My Good List

I have this friend here (okay, maybe she’s my boss, too) who has a daily practice of posting “My Good List”. I often read her Good Lists and am happy thereafter. These lists are a recap of ‘things’ for which she finds herself thankful that day. I say ‘things’ because there is really no criteria for what’s included in My Good List, which is awesome and how it should be. Examples of some Good List items are: love and blessings, compliments on my hair, being in the here and now, the bald eagle and two deer I saw this weekend, the dinner my daughter made, my daughter’s enthusiasm about [fill in the blank], my co-workers, Natural Medicine, sunshine, chatting with [insert person’s name], hot tea at night, cozy PJ’s, my warm home, a TED talk by [someone] etc., etc., etc. Hopefully you get the idea.

Where am I going with this? Well, to be honest, this quarter is proving to be rough. I try to keep that to myself as much as possible, and I won’t bore you with scholastic details, but know that it is tiring. Emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting. For the record, I know that my stresses are menial in the grand scheme of things and also that I put myself here. I promise I’m not complaining, and where I’m going with all this is…

Every single day I find myself thinking of and about things that–in the midst of this personally taxing time–make me happy and grateful and, honestly, which make my life easier. So, in the spirit of being hyperconscious of counting my blessings recently, here is a brief version of My Good List, as applies to the here and now.

  • Finding the Bothell Way Garage. Those guys are Heaven sent.
  • My co-workers at the clinic. I enjoy going to work.
  • Professors who are visibly passionate and truly care about their students.
  • Being able to call the most amazing support system a person could EVER ask for my own. Even if it’s 2,000 miles away.
  • My classmates…who are the best form of empathy and stress relief and encouragement.
  • Andrea and Lisa and being able to hang out in their dining room and enjoy wine/cider/beer/Lisa’s food and the best conversations. And the occasional cookie-making failure with Andrea.
  • Rachel Held Evans and her “A Year of Biblical Womanhood”. THIS BOOK IS FOR EVERYONE. I promise. Read it!!!!!!! It has to speak for itself, but you won’t regret it. I.PROMISE. (It says a lot for me to consistently read a book for fun while in school).
  • The random guy at a stoplight who somehow got my attention to tell me that my tire was almost flat.
  • Bastyr friends from the Midwest.  : )
  • Feeling like I live in a safe place/having attentive landlords.
  • THIS.
  • Balance Yoga Studio.
  • New experiences.
  • Hearing from Missouri friends.
  • Blue skies.

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  • and pretty flowers!

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And on and on and on and on and on…!

Full disclosure: The Good List normally starts with, “Thank you Spirit for… .” I’d prefer to start it with, “Thank you, God, for… .” Because I am absolutely thankful to God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit style) for each of these blessings–in addition to the grace and peace and love I feel on a daily basis.

Here’s to counting blessings, today and everyday. 🙂

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Green Eggs and Lamb

No, you did not misread that. Yes, I do mean lamb and not ham!
IMG_1806I never ate Green Eggs and Ham on Dr. Seuss day when I was a kid, but I think I made up for it last weekend by enjoying myself some Green Eggs and Lamb. Isn’t that a pretty plate?!

My friend, Meagan (a first year Naturopathic Medicine student! who has a GREAT gluten/grain-free/paleo/primal/Weston A. Price friendly food BLOG), and I ran into each other at school during the second week of Winter quarter at a time when I was basically running to my next class, and due to our exchange being so brief she suggested breakfast at Portage Bay Cafe that weekend. Um, yes. Absolutely yes. Breakfast may be my most favorite thing in the world.

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It was actually kind of unbelievable that I’d never been to Portage before. It was on my Seattle to-do list, but I hadn’t yet made it. The place is local, organic, sustainable, and encourages everyone to “Eat Like You Give a Damn.” I love it. There are several locations, and we went to the Roosevelt one.

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I’m sure those of you who know me well are rolling your eyes currently…because, of course I love this place. 😉

So, I had Green Eggs and Ham, and Meagan had a Goat Cheese Omelet. The green part of mine was an arugula pesto, and it was dee-lish. I don’t think I’d ever had lamb before, but it was really good. Salty, but good. Meagan’s omelet had spinach, crimini mushrooms, green onions, goat cheese and dry-cured olives, and it was also delish. We kind of shared, so I know this from personal experience.

