Friday, December 26, 2008

god yule

I made it to the PNW, after a bit of hassle caused by the weird snow storm in Seattle. My flight was canceled, along with several others, but I somehow made it off the huge standby list and onto the first plane that got out. It was a long, exhausting day, but it could have been much worse. I got to see my family and spend Christmas eve (Yule day!) with them.

My uncle finally convinced us to try out double deck pinochle, after years of us only playing the classic game. It was fun, but kind of a mind bender. My cousin Nick and I were partners, and managed to hit 500 first, though we didn't go out because it wasn't our bid that hand. Nick thought that rule was lame, and I told him it was like winning the popular vote but not the electoral college, so we should resign ourselves to being the Al Gores of card games.

I haven't managed to have any glögg yet this holiday, but will try to remedy this before leaving town. At least I'd like to get some to bring back to Laramie. My long-awaited luggage is due to be delivered tomorrow, so I'll finally have something to wear other than the clothes I flew in and the few things I bought the other day. We scrapped the plan to go to the Cascades, so I'll be in town for nearly another week. The whole point was to go play in the snow, and we seem to have plenty of that around here anyway.

Happy Christmas, everybody!

Friday, December 19, 2008

must read?

I agree everybody should read. Reading is good. But lists of stuff everybody simply must read kind of leave me cold, though the lists I just encountered kind of ticked me off. Esquire magazine has a list of the 75 books every woman must read and the 75 books every man must read. I don't know why we need different lists, if we needs lists at all. Here's what I've read from each list.

  • The Lottery (and Other Stories), Shirley Jackson
  • Excellent Women, Barbara Pym
  • The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison
  • Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
  • A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  • A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Betty Smith
  • The Secret History, Donna Tartt
  • Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi
  • The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank
  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  • The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
  • Fun Home, Alison Bechdel
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  • Possession, A.S. Byatt
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Raymond Carver
  • The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  • Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
  • Dubliners, by James Joyce
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
  • Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller.
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami
  • Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
  • CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, by George Saunders
  • Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
  • Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie
  • Labyrinths, by Jorge Luis Borges
  • Native Son, by Richard Wright
  • The Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouac
  • Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
  • Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
What's insulting about these is not how predictable they are, but how evidently men need to read books by men only, and women need to read books by women or books by men about messed-up women. Also? I like the dudes list better. Hmph!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

hunting party

I cut down the tree, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

Rick, Peter, and Elsa came with me to kill a tree to display in my home, as a trophy. I can't believe it only costs $10 to cut a tree in the national forest. What a bargain. We also got in a little snowshoeing, the first of the season. Rick got to test out his brand-new shoes, and I got to take my new-to-me shoes out for a spin. We didn't stay out long, but it was a nice time.

In other news, homemade french dips and a corny Christmas movie (that wasn't at all about Christmas) with friends is a pretty damn nice way to spend an evening.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


When I look at my little weather thingy on my homepage, It makes me sad to see what I'm missing in the land of my birth. Watching the Twilight movie this weekend made me feel this really acutely. All that rain and the lush, green landscapes and muddy yards made me physically crave home. The film wasn't a masterpiece, but I think the setting made me love it. I didn't want it to end because I so miss the sound of rain falling.

Returning to this image, check out the humidity in each city. At 92%, my hair would be curly instead of full of static electricity, I wouldn't wake up with a sore throat and a bloody nose, and my skin wouldn't be itchy and sore less than an hour after moisturizing. Best of all, I probably wouldn't feel like my contacts were sticking to my eyeballs by noon. Suffice it to say that I need some moisture in my life.

You'd think that almost three years into living here I wouldn't miss the gray skies and mist so much. But I really need the water, maybe more than ever. I need to see green grass and trees all year long and smell fresh, wet dirt. I need lakes and rivers and the sound. And most of all, I need to feel some rain.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

home improvement

In the past several months, like many people, I've been trying to buy less stuff. In fact, shopping has become a hassle, and I've begun to dread it. As I've gotten smaller, I've had to constantly replace clothing. This is expensive and frustrating, and I wish I could just press pause. It's one thing to drop a couple hundred bucks a month toward building a wardrobe, but it's quite another to do the same to maintain the bare minimum amount of clothing that won't fall off and will look sort of presentable at work. Lather, rinse, repeat. And then I have to remember not to fall in love with anything, because I'm just going to have to get rid of it shortly.

But purchases for the home are different. I finally replaced my dead vacuum cleaner. I'd been holding out for no good reason, so when I was due to host Thanksgiving I realized I actually couldn't have people over to a house cleaned only with dustbuster. So I finally broke down and got one, and my life has improved.

The second purchase I made was a cast iron skillet. I've fallen in love with my enameled cast iron dutch oven, and cook everything in it, even though it's too big for most stuff. So I just went ahead and bought one. The thing cost $17, so it's not like I was needing to save up for it. For some reason it's been on my mental wish list for a year and I hadn't done anything about it. Tonight, I used it to cook up some leftover turkey and gravy.

Finally, I bought a new shower head. The one I had was terrible--it leaked and was clogged and rusted and barely allowed a trickle of water through. For months I've hated every shower I've taken, shivering because the warm water didn't come close to covering all of me at once, and more than once realizing too late that I didn't get all the shampoo out of my hair. Again, there was no good reason I couldn't get a new one, but I didn't until tonight. And you know what? I took an amazing, warm, comforting shower and can't wait to do it again in the morning.

Maybe one of these days I'll replace my folding chairs with real dining room furniture.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Rick's plate, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

This Thanksgiving I hosted dinner. My four wonderful guests made the day really nice. This year I have a lot to be thankful for:
*a good job that shouldn't be affected by recent economic events
*amazing friends
*strong, functional family and an upcoming visit to see them
*signs that change--the good kind--is coming to our country

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Money Grab, originally uploaded by Steve Wampler.
Used under a Creative Commons license

My credit union called me today about some suspicious activity on my debit card. Evidently somebody got a hold of my debit card number, so I have to wait a week for a new one. The same exact charge appeared on my friend's account, so it looks like there's some business in Laramie that had its data compromised. I don't know how to narrow it down, since we frequent so many of the same places--it could be the grocery store, the coffee shop, any number of restaurants, or even someplace on campus.

I think what has me so angry is the timing of this. I need to buy groceries and other stuff for Thanksgiving, and I had plans to drive down to Ft. Collins for some shopping this weekend. Now I have to write checks where they're still accepted and withdraw enough cash to get me through the next week. I hate carrying lots of cash, especially after somehow dropping $40 within minutes of getting it this past Sunday evening. Grr.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I'm watching a Daily Show from last week and right after John Stewart made fun of the American auto industry and its ads, Hulu showed a commercial for a big pickup. Funny.

Some friends and I drove out to Saratoga on Saturday evening and soaked in the hot springs. It temporarily made my knotted back feel better, but I think my broken-down mattress undid all the benefits.

I've been reading some brainless novels between more serious fiction, something for a book discussion group, and my lit review. Twilight was marginally worth the time; a recent Jonathan Kellerman mystery was not.

Thanksgiving's at my house this year. It's going to be a small gathering, but I'm still cooking all the standards. Cape cods will be the evening's cocktail. Rick's making pumpkin cheesecake, too!

