Blog victories, Costco, and power outages

So those of you who are friends with me on Facebook already know a bit about my frustrating/fun experience last night trying to update WordPress on my blog. From my younger brother programing his first game before high school, to my Dad managing servers for a living, I have always been surrounded by techie people. I too enjoy techie things, however I have never advanced any of my skills to actually be more than a generalist of a few, master of none. This also means that I have asked for a lot of technical help over the years and always appreciated my friends and families willingness to help. But this also means that when I do find ways to push my own skills and do things all by myself I tend to get prouder than a toddler with a new skill.

With that in mind, last night I got quite frustrated when I discovered that the one-click update for WordPress wasn’t working on my blog. I did most of the troubleshooting I knew, but quickly discovered I was going to have to do a manual update. So after failed attempts to use my host webFTP panel, I downloaded Filezilla. Then after nervously deleting old files off my blog (half convinced that I was going to break the whole thing) I uploaded the new files and successfully updated my blog! In other words, Alex had to deal with both a very grumpy and then positively gleeful Abby last evening.

Costco haul
Okay, on to the Costco. While I had been to Costco briefly before for work, I had been fascinated by this concept of bulk goods for everyone and so I persuaded my co-worker to take me shopping with her. And wow, from flats of apples, double gallons of milk, packets of 5 dozen eggs, to baking powder that comes in 3 pound jars, Costco is a fascinating place. However the best find of the day was discovering that one of my favorite cheeses (a local one called Beecher’s Flagship) was literally 1/2 the price than in a normal story. Granted you need to purchase 1.5 pound of it at a time, but that was a sacrifice I was willing to make.

Other news from Seattle, last night we had a rather massive wind storm with big gusts and apparently some tree limbs managed to cause some nasty damage in North Seattle which resulted in Katie and Bryan loosing power. Not wanting to lose the food in their fridge and freezer, they brought their perishable goods down to use in Ballard and in return we got their lovely company this afternoon. A rousing game of Tichu was played (men against the women as is traditional). The men took an early lead when Alex granded and then went 1-2. Then (following Jonathan’s rule of three power cards in the first hand) I granded, but lost. But Katie and I diligently worked our way back up, but in the last round Bryan pulled of an impressive late round Tichu, leaving Alex and him victorious.

But the biggest surprise of the afternoon wasn’t the Tichu, but instead the Soda Stream that Bryan and Katie gifted us. One part thank you gift, one part early Christmas, their gift was both incredibly touching and a truly unanticipated surprise. This past year has been an wonderful chance to get to know them both more and they have both helped me begin to get a sense that I do indeed have a community here in Seattle. And in addition to the incredible kindness, we now get to have all the sparkling water we could dream of (at least until we have to replace the carbonation cylinder…).

So there you go a rambling and mostly un-edited recap of my day. I hope you all had a good one too!

Weekend Recap

While it is already Monday evening and therefore 1/5th the way to the next weekend, I wanted to tell you about my weekend. Although nothing inherently a bunch of little things added up to a really good two days. Here are some of the highlights:

  • I alphabetized the spice rack, which was both eminently satisfying and quite fun. I think it may be too long since I got to shelve any books….
  • David came over for supper on Saturday night and I made groundnut stew and served some gjetost cheese that Alex’s Mom gave us to try. It is slightly sweet, smooth, nutty and vaguely similar to velvetta cheese, if velvetta was made out of goat’s milk and not assorted squeezed oils.I tried some Gjetost, the Norweigian cheese.
  • I enjoyed attending the first Sunday of Advent at Alex’s church where they believe in very large, very real Christmas trees, which are both a delight for the eyes and a delight for the nose. Additionally church contained not one, but two precociously adorable toddlers in fancy dress who sporadically wandered the pews.
  • Saturday I enjoyed doing several loads of laundry for which I neither had to haul anywhere, pay anything or generally do more than transfer to washer, dryer and then  closet. I wisely used this freed up time to play a rousing couple rounds of Civilization 5.
  • Alex and I’s project of consequence was the organization of the oddly shaped (and up until this weekend, completely unaccessible storage closet. During this process I learned several things including the fact that in this area of the country, one must never store china on shelves, but it should be rested on the floor. Apparently earthquakes don’t look too fondly on breakable things being too far away from the ground, so one must take precautions.* We then of course applied extra cushions by carefully stacking empty boxes over the (now boxed) china. So here are the completely unimpressive looking, but oh so much better storage closet photos.After Closet OrganizationSame "After" Closet picture, different angle

* I refuse to consider what this rule of thumb implies about the fact that my apartment rests 6 floors away from the ground….

