Thursday, August 12, 2010

ten things thursday

Ten things that made me smile this past week...that went by amazingly fast!

1) Melissa's bachelorette party was hilarious and fun. We embarrassed her good!
2) I was, among Mel's friends, obviously one of the more...shall we say, edgy? It's a strange adjective to ascribe to myself since I don't normally feel that way, but I did around them. They were cute. The point is, it was a bit of an ego boost.
3) The wedding was beautiful and I smiled so much that I cried right before I was supposed to sing, causing me to sniffle during the rests...tee-hee.
4) Seeing mountains again. Yay, Colorado Springs.
5) When I came home, my favorite kitty, Siam, greeted me rather enthusiastically. It certainly warmed my heart.
6) My house mum helped me to fully discover Ravelry yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
7) Last night, I went to vespers for the first time in months. I love liturgy on Sunday, but it's so good to go to church during the week as well to be reminded to pray. When we sang "O Gladsome Light" I was grinning from ear to ear--St. Basil in the 300's wrote that he didn't even remember when Christians started singing that text!
8) Apparently my upcoming chrismation was discussed by the parish council on Monday...yay!!!
9) I plan to spend this afternoon relaxing. The prospect makes me smile.
10) Siam fell down the stairs last night because she had been perched on top of the new package of toilet paper trying to eat it. Toilet paper eating fail.

Friday, August 6, 2010

ten things thursday: friday edition

Ten things that made me smile this past week:

1. My "little brother" (2yrs) accidentally sent Cindy a blank text message with my phone, which he got a hold of while exploring my room. Tee-hee.
2. Constance and I had a lovely day chatting about everything and looking at knitting and fashion magazines. Also, we folded laundry and did dishes and it was great!
3. My mom likes Bjork. We discovered this in the car on the way to Colorado.
4. Melissa had to do several hilarious things at her bachelorette party last night, most of which were hilarious. And, since all of her friends are really shy and modest, they thought I was hilarious and probably a bit scandalous, so I had fun making them giggle all night.
5. On the second day of my move, last Sunday, I was privileged enough to witness hospitality in several forms. At Reba Place, when Katie and Eric showed up to move in with Luke, a dozen people appeared out of nowhere to help them and we all formed this grand line and passed things into the house. Wow! That's the way to move!
6. My host family. Really, just thinking about them makes me smile ear to ear.
7. I am now living with my fave church knitting buddy, and she's overseeing some educational projects for me, and I'm SO excited!
8. I now also live with two kittens and they are beyond adorable! Siam is definitely my favorite (no offense, Ginger), and the fact that she tolerates my desire to cuddle with her 24/7 makes her officially the best cat ever.
9. Ginger slept with his face in Dennis' shoe for several hours the other day. Cute!
10. I'm reading Wodehouse's Joy in the Morning, one of several Jeeves and Wooster stories, and it's making me laugh over and over again. I love British humour and books that I can just eat up...especially when I know that there are more to come!

Friday, July 30, 2010

saint suggestions?

I've realized of late (yesterday) that I really don't know very many woman saints. I was able to look up some of the obvious--Felicity, the myrrh-bearing women, Anna--and I know there are many more that I'm just too lazy to read bios on. I know it's sad, but really, all of their names sound the same and some are so obscure that finding biography is like finding the perfect pair of jeans. I just want to make sure that I don't miss anyone really cool, so if there are suggestions floating around out there, I'd love to hear them. =)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

ten things thursday

Ten things that made me smile this past week:

1. Melissa was in town for Kat's wedding and we got to chat for a few hours in my very humid living room. Yay! I'm so excited to go to Colorado for their wedding next week!
2. I'm going to stay with some good friends from church, and I spoke with the mom of the family and she was telling me about all of the lovely things that they're doing to ready my room and whatnot. It's all very surreal, and very happy. =)
3. Packing is going well. What a relief!
4. My boss is letting me borrow one of our cheese vans to move some of my furniture to my parents' house this weekend so I don't have to rent a truck!
5. I've taken to looking at skeins of handspun or hand-dyed yarn on Etsy because it is knitter/crocheter/spinner porn. There is nothing quite so beautiful as a hank of alpaca-silk blend.
6. Today, I was paging through my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and drooling over recipes. It was very inspiring.
7. My mom won the Biggest Loser competition at my parents' gym! She's going there today to pick up her "goodie basket"---does it contain carrots?
8. I'm craving samosas today like nobody's business. It's starting to drive me crazy, but in a really good way. I've been smiling as I reminisce about great samosas past...yum.
9. I slept over at a friend's house last night in AIR CONDITIONING! YAY! Also, it's been only 80 degrees today, a beautiful respite from our heat wave of 90+ over the past few weeks.
10. I was talking to Constance about when I could be made me really happy. I'm not ready, but I also know I'll never be ready, so whenever Father Pat would like to do it is fine with me!

Friday, July 23, 2010

ten things thursday

Ten things that made me smile this past week:

1. Got back on Facebook. I was embarrassed at first, but after I got into it a bit, I realized it was great to be back. I had a good year (+) without it, and I'm mildly proud of myself for that, but the fact is that people use it to communicate. If I want to communicate with those people, then that's my best option. So, hooray!
2. I realized the other day that my beloved Monica is coming back soon from camp! It'll probably be three more weeks or so, but I can't wait!
3. I found out yesterday that I have to whole apartment to myself this entire weekend! I love that, even if I'm not really going to be home all that much. I can freely sit on the couch, watch whatever I want, walk around naked, and bake if I want to without a certain roommate whining too much about the heat (while she sits in her air-conditioned bedroom...not that I'm pissy about it or anything...)
4. The "Spaulding Place" peeps and I played Settlers of Catan last Saturday and we all about peed our pants with laughter. I'm glad to be back in touch with them.
5. LeRoy crawled up into my lap this morning as I drooled and stared at the wall rather than waking up. He's becoming quite comfortable in our house. The way he sat was precious, though---he was all folded in half like a slumped rag doll with his paws sticking out every which way. Cute.
6. I've been looking at wedding photos on Facebook (I know, I'm a stalker), and they're making me happy in a special, heart-warming, goose-bumpy kind of way.
7. Just about every time I think to myself, "I really miss Cindy and Kip!", one of them sends me a text. Kip sent me a photo-text of his fro-yo the other day. It had Sour Patch kids on it. YUM.
8. Thinking about fro-yo.
9. Despite the fact that it's supposed to be 95 degrees today with a "heat index" (whatever that is) of 103, I slept like a baby last night without air conditioning, and my fans chilled me sufficiently to the point that I needed to huddle up under a blanket for the last hour of my sleepy-time.
10. Luke ordered moving boxes that should be arriving today which means that I can actually PACK! I'm excited to be a nomad for a little while. I'll just take what I can fit in my car and live wherever. I'm young and single--perfect timing, right?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

great scarf pattern!

Title : Knitty First Fall 2010

I'm knitting this scarf with a GORGEOUS yarn that I bought from Raven Frog Fiber Arts while in Juneau. This is not the scarf I made with the other yarn I bought from them--I'm making this from a Merino/Silk blend that is a variegated green, light pinkish-red, and white (with shades between) and I can't wait to start! I like it because it's not too girly, not too utilitarian, just like the designer writes on this page.

Anyway, as soon as I've charged my camera and have begun enough work for a photo, one will be posted.

ten things thursday

Ten things that made me smile this past week.

