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Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving in a Nutshell

I don't know about you all, but my Thanksgiving was busy, wonderful, and filled with delicious food and friends/family.  Last year, when my mom had to unexpectedly fly out to Montana over Thanksgiving to be with my Grandmother, my dad sister were left in the lurch so they decided to join me and Ben at Ben's family Thanksgiving.  Everyone had such a great time that we decided to repeat the whole thing this year (including my mom this time)!  Yes, my inlaws are awesome and our families get along great.  It's amazing.

We joined Ben's parents and brother Simon, his aut Joan and uncle Dan, and grandparents Bud and Loey at Joan and Dan's home for food and drinks, and general merriment.  Ben and I took dessert duty again, and as usual I just had to make things way more complicated than they needed to be.  Instead of making three pies like a normal person, I decided to make a layer cake, a chocolate tart, and a crumble.  The crumble was gluten free for Ben's grandmother who suffers from celiacs.  I know.

On Wednesday night, I prepped the tart crust and made the cake part of the cake.  On Thanksgiving morning, I got up early and went for a 6-mile run and a hot vinyasa class to prepare the way for all of the food, and then got back in the kitchen around 10:30 to finish off the icing, tart filling, and crumble.

Pumpkin cake with salted caramel frosting and chocolate ganace - before the final frosting


Gluten free gingersnap cookies for Smitten Kitchen's pear, cranberry and gingersnap crumble



Dorie Greenspan's chocolate banana tart, with a secret Nutella layer at the bottom ;)

Once we were through with our baking extravaganza, we loaded all of the desserts and the dog into the car and took off.  What had been a very mild morning (perfect for a long-ish run) turned into a windy afternoon spattered with freezing rain.  We were glad to arrive at a warm, cozy house, lots of delicious appetizers, and drinks already poured!

Fruits!


Festive table decor
When it came time to load up on the main meal, I did not hold back.  This is plate 1 of 2, btw.  Joan made peas with cranberries and orange zest, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, squash with spiced apples, and of course turkey - and my dad brought his famous stuffing. 



We made the mistake of giving Sid a bite of turkey - which went over fine last year, but this year did not seem to sit too well in his digestive system :/  Let's just say Ben was up a couple of times during the night...

 Turkey plz??!?? I will not puke, I promise...

Men's mom and grandmother


Julianna and SIDNEY, with the two dads engrossed in some riveting dialog in the background


Brothers on the phone with out-of-town relatives


All the siblings!

The day after Thanksgiving was...the day after Thanksgiving.  Meaning, it is now socially acceptable to begin bombarding your home with holiday decor.  I put up the tree, and Ben put up some lights in the dining room and the hallway, and by mid-afternoon our home was looking downright festive!

In one of the great mysteries of life, the same exact number of light strings that covered the tree perfectly last year, fell woefully short this time around.  Luckily the CVS across the street came through in a pinch. 
Our tree topper is Hedwig.  It's pretty much the greatest thing ever.


Mini tried to help...or her version of helping, which mostly includes breaking things and hiding in boxes


Ben at work in the dining room


Ta da!


Hallway lights

On Friday night, Ben and I, along with several of my girlfriends, met up with our friend Katie and her boyfriend Jake at Marvel bar in Minneapolis!  Katie and Jake live in Chicago and were in town for a limited Thanksgiving engagement so we were excited to see them.

Emily, Katie, me and Amanda
While the drinks at Marvel Bar all looked delicious, someone was clearly reading my mind when they created The Islay Old Fashioned - an old fashioned made with Laphroig.  What manner of sorcery is this?!  I'm not sure, but I think I want more of it.
Plus a classy giant ice cube for good measure


The gents - Ben and Jake


The ladies again, plus Tessa and minus Emily

This last photo is from brunch with my parents at Keys in White Bear Lake - only included because a) Ben is adorable and b) the bejazzled red curtains in the background.  These are apparently up year-round...excellent.



