Saturday, December 19, 2009

Last Minute Lovin'

I have completely blown through my Christmas money already (even some that I'm hoping will come in the mail next week), but in case you need to do some last minute shopping, here are some goodies that make me pitter patter.
Charley Harper Prints, hold me back. And they are sold by his adoring son, so it's a family business kind of thing.
(Giant-looking) towels by Amy Butler. In the words of Rachael Ray, YUM-O. Fabric designer gone gazillionaire.
I love Rex Ray because he might be the only artist whom I discovered while he was still alive. And his art is psychedelic and friendly at the same time. Five framed postcards hang happily on my wall. Buy his book and learn from his genius.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Oh, and BY THE WAY

I know I always say BY THE WAY, but really. This time, there are no other words. We live in a darling neighborhood. I love it, but it's sometimes a thoroughfare for some, ahem, unsavory characters. And finally, the other day I was gutsy enough to document this fact for you, my lovely readers.

If you look closely enough, you'll see a very long pair of legs. These legs are wearing fishnet stockings. And yes, they are painted on the front of a minivan. Now I am not about to let some creep find this blog through a Google expedition for yuck-ville, so I will attempt to explain in code. Ahem.

There are certain "establishments" in our fair city, and in yours, no doubt, that tend to be open the opposite hours of a breakfast joint. With me? This "establishment" typically employs "very old, wrinkly, hairy women" to keep the company of other very old, wrinkly folk. Sometimes keeping company means the use of a large firepole. Got it?

So. Now that you now what I'm talking about, and now that we have avoided any creepy internet wanderers, I want you to know that this minivan is parked across from our driveway EVERY single morning. And it's not just this one, there's also a pink one. And every day, they back right into that garage door and unload who knows what. I CANNOT FATHOM. Dollar bills, perhaps? Dead bodies?

Either way, it creeps me out. And it also creeps me out that the man who usually drives up in these fishnet-painted minivans likes to walk his chihuahua down the alley all the live-long day.

Since it is the season of wonder, I invite you to share your own conspiracy theories about what in the world could be happening here. Just don't give us away--type in code.

Keep Yourselves Busy

This is what I look like as I emerge from my iPhone-laden cave in the morning. Boo!

A frightening thought crossed my mind the other day: how many hours do I spend sitting and staring at a computer every day? At first I was thinking, well, probably five. But when I got really honest with myself, I spend many hours at work on the computer, and then GOBS more time online once I get home! And as much as I enjoy reading, cooking, eating (duh) and adventuring around Seattle, I am still itching to check my email, see what's flashing on the Seattle Times, and read up on la vida de Dooce.

The natural reaction for me was to feel really guilty and depressed about the ways I am SUCH a child of this techy generation (I think maybe I'm a Catholic, deep down), but then I got over it and realized it would be way more fun to give you all ideas about how we can waste time together.

And without further adieu, places you should visit...

1. Stuff Christians Like is pretty much the pillar of my world right now. Sweet relief.
2. This girl, Annie, who used to sing at our church, is good friends with some friends of friends, is a really wonderful blogger (and singer!). She's worth reading up on, and don't just put her in your reader because the paisleys on her site are delicious.
3. Don't take this the wrong way, but if you haven't been to Chowhound yet, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Nebraska? (Hi Mom!) Articles detailing the importance of how to hold one's wine glass and the true repercussions of arriving late for a coveted reservation are enough to keep my Comcast bill very, very high.
4. Obviously, read my friends in the blog roll. That goes without saying, but I have uniquely gifted friends, if I do say so myself.
5. Mighty Girl is so stinking cool. If I lived in San Fran, it's possible I would stalk her. She is friends with Dooce, she wrote a book, her kid has a cute name, and she gets paid to shop online. Also, her hair is fiery red, and it is huge. Hair this awesome happens to be my goal in life.
6. Oprah, as in every other area, dominates in the cool website category. The recipe section is awesome, as are the endless pictures of Suze Orman looking like a wild banshee. And Lordy, the gift guides.