1. I went on a ride-along with Kip and I got to inspect the interior of a squad car while simultaneously learning what I can reasonably expect to get away with while driving...and was further impressed with Cindy's choice of mate. Kip is a really great guy.
2. Putting Tillamook in his harness...priceless. I've never seen a cat behave in such a bizarre manner, and it was endlessly funny.
3. Thanks to the ever-astonishing generosity of the Cheshires, I rode home in high style--first class all the way! It was at once humbling, tearful, amazing, fun, intoxicating (literally), and just plain enjoyable. I watched Date Night for free, ate tasty free food, and drank tasty free liquor, all while sitting on comfy seats and NOT poking my neighbor with my knitting needles. =)
4. Luke gave me flowers and a large bottle of Wisconsin Belgian Red by New Glarus to welcome me home to the prairie state. He made sure that all of the flowers and grasses were native to Illinois since I had been in Alaska for so long.
5. My roommates had to put my cat down the day before I came home, which is definitely NOT happy, but we already have a new cat and he's adorable. I'm not saying that LeRoy will replace JoJo, but he has helped me to cope with the loss of my little furry friend.
6. I finished a scarf made from one of the hanks I purchased at Skeins from Raven Frog Fibers! It's just as beautiful (and hot) as I'd hoped. I'm glad to get an early start on Christmas gifts.
7. One of my favorite Alaskan activities with Cindy was when we went to Fred Meyer and squealed and fawned over all of the adorable baby clothes! I helped Cindy pick out onesies and jeans, and we found some adorable little outfits, but decided it would be a good idea to wait to find something cuter. Plus, Bean's gender is a mystery, so his or her birth will clear that up making it easier to buy clothes.
8. I smiled every day that is was chilly while I was in Juneau. I didn't notice as much then, but now being back in Chicago, I miss it a whole lot. It's 90 degrees here today, with a humidity of only 70%. Yay for Juneau's chilliness!
9. FROOOOOOOOOO-YOOOOOOOOOOOOO! A pregnant and non-pregnant woman's dream come true! Cindy, Kip, and I patronized the frozen yogurt place in Juneau more than I care to admit, and there are few small cares more smile-inducing than creating your own frozen yogurt treat, priced by the ounce. Fantastic!
10. I got several emails when I was in Alaska from people who didn't know I was in Alaska, and the response was always the same, "Alaska?! Wow! Enjoy!" Tee-hee. I sure did. =)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

ten things thursday, Juneau edition

Ten things that made me smile this past week:

1) Seeing the scenic viewpoint where Kip proposed to Cindy!! Also, watching Cindy tell the story was really really cute.
2) Taking fantastic pictures of EVERYTHING for my mom, who loves all things Northwest and mountainous.
3) I bought what I consider to be absolutely the most beautiful yarn ever at Skeins (which is the best yarn store ever) and it has made me considerably happy.
4) As much as I like rain, a week of clouds hiding the tops of the mountains and a complete lack of blue sky and even a hint of sun will bring anyone down. The sun finally came out, and it's BEAUTIFUL!
5) I've discovered the joy of making tons of people feel special by sending postcards galore!
6) House Season 5, all the time.
7) Kip and I played Super Mario Wii the other night for two hours while Cindy watched, crocheting. It was a lovely bonding experience for me and Kip, and just a fun night all 'round.
8) Alaskan Amber beer. 'Nuff said.
9) We went to the Independence Day parade in downtown Juneau on the 4th and I learned a lot about Juneau culture. Also, it was a ton of fun and we cheered for Kip who was carrying a flag, and collected some candy when it made it past the little children.
10) We found the Orthodox Church and I bought an icon! We're going to at least one service this weekend, and I think that will make me feel more at home than anything.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

ten things Saturday...

Sue me. I'm doing it, okay?

1. I'm in ALASKA!
2. Tillamook is beyond adorable, no matter how many times we throw toys for him to fetch
3. Kip and Cindy are completely wonderful together and I'm so happy to be around them everyday. I don't think I'd ever want to vacation without being around friends and family all the time.
4. Skeins! This fantastic yarn shop draws my thoughts to it every five minutes or so, and I spend a lot of my time trying to figure out what I'll make with whatever I buy there.
5. The Shrine of St. Therese is pretty much the most beautiful place in the world.
6. Vitamin D gummies!
7. Crocheting with Cindy!!!!
8. On the plane from Chicago to Anchorage, I met a couple in their seventies who were sweet Christian people and they took me to dinner and paid for me to go to the museum in Anchorage to learn about the history of Alaska. They were so sweet! We had a great time, and I had a wonderful adventure in trusting people and being free.
9. It's pretty chilly here so I get to wear my long sleeves and cardigans again! It really is like Christmas in July.
10. I met Cindy's friend Natalie last night and we had a lovely girl night. I got drunk and Kip did field sobriety tests on me until I went to bed. =)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

ten things thursday

Ten things that made me smile (or giggle) this past week:

1. All of the people who were obviously terrified of the tornado siren that went off yesterday. I was at work and I received several phone calls about it, to which I wanted to reply, "You do know it's physically impossible for a tornado to touch down in the city of Chicago, right?"
2. I talked with Father Pat about Alaska and he told me some of the Orthodox and American history there. Thinking about visiting Cindy made me smile a LOT, and so did thinking about Saint Herman of Alaska, Patron of the Americas.
3. Old Swedes. They're funny to talk to, that's for sure.
4. I bought a book entitled The Birth Partner because I'm thinking about becoming a doula and I thought it would be a good idea to read some of the required texts before I made any serious commitment--I love it!
5. Being in the "Pregnancy & Family" section of Barnes & Noble and getting a weird look from a lady who obviously thought I was too young and obviously single to be pregnant (which I'm not). I've learned to laugh about these things. =)
6. I've discovered the joy of peeling sunburned skin. This is only the second time I've had such a privilege, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it.
7. I'm so excited to be an Orthodox catechumen!
8. I've been helping Greg organize his office, and it seems that we're finished. We did such good work! Yay!
10. I spent one morning this week sleeping in, eating gourmet bagels and cream cheese with good coffee, and reading the paper. I think I should do that at least once a week, seeing as I found it to be GREAT!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

ten things thursday!!

I did it! It's Thursday!!

Ten things that made me smile this week...
1. LUKE GOT MEDICARE! It's been quite the insurance-hunting saga, but Luke has now qualified for rather generous Medicare and will likely qualify for Medicaid and a disability check as well. He's looking at a kidney transplant in August or September.
2. Going to Alaska is actually starting to feel real--I'm covering my shifts and finding people to look after my cats, plants, car, and piano-watering job while I'm away. YES!
3. Luke's friend (and now mine), Bethany, is in from Atlanta for the week and she's a bundle of joy. I had soup with her yesterday afternoon and it was lovely. I sure am gonna miss her when she leaves.
4. I called my grandma and it wasn't awkward! We had a good talk and exchanged addresses so we could mail each other stuff.
5. Greg did a lot of good work on his office this week and we were able to make significant progress in there. He paid me, too, which is always nice.
6. North Park has surprised me by letting the grass grow by the river where there used to be trees, so now what was once an eyesore has become a place of beauty, and full of bachelor's buttons and another wildflower that I have not yet had occasion to identify.
7. What Grace said to me about being a new sister of the Orthodox Church made me feel really special and I smiled for days.
8. New Glarus Raspberry Tart Ale.
9. We had a ton of rain this past week and I just loved it. Rain is probably one of my favorite things, so I felt pretty blessed to spend most of the last week drenched in rainwater.
10. I was late for work today because I didn't hear my alarm go off, but my friends waited patiently for me and gave me an orange for breakfast anyway. =)

Monday, June 14, 2010

i am sooooo cool

Why? Because I beat everyone else at the bridal shower game we played yesterday, that's why!

It all started when I drove Christina and Luke to church yesterday. We were getting out of the car and Christina said, "So, are you going to Claire's shower today?"

Well, I had not really remembered it, and the prospect of doing anything at all on a Sunday afternoon sounded the opposite of appealing, so I hesitated...but I thought I should. I told Christina I would go.