Finally it's Friday!  Today my team had a 4.5 hour working session...it was productive but long, and we were digging into some complex issues so there were times when all our heads were ready to explode.  Shots of (rum-free) egg nog may or may not have been taken.  Hotel California may or may not have played on repeat for the better part of an hour.  I can neither confirm nor deny these occurances.  The truth is out there.

Good thing it's Friday because my mind is clearly gone :)  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Google Maps is probably trying to kill me

Yesterday afternoon, a few of my co-workers and I did a volunteer shift at Second Harvest Heartland.  Being the planful person that I am, I decided to print of directions both from work to Second Harvest, and from Second Harvest to my house.  This was not necessary, as it turns out, because Second Harvest is actually about 2 seconds from work, so driving home from their building was almost exactly the same as driving home from the office.

Better to be safe than sorry right?

Maybe.  So, I've encountered situations where Google Maps was slightly off in its directions (asking me to turn on a road that does not appear to exist, telling me to continue straight through what is clearly a dead end) but this time I actually did a double take.  I read over the directions a few times before concluding that yes, Google Maps had in fact just instructed me to make a U Turn on I-94.

I shit you not.  Please refer to visual evidence below.  If you live in the Twin Cities, you will notice that these directions make NO SENSE.


Exhibit A

 Curious, I zoomed in on the exact spot of the alleged U-Turn - right after you cross the river, somewhere between the Riverside and Cretin/Vandalia exits.  There is no possible way this could happen without crashing through a cement barrier and across several lanes of traffic.  Then, after making a 180 degree turn, I am somehow supposed to continue in the same direction I was already going, defying the laws of physics and and obliterating the time-space continuum.  West is east.  Down is up.  Nothing makes sense anymore after GOOGLE MAPS ASKS YOU TO MAKE A U-TURN ON THE DAMN INTERSTATE.

Not only is this highly illegal, I also would most likely die.  There are only two possible explanations for this nonsense:
1) Google Maps thinks I am actually James Bond
2) The internet has finally developed consciousness and is trying to kill us all

Luckily for humankind, I am not a lemming who blindly follows all instructions given to me by the interwebs.  I continued driving straight on the highway when my directions instructed me to do otherwise, and in a shocking conclusion I still ended up at my house.

In other news, it is now after November 15 - therefore, it is acceptable to start breaking out the holiday decorations.  I made no less than 3 trips to Pottery Barn on Sunday, and now our dining room table looks like this:



Why so many trips?  Well, one to scope out the goods and to mentally assess the damage against the budget I had made in my head.  A second one to buy stuff - and then I found myself wishing there was a 3rd height of candleholder, so I trekked down to Pier 1 to see if they had a shorter version.  They did - however, the circumfrence of the PB candleswas too large for the Pier 1 candleholders.  Sneaky retail bastards.  I see what you did there.
Anyway, I had to go back and get two more candleholders.

In other other news, wine and pasta are both delicious, and Salut is very dark inside.



I am working from home tomorrow, and have Thursday and Friday off - so it is almost time for the Thanksgiving baking to commence!  Ben and I are in charge of Dessert again and I have pumpkin layer cake, banana chocolate tart, and apple crisp on the docket for this year.  Overly ambitious?  Maybe.  Worth the effort?  Definitely.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Autumnal Things

I've been admonished by several individuals for not blogging lately.  It is apparently how people "stalk" me "from afar" so I truly and deeply apologize for letting all the creepy stalkers down.

I feel like lately every entry is me apologizing for not blogging...it's a vicious cycle.  I apologize for sucking, promise to write more often, then inevetably I do not write more often and have to apologize all over again.  Bleh. 