I also love Rotten Tomatoes, Anna Maria Horner, and the hometown newspaper from where I grew up.

And while I'm babbling away here, purposelessly, I should tell you that the perch on my couch allows a fabulous view of the Christmas/holiday/whateveryouwant tree atop the Space Needle and I am smitten.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Channeling Anne Lamott: Things (Hypothetically) Overheard While Working at a Church*

WARNING: May contain high levels of Christian cynicism and/or irreverence. Do not proceed unless you're in a light mood. I like my job, I love it, even, and the people I work with are great. They just have a mysterious lingo that needs to be ribbed.

1. "What is your growing edge?"
Translation: What are your weaknesses? How do you avoid looking like a loser in the workplace when you've make a huge mistake? OR Do you doubt God's existence? How much so? Would you admit that to a congregant?
2. "Why don't you speak into that a little bit?"
Translation: You didn't explain your point very clearly, so can you please be more articulate?Get to the point.
3. "I don't feel called to participate/The congregant didn't feel called/The elders didn't feel called..."
Translation: There's not enough money in the world to lead me back to the hell of bulletin-stuffing. Get a life.
4. "God put it on my heart."
Translation: I can't get this out of my mind, and although it sounds obsessive, I need to talk about this again.
5. "How can I pray for you?"
Translation: You look awful. Awfully tired, or pale, or worn out, or uninterested in responding to emails about marriage licenses and Baptism Sundays in June.
6. "You shared _______."
Translation: You spoke/told me about/reported/explained ______ in an especially spiritual tone of voice.
7. "God has a plan in all of this."
Translation: Wow. You really blew your budget. But I have a feeling there will be some good promos at Target this month, and if we time the announcements correctly, maybe we can rake in some extra cash to cover those Christmas decorations.
8. "I spent some time in the Word."
Translation: I brag about the fact that I spent time reading the Bible because more often than not I forget to do it, or I hit snooze, or I fall asleep mid-parable.
9. "This is God's Will."
Translation: There is no good reason that your child got cancer, you were fired after 40 years of service, or that racism keeps digging its heels into our community. Life sucks, and all we have is the glimmers of goodness that point us back to Someone Bigger.

*In no way does this post reflect the views of the church I work for, or the people who work there, or the level of sincerity in their collective expressions of faith. They're legit.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Better and Worse

I ran across this old G-chat in a search today (hold that thought--isn't it creepy that our conversations are saved?), and I thought I'd share. Nothing groundbreaking, but I think it illuminates what our friends and family have known all along, and especially during that hellaciously fun period known as engagement--OPPOSITES ATTRACT. And don't worry, we won the contest. :)

March 2008...

me: yoohoo?
what's your social security number?
Dustin: hi
why do you need to know?
me: for the waiver thingie
Dustin: ehm
me: for the invite contest
Dustin: i don't understand why they need to know tho
me: i don't know
i think it's legit
weddingbee is the sponsor
Dustin: even so... what could they need it for
me: i don't know
Dustin: i just feel like if we don't need to give it to them, we shouldn't
... maybe i'm paranoid
me: dustin it's part of the contract
Dustin: :-/
me: they have a lawyer
don't make that face at ME! :)
Dustin: :)
me: <3
Dustin: i just would like to ask them if it's really necessary
me: oh my GOSH
we are going to be ELIMINATED unless we get it in by 9:00am
Dustin: Holly, it just doesn't seem like something i'd want to take a chance on
me: well they already have mine
Dustin: i don't mind telling you what it is... don't you feel like it's sketchy at all?
me: no, i really trust weddingbee (they have contests like this all the time, from really reputable companies like vera wang)
Dustin: i'm sorry for asking about it... i just don't hand it out ... especially for a contest like this when it doesn't seem like they'd need it
me: fair enough
i totally understand your suspicions
i thought of it too, but i decided all things pointed to legitimacy. i mean it's FREE INVITATIONS
Dustin: johnny was talking about how he was almost gypped and the whole process seemed so screwy and far-fetched, i couldn't believe that he came so close to losing TONS of money!
me: we're not giving them any money though. maybe i'll just leave that question blank.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Being my mother's daughter

