January: What to do with a new year? Apply to grad school and watch Zags basketball, obviously. Submitted my application to SIT Graduate Institute and cheered on my #1 boys.
February: Back to Southeast Alaska for work and the opportunity to see friends in Sitka.
March: Let’s play JEOPARDY! (That’s my mom.)
April: Made a documentary. Met great people, shared the story of good friends, screened it at a theater with 300 people in attendance. Folks at NW Documentary–you’re beautiful. Oh, you want to see it? Fathoming A Future
May: Met this guy, Dave Matthews, you may have heard of him.
June: A mess of a month, but I had the chance to spend my grandma’s final days with her in Missouri (and learned I look exactly the same as when I was three years old).
July: Quit my job (bye JVC Northwest, it’s been good!). Trekked 93 miles around Mt. Rainier on the Wonderland Trail. Would I do it again? Yeah, I think I would. Didn’t love every moment of it, but damn that cold Rainier beer tasted good at the end. Thanks to Brian and Aunt Christy for the Trail Talk.
August: Road trip! Packed up and left it all (again). Vermont-bound, but not before a stop at the best brewfest ever. Thanks, Bend!
September: Turns out I decided to forfeit my income and work really hard going back to school in Vermont. Honeymoon phase of all new people in a new place. Delicious cheese. And reading assignments.
October: New England autumn proves worthy of its reputation. Cider. More cheese. More reading assignments.
November: Drew some Econ graphs, wrote some papers. Spent time with new friends who somewhat resemble lawn gnomes.
December: Completed my first semester of grad school. Many hours spent attempting to define sustainability. And a little stop by Yale to see a man deserving of the descriptor “inspirational,” Mr. Wendell Berry, of course.
January 2014: The sun has set on a semester of grad school. A jaunt to Barbados awaits . . .
I’ll follow-up a year of crappy blogging with an annual tradition: the list of places I spent the night throughout the year. I may not have Facebook, but why not still offer the highlight reel of my year on the Internet like every other shameless individual? (Please, don’t answer that.) 2012 was the first year since high school that I have not changed residence at some point during the calendar year. The year was primarily spent in the Northwest, but I managed a few strategically-crafted adventures outside the cubicle. Here’s to improvement in 2013!
Of all the men in my life, Joey has, without a doubt, been the most faithful and given me the least trouble. And yesterday, he turned 100,000.
Joey has been with me during, arguably, my most formative years. He took me to high school graduation and delivered me home from college for countless holiday visits. He taught me, sometimes unforgivingly, how a clutch really works. He’s stuck with me during snowstorms in Wyoming, humidity in Georgia, and fog on the coast of Maine.
He’s seen me at my worst–crying and snotty-faced while driving away from someone or somewhere I love. And he’s seen me at my best–windows down, hair blowing, shades on, iced-coffee sweating in the cup-holder with Dave Matthews propelling us to the next undiscovered adventure.
He’s accompanied me to my first day of my first real job.
He knows all my favorite songs and happens to think I’m a fine singer.
He tolerates my road-rage and impatience without complaint.
He’s seen a few different boys in the passenger seat, but knows he’s the one taking me home at night.
He’s pooped out on me only once and that’s just because he needed a jump to recharge; he’s never left me stranded.
We all have a few bumps and bruises, and Joey is no different. He has a few love-marks from when I’m at my most dangerous reversing at 2-4mph in a crowded parking lot.
We simply understand each other. For that, and for my father who let me commandeer the 2005 Subaru Impreza that he intended to be his own, I am grateful.
It’s amazing how quickly I forget my own actions and am tricked by the way technology connects every part (arguably too many parts) of my life. Take, for instance, the following scenario:
10:15 a.m. average Tuesday morning in the gray walls of my cubicle
I receive a forwarded email at work from a co-worker about an event in Portland that I might want to attend. My train of thought goes something like this as I skim the text for the basic info, “Oh cool, what day is that? Huh, I don’t know if I can make it… whatever, I’ll just look at it at home when I’m not distracted.”