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Yes, I know I look like I just woke up. It was an 8:30 am breakfast!

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And yes, Meagan was aware of being pink stripe-tastic. 😉

Portage Bay also has a “toppings bar”, for which they are famous, I guess. Meagan and I shared a trip to the toppings bar…despite having anything to really “top.” So basically we each had a small plate of extra goodies: berries, whipped cream, honey butter, pecans. Yum.

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Meagan’s plate o’ toppings.

I’m aware that these fruits aren’t currently in season… Not sure how that works. I’m sure locally and organically and sustainably, though. Maybe they freeze them. Or can them. Next time I’ll ask.

Anyway, after brekkie we took a little stroll to the U[niversity] District farmers market. It was a really chilly and gray morning, but it was nice to be out.

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The U District market is one of the few that is open year-round, so that is neat. Also Rockridge Orchards (from Enumclaw, WA!) is a vendor there, and that is extra neat because they have cider. Extra.hot.cider.

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And free refills, which seriously made the farmers market meandering a pleasant one.

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Quality Saturday morning for sure. Come visit me and I will take you to Portage Bay where you can “Eat Like You Give a Damn” and maybe have some Green Eggs and Lamb! Yeah!

One more food photo for good measure:

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Pretty plate!

Cheers, my dears!

{All food photo credit goes to Meagan!}

Summer in Washington {photo recap}: Part II

If you missed the first part of my summer summary (aka: the live music ramblings), click here to catch up.

In between all the live music events there were other notable happenings. My favorites among them were my summer classes–Therapeutic Cooking I (Maintaining Health & Wellness) and Therapeutic Cooking II (Disease Specific). Each class was a half day long and included both a lecture and a lab, which included preparing/cooking the meal of the week. So every Thursday I was in lecture for about three hours and in my school’s super awesome kitchen for five+ hours. These classes were electives, but they were hands down my most favorite thus far. They were also the most helpful, informative, and mind-blowing. Really glad I took them. Sadly, I do not have any kitchen photos to show for them. I did receive a kombucha start from one of the classes, though.

I now have kombucha out the ears, and I even brought some home (along with a start!) to Missouri. I think my parents are thrilled.

Between my two Thursday classes, my friend Rebecca and I almost always opted to sit outside and chat about non-school things instead of facing the impending doom of what would be a pop quiz in the next class.

This is the proud organic garden of Bastyr, and we spent a lot of time staring at/walking through it.

Come on, you wouldn’t have wanted to study for a quiz either.

I said in the Part I post that this summer allowed me to settle into Seattle life a little more, but I should’ve said Washington in general instead of just Seattle. On one random Friday, a couple friends and I took a day trip to Bellingham, which is north of Seattle by a couple hours (really close to Canada) and on the water. We stopped along the way to pick berries at a U-Pick organic farm and then continued on to Bellingham via backroads and small towns. Below is the view from our roadside picnic lunch, just outside of Chuckanut, WA.

The San Juan Islands are in the distance. Not too shabby for a lunch view, despite the less than desirable mid-July weather.

Once in Bellingham, we walked along the water, visited some cute coffee shops and bookstores, met some friends of friends, and enjoyed a patio dinner. Bellingham is a really cute, small, college (Western Washington University), hippie town, and I was glad to experience a different part of Washington. More waterfront photos below.

Towards the end of my summer in Washington, I had a visitor from Missouri.

Hanging out at Lake Washington.

Yay! Erica and I met at Jewell, and she now lives in Springfield. She came for a long four day weekend, and I took off from work, so it was really nice to just relax and show her around. I won’t take you through the entirety of our adventures, but here is an abbreviated version:

We rode the Ducks. Seriously. Like the land/water Ride the Ducks in Branson that take you across Table Rock–except Seattle and across Lake Union. It actually was a good tour, and I learned a lot about Seattle. These photos are from The Duck.