After thinking long and hard about this while brushing my teeth at work today, I have identified the following reasons why I am not writing as often:
  1. Stress.  I know this is such a lame answer but there has been a LOT going on lately.  I hope to write more about the stress at some point, because there are pertinent points to be made about life and yoga and whatnot, but it might be a couple/few weeks before that happens.
  2. I hate computers.  Now that I spend the vast majority of my day staring at a computer screen, the last thing I want to do after work is stare at a computer screen even more.  It was all fine in grad school, when I was staring at my professor while also having side convos with my classmates, but now...by the end of the day I am computer-screened out.
  3. I'm a little unsure as to the direction of this blog.  Not that I really feel like it needs a direction, but I started this as mainly a food/recipe blog and have since become too lazy to write down and post my recipes.  I'll still try to post when the inspiration strikes, but honestly I think the real recipe creation is better left to the experts.  As a result, this will probably never happen again.  You're welcome.
  4. ...life.  I work 45+ hours a week, and when you add in yoga (5ish hours) running (2-3 hours), cooking, cleaning, spending quality time with friends and husband, there is just much time left for writing.
All of that being said, I really, really love writing.  My job basically requires me to communicate in bullet points, and having a blog motivates me to occasionally throw down a few complete sentences.  THROW IT DOWN.

OK I am clearly delirious.

I've learned some things lately, about life:

Thing 1 that I have learned:  Sometimes when you accidentally stick your neck out where it doesn't belong, good things happen.  I'm not really a self-promoter.  At all.  My single, recurring piece of 'constructive' feedback on my last performance review was that I need to be more assertive. Duh - this is not news to me. In the rare case when I do overstep my boundaries it is usually by accident.  This happened recently, and good things came out of it.  So I'm thinking I need to accidentally show up where I don't belong more often.

Thing 2 that I have learned: I need to get a damn handle on my existential crises.  The speed with which I go from "I don't understand this data" to "WHY IS LIFE??!??" is sort of alarming.  The thought process goes like so:
  • Can't understand the data in this damn spreadsheet after 10 seconds
  • Obviously this means that I fail at everything
  • My contributions are meaningless
  • How does this spreadsheet matter, in the grand scheme of all the things?
  • This spreadsheet is meaningless
  • What am I doing
  • WHAT IS LIFE WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF ANYTHING EVER WHYYYYY
This all takes place in the span of about 2.5 seconds, and then poor Ben has to deal with it when I come home from work and start rambling about my purpose in the universe while simultaneously trying to cut up a butternut squash. I  imagine that my holding a huge, sharp knife is not too comforting in this situation.  Anyways, this is meant to be funny, not to make you feel bad for me.  Spreadsheets ---> existential crisis.  This is the way of the world.

WOW.  We have gone down a path here.  This is not what I intended to write about at all.

Whatever.

Here are some pretty photos of autumn in St Paul.  A couple of weekends ago we had one of those perfect, mistly fall weekends so obviously I took pictures.  Oh, also I finally bought a new battery charger for the DSLR (the old one vanished on one of my many travels this spring/summer) so expect photo quality to improve drastically in the near future.

Also this browser is the worst and will not let me change the size of my photos.  I'll fix them later but for now, all of these pictures are going to appear annoyingly huge.  Deal with it.

This is when they tore the street up and we couldn't park in front of our house for several days.  It was lovely

Either ghosts or Sherlock Holmes should probably appear at this point

Pretty Colors
 Also, this little gem just opened up down the block from us.  Macaroons are basically impossible for me to resist and now that they are 2 seconds from my home, I'm not really sure what will happen.






...and here is a random shot of my family having dinner at Everest on Grand - probably my favorite neighborhood dinner spot.




I am also proud to announce that I have gotten my parents hopelessly addicted to BBC Sherlock.  It's kind of adorable yet also somewhat terrifying.  The most terrifying thing is probably that Series 3 won't air for another year, so I have to endure 12 months of listening to my dad 'predicting' how the cliffhanger will resolve.  Awesome.

That is all for now.  See you again soon I promise!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Abide With Me

Somehow, I made it through 21 years of life and regular church-going with my parents without encountering Abide With Me.  We'll chalk it up to it being a Lutheran hymn and my attending a Presbyterian church. 

