Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I'm going to India!

This is going to be a rather short post since the title pretty much says it all, but I have to share my excitement on the web for the whole world.

My friend Divya is getting married on the 23rd in New Delhi, India, and through a series of minor miracles, I get to go! The first miracle was that it was a pretty short engagement, so I didn't have much notice as far as applying for a visa and finding plane tickets, but it all worked out, and I now have a fresh new sticker in my passport and a slightly pricey e-ticket just waiting for next Friday when I leave.

The second miracle is that my parents were supposed to come visit that same week, so I had to ask them to switch their travel plans. Fortunately they were accommodating as was their airline who switched their tickets to a new date for free. Now they're coming to visit in April so I'm looking forward to that!

I also have very little vacation time from work since I'm still pretty new there, and I used most of my allotted vacation time to go home for Christmas. But since I have pretty much the nicest boss ever (all my coworkers are nice for that matter), he's letting me take a few days off unpaid, so I get to be in India for a whole week! (Which is good since it takes about 36 hours to get there!)

Speaking of my nice nice coworkers, on to a completely different topic....

In case you haven't heard (though I assume anyone who bothers to read this probably also reads my facebook statuses....), this past Sunday I was in a car accident that totaled my car. I took Monday off from work, and on Tuesday decided I was going to master the public transportation system and take the bus to work. I live 4 miles away, which is about 7 minutes by car, and apparently 90 minutes by bus. I was not impressed. When my coworkers heard, they all started offering me rides to and from work. I'm going to owe them big time. Though they probably won't accept payment.....maybe they'd accept chocolate chip cookies....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2010 Year in Review

As you have probably noticed, I have not done a very good job of updating my blog for the past several months. Partially because I've been busy and just haven't found time, but primarily because life has actually been good lately, and I don't feel the need to write in order to process through my feelings so much any more. But then I started thinking, if I go back and read this thing years down the road, it's going to be depressing to read about the crappy part of my life and never document how everything worked out in the end, so I decided the start of a new year would be a good time to get back on the blogging train and try to write about some of the exciting things going on in my life. Although 2010 started out rather depressing, sad, and lonely for me, it ended with more happiness, fun, and fulfillment than I ever would have imagined (had I decided to try imagining such things rather than spending all my time being down in the dumps). And more importantly, it made me into a different person -- not necessarily better, though hopefully a little bit -- and I like the new, different me. Hopefully other people do too...

I would say that this attempt to start blogging again is a New Year's resolution, but that will just make me feel bad when I break it, and I'm 11 days late anyway, so I'll just call it a hopeful New Year's intention and see how things turn out. Today I will try to (briefly) hit the highlights from my 6 month blogging hiatus.

- My sister got married! I got to go to Michigan for a whole week to help with the last minute preparations and whatnot. And I was one of the bridesmaids. It was so much fun, and I'm pretty excited about finally having a brother.

- My former roommate Elizabeth got married in Idaho. I got to be her maid of honor, and I drove over there from Seattle with the other two bridesmaids. We had a great time, and her wedding was absolutely gorgeous!

- I moved to Kirkland. It was sad to leave the Teagues behind, but I was pretty excited to get out of podunk Monroe. My new roommate Kristin and I are "two peas in a freaking pod" according to our friend Christina, so that's pretty fun. And my new place is within easy walking distance of all the following places: the Lake Washington waterfront, tons of restaurants, the library, the grocery store, the movie theater, two Starbucks locations, a French bakery, and the Kirkland Dance Center. It's pretty ridiculously awesome.

- My obsession with Lindy Hop became even more....well, obsessive, especially considering I now lived so close to the dance center. I started attending every class, workshop, and night of social dancing that I could possibly cram into my schedule and have a lot of awesome new skills (and awesome new friends!) to show for it.

- My roommate and I dressed up like Thing 1 and Thing 2 for Halloween because we are giant dorks.

- I started learning a new swing dance called Balboa which is second only to Lindy Hop in the list of most awesome dances ever.

- My job officially became full time! I now have health benefits and vacation time and all that good stuff.
- I traveled to North Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with two of my college roommies. We had the best time ever!

- I attended my very first weekend long Lindy Hop event, Killer Diller Weekend, here in Seattle. It freaking rocked! And I've already signed up for another one, Camp Jitterbug, in May.

- I went to Michigan for a week to visit my family for Christmas. It was so relaxing and fun. I swear I never laugh as much as when I'm with my family. We played games, watched movies, opened gifts, and ate waaaaaay too much food. I got my first pair of real dance shoes for Christmas from my parents.