I picked her up in the afternoon and we drove in silence to the shower. I had just woken up from a nap and was thus a little groggy, so we didn't have much to talk about. We were the first ones there and we helped add a bunch of seats to the table. Finally, some other women started to arrive, and we all were given clothespins and told that if anyone said "wedding", they needed to relinquish their clothespin to whomever caught them in the act.

"Okay, cool," I thought casually.

Well, two and a half hours later, I was the proud bearer of no less than FIVE clothespins which I snatched from women of all ages who had slipped and said "wedding". I was sly. I was sneaky. I was good. The girl across the table from me was giving me a run for my money and almost caught up with me, but she was caught saying the magic word and ended up with only three.

The coolest part is the prize: I won three glass-blown watering globes for my potted plants!!! They're light blue, bright green, and dark blue in color, and I just fill them and stick them in my pots and they're supposed to slowly water my plants for two weeks. I'm so excited!!

Don't feel too bad for the girl I beat--she won an arbitrary prize of some sort simply by having a post-it note under her chair. Hurray for bridal showers!

Friday, June 11, 2010

ten things thursday...

Yeah, it's been awhile, but I'm back in the blogging world, so I'll do my best to actually do this on Thursday, but if I don't...well, sucks to be you, I guess. ;-)

Ten things that made me smile (or laugh hysterically) this past week:
1. My roommate Leann telling our new roommate Karolyn the story about when Reid was a little kitten and she peed and pooped all over the bottom lining of Leann's boxsprings. I had no idea she was such an animated story-teller.
2. Buying and potting plants--see below.
3. Meeting cute families and their kids at markets. I also enjoyed meeting crusty, grumpy old people at my market.
4. I took Lake Shore Drive home yesterday from work during rush hour and it was exponentially more enjoyable than any other route I could have taken--here's to driving by the lake!
6. I wrote a letter to a friend that I have yet to mail, but it was a lot of fun writing it and making the envelopes.
7. I went to potluck for the first time in a month and it was nice to catch up with a few people and Heather (Greg's wife) talked to me for the first time--yay!
8. Reid decided to lay in the litter box last night, just for fun. Kinda gross, I know, but it was hilarious to watch three women trying to figure out if she was trying to do some business or just hanging out---it was the latter. Weirdo.
9. Going to Gathsemane with Luke and listening to him talk about his favorite plants and the things he's learning in Botany I. His excitement for his interests fuels my excitement for my own interests, and vice versa, so we usually just skyrocket each other into hopes-and-dreams frenzy. =)
10. I got to give Greg homework on Wednesday. It was every little kid's dream fulfilled--my former professor and I kneeling on the floor of his office while he patiently listened to me and wrote down his assignment for the week. I was glowing, and I know that with my (paid) help his office will be in shape in no time!

potting madness!!

(Haha--as I look at this post's title, I'm thinking of how funny it would be if one could pot madness as if it were a plant...why anyone would, I have no idea...)


I wish my camera were of a higher quality and far less annoying. I swear my battery dies the minute I charge it up. My blog feels so dead without pictures! Oh, well. The point is, in the last week I've purchased and potted a ridiculous amount of plants. Here is their story:

Tuesday: The roommates and I had one last (and possibly our only?) bonding experience before Erin shipped out to Vermont for the summer. We went to Lincoln Square farmers' market in the rain, feet wet, umbrellas poking everyone else's umbrellas, envying the vendors in their cozy little tents. I purchased nothing to eat except crepes at a nearby cafe (Cafeneo, if you're familiar), but I did purchase lavender, rosemary, red leaf basil, and Giovannese basil (or whatever the giant-leaved Italian basil is called). Yay!

Apparently that wasn't enough. Luke was being a grumpy-puss because I didn't invite him to the farmers' market in the rain, which is apparently his favorite time to go to them, so when I got home, we went to Gathsemane gardens in Andersonville. I hadn't intended to buy anything, but then I saw that they had stevia and knew that I MUST have it, and later came across French sorrel, which happens to be one of my favorite salad greens. Well, it was fate, and I bought the two of them and a few pots, some soil, and a trowel.

So far, the total number of purchased plants is six. In addition, I have chamomile and spearmint seedlings doing very well, and savory which may or may not survive a recent drought (ahem--the kind where his owner forgot to water him), and one weird-looking and kind of ugly shamrock-like plant, and some ivy.

Total number of plants: 9
Total number of available potting spaces: 7


Looks like I need to buy some more pots. However, until such time as they are absolutely necessary, I will thoroughly enjoy the herb garden that would now be sunning itself in my room were it not for the overcast skies. Mmm...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

new adventures

Well, that whole graduating thing got me thinking that my "new" life would need a new blog, so I've started a more focused blog in which I explore the effects of various communities on our lives through my observations of communities in my life. Seeing as the world is full of a bunch of people, different sorts of communities can be found everywhere, and I think most of us would be surprised if we took a good look at all of the groups we're involved with.

Anyway, you can find my latest communal adventures at "flock"--cute, huh? I'll continue doing everything else here. =)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

iowa, iowa

What a beautiful state.

I'm going to Alaska in three weeks and I'm really looking forward to the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness and the mountains and ocean of the west coast, but there's nothing quite like Nita Ho Valley in Iowa.

Lining the Te Te Morts creek at the point of its branching off the Mississippi river, Nita Ho Valley carries gently in its palms a glorious variety of flora and fauna, and it is in this place that I spent the week after graduation. It was my fourth trip to this lovely place and I've begun to know it in the way that I know my hometown, and I hope this familiarity only continues to grow. The cabin is situated among many cabins used for many purposes, but the valley is quiet despite folks' milling about and working on construction projects here and there.

The first few days were spent sitting. After four (or in Luke's case, ten) years of school, it was good to do nothing and to enjoy nature by merely watching it from the deck. We saw four different kinds of woodpeckers on the first day, and baltimore oreoles, cardinals, goldfinches, house sparrows, chickadees, and hawks. Throughout the week we also saw three deer, one of which looked intently at us for a few moments before the sound of the train frightened her away. In the process of molting out of his winter coat into his bright red summer coat, a small fox trotted across the road in front of us one day and proceeded to walk across a small bridge as if he were a little human boy playing outside without a care in the world.

We became rather addicted to the HBO show entitled "Deadwood" and watched almost two whole seasons while we were there while completely neglecting the movies we'd borrowed from the library for the week. We cooked and ate and played and sang. We slept. A LOT.

In all, the week was lovely, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Well, in addition to graduating, getting a much cooler and better-paying job, and spending a ton of time in beautiful Iowa, I have some other news...

I'm now officially a catechumen of the Antiochian Orthodox Church! (so basically, I'm going to be an official Orthodox Christian in a few months)

Lots of life changes happening right now, but I figure this one I can really sink my teeth into. Any of you who know me and have followed my journey into Orthodoxy know most of the story already, but I'll give a short run-down here as an introduction to what will undoubtedly be many more posts regarding this highly exciting development.

In March of 2008, my friend Mark was a catechumen at what has now been my church for two years, and he got a bunch of my friends and I interested in visiting it. I went to All Saints' for the first time on Sunday March 31st, which was the Elevation of the Cross, and it was overwhelming and confusing and more beautiful than anything I had seen in my life. I was profoundly excited by the whole thing, and very curious, so I just kept going...and going...and going. I kept going through periods of trial, joy, doubt, and celebration, and I can say that I am as ready as I'll ever be to join the church.