It's taken nearly twenty years, but I have finally caught the bug my mom has always tried to give me--SEWING. Now it may sound a little unexciting to you, this novel idea of stitches and thread and fabric, oh my! But folks, let me tell you something. This is big. Because I have just found a new hobby, and I have the world's greatest link to that hobby in my super-connected-quilting-editor mother. This means my new hobby is subsidized!

Please enjoy the following snapshots of creative chaos. Dustin is loving the trail of threads and lack of time spent together. Ha! Just kidding. He's egging me on, every minute. Most minutes.

Pile of scraps, airmailed by la madre. Grazie!

Favorite small child, joining in creative expression.

Tadah! New pillow. Lumpy corners.

Future baby blanket? I think yes! Perfect? I think not!

I'm a sewing MACHINE. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Letter to Our Landladyfriend


I was just thinking of you this morning (and every other time I squeegy, ha!), and I'm so glad to hear from you. The shower is holding up great. There is no soap scum, and we are keeping it that way. Dustin says hello from the couch. He has a hard time getting off it when the view is so good.

Just kidding, he's been working very hard to set up his new class, and it's looking awesome. It almost feels like I'm reading People Magazine when I hear the stories from his world. Ridiculous. On the other hand, I love People Magazine and cannot resist its juiciest news. So it's kind of nice. Cheaper than the movies.

Tell us more about Moldova the Beautiful! We have been telling everyone that it's not a city in Switzerland, like they/we might have thought. This picture was taken when someone looked at me and said, Uh-huh. I know.

Everything is great here. There was a man eating from our dumpster yesterday morning and it made us sad (and confused and angry at the state of the world), but we do love the ways city life keeps us thinking and compassionate. It's a crappy tradeoff, that we think and he's still hungry. But we're doing what we can. Pick up some European pastries for us.



Thursday, August 27, 2009

As We Clutch, As We Circle

From Kelly Corrigan's essay, "Transcending: Words on Women and Strength"

We will call and say “I heard the news” and whatever the news is, we will come running, probably with food...Eventually, someone who is not supposed to die will, maybe one of us, maybe a husband, God forbid a child, and all this celebrating and sharing and confessing will make certain essential comforts possible. We’ll rally around and hold each other up and it won’t be nearly enough, but it will help the time pass just a hair faster than it would have otherwise. We will wait patiently and lovingly for that first laugh after the loss. When it comes, and it will come, we will cry as we howl, as we clutch, as we circle. We will transcend, ladies. Because we did all this, in that worst moment, we will transcend.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Realize I'm a Lazy Blogger

But people, why write when you can cut and paste stuff this classic?

The laughter and cringing both come in waves, beware.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Also, THIS!

Hoping for a Facebook Friend in This Guy

Tonight at church we honored (yet another) staff person who was being laid off--Allen Belton. He directed a Reconciliation and Mentoring Program and collaborated with other urban ministries throughout Seattle. John Perkins sent him a farewell message, along with at least five other famous/cool people. So he's a pretty big deal. :)

Anyway, there was a really lovely moment at the end of the service, all about warm and fuzzy spiritual matters, and then we headed upstairs to chow down on BBQ. Delish. The Gospel Choir (what I like to call the Soul of UPC) got up to sing, and it was a clappity, happity party. And through the crowd I saw a homeless man, who had probably come in for dinner, since that's what happens every other Sunday night, and he was BEAMING. Bopping his head, grinning. He kept turning his head to stare out at the crowd (at least 500 people, packed), and he just smiled the biggest rickety smile!