Tawnya's dance party was really fun. Will spun all the 80s faves like Joy Division and Depeche Mode. On Saturday morning I had achy knees and hips that reminded me of the old days of the Oz and later, Neighbours.

I heard a nasty rumor that Flowers is gone. I'm sad that the best vegetarian buffet and stiff drinks emporium no longer resides on the Ave. Seattle continues to break my heart while I'm away--first the Roasteria, now this.

There are evidently no horrifying clothing options in stores these days. Why are all the dresses shaped like potato sacks? Why are pants showing up with pleats? And will the maternity top craze please die already? I need something to wear and I'd prefer not to look three sizes bigger than I really am.

Friday, November 21, 2008

cultured lady

After yoga tonight I went to A Midsummer Night's Dream, the ballet on campus. It was okay, but I admit I'm overly critical due to my background. Sloppy feet and arms make me cranky. I did mostly enjoy the modern dance performance afterward, though. I can't be sure, but I might have seen a filmed version of Ride the Culture Loop before. It seemed awfully familiar, but I could be mistaken. It was good.

One thing I didn't do was eat enough today. Why I think I can survive on coffee and vegetables is a mystery. By the time I got home tonight at 11:30pm I was ravenous, so I enjoyed an old favorite--toasted whole wheat bagel with goat cheese, avacado, cracked pepper, and sea salt. Now I'm still up because I ate too late.

Tomorrow night is jam-packed, too. After yoga, I'm going to hit the art department's open studio night before the cultural programs event, which is a violinist this time. Then I head downtown to my friend Tawnya's birthday dance party!

So maybe I should be sleeping in anticipation of doing all this stuff instead of rootling around the internet and watching various antics on the YouTubes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

busy bee

Life has been crazy lately, but much of that is my own making. I'm still doing yoga just about every day, though I gave myself this morning off because I was too exhausted and it's my late evening on the reference desk. There's been other fun, some of which I remembered to document.

Cass and I had a successful presentation at CAL, which was due in large part to our awesome audience. I'm totally sold on interactive presentations after trying it out at both WLA and CAL. And it was fun to hang out with Colorado librarians again. That said, I'm pleased to be done with conferences until January and presenting at them until March. This fall was a little over the top, though I can't really complain about getting my proposals accepted!

It's hard to believe it's midway through November already, especially when we've had some nice days mixed in between snow flurries. On Saturday, Amy and I went for a walk after yoga and it was gorgeous out. That evening, I hooked up with some friends for a Thai dinner party. It's the second time we've done one, but this time we had a few more people and more dishes to try. Jamie started us off with cosmos, which were tasty.

chopping veggies for soup
There was much chopping, cooking, and assembling

I didn't get any photos of our yummy appetizers, which were Mary Ann's pork spare ribs, Rick's fresh chicken spring rolls with some really yummy dipping sauce, and Jamie's cucumber pickles. I was more successful with the second course; here's the spicy shrimp and lemongrass soup Jennifer and Peter made.

shrimp and lemongrass soup

Main dishes were my Swimming Rama (peanut sauce made by Rick) and Jamie and Tim's beef curry with noodles. I tried to photograph my dish, but I turned my back for a moment and this is what I saw.

remains of swimming rama

Only a few sad spinach leaves and a trace of sauce left! I sort of gave up at that point, so you can't see how beautiful the curry was with the crunchy noodles, onions, and cilantro on top. Also, that beer (Tawnya and Will brought Thai and Indonesian beers) closest to the rice was my second one of the evening, so I was kind of looped.

To top off all of that awesomeness, Mary Ann made coconut ice cream for dessert, which we enjoyed with decaf coffee and more conversation.

coconut ice cream

Seriously, I can't remember a longer and more awesome meal. It took us a few hours to make it all the way through the food, so it was almost midnight before I went home and happily snoozed the night away.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

don't stop believing

dancing in the streets, Capitol Hill, Seattle, election night

I had a nice time watching returns with friends here in town, but it was a super emotional event for me and I so wished I could have been home, in a city, surrounded by thousands of people doing stuff like this. It's amazing.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Friday, Saturday (too much weekend for one post)

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to think about what's happening in my life. I even stopped taking pictures obsessively, which everybody knows isn't like me. But on the 25th, I was on my way in the house after yoga and I realized how gorgeous the sky was and snapped a couple of shots.
West Laramie sunset
Sunset over trailers, West Laramie

Days have started to blur into one another and I'm starting to work to the next two deadlines, always feeling like I can't stop or I'll get behind. The weekends are packed, too, though it sounds jerky to complain about having fun with my friends. On Halloween, a few of us went to the hockey game. The Cowboys won in a landslide, and it was a good time, even though the rink was filled with the stench of dirty uniforms and it was really, really cold in there.
UW club hockey game
Wyoming vs. Colorado School of Mines

Val was the first to notice that Wyoming is apparently now in Canada.
Wyoming's in Canada now?
Oh, Canada; The Equality State