I moved this weekend!

So the big news about this weekend is that I moved in with Alex (yes this Alex). I have been reticent to share this news for two reasons.

The first is that coming from the background I come from, I tend to get a range of reactions to this. For some of my friends, the response tends to be “Congrats, that’s really exciting!”. From other (and no less loving sources) the response tends to be more mixed. You see, being a Christian and sharing an apartment with your boyfriend are two things that don’t always mix well in people’s mind. But for me and Alex that paradox isn’t a problem.

The second is that writing about the personal details of my relationships is not something I like to do too much of on this blog. So suffice to say while I love Alex dearly and am really excited to be taking this step with him, I also don’t feel like going into all the points along the way that lead us to this decision. That said, if you do happen to know me in real life (in any capacity really) feel free to email me directly if you would like to talk more about this. While I have been horrible about email this fall, I have every intention of making up for lost time.

Without further ado, here is a picture taken from my new living room of the brief patch of blue sky that existed in Seattle today:

Seattle had a completely legit patch of blue sky today!

Day 6 – Nothing much to report

Dinner is served!
Today at work, I had a bad headache and was very tired of looking a computer screen by the time I made it home. But making a delicious spaghetti dinner (with meatballs!) and a side dish of roasted brussel sprouts for Alex and David helped turn the day around. Then David baked more of his incredible sourdough bread (with his very own homemade starter) and Alex and I watched the 3 most recent episodes of Community.  Of which, I have to say, every time I think it just can’t get better than this, that show manages to top itself. It truly is the funniest thing on television right now.

But now it is 10:30pm, so it is off to bed for me!

Ah, what a refreshing week break from blogging

The thing about doing NaBloPoMo every year is it tends to make the holiday season even more discombobulated. Thanksgiving tends to pop out of no where and then before you know it the month is over, you are freely admitting to listening to Christmas music on repeat and you still haven’t bought Christmas presents yet and realize your idea of getting a Christmas tree in your new apartment will have a very short window for display if you don’t get a move on.

So yes, new apartment! In just a few short days, the last of the faithful Hedgehog housemates will be dividing our stuff, dragging things to Value Village, the dump and two different apartments in Ballard, and then settling in. In retrospect moving during the middle of the Holiday season might not have been the wisest idea, but then when is it ever a convenient time to stuff all of one’s worldly belongings in boxes, rent a giant vehicle and haul them across town? This moving distance will be a first for me* so far I have either crossed state lines or just a block or two with my moves.  But thankfully having recently shipped all my boxes almost 3,000 miles and only truly unpacked a month and a half ago, packing everything back up is a little less intimidating.

Oh let’s see what else I was going to talk about….ah yes, I do have lots of good photos and little videos from my Thanksgiving visit home, although I will warn you most of them are of Mathilda, my new favorite puppy.  And the other half of my photos are of my old housemate Anne’s crazy cute kittens.  So basically, expect a post made entirely of kittens and puppies in the near future.

*the only one that would have been a similar distance took place back in high school, but I was off in Germany, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Thoughts on change

I have always been someone who loves change, or at least the thought of it.  Moving to England, moving to Seattle, starting new jobs, instantly fitting into new social circles, decorating new apartments, exploring new cities, all of those tend to sound good to me.  Change is thrilling. Change is leaving everything I don’t like about my current life and finding something new.  Change is easy and full of adventure.  Change means getting rid of responsibilities that continually try to persuade me I am actually an adult now.  But the thing that I always tend to forget is that change also means leaving things.  Change means leaving people, housemates, friends, communities, churches, familiar neighborhood walks, routine, favorite coffee shops, and the some times familiarity of random people on the streets.