So in that moment of warm and fuzzy spirituality, I suddenly realized that the warm fuzzies were contagious, and that this man who may not feel all that welcome in most places he walks, he felt a little bit of joy singing along with us tonight. He was part of the crowd, the laughing, clapping, bopping crowd that hummed and sang. And it was all in celebration of one man's life work and the joy he brought to our community. The zest that sometimes lacks in place that is in and out Presbyterian. So Allen, for all the times you called me Sister Harris, for all the times you broke in SONG, for all the ways you have showed UPC another corner of the world, and for all the disenfranchised people you welcomed in when the rest of us looked away, I'll sure miss you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Know I am, I'm sure I am

About a year before we got married (two years ago? really?), I told Dustin that I really wanted something that our family could latch onto together--a hobby, a sports team, a vacation destination, whatever. Growing up in the Harris house, we were pretty into college football, but then my brother wasn't that interested in it, and by high school it seemed to have peetered out. No longer a weekly "gather round" event.

So when I say I wanted something for Dustin and I to latch onto, I meant something along the lines of... our firstborn will come home from the hospital sporting a t-shirt from said obsession and will, later in life, want personalized license plates boasting "This is my thiiiiing." Get it?

All I can say is this: Be careful what you wish for. Because we (read: Dustin) have become so thoroughly attached to the Seattle Sounders FC, life literally has more meaning since the Inaugural Game on March 19. And I wasn't so sure it would be something I could love forever, but now that I've had three months to get the hang of it, I can proudly sing along:

I'm Sounders 'til I die,
I'm Sounders 'til I die,
I know I am, I'm SURE I am,
I'm Sounders 'til I die!

Here's what makes it so much fun...

We get to have an outing at least twice a month that is something besides a movie.

We get to hang out with some of our favorite friends!

We see famous people and their cute children.

We get to spend two hours screaming at the top of our lungs with 30,000 other people. Who also live and breathe Sounders love.

So it's not exactly what I expected, and it's certainly not what I know best, but being a Sounders fan has become something that is so cathartic, so community-oriented and SO much fun, I don't think I'll ever give it up. We have officially found Our Thing.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Target Women

Sometimes I love Sarah Haskins more than words can say. Delight.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Learning, Learning

May was Bike to Work Month in Seattle. The Cascade Bicycle Club sponsors this big hoopla--t-shirts and water bottles and smack-talking online forums--and I unwisely volunteered to captain a team at work. Have you met me? Have I met me? This was extremely out of character. Not the captain (boss!) part, but the part about, um, exercise. BLECH. I hate to exercise! Who wants to exercise when you can be reading cookbooks? Or watching The Biggest Loser?

Each team member is required to make the trek to work on two wheels at least five times during the month. Today is May 31...I made three trips. Pa.the.tic. But I did make three whole trips, which is something. It's progress, right? And now I will share with you, fellow butterballs, the massive list of excuses I concocted this month. Chow down.

May 1: It's too hot (high of 75).
May 2: It's too rainy.
May 3: I hopped in the car and didn't even think about biking until I got to work! Oops!
May 4: My asthma is really flaring up today.
May 5: I couldn't remember the combo to my bike lock.
May 6: It's the day before my birthday.
May 7: It's my birthday!
May 8: I'm recovering from my birthday.
May 9: My husband broke my bike lock.
May 10: The trail has sooooo many bumps in it from all those rooty trees.
May 11: Crime is up in the U-District.
May 12: I don't know where to park my bike at work.
May 13: My team will carry us (this happened, because we won the contest).
May 14: My team will not notice (this did not happen).
May 15: Flat tire!
May 16: I'm running late.
May 17: I RODE TO WORK! Dustin dragged me to work on Friday night. This counts.
May 18: Helmet hair is not appropriate for volunteer interviews.
May 19: I'm heading straight to my therapist after work.
May 20: My husband needs a ride home.
May 21: I'm bringing cookies to the office, and they'll get squished in my messenger bag!
May 22: My messenger bag is missing the cross strap.
May 23: It's too hot (high of 70).
May 24: Cramps.
May 25: I might be pregnant.
May 26: I am so traumatized by that pregnancy scare.
May 27: I feel guilty that it's the end of May, but not guilty enough to ride.
May 28: I RODE TO WORK! And it actually felt incredible.
May 29: I RODE TO WORK AGAIN! Got v. sunburned.
May 30. Sounders game.
May 31: Helping friends move=biking failure.

