Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Despair, Inc.

I couldn't resist sharing the latest from the anti-motivators, Despair, Inc. They are always good for a laugh.

A few other favorites include this, this & this. And here and here. And here.

I could go on and on.


  • I made it downtown on the bus this morning in 33 minutes (the same bus #, which last week took me 65 minutes). Always amazing to me how leaving 40 minutes earlier makes such a big difference in reducing a commute.
  • I got the job! I start already this Thursday.
  • At no point in the 10-day weather forecast is the temp expected to be above 66F. I do believe fall is here. Hurray!! Fall is my favorite season.
  • I'm going to Denmark at the end of November/beginning of December to shoot a wedding for a friend of Brandi's. Hurray for Denmark! Hurray for unexpected visits with my DK peeps! Hurray for photography jobs!

I can't sleep.

But I really need to 'cause I have to get up early (6am) for my long day tomorrow. Counting sheep...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Aunties!

Aunt Laurie &
Aunt Judy


Love you both!

(Photo from HERE)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kelly wonders....

  • Can you freeze canned pumpkin for later use?
  • What is it about apple cider vinegar that allowed a pumpkin bread recipe to use it in place of eggs? (UPDATE: I've since learned that it's the combination of vinegar and baking soda that acts as a levitating agent.)
  • Since the recipe lacks eggs, does that mean the bread will dry out faster? And if so, will keeping the extra in the fridge keep it more moist or dry it out?
  • Should I go blonde again? (Not that I can afford to maintain it, but I'm in a "Wanna be blonde again" phase.)
  • Does this photo of me not look like me? There's something about the angle...
  • Can I quit school? (Kidding! Though I must admit I find "The Critique of Psychology: From Kant to Colonial Theory" to be so fascinating I want to stab my eyes out with splintered toothpicks. )
  • Why can't I get my wireless modem to work?
  • And what's wrong with my printer that it keeps jamming? (I think the humidity in the air is doing something to the paper.)
  • Is the cooler weather that finally descended upon us today a sign that fall is here to stay? (Pretty please, mother nature!)
  • How can 3 bags of groceries cost $105?
  • Has the 2" cockroach that made an appearance a couple weeks ago left the building so I can stop avoiding that corner of my bedroom and fearing I'll step on it in the middle of the night?
  • How are all my friends?

Hugo came out to play

It's been a while since I've taken Hugo with me out and about, so I took the opportunity to snap a few yesterday around the city, Moody Bible Institute and Chicago-stop EL station.



Saturday, September 27, 2008

In the name of research. Official "new city" research.

Now I just need one more visitor to provide me with the excuse to visit the last of the 4 big Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza players. Giordano's, Pizzeria Uno, and now Gino's last night; all that's left is Lou Malnati's and then I'll be able to declare my favorite (appparently like a local baseball team, residents must declare their loyalty). A friend from California, Paul, is in town for a meeting & his college reunion, so last night we headed to Gino's, his local favorite.



Kell & Sar, I think we'll have to add Lou's to our agenda when you visit in a couple weeks...By the time the rest of you come to visit I'll be an expert.

Phone calls, texts & emails, Oh my!

All ways in which people have communicated their near-death-due-to-curiosity experiences. It wasn't intentional, my withholding the details of my potential employement. Rather, as it's not yet confirmed (remember that drug screen? (Passed) & background check? (Won't hear til mid-next week)), I figured I'd throw out the deets then. But to prevent any deaths on my conscience...

The job: working at a residential treatment facility with youth/adolescents as a dormitory counselor. The position would be a great opportunity for me to get hands-on experience working with clients with a spectrum of issues, ranging from autism to schizophrenia. I was able to observe and participate for several hours this past Saturday and will be excited if this opportunity works out.