Feeling apart of the community here in Rebaland (many people’s affectionate nickname for the neighborhood around my church) was not something that happened quickly or was easy for me.  As I approach the end of graduate school and the beginning of a huge widening of options (stay at my current job, get a new job in the area, move to Seattle, go overseas for a year, move down into the city, stay at my current house, etc), it is always to easy for me to overlook the difficulties of change.  It took me over 2 years to begin to feel apart of my community, to get to the point where people I randomly pass on the street are often people I know, to feel comfortable using my leadership skills to plan goofy charade games for church meetings.

In the end change, and all its endless possibilities, will always thrill me, but as I am learning change, once it actually occurs, can also be overwhelming, difficult and painful.  This doesn’t mean I don’t want to seek out change, but I think I need to also remember to appreciate more the richness of being here, in one place, with one community and learning to adapt myself to it.

The one videotape that Becca and I actually wore out by watching and re-watching

Scene from my saturday night: Becca and Abby are sitting on the couch, laptops on each lap, Les Miserables the 10th Anniversary Concert is playing on the DVD.

Abby: “who am i, who am ”

Becca: “I’m Jean Valjean, so Javert you see it’s true…”

Both: “I’m 24601!”

Abby: “You know I am pretty sure we still have it”

Becca: “Yeah all those years of practice have payed off, I think we still have it all memorized.”

Abby: “Yep, time to take our Les Mis two person karaoke version on the road”

two odd dreams and a financial pondering

A few nights back I had a very vivid dream in which I was back in school (probably high school) and we took a field trip up into space.  In the dream this seemed both very typical, I mean who hasn’t been to space!, and also really cool because who doesn’t love field trips!  Our group was going at the end of the day (the means of travel seemed somewhat carnival ride related), so therefore we were allowed to just stay up there overnight.  I remember thinking this was pretty cool, but that my parents were probably not going to be thrilled at the cost of the trip (several hundred dollars).  Unfortunately I don’t remember much of the dream that actually involved hanging out in space, other than our capsule resembled those bunk cabins from camp and I got to look out at the stars from my sleeping bag.*

—–

Last night I had a dream in which I was hanging out with my brothers and Jonathan and Tim were running around up ahead with their iPhones (I know, I know, dreams that feature mac products are incredibly dorky) and I was trying to get their attention, because I knew Jonathan had an extra iPod Touch.  Eventually I caught up with them and Jonathan offered to give me the iPod Touch because he had this great way of getting another one free from Apple.  His plan seemed to involve a complicated set of calculations which would eventually steal enough dimes and nickels from Apple to pay the cost of the iPod.  This apparently casual fraud seemed to really upset the dream me, so I decided I should just pay him for the iPod.

—–

Fortunately at least one of these very strange dreams can be explained by my third point in which I ask for advice regarding a possible future purchase.  Thanks to the recent refunding of my money by the U.S Treasury, I have some extra money.  Now the vast majority of that is going into my savings account (otherwise known as the holding cell for tuition payments) and I have some plans on how I will tithe 10%, but I want to do something fun with at least a small portion of it.

So here are some ways I could spend my allotted bonus money:


I have been drooling for a new iPod for quite some time now. Plus with its built in wi-fi I could use it as pseudo laptop if I ever get around to updating my almost 4 year old MacBook to an iMac

While I am not sure I would get this specific dress I have been wanting a nicer desk for a while now and this one would definitely inspire me to stop covering up my current one with papers to be filed

Likewise I have been wanting to replace my dresser (since the doors on the left side no longer close completely) and this kind of fun blue one from IKEA would definitely add a nice splash of blue to my room.

So votes, opinions folks? I love feedback, so also if you have an alternate idea of how I should spend my money, let me know 🙂

*I did find some explanation for my dream in my recent reading of The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe which was a non-fiction book all about Project Mercury and the first Americans in space.