I proceed to then forward the email from my Microsoft Outlook work email account to my personal, unprofessional-sounding gmail account (which I will likely open on Google Chrome later in my work day when I lose all sense of self-control and check my personal email at work).
45-60 seconds later…
I glance at my smart phone sitting just beyond the reach of my desk phone and coffee cup to see the blinking green light indicating a new notification of some kind.
“Sweet, someone cares about me, wonder who text or emai… wha…? Why is my name on the… Oh, right. I just emailed myself. Damn.”
I wish I could say this hasn’t happened over a dozen times. But if I did say that, I would be lying.
(Let me just email this blog post to myself now that I’ve written it on my work email account.) It’s a vicious cycle.
After fighting with an almost-seven-year-old iBook 4 for several years, I finally broke down a couple weeks ago and purchased the new material-love of my life: a refurbished MacBook Pro, which has since changed my life (and leaves me with no excuse not to blog regularly). I’m reconnecting with people all over the world (literally) now that my main email correspondence isn’t done either 1) at work as I flip between my gmail screen and excel spreadsheets or 2) on my smart phone when I attempt to write an email using a keypad made for someone the size of a toddler.
In my recent reconnecting, I’ve had the chance to “hang out” (no, not on Google+, who uses that?) on Skype video chat with friends in Germany and Scotland, all of whom I haven’t spoken to in months. When I said to a friend, “Wow, video chat is awesome, it just feels like I’m hanging out with the person I’m talking to!” he response was a mediocre, “Um, yeah…” Apparently everyone else discovered this several years ago. Welcome to 2012, Liz.
The most noteworthy, random reconnection came when I found out my friend, Chance, and his wife, Valerie, who are currently serving in Malaysia, are expecting a baby! (This too was old news because, naturally, everyone found out on Facebook before Christmas and I’m just hearing about it via email three months later.) I responded to the mass email update about baby shower planning with a personal message relaying the usual congratulatory remarks. Chance replied right away with the following:
I’m bummed we couldn’t connect over Christmas, but I think you may have become a part of our baby’s life anyway over the break. [Right off the bat, I’m thinking, “huh?” and proceeded to re-read that sentence a couple times trying to figure out what the heck he was talking about.] We went to Goodwill in Seattle (Lynnwood, specifically) to look for baby books, clothes, and all that stuff. Valerie had a bunch picked out and as we were flipping through them after we left, we saw “Elizabeth Purdy” written in a child’s handwriting on the first page. Kid you not. I don’t know if your parents cleaned house and donated to Goodwill, but it looks like you’re passing on a childhood book to us. Is it possible there’s another one of you in Seattle? Hard to believe.
Ha, hard to believe, indeed. I hope little baby Edman follows in literary footsteps set before him/her(?)!
(I’d also like to thank everyone for their suggestions about what to name my new bike. I received many ideas, sometimes in the form of text messages that simply read, “Charles,” “Thomas,” “Daphne” with no further explanation. My mom suggested “Chandler” so I could have Joey, my Subaru, and Chandler, my bike, but the Friends reference was a bit much–I already refer to “Phoebe” and “Ross” as though I hung out with them last night. I’ve tried out several names on the rides to and from work and am still struggling to find the perfect fit, but Daphne and Tommy are the final contenders thus far.)
Yesterday I received an “accountability text” message from my sophomore-year roommate, Meghan, letting me know it’s time to update my blog. I didn’t exactly ask to be held accountable, but I do appreciate that Meghan has taken the initiative to let me know the displeasure of my reader(s–maybe I only have one left?).
