5 reasons I love my neighborhood

  1. Not only is there another coffeeshop opening only a few block away from my apartment, but they are going to combine with a used book store! Now I will never meet my lofty saving goals!
  2. While there are lots of young hipsters (which depending on your definition, may include myself) there are still plenty of old Norwegian folks, which you can find by visiting the local Nordic Heritage Museum or grabbing breakfast at the local Smoke Shop diner which decorated in the 70s and has never believed in renovations.
  3. In addition to being easy biking distance from this parkPicnic at Gasworks       it is also easy walking distance to the locks where you can watch the shipsBallard Locks, on a nice day
  4. You can easily find the following kinds of food: BBQ, Mexican, Taco truck, Southern, Thai, Vietnamese, Pan-Asian, Sushi, Teriyaki, Burgers, French, Gelato, Cupcakes, Coffee, Irish, Diner food, Japanese, Tavern food and probably a few I am missing.
  5. In one morning I can easily stop by the grocery store, pharmacy, library, post office and hardware store all without needing a car.

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 12 – A collection of interesting links, thoughts about Lent, the weather and why I haven’t been blogging

So obviously my attempt to post 5 days a week in February has not taken place. Sad to say, my goal to take a photo every day has been equally a failure, however I don’t actually feel too badly about it, because I both posted more AND took more pictures than I had during the previous two months.

In the good news department, I have several almost completed drafts of various things rolling around in the blog, so hopefully February will still finish strong.  But as following my long tradition of following up long blogging absences with list/link based posts, here are some interesting tidbits from my life and internet browsing:

1. I decided to give up sugar for Lent, which although containing a rather loose interpretation of “sugar” (basically avoiding sweet things including but not limited to diet coke, honey on my bread (but bread remains okay, cause come on!), the vast majority of baked goods, ice cream, chocolate, etc).  This is actually not nearly as challenging for me as giving up salty things, cheese or other more beloved foods. However I have definitely missed chocolate a few times already and have missed my weekend habit of making pancakes or french toast on Saturday mornings.

2. I found myself quite awed, saddened and overall impressed by this collection of World Press Photo Winners from 1955 to 2011. I agree with Kottke’s statement that these are amazing photos that don’t present a very positive view of humankind (many of the photos are graphic portrayals of the horrible things that humans inflict on each other). However I was also struck that while many of the photos portray deep painful grief, there can be no huge upswellings of grief without the larger underlying foundation of great love. Hopefully a similar collection of the next 56 years will have more photos depicting peace and equality breaking out, than the last 56 years of wars, cruelty and pain.

3. In a fascinating glimpse into Seattle weather, today we passed through sunshine, snow flurries, cloudy skies, and some rain all on the 25 minute drive to church.

4. I loved this list of advice for young people, from which the following highlight can be drawn:

Yes, you should not worry too much about the consequences and you should definitely quit your job that you hate and it’ll probably all work out great. Job quitters are the happiest people around.

5. This last link is mainly for Katie, or any other Star Wars lovers, this great post comes up with the perfect way to integrate the far inferior 1-3 trilogy (the one with Jar Jar Binks) into one’s viewing of the original trilogy. While this would make for an all to epic one night marathon, this definitely stirred my interests in re-watching Star Wars some time soon.

Day 2 – Best view of Seattle yet!

Today was a beautiful day in Seattle, blue sky with decent temps and so that made it extra awesome when a work meeting in downton ended early giving my Elissa, Stephen and I a chance to check out the view from the top of the Columbia tower. While I have recommended this experience to several people (including my parents, who went during their October visit), I had never actually been up it myself and boy was this the perfect time to do so.

Mount Rainier in the sunset

I know I have talked before about how awestruck my Midwestern sensibilities remain by all these mountains! Really these low-res iPod pictures don’t really due this view justice. The sky was clear the whole way down to the snow peaks and the setting sun was lighting up Mount Rainier and the Cascades, while the Olympics were just looming dramatically in the shadows. I guess you all will just have to come visit me (and hope for a repeat of today’s weather!) and see for yourselves.

Looking northwest towards the Ocean

Puget Sound

Lake Washington and the Cascades

View from the Starbucks

I finally, finally updated my about page

Remember how a really long time ago, I had this contest to pick a photo for my new “about” page.  Well I finally finished writing up a new one, which you can find by clicking that convenient “about me” link under the main header.  But don’t worry, if you miss the old one you can find it under that same link.  As always let me know what you think (or just point out any glaring typos).