Because I needed pants that don't fall down all the time, I took a drive to Ft. Collins on Saturday for some shopping. The first stop was the New Belgium Brewing Company for a tour. Rick and I commenced drinking beer at 11:15am.
tasting Abbey
`````````````````Kaijsa tastes Abbey and rates it a 6

Then it was time for lunch. We ate at a Middle Eastern place that was just okay. I had misremembered there being an Ethiopian restaurant down there. Maybe there is, but not in that strip mall. By the time we got to the cheap pants outlet, I had a full stomach and the day was almost over. I managed to squeeze my falafal-stuffed self into cords and skirts a size smaller than I've been wearing. The pants fit today without crushing any major organs, so I guess I'm set for the time being.

By the time we got back to town, I was late to get ready for the art museum gala. It's weird that I've had a floor-length gown languishing in the closet for almost three years and within the space of a month have finally had two occasions to wear it. It was fun to get all dressed up and go hang out with girlfriends and sell raffle tickets for a diamond necklace. For our trouble we got free food, booze, chocolates, and priceless people-watching opportunities. It's not often you get to see black tie in Laramie. I missed some prime photo ops, for sure, and my intention to take some snaps of my friends for the fashion blog never panned out.

Can you believe the day didn't end there? After we were released from our duties, we headed downtown, where I got my drink on again. Shortly after that, we all convened to Peter's for a dance party complete with Jamison and pizza.
another improptu dance party
There's so much awesome in this photo

Finally, I crashed on my friend's couch and slept blissfully. The end.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I just started watching the fifth season of MI-5, a show I've loved for a long time. In case you're not familiar with it, it's a super-slick British spy drama, and it's very, very good. But the first two episodes almost did me in, and I don't know if I can continue watching it.

You see, the bad guys are mostly evil government officials using terrorism or the threat of terrorism to maneuver themselves into power and suspend civil liberties so they can basically rule the land without any pesky laws getting in their way. It's so much more terrifying than most television shows or movies because this could really happen. I'm not too worried about alien invasions or crafty thieves out to steal stuff. But people plotting to take over the government from the inside and killing/destroying anybody who gets in their way? My blood pressure rose significantly while watching.

I'm not sure if I'll drop the other discs out of my Netflix cue, but I am glad the next thing due to come to me is a comedy. If I can find time to watch it, it will be just what I need. Maybe I'm extra sensitive because of all the election drama, but I know that I can't remember the last time I reacted so strongly to a tv show.

In not-very-related news, my Nikki McClure "Vote" posters came from Buy Olympia, so I need to deploy them. I love her stuff, and still have a nice set of her posters that need to be framed, but I haven't found the right frames. In any case, I figured the free posters urging voting might make a good library display.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

seasons change

Sunday morning at Vedauwoo
about 9:45am today at Vedauwoo

Working the weekend throws my schedule off and I can't make it to yoga classes. Luckily for me, Meggie was game to be my walking partner yesterday afternoon and again this morning, when we went up to Vedauwoo for a short hike. It was a beautiful fall morning, and it was really nice to get out of town for a little while.

I know I've griped lately about the changing seasons, but I'm actually feeling pretty good about it now. Autum has always been my favorite season, but I think it's been hard for me the past couple of years because Wyoming's is so much shorter than Western Washington's. Maybe we're having an amazing year, or maybe I'm just getting used to living here, but the days have been really lovely and I've had a great time walking outside and just enjoying the cooler air.

Another great thing about fall is sweaters. I'd almost forgotten how addicted to cashmere I am and how nice it is to drag it all out again. Most of my clothes are too big for me, and I'm trying to weed through things and get rid of them so I can see what I have and what I need. It feels like a fall thing to do.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008



I don't normally post this stuff here, but I thought it was appropriate, considering my weirdly satisfying yoga obsession. I think I'll keep going to classes every day for the time being, but probably will settle into a more reasonable routine at some point. I guess I just need this right now.

Reasons? It's something I'm choosing just for myself and don't have to take anybody else into consideration. It fills time, something that's become more important lately than ever before. It's also a time I can be completely silent, which is not my normal state of being. And it's a fairly healthy choice to make, considering many of my other hobbies (knitting, reading, watching films) are mostly sedentary.

But speaking of healthy, I'm finally getting excited about this horrible cold weather because I remembered this weekend that I have snowshoes! Who wants to go out this weekend?

Monday, October 13, 2008


homecoming game
check out the pathetic turnout by Wyoming fans

Those who know me won't be surprised that I'm not a huge football fan. Baseball is much more my thing, though not having television and living outside Seattle's radio market made it harder to follow the last couple of seasons. I also like basketball, though again, no television. But football is fun to watch, especially in person, and I decided to go to the Wyoming homecoming game against Utah this past weekend.

Wow, that was terrible. Peter and I only lasted until after the third quarter because it was so cold and windy. We probably would have stayed anyway if Wyoming was actually performing. I was kind of joking when I said we'd lose by 40 points, but I was almost right (40-7). In retrospect, we should have spent the $28 each on drinks and skipped the whole thing, but I wanted to go to a game. Foolish.

Still, it made me remember that back in high school, I actually did go to games and pay attention to them, and I didn't even go to a Friday Night Lights kind of high school. UW is playing Oregon State for homecoming this weekend, so that should be pretty exciting. I have to work this weekend, but Saturdays on the reference desk tend to be crazy slow, so I'll probably be catching the play-by-play online. Of course, Washington is 0-5 (0-3 in Pac-10), so this game could be as bad as the one I saw last weekend. I hear my old high school team is doing okay, though.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


first snowy day

It snowed today! I slept in a bit, so the light dusting we got in Laramie was mostly melted by the time I peeked outside. I didn't have much planned--just yoga class in the afternoon--but all of a sudden my amazing friends called and the whole rest of the day was scheduled.

First, Addie, Peter, and I drove up to the snowies. We thought we might take a short walk the Lakes Trail, but it was so cold we cut things short as soon as we got up high enough to see the lakes. The snow was a few feet deep in spots, and the frigid air and freezing wind made it clear winter is here. After snapping a few photos, we headed back to the car and drove back to Centennial for lunch at the Bear Tree. Green chili pizza, yum!

We got back in time for me to get to yoga class. Sundays are yin yoga, which is good for me, but a challenge for me to concentrate. Holding the poses so long makes me feel really vulnerable and my mind totally starts to wander. I do have to say that for maybe the first time ever, I totally relaxed during shavasana. Maybe it's because I used a blanket to stay warm.

After class, the plan was to work on human subjects training modules, but it turns out I was a couple of units ahead of my research partner. He caught up, though, so next time we'll be able to work through them together.

Then I rushed back downtown to meet up with Tawnya for some soup and a hot beverage before the Sunday evening movie. It was Mongol, which I knew nothing about and totally enjoyed. I'm sure Ghengis Khan was a bit less endearing in real life, but because I'm no scholar of Mongolian history, I could totally suspend my disbelief. Also, the Wyo actually had the heat on for the first time I can remember. Win.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

new tag cloud

I read that wordle does blogs now, so you don't have to cut and paste text. Here's a new one for this space.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

feeling autumnal

aspen alley trip
I love fall, but this year I've been sad to feel the temperature getting cooler. Maybe it's because I had such a lovely summer and I don't want it to end.

aspen alley trip

On Saturday, some friends and I drove out to Aspen Alley to see the fall colors. It was even more beautiful than I thought it would be. We sat in a meadow surrounded by aspens.

aspen alley trip

It was a gorgeous day with bright blue skies. The aspens were big in some places and small in others. Most leaves had started to turn yellow, but some were still green and others were already bright orange and red.

aspen alley trip