- I started taking private dance lessons from my friend Ben (who's an awesome teacher in case you're looking for one...) It's hard, but oh so much fun.

- I started looking for a new church and found two that I like!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sorry for the long hiatus...

It has been brought to my attention that my blog has been rather neglected as of late. I've been pretty busy and haven't had a chance to write, despite the fact that there's been plenty to write about, so I apologize for the long absence. Since I last wrote, I have started a new job (finally!), traveled to Michigan to visit my family, traveled to South Dakota for my cousin's wedding, and done many other exciting, fun things.

First off, my new job is amazing! All my coworkers are great, and they've been giving me some really fun projects to work on. There's also been a lot of time spent learning new software (mostly stormwater modeling programs), which isn't always so exciting, but does make me feel a good sense of accomplishment when I get it to work correctly! The company does mostly land development consulting, and the main job that I'm working on is a residential development with over 800 single family residences. I've never worked on a project that was that large before, so it's been challenging -- in a good way! So far the job hasn't quite been full-time, but it should become a full-time position with all the benefits and stuff in the next couple months, so keep praying that happens soon!

A few weeks ago, I flew to Michigan and spent a couple days there with my family. I helped my sister with some wedding planning, got to enjoy my parents pool (which was nice since it was quite hot and humid while I was there), and survived a tornado warning. A few days after I flew in, all five of us piled into my parents van and drove about 14 hours to my grandparents' house in South Dakota. We stayed there for several days visiting family and going to my cousin's wedding which was really fun. I ate way too much wedding cake, which is bad since I still have three weddings left to go this summer.

The day after I got back to Seattle, my friend Bev came to visit. The highlight of her visit was our trip to the top of the Space Needle. The view was amazing! We went just before sunset, so we got to see it during daylight and in the dark with all the city lights on. It was very cool, and reading about how they built it and all that was pretty amazing too.

There's been plenty more that has happened in the last several weeks, but I don't have nearly enough time to write about it all. I'll try not to wait so long before posting again, but considering the next month is going to include my friends wedding (this Saturday already!), another trip to Michigan for my sister's wedding, a road trip to Idaho for my old roommates wedding, moving to a new apartment, and I'm sure plenty of other things, I may not have too much time left for blogging!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I went to visit Elizabeth in Idaho for Memorial Day weekend. I've never been to Idaho before other than stopping for lunch while driving through, so it was exciting to finally go. We had such a fun time! It was a bit rainy on Friday, but that didn't stop us from going to the zoo....until it started down pouring and we made a mad dash for the car! But we were on the last exhibit anyway, so it wasn't so bad. Saturday was also rainy, took the opportunity to get some wedding stuff done. The church where Elizabeth and David are getting married is beautiful -- stained glass windows and everything. I'm excited to help with the decorating for their wedding!

Sunday and Monday we had much nicer weather, and we got to hike a butte which was really fun and play disc golf which was also fun, though I'm not very good at it. Poor David had to climb a spruce tree and wade into the canal twice to retrieve our stray discs! We also got sno cones and went to this cool park along the Snake River to eat them.

Other highlights of the trip included really good food (including some delicious Reed's Dairy ice cream and some very garlicky pizza), seeing Elizabeth's gorgeous wedding dress, and watching several episodes of "Bones". I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting about, but suffice to say it was a very fun weekend! I'm excited to go back in August for the wedding!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My New Obsession

As some of you may already know, I have a new obsession -- swing dancing. My friend Kristin and I have been taking lessons for the past few months, and it's a total blast! We're halfway through our Lindy Hop 2 class right now, and have already mapped out what classes to take for the next several months.

Kristin and I go to open swing nearly every Friday at Eastside Stomp in Kirkland. Everyone there is really friendly, so it's always a good time, and the weekly practice is a great way to improve on what we've learned in class.

These pictures are from the Eastside website. The one above is the only one I could find that shows me dancing. Too bad it's just my back and I'm only halfway in the picture, but at least it proves that I do actually dance!

The picture below shows a sweet move that I would love to be able to do someday. Looks fun, huh? I think that's why swing dancing is so addicting -- the more you learn, the more you wish you knew, and watching other people who are really good inspires you to want to be that good as well.

So that's my new obsession. If you're ever in Seattle you'll have to join me. I'm hoping I can show off my new skills at my sisters wedding this summer since she tells me they're going to have swing dancing at the reception, maybe I'll even be able to teach some of the guests a few moves!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Volunteering at the Library...