The blue/grey floating house on the bottom left is the one from Sleepless in Seattle.

Post Duck, we ventured down to the Pike Place area to do some touristy things. Like, see the original Starbucks. Outside of which these guys were putting on a show.

Not a bad form of entertainment for the 437690234875609387 people waiting to catch a glimpse inside Starbucks.

Later in the day we rode the new-to-the-area ferris wheel on a pier that Erica knew more about than did I.

View of the Puget Sound and the pier from the ferris wheel.

And then we found ourselves venturing down Alaskan Way to Seattle’s big weekend event…

HEMP FEST.

Hemp Fest patrons. Great view. Less than great experience.

Seriously horrifying, for more than a couple reasons. And the grossest experience of my life. We were there for 20 minutes, which was 19.5 minutes too long. I will definitely never attend Hemp Fest in Seattle ever again. Ew.

Other than that, Erica and I mostly just traipsed around Seattle doing unexciting things. We visited Gas Works Park, walked in the woods and to the lake, and Erica took photos of me falling out of yoga poses. Thanks, Erica.

Falling out of a dancer pose somewhere near Gas Works Park.

Hanging out at Gas Works in our sweet outfits. They were sweet, trust me.

The result of an early morning hike to Lake Washington. I failed to reach the farthest rock.

Downward dog/standing splits/handstand prep/nothing pose, on the rocks.

And that was that.

That basically concludes my summer in Washington. I did celebrate a birthday during this time, and though I would have liked to be AT home to celebrate, I was at least able to celebrate with friends FROM home. My college friends Katie and John were in the middle of a Pac North roadtrip, so they came to hang out and stay with me for a couple days. We had a good time, but sadly Katie and I both failed to take any photos. Whoops. You can read about Katie’s adventures here.

I am currently in Missouri, for a short minute longer, and preparing to hit the ground running sprinting on Monday, when my 21-month journey to MSN graduation begins! Woooohoo. (Yes, I’m already counting down.)

I’ll try to be back with a summary of my recent Ozarkian adventures soon…ish. 🙂

The Birthday spread. Aww 🙂

Sundays in Ballard. (And Monday by the lake.)

I’ve spent eight of the last nine Sundays in Ballard. Seven of those eight were spent working at Hot Cakes. And, while I do love Sunday mornings at Hot Cakes (really, I do), I was excited to be a Ballard patron this last Sunday, as opposed to a Ballard employee.

Sundays in Ballard are mostly notable because of the Ballard Farmers Market. It is open every single Sunday of the year, no matter what, and it is lovely. Tons of gorgeous foodstuffs are showcased by a host of wholesome and passionate vendors. Naturally, this market attracts a big crowd, which is why working at Hot Cakes (on the same street as the market) is a  fun Sunday morning activity for me. I didn’t have to work this Sunday, though, so my new housemate, Alix, and I went to Ballard to roam around the market. It also happened to be the weekend of the Ballard Seafood Festival, so there were an additional one million people roaming around with us.

Of course, the weather was gross. It was nice on Saturday (when I worked all day), and then Sunday was gray and chilly. July 13th, and I was in pants and a sweater, carrying an umbrella, and sipping a latte–purchased with the sole intent of warming me as I walked. So Seattle.

It was a good time, though. Alix just moved here from New Jersey, so it was fun to show her around (likeIknowmywayaround). It was also fun to taste lots of yummy berries that are (finally!) in season. And buy some, too.

Although I apparently came away with zero photos of said berries. Good one.

The market (and Ballard itself, generally speaking) is also the site of various other forms of entertainment at any given time. Like, this pup named Ollie. A Poodle/American Eskimo mix.

Ollie!

So cute. And I’m not even a dog person.

And then of course, there are the musical acts.

The kid on the far right is ALWAYS playing/singing Wagon Wheel when I walk by. I want to hug squeeze him. Adorable.

As I mentioned, the Ballard Seafood Festival was occurring this weekend. So. Many. People. I think Alix’s words were, “Oh my gosh, Kristen… There are so many people, Kristen!” Haha. Good times. There was live music, and a beer garden, and all sorts of other activities. Like a street fair/ArtsFest, but on major steroids. We each had a fish taco, and it was pretty good. Not stellar, but good. Alix is now on a mission to find the best fish taco in all of Seattle. I may have to tag along for that.

