Archive for December, 2008

I was determined to read this book before watching the movie, and now that I’ve finished it, it’s hard to believe that a film version could live up to the written piece.  Much of The Kite Runner is set against the backdrop of a poverty-stricken and oppressive Afghanistan – a picture so devastating that I want to believe it was exaggerated for the sake of drama.  But the more I look into the power and practices of the Taliban movement, the more I fear that the scene set in this story isn’t too far removed from what so many Afghans have experienced.  It’s horrific.  Sickening, really.

But as a counterpoint the devastation his country has seen, the author brings to light the beauty that can be found in the Afghan culture and family traditions.  Of course, I should be wary of relying on fictitious novels as a reliable source for actual events and customs, but I do believe this book offered a glimpse into a side of Afghan life that I otherwise never would have experienced.  A good read.  Sad, to say the least, but intertwined with just the faintest glimmer of hope.

Our prayers were answered and the weather cleared up enough on Christmas Eve afternoon for us to make the trek down to Portland.  We have spent the past two days taking refuge from the cold winter weather in my brother and sister-in-law’s warm, welcoming home; indulging in all kinds of baked goodies; and enjoying the blessing of family.  Good memories have been made of watching Elise experience her first Christmas, sharing an un-traditional holiday meal of fajitas, and simply sitting around together in the living room, relaxing and chatting and watching the snow fall outside.

Thanks be to God for the blessings he has lavished upon us, the foremost of these being his Son.  May you carry the peace and hope offered by the birth of Jesus Christ into the year to come.




Strange weather in Seattle these days.  We awoke to the sound of hail on Thursday at 4:30 am, thunder shook our house around 5:30, and snow fell throughout almost the entire day.  I debated about whether or not to brave the elements and head into work, but as the snow continued to pile up, and as I watched buses spin their tires and then just sit by the side of the road near our house, I decided to declare Thursday a snow day.  I bundled up (in my totally insufficient snow gear, aka jeans and rubber rain boots), and we spent some time playing in the snow with the neighbor kids.  I wimped out after only a few minutes and headed inside to thaw out, but Shane spent most of the morning throwing snowballs.  Around noon we were ready for another adventure and so we gathered up the neighbors, called up some friends, and embarked on a 20-minute trek to the bakery.  The chilly walk there was totally worth it.  Not just for the creamy latte and buttery scone, but because it was so much fun to sit around a table in this cozy neighborhood bakery and share this snow day with some of our closest friends.  And the fact that it was a Thursday, and we all really should have been working, made it that much sweeter.  I felt like I was back in Junior High, cutting school to go hang out at a friend’s house and eat ice cream.  The rest of the afternoon was spent at home, drinking hot tea and enjoying the sight of the final flakes of snow falling outside.  We had weathered the storm and had a lot of fun doing it.

Friday was business as usual for the most part.  I headed into work in the morning, grateful for a chance to be productive, but a little disappointed to see our pretty white blanket of snow slowly disappearing.  Ah well, it was fun while it lasted…  But tonight, the snow came back in full force.  The tracks in and out of our driveway from our 5 pm grocery run have already been buried.  Shane, feeling antsy at the sight of so much fresh powder, headed out 30 minutes ago to attempt to build a snowman (yes, at 11:00 at night), but he found the snow too dry to be proper snowman material, so he had to content himself with helping push stuck cars up the hill near our house (this has come to be his new favorite pastime).  Seems I married a man with the heart of a big kid and the muscles of a huge stud.  Score.  I’m looking forward to getting up tomorrow and seeing how much fresh snow has accumulated.  I wonder how much longer I have until the novelty of this winter wonderland wears off?



We have enjoyed some exceptionally good times with friends lately, sharing wine, sharing meals, and sharing lots and lots of laughter.  Shane and I hosted our first (of what will be many) “mulled wine/game night” last weekend.  We brewed a big pot of mulled wine, people brought over some games, and we let the craziness ensue.  J and L brought over their Nintendo Wii and we all howled with laughter as we watched several of the guys take a stab at Wii hula-hooping.  I was impressed, to say the least, by the speed with with several of our male friends can move their hips.  Belly-dancers in the making.  A little more fun with the Wii; a couple of rounds of Catch Phrase; and one long, but ridiculous game of Cranium, and we were all laughed out.  I appreciate the fact that I can see our group of friends becoming less and less inhibited with each other.  It’s nice to be unabashedly goofy.

Friday night we headed over to J and N’s for a fondue party.  I’ve found that nothing brings people together like melted Gruyere cheese and gooey dark chocolate.  We feasted on fruit, bread, meat, and wine; shared stories; stumbled through a disjointed-but-joyous rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, complete with drums; played another rather intense round of Catch Phrase; and I was tired.  Ready to head home, hit the sack, and remain in bed for at least ten hours.  But as Shane and I were walking out the door, I found myself agreeing to participate in a group 5k-run to take place the next morning.  Seems that some of the ever-so-macho men in the group thought that it would be fun to get up early and run 3.1 miles in 35-degree weather.  And I suppose some of the ladies (myself included) were thinking we could use the exercise, after the gluttenous amounts of cheese and chocolate we’d just consumed.  Despite the cold, it actually turned out to be a pretty nice jog, and the breakfast we all enjoyed together after our run was fantastic.  And so the first annual Columbia City 5k was born.