The light inside the aspen groves made everything and everybody look magical. I found myself finally excited for fall and energized by being with friends and spending time in the woods.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

meme me!

I don't put much stock in these memes, but sometimes they hit pretty much on the nose.

Your Autumn Test Results

You are a dynamic, vibrant person. You aren't afraid to pursue your passions.

When you're happiest, you are outgoing and expressive . You love celebrations, and you enjoy showing off a little.

You tend to be afraid of change. You are never ready for things to be different.

You find abundance to be the most comforting thing in the world. You love shopping and having nice things.

Your ideal day is spent in contemplation. You enjoy a quiet day where you can take time to think and day dream.

You are very impatient. You spend more time waiting for something than actually enjoying it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

love/no love

You know what I love? Putting on warm jammies straight from the dryer.
You know what I don't love? Realizing I used the wrong homonym in a previous post and now people think I don't know the difference between who's and whose.
Love? Having fun, interesting people show up to a book discussion.
No love? Coming home and being hungry again even though I ate dinner.
Love? My friends and family.
No love? Realizing I've been so busy I haven't talked to any of them in too long.

If I've neglected you, I'm sorry. I do think of you and want to call, but usually it's the middle of the night, or I'm in the middle of a meeting. It's crazy around here, but being this busy is an anomaly, and I'm sure it will get better soon.

what I'm up to

My friend and colleague Laura Crossett posted about her upcoming travels and I was inspired to do the same. This should probably go on my much-neglected IL blog, but I am too ashamed to face that thing right now.

This week is crazy. I'll be at ReVisioning the (W)hole II: Curious Intersections, on campus here at the University of Wyoming. On Thursday, September 25, I co-present "Interdisciplinary or Inextricable? Considering Research and Writing Within and Without the Disciplines" with Rick Fisher; we're paired with Lisa Hunt, whose program is "The Parchment Project: Engaging Experimental Archaeology through Independent Study ." I think our programs work really well together and the whole conference looks amazing.

Speaking of amazing, there are too many fun things happening on campus this week, including a visit by Salman Rushdie, Religious Studies speakers, a New York Times reporter speaker, and oh, yeah, my actual job to attend to. I'm co-facilitating a second book discussion of The Satanic Verses tonight, which should be pretty fun.

Next up is the Wyoming Library Association annual conference. As Laura said, she and I will co-present "2.0 Toolkit for Libraries Large and Small" on Thursday, October 2nd. Turns out we get to offer our program twice during the conference. It's always fun to see the librarians from around Wyoming, too.

Then I get to go to Denver on Friday, October 10 for Library Camp of the West! I'm really excited about this meeting, because it's all about starting conversations with other librarians in my region. Also, I'm not presenting at this one, because it's not that kind of event. It will be my second change in as many weeks to see Laura, too. I'm looking forward to seeing people I know and like from Colorado (like Steve), as well as meeting new people, too.

Soon after that, Cass Kvenild and I will present at the Colorado Association of Libraries annual conference, on Friday, November 7. Our workshop is called "Embedded Librarians: Moving Beyond One-shot Library Instruction."

I get a much-needed break from conferences and presentations for a while after that, but I will attend ALA Midwinter in Denver, though I'm not presenting anything there. I'll be working on the ACRL conference poster session committee work, as well as whatever we having going in my other committees by then. I'm kind of thankful that Cass and I didn't get our ACRL roundtable proposal accepted for Midwinter, because I ended up with lots on my plate as it is.

I am happy that Rick and I got our program accepted at ACRL 2009, though! The schedule's not available yet, but I can report that our program is called ""Widening the Net: A Research-based Collaboration to Foster Success Among At-risk Learners," and it's based on survey research we're doing on first-year college students' reading habits, attitudes, and experiences.

So, that's where I'll be. I try to keep my upcoming calendar (in my sidebar) updated, but it's kind of interesting to write out what I have going on from time to time. It makes me alternately excited and tired to see my schedule in print.

Monday, September 08, 2008

magic formula

Over the past 14 months or so, I've lost 50-odd pounds. People often stop and ask me how I'm doing it and, without fail, look really disappointed with my answer. That answer is exercise and portion control. Truthfully, I didn't cut anything completely out, though I don't eat fried foods or drink soda very often. I think people expect and want to hear that I'm on some kind of program or drug or that a special combination of foods is working.

It's when I say "exercise" that I see a pained expression. I get it, totally. Nobody wants to hear that the answer is basic math. Exercise means I burn more calories than I'm taking in, so I'm burning fat. Yay! But there's another benefit, too. Exercise boosted my metabolism, so I can actually eat more now and still lose weight. And honestly, it doesn't take a ton of exercise to make a difference, especially to start. I try to do something every day, because tiny things add up.

I started by going for walks several times a week. Then, I stopped using the elevator almost entirely and started riding my bike a little. Then I started going on hikes, and tried to get out once a week. Once it snows, that will turn into snowshoeing. But seriously, I'm not really putting that much time and effort into it and it's still paying off.

This is not a lecture. Losing weight is simple--burn more calories than you consume--but it's not easy. It's really difficult to change habits and make them stick, and I don't blame anybody for wishing it was easier. I wish it was easier, too. If I were more dedicated, I could be stricter with what I eat and exercise more. Everybody has to decide how to balance all that for themselves, and for me, that means making time for fun, too. It's all good, right?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

weekend highlight

my car, ready to ford the river, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

Addie and I drove to the Sierra Madres today, and it was a lovely time. I'd never been before and can recommend it as a beautiful drive. We didn't stop to hike, thinking we'd just enjoy the drive. It didn't work out to visit old ghost towns because, as you can see in the photo above, water was over the 4WD-only road we needed to use to get there. I forded the river the first time, since it was only a few inches deep, but then came to a bigger stretch and decided not to try to be a hero. Still, it was a really nice time.

road trip, day 10

giant ice cream and Rick, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

We hit the road pretty early on Tuesday because we had to drive from Seattle to Twin Falls, and hoped to make it before dark. First, we said goodbye to Melanie and handed over our keys. It was so sad to leave her after only seeing her for two days and knowing it will probably be Christmas before I see her again. We had such a great time together and it was so amazing for me to be able to introduce her to Rick--seeing two of my favorite people hit it off so well was way cool. I'd had a similar experience the day before with SJ and another sad goodbye.

We decided to wait to grab a coffee until we'd been on the road a while. We had planned a completely different route for the trip home, and I was excited. It was surprisingly easy to get through downtown traffic to I-90 during weekday rush hour, and we were all the way to Snoqualmie Falls before I knew it. The water level was moderately high, so the falls were pretty impressive, which made me happy. I don't get over to Snoqualmie very often, and when I do, I invariably think of Twin Peaks. Another reason to feel happy. Anyway, I discovered that the Salish Lodge doesn't have a coffee bar, which I think is a wasted opportunity. Somebody needs to serve coffee and pie at the falls.

We drove on, getting on I-82 and winding through the Yakima Valley. I had planned to stop for a few boxes of fruit, but indecision and the urge to keep driving won out. We had a pretty full car already, but I wish I would have grabbed a couple of boxes of apples and some peaches to put up. Regrets! Anyway, we did stop in Sunnyside at the Dairygold factory because we were taken in by the giant sign proclaiming "Cheese Tours." Turns out the tour was a self-guided one, and the factory store/diner was kind of disappointing. We did buy giant ice cream cones for like $2 each, so that was a winner. It was so hot out that I ate my ice cream faster than I probably ever have before. It was delicious.

After we passed the Tri-Cities (home of the Dust Devils), we took I-84 and dropped into eastern Oregon. We kept debating the best place to stop for some lunch and decided to try to make it to Baker City. When we got there, we decided we could wait until La Grande. I can't remember exactly where we stopped, but I know we picnicked in the grass outside an elementary school and sandwiches have never tasted so good. At this point, I'd done all but 100 miles of driving the whole road trip, so I had Rick take over. It felt great to sit back and relax for a while.