Seafood Fest madness that went on for blocks, and blocks, and blocks.

So, there you have it. Sunday in Ballard. Hopefully I’ll have more chances to enjoy Sundays in Ballard as a patron. If not, I’ll continue to enjoy serving the market crowd while blasting their ears full of Big Smith and Ozark Mountain Daredevils, which is my Sunday music of choice at Hot Cakes. 🙂

And…

While Sunday was gray and gross, Monday turned out to be gorgeous.

Lake Washington from the West.

Alix and I took full advantage. We went to downtown Kirkland, which is on the East side of Lake Washington, found a patio and a happy hour, had a drink and some guacamole, and then walked around the lake. Very refreshing.

Lake Washington from the East.

Thanks, Monday. 🙂

Get Your Hot Cakes!

So, who is currently a full-time student and has worked 60 hours in the last 10 days?

This girl!

An opportunity fatefully presented itself, and I felt the pull to seize it; thus, 60 hours of work in 10 days happened…in addition to attending to regularly scheduled scholastic activities. Fun times!

It really is crazy to think about the way life happenings play out. Several significant events have occurred/are occurring in the homeland recently (revolving around super important people in my life!), all for which I want/ed to be present, but I never could pull the trigger on booking a flight to make it happen. As it turns out, if I would’ve gone home, opportunity would have been compromised. Really, crazy to ponder over. But, that’s neither her nor there. I know you’re wondering what said opportunity is, specifically.

And I give you: Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery, located in the super fun Seattle neighborhood/district/whatever that is Ballard. I really, really urge you to visit the website and let it do itself justice. I’m serious. Hot Cakes is a dessert shop, but I can guarantee you it is FAR from anything you’ve experienced.

From the website: “Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery crafts organic, American comfort desserts and other original and innovative confections. We were founded in 2008 by Autumn Martin with the dessert that gave us our name: Take-n-Bake Molten Chocolate Cake in a Mason Jar.” Awesome, right? Go here and read more.

Autumn has been running Hot Cakes since 2008, but the storefront just had its Grand Opening this weekend. It went so well, and I wish I had more quality photos to share. The space is so unique and perfect. There was a media party on Friday night, so I’m hoping to find more photos when I have the time to search.

View from one corner of Hot Cakes. Photo taken at the media party.

Looking out from behind the bar.

Notice the clothespins, old photos, gum ball machine, and other decor.

While I wish I had all the time in the world to tell you of my involvement in this awesomeness, I do not. Details forthcoming, though. I promise.

I do, however, need to share something of the utmost importance, which regards Hot Cakes and is oh-so-pertinent.

Hot Cakes needs your help! You may or may not be familiar with Kickstarter, which refers to itself as “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.” Basically, projects (like Hot Cakes) set a fundraising goal for themselves, which is to be met in a given time period. People make pledges to support the project, and if the goal is met within the timeframe, then the project is awarded the funds. No pledge goal met = no funds for project.

Hot Cakes launched a Kickstarter campaign and is less than three days away from its ending. The goal is $25,000, and a little over $20,500 has been pledged thus far. Autumn has participated in an amazing video, which explains what Hot Cakes and the needs for the funds are all about. Please, please, please! watch this video (you can find it below). If nothing else, you will get a little glimpse of what I’ve excitedly gotten myself into.

You should also know that Autumn is graciously giving all those who support the project (with a gift of $25+) a serious hookup of sweet treats. These desserts are DEE-LISH, and I promise, promise, PROMISE you will never regret supporting Hot Cakes! Please, watch the video, visit the Kickstarter campaign page to learn more about how truly awesome Autumn and Hot Cakes are, and make a pledge! Hot Cakes is so close to meeting its goal, and the implications are huge! If you do make a pledge, PLEASE let me know, so I can give you a big hug. Maybe I’ll even send you more treats. Probably I will, actually. And Autumn will definitely send hugs, too. Your support is appreciated.