My entire time at All Saints' has been punctuated by periods of intense desire for unification with the church alternating with periods of intense doubt. In the beginning, it was little things like what Father Pat calls "the Mary question", praying in front of icons, church history inquiries, and my parents' discomfort. As time went on, I began struggling with questions of politics, of what churches other than All Saints' would be like since I'd have to leave eventually, and what if I couldn't find a nice Orthodox man to marry? Was I ready to be Orthodox? Would I ever be capable of making such a commitment?

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has ways of allaying fears at the appropriate time and in a way that only makes sense to God. From the outside looking in, one might say that I'm crazy. Only two months ago, I had decided that when I left North Park I would find another church and pretend to have moved away because I didn't think I could endure the politics and the obvious lack of intentional community (thinking specifically of Reba), but since then a word from a friend or a side comment made by a trusted advisor have served as the Spirit's instruments of reconciliation between my life and the life of the Orthodox Church.

My eyes are wet with happy, longing tears as I imagine the day in the near future in which I will participate in Holy Communion for the first time and will receive the Holy Chrism and the gifts of the Spirit and become part of the living faith of the church once and for all. I entreat you all to pray for me as I go through this process, and I will request more specific prayers as things come up and as the as-yet-unknown day approaches.

Peace in Christ

Monday, May 10, 2010

it's over!

I graduated!

Remember that last post? Yeah, it was a pain, but it all worked out. I graduated two days ago with a Bachelor's of Music in Vocal Performance, pink hood and all. Yay!

It hasn't really set in yet because I didn't have class on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday last semester, so it definitely won't set in until tomorrow, and probably not until Wednesday. I'm leaving for a week in Iowa on Wednesday and I'm SO EXCITED! It's not even my place (it's Luke's) but it really feels like it is. I'm learning my way around the bluffs and the creek and the banks of the Mississippi, and I know where everything is in the cabin's kitchen. It will be a week of relaxation and reading, cooking, and curling up by the fire.

I just know that there is so much to process right now and I'm not ready to really do it yet. I've been slowly noticing little things like a general detachment from the campus, a slight superiority complex when working in the dorm (haha! I graduated...), and noticing the library books on my desk and wondering whether I can still check things out. Last week it finally occurred to me that I won't be working at the Writing Center again nor brown-nosing professors, and I won't have any more lessons with Annie (at least not really).

In the more positive, forward-looking direction, the world is my oyster. I can take my degree and get a job when the economy picks up; I can now say things like, "When I was in college" and "my old college friends"; I no longer have to balance adult life with school life--life will just be life. I can be friends with my favorite professors (or those profs who were never actually mine in the first place), freely seek and pursue a mate, read whatever the hell I want, and go to alumni know, if I were interested, which I'm not. ;-)

While many of my feelings about NPU are tainted at this point with my most recent graduation fiasco and four years of perceived injustices, interpersonal conflicts, embarrassing moments, and growing pains, I know that I will eventually appreciate the good work that God has done in my life these last four years. I'm sure more musings will come, and if I'm accepted at Reba, potentially a new blog detailing my adventures there...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

the graduation saga

Just in case you were wondering, I'm graduating in 13 days. But two weeks ago...

Well, let's just start from the beginning. Last year, I submitted my graduation application to my advisor so that she could do my audit, which we discussed via email throughout the summer. At the end of it, she said everything looked okay and that I was all set for graduation.

This March, I was not able to attend senior checkout day (which was in the announcements, so I thought nothing of not receiving an email about, it's North Park), so I emailed the appropriate person and she never got back to me. I thought this was puzzling.

Three weeks later, I called said person, and she informed me that she did not have me on the list of graduating seniors, so I must not have applied for graduation. I informed her that this was not possible since I had applied LAST MAY. She told me that she didn't have me on file and that I should apply soon so that I could finish academically for the semester, but I was definitely not going to be able to participate in the commencement ceremony.

Well, needless to say, I was pissed, called my mom and said things in her hearing that she's never heard me say before (which is how I still talk about the whole thing), emailed my advisor...turns out, she had my application in her file all along: "Oh, it's still in my file. My bad! I'll take care of it."

Humpf. Sure, she will. Well, she did send in my application 11 months late, so now I'm able to graduate, and I received my official audit from the university shortly thereafter which said "Due to the lateness of your application, you were not ordered a cap and gown. You are not guaranteed a place in the commencement ceremony. Some extra gowns may be available, but they are first come first serve. You will be charged the $125 graduation fee whether or not you participate in the commencement ceremony."

Thanks a lot, North Park. It's not like I've been a fantastic student and a superior asset to your university for the last four years.

Well, thankfully, some people at NPU are entirely competent and almost make up for the incompetence of the rest of the faculty and staff, and I called on four such people to help me get a cap and gown. After fervently explaining the situation as politely as I could, one professor, one marshal, and no less than TWO deans were on my side! They helped me get a more definitive answer on the cap and gown question, "Show up to the distribution and someone will find one for you" (I'm taking that "will" to the bank!). Sigh.

So, several questions remain: Why did this woman not email me back in March to tell me that she didn't have me on the list when I obviously thought that I was on the list? Why did Karen not turn in my application or give it to me to turn in? Why did the School of Music not catch this when they were approving graduates? Why was I expected to know how graduation works at North Park when I've never done it before and there is no checklist? I was told that I should have known that I wasn't receiving emails from this woman...WHAT?! How am I supposed to know that I'm NOT receiving something that I didn't know I was supposed to receive? Why does everything end up being the students' fault? Why is my advisor still advising people? How many other seniors have been screwed over by an obviously and egregiously disorganised system? WHY DO BUREAUCRACIES SUCK?!?!?!?!

Let's just say that whether or not I am allowed to participate in commencement, I'm so glad to be getting out of here. Greg offered to let me borrow his robes for the day--that would be hilarious, me pretending to be a doctor of philosophy for a day in robes that are far too big! I think I'll take him up on it. ;-)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

ten things thursday

I missed last week, so if I can come up with extras to put on the list, I'm putting them on the list!

Ten (or more) things that made me smile this week:
1. Emails with Cindy regarding my visit this summer--SWEET! I'm so excited to see Cindy and Kip and go to Alaska!
2. Making plans for post-graduation vacation in Iowa. Basically, I'm going to park my behind in a tree with some books, my beautiful autoharp, and my journal and just while away a whole week of my life in worship and joy.
3. 81-degree weather!!! It's been crazy. It feels like late June but without the crazy humidity, and the amount of sunshine I've been getting has finally balanced my body--I woke up this morning thoroughly happy to be alive!
4. I got a book of prayer shawl patterns to knit and I'm really looking forward to working on them and possibly starting a prayer shawl ministry at Reba Place next year.
5. The slight tinge of pink on my skin from my first (very minor) sunburn of 2010.
6. I'm surprised to put this on the list, but my therapist's new office is really quite nice. The waiting room is a little antiseptic and cold, but her office is really lovely and intimate. It's not as nice as our old space, but I'll take it.
7. 23 days until graduation!
8. Tomorrow and Saturday I'll be at Wheaton College for their annual theology conference with N.T. Wright! I'm shocked at how much I'm geeking out about this given my apathy towards all things academic, but I'm just going to live into it. Book tables, anyone?
9. I loved going to Reba potluck the Monday after Pascha. It's not that I don't like having a seminar at the end of the evening, but it was really lovely to feel like we weren't waiting for the next thing on the program and could just hang out and talk with whoever we happened to be sitting by.
10. Reid, my roommate's adolescent kitten/cat, was attacking my knitting needles yesterday. It was the cutest thing I've seen in a long time!
11. My boss likes to put quotes up on the whiteboard when he's working, and today's cracked me up. "Did you ever notice that when you put 'the' and 'IRS' together, it spells 'THEIRS'?" Happy Tax Day.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

i and my...

...Annabel Lee!

