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!
Well, I’ve had quite a few complaints about the state of my blog. And I, of course, have no excuse except to admit that I simply have not sat down to post in far too long. When it’s sunny outside, my productivity levels regarding anything computer related drop dramatically. So let’s catch up…
Summer 2012 was an absolutely exhausting and awesome run around. For the first time in the last twenty years of my life, autumn arrives without a major transition; I’m not headed back to school, not moving, no end of season work. I’m just continuing where I’m at and, for now, that’s just right. With end-of-summer fatigue, I’m digging into the depths of my bottom drawer and lovingly putting on my fleece pants one grateful leg at a time. But before the rain returns and the monochrom days greet me with each glance out the window, here are a few summer highlights:
At the end of May/beginning of June, I made my return to the great state of Alaska, rendezvousing with Ms. Lisa Colella, JV friend from Juneau and fellow-beerfest extraordinaire. The trip was a nice jaunt around Southeast, starting and ending in Juneau, with a quick trip to Haines for the Great Alaska Craft Beer and Home Brew Festival and revisiting Baranof Island and my friends in Sitka.
A fabulous return visit to Southeast kicked off summer in the most appropriate fashion!
Back in the Northwest and able to spend some time with family and friends, I did what any Northwest native would do at low-tide in the month of July: geoduck hunting.
With low tide on the third of July, geoduck hunting was quickly followed up with patriotic celebrations for the fourth of July at my good friend’s, Ms. Kelly Noland, cabin on the Olympic Peninsula.
July also brought celebrations of the return of Mr. Scott Hippe to the U.S. and of his acceptance to med school with some rather quality GU folks at the Hippe cabin on Lake Cavanaugh. Those pictures are all over Facebook, which, of course, means that I haven’t seen them at all.
And no summer could be complete without a marathon of visitors coming through Portland, beginning with none other than Mr. Lucas Sharma, who, as of the end of August, has entered the novitiate to become a Jesuit priest.
August: On the eve of orientation for 140 new Jesuit Volunteers for work, our busiest time of year, I left work promptly on my birthday, August 2nd, after a month of secret phone calls and texts, to surprise my best friend, Brittany at her family beach house in Cannon Beach, OR to celebrate her engagement!
Mr. Ian Roeber also arrived in Portland to work for JVC Northwest as the recruiter this year and found a happy little home in the basement of my house in Portland for the few weeks he is at our office, not on the road. After engagement celebrations and a full week of camp at JVC Northwest orientation, Ian and I had the brilliant idea of starting a hike in the gorge at 1p.m. on a 95 degree day.
And since hiking the gorge is good, but not quite magical, why not take my comp days for work from our time at orientation and make a quick trip to Grand Teton National Park? I called upon my trusty travel companion, Lisa, and we hopped in the car for a wondrous long weekend in the Tetons.
After wrapping up our final day in Jackson with a trip to Snake River Brewery and attending an Andrew Bird concert that evening, Lisa and I (insanely) hopped in the car at 11p.m. and drove out of Wyoming, through Montana in the middle of the night, took a quick nap in a parking lot in Missoula, and cruised through Idaho and eastern Washington to arrive in Olympia, Washington the next afternoon where we surprised Lucas at his going away party.
Finally, I rolled into September, running on fumes, ready to reclaim my summer finale tradition after a couple missed years: a trip to the Gorge Amphitheater to see Dave Matthews Band over Labor Day weekend.
However, despite having GA tickets for the shows, I only viewed the stage from this distance on Friday night. On Saturday, I had the most epic live music experience of my life, when I made it (not by following all of the rules) to the pit standing area on the floor about seven standing rows from the stage. I could see Dave’s sweat stains. And he played a glorious set with many of my favorites. It was magical (apologies to Patrick Noland for ditching, which I know I will never live down).
So just when I thought summer was really over…
I headed up the familiar route of I-5 to Seattle this past weekend, where I officially wrapped up my summer with a trip to the Mariner’s game. Because what summer could be complete without a trip to the ballpark? Thanks to Mr. Brian Hensley and his very entertaining family for a trip to Safeco Field!
Ok, so that’s why I haven’t been posting on my blog. I was also working 40-hours a week (most weeks) amidst the run around. But bring on the rain and the chai tea and the wool leggings, because I am ready! Thanks to all who contributed to my fabulous (exhausting and awesome–see?) summer and, thanks Meghan for still reading my blog and not unsubscribing!
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.
Of the month and I hate going a whole month without posting. So, here’s my attempt for a post in April before May takes over. Heavy on the photos, but aren’t blogs supposed to be visually appealing anyway?
Not too bad for an average month full of work. Promise to be more reflective and less reporting next time!
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.
The Shrine of St. Therese, Auke Bay, AK
Salmon Lake, Tongass National Forest, AK
Samsing Cove, Tongass National Forest, AK
Denali Park, AK
M/V Kennicott, Alaska Marine Highway, Juneau, AK to Bellingham, WA
Camano Island, WA*
The Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Bowling Green, KY
St. Louis, MO
Groton Long Point, CT
25 different places (tied with 2010)
8 different states (Alaska is a big one, ok?)
new states visited: 0
1 country (or does sailing through Canadian waters count?)