Everything between there and Boise was a blur of farms and blue skies. The change in landscape between Washington, Oregon, and Idaho wasn't as dramatic as it had been on the way west, when we were driving further north. All of 82 and 84 kind of looks the same--lovely, but the same. When we got to Boise, dusk was coming. We ended up eating at the McDonald's express at a gas station out of sheer tiredness and laziness. Their iced coffes are pretty good, though.

It was dark when we got to Twin Falls. On the way into town, we stopped at a bridge that's supposed to have spectacular views, but it was almost too dark to see and definitely too dark for pictures to turn out. I could tell it was pretty cool, though.

We finally got to Rick's friends' place after 9:00pm. Jeff and Natalie and their daughter are really nice, fun people, and it was fun to meet them after hearing about them for over a year. We all spent some time chatting and looking at some of my trip photos while watching some Olympics. It got late pretty quickly, and I promptly fell asleep in one of the most comfortable guest beds I've ever experienced.

One more day to go!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Labor Day weekend

making foil packet dinner, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

Hey, I went camping last weekend. Overall, much fun was had by all. However, there was one stressful segment shortly after we arrived and pitched tents. I think I wanted to forget about it because it was so upsetting, so I'm only getting around to writing about it now. Three of us were laying around in the tent, and we heard some shotgun blasts pretty close to us. We yelled to let the people know we were there. Then, three bullets whizzed by in rapid succession. It sounded like a semi-automatic. After yelling again, we ran up to where our other friends were and told them what we observed. As we were all talking, more bullets whizzed by us, and we all hit the deck, yelling.

I heard the sound of two vehicle doors slamming and a car driving off really fast. Three of our group run up to the road to see what was up, but only got a glimpse of the white SUV (which was probably a Land Cruiser). It was too far away for them to see the people or the plates. Anyway, we reported the situation to the sherriff's department, but the deputies weren't able to locate the shooters. It was really infuriating, because these people were so reckless as to shoot blindly into the woods and then run away without knowing whether or not they hit anybody. And there will be no consequences for them.

Shooting can be really fun. I like target shooting, and I have friends who hunt. I think responsible gun ownership is a good thing. But idiots like the ones who shot near us shouldn't have weapons. It's legal and safe to shoot out there in the national forest where we were, as long as you have a proper backstop and can see where you're aiming. Standing at the side of the road, where you can see vehicles indicating other people are around, and shooting downhill into trees is the very definition of irresponsibility. End of story.

But the rest of the trip was great. We went to the hot springs and stayed until we were pruny and tired. Of course, we ended up back at camp way after dark, so we cooked and ate dinner by flashlight. I have to say that the foil dinners were really good, and would have been excellent if I'd been able to find the potatoes to include them. But we had some mac 'n cheese as a first course and had bread with the sausage and veggies, so we were in no danger of dying of carbohydrate deficiency. Heh.

The next day, after eating breakfast and lazing around for a while, we all walked the road up to the top of the mountain. It was really pretty. Instead of walking back down the road, we hiked straight down the side, through the brush. That was fun, and though I got pretty wet, not as difficult as I thought it would be. By the time we got back to our campsite, the rain was really starting to come down, so we packed up and went to Steamboat Springs for lunch and a bit of shopping before hitting the road to get back to Laramie. I managed not to buy anything, though I was tempted by several pairs of cute shoes, some of which were on sale.

On Monday, Rick and I went for a morning hike, which was pretty nice. I kind of wished I would have gone out longer. It was nice to get away from town again and there really weren't that many people out. It was definitely cooler, and made me realize how little time is left for running around outdoors. That makes me sad, but I have to remind myself that soon I'll be able to go out snowshoeing. And I'm thinking about taking the cross country skiing class this year. So, I guess I'll be able to stay busy.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

road trip, day 9

abandoned sign in the underground, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

Monday was our last full day in Seattle. Rick and I started out by taking the bus downtown and exploring Pioneer Square. After wandering a bit to check out the ferry terminal and walk under the viaduct, we met up with SJ. We decided to go to the first restaurant we saw for some lunch, and it turned out to be really good sushi with the weirdest service ever. After that, we took the Underground Tour, which was not at all what I expected. I thought I had taken the tour as a kid, but I might be misremembering.

The historical anecdotes were pretty interesting, but we basically had to sit through a lecture for a half hour before actually touring. The underground portion was kind of interesting, but got old fast. I think I was expecting to see more existing stuff left from the place being sealed up, but the guide explained that people have renovated and are using that space again. Makes sense.

Once we finished the tour and SJ dropped us back at Ed's, Rick and I drove up to Everett to see Jamie. I should have left R. to explore more on his own instead of dragging him to listen to me catch up with an old friend. Noted. Anyway, after a while, we drove back to Seattle to meet up with Melanie.

After a brief debate of the best choice for Indian food (I supported Taste of India because the chai is better and it's cheaper; Melanie is an unwavering Chutney's supporter because the food is admittedly better), the three of us headed to Wallingford. We feasted on Chutney's amazing food: the naan basket, mutter paneer tikka masala, chicken cashew masala, and saag with chickpees. So good! I wish there was a good Indian restaurant around here.

That was pretty much the end of our day. We had a big driving day ahead of us on Tuesday.

road trip, day 8

R and K, spoiling the view, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

Sunday was our second day exploring Seattle. First, we met up with Melanie to get settled at Ed's place for the remainder of our stay. Then, we headed downtown. I tried to drive to the end of the SLUT line, but got all turned around because A. I haven't been here during the construction, and B. the roads were torn up and I kept having to turn around. So, basically, I gave up that plan. Instead, we parked for free in Belltown and set out on foot.

The first stop for us was to be Seattle Public Library Central. Of course, it being Sunday, the place wasn't open for another hour. Also, a pidgeon pooped on my head on our walk down there, which was not cool. Rick was a champ and helped me clean up at Hotel Monaco, which has some nice bathrooms, FYI. I remembered that from when I was at Midwinter last year (I usually don't spend much time in Seattle hotels).

Once I was presentable again, we went back to Pike Place and looked around for a while. It was lousy with tourists because it was a weekend, and our enthusiasm waned fairly quickly. I did buy some honey to take back with me, but not much shopping was on the agenda. Once we'd hung out in Steinbrueck park a little and watched some cheesemaking at Beecher's, we were ready for some food. In this case, crepes--yum!

Bellies full, we walked back to the library and spent over an hour exploring. I'd been there a couple times before, but it was cool to experience it with Rick. The highest viewpoint still makes my stomach flutter, and probably will every time I visit. Once we'd taken pictures of every nook and cranny and I'd shopped in the Friend Shop, we were off for the next sight.

I decided to grab the car and drive up to Kerry Park, because there's no sense in bringing somebody to Seattle and not giving them the best views of the city. Even though it was overcast, the skyline looked really great. After snapping a few photos and talking to a nice couple from Ferndale, we were off to yet another park.

It took me far too long to point myself to the Olympic Sculpture Park, another feature new to the city since I moved away. I was really irritated with all the "don't touch the art" signage everywhere. In my opinion, you can't have it both ways--either hide your sculptures in a museum, or put them outdoors and let the weather and the people touch them. Way to put art behind a barrier, Seattle Art Museum.

Anyway, I touched whatever I felt like touching. There's actually so much to see in the sculpture park that we didn't end up walking to everything. Next time, I guess. Again, the views were lovely, as you could see up Alaskan Way to the piers, which we didn't ever get around to visiting. The art was a mix of stuff I liked and stuff I don't, but that's a good thing. I do really like the Ellsworth Kelly mounted on the pavilion, which we neglected to go into before it closed. Doh!

