You’re Lookin’ Fine, 2009

What a year!  Moving from Africa to Indiana to Maryland to Colorado =  a lot of transitions.  and Graduation?  I almost forgot that happened.  Instead of trying to recap from the entire year, or list a lot of New Year’s resolutions that will never come to pass, I think I’m just going to remember some of my ‘favorites’ of 2008… as they come to me.. so here goes:

the christmas season in africa: 

(this is the creche made out of banana leaves i got from a lugogo market) 



lake victoria

lake victoria


jake – hangin out with my bro in africa before i left.   technically 2007, but still a favorite.. 




the rest of the fam, and all of our hiking trips together.

Packed lunches and home-made hot chocolate?  yes, please.



Ireland with Mom in May:

connemara natl park by you.


My road trip out to Colorado with the Medicinal/Herbal Guru.  Oh the fun in chasing away bears and stopping at obscure roadside monuments.


this coffee mug filled with coffee made by this french press:


                   a warm house:


Finally, my brother Caleb’s visit in October–


I feel lucky…

Happy 2009, everyone!  Here’s to a brand New Year. 



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what is this??

I looked out this morning to a BLANKET of snow on the ground!  Not only that, but those huge lumpy flakes were still coming down in a sea of white.  In a way, I guess it marked the start of another season that was, for me at least, kind of exciting. 

That, however, is not what the outrage is about.  Oh no.  I turned the radio on to catch the weather, and the song that was playing was “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”!!!  What is this??  Need I remind Cozi 101.5 or whatever station was on, it is NOVEMBER 14 today! 

Does anybody else live by the cardinal rule of NO Christmasy things until the day after Thanksgiving?  I always thought that was a fact of life – in the list of things you just don’t do, like waking a sleeping baby, or drinking that ‘special’ chinese tea away from a bathroom, or wearing stilettos (there was no 2nd part to that last one)..

Why?  because it’s Christmas, and when it’s stretched out, it loses some of it’s meaningfulness.  And let’s face it – one can only withstand Celine Dion’s overplayed version of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” for so long.  And the Chipmunks for that matter. 

So there’s my little protest to the craziness that is starting already.  Just because Wal-Mart is doing it with their commercialism shenanigans doesn’t mean everyone has to do it.


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analogies to live by

i found these the other day, and thought they were worth sharing:


Naming a child is like fitting in at a party:     People usually screw up by trying too hard.

Shopping at Ikea is like returning to therapy:     It feels like the right thing to to do, but then you get there and realize you aren’t adequately emotionally prepared.

Facebook is like a gossipy friend with no interesting information:     (no explanation necessary)

Starbucks is like that crazy ex-boyfriend you still get together with:     You hate yourself for going back, but the familiarity makes it convenient, and until you find something better, it’s all you’ve got.

Wikipedia is like hearing a great story in a bar:     You hope it’s true, but never bother confirming it.

Body glitter is like Mono:     Don’t hug someone that has it unless you want some.

Using a semicolon is like barbecuing:     I’m never quite sure I’m doing it correctly.


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this pumpkin..




        was short lived.


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i heart visitors

alllrighty –

a little update on this last weekend and a shoutout to my bro Caleb — thanks for visiting me!!  it was SO much fun having him come for a couple days.  Several higlights include:

Awesome weather while we walked around the city at night and a couple parks

An amazing hike all day Saturday up St. Mary’s Glacier, then summiting St. James Peak.  Wind gusts easily topped 70 mph, which means we got really good at droppin like it’s hot at a seconds notice before we were literally blown off a ridge.  Snow was blowing up with the wind, and temperatures below freezing, but overall, awesome weather for it!  It proved to be more of a challenge than i was anticipating (basically, i think i got a big head trying to act like i was acclimated to this elevation already, which didn’t last long.)

Hitting up some breweries that i’ve been wanting to try out – they superceded my expectations.  Colorado cleans out with the micro brews.  for rizzle.

Overall, I just had a great time hangin out with my brother, catching up, sharing some pictures…you know, the usual.

Since I’m working tonight, I’ve been reminiscing about the sweet Halloween costumes that have been done in the past, and quite impressed with the creativity that our family efforts have come up with.  I have been: a totally ripped sailor, a bag of leaves, barrel of toxic waste, 1 of the 3 amigos, a pyromaniac… others have included all of the wizard of oz cast, all of the Charlie & Chocolate Factory cast, Cher, shampoo and conditioner, grover, lion, tiger, coke vs. pepsi, and MANY more (remember these were all home made from stuff just lying around – Mom – you are the costume making Queen of everything).  What else have we done?  Can you guys remember? 

I will try to upload some pictures of the hike Caleb, Rick and I took last weekend soon.  Hopefully, they’ll give you more of an idea of how cold and windy it was at the summit, and also how beautiful the weather was.

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american justice league

Lately I’ve been thinking about justice, especially from an American context.  We have the “American Justice League,” tv shows like Law & Order, and Hollywood’s movies, most of which are epitimized by a happy ending where good prevails over all evil.  Somebody goes to jail or dies or is somehow forced to reconcile in order to satisfy our thirst for surface level equality.  If a movie’s ending does not provide that resolution, we as the viewer feel uneasy, unsettled, without closure. 

I think what it comes back to is this: balance; living in the tension of what we feel should be right and what actually happens in reality.  I’m sitting here at work: doing bed checks every 15 minutes, reading stories to try to help kids to fall asleep, sitting by their rooms so they know they are safe.  And I’m thinking of all the times I’ve done something to help people in need because I needed to feel like I was making a difference – and did more harm to them than by not doing anything at all.

Why is it so hard to live in that discomfort? It’s the same idea as being perfectly ok with sitting in silence with somebody instead of talking just to fill a void. Maybe, the best thing we can do sometimes is not try to fix everything ourselves, but instead – to coin one of my favorite Beatles tunes – just “let it be.” I’m not saying ignore the instinct to do right and help others – I think I’m just asking myself WHY myself and so many other people fill out a one-time check around Christmas to orphans in Botswana.. I don’t think it’s a spontaneous altruistic gesture, I think it satisfies the urge that chips away every so often, and gives us a sense of accomplishment like it will secure our eternal destination somehow.

These night shifts are tough. I’m noticing that I’m wordier and more talkative than usual, and it’s probably due to being by myself all night with no one to talk to except the occasional kiddo that wakes up – and they are not the pleasant interactions that I need. Although they make me think about things like justice, and why there is not enough of it in the world.

Anyhow. It’s nice to just think out loud (or on the internet) every once in a while.. Does anybody know of a good book on this subject?


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i feel: official

i now have my colorado license!


feeling: official

working: at Tennyson Center for Kids

watching: Planet Earth (if you haven’t seen them, you need to!)

reading: “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk

making: Chicken Tortilla Soup, nice and spicy

listening to: the latest Over the Rhine cd “Trumpet Child”

Today i discovered the greatest little market with SO much fresh produce and good food that i went a little crazy. i bought this gigantic squash just becuase it looked so amazingly intriguing. i think it’s called a Kobacha or Turban Squash, and i have no idea what i’m going to make with it. Any ideas?? Keba – you are my Farmers Market Kindred Spirit – i need some creativity here.

Other updates ~ I started my new job at Tennyson working with troubled kids, and so far, it’s a really good fit for me. No doubt it will be extremely tolling the first few months at least, but worth it. Other than that, life has been really good. Autumn is fading, but i have collected so many leaves during my walks, that i think i’ll be set until the leaves change again next year. i’m modge-podging them into something, i’m don’t know what yet. If you’re dying to share any Fall recipes that include squash or pumpkin, they are most welcome!


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