Like I said, good times.  Looking forward to more to come.


Winter has arrived in Seattle, snow and below-freezing temperatures and all.  Around 8:00 last night, what started as a light “drizzle” of snow turned into more of a snow “shower”  – Shane and I came home from a Christmas party around 11 to find our neighborhood covered with a puffy white blanket.  It was lovely.  We stood for a minute on the sidewalk and noted that it was so calm, serene, quiet.  I snuggled into bed last night, looking forward to a Sunday morning with a hot cup of coffee and a chair by the window where I could fully enjoy this winter wonderland.  But our morning turned out to be a little less peaceful than planned, as we woke to the screeching of spinning tires.  A car had gotten stuck on the ice on the hill in front of our house.  Shane, being the good neighbor that he is, threw on jeans and a coat and headed out to help push the car up the road.  Whew.  But then another car got stuck.  And another.  One more.  Shane was quite the stud, coming to the rescue left and right.  I, on the other hand, stayed in my pajamas all day, venturing out of the house just for a moment to snap a couple of quick photos.





I filled up the last page of my sketchbook/journal the other day and am looking forward to cracking open another fresh, new Moleskine notebook.  I have been using these same journals for over five years now and get such a sense of accomplishment from seeing them all lined up on our bookshelf, knowing that between the simple, black, nondescript covers lie words, drawings, and mementos that detail some of my most precious memories and ideas.  I became attached to my first Moleskine when I was living in Paris – I never left my apartment without my sketchbook in hand.  I spent hours sitting in cafes, jotting down verbal and graphic impressions of all the new places I was seeing.  I reread some of my entries and can almost put myself back on that sidewalk terrace, with pencil in hand and that tiny cup of espresso in front of me.  That journal was my constant traveling companion.  When I returned to the States in 2004, my sketchbook became a place for me to compose and chronicle my thoughts and ideas on my thesis project.  Upon graduation from college and soon-after engagement to Shane in 2005, my journal took on the form of a wedding planner, filled with to-do lists and doodles of invitation ideas.  In 2006-2007, I journaled and sketched much less frequently as I settled into the routine of my job and my marriage.  There is a random entry here and there about a book I read or a gallery opening I attended, but for the most part, entries are sparse.  In 2008, as noted here, I began my weekly sketch initiative.  This has been an excellent incentive for me to regularly, creatively put pen to paper.  My weekly sketches thus far have the taken the form of a lot of abstract graphic doodling, which is fine, but my hope for next year is that I do more real-life drawing of actual objects and places.  So, cheers to a fresh, new palette and to lots of journal-worthy, sketch-inspiring experiences in 2009!


Liking collage lately.  Trying out multiple media.  Having fun.

poang chair (11.02.2008):


flower and stems  (11.09.2008):


parked  bike (11.30.2008):


vase over photo transfer (12.04.2008):


branches (12.08.2008):


hands in pockets (12.11.2008):


I got a present in the mail today that made me laugh.  My blog post about our trip to Minnesota to visit Shane’s family was titled “City Girl in the Country”.  Well, thanks to my father-in-law, I can now wear this hat and be a “Country Girl in the City”.  Funny stuff.  Thanks, Denny!  Now if only I had a pair of overalls…

Shane and I embarked on our third annual Christmas tree hunt yesterday.  We stayed true to tradition and went to the same tree farm out in the North Bend that we’ve enjoyed so much the past two years.  We bundled up, grabbed a saw, and spent nearly an hour wandering around the farm, in search of that perfect tree.  After examining all of the possibilities and asking each other, “Is that one too tall?  Too short?  Is it full enough?  Too full?  Are all of these starting to look the same to you?”, we settled on a 7-foot tall Douglas Fir.  Shane hacked it down with a few swift strokes of the saw, we paid our bill (while helping ourselves to some complimentary apple cider – mmm…), and the tree was ours.  The next task at hand was getting this thing home – in previous years, we’ve put down the back seats of our Civic and jammed our poor little tree inside the car.  This year, we were bold enough to strap it to the roof of our Honda Civic, despite the fact we don’t have a roof rack.  Twenty minutes later, we had it all tied up, but since neither one of us have our knot-tying badges, we were a little anxious about just how secure the tree actually was.  The parking lot attendant’s last words to us as we left were, “You’ll be ok, if you don’t drive fast.”  Ummm… we had thirty miles of freeway separating us from our house.  To the chagrin of all the other cars on I-90, we drove 50 mph the whole way home.  But we made it, with tree still in tow.

Then came the fun of stringing lights and decorating the tree.  My mom and dad have been giving me a Christmas ornament every year since I was a kid, so opening up the ornament box unlocks all sorts of fond memories.  It’s fun to think that I have been unwrapping and hanging some of these same ornaments for over 20 years.  I will sacrifice a perfectly decorated, color-coordinated tree any day for a tree with meaning.  And all of of my varied little angels, and glass kittens, and plastic snowflakes are quite lovely, actually…