things done: 9
Total things not done: 11
Things from this year on next years list: 7

Next week look for my new list of 21 Before 21.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Around Town: Austin

So, in keeping with tradition, I will do a post on my weekend trip out to the Austin neighborhood for my InterVarsiy chapter's retreat.  I feel like I should put a disclaimer here that this isn't a normal "Around Town / Around the World" post in that I didn't go to Austin for a vacation like the other places I've written about so far.  Also, I am notoriously bad at remembering to take pictures, and since the weekend was so short I have no pictures whatsoever.

Now that all is out of the way let's get down to it.  I went to the Austin neighborhood with a handful of other members of my school's InterVarsity chapter.  We meet up with a handful of students from DePaul University's InterVarsity chapter as well.  On Friday night we spent time getting to know each other, eating way too much cheep, off-brand candy, and talking about what God is doing in Austin.

And God is doing so much.  Austin is a neighborhood that was radically changed in the 60's with white flight and is now a heavily black neighborhood where a significant percentage (I don't remember the number) of the population is living under the poverty line.  I struggle sometimes with how I should be dealing with race in my daily life and this retreat was occationally uncomfortable in that I was usually the only white chick there.

Being the minority is a switch for me as in most other places I am the majority.  I was a good experience for me to be the one that looks out of place.  My school is big on diversity and is always bragging about our amount of diversity, but I find that it isn't mentioned much outside of the admissions process and the office of Multi-Cultural Affairs.  The thing is though, that we are all broken people.  "Black", "white", "red", "brown", "yellow", what-have-you, we are all broken somehow by the pain and hardships that come with living.

The amazing thing is the community that grows when people are in such tough situations.  On Saturday I went with a small team to a local church and we helped them with cleaning their sanctuary; sweeping, mopping, cleaning bathrooms and polishing pews.  I learned that the church building is nearly a hundred years old and was built as a catholic church.  The current owners of the building are a Baptist church, and they've been there for 18 years.  The church congregation has been meeting in some fashion for nearly 50 years in the same neighborhood.

Saturday night we went out for Soul food (am I spelling that right?), and debriefed with each other talking about what we'd done in the afternoon.  Once again we ate too much food.  This time it was more nutritious than candy.  That night I sang hymns because I freaking love hymns.  Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em.  Apparently this is abnormal for a person my age.  I don't even care.  I could also talk for a very long time about stained glass windows, but I'll spare you.  For now.  I feel like there will be a post about one or both of these subjects at some point in the future*.

My love of hymns was actualized even more so when we sang a few in church Sunday morning.  I was in awe of the love and peace that surrounded the church.  The sermon talked about a lot of things, but the part that especially stuck with me was the mention of tithing.  I needed that reminder and still do as I figure out my finances for the rest of the school year half based on the atypical month of September.  Which is now October and feels to be very officially fall.

The chill in the air followed me back all the way to the Loop as the whole lot of us took the green line home again, home again.  Beginning again with "normal" life was a bit of a strange experience.  There was homework to be done, dishes to be put away, and Doctor Who to watch (Umm, guys?  Doctor Who? Anybody?).  Good-bye Austin.  You've taught me much, and I wait to see what else I have to learn.  Thank you for letting me stay, and bringing me back.

*But I also promised a post on farmers market meals and an "Around the World" post for my Denver / Boulder.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Discoveries: September 2011

I want to start a series I'm going to call Discoveries.  On the last Friday of each month I will post a short list of things that I have discovered (or perhaps re-discovered) throughout the month that have made me smile.  To some of you, these will be old news, but perhaps you will discover something along the way.

Peanut-butter honey sandwiches.  Pretty simple -- bread, peanut butter, honey, done -- but so amazingly wonderful.

Reading.  This one is a re-discovery.  I feel like I rediscover reading every few months and it's better every time.  Right now I'm about a quarter way through a collection of travel essays.  Awesome.

New TV Shows to watch.  I'm loving the premieres these past few weeks.  My new favorites are New Girl, Up All Night, and Pan Am.  I just want new episodes of these to be on at all times even though I know that would result in me getting absolutely no work done.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Beauty in the Broken: Waldorf

I often find the things that are the most broken and beat up the most beautiful as well.  Anything can be beautiful, you just have to look hard enough to find the beauty in it.  Sometimes it's hard.  Sometimes it's buried underneath layers and layers of history and pain.  Sometimes the ache has instead brought the beauty to the surface in a way that wouldn't be possible otherwise.  

The fact that this former mining town is called Waldorf is not lost on me.  I wonder what the name comes from.  I know only the connotations it holds for me, not the history of the name in this place.  We had a bumpy ride up through a dry creek bed and we went in the complete wrong direction, but eventually we found Waldorf.  Gold flecks glimmered in the dirt piles as we ate lunchmeat sandwiches made that morning.  The place felt familiar.  Like an old friend.  Perhaps it was the shared name with my school.  Perhaps the quiet.  Perhaps more.  I think most of all it was the silence.  The thought that no one had lived here, truly lived here, in decades.