This week has been the week of the massive snow here in Seattle and my goal for the weekend is to finally get some of my back log of photos uploaded and tell you all about how I got to work from home for three days (i.e. the best week ever). Hope you all are safe and warm!

Day 22 – Cooking with Abby

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 18 – Random Thought

Today when I was arriving at work via the parking garage it suddenly smelled strongly of doughnuts.  Durring the day there was traces of blue sky mixed with hail. Then after work when I got off the bus a the U-District it smelled strangely of burnt toast.  There is no correlation between these various events (that I know of, conspiracy buffs prove me wrong!), but I thought you all would enjoy hearing about it anyways.  Happy Friday everyone!

Day 8 – Not really Food Tuesday

So of course today should be my post about cooking something and while I have had some good cooking adventures this week (Vanilla Roasted Pears and Pot Roast), I didn’t really take any pictures and I actually spent most of my evening hanging out with some co-workers at a happy hour on Capital Hill.  In a recent email exchange with my friend Ruth, who also moved away from Evanston this fall, she talked about how it is really the 2-3 month mark that is the hardest in any big move and I have to say I kind of agree with her.

It is at 2 months that most of your routines have re-adjusted, the basics of a a new city have been learned, bus systems mastered, new jobs figured out, rooms finally unpacked.  And then you kind of look up and go “oh, right, I still don’t have friends yet”.  Of course I do have Alex and other good friends who I knew before (Katie, David, housemates) and my fellow VISTAS who have quickly become key friends.  But the biggest hole is formed by those always ready to hang out, try a new restaurant, watch Star Trek with you on a Saturday afternoon, go to an event or better yet bake brownies and watch chick flicks with you on a random Friday night.  It is those friendships and community that I miss the most right now and also the relationships that take way longer than 2 months to create.  While I wait for those deeper connections to form and those friendships to develop, taking a couple of hours to hang out with my favorite co-workers makes for a pretty good alternate evening.

Walking over the I5 bridge to get downtown to catch a bus, Happy Hour Tuesdays are a good thing.

Walking over the I5 bridge to get downtown to catch a bus, Happy Hour Tuesdays are a good thing.

some draft posts and thoughts

Wow, 26 days, impressive, even for me and my general hit or miss blogging schedule (and by that I mainly mean miss).  Well, this will hopefully get the obligatory catch-up blog out of the way, so I can get into a more regular schedule just in time for NaBloPoMo.  Which if you are unfamiliar with this term, is the month in which some people attempt to write 50,000 word novels and others with slightly lower ambitions attempt to post on their blogs every day.  I have been doing this successfully for two years running and you can go see the 2009 and 2010 attempts.

So here are a list of partially written blog posts I have accumulated and few updates of the more general sort:

  • Draft post titled: Massive update and plans for the future – in which I attempted to give a synopsis of my parents’ awesome 2 week long visit at the beginning of October and our house plans to disband and move into apartments come December.  Never got further than 2 paragraphs, chance of completion: low
  • Draft post titled: Some thoughts on the book  The Help – in which I wrote up some thoughts that came up both while reading the book and after completion.  This one actually got mostly written and I will probably polish it up a bit more before saving it for NaBloPoMo fodder
  • Draft post titled: More October birthdays – in which I contemplate how it feels to turn 28 and how my expectations for birthdays have changed over the years.  I even drew a nifty graph for this on, chance of completion: medium
  • Two nights ago I went to sleep cold (we keep our house at 60 degrees because it is horribly insulated and we are all very poor cheap) and tossed and turned for close to an hour trying to get warm, until finally I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed my spare blanket and shivered myself to sleep.  Only, of course to wake up again later in the night, cold, but this time to tired to go hunt down my third spare blanket.  Now I have to admit I was kind of worried that my brief 2 months in Seattle had turned me into a pansy – I mean my down comforter has gotten me through 4 Chicago winters, with nary an extra blanket needed!  But the good news is, that our house doesn’t actually have any heat on!  Yes, that is actually good news, so instead of the 60 degrees I thought my room was, it was probably in the upper 40s, low 50s.  Thankfully we also possess space heaters, which will keep me from totally freezing until we get more heating oil delivered early next week.
  • Seattle has turned out to have a much better autumn than I anticipated – leaves have changed colors, repeated days of crisp blue sky weather, etc.

No filter - autumn in Seattle

And in conclusion, you all should watch this brilliant video of people doing absolutely crazy awesome things of which I have zero interest in imitating: http://youtu.be/yKWoPlL2B8I