My school — in a modern architecture magazine

Carl Sandburg Elementary School by NAC | Architecture

Click picture for link.

This place you see above? My school. My library is lit-up section in the top right. I’m actually in there right now :)

Years ago, Dan said I should be a librarian. I believe my exact words were: “Uh…no.” Well, I’m eating those words now :) Happily, too. Folks, I love my job. I. love. my. job.

I just… I can’t believe it. As a kid, I never even pictured myself in a job — much less a career — and I certainly never saw working as something to be enjoyed.

But here I am, thriving in this environment. Well, “thriving” in the sense that I’m trying really hard and enjoying myself while making many mistakes. I certainly have a lot to learn. I would never have believed it if I didn’t live it, but this school librarian job is HARD.

I just can’t believe it sometimes. That I found a job that I am so content in. I don’t count down the hours until my shift is up. Or stare at the calendar waiting for the holidays. I don’t rush out as soon as I can. In past jobs, when I’ve had a stressful day, I had to relocate asap. But here, I’m HAPPY to stay. I end a stressful day by sitting my favorite corner and reading a book.

This — this life that I’m living — it’s the dream I never knew I had. We live half-forest, half-city. Dan works his dream job. I unknowingly waltzed into what was my dream job. We successfully transitioned to vegan. We are both working on personal projects which are cool. The public libraries here are mind-blowingly fantastic. The weather is every color of gorgeous. The cats are purrfect. I even have my very own reading nook at home now!

Of course, there are downsides. And because I’d be jealous of myself if I read this post, I’m going to post some to bring this full circle for you. Let’s see. Downsides… Ah, yes. We don’t have any friends. We have coworkers, but no one to call if we got in a car accident. This is actually a gaping hole in our life. I want friends, but as usual, I hate getting out of my comfort zone and putting in the work to make friends. I’ve even shiied away from invites — it’s cool that we got invites from other-married-couples, I guess, but also all the more worse because we haven’t followed through. As mormons, the social circle side of life was usually taken care of for us…and now we don’t really know how to navigate the social sphere without it. I’ve even looked into some churches (I know, right?), trying to find one that’s more all-inclusive, but haven’t had any luck.

How does one go about making/infiltrating a circle of friends…?  We need other couples to hang out with. I’d love some girlfriends. What am I saying? I’d settle for one. One girl that I could go out to brunch with and freely double-dip french fries with. Right now, my besties are 5th grade girls who haunt the library during every recess to tell me how wonderful I am (which — let’s be honest — is great, but the reality comes in when I have to remind them to not play tag between bookshelves).

See? Told you this would come full circle. The super happy part where we both have great great jobs, and the other part, where we only hang out with each other.

I’ve been taking the ostrich approach with the whole friend thing. It’s easy enough; I enjoy my own company. So, I’ve kept my head in the sand, hoping that eventually friends will be dropped into my lap. But I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen this time. Which means I can’t half-ass my friendships anymore. And — confession– I don’t remember how to be a friend. I don’t know how to make connections with people anymore. I used to, I think. I just … I just don’t know. Maybe joining in activism — shared goal, shared dream… and then, voila, connection? …?

I don’t know.

 


Animoto fun

Operation Bahamas

 

(HOWDOIEMBEDTHISIN??)


FOOD

After devouring this book,

I am looking at food more mindfully. I really like food — I love cooking and baking and presenting delicious food. I really really like it. I’ve thought about culinary arts school, but being vegetarian makes that difficult. And plus, I have no intention of working in a restaurant where I don’t get to hear the oohs and ahhs like I would at my own table. Soo… I’ll stick with recipe books. I found this REALLY AWESOME one.

It reads like a narrative recipe book (odd, but it works), and is really cool. I’m finding fun tips and tons of recipes to try out! I even made my own yogurt. Just look at that gorgeous stuff! The recipe looks so complicated, but it really is super easy.

And, then I made bagels. They were freaking delicious. Aaaand, I’m not going to tell you how fast we ate them because that would be embarrassing. As it is, I can easily compare the fresh-out-of-the-oven cheese-covered ones with Einstein’s Bagels. I’ve since decided that a bagel isn’t worth eating if it isn’t fresh-out-of-the-oven. You have GOTTA try this at least once. I recommend liberal amounts of asiago or parmesan cheese.

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I also made these.

Just blueberries dipped in my honey-ed homemade yogurt. Nice idea … but I’m admittedly not crazy about them. They’re growing on me though. And it gave me something to do with all these blueberries I picked. I love blueberries, and my goal this summer is to eat so many that I’m sick to death of them.

