Big Decisions

Hey all, so I am in the throws of a pretty big job-related decision right now. I can’t really go into details at this point, but if you can send good thoughts my way it would be much appreciated. Or even better, perhaps leave a short comment about your most recent big decision in the comments? I would love to hear from you!

Random Video Post

Today was a good day, but coming up with something substantial to say at 10:30pm at night doesn’t sound very feasible. So instead you get this video! Background for this is that I have always been a fan of board games, however I have never been a big fan of learning new games. Therefore this video series named Tabletop by the YouTube channel Geek & Sundry fills a vital hole in my life by introducing me to new games and also reducing the amount of time it takes to learn new game mechanics. Oh and did I mention it is hosted by Wil Wheaton and mostly hilarious too.

Day 25 – Random Thought

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 20 – Photo Sunday

Flashback to History of the Southwest trip during the May of 2004, when I spent 3 weeks with a history class studying the ancient people of the Southwest, current Native tribes and archeology.  It was an incredible 3 weeks, but this picture captures one of my favorite moments.  This was on the brim of a large plateau and the wind was whipping up over the edge, so all you had to do to fly was just lean over and lift your arms.
Flying in the canyonlands
Hannah and I kept Jan, our trip supervisor, quite nervous with our flight experiments.

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 4: Random Thought

Right now I am sitting on a couch and Alex is reading Richard Scary’s Things That Go to our friend’s little girl, Anna.  Or actually to be more accurate she is doing a fair amount of the talking herself.  She seems to like this book, but then again I spent close to 40 minutes reading her favorite book to her this afternoon – the IKEA catalog.  For a 2 1/2 year old she is remarkably good at ensuring you don’t turn multiple tissue thin pages at once and has an incredible interest in pointing and identifying everything on the page.  On the upside my Swedish has improved significantly.
Alex and Anna read some Richard Scary

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

long silence followed by important announcement

Seeing as that is a familiar pattern with me and my half-hearted blogging (just kidding on the half-hearted part, I love you all and am just lazy about updating 🙂 ), I will cut to the chase.  This Saturday I am doing something just a little bit rash and crazy on my part and paddling 30 miles in a canoe!  Back when I joined the board of Wilderness Wind in October of 2010, I thought that I might attempt such a thing.  But see, that was back closer to my previous trip to the Boundary Waters, in which I had done all sorts of affirming things like portage an 80lb canoe all week, learned how to paddle in the back of a canoe (i.e. steer), set up a cook stove and generally keep 6 high schoolers and one other “adult” from killing themselves (and if you really want to know, it was probably the later that gave me more trouble (just kidding Zeb! 🙂 ).

Anyways that leads me to this week, long past the point where I thought that I would use this as excuse to train and get all kinds of buff and much closer to the “what the heck did I sign up for” part.  But like much of life, this too shall pass.  However this is where you come in lovely blog readers, family and friends.  The reason I am doing this crazy thing is because I really really love this organization called Wilderness Wind.  I went on my first canoe trip through this Mennonite camp back as a little recently graduated 8th grader and I went with 3 other girls my age and our marvelously forgiving fathers.  The trip was only a week long trip including the long drive to and from Ely, Minnesota, but that was all it took to get me completely hooked.  Sure part of the appeal is obvious; water, trees, rock and big blue sky, but it goes much further beyond that.

How can you not fall in love?

Where else can you experience the thrill of crossing large bodies of lake with whitecaps to finally pull yourself up and out onto a wooden pier at the end of your trip.  Memories like that stay with you and help build up connections you have not only with your friends, who willingly shared a canoe with you, but to the grand sense of your own small part in the natural world.

End of the trip photo: 2001

Where else can you experience a thunderstorm with only a thin nylon surface between you and hail the size of a dime?
Me and the incredible quarter-size hail

Where else can you cook fabulous desserts with only filtered water, a packet of instant pistachio pudding and some crushed oreos?
Asha and I demonstrate proper dessert making

Where else is this the proper and preferred dish cleaning method?
How to truly clean one's own sierra cup

Where else is playing in a capsized canoe a legitimate afternoon activity?
More fun with a capsized canoe

Where else do you leave your watch behind, spend 20 minutes a day in silence and get to see a treat like this every night before bed?
Yet another Boundary Waters sunset

Wilderness Wind continues to work to provide wilderness experiences that connect with people spiritually, ecologically and in the deep way nature can change how a person views their life. It is a small organization and as I have learned during the past year on the board, every dollar makes a difference. This year marks our 25th anniversary and so we have one of our largest paddle-a-thon teams to date. Over 20 paddlers will be participating on Saturday and each of us has a goal to raise $500. My wonderful friend Steph and I are paddling together and also fundraising together, but we could definitely still use your help. So if you love the wilderness, enjoy reading the blog from time to time, or just appreciate my willingness to post embarrassing photos of myself
Mixing up the base camp orange juice
Please, pretty please, considering donating a couple bucks to this wonderful organization.

Young Adult Fiction: Is censorship an answer to dark themes?

As per usual, Linda Holmes of Monkey See blog fame hits it out of the park with her eloquent retort to Wall Street Journal’s claim that young adult literature is too dark.  I particularly liked this paragraph, mainly due how I felt very similarly about the mentioned books (especially in the comparison between Hunger Games and Lord):

Even the things we read for school were things like Animal Farm and Lord Of The Flies and even that horrible thing in Johnny Tremain about being burned by molten metal OW OW OW. If we’re speaking thematically, The Hunger Games has nothing on Lord Of The Flies.

While I enjoyed Hunger Games (or at least books one and two, I was not as sold on the last one, although I overall liked the trilogy), I abhorred Lord of the Flies.

Oh and this paragraph too, because I think her interest in Stephen King comes from a similar place as my interest in apocalypse based books.  When you strip most of society away you get some incredible stories of hope/despair/etc.

I was always going to read Stephen King, because I was interested in the way he talked about hope and despair, about finding salvation in other people, and about things like eating your own foot that were just plain freaking crazypants cool. Not reading scary, weird, dark, or dirty books wouldn’t have made me a different kid. It certainly wouldn’t have made me a happier kid.

It might have made me a kid who read less, though.

And of course the librarian in me loves that she throws a good dig at the idea of book banning as “guiding young people’s reading. Go read it for yourself!