It was beautiful.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I'm hoping that my guest post over at Taylor Yves blog Greater Things will kickstart me back into blogging more regularly.  Especially since I've been doing so many cool things since school started.  Click HERE to read my guest post listing all the things I love about Fall.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today We Remember

This is no way to convey my want for a moment of silence in words.  No thought of how to say what I'm feeling without tripping over my speech.  I will never fail to recognize this day in some small way.

I have no picture for today.  Not even an image could create what I want to say.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Muffins and Tea

The calm before the storm this week is.  Or maybe the storm before the calm depending on how the next few weeks turn out.  Next week I start my second year of college.  I feel like the time has flown by at lightning speed and I don't even know what to expect out of this year.  For now I'll just sit at my little IKEA table, eat my muffin, and drink my tea like a normal girl.  I have no idea what comes next, but I couldn't be more excited for the unknown.

Bring it on.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Home from Denver today.  I had a great time doing a bunch of crazy stuff, but more on that later.  The more exciting part about coming home is getting the apartment ready for my new kitty!  I got a call from my Uncle just before I left that some friends of ours were looking for a kitty-home while they go off on a crazy trip of their own.

No pictures yet (we're a little bit camera shy), but my roommate and I are now the proud owners of our own grey and white, middle-aged, slightly chubby, borrowed cat.  I'm very excited as I was considering adopting a cat before and one came around looking for a home.  I think this is going to be an interesting semester.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Before and After: Haircut

Okay, so this before and after isn't so much my own work as the last one (well, actually the before kind of is).  But I wanted to show off my new haircut because it's fun.  Not a massive change, but a fun story anyway.

Ever since I found a coupon last semester for a $10 haircut at the Sassoon Academy here in Chicago, I've waiting for a chance to use it.  This week seemed like my chance.  I made an appointment and walked to the salon.  When I checked in the receptionist had me sign a wavier.  Basically saying that I was going to get my hair cut by a student and I couldn't sue them if it flopped.  Scary.  Even scarier was waiting in their cafe while people bustled around the salon, also looking nervous.

A man came through and talked to each of the 6 or 7 of us who were wearing those hideous black gown things (and I put thought into that outfit), asking what we wanted done today.  He almost immediately looped back to me and asked if I would be his model for the class today.  Umm, okay, why not?

A few minutes later he brought me into a room with a dozen or so chairs and about half that amount of students.  He asked me to repeat what I had wanted and then explained (to them) what he was going to do.  When I came back from shampoo, he was drawing on the white board and telling a story.

Through the whole haircut, he explained the theory behind how he was cutting my hair.  Everything from the direction he was cutting to the angle he was holding the scissors.  I can tell you a lot about how my hair is.  My favorite was the bangs as he explained how it was all different lengths and he called it fringe.  I felt quite silly for calling it bangs after that.  Also, I'm not allowed to cut them anymore.

In the end my hair is nearly the same length, but the ends are a thousand times cleaner and it looks a lot more professional.  I guess we'll see how it looks after the first wash, but I love it so far.  And the best part was that it was completely free.  I stopped by the receptionist and she was all, "It looks great, hopefully we'll see you in a few months."  I went out and walked a block before I realized that I hadn't paid.  When I went back she said that August is their free month.  What's better than a $10 professional haircut?  A FREE professional haircut.  Awesome.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Before and After: "Wit Beyond Measure"

The before picture.  Or the first picture I remembered to take because I had kind of wanted a before picture.

Before and after pictures of the bookcase that I was working nearly two weeks ago now.  My whole living room was a disaster area for a week and a half, but I'm really happy with the results.  I got the two bookcases for free.  I had been working on a project where they were set pieces and asked if I could have them.  It was a fun project to fix them up.  I scraped all the hardware foam off one of the cases, and off the removable shelves of the other, then painted the case and shelves to coordinate nicely with my room.

I painted an inscription on one of the sides, and still want to do the other as well.  The first says "Wit Beyond Measure is Man's Greatest Treasure," from Rowena Ravenclaw out of Harry Potter.  I haven't quite decided what I want the other side to say.  At first I wanted to pick something from Doctor Who, but I think the poster (see below) covers that obsession.  Now I'm thinking I may put something out of Firefly.  If I do it will most likely be "Burn the land / Boil the sea / You can't take the sky from me." out of the theme song.

Mostly clean

Taking a break.  My feet are covered in sparkles and pink paint.

The finished product
Next to my massive Doctor Who poster
Inscription says, "Wit beyond Measure is Man's Greatest Treasure"  a quote from Rowena Ravenclaw out of Harry Potter.  What can I say, my nerdom knows no bounds.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Around Town: Rocks and Stuff also: Denver

On my way to Denver today.  Going to visit my Uncle and do some rock climbing.  I'm pretty excited for this trip even though it is pretty short.  It will get me out of town before school starts which will be nice, and it will also give me a chance to go rock climbing outside.  I've only ever been indoor climbing, and I'm kind of addicted.  So today, a few pictures of my bestie Allason and I climbing in good old San Francisco.