I have, I admit, completely failed in the blogging world since my brief moment of WordPress fame. Perhaps it’s because the honeymoon period of having a new job in a new city has worn off. Don’t get me wrong, things are good, it just takes a little more searching to find the meat of the story worth sharing when the 9-5 routine is in full swing. Plus, I’m in charge of the blog at work, so what was once a creative outlet and leisure activity now has a bit of a mandatory feel. But in the midst of any lull I may blame on the daily grind, my competitive nature is surfacing as my business-major friend is about to have prose published before me and my Spanish/Bio major friend is currently maintaining a far better blog with thoughtful reflections on loving and serving others.
So, what have I been doing?
Well, for starters, rather than giving up something for Lent, I’m taking on the daily practice of writing (great, I’ve said it publicly, all sorts of accountability now). I won’t necessarily be writing on my blog (though a few items may surface here eventually), just in my Moleskine whose pages tempt me to fill them with substance. Perhaps the returning daylight and literary activity with my new book club (yes, I feel like a 45-year old when I say that) will offer stimulation.
After the snow fell on Seattle last month, I’ve been trying to find the stashes left to ski in the mountains, namely Mt. Baker and Mt. Hood. Took my first little trip into the backcountry on New Year’s day and have had pretty good success finding some powder this season (but after a season of a half-day skiing at Eagle Crest in Juneau last year, it doesn’t take much to improve).
Off the mountain, the kitchen has been heating up with new recipes of Kale (who knew greens could taste so good?!), accompanied by Alaskan Amber, and my local Gonzaga basketball-viewing partner, Brittany. What could make for a better Thursday night?
Last weekend I attended a conference on, you guessed it, justice, hearing speakers like Shane Claiborne, Dr. John Perkins, and Richard Twiss, giving me plenty to think about and making me realize I really need to know more, read at least ten more books within the next month, and probably go to graduate school for peace and justice studies ASAP (unlikely). The weekend also shed light on what the “trendy” justice issues are, sex trafficking and human slavery seem to be the popular injustices worth fighting for these days. Who knew some social justices issues were “cooler” than others? But the quantity of booths and non-profits focused on that work confirmed that I am definitely not with the “cool justice” crowd. I opted out of the chance to buy a $30 dollar t-shirt covered in contemporary art and silk screens of the continent of Africa. I also learned, as I was at an exhibitor booth representing JVC Northwest, that some Protestant individuals don’t think Catholics are Christians. Interesting…I think I need to review some materials from my Religious Studies classes.
In other news, besides thought-provoking conferences, I get to attend the occasional webinar for work to acquire new ideas. Some are better than others:
Finally, I’ve adopted the quintessential Portland lifestyle activity: I am a bike commuter. And I kind of love it. It’s a great transition to and from work and as I passed the nearest gas station today and saw the price was $4.05/gallon, it was confirmed that I will be riding my bike every day this week (Dear Wall Street Speculators, Thanks for helping me quit using my car. Love, Liz). This is my favorite (only?) newly acquired possession, and just as Joey, my Subaru, has a name, I’m hoping the right name for my new companion will surface soon–I’m open to suggestions.
I wasn’t willing to admit that a snow storm was probable on Tuesday night when the forecasters said we’d have several inches in Seattle. I insisted on driving up to Seattle from Portland on Tuesday night, my boss allowed it so I could make it up before the storm and still go to my planned events later this week. The roads were clear almost all the way up I-5 and not a flake existed anywhere in Seattle on Tuesday night.
Even when I woke to about 4 inches yesterday at my parent’s house on Queen Anne, I thought it would be raining by now.
I can tell this is a rite of passage into adulthood: I’m not sledding and I’m wishing the roads were clear so I could go about my schedule as planned. What happened to racing up and down the hills?! I guess I only do that in the form of downhill skiing now.
I hate to perpetuate the hype, but it is quite literally still dumping in Seattle right now. There have been teasers with freezing rain early this morning, but as of now, it’s just snow, and it’s still falling.
I’ve taken refuge at Bustle Coffee Shop on Queen Anne with several others who are resisting the urge to sled and have laptops open in an attempt to work.
So, whatever Mother Nature, just do what you do and I’ll just keep changing my plans, and learning to enjoy it 🙂