NOW WATCH THE VIDEO. 😉

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1185564491/hot-cakes-an-organic-molten-chocolate-cakery/widget/video.html

Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my organic and dessert-loving heart!

Peace, Love, and Hot Cakes.

American Stringband Music at Tractor Travern? Yes, please.

Last week, my classmate/friend/biochemistry lab partner, Shauna, and I were emailing back and forth about a lab report that was making us cranky when she concluded one of her emails with something like, “On a more fun note, would you want to see Pert Near Sandstone at the Tractor in Ballard on Thursday? . . . It’s a fun bluegrassy band.”  My immediate thoughts were along the lines of, “Ha, she has lost her mind- I don’t have time for that. Has she forgotten we have a biochem exam to study for? I have way too much to do. And that will cost money.” But then we submitted our lab report a full 46 hours early (which never happens), so I felt a little better about my massive to-do list and asked her about this silly bluegrassy band. She told me they are from Minneapolis (she’s from Minnesota), and then during our biochem lecture she pulled up their website and showed me this:

Of course I wanted to go. And of course I still thought this was an unreasonable idea. But I went home and looked up Tractor Tavern in Ballard (because I couldn’t remember the name of the band) and saw that it would be “American Stringband Music” and that there were two other bands playing…and immediately sent Shauna text saying I was in. The next day I told another friend/classmate, Andrea, that we were going, and she looked at me like, “Have you lost your mind? Have you forgotten how much we have to do?” And then during a really semi productive afternoon study session we had, Andrea asked what time the show was, I answered, and she responded, “Wanna pick me up?” Um, absolutely.

Suffice it to say that this was the best decision Andrea and I (and Shauna, too!) had made in awhile. We met Shauna and her boyfriend at Tractor Tavern just as the opening band finished playing, and we all debated whether we were at a shindig, a hoedown, or a hootenanny. It was decidedly a hootenanny. Also around this time Andrea declared that she should have worn flannel, and she and I repeatedly said to one another, “I’m so glad we came.”

Pert Near Sandstone came on and I was in heaven. I felt like I was at a Big Smith show/at Silver Dollar City/in Seattle all at the same time. And it was awesome. They even had a harmonica/washboard playing clogger. Amazing.

(Sorry for the terrible photos.)

The music was great, the band was fun and entertaining, and the crowd was clearly having a great time. It was so nice to be out with friends, on a week night, in Ballard, doing something non-school related.

Shauna, Andrea, Me

Shauna had seen Pert Near Sandstone before (I think? at a festival maybe…) and her boyfriend, John, was actually born and raised in Minneapolis and had seen them several times, so they were both having an especially great time. I think John even made friends with some fellow Minnesota folk. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be friends with this guy?

Shauna and boyfriend, John

Haha, reminds me of home, and I love it. Also, notice the variety of cowboy boots hanging all around as part of the decor? Super fun.

After the Pert Near set (shortening the name = basically a groupie), a bluegrass band called Polecat played.

I also loved them. Maybe more than Pert Near. Andrea was not in agreeance because they had a drummer/drum set, which is a valid point. However. Their fiddle player was phenomenal. Seriously, girl could play the fiddle. Great stage presence, too.

Phenom fiddle-playin’.

So fun. We only stayed for a short part of their set, but they are Washington local so I will most likely drag Andrea with me to see them again.

Shauna and John headed home when Andrea and I left the show, but Andrea and I decided to walk down the street to our favorite Ballard spot (as if I’ve been out in Ballard more than twice, HA), The Sexton.

Seriously, I love this place. Love the ambience. Love the decor. Love the music. They serve beer in a mason jar and also have gorgeous cocktails which are fun to watch being made. Andrea said her wine was less than stellar this time around… Minor detail? I’m sure we’ll be back.

Anyway, a great night was had by all. I was super tired the next day, which was not ideal, because I really did have to be majorly productive on the school front, but there were no regrets. I tweeted that it was the best decision I’d made in awhile, though not too high on the responsible scale. Sometimes being responsible is just overrated. Even my mom approved of my irresponsibility after I emailed her the brief recap: “Sounds like a good time. I always like to hear when you go out with some people…Good to hear you’re making friends, at least acquaintances…” Haha, thanks Mom.