(Note: More specifics than this I am not comfortable sharing with the World Wide Web, but feel free to ask me more in our next convo. At orientation four weeks ago we were reminded of the small world that is the inter-web, and encouraged to be private and professional in all online communications that may in some way be traced to us. Although my blog has never been a place for revealing diatribes, I want to be sure that what I do put out there doesn't come back to haunt me at some point and is ultimately respectful of those I'm working with. Besides, who knows what that background check will reveal! Anyone know what they discover and how they go about discovering it besides the obvious criminal record & credit reports?)

Thank you for the interest, curiosity, congrats & encouragement, though! Always nice to be reminded that people care about what's going on in my life.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pearls do it every time

I think I just got a job.
(Barring an unclean drug screen.)
(And a background check.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Dear Mom,
Since I can't be there to celebrate with you, you luck out this year in not having to hear me sing aloud. Instead, you get the written version:

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Maaaaa-oooom,
Happy Birthday to you!

Wishing you a wonderful, wonderful day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

To build a home

This is a song I could listen to over and over again. I love music that sucks you in.

I miss me my boys.

Have you seen the latest "Priceless" Mastercard commercial with the three little boys dancing with their big ol' backpacks? It's just precious. It makes me smile. It makes me laugh. And most of all, it makes me miss my precious boys in far away California.

But that doesn't have anything to do with this post. And neither do these random photos of decorative items on my fireplace.
In fact, this post doesn't really have a point either. Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's hard to study at home.

Somehow Sunday flew by with little studying and lots of procrastination and picking-up of my camera to take random pictures throughout the day as I made cups of my favorite tea, watered my (dying) chives and, browsed old online bookmarks I was finally able to tranfer over from an my work computer's web browser (it was like catching up with old friends).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Night on Michigan Ave.


On toasting bread, being mentally tired & Chi-town pride

I don't have a toaster. It was one of those items that, when packing last fall, it was suggested I could easily buy again, rather than taking up space when packing & shipping it across country. Considering all the other crap I kept, I probably could've found room for an itty-bitty toaster. I suppose given my limited kitchen space, I don't really have room for a gaggle of single-use appliances, so perhaps it's for the best. In the meantime I use my oven to toast bread. I set the oven to 425 and toast directly on the rack for about 5 minutes, turning once around 3 minutes. It's all about making do at this point.

I'm mentally tired. Learning so much, processing so much, saying so much. My program so far, while fascinating, can be mentally exhausting. The other night I went to bed by 9:15 and didn't even hear my phone ring an hour later, which, for me, is unheard of. I'm usually one of those people that wakens instantly and can fool you into thinking, "No, don't worry! You didn't wake me up." (Yes, you did. :-)

If you didn't already know this, Chicagoans are very proud of their city, and especially their sports teams. Advertisers create custom campaigns around the teams, as seen on this Cottonelle poster inside a bus.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Craigslist Missed Connections ad I could place

"Hi Crossword Guy with the cute gap between your teeth. The bus 2 weeks ago, and now the train tonight--If we meet a third time you may just have to father my children. (Kidding, I promise! Don't freak out.) Or at at the very least you should ask me out. Or maybe I'll ask you out. You DOWN to sit ACROSS from me at a cafe? I'm UP for that."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Any words for this one, Ab?

Abby recently posted about a piece of quality entertainment that left her (& me) speechless. (Seriously folks, it's all sorts of awesomeness.) I humbly offer another for her consideration:

PS. I apologize in advance if you are unable to sleep because "The renewed mind is the key...to the Christ in me!" or "Jesus is a friend of mine, I have a friend in Jesus!" is running over and over and over and over and over...and over and over...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Things She Saw

Remember way back when, when I solicited opinions on a name for my side photography business? And remember how undecided I was: do I go with a creative name, or the traditional 'photographer's name' route? Back & forth, back & forth, this task has haunted me.

Until one day not too long ago when Brandi came up with a suggestion. And you know what? I liked it. There was something about it that resonated with my vision for photography: there is so much beauty out there just waiting to be captured, so here you go, these are the things I saw.

