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!