For Dan’s birthday, I made his usual cake. Delicious for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as usual :)

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And, of course, pizza! Toppings were homemade pizza sauce, tomatoes, sauted onions, green bell pepper, and garlic slices. There is a reason this has become tradition — it’s freaking delicious!

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We’ve also been getting more luck with plants here than we ever did in Utah. Raspberry bush, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, catnip (heehee), and herbs. The cilantro died :(

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Ahh, food. Love it.


Dear Believer


On apostasy

The sunday school lesson on apostasy has been going around in church for the last few weeks, depending on where your ward is on the scheduling. I know, \because I have heard ripples of irritation almost every Sunday from questioning, but practicing, mormons.

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Last Sunday, it was our ward. Dan came home in fury. He knows the stories of too many apostates to let that lesson roll off his shoulder. Mine of course, but also our friends’ stories. I’ve found that when you put two apostates in the same room, their story is going to come out. The conversation gets raw. Gets heavy. Gets real.

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….And then sunday school happens, where the teacher writes three words on the chalkboard, and the rest of the class is spent validating these reasons as the only possible causes for people to stop believing. (Not to mention how “apostate” automatically equates with “anti-mormon.”)

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I’ve sat in these meetings. It’s humiliating.  The things these people openly believe about us… Like, that I would turn my back on God and covenant because I was offended; as if my relationship with God was so fragile that a bad moment with another mormon would shatter that.

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But I heard a wonderful wonderful thing. In another ward, my friend had the apostasy lesson too. But his teacher didn’t write the apostasy formula on a chalkboard. Instead, the teacher prepared early by calling in a “apostate” friend—a person who chose to leave the church—and gave him the floor during sunday school. And he shared his story.

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I’m pretty damn well sure that he didn’t share a story about how the bishop forgot his name. He got to share his story, uncensored, live, face-to-face, and all that jazz. That gives me hope. Hope that mormons and apostates can understand each other, and that religious diversity doesn’t need to affect the relationship… that families won’t break when someone leaves the church. Someday.

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It happens a lot. Errors on both sides. Apostates breaking under the strain of isolation. Mormons heartbroken over broken family sealings. Apostates have little pocket communities; Mormons have wards. Both need to change, but as an apostate myself it is all too easy to point the finger and say that if the lds church wants to really be about families—and not just the “families are forever” kind of family—they need to change this chapter of the lesson manual. Lessons like that create a mythical chasm between believer and unbeliever. It can kill families. It sets them up for failure in the case of apostasy.

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Years ago, I told a true-blue-mormon friend that I was leaving the church. Her response was a one line e-mail: Are you getting a DIVORCE??

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Is that response indicative of the larger conversation surrounding split-religion homes? Yes. It is. It is most explicitly taught young. The youth are taught (like many other religions) to only marry someone who shares their same faith (or else…).

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Well, why can’t the “shared faith” be simply: hope, kindness, forgiveness?  The rituals of organized religions all vary, but are still all based around these same tenets.

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I just … I wish religions would stop being so threatened by each other. I wish that they would celebrate enlightenment no matter under what religion’s name it was being practiced.

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And here is a relevant article from the New York Times called “Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt.”


My food blog

badhunters.wordpress.com

I’ve created a new way to organize my favorite food and I’m sharing the love.

:)


So let’s talk about Seattle…

… And what it’s like to move up here.

Imagine coming from a perfectly manicured area—where all trees are watered and trimmed, and all vegetation is so controlled, with that omnipresent-gardener feel—to a city set in a bloody forest. This forest that looks like it’s just waiting for its chance to take revenge on what our logging and concreting has done to it. The forest sprouts up, lush and green and gorgeous, everywhere. And it’s not the same plants either—there’s tons of variety. On a walk/mini-hike we did near our place, we walked near ferns that were tall and wide and gorgeous enough to feel like we were in Jurassic Park. There were hills of thornbushes just like the ones I’ve read about in rabbit and rat stories. We spotted a wild raspberry bush. Even the rabbits seem unreal; they are more like bunnies, actually, with their adorably short ears, fat stomachs, and bushy white bottoms. Wildflowers are everywhere! Seattle is a temperate rainforest, and yeah, I really feel like I’m in a rainforest when I’m hiking through it. It’s wild, free… alive.

You know, traffic kind of feels that way too. When we get on the teeny-tiny freeway, with its crowded entry- and exit-ways, “wild” is definitely the word that comes to mind. I honestly feel like I should be wearing a helmet whenever I get into the car.