The first time I sang this piece was in my college choir during my senior year.  Our director Dr. Armstrong pulled out the absolutely transcendent Greg Jasperse arrangement for...I think it was our domestic tour.  I loved it immediately.  Something about it made me feel as though I was curling up in a warm, comfy blanket.  The melody is not innovative or complex.  The rhythm is straightforward.  But sometimes, simplicity speaks volumes.

As we were preparing for our concert, Dr. Armstrong's mother passed away.  Suddenly, the piece took on a new, very personal meaning.  Dr. A never said so directly, but every time we rehearsed Abide With Me, it was in homage to her.  We could see it written on his face, and we sang to lift him up.  All of this happened without anyone speaking a word to one another.  We just knew.

Singing at Carnegie Hall

A couple of weeks ago, a friend's mom contacted me about singing at her brother's funeral.  I really don't do the soloing "thing" anymore, but when a friend asks I will never say no.  Anyway, she chose one of the pieces (The Lord's Prayer), but left the other one up to me. 

I talked with my friend and he suggested the Pie Jesu from Faure's Requiem, but shockingly the organist did not know it (???seriously.  Dude, you are a church organist and you don't know this piece....how in the...ok that's neither here nor there) so we decided to just pick a hymn from the hymnal instead.

The organist suggested On Eagle's Wings which I immediately vetoed because: 1) it was already in the service as the second hymn, and 2) no.  I hadn't sung or even thought about Abide With Me in years, but I knew immediately that it was the right choice.

Singing in a funeral is kind of a surreal experience.  At a wedding, everyone is celebrating and even if you don't know the family personally, you just get dragged into the party.  At a funeral, you're part of the day but you are also necessarily an outsider.  I hoped I could help their family in some small way, but at the same time I felt incredibly pretentious for even thinking I could make a difference.  Who was I to even be there?

I have never felt so simultaneously honored and humbled in my life.  Honored that my friend had asked me to take part in remembering his uncle, humbled by the love I saw in front of me that day.

I'm not sure why that particular piece resonates with me to such a degree.  Part of it, I'm sure, is the emotionally charged circumstances under which I first sang it.  Part of it is also the fact that my time at St. Olaf was so treasured, and the tune takes me back to that time - but then so does every song I ever sang in college.

Honestly, I think it comes down to the last two lines of the second verse:

Change and decay in all around I see
O thou who changest not, abide with me


Whether you are Christian or not (I'll be perfectly honest - I am not.  And yet I sing in a church choir and go to church every Sunday.  That's another topic for another day), there's something to those lines.

"Change and decay" is not, I don't think, a negative thing.  It's the natural state of the world.  Everything changes, everything eventually dies. Desiree Rumbaugh said something really insightful the other week at her workshop (well, she said many insightful things, this is just one of them) - that the world as it is, is the world we were meant to be born into.  Wars, poverty, hunger and all.  This is the world we were meant to live in, and our challenge is learning to be steadfast.

I love and believe in the idea that there is something abiding and constant in the world.  Whether it is God, another higher power, your soul, the nature of the world we live in, or something else entirely is (I think) up for discussion, but it's what Abide With Me is all about.



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Today in Literature and Paying it Forward

OK so I'm two days late on this one, but on October 8, 1930 one of my favorite books was published - The Waves by Virginia Woolf.  The Waves was Woolf's last major work, and IMO one of her least accessible but most rewarding.  If you thought the stream-of-consiousness...ness.. of To the Lighthouse was frustrating, just give The Waves a shot and then get back to me.  I'll be honest, the first time I picked it up (I think I was probably 21), I went "WTF" and put it down after 20 pages or so.  It took a while for me to appreciate the beauty of this novel but I'm glad I gave it another shot.  Virginia Woolf remains one of my all-time favorite writers.