While I'm gone I have a few posts lined up.  A few before and after projects that I've been super excited to show off.  Catch you on the flip side.

This chica is about to embark on a crazy awesome trip to Uganda and the Congo for a few months.  I'm so excited for her and I'm praying for her so much!  I'm going to miss her like mad, but I think after all is said and done she will be coming to spend some time in my bathtub (sorry, inside joke).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Can't Take the Sky From Me

This past Saturday I, in a display of complete nerdom, went to an event called Can't Stop the Serenity.  It was a charity event supporting a charity called Equality Now, supporting women's rights around the world.  For me, it was more of an opportunity to see Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog and Serenity on a really big screen than anything else, but that it benefits charity is an extra plus.

There was an auction, and a costume contest, and a friend of mine that come into town to come see it with me.  So much fun.  Next year I want to enter the costume contest.  So much.  I'd never been to something like that before and it was really fun to be around a bunch of other people who also loved something as much as I do.  It was hysterical to see "Fandom" used as a legitimate word in conversation.  And by hysterical I mean awesome.

As a bonus, yesterday my roommate and I went to Borders to check out the reduced price duds for their going out of business sale.  I snagged a few seasons worth of TV including.... Firefly!  I've seen it all before, but it will be nice to have it legally in a hard copy and to see the special features.  An in-depth consideration of all things Joss Wedon is inevitable, I'm sure.  I just have to see some Dollhouse so that it can be a bit more well rounded.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tell Me a Story

I have always been addicted to storytelling.

As a child I was happy just creating a story and a character in my head.  Imagining for a moment what it would be like to be someone else.  Someone older or younger or louder or prettier or meaner.  Someone from a different time period or someone from a different world.  Whatever it was, I would rather be lost in the world of the story than living in reality.  I was constantly consuming new stories, new ideas, and new worlds.

When I was a pre-teen I discovered a new kind of storytelling.  I found a whole slew of new worlds lived right inside of my TV.  I was drawn in by the characters that these worlds presented.  It didn't matter to me that there was murder and gore in CSI.  The graphic nature of House didn't phase me.  I focused instead on the characters, the relationships.  I watched Booth and Bones squabble, Ducky of NCIS talk to corpses, and Margret scream at people on M*A*S*H (I like to think that even as a middle schooler I had good taste in television).

In high school it only got worse as I discovered The West Wing and following 30 Rock.  I longed to create my own characters, but couldn't figure out how to make them realistic.  I took Creative Writing, and I had my first stab at NaNoWriMo (and failed miserably).  I learned that anything could be interesting if I took the time to find the story that was in it.

Now I'm learning even more about how to create drama, and how to make characters seem real.  I'm looking forward to a day when someone will be able to connect with what I've written and believe in what I'm saying. This year I'm thinking about trying NaNo again.  I want to get into a habit of writing more often and between school and this blog I hope to be overflowing with ideas.  Can't wait.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Coming Soon

I've been working on a project recently that I'm excited to show off. For now let's just say that my feet and nearly my entire apartment has been covered with glitter lately. That part I'll be happy to be done with soon.  Meanwhile I'm putting the finishing touches on a bookcase I'm redoing and I should have pictures for you guys soon.
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Friday, August 12, 2011

This Moment

Today I walked down to the library to try and get a book for a mini-book club a friend and I are starting, and was struck by the amazingness of Chicago and of how far I've come. My family as a whole is from here, but my imediate family spent so much time moving around that I didn't know where to call home. I would come to visit, but never to stay.

Two years ago I was passing though. Quite literally, my mom and I were on a road trip from our former house in New Jersey, bringing the car to our new home of San Francisco. I toured my school for the first time on that visit. And I got a chance to see my crazy Uncle who was, at the time, home from working in Bagdad. I was so happy to see him, and so excited to be in the city. Expectant and nervous about the future. Uncle John told me that I would be back, and he presented as if I didn't have a choice in the matter. I laughed, but the funny thing is that I'm not so sure that I did have a choice in the matter.

Last year I was back again, preparing for moving here, attending college orientation. I was here, but also still competely invested in my life in San Francisco. To some extent I still am. I was a little scared, but putting on a brave front of not minding.

And now. Now I am here for the long haul. I have an apartment in a location I love. I have a growing support system here in Chicago that includes not only family, but classmates, friends, and members of my church as well. I am excited as ever to continue to explore the city and learn even more through school, church, and life in general. I'm excited to be able to share it all with this here blog as well. I don't know how many people are reading, but I'm glad to be able to put these thoughts into the world. I'm sorry if I seem to be waxing poeticly positive nonssence quite a bit recently, but I'm very excited about living right now and I hope it's not too over the top.

Also, how do you like my hat?  I just got it the other day and I'm wearing it everywhere!  Can't get enough.
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