As we all know, I am quite a bit of a dork. What we don't all know is that I got an autoharp for my birthday!! I turned twenty-two a couple of weeks ago, and for that glorious occasion my parents gave me the money to buy myself an autoharp. In case you don't know what an autoharp is, it's a chorded zither (I know, really helpful) which means that it is a many-stringed instrument that has bars affixed to the front which allow the player to choose what chord they play at any one moment. These bars use felt to dampen the strings that are not part of the desired chord, thus allowing the remaining strings to vibrate freely. I did try to name her, but rather waited until the appropriate name came to me, and it did so just the other morning! I just looked at her and thought, "Annabel!...Annabel Lee!!"

I've always been a big fan of Poe, so it made sense. Also, the poem after which my harp is named has bittersweet tones coursing through it, which is appropriate for a folk instrument. I think if one is going to name a folk instrument, she should consider the meaning! Anyway, here she is...

She's a 1930's reissue by Oscar Schmidt, so this model was originally designed in the '30's and has recently been remade with 21 chords instead of what I assume was originally twelve, but could possibly have been fifteen (I'm not an expert autoharp historian). Anyway, the point is that she's absolutely gorgeous, and I only wish I could play her half as well as JoAnn Smith. She's SO GREAT. I guess I'll just have to keep practicing.

Friday, April 2, 2010

ten things thursday

Ten things that made me smile this week...

1. I sent Greg an email to let him know that squirrel bow-hunting season opened in Chicago yesterday. He replied, "Oh, good, cuz I got two today and now I know that I can tie them to the trunk of my car and not worry that I've done something wrong!"
2. I finally emailed someone at Reba and got an application for the apprenticeship program--at once thrilling and terrifying.
3. Received Greg's tearful blessing regarding the above-mentioned apprenticeship program.
4. My autoharp. She's a beauty, and I'm having lots of fun figuring out how to make her sing!
5. It has been so incredibly sunny and warm this week, and while I've been oddly busy, the fact that there is sunshine has helped me through this exhausting and glorious Holy Week.
6. I pulled the plastic off of my windows yesterday and the cats are SO HAPPY. They sit in the windows looking out and smelling the air and listening to all of the exciting outside noises!
7. I had lunch yesterday with some ladies from church that I haven't spent time with before, and we had a really good time together. It was just good old-fashioned fellowship.
8. More food! I had dinner last Saturday with Monica, who is proving to be a very good friend. We talked forEVER and probably would have hung out more but I had somewhere to be. Yay, friendship!
9. I heard a woodpecker in the park this morning and my soul rejoiced at that speck of nature in the big city.
10. The babies at church. ;-)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ten things last thursday!

2. Went to Julius Meinl with aforementioned Cindy and walked around Lincoln Square before I had to go to work.
3. Had an AWESOME dinner party at our friends' apartment with ten people. It was a lot of laughs!
4. Spent my entire Thursday shift at Campus Center looking up fun baby patterns because...
5. CINDY'S PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
6. Waiting to announce Cindy's pregnancy until number 5. ;-)
7. If the baby's a girl, they'll name her after my street, Ainslie (cute, huh?).
8. I've been crocheting a lot more since then...mostly because I don't have the knitting equipment or experience to make the baby things that I want to.
9. Realized in the process of all of this baby stuff that I also have four weddings to attend this summer--four projects to make. They may or may not be yarn-related since I now have, literally, The Big-Ass Book of Crafts with some really great ideas in it.
10. Learned this week that diet and vitamin intake can drastically affect depression, for ill AND for good! The new plan is to wean off meds, change diet, exercise more (I'm already on the way w/my yoga class, which would be on the list if it wasn't already going to be too long), and TAKE VITAMINS!!!!!!!!!!!
11. CINDY'S PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations, Cindy and Kip! Your baby will truly be an Alaskan native...well, at least native TO Alaska, if not actually a Native American Alaskan. ;-)

several things

Oh, my gosh. So, of course, the two weeks that I don't blog, a million things happen. I need to catch up on ten things thursdays, finish "Spring"-ing my blog, and write several posts. Don't worry. It will happen.

31 days of class remaining.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

i'm working too many hours...but I'm on spring break!

Nothing could get me down today! I'm on spring break!! Well, technically, I've been on spring break since Thursday afternoon, but I've also worked thirty-three hours since then, so it hasn't really felt like a break yet. Also, on Friday I drove Luke to the airport, then picked him up from the blue line several hours later because he couldn't get a flight, watched a movie and slept over, and took him to the airport again the next afternoon. Then I was at work, then I was asleep, and then it finally felt a little bit like a break. I was able to do some cleaning this afternoon and it was good for my soul.

I'm determined to enjoy this week because after this, my world will most definitely spin out of control. The second half of the spring semester always goes ridiculously fast, what with Easter and all, and this isn't just any ol' last quad--this is my LAST QUAD EVER! I'm graduating!! In roughly two months, I will have a degree. A degree. For real.

So, what am I going to do with this week off? I will be doing spring cleaning, catching up on the piles of homework that I haven't done, and getting ahead on homework for the rest of the semester. Also, I hope to make a dress form and potentially a dress and watch some movies that I actually want to watch, and finish making the yoga mat bag that I've been working on for two weeks now. It's shaping up quite nicely!

Anyway, I should get back to reading and sitting at the boring desk. Toodles!

under construction

Please bear with me as my blog undergoes its own spring cleaning. I'm trying to change the feel from stark winter motif to bright printemps motif, and it's not working quite as well as I'd may take a while, but I'm willing to be patient.

Friday, March 5, 2010

ten things thursday

2. MY SENIOR RECITAL IS OVER!!!! (this one is so good that I just had to give it two spots on the list)
3. Today, I successfully completed my Orchestration class, which was my last music class. Also, my piece did not have to be horribly sight-read by a bunch of tired musicians. Yay!
4. ComEd is stupid. This sounds like a bad thing, but really, it means that our electric bill for February should be much less than ComEd thinks it is. We'll know sometime next week.
5. I'm on Spring Break! As of 3:30 today, my spring break began, and I will spend it working and sleeping and reading a watching too many movies!
6. I won second place at Performance Awards! This means that I'll get a check for around $200 at the end of April, and also I will sing at the Honors Convocation. Pretty cool. Everyone thinks I should have gotten first place over our one instrumentalist, but that would never happen--based on School of Music politics, everything happened exactly the way I expected it to.
7. Reba is awesome. Nothing special this week, I just had a lovely Monday potluck/small group/seminar. Yay!
8. Leftovers. My mom made yummy Italian beef for lunch when she brought our family up for the recital on Saturday, and I only got half of the leftovers but they've fed me all week.
9. Spring!!! I've been able to wear slightly lighter clothing and I thought today that I might want to take the stupid plastic off of our windows soon. I hope my roommates don't just decide to do it whenever and then proceed to complain about it being cold...that would not surprise me. ;-)
10. Since I'm finished with my recital and with Orchestration, I now have the time that I've always wanted to spend on my philosophy classes! I won't know what to do with myself, but I'm sure I can stay busy for eight more weeks. Graduation is coming!
11. CINDY-LOU! She's a-comin'! I still have to reply to her email, but we're going to have a Cindy-Heather date while she's in town (for like, a day) and it will be awesome! I get to have eleven things this week because my recital is over. =)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