The original 1931 cover

Read this article from Today in Literature if you're interested :)

...and here's a passage from the end of the novel:

"And in me too the wave rises. It swells; it arches its back. I am aware once more of a new desire, something rising beneath me like the proud horse whose rider first spurs and then pulls him back. What enemy do we now perceive advancing against us, you whom I ride now, as we stand pawing this stretch of pavement? It is death. Death is the enemy. It is death against whom I ride with my spear couched and my hair flying back like a young man's, like Percival's, when he galloped in India. I strike spurs into my horse. Against you I will fling myself, unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!"




The waves broke on the shore.



And FINALLY, I am getting around to this blog award.  A few months ago, I was honored to receive a Reader Appreciation Award from the lovely Katharina of Katharina's Food adventures and I never passed it on!  Better late than never though, right?  So without further adieu...the reader appreciation award (and accompanying instructions)
The logo!



1. Include the award logo somewhere in your blog.
Done!

2. Answer these 10 questions, below, for fun if you want to.
Done!

3. Nominate 10 to 12 blogs you enjoy. Or you pick the number.
I will probably pick fewer than 10 - and is it cheating to pick some of my real-life friends/family members as recipients?  I'm going to go with no.

4. Pay the love forward: Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invited to participate.

5. Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.
Thank you Katharina!  Your blog is lovely and your creativity in the kitchen is really inspiring.
Link to Katharina's Food Adventures


Les Questions:

1. What is your favorite color?
Deep blue, deep purple, and really dark emerald green.  Most jewel tones actually although you'd never know it from looking at my wardrobe which seems to be composed almost entirely of grey, black, cream/oatmeal, and navy.



2. What is your favorite animal?
Cats!  Sorry Sidney - I love you dude but cats win this category. 



WAT I won?!


3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Tea!  Especially herbal tea - I love all of the Yogi Tea varieties but really any herbal is awesome.  Peppermint is my new favorite.

4. Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?
I like Twitter in theory, but I never use it.  It depends on the context I guess - for keeping up with friends, Facebook.  For baseball, news and other amusements, Twitter.


5. What is your favorite pattern?
I'm a sucker for floral and paisely patterns, especially ones that have an asian feel.  Pour Example:


Awesome Turkish tiles

Awesome Indian Shawl


Wood carved awesomeness from Thailand



6. Do you prefer getting or giving pr├ęsents?
Definitely giving.  I love giving gifts - choosing presents for my friends and family has always been one of my favorite activities :)


7. What is your favorite number?
I honestly have no idea how to answer this.  I might have to go with five, just because it's purple and I like purple (synesthesia, sorry...)


8. What is your favorite day of the week?
Saturday!  Mostly because it is the one day of the week when I don't have to be anywhere in the morning.  I get to sit around in my pj's with coffee and I dare you to stop me.
9. What is your favorite flower?
I love orchids...but I have difficulty keeping them alive :/

10. What’s your passion?
This sounds really odd and generic but I think I would have to say my passion is learning.  I love reading, I pretty much devour books...I love discovering a new subject and diving into it head on, I love solving puzzles, looking at how everything is interconnected, just getting lost in discovering new things and diving deeper into the things I already know.

And as my husband could probably tell you, I am also passionate in my geeky excitement to immediately share my newfound knowledge with whoever has the bad luck to be sitting next to me at the moment.  This person probably does not care about the influence of Wagner on Nietzsche, but I'm going to tell them all about it and they really have no choice.

...and now, the moment you have all been waiting for since the beginning of never...the awards!

Coco, Melissa, Katie, Lindsey, Meri, Emmy, and Ben

Thanks again to Katharina for passing this on!  Hope you are all having a lovely week.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Not Dead

...just busy!  I can't believe I haven't written anything here for almost a month, but the weeks have just been flying by.  I'm definitely going to try to get back to a more reglar posting schedule because I need motivation to keep writing - I miss it :( 

Since the last time I posted I have:
  • Finished another Warrior Dash!  This time I ran with Ben and it was super fun.  Unlike the WD I ran in June, which took place on the mountainous course of doom, this race was on an almost entirely flat course.  I took literally 17 minutes off of my time and finished 15th in my category of 1,200 (Women 20-29)!  I know this is really not much to brag about since most people do not take WD too seriously, but I was pretty proud of myself :)
  • Triumphant Finish!