I think part of the reason I hesitated so long in doing this is that I do NOT consider myself a professional by any means. I have no training, my camera is not professional level (with some factory defects that I'm waiting to get fixed), and my selection of lenses, flashes, filters and tripods is minimal, if not non-existent. I hesitated to offer my services for a fee, however low, because I feared one of those photographers, the true professionals (whose work I admire & am inspired by) might shake their heads and think, "Oh, the digital age of photography! Makes anyone think they are a professional." And while that fear is undeniably still there, I finally came to the conclusion that this--my pursuit of the art of photography--is a process: of learning, of succeeding, of failing, of growing, of putting myself out there.

And so, with a pinch of trepidation and helping of humility, I offer up...

PS. If anyone is a Typepad wizard and has suggestions on how to make my site better (cleaner, more professional, less like a blog, more like a website), or who would help in designing a real logo, please let me know.

PPS. If your photo (or those of minor children) was included in my albums, but you'd rather it wasn't, please let me know. :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


It's probably part of my "making Chicago home" phase, that I've had the urge to nest: finding places for the remaining random things, doing dishes religiously (for nesting purposes, but also because the kitchen is right off the bedroom and a.) it's depressing to see the dirty dishes piling up, and b.) it can quickly smell if left for a few days), and also cooking/baking/creating in the kitchen. In addition to homemade pesto and a starter (or "chef") for pain au levain,

I got a hankering for frozen graham crackers with buttercream frosting, a childhood favorite. While I don't mind store-bought frosting, there really is nothing like homemade buttercream, bursting with vanilla flavors. Since vanilla beans can be expensive, I long-ago discovered the Trader Joe's alternative of Vanilla Paste, which I almost always use in place of regular vanilla. This stuff is so good I 'accidentally' let some drip on my finger so I can lick it off. I strongly urge you to pick some up (and see if you can resist the temptation to drip & lick).
And thanks to my local library, I was able to get my hands on a copy of a long-lost brownie recipe from the Joy of Cooking (1997 edition), that I often made in Denmark. I love expanding my recipe collection FOR FREE!

When in the mood to 'nest', what do you typically find yourself doing?

Monday, September 08, 2008

1 month, 1 day

One month, one day ago I moved into my new place. ONE MONTH! Did that time fly by for anyone else? It gives me hope that these next five years will also speed by as I get closer and closer to this educational goal. It occurred to me the other day though, that I really don't think the next five years will be torturous. And you know why? 'Cause this was the right choice. Into my second week of school and I'm already excited for tomorrow's classes. And then Wednesday's classes. And although I didn't have the motivation or desire to study all weekend (choosing to play & relax instead), when I picked up my textbooks today and spent the day reading about the need for multi-cultural competence, I wasn't even bored! Now that says something.

Wanna know one of the few things I dislike about Chicago? (And really, I can only think of the one thing at the moment.) You know how when you see a TV commercial advertising the upcoming date and time of your favorite TV show? And you know how it always said something like "8pm/7 central" or "9pm/8 central"? Well I finally realized what that "_ central" part, which I'd always disregarded, meant. It means if you live in the central time zone, you're screwed. Parents don't get to put their kiddos to bed by 8pm, just in time to watch their favorite primetime shows in peace. And students who have classes until 7pm at a school that's a 30 minute train ride + 10 minute walk away from home, and who are too poor to afford cable, let alone TIVO/DVR, they are screwed too. Cause EVERYTHING STARTS AT 7, NOT 8PM. (What genius decided this was a smart idea?)

But other than that, Chicago is GREAT. Seriously, I'm loving it and can't wait to share it with all my future visitors. And you know what else is great? Skype (or Yahoo IM) + webcams. They mean I get to talk to AND SEE some of my favorite people, all for free. You can be one of those people too; go get a webcam. Pronto. And then let me know about it so we can chat. FOR FREE. (If you haven't noticed, FREE is quickly becoming a favorite word of mine, as are 'coupon', 'discount', and 'cheap'. Necessity is the mother of evolution, my friends!)