ten things thursday

1. I AM NOW A SUPPORTING MEMBER OF GRANT PARK FESTIVAL CHORUS! This is a big deal. I had a great audition on Monday and they can't hire me as a regular member yet (not enough "experience"), but I'm a supporting member! This means that they'll call me if they need me--they'll need me.
2. My recital is this weekend. I'm so glad that all of the logistics will finally be over. It's unfortunate that such a fun event gets overcome by a barrage of emails, phone calls, cancellations, illnesses, frustrations, and anything that interrupts this process which then causes a further barrage of emails, phone calls, etc. So, YAY!
3. I got a really cute bubble umbrella at Target on Monday for my audition. I didn't have an umbrella of my own and I knew I didn't want one of the stupid normal ones that doesn't do ANYTHING in Chicago weather--hello, wind. I know it's called the windy city for the politics, but it really is really windy...anyway, bubble does the trick.
4. On the same trip to Target, I also purchased a wonderful green yoga mat with a tree printed on it. I'm taking Lunchtime Yoga at Old Town starting next Wednesday and I'm really looking forward to it.
5. Cindy emailed me today and I got really excited about her visit!!! I miss her, she's awesome, and we're gonna hang. SWEET!
6. I was out of milk but I finally got some today--the good raw stuff. It's amazing how pleasing the little things can be.
7. My mom has been great this week. She sure can drive me crazy, but she's still great. =)
8. I'm borrowing an Aquinas prayer book from my friend Monica and I absolutely love it. It's revitalizing my prayer life.
9. Lent. I suck at fasting and I'm not as focused as I was last year, but in some ways I think that's a good thing. I am turning back to God in ways that were not possible the rest of the year, and for that, I am grateful.
10. JoJo has been systematically hunting down and sitting/laying on everything I've been working on this week. Right now he's sitting on our massive electric bill as if to say, "Hey, man, don't worry! This is the last big one you'll see since they turned the radiators on!" Which, actually, is much more encouraging than his usual message: "ME, ME, ME! Why are you paying attention to this thing I'm laying on than to ME?"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

ten things thursday: sunday edition

Why is this so late? Check out the previous post. It will all make sense.

1. The sun let its happy face shine for several days this week, and not even that pathetic flicker through the clouds, but really shine. I got warm in my coat!
2. A naturalist was invited to Prairie Home Companion yesterday to tell the Midwest the little ways that we know spring is coming--apparently the owls are mating. It's a big deal.
3. Small group. It's just the best. We laugh so hard every Friday.
4. Yesterday, aforementioned small group had a dinner/movie event. We ate homemade pizza and watched Ferris Beuller's Day Off and I almost peed my pants from laughing SO HARD.
5. I was finally able to print my orchestration project despite several failed attempts.
6. I didn't sing at student recital this week for the first time in a month! Yay!
7. I did laundry on Wednesday for the first time in...well, in a really long time. No need to discuss the actual number of weeks or anything...
8. I got paid on Friday.
9. My mom is great and helped me out with some trouble I was having on Wednesday, and it was such a relief.
10. For our final project in orchestration, we have the option of orchestrating an original work of our own. I wrote a piano piece in the first semester of my freshman year, and now I will orchestrate it in the second semester of my senior year. I am actually really excited about this project!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

week of DOOM

Anyone who's ever been in theatre knows about a little thing called "hell week"--the week before the performance. Well, at my high school, we also had a little thing called "purgatory week", which referred to the week before "hell week". This is that week.

I still have to design my posters, edit my program notes, schedule a dress rehearsal with four extremely busy musicians, practice practice practice, fix and dry clean both of my dresses, recopy George's music, and find time to have a coaching. Oh, yeah, and I'm supposed to eat, sleep, do my homework, go to class, work, and take care of my apartment. And buy cat litter.


Friday, February 12, 2010

ten things thursday: friday edition

Yeah, yeah, I forgot again. It's been a crazy week.

1. JoJo rubbing his face on my arm right now as I'm trying to type. Seriously, this ridiculously grumpy cat just makes my day too often to say.
2. Reba was again amazing--I shared in my small group about my reconciliation with Alethea for the first time, and David (small group leader) ended up asking some really great questions. It was so great.
3. Julie Bentley master class was AWESOME. I was nervous and exhausted so I wasn't really looking forward to it, but it ended up being just wonderful and I sang pretty well and made great progress.
4. Dad and I had a small miracle. My car wouldn't start, so we called my ex-mechanic grandfather, and he told us to try starting it fifteen times in a row. We thought, "Yeah, right. He's crazy. That's the definition of crazy!" But we tried it anyway. Lo and behold, fifteen clicks of the starter later and my car was fixed. Go figure.
5. Small group!! I love it. I love everyone in it. I love that it's a blessing that just sort of dropped into my life.
6. Speaking of dropping into people's lives, I'm quite grateful that Greg has let me drop in to his. I had a beautiful meeting with him on Wednesday which I would love to talk with y'all about if you want to hear it. The point is that he has been another surprise blessing and I am so happy that he cares about me.
7. Oh yeah, and we got fourteen inches of snow earlier this week. The first two days were SO PRETTY when the snow was still white and fresh! I couldn't believe how quiet it was the morning after the snow began. Snow silence...
8. My girl Gina has commissioned me to make her a big floppy tam in two "cute-ass" colors. 'Nuff said.
9. Monica. She just makes me smile. We had lunch today and it was wonderful bonding for us. I hope that we will get to hang out some more soon!
10. I reread Matilda these past few nights. It sounds weird, but it's terribly comforting to me especially when things are emotionally tiring. I laugh at how much I thought I was like her when I was younger. Tee-hee!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

pompous profs

I really don't want this to be a super-bitchy, whine-y blog, but some people are just pompous. There's a guy at my church (yep, it just got ten times worse) who's really smart. He a philosopher. I think that's great--I have a lot of very intelligent friends who are biblical scholars, philosophers, So what's my beef? I assigned myself to be one of the Writing Advisors for this guy's class, and I'm already regretting it. He sent us an email at 10:00pm telling us that a batch of papers is ready for us and can be picked up tomorrow and conferences are to be held next week, and also, could we print out our sign-up sheets and deliver them to him at the all-class lecture tomorrow morning? That'd be great, thanks. I'm giving you twelve hours. No big deal.

In case you're not getting it, which is understandable because you're probably not a writing advisor, this is a problem because 1) responsibility is clearly not his strong point, meaning that the rest of the semester is not likely to be very pleasant, 2) conferences take time, as in, approximately seven hours which is a lot when you work 25hrs and are in school full time, and 3) he apparently expects us to just be able to cater to his every whim, like printing out a schedule that we weren't expecting to make twelve hours before we need to drop it off at a lecture we weren't planning on being at, because he apparently can't print the damn thing off himself (oh, and 'we' live off-campus w/o a printer). I mean, really. We're not your minions. Treat me like a colleague, or hell, even like an intelligent human being who is in all other ways inferior to you, and I'm fine. Treat me like garbage, and I will p'own you (namely, I'll send you a polite and well-worded email that carefully masks my frustration). For shizzle.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

procrastination post delayed

Haha. Just kidding. I'm just putting off writing this book report for my Pluralism class. I feel a bit overwhelmed with the size of the project--not the paper, the project. The paper has to be 8-10 pages, and I'm hoping to get around five today...rough draft due tomorrow, final due next Tuesday. The project itself? It's a book review of MacIntyre's After Virtue, which is quite the formidable text. I guess I just have to write it...

Anyway, the good week mojo from last week has carried over into this week and even into the problems of this week. I'm glad of this and hope it continues.

Friday, February 5, 2010

ten things thursday: friday edition

So, I forgot yesterday. So, what?