    Post-"shower" (aka getting hosed off with freezing water)

  • (It is also worth noting that on the last obstacle (a series of muddy hills that you use a rope to climb over), I straight up stole the rope out from under some guy in order to get ahead of him.  I then apologized.  And then kept running.)

  • In the past week and a half I have somehow managed to both a) fall down while running and scrape the hell out of my knee, and b) grab a hot oven rack with my bare hand.  Yes.  I am just that awesome.  I also decided that I should probably keep running for 3 more miles, after I faceplanted onto the sidewalk.  In retrospect, maybe not the best decision.
  • Attended a workshop with the amazing and talented Desiree Rumbaugh!  This was the second time I've studied with her, and both times I've left feeling like my practice was completely transformed.  Love her.
  • Played Cards Against Humanity and won decisively, proving once and for all that I am the most horrible person at the table.
  • Ate Free Pie at Baker's Square
  • Read a LOT of books.  Including:
    - 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami)
    - The Dog Stars (Peter Heller)
    - The One and Only Ivan (for our book club)
    - The Casual Vacancy (J.K. Rowling - review pending...)
    Next Up:
    - Cloud Atlas (before Tom Hanks ruins it forever)
    - The Hobbit (re-read, before Martin Freeman definitely does not ruin it forever)
    - A Study in Scarlet (the first Sherlock Holmes... I am on a mission to read them all)
    - Joseph Anton (Salman Rushdie)
    - In Search of Lost Time (Proust...I foolishly committed to reading the entire thing in
      2013 as part of a group on Goodreads.  We'll see how that goes) 
Alright well, I'm going to try to sneak in a 5 mile run, cheer on the Twin Cities Marathoners, bake some pumpkin bread and make it to yoga today...so let's get this show on the road!  Have a lovely rest of the weekend!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

ALL THE RESPONSIBILITIES

Well kids, I tried, but despite my best efforts I appear to now have two jobs - at least for the time being.  At first it was "you'll have a two week transition period to wrap things up!" and then it was "Ok maybe three weeks" and then suddenly my old boss assigned me three new workstreams to me and I was like hold up. Except I didn't say that... instead I was like NO PROBLEM I WILL DO ALL THE THINGS.
It is really not that bad.  I honestly prefer to be crazy-busy, because when I am not constantly occupied I tend to lose focus, so this is probably a good thing for my overall productivity.  Instead of whining about how I apparently now work for two (three? possibly four?) people I will elect to pull a Mycroft and see if having my fingers in a number of pies can help in my quest for eventual world domination.

...bitchesss

And on an unrelated note, here is a picture of some french toast I ate this weekend in Chicago:

Yum.


And another of my sister wearing a tiger mask:

Rar.


And decipher this, if you dare:



That is all. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Excuses, excuses...

Agghh!  Sorry!  I've been meaning to post Montana recaps and recipes and whatnot for like a week, but life just got in the way.  Between work, yoga, and the sheer quantity of BBC TV I have been watching, blogging unfortunately fell by the wayside.

I don't think I mentioned this but I recently switched jobs.  Same company, same division, different team.  I'm really excited about it but a) there is a huge learning curve for me to get up to speed, especially since my new role requires much more tech-y knowledge than I currently have, and b) as it turns out, doing my new job does not necessarily mean that I am suddenly no longer doing my old one.  There are definitely loose ends that I need to tie up before handing them off, but I'm basically trying to avoid a situation where I have two jobs and sometimes I just want to be all:

...but that would not be very nice or responsible.  Also Ben starts school next week!  This is unfortunate because things like running errands or being home for the repair guy during the day will suddenly take a lot more effort...but it also prevents my husband from turning into this:
Violet Crawley is obviously an academic.
While meanwhile I'm still like:

Kidding though, I do not sleep at work.  In other news, Ben and I went to a scotch tasting last night!  I will tell you two things:  1) six scotches is a lot of scotch, and 2) it's always nice to have an In at restaurants.  Ben still has some friends from his bartending days, one of whom is now the head bartender at the St Paul Grill where the tasting was held.  Every time we go there he hooks us up with some freebies, even though we never ask for it or expect it.  He's quite awesome.