As I type this I'm watching a very fuzzy 'Celtic Thunder' (fuzzy cause of that aforementioned inability to afford cable, and the 'ol rabbit ears don't love this channel). But though I can't see it well, I can hear just fine and am charmed by the lilting Irish accents singing about all kinds of blarney. (And this makes me think of Molly living in Ireland for a year, and don't you all think it'd be adorable if lil' B came home with an Irish accent?)

The mention of Molly reminds me of a conversation I had with her today: How old do I look? I ask because on the bus this weekend I was asked out by a man who was easily pushing 50, on the young side. Did he really think we were close enough in age to go on a date? Or was he just so charmed by the fact that I actually made eye contact with and smiled at people on the bus (cause people here avoid eye contact when taking public transportation, so I'm on a mission to, as Liz says, "Make Chicago friendly")? Always flattering to be asked out, of course, but how old do I look?!

A little random free-thought comin' atcha this evening.

From the Central Time Zone, I bid you good night.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Rock Rocks!

I interrupt this Saturday evening with a public service announcement:

Run, don't walk, to your nearest computer. Go online and head to the NBC website. Once there, click on 30Rock and then watch Full Length Episodes. I suggest you start at the beginning and, like me, spend the evening watching back episodes (for free!) and laughing out loud.

Because if you haven't already discovered this, 30Rock ROCKS. Like, on par with The Office, ROCKS.

My Saturday Morning

Although it's nice to sleep in on a Saturday morning, it's also cozy to wake up early and take a stroll around a farmer's market, scouting out the freshest herbs & veggies, the ripest fruit and the best, crusty bread.

That was the Saturday morning I had today. Sticking to my budget of $20, I came home with 2 large bunches of basil (to make pesto), a pot of chives to grow & have on hand, a pound of blueberries (I'm thinking blueberry-applesauce muffins), a loaf of honey-oatmeal bread (with just the right amount of chewy crust and soft inside), & a delicious cinnamon pull-apart roll. And of course I took my beloved market basket (thanks again, Sarah & Molly!).
My loot and morning's breakfast.
Soon I'm off to meet up with some of my new PhotoWalk friends to watch the Red Bull Flugtag, sure to be zany fun.

What are you doing today?

Friday, September 05, 2008


I was asked yesterday whether I've begun to feel at home in Chicago. Perhaps it's having my things around me again, or maybe because this was the right move, but yes, it really is starting to feel like home.



The non-laboring Labor Day

Though I'm certainly not sick of or in need of escape from my new city, I took advantage of the long holiday weekend to visit Julia in Michigan. Rather than drive (I'm not giving up my parking space for nothin'!), I took the train to Michigan City, IN, near the border of Indiana & Michigan, where Julia picked me up and we drove back to Kalamazoo.

I love riding trains. You meet the strangest people, like the woman who sat across from me on the way home, dressed in multiple layers (despite the heat) and who opened her attache case every couple minutes to remove a bottle of disenfectant spray (a Lysol knock-off) and then peeling back the layers of clothes, would spray herself on the chest, just below her throat. She explained to me it was to "keep cool and cover up her smell" as she smokes. Alrighty then!
As we crossed the border into Michigan, I made Julia pull-off into the Welcome Center to add to my growing collection of border-sign photos. There wasn't a good sign, so we posed in front of the state map. Though Julia is a local, I made her get it on the fun.
In addition to going to church, getting a driving tour of Kalamazoo and lunching with Jules' family, we headed to Battle Creek, MI for an Obama/Biden rally. Regardless of one's political opinion, it's always exciting to be in such an environment and have the opportunity to hear a presidential candidate speak in person. Though the wait was long and all the tall people seemed to be standing in front of us blocking the view, we made friends with some in our immediate vicinity. (More photos HERE.)
The following morning we made a tasty breakfast, baked a cake and on the way back to the train, explored some sand dunes along Lake Michigan.
And of course I had to get a shot of the Indiana border sign (even if it meant Julia pulling over on the side of a major highway :-).
Thanks Jules for being such a great hostess!