1. My mom called and told me she doesn't want me to work so much because I'm a kid and should play more. She's sending me more money soon. Yay, Mom!
2. My friend Heather (yes, really) lent me a switch timer for my electric blanket so I can have it turn on at 4:00am until about 6:00am because that's when I FREEZE. I've been getting much better sleep since then.
3. I went to Reba on Monday! Much to my surprise, I ran into quite a few people I've met before and/or know well, which was encouraging. I could say a lot about this experience, but I don't have space here. It was great! (Hi, Helen and Rick. ;-))
4. My senior recital was approved yesterday! That was the last hurdle, so now I can just focus on having tons of fun in three weeks!
5. I also qualified for the Performance Awards finals, which are the evening before my recital, and I can't wait! They'll be lots of fun.
6. Also in the world of singing, I sent in my resumee and head shot to Grant Park Chorus and my audition was just scheduled today for Monday the 22nd. OMG.
7. I went to my new small group for the first time today and I think it will be great. I can tell that I am already feeling safe with these people and we had such a beautiful time together this morning. Great!
8. I finally got a violinist for my recital! That was such a long saga...oy. I'm so glad it's over, and not only that, but my violinist is also wonderful! We're getting along really well and I don't foresee any future problems.
9. My run-through last Sunday was fantastic. That might be why my jury was so fantastic on Thursday. The "problem" pieces that we put on the form were hardly problems, so this next three weeks should be a breeze.
10. I met with Greg on Wednesday and we nailed down my research topic for this semester. That would be great all by itself, but he also seems really excited about it. It's so much better when your professor is excited about your work. =)

Friday, January 29, 2010

by the way...

...the post immediately beneath this one was the first time I edited html. Just sayin...

iPad and the lovely associations the name brings which everyone apparently finds to be the only conversation piece of note these days

Tee-hee. You have to watch this video. I mean, really. The greatest part: this was written and filmed in 2007.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

ten things thursday

Ten things that made me smile last week (in no particular order).

1. JoJo has been especially cuddly, which makes me feel especially special. Also, he initiated a play fight with Reed the other day which I have NEVER seen. Now I don't think Reed is annoying him, and I don't think JoJo is such a grump!
2. I am understanding MacIntyre's After Virtue! Yay!
3. Everyone in my life who went to the hospital in the last forty-eight hours is okay.
4. RADIATORS! My landlords finally decided to turn on the radiators because everyone in our building was freezing! Our apartment still has radiators, but some don't, so the ones that didn't have them anymore were given new ones. The management company was trying to switch to electric heat so the tenants would have to pay for it, but the heaters didn't work up to city code. =)
5. Funny old people looking up Swedish cities on the atlas while I try to do my homework.
6. Having Matt, Josh, Gina, and Monica over for lunch last Saturday. Gina thanked me again very cutely in class and it made me smile.
7. Going to Margie's to get ice cream on Christina's birthday! It was so yummy, and we all had so much fun laughing and telling stupid stories together.
8. Listening to Obama's State of the Union address on NPR while playing stupid games online so I could focus. I also knit while listening to the radio, but sometimes it's fun to play little mindless games for variety.
9. Realizing how much Annie takes care of us. We really are her babies--she defends us like a mother bear!
10. Watching new episodes of House on Hulu. I missed 80% of season five and am now watching season six, so there are a lot of gaps, but it's still fun. Oh, Hugh Laurie. You always make me laugh.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Prayer for the Sick

Several people around me either are or were in the hospital, or are currently sick. I thought it would be appropriate to post a prayer for them, so here it is.

Prayer for the Sick

Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.

Tend your sick ones, O
Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones.
Bless your dying ones.
Soothe your suffering ones.
Pity your afflicted ones.
Shield your joyous ones.
And for all your love's sake. Amen.

Saint Augustine

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Where do weekends go? You think, "This is great! I have so much free time!" and then it's gone. I have four-day weekends every week because I don't have class MWF but it doesn't seem to matter. Oh, well.

Yesterday, I went down to UserCentric to do a cell phone survey. They walked me through a series of tasks on a phone and asked me what I thought about them and if I thought they were easy enough. After and hour of this, they gave me an envelope of cash! Then I went grocery shopping (ick).

Today, I had Josh and Matt and our new friends Gina and Monica over for lunch, for which I made--of course--pasta. It was lovely. We all sat around talking and laughing together, and I think we'll all have a great time hanging out together. We're going to try to read together, meaning primarily that we will sit in the same room while we read, occasionally groaning in frustration.

Good times.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ten things thursday

Swiped from ...Just Alaska, this new feature is meant to be a simple list of things that made me smile this week. Seeing as I now have less than a semester of school left, it seems that this exercise will be very good for my outlook. So, here we go...
1. Making money doing weird things! Call me a materialist--I have to pay bills. Therefore, unorthodox money-making projects like selling books on Amazon and doing a one-hour cell phone survey for $75 are great opportunities.
2. Finding out that I'll be attending the Monday-night potlucks at Reba Place Fellowship for the semester. Technically, this happened eight days ago, but it counts because this is my first "ten things".
3. Luke and I are getting along really friend-like nowadays. This is major progress because it was difficult for us to not be dating, but of late we've been so busy that we haven't even had time to miss each other!
4. I made it three weeks without buying anything that I didn't need.
5. The Daily Show. It always makes me happy, but this week, John Stewart made fun of me (for the first time--I always laugh at "all those silly people" that come up on the show, but this time it was me) for freaking out about the possibility that a Republican might take Ted Kennedy's senate seat...which did end up happening, but I freaked out less after the Daily Show pointed out my idiocy.
6. New outfit possibilities abound with the realization that I can wear...wait for it...layers. Duh. I always forget about them, but then I remember and my world just opens up.
7. I have a place to live and food to eat.
8. RAIN! It rained today! And last night! I love rain! Even when it's freezing!
9. Discovering my secret knitting skills in the form of a pair of free-form wrist warmers made entirely by me. I knit them from my own yarn--which I spun!--and my own pattern. So there.
10. Securing a violinist for my recital and learning that I won (odd verb) a spot on NPs upcoming master class with Julia Bentley. It's nice to be encouraged about one's skill in one's chosen major once in awhile. ;-)

I'm sure there are many more. These are the first ones I thought of. Coolio.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Is it irrational to be excited about the fact that it may actually approach forty degrees this week? Context: I've lived in the area my whole life and I know that it won't actually get warm until April, but we always have at least one "beautiful" (higher-than-20) week in Jan/Feb and shouldn't I get to enjoy it?

Saturday, January 16, 2010


112 days 'til graduation.

Friday, January 15, 2010

first week reflections

Sigh. The first week of my last semester has come to an end, and I'm exhausted. I don't remember a first week kicking my butt so much as this one has. I went from staying up until 2:00am and sleeping until noon to waking up at 6:00am and flopping on my bed at midnight. Also, I've been running errands like crazy, so that adds to the exhaustion. =)

I think my classes will be good this semester, especially after orchestration is over (which is the one exception to the rule). Between Medieval Philosophy, Pluralism, and Zelle's Zen Class (not its actual name), I'm spending my Tuesdays and Thursdays in thoughtful bliss. Add to that my crazy work schedule, doing three hours of homework for Orchestration per class day, and trying to be a human being, and it becomes clear that I will have my work cut out for me.

I am particularly excited about Greg's Pluralism, Knowledge, and Ethics class because it is full of great people. We have ten philosophy students and five Dialogue students, and even the Dialogue students have voluntarily made intelligent comments and engaged happily in discussion. No one in the class is given to silence or to taking over the conversation, and Greg oils everyone up with his sharpness, wit, and calm manner (as usual). Granted, we've watched two movies this week and not had any conversations on MacIntyre, but that means that we're finished watching movies for the semester and thus can look forward to wonderful book discussions for the rest of the time. We're expected to work on a rather large research project while we do our readings for Greg, and I'm not sure what I want to focus on yet but I expect that whatever I choose will be wonderful!