Here's to grand delusions!

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Personal Matter

Today I was eating a popsicle on the patio at PCC in Fremont, just loving the fact that my job on Fridays includes exactly that sort of thing. Popsicles. And small children.

My darling Gabs, who turned two on Saturday, was sitting on my lap when I felt the need to, um, break a little wind. I figured there were lots of people walking by chatting, cars vrooming past, dogs barking, and the usual Fremont hubbub of activists and clipboards. No one would notice my indiscretion.

So lo and behold, the child hears my (very minor, very ladylike) toot, and says, "Ooooooh, Holly. Poopy! Poopy diaper! Change your diaper, Holly!" And she is not at all timid in screaming these accusations. The kid is loud. And she isn't a mumbler either, every single bike commuter within earshot turned to look.

Of course I chuckled along and said, "Gee! What a bummer. You have to walk all the way home with a poopy diaper. BUMMER."

She looks at me, sees straight through my cover story, and scoffs, "SICK."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Not that I'm opening that can o' worms again...

If I were to plan another wedding, this J.Crew confection would be the first one I'd try.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Goodbye, Sweet House

My parents closed on the sale of our house in Parker this week. But the new owners are really cute--young newlyweds, just like us! :)

Farewell, 11602 Sagewood Lane. Thanks for the memories.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


One of my favorite Seattle food blogs is called All You Can Eat, written by Seattle Times' Nancy Leson. It's, forgive me, delicious. She's almost always teasing me with some new restaurant review, an almost-simple-enough-that-it's-possible recipe, or a warm, fuzzy human interest story that involves donuts and rollie pollie children.

Today Nancy posted about something I'm, here I go again, going to chew on a bit. (Bunny trail alert: I blame the incessant punnery on Susan Boyle, the woman who has inspired every cliche in my soul to rise up and SEIZE THE DAY.)

Said chewing is on a project via The United Way, called the Hunger Challenge. The goal is to eat all three meals on $7 each day--salt and pepper don't count, but every other item does. You can't use any items already stocked in the pantry, fridge or sock drawer.

The $7 daily max (only $12 for two-person households) is based on the daily value of food stamps for Washington residents. Yeah, not much. I couldn't believe it either.

So I'm thinking about taking this challenge, and of course, Nancy's blog gives a bunch of great ideas for how to follow the other rules--include protein, fresh veggies and fruit, and refuse any food "gifting" from family, friends, or the guest chef at Metropolitan Market (like you'll even go near that place on the $7 diet).

Any takers? :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Evidence That Demands a Verdict*

Last night I cleaned out the deep, dark recesses of my deep, dark purse. There was one witness, my husband. This is what he saw.

1. Receipts from Target, Target, J.Crew, my therapist (ha! they don't give receipts, silly), Metropolitan Market, Safeway, Target, Thai Tom, and Ten Pachi Hair Salon. Speaks volumes.
2. One ham sandwich, from yesterday, mind you, but still. A ham sandwich in my purse. I am a bag lady.
3. An apple. To match sandwich, obviously.
4. Take-out menu from Cedars. 
5. At least five wrappers from the green tea echinacea lozenges I've been sucking down this week. SO good. It's my favorite thing about sick. 
6. More receipts from Target, this time for returns (see #1).
7. Random checkbook.
8. Two phones--one working iPhone, one nonworking Razor.
9. Three earrings and one rhinestone, costume-like necklace. From a certain Cinderella costume at, ahem, Halloween.
10. Church bulletins from two very different churches. 
11. Samples of Cetaphil Face Wash, Purpose Daily Cleanser, and Aquaphor. Somebody loves her some dermatology office!
12. Two letters, both stamped and addressed. From two weeks ago.
13. Pen I took from J.Crew the day I spontaneously applied to work at the new Crewcuts. Pen was taken after I told the hiring manager that I "already have a real job." Shining moment. They have yet to call. 
14. One size four diaper. You JUST NEVER KNOW. The nanny in me never dies.
15. Four balled-up kleenexes. 
16. Key to Kelsey's old car.
17. Key to Kelsey's new car.
18. Key to Brittany's house.
19. My 2009 to-do list (many items already checked, surprisingly!).
20. My favorite hot-pink MAC Lipglass. 

