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.