Perhaps the most interesting development of the week occurred when I went to catch up with Greg on Wednesday. Since we were essentially colleagues last semester and had much need to meet, it's strange to now be in his class and have very little reason to meet, but we decided we'll just have to make an effort to get together once in awhile. So, we met on Wednesday to catch up on goings-on over break and whatnot. It was a lovely hour-and-a-half conversation in which we discussed Christmas, family, the plethora of recent engagements, and expectations for the semester. Then, he invited me to go up with his Christian Community class to Reba Place Fellowship on Monday nights for potluck and small group. I asked if he was serious, then I said that I may be interested. We continued talking and when conversation came back around to Reba, I asked if I really could go with them on Mondays and what that would entail. He told me to show up for a ride at exactly 5:24pm, and so it was settled.

I was terribly excited about this as I've wanted to take his Community class since I was a freshman here, but I didn't need to take Dialogue III so there's no real reason for me to be in it, and I can't audit it because there really cannot be many people in the class and I don't want to do any of the actual work. ;-) I just wanted to be involved with Reba. In fact, one of the things that originally attracted me to Luke was that he lived at Reba for two years before coming to school here. So, when Greg asked me to come to potlucks I was terribly excited. I told Luke my thrilling news later that day, and he said, "Oh, no. You're stuck. It's over." I was frustrated that he would say that, which then led to a rather large argument about whether I would actually move away or if I would end up being "stuck" living at Reba and doing an internship. The conversation ended with both of us walking away in frustration (we made up later).

However, what the conversation did for me was to start the idea in my head of actually sticking around the Chicago area and living at Reba. I'm not worried about getting an internship--I already have several people there and here who would recommend me, I could stay close to my friends who are sticking around, and I'd be living with the greatest Mennonite community in the country (in my opinion). It really would be a perfect transition out of college for someone who wants to experience living in community and who is not at all ready to think about going to graduate school (but wants to someday). It would force me to mend the broken relationships that I have here instead of avoiding them, and I would be in a helpful, healing place near Chicago where great Indian restaurants and record stores sprinkle the streets. It's definitely something to think and pray about...hint, hint.

An eventful week, I'd say.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

upcoming events

Hello all! Consider this an unofficial invitation to my senior recital, taking place on February 27th (full details below). I am performing this recital to fulfill graduation requirements for the Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance degree that I am about to receive! Here are the details, in case you're interested.

Senior Recital
Heather Robins, mezzo-soprano
George Tenegal, collaborative pianist
February 27th, 7:30pm, Anderson Chapel
Reception following

If you want more information, feel free to contact me.

Also, for those who are interested in such things, here is the program (in sloppy format):

Rossini: La Regata Veneziana
I. Anzoleta avanti la regata
II. Anzoleta co passa la regata
III. Anzoleta dopa la regata

Schumann: Frauenliebe und -leben
I. Seit ich ihn, gesehen
II. Er, der herrlichste von Allen
III. Ich kann's, nicht fassen, nicht glauben
IV. Du Ring an meinem Finger
V. Helft mir, ihr Schwestern
VI. Susser Freund
VII. An meinem Herzen, an meiner Brust
VIII. Nun hast, du mir den ersten Schmerz getan


Vaughan Williams: Along the Field
We'll to the Woods no more
Along the Field
In the Morning, In the Morning
With Rue my Heart is Laden
(exact order TBD)

Poulenc: Banalites
1. Chanson D'Orkenise
2. Hotel
3. La Fagnes de Wallonie
4. Voyage a Paris
5. Sanglots

What a movie!
from Trouble in Tahiti

So, lots of fun is in store and I hope to see many friendly faces in the audience! I'm excited and nervous and ready to get it over with--all at once. =) What can you do? I'm just glad it'll all be over before Spring Break so I can actually relax this year!

Monday, January 11, 2010


This is quite probably interesting only to me, but JoJo may end up being my cat after all! My roommates have reported that our friend may not be taking him back, in which case I said that I would keep him provided I'm not disappearing next year. Even if I am, he may have somewhere to stay while I'm gone. Anyway, he's a great cat and I would love if he were mine. <3

Friday, January 8, 2010


I couldn't resist putting up some of these photos that predate my new apartment. I didn't upload many photos this summer because I couldn't find the cable and didn't bother looking too hard since I was moving again in three months...anyway, there may be some repeats here, but it's been at least a good six months so I don't think boredom should be much of a problem. We'll go back in time, starting with the most recent (why not?).

Grumpy JoJo. When he wants attention, he simply plops directly on top of whatever it is that's drawing your attention away from him. In this case, my roommate had deemed the assessment of papers more important than cuddle-time with JoJo, and as you can see, he didn't appreciate that very much.

When we went out to the east coast for Cindy and Kip's wedding (ahem, ...Just Alaska--check it out) we spent a day down in Boston visiting friends who are working on their master's degrees at Boston College. This is a tree in the park in which we relaxed after lunch. They were embarrassed to have little to show us but their "regular lives". Um...if my "regular life" included sitting under this tree all the time, I would be proud to show it off!

I don't like a whole lot of my self-portraits, but this one is really nice. I'm wearing my favorite hippie dress with my hair in my favorite hippie French braids...okay, not so hippie, but they're still my favorite!

This is the alley next to the apartment I lived in this summer. I had a really wretched summer, but perhaps it would have been less so if I'd appreciated the beauty that surrounded me!

These birdhouses were in my "backyard". I really liked them. I can't believe how photogenic things are when they're green! I should try shooting some snow-covered bushes and see how much I like them in the summer...

photos are here!

Under "Sweet Links" on the left you can find my Flickr link. There, I have posted all of the photos of crochet/knit projects I have completed and thought to take pictures of thus far. Also, this... my kitty! He's not actually mine--he really belongs to our friend, Trinity, but he's the cutest! His name is JoJo and he's black so it doesn't matter that this photo is black and white. He's been a bit grumpy of late, but he's cute even when he's whining incessantly...awww!

photos coming soon

I finally recharged my camera and am hoping to get my crochet/knit/bookbinding/spinning portfolio up on Flickr soon so the general public can check it out. Hopefully, people will see the portfolio and follow the associated link to my store on Etsy to purchase items or request custom items. Hooray!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

the merry merry month of may

The official countdown to graduation has begun.

122 days


book selling and winter break plans update

Creative title, no? Well, I would just like to let the world know that I have now sold TWO--count 'em, TWO--books on Amazon, bringing my grand total of net earnings up to $33. Yay, people who need textbooks! Please keep buying my stuff! I'm planning on starting a line of coffee mug cozies on Etsy, and perhaps selling some of my latest crochet/knit art (and scrumblings).

Also, seeing as I'm broke, the spinning wheel will have to wait. I think I may be able to persuade my family (as in: parents, aunts/uncles, sister, cousins, and grandparents alike) to pitch in to buy me the Kromsky Pollonaise for graduation. I would much rather have that than a new laptop. In fact, if I bought a desktop or something, it would be about half the price of the, long story short, no new yarn yet. That's painfully slow work on a spindle.

Anyway, as for the rest of plans, I am indeed making progress on the essay assessments and all of that, which is good since school starts on MONDAY!

I think I can, I think I can...

Monday, January 4, 2010

book selling...sigh

So, I'm pretty broke, which means that I'm looking for interesting ways to make money. Short of prostitution, there's not a whole lot that fits my schedule (seeing as I'm in class during the day and have nights free...wink, wink), so I've taken to selling books on Amazon. I'm hoping it works out. I have twenty-one listings right now and if I sell all of them we're talking a good $300, which is probably zero profit, but hey, I need the money NOW. In addition to selling books on Amazon, I plan to try to sell various crocheted/knitted items on Etsy (and bound books by yours truly!), but it costs money to list the items, so we'll see how it goes. If anyone has any other ideas (other than moving in with my parents, dropping out of school, or selling sex or drugs), please let me know!