So as you may or may not know, I've been volunteering at the library a couple days a week for the past several months. It's not the most thrilling work ever, but it's more exciting than sitting at home all day, and it looks better on a resume. I spend most of my time putting books on the hold shelves for people to pick up....sometimes I see one that looks intriguing and add it to my list of books I want to read, or in the case of yesterday I read through most of I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar while working. Good book.

Anyhow, I'm mostly writing about this because I find some people's names and what books they check out to be rather entertaining. The hold slips that we put in the books give people's names as the first four letters of their last name and the first three letters of their first name, so mine would be: HAAG MEL, not so bad. Other people's names end up being more interesting such as KRAP HOL, NISE RAK, YUOE SUC, and plenty of others that I'm not remembering right now....

It's also entertaining to see what people put on hold. One woman (I'm hoping it was a woman...) put 12 books about how women can have a better sex life on hold at once....was it really that much of a problem for her? Maybe check out one book at a time so people don't think you're a weirdo. Last week another person had 23 of the "for Dummies" books on hold, I don't know why....apparently they were learning French and Spanish; planning trips to Italy, New York City, and France; and having trouble figuring out a multitude of normal everyday skills such as cooking, computers, facebook, and knitting among others. There's also a family who's reading through every single Berenstain Bears book ever written, and several people that only check out weird Japanese Manga/Anime books....I really don't understand the appeal....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Unbound Conference put on by a group called The Freedom Initiative, who works along with many other great groups in Seattle who are trying to bring an end to modern slavery. It was a great conference, with speakers who talked about every aspect of slavery from lobbying the government and prosecution of offenders to understanding victims and how to care for them. A lot of the information was stuff I already knew from my work with People of Purpose and Seattle Against Slavery. It was good to hear again and be reminded of, but I really resonated with what David Batstone (president of Not for Sale) said in his keynote address: “We focus so much on spreading awareness, which is good, but now is the time for action. The only way to end slavery is to come up with new paradigms and put them into practice.” That’s a paraphrase, I didn’t write down the exact quote, but I think I’m conveying the main idea behind what he was saying. He shared some of the new, creative ideas that Not for Sale is putting into practice and challenged us to figure out what each of us could do personally, then proceeded to give us a list of options for personal action, so we’d have no excuse for not doing something. So I’ve been thinking about this a lot the last few days, trying to figure out what my own personal response should be, and I decided to start by writing this blog to challenge others to respond as well. As one of the other speakers, Kevin Austin, said we shouldn't need more statistics in order to convince us to do something. There are an estimated 27 million slaves around the world right now, surely we don't need more convincing. Heck, even if they find out tomorrow that there's only 50,000 people in bondage or even say a mere 500, that's still too many as far as I'm concerned.

Often I've heard that ignorance is what’s holding back change, which is why I think so many anti-trafficking groups focus on awareness campaigns. I felt really convicted when David Batstone said that he sees selfishness as the greatest hindrance. Wow, that hurts. I mean nobody wants to be ignorant, but to know about the problem and be too selfish to do anything to solve it is even worse. I definitely know about the problem, so I've decided that my next personal step toward ending slavery will be to be aware of which products and companies use slave labor and stop purchasing them. It's not going to be easy, so feel free to hold me accountable! I don't know if I'll ever meet any trafficking victims face to face, but if I do, I don't want to have to tell them that they were forced to work in inhumane conditions under threat of violence because I was too selfish to change my habits as an American consumer.

So what will your response be? Maybe you agree that something needs to be done, but you don’t know how to respond. You can start by using some of the resources made available by Not for Sale, International Justice Mission, and other anti-trafficking NGO’s. Here’s some great websites to check out: -- Don't believe that slavery happens in your own backyard? Check out this website to see cases of trafficking around the world. Keep in mind these are only the cases where perpetrators were caught, and someone reported it to the makers of the website. This is only a tiny percentage of the total amount of trafficking going on. -- Check out this list of 33 ways to respond including sending medical supplies to survivors, spreading the word, volunteering time, and donating money. and -- Be a wise consumer. Refuse to purchase products that were made with slave labor. Check out these websites to see which companies are working to have slave free supply lines. and -- Make your voice heard by writing your senators and representatives or by signing petitions to support better anti-trafficking legislation. -- Get your church to participate in Freedom Sunday.

There many other resources available, but those are the ones I could think of off the top of my head. Hopefully at least one of them is a way you can get involved personally.