Anyway, by the time we burned out on looking at art, it was time to meet up with Melanie! We had planned to go see the X-files movie, but none of us were as jazzed at the prospect of sitting in a movie theater as we were to just hang out together. Instead, we headed to the International District for dinner at Saigon Bistro, one of my all-time favorite places in town. Stuffed to the gills, we rolled over to Uwajimaya, where Rick and I bought things that are more expensive or hard to find in Laramie, like masaman curry, tamarind paste, and Men's Pocky. Hee.

Our final destination for the evening was Capitol Hill, where we stopped for a drink at Chapel. It's one of my favorite spots in town, and their drinks are tasty. I had a hibiscus martini, my old standby, and Rick had one called Ruby Cowboy or something like that. Melanie's drink was also fruity and delicious, but I can't remember what it was. We also shared a big old slab of chocolate cake, which I think finished me off for the night. It was a big day!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

bonus rainbow

closer rainbow, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

road trip, day 8

Kaijsa with skyline, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

We packed a lot into this Saturday. We started off by eating at Dick's, because I can't visit Seattle without doing so. Then, I took Rick to Fremont and we checked out Archie McPhee. The pictures of us trying on wigs still makes me laugh. It was kind of a drizzly day, perfect for visiting the water, so we drove down to Ballard and hit the locks.

It's been a while since I visited the locks. There wasn't much boat traffic, so it wasn't as exciting as it could have been. Still cool, though. We also checked out the fish ladder, and there were tons of salmon going through. There were also tons of people crammed into the viewing area, and I uncharacteristically told of a kid for having no manners as he pushed past us on the stairs.

We looked around the botanical garden a little, but it soon started pouring. It as kind of warmish out, so I liked it. We met up with an old friend of mine for some fish & chips and beer at the Lockspot after that. I'd only ever had fish from the walk-up counter before and remember it tasting better than it did that day. Oh, well.

After we said goodbye to Chris, I drove Rick up to Gasworks Park in Fremont. The sky had gotten really pretty, and the water on Lake Union was kind of rough. We climbed up to the sundial and then went down to the bulkhead, as you can see in the picture above. I really like the views of the city from Gasworks. We didn't stay there very long, but it was nice. Does anybody know what the concrete arch thingies are there? I've always wondered.

After Gasworks, we drove back up to the U-District, where we saw a gorgeous full rainbow. I stopped on Roosevelt in front of the yarn store and took some pictures. Speaking of pictures, I look at mine from this trip and laugh about what I focused on and what I totally neglected to snap. I'm so weird sometimes.

by request

new haircut, slightly messy, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

It's far from perfect, but here's the new, shorter hair. Maybe one of these days I'll remember to take a picture when it's freshly combed. Hee.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

road trip, day 7

countdown to the Winter Olympics, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

We went to Canada on our seventh day, which was a Friday. It was an easy, quick drive up to Vancouver. We stopped on the way in Skagit County for a coffee, and I was surprised and happy to see Scott, best friend of my brother and sister-in-law at Starbucks. I knew he managed a store up there, but had forgotten and didn't know which one. It was nice to see him.

As we got back on the road, I realized that I'd accidentally pulled the hood release when I got out of the car at Starbucks. I knew my shoelace had caught on something, but didn't really think about it. Oops. Luckily, the hood just bounced a little as I got on the freeway, and we were able to pull off and fix it before it could fly open. Sometimes I astound myself with my brilliance. Let's just say this wasn't the only driving/car related snafu on the trip that can be credited to me.

We got across the border into Canada pretty quickly, for a weekend morning, and made it to Vancouver and parked off Robson with no real hassle. Then, we basically spent the day walking all over town.

Robson wasn't that interesting to Rick, with all it's shopping and stuff. Both of us were hungry, so we pretty much immediately went into Tsunami for sushi! I dug in immediately, grabbing my first plate from the boats before my ass was completely in my seat. Rick noticed that as people were seated at the bar, they all did the same thing as I had. I'd never really thought about it because who wouldn't grab sushi as fast as the could? And we did put away our most expensive meal of the trip in about 15 minutes, so I guess I'm right.

Then we decided to go into a couple of stores, like Roots, the custom t-shirt store, and the salmon place. Retail fatigue set in pretty quickly, though. Rick was interested in going to Gastown, and I'd never made it there before (Robson and Granville streets always suck me in for my entire visits). So we hoofed it up to the waterfront, looked at some big ships, and then found Gastown. It's smaller than I had expected, and not as nice (in my opinion) as Pioneer Square in Seattle. But we did have the pleasure of seeing a flotilla of junkies on a very stinky street.

After Gastown, we thought about walking to English Bay, but then decided to get the car and drive to Stanley Park, another place I'd always meant to see. After some navigational issues stemming from incorrectly guessing which streets terminate in a turn-only lane, we made it into the park. We basically just drove almost all the way around it, pausing for Rick to take a few pictures here and there, and finally parked at Beach Number Two. That's a pretty creative name, there.

I think I was getting tired at this point, and we ended up just walking up to English Bay and getting gelato and sitting near the beach for a little while. It was a beautiful day, and there were lots of people hanging out, but I was pretty much mentally done. I think I cut Rick's Vancouver experience a little short, which kind of sucks.

After collecting the car, we drove through nasty weekend traffic to the border, where we sat for over an hour waiting to get through the US side. Why is it so much easier to get into Canada than the US? I sort of forced Rick to take the wheel while we waited to cross, and he ended up driving all the way to Marysville.

After I took the wheel again, I drove him across the flats and stopped at Langus Park, so he could see the boathouse and the river where I rowed in high school. It was just dark, and it reminded me of being there after hours for high school shenanigans.

By then, we were pretty hungry and we wanted Burgermaster. I thought I'd be wise and hit the one in Silver Lake/Mill Creek because I thought it would be closer to my parents' place. I had forgotten how far east that place really is! It took forever to wind through the suburbs to get there. I should have just gone to the one in North Seattle and then turned around. But we made it with a half hour to spare before closing, and I had the tastiest cheeseburger I'd had in a long time and a root beer shake. So good.

When we finally got home, my mom had a replay of Olympics opening ceremony on, which we'd missed. So we watched that for a while before hitting the sack. I crashed so hard that night.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

road trip, day 6

Aquasox pitcher., originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

i wonder if I'm going to make it through the whole vacation before I've been home a whole month.

Rick finally got a break from me for a while on Thursday, when Mom and I went to the spa. I finally got my haircut, and now that it's eight inches shorter and has more layers, I actually wish I'd cut more off. I really like my new hair guy, and think I'll see him again at Christmas. Gail did my pedicure, and it was amazing, as always.

After that, we visited my grandma, who seemed to be having a good day. The respite caregiver is nice, and I'm glad my parents have found good people to help take care of Grandma.

That evening, we had dinner out with my folks and my brother and his family before going to the Aquasox game. Unlike the Mariners, the 'sox seem to be having a decent season. The game was fun, and our team won. Weirdly, the online schedule said Everett was playing Vancouver, but when we got to the game, the opponent was the Tri Cities Dust Devils. Still cool and all, but we were hoping for some international rivalry.

You know what I like about baseball? It's a sport that's exciting to watch, but games happen at a pace that allows for lots of conversation. My nephew didn't seem too interested in the game, but he did want to explore the floor of the stadium. That kid is really patient for 18 months. He doesn't even really need toys to entertain himself--an empty water bottle will do. And plenty of attention. He definitely likes an audience for his jabbering. I liked playing with him, and seeing for myself how much he's learned and changed since I saw him in May. It's disconcerting that I'm missing so much of him growing up, but luckily for me, his parents are great about taking pictures and letting me know about his latest tricks.