Take the clean-purse challenge, folks. Now tell me what you find!

*Obviously I am making a biblical allusion. Or at least one to annoyingly titled Christian literature. Get with it. 

Monday, March 23, 2009


If the world would stop abusing children, I'd be okay with that.
If people would drive less aggressively, I'd be okay with that. 
If we could all be given one hour a day to appreciate art without interruption, I'd be okay with that.
If I could overcome my aversion to classic literature, I'd be okay with that. 
If blogging meant I was a real live writer and I was eligible to camp out at the Hugo House and smoke cigars, I'd be really okay with that.
If I didn't make mistakes in friendship, I'd be okay with that.
If cancer didn't eat up families and plans and dreams, I'd be okay with that.
If schizophrenia didn't paralyze people with untapped potential, I'd be okay with that, too.
If I could refrain from crying during Oprah, or refrain from admitting I like Oprah, I'd be okay with that.
If I could have a limitless shopping spree at Costco, I'd be extremely okay with that.
If I made an appearance on Jay Leno as a very popular guest, I'd be okay with that.
If I understood all the literary allusions I came across in NYTimes Op-Eds, I'd be okay with that.
If I could have my mom's strawberry cake and eat it, too, I'd be okay with that.
If I could have a wee babe right now and not be at all interrupted, I'd be okay with that.
If I could make sure that all the people I love are within walking distance from my house, I'd be okay with that.

See? I'm not hard to please. I'm okay with a LOT of stuff.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Blame My Mother

Today, in approximately one hour, I will be heading to work with a large hole in my pants.

You might think that (FINALLY) being a post-college employee of a decently respectable establishment, I'd have motivation to fix said hole (which, to complicate matters, resides right below my buns). But strangely, I do not. In fact, I just took a seat on my bed and looked at the pant options before me. And I spent ten whole minutes thinking about whether or not I could potentially walk up stairs in front of someone important enough to get me fired for wearing holey pants. And then I decided that if the risk were too great, I would simply use a different set of stairs. And I imagined how I would have to walk in order to disguise this hole.

Holly, you're saying, GET A GRIP. Go fix your pants. But what you don't know is that I have at least five other items I wear frequently, very frequently, that also need some sort of repair. My friends know a creamy little cardigan that has missed his fourth button since before I got engaged (looooong ago), and every time I wear it, I think, Whelp! Guess that button's still missing! Let's pretend that happened on the way to ________. Tallyho!

So there is nothing left to do but blame my mother. Most children of obsessed quilters (that's flattering, believe me) manage to inherit some crafty skills, or at least learn how to SEW A BUTTON. My mom was a short-order seamstress. Mom, can you make me new curtains? Mom, can you sew me a purse? Mom, can you make thirty-five custom makeup bags for my bridesmaids? And thus, I never learned. Not for her lack of trying, but why cook when the chef's already in the kitchen?

So today I am going to grow up and get my raggedy old wardrobe to the tailor. Mom, the USPS says it's coming by Friday.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Recently Asked Questions (aka Finslippy Junior)

How is your new job going so far?
Well, I really love it. That's the short answer. The long answer is that I love it so much I am compelled to be very insecure about things like my WPM rates and whether or not I remember how to find the meaning of the universe using Excel formulas. In Vista. Even though we don't even use Vista. Basically, I always doubt myself when I'm learning something new--I somehow expect perfection of myself from Day One, and I incessantly obsess over things like, "If I don't figure out how to format this letterhead by the time my lunch break rolls around, I AM GOING TO GET SACKED! Eek!" I know this is ludicrous, but it's just one many areas that I'm realizing, "Holly, go ahead and feel okay about yourself. It's alright. You paid your dues in junior high. MOVE ON."