Also, I know Moriarty is fucking terrifying, but this makes me LOL every time.

(source)
 ..the end!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The greatest weekend of all time

Here is what I did this past weekend:

  • Took Sidney to the dog park
  • Yoga
  • Ran four miles
  • Baked a cake for my friend's birthday
  • Watched all three Lord of the Rings movies (extended edition)
  • Made hot cocoa
  • Saw The Dark Knight Rises (finally!)
  • Read at least 300 pages of 1Q84
If you're wondering how I did all of this and still managed to feel the most relaxed I've felt in a long time, I am also wondering this.  If you're wondering what possessed us to watch the entire LOTR extended edition over three days, that can easily be explained.  It happened like so:  Me: "I feel like watching Lord of the Rings."  Ben: "LET'S DO IT.  Normal edition or extended?"  Me: (2 second pause) Extended.  

I cannot explain where the impulse came from.  I haven't seen any of the LOTR films in literally years, and all of a sudden one day I was like hey, I could really use some Tolkein in my life right now.  Who knows.

Anyways...the last few months have just been crazy.  I know I say that all the time about everything, but Ben will even back me up on this.  I haven't blogged about any of it, but it has been a very stressful time work-wise.  I can't get into too much detail, and don't worry everything is fine now but... it has just not been a great summer.  I will say this, though.  If you should ever find yourself in a position of leadership, transparency and communication are really the way to go.  Really truly.  Without it, shit gets toxic, especially in times of uncertainty and many layoffs.  So yeah...that's all I have to say about that.

Still don't have all of the photos from Montana from my dad's camera, so those are coming later, as is a delicious Huckleberry scone recipe.  I promise!  It will be delicious and amazing.

Oh and also this song is wonderful:


Well, that is all for today.  Happy Monday :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

EHRMAGERD

So, it occurred to me that I haven't posted in almost two weeks, and that the last time I did was not the happiest post ever.  Needless to say I'm still here, still definitely wanting to write.

Actually, the main reason I haven't been posting is that I have been on vacation in Montana!  Sweet, sweet vacation...I haven't taken a whole week off from work since our honeymoon, almost exactly one year ago, so this was much needed.

It was glorious.  I ate awesome food, read a shit ton of fiction (1,972 pages actually), hiked 38 miles over 5 days, saw two black bears and three mountain goats, and remembered why life is awesome.  There's nothing like the mountains and fresh air to put the world in perspective.

I OWN YOU, mountains.
Just kidding, you cannot own the earth...haven't you people ever seen Disney's Pocahontas??

I have a number of recipes to share, but some of them just don't result in pretty photos and some of them are very summerish, and summer is almost over.  So instead, here's a brief recap of what I've been doing other than tromping through the wilderness and not checking my email.

Being a baby-carrying bridesmaid in Alex and Karl's wedding
Love :)
Celebrating this little nugget's 24th birthday...

...with Tequila!!

Speaking of Julianna, she is moving to Chicago on Friday :(  Wah wah wah... I can't believe she's moving away, and this time the move is somewhat permanent since her degree will take at least 5 years, and who knows where she'll end up afterwards.  But, while this means she probably won't be calling me up to ask if she can pop by and use my shower anytime soon (yes, this actually does happen with some regularity), it also means lots of Chicago road trips!  That can only be a good thing right?

OK...well it's been a long and weird day.  I'm off to yoga and then to make myself some dinner... I'll post more photos from Montana as soon as I can combine the ones from our camera with my dad's photos... huzzah.

Happy Monday?
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