Next: Canada!

road trip, day 5

Rick on Red Hook brewery tour, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

Wednesday was packed with stuff. We started off the day earlier and went to northeast King County. The original plan was to take bikes and ride the Burke-Gilman trail to Woodinville to see the brewery and wineries, but I neglected to get the keys from my dad before he left for work. So I drove us over to Bothell, where we checked out the UWB campus. This was where we visited the first of four libraries I dragged Rick to.

From there, we went to the Red Hook brewery and took the tour. I'd never done it before, and found it to be less a tour than a lecture with plenty of beer drinking. I approve. Having five different beers I probably never would have selected for myself made me realize what I like. I've had samplers at McMenamins and Widmer before, but this time I paid more attention. For those keeping track, I liked the Blackhook porter and the Summer Blonde the best. After the tour, we proceeded to eat way too much food and drink more beer at the Forecaster Pub.

After that, we went down to the UW Seattle campus. We knocked around a little, going into both the Odegaard Undergraduate Library and Suzzallo, bringing the library count to three. Then we met up with Chelle for eats at the Thaiger Room and then walked over to the College Inn for librarian pub night, which was fun. I got to see grad school friends, Washington librarian friends, current colleagues from Wyoming, and a new friend from UNLV all at the same time.

From there, SJ joined us for some additional fun. Because we hadn't eaten enough all day, we went to Pies & Pints, where we had some good food covered in beer cheese sauce and terrible service from a cute, but distracted waitress/bartender. As always, it was great to hang out with SJ, and I think Rick had fun, too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

bonus photo

Kaijsa in a tree, originally uploaded by Single Drop of Rain.

I like this one that Rick took of me up on Pilchuck. Unsurprisingly, lots of my pictures from the trip are of him, so I'll steal some of the shots he took of me.

road trip, day 4

Rick in the woods, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

On Tuesday, our first full day in the Seattle area, we got off to a slow start. Once we got some errands out of the way, we drove up to Granite Falls and hiked Mt. Pilchuck. Despite growing up a stone's throw away and even going to a high school with Pilchuck in its name, I'd never hiked there before.

It was a warm, slightly muggy day, but the tree canopy kept us shaded at least half the time. Hiking at much lower altitude was nice, as we breathing was so much easier. I wasn't a total superhero, though; I was pretty tired from three days in the car and was a little draggy and very sweaty from the humidity. We didn't summit, but it was a really nice hike.

Afterwords, we stopped at the fish ladder at the falls. Here, I did feel pretty awesome after walking up 88 steps without getting at all winded. The fish ladder here is kind of disappointing, as you can't see the fish. The falls were pretty, though.

On the way back to my parents' place, I jumped of Highway 9 in Marysville. I wanted to drive by my childhood house, but all the new construction in the area confused me and I drove right past the neighborhood at first. Weird. It's strange to feel completely disconnected from the place I lived for 18 years of my life.

On the way home, we picked up some pork chops and other stuff for a barbecue with my parents. My brother, sister-in-law, and nephew came over, too. I think Rick had a nice time, but after two nights with my family, I think he was ready to get out and do something more interesting for his vacation. We'd been in town 24 hours and hadn't really gotten near Seattle.

Up next: beer, libraries, more beer, and pies and beer.

Monday, August 18, 2008

lovely weekend

In the scenery, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

This weekend was great, kind of an extension of vacation. After getting home at midnight on Wednesday, I spend a little time in the office getting myself organized, but mostly I just hung out with friends. On Thursday, I had wonderful dinner with Addie and then met up with some more people for drinks. Then on Friday, I braved the rain to buy some veggies at the farmer's market before they closed up due to weather. Then there was a second night of drinks out, this time with a larger group.

On Saturday morning, Elsa, Rick, and I went up to the Snowies for some hiking on the Lakes Trail. The weather was cool, which was nice. It was still pretty wet from the rain the night before, so we got pretty soaked from the brush, but it wasn't too muddy. I'd never been on that trail before and I really liked it. There were tons of gorgeous views, even with all the fog and grey clouds everywhere. All the lakes made the mountains look even more amazing.

That evening, Addie had a dinner party, which was really fun. I can't remember the last time I met that many interesting, fun people in one night. She made Malian food, and it was delicious. Everything was awesome, actually.

Today, I met up with Addie and then Rick downtown for a bluegrass festival. Eventually, almost everybody I know was there. I had heard of some of the bands, but had never heard any of them until today. All of them were great, and I even danced to Jalan Crossland. Fun times.

I can't believe I have to go to work for real tomorrow. Maybe two weeks of vacation was a bad idea, because I don't want to go back.

road trip, day 3

road trip 2008 175, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

So, we entered Washington. I made the stupid mistake of driving through Spokane instead of avoiding it like the plague. We were on Highway 2, also known as my favorite road in the land, but I didn't realize I should have taken I-90 to get past the Spoke. Anyway, that burned up about an hour we didn't need to waste. This was a theme for the whole day.

I know I'm totally biased, but Washington state is gorgeous. I think Rick liked it too, especially how the landscape kept changing as we traveled west. A friend camping in Chelan invited us to stay there and play in the lake, but we didn't feel like we had the time to spend. I would have liked to just stay the night there and continue on in the morning, and in retrospect, it would have been a great idea. Instead, after some unnecessary driving around in Wenatchee, we stopped at Lake Wenatchee for a very brief swim, which was a nice break from the car. I also drove through Leavenworth, so Rick could see the weirdness of a fake Bavarian village packed with tourists.

The drive through the North Cascades was stunning, as always. Stevens Pass is such a pretty one, and it was fun to show it off to somebody who had never been to the area. We jumped off 2 in Monroe and hit 405 to get to my parents' place. Again, a good plan in theory, but I should have gone all the way to the end of the highway in Everett and taken surface streets down to Lynwood. Rush hour in the PNW is much more annoying than the fifteen minutes of tiny congestion we get here in Laramie. We got in to my folks' place just before 8pm.

My parents had dinner ready for us, and we ate outside in their newly arranged outdoor dining room, which I love. I really miss eating all my meals outside all summer and fall. Rick and my parents got along well, and the dogs even mostly behaved themselves. It's always difficult to predict how they'll react to my friends. Abbie's really jealous, and she's been known to whine and moan if anybody sits next to me. She did stick pretty close to me. Nala immediately adopted Rick as her new best friend, sitting at his feet at dinner and then sleeping outside his bedroom every night. I wasn't a blip on her radar.

We were pretty tired after all that driving, so pretty much the only things we did after dinner were bring in our stuff from the car and figure out our plan for the next day.

Friday, August 15, 2008

road trip, day 2 plus

lookout tower, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

We got up and ate breakfast with Mary Ann before hitting the road for our longest driving day of the trip. From the research station, we drove through Yellowstone. We didn't stop in the park, but we did get to go slowly enough to gawk at the scenery. If we'd seen any big animals, I'm sure we'd have stopped. Strangely, we didn't see much either in Teton or Yellowstone. Last year, I saw a bear, deer, bison, and more.

Because we were headed for Montana, we exited in West Yellowstone, where we bought the most expensive gas of the trip. We called it "tourist gas." Then we headed out on I-90. We'd both heard that Butte is a cool town, so we decided to wait to eat until we got there. It was a very cute little town, but it took us a while to find a park. Finally, we found one with a gazebo and had our picnic lunch. We sort of lollygagged a bit, but finally had to get going in order to make it to our destination before dark.

The drive through Montana was beautiful. We were driving alongside water almost the entire time. I'd been on the I-90 stretch once before, but this time, we headed up north to an area I'd never visited before. We reserved a U.S. Forest Service fire lookout in northwestern Montana, on the top of Yaak Mountain. It's pretty close to the Canadian border, so it was way up there. The scenery was gorgeous, but we were both nervous about driving up the mountain and packing into the tower in the dark and we were getting tired of being in the car.