What's marriage like for you, you young, naive thing?
I hate to use words like this, because I somehow think people might misunderstand me as an unloving, not-that-into-her-husband kind of wife, but I'd say being married is mysterious. And complicated. And very, very rich. All words that can carry lots of subtext, but in this case, it's good subtext. We have some sweet mentors who always remind us that conflict, and the subsequent gobs of conversation we tend to have, is a sign of excellent health. According to Those Two, it's a sign that we're already wrestling with the stuff that's going to root us in the habit of Marriage Maintenance. Don't be jealous of that crafty label, I already submitted in to Les and Leslie's "Naming Our Inimitable Marriage Conferences Contest". And don't think we have lost all our youthful spark--just tonight Dustin tried to put Girl Scout Cookies down my shirt.

Do you remember any grammar rules whatsoever? Is Grammar Girl ashamed she ever let you interview her?
Obviously I remember nothing. I am a failed subject. Because I write cliches constantly. And I nearly stumbled on some SUBJECT-VERB agreement last week. And I couldn't remember the term I needed...ah...blech...what's is caaaaaalled? Oh. A modifier. Thank goodness for Carly, who saved me from an embarrassing 80 invitation error. And thanks for mentioning that interview with Grammar Girl, I something forget about that, THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY LIFE!

What did you eat for dinner tonight?
Mmmm, this, I can confidently say, was a smashing success. Homemade tortillas, roasted tomatoes and sweet corn, marbley steak in an orange and chili marinade, and Crystal Light. (It can't ALL be from the farmer's market, okay?) It was great. We used cloth napkins and lit candles. Cheaper than Canlis.

How was that trip you took to Mexico? Are you like, addicted to cheesy mission trips or something? You're practically a...nevermind.
I'm not sure why I keep signing up for those thingamabobs, except every time I come home I feel like I've tasted an experience that smacks of humanity--the good, the bad, and the ugly. And somehow, in the midst of connecting with good folk in another language, in another world entirely, I feel small enough to let God be God again. And I need to remind myself of that more often.

Are you willing to continue talking about yourself, for the sake of us, your readers?
Duh. How else will I figure life out?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent-ish Thoughts

Fast from criticism; feast on gratitude.
Fast from worry; feast on joy.
Fast from pressures; feast on prayer.
Fast from fear; feast on faith.
Fast from gossip; feast on praise.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from doubt; feast on truth.
Fast from self; feast on God.

from a friend's friend from a brochure from a church from Scotland

Monday, February 16, 2009


The books currently piled next to my bed include, but are not limited to the following:

Suite Francaise Irene Nemirovsky
Gilead Marianne Robinson (close to that?)
Dreams from My Father That New President
The Jesus I Never Knew Philip Yancey
Time's 2008 recap issue
Let Justice Roll Down John Perkins (a la Susie's baby)

Good reading, no? But have I finished any of them? Hmm, no. And did that stop me from buying three more books this weekend? No. Here's to my new copies of Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible and That Jonathan Guy's Everything is Illuminated. Wish me luck.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Shhh, it's good news

Well. After approximately 18 months of complaining about my lack of cool job opportunities, I have finally landed my duh-ream job. It's seriously the best thing that has happened to me since finishing college (well, the marriage thing, but I consider this a different category). It's a little familiar to me, as I've volunteered with the program before, but I imagine it will be the most stretching, gratifying, fun job I could have dreamed up. I anticipate small purply pink clouds twinkling above my desk, all day long.