So… our cats love it here. We have been having a hard time with our cats the last year or so. They just kept meowing. Over and over and over. Like, we were looking up recipes for cat stew. But here… they’re stopped. For a while we thought that they were still in moving-shock, but we realized it’s because we’re on the top floor now, and so they don’t hear mysterious thumping and noises to egg on their curiosity. Top floor = no meowing. We will ALWAYS live on the top floor now.

So, we have a 4 month lease, specifically because we planned on looking for and getting a house right away. Buuuuuut that has all changed. We just don’t feel that rush anymore—that house-hungry-ness. Thank God! I had it bad, but it feels good enough to just move here and buy our own furniture (not used!!) for once. So, our plans to get a house are indefinitely on the hold.

So let me tell you about the apartment. On the other side of the wall, is one of the miniature libraries of the King County Library System (KCLS). I love it! The KCLS is one of the best in the country with an ongoing interlibrary loan system between all libraries in the system. With all these smaller libraries dropped in (very close) intervals throughout the county, the libraries actually make up this big composite whole. It’s the library of synergy! They library databases are shared, and a whole half wall in the library is dedicated to the Holds that come in for patrons from the other libraries. It’s not the stand-alone experience of Provo or Orem libraries.

Uh, yes, duh, of course I’ve applied. They had a surge of job openings before we came, so there was only a couple of jobs left, but I’ll take what I can get. Even though I submitted an application weeks ago, all I’ve heard is that they’re still reviewing them (what the what?). I’ve also applied for a school library job (And here is where fear repeatedly trumps the thumping of my heart!) and at the University of Washington’s library. All–public, school, academic–have nice perks. And here in Washington, libraries are paid their graduate-degree-mettle. They have a good community basis here and good schools. This reminds me: I ran across a political sign planted in the ground: “Close Tax Loopholes. Consider our kids and schools!” Yeah, Washington, this is the attitude that makes it so you do not have the massive school closings and hundreds of fired teachers and crushing library budget cuts of Utah’s recent history. Can I just say, I love this attitude toward taxes: community first! It’s about synergy, the whole being greater than the parts—the community being built up instead of the individual coffers. It’s what fosters the interlibrary loan system across the cities, instead of the stand-alone Provo/Orem libraries.

So, yeah. Yeah, this is a place where I can sit back with hands behind the head and feel pretty blissful. Especially with the balcony door open to let in the cool breeze, with a white and grey blanket of clouds dropping down damp wetness so light that it can’t even be called a drizzle… It’s more an un-fog, really. In other words, bookies, it’s the perfect reading weather. The perfect sleep-in weather. The perfect get-up-early-and-jog weather. The perfect writing weather. The perfect thinking weather. Unfortunately, it is the not-so-perfect camping weather, which is what we had planned for tonight! Oh well, I guess.

Well, almost equidistant to the library in the opposite direction of my apartment is an open-walled local produce market. There’s also a little Safeway just across the street, too. And this is awesome. All in Utah, we shopped what I like to call “the Mormon way.” (There’s offense there at all, fyi.) It’s where when things are on sale, you buy tons of it and store it away for the future. Dan and I have always done this. Emergency food, and all that. Well, God, don’t hit us with a disaster anytime soon because we don’t do it that way anymore. With the shops being so close, I’ll find a recipe in the morning, and go shopping for ingredients in the evening. And that’s it. No long term groceries, hardly. And guys, I love it. We buy as close to the ground as we can get our food, and it just feels good. I love that we have more money now; we can afford to buy local, we don’t have to stock up on sales, and we don’t have to worry about getting the best deals at each store. We just … buy. Taking my cloth sack and walking to the library for a book and then to the market for a handful of items … this is the life.

So let’s talk about diversity. Yeah, like it’s exists! After living in Utah for so long, I was starting to think the world was made up of varying colors of peach. But now, Dan is the only white person on his team at work. There are just lots of different cultures here—it’s common to hear a variety of other languages and accents. There are also different lifestyles, like the openly and obviously gay people here. I was shopping for a purse/bag/thing, and the sales guy said, “Oh yeah, this bag is great! I actually have it at home. Oh, and [points] this one too!” It’s stupid really, and probably discriminatory in its own way, but I really want us to collect a hugely diverse group of friends.

Hey, my stomach is growling. I’ve got to go stuff my face. Yes, if you’ve read this thing through, I realize I’m a jerk for not posting pictures yet.


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