And thank you, Shauna, for the invite; Andrea, for coming with; and John, for wearing overalls.

Spring Break Staycation: Part II

As promised (I know you’ve been waiting!), I will now brief you on the second half of my Spring Break. If you missed Part I, check it out.

Most of the second half of my two-week long break was spent hanging out with my roommate (housemate, whatever), Angie. She was gone for the first week (in warm, sunny Arizona–lame), but thankfully she came back a few days after my visitor left because I was really over the 24/7 hanging out with myself at that point. Although I did do a considerable amount of baking in that time, which was awesome.

It was unseasonably nice outside on her first day back, so we of course decided to take advantage of this by going to a local brewery to patio-sit. There we enjoyed a yummy, seasonal beer and caught up on each other’s lives. The patio backs up to the Sammamish River Trail, so it was packed with all sorts of people taking a refreshing break from walking/running/cycling.

Patio-sitting under blue skies

From there we decided to head to downtown Seattle and the Pike Place Market area to walk around like tourists locals. I had been there the previous weekend and it was not at all busy or crowded, but this weekend was different. Tons of people everywhere. It’s all about the weather, apparently. We did a lot of walking and browsing and tasting, and minimal buying. I also finally went inside the first ever Starbucks. Just looked around. Did not order a drink. I don’t really understand why there is always an outrageous line to get in there, but it is kinda cool, I guess.

Banjo-strummin’ outside THE Starbucks

The highlight of the day, however, was finally seeing the gum wall!

I don’t know the story behind the gum wall (I should probably look that up…), but it’s more like an alleyway that is plastered in gum. Gross, yes. But also neat. So much gum. I did not know where this place was hidden when I was in the area with my parents in September, and then I totally forgot about going to see it the week before. This time, though, mission was accomplished.

Note on the above photo: I’m basically a Delta Zeta model. Did anyone else spot the pink and green letters on the wall? I did not notice them until after I was home. Hope my DZ friends enjoy. 🙂

Angie pretend-licking. Yummy!

Cute, I know.

After the gum wall we did a little more browsing, followed by some eating, and then we walked along the water. I really cannot explain how gorgeous I find the water + mountains combo, especially when the weather is nice. I try to take pictures and fail miserably at capturing anything that comes close to the realtime splendor. One would think I’d have given up by now. Not so. And I’ll probably keep trying. And also failing.

Puget Sound + mountains view from Alaskan Way and Pike(?)-ish(?)

The rest of the week was mostly spent doing really enthralling things like watching movies, taking walks to the grocery store to get ice cream, visiting grocery stores we’d not previously been to, taking more walks, going to yoga, etc., etc., etc. Exciting life I lead, I tell you. Actually, we did go out one night, to a bar called The Little Red Hen, which was quite fun and entertaining. We went with a group of people, and unbeknownst to us it was karaoke night. There was a very interesting crowd, and a significant amount of country music was played/sung. I almost (almost!) forgot I was in Seattle.

So, all in all, good Spring Break Staycation was had. I am now back to school and already feeling slightly behind and overwhelmed, but that’s really nothing new. I obviously have plenty of time for activities such as blogging, so I think I’m doing okay. Only eight weeks ’til summer!

And I’ll leave you with some solid advice from part of a mural inside The Little Red Hen…

Cheers!

Easter, Seattle style.

Don’t worry, I promise I’ll catch you up on Part II of my Spring Break adventures, but for now there are more timely things to discuss, like…

Happy Easter from Seattle!

Seattle, 7 April 2012. Photo source West Seattle Blog

Seriously, this is what it looked like here yesterday. It’s been a gorgeous weekend, like near 60 degrees and sunny, and that is not to be taken for granted. I was in the city and near the water yesterday and could not believe the beauty of the landscape. Who wants to visit me now?