We finally arrived at the mountain around 8pm. It took a little time to find the FS road, then we had a slow, steep drive up on gravel. The road was in great shape, though, and we managed to get there and our stuff inside before dark. We even had time to take a little walk before it got totally black out. We saw some grouse and a deer, as well as some tiny little rodents that moved very, very quickly. We also saw some scat that let me to believe something large was around. Freaky!

I had been worried about climbing a ladder to the tower. Actually, I was more nervous about climbing down four stories in the dark to get to the outhouse, truth be told. But we had stairs, so no biggie. The sunset was pretty, but my pictures didn't turn out very well, I'm afraid.

Dinner was sandwiches, fruit, and beer and was fun. We didn't stay up super late because we didn't think to bring cards or anything to keep us entertained in a cabin with no electricity. Being a lookout, the place was all window, from knee high to the ceilings, so I expected the sunrise to wake me. I actually woke up before dawn and got some pics of the sunrise, but Rick refused to leave his sleeping bag to join me.

After our yummy breakfast of greek yogurt (a new favorite thing) and granola, we had to get going. We both wished we had more time to hike and stay another night. We realized what a cool retreat that place could be. Imagine getting away and just writing up there. In any case, we left and headed toward Sandpoint, Idaho, about 30 miles away once we got to the highway.

Once on the road and coffee-ed up in Bonner's Ferry (great name), we were off. We ended up stopping for second breakfast in some small town in Idaho, not too far from the Washington border. What was it called? Priest something? Rick, help me out. I ate my weight in hashbrowns and biscuits and gravy for about $5. Not bad. It was about this time when we turned our clocks back an hour to Pacific time, so we experienced 9am for the second time that day.

This is really part of day 3, which I'll get to next.

road trip, day 1

waiting for sunset, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

This will take a while and likely be filled with more detail than strictly necessary for anybody but me. I'm doing it anyway.

We started out early on Saturday, at my insistence. We'd spent much of Friday shopping and other last-minute errands and mostly packed the car, so we were able to get on the road before 7am. I've made that drive before, but it's one of the prettiest I've seen in Wyoming. I especially like the mountains as you approach Lander.

We took a break for a picnic in Dubois, but managed to make it to the research station by 1:30pm. When I pointed out how much of the day we had to spend in the park and asked Rick if he was glad I made him leave so early, he said, "No!" I don't believe it, though. We went for a walk up over a hill with a great view of Jackson Lake and the Tetons, and sat on the dock drinking beer and eating chips with our hostess, Mary Ann. It was great.

Then Mary Ann took us to Two Ocean Lakes for a walk on the trail. There were tons of wildflowers, and Mary Ann knew what they all were, which was really cool. On the way back, we stopped at a lookout and saw a huge herd of elk. We also saw some herons that day. It was really nice. Rick and I headed to the dock to catch the sunset before dinner. It got dark pretty quickly, and I was amazed, once again, at how bright the stars were.

We had a late dinner with Mary Ann and her sons and their girlfriends. We had great company and before long, a few hours had passed. We were really tired, and opted not to have drinks on the dock. Once we settled in our bunk beds, I fell asleep immediately and slept really well up there in the quiet mountain air.

the big trip, in numbers

the big trip, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

13: number of amazing days
600: number of dollars spent on gas
4.06: average price in dollars, per gallon of gas
6: number of U.S. states visited
1: number of Canadian provinces visited
15: national forests visted/drove through (Medicine Bow, Bridger-Teton, Flathead, Gallatin, Helena, Kootenai, Coeur d'Alene, Targhee, Colville, Okanogan-Wenatchee, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, Wasatch-Cache, Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, Boise)
2: national parks visited (Grand Teton, Yellowstone)
4: beers consumed by me
12: cups of coffee consumed by me
1: hikes taken
1: city bus taken (Metro #70)
1: rainy days
3: days above 90 degree
1: meltdown by me
1: times swimming
36: dollars spent on most expensive meal for two (Tsunami sushi)
3: dollars spent on least expensive meal for two (Dick's Drive-in)

*NOTE: I just realized I messed up this map. We really took US-2 from Montana and across Idaho and Washington, not I-90.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


road trip 2008 064, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

This was a view at dawn on Sunday. Waking up on top of a mountain in a fire lookout with 360 degree views is definitely a cool thing to experience.

The road trip is well underway. Day one was amazing, and the two that followed were good, too. I think the driving time was pretty long, but I don't regret planning it that way because I wouldn't take back anything we saw and did along the way. Well, maybe driving through Spokane. That was pretty unnecessary.

More to come!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Westward ho!

roadtrip, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

Here's the plan, stalkers. I'm so excited I can't even explain it to you. I've been trying to scheme out how to see everybody I know and love without totally hijacking the trip--after all, it's Rick's vacation, too. If you're one of my PNW friends, I can't wait to see you! Everybody else, expect tons of pictures.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

play ball

game in action, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

Last night was the final regular season Colts game. I went over after work, so I missed the first couple of innings. When I got there, the scoreboard wasn't working and I didn't know where things were. So basically, I very quickly lost interest in following the action. There were some good plays, and the Colts won, but we saw just as many foul balls fly into/over the crowd as hits into fair territory. It was kind of scary there toward the end. A bashed in head isn't a fun souvenir of the game.

Maybe we'll have a better time at the Aquasox game next week. Yes, the big road trip is nigh and the plan is to go to the game on Thursday, August 7. Everett will face off against Vancouver, and Rick's hoping he'll be able to buy a Canadians hat. Their gear is certainly cooler, but I will of course be rooting for the 'sox, since they're part of the Mariners organization (and are also in last place). Any PNWers interested in coming with us to the game are welcome!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday music

Start your week with some Posies

I found this linked on Jon's wife's blog.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Laramie at sunset, originally uploaded by Kaijsa.

The sunsets in this town are beautiful. Last night when I was at Coal Creek with Meggie and Addie, it started raining really hard, and then the sun came back. Sunset was a little while later and it was gorgeous as usual. My pictures never really do it justice.

A week from today, I'll be up in the Tetons. Last year, the sunsets up there were unbelievable. I'm sure I'll be speechless again this time around. It's not like I haven't seen sunsets all my life, but I think I've only really started paying attention recently. It's worth taking the time to stop and just look.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

stormy weather

I almost thought the day would be a wash. I was tired and crabby, and had a pretty wicked headache. My extended lunchtime nap didn't work out so well because a thunderstorm broke. It was loud, but I probably could have had a really nice sleep if I wasn't so preoccupied with getting back to campus for evening reference.

When the lightning stopped, I drove back to campus. I had to stop at Engineering, so I wandered the wet campus and took some pictures on the way back to the library. The sculpture installations are moving on and I was able to snap the latest.

Patrick Dougherty sculpture

Patrick Dougherty's sapling sculpture smelled wonderful after the rain. I spent some time just walking through and around it. It's pretty cool--reminds me of the haystack structures outside the Museum of Glass.


I like the new sculpture a lot, too. I don't know which artist did it, but it's cool. Very amoeba-like. Walking around in the fresh, wet air made me feel so much better. It was too bad I had to go inside.


The reference desk didn't do my headache any favors, and I started getting more naseated the longer I sat inside. Finally, I realized there was no way I could go to the student dance showcase, which made me sad. I like to take advantage of every opportunity to see dance in this town, but I know I would have felt crappy the whole time. It sucked to flake on the friend I was going with, also.

Once I'd been home, ate some soup, and rested in front of a fan, Peter called. He wanted to come over and borrow some music. We baked some cookies, too. Yum. So the day ended on a good note after all.