But I'm feeling a bit sheepish, and I feel a little guilty for "getting my way", so to speak, when there are so many people who are getting the pink slip all around me. In fact, when I run into someone who's listened to my plight (WHY GOD, DO ALL THE OTHER ENGLISH MAJORS FIND SUCCESS? WHY NOT ME? WHY???), nobody is as excited to talk about it as I am. Granted, I have felt great support, I don't mean anybody's openly rolling their eyes (though they might when I leave)--I just expected everyone to be as moved as I am.

So I'm realizing... My new job is not as exciting to other people as it is to me. (Probably because there is no elaborate party to follow involving food and happy tears and a white dress. That was way cooler.) Even though I knew this and could occasionally admit it before now, leaving college without having some sort of immediate success threatened my identity in ridiculous ways. I had so much self-doubt--everybody had always showed me The Path I should take. Get good grades? Of course! Behave? I'd love to! Listen to your parents about money and drugs and insurance policies? Obviously! Graduate college with a degree you'll pursue passionately? Check! But, um, what's next?

And it was the first time that the world didn't hand me a shiny blue ribbon. Aaaaaaand it was shocking.

Here on the flip side? It's embarrassing to have been defined by all that. But in the end, could I have known any better? Probably so. Will I spend my entire frickin' life trying to know my true identity, the one that's rooted in the love of Jesus and caring about justice and the gristle of being a survivor? Probably so.

Friday, January 30, 2009

More Serious Blogging...

Putting the final touches at a polling station in the southern city of Basra, Iraq. Iraqis will vote in provincial elections on Saturday, the country's first vote since 2005.
--via nytimes

In the Spirit of Shallow Blogging

I give you...Anti-Theft Lunch Bags

Mmmm. Go get some.

via design*sponge

Friday, January 23, 2009

And by the way...

I have a thought about the presidential hoopla. Doesn't it seem a little disingenuous for all of the white, twenty-something, middle class kiddos to be so MOVED? I get that it's tremendous, I get that we are living history, and I am here to say that I am JUST AS PUMPED. 

But really? We're just now proud to be Americans? He didn't freakin' invent the Constitution, people. Or the idea that man deserves, um, freedom. And hey, has anybody ever heard of the United States Postal Service? If you can't be proud of that, then I don't even know what to say. The ability to mail a letter, with an opinion, or a check, or a report card, or profession of love, for less than a dollar? That sounds democratic. That sounds American. You know it.

I am just as swept up in the grandeur of this season, and I cried on election night with everybody else. But I'm a little sick of people making it about their own patriotism, when in reality, we are not the ones who sacrificed to make this possible. We voted, we held a little piece of the puzzle and gave bits and pieces to make it happen. But I don't think hope means much without humility. Where's the humble pie, already?

I Need a Kick Start

I'm looking for a cheap fix to my month-long writer's block, and I have two possible options. First, I'd like to discuss what's on your checklist of favorite websites to pop in to, more than just the blogs (since I can see those for myself on your OWN blog). I sometimes marvel at how much time I can spend gouging my eyes out with, and then am even more amazed at the number of times I reference it throughout the day.

It's humiliating, but in this strange way that somehow still feels worth it.

So, here ya go. All the stops I no particular order. ;)

*NYTimes (the headlines, food section, and the "Most Emailed" list)
* (hopefully not for long!)
*Feministing (but frankly, I have to do this in moderation, because I'm not quite that liberal...yet)
*Chow Foods
*MTV to watch back episodes of The Hills  (v. embarrassing)

Okay, now dish. Where do you go when you need some junk food for your cerebral cortex?

Friday, January 9, 2009

What I've Been Up To (In Life Thus Far)

Bold is where I've boldly gone, as of 2008, aged 23.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34.Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in movie theatre
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the paper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

It's funny how I felt a tad inadequate admitting all the things I haven't done (Never read the entire Bible! Never donated blood! Visited Washington but not the White House!). 

But then I look at what I have done, and I guess it's not so bad. I really did save a life once (animal cracker, toddler, Heimlich). Thanks, MaShaw, for the idea.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ski Vail

Thanks to Anthony for this hella cool picture. He's got skills.