Back to Easter. It’s been a solid Holy Week here in Washington. I’ll spare you the extra boring details, but I do have a couple photos and a brief recap to share. I attended Holy Thursday services and the Easter Vigil (on Saturday night) at St. Brendan, where I regularly attend. Both were LONG, but also lovely and worth the length.

Priest awaiting the delivery of gifts by the 18 newly baptized

Please note: I promise these photos were not inappropriately taken. The entire Vigil was marked by camera flashes, and by the time I discreetly snapped these it was nearly midnight, so anything was acceptable. I really like this church and the presiding priest. The sanctuary is circular with the altar in the middle, so that’s kind of strange, but I’m getting used to it. There’s also a huge baptismal font just to the side of the altar, which is a nice little element that is uncharacteristic of previous churches I’ve attended.

Between Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday at St. Brendan, there was Good Friday…at the Bastyr University Chapel.

If interested, you can read about the chapel here. Basically, what there is to know is that my school used to be a seminary, which is quite evident (and awesome) inside and out. The chapel was deconsecrated by the Catholic Church, so it’s pretty much open for whatever these days, but I found out that the Church of the North American Martyrs was having all sorts of Holy Week celebrations there, so I decided to attend the Good Friday ones (also LONG).

In case anyone’s curious, the Church of the North American Martyrs does not mess around. This was traditional to an extent that I have only ever imagined. I’d say 90% of women and girls were veiled, and the celebration was said almost entirely in Latin. Neat experience and beautiful celebration.

I found it absolutely necessary to take photos because of the presence of the crucifix. I’ve been in the chapel numerous times and find it breathtaking every time; however, I’m always reminded that it’s a deconsecrated space when I see a huge, empty altar area. Following the veneration of the cross on Good Friday, the look was complete.

…And now I’m sorry for sharing way too many boring details after declaring I wouldn’t.

Blessings to you all on this Easter Sunday! Hope it’s truly reviving. 🙂

Spring Break Staycation – Part I

My two week long Spring Break came and went, and I spent the entirety of it in Seattle. This was not exactly ideal, but it did have its shining moments. My school follows a quarter system (as opposed to a semester system), so that means I had a solid two (2!) weeks of nothingness between the end of Winter Quarter and the beginning of Spring Quarter. Of course the first thing I felt inclined to do with my freedom from nutrition school was this:

(iPhone photo taken with zero intention of being published)

Peanut Butter S’mores Brownies. I adapted the recipe slightly from the one I found here. Despite the adaptations, I still cringed a tad at my use of a couple processed ingredients (nutrition student FAIL), but this was worth it. So delicious.

The most notable thing that occurred over my break, however, was this guy coming to visit:

St. Patrick’s Day photo captured by a guy proclaiming to be Ansel Adams

He was here on St. Patrick’s Day, so obviously we went to a bar to enjoy a green beer, because that is the Irish American thing to do. The above photo is in black and white because I was served a green beer that had more green than beer, which turned our teeth a nice shade of gross green. Though this may sound festive, I can assure you that green tinted teeth are attractive on no one, no matter the holiday. I refused to let either of us drink said beer and politely asked the bartender for a new one. He replaced my one nasty beer with two drinkable-by-Kristen-standards beers, so further crisis was averted.

The rest of the time we traipsed around the Seattle area doing a combination of local and tourist things. There was a lot of eating and a lot of beer sampling.

We had homemade pizza night…

We tried a lot of (mostly Pacific Northwest) beers…

We visited a brewery (or 3)…

and caught a glimpse of the Puget Sound from the balcony of the brewery.

I’m pretty sure Washington state is the brew capital of the world.

Among the other touristy things we did was a Space Needle visit. We went to the top, where we stuffed ourselves with a delicious brunch at the rotating SkyCity Restaurant, and then braved the cold/wind/rain to go out and see Seattle from above.

The weather was pretty terrible (i.e. typical Seattle) the whole time, but overall I’d say we enjoyed ourselves and made the most of it. It was definitely nice for me to have someone from home here to show around. Sometimes I feel like I live in a foreign country, so it was fun to see that feeling understood (and agreed with) by someone from the homeland.

Post-brunch at the top of the Space Needle

Spring Break Staycation – Part I: success.