31 October 2009

Friday Photo Shoot-Out

Just a quick note: I will be doing the Friday Photo Shoot-Out this week, just a little bit late! I'm looking forward to showing you all scenic shots of Juneau!

29 October 2009


In the month of September, I was obsessed with:
1. Photography
2. Fireweed
3. Kip's and my Converse shoes.

The combination led to this set of photos which I will post simply because so many people commented that they loved my Converse shot on the Friday Photo Shoot-Out this past Friday.

...the ironic thing is that I barely wear mine because they're a teensy bit too small.

27 October 2009

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten Things That Made Me Smile This Past Week:
1. Starting my new promoted job at work, and actually making some improvement!
2. The flowers that Kip brought me for no particular reason a few days ago
3. Getting a call that my cello, Henri, is finally fixed
4. Having dinner and a rousing game of Settlers of Catan with my new favorite Juneau friends, Christine and Tim Phillips
5. Kip in the morning--he's the cutest non-morning person ever
6. Our adventure to make a French-themed movie night. Post to follow.
7. Reading the email from my cousin forwarded to me by my aunt about the stuffed panda he found on his porch as part of a stalking conspiracy by the two little girls who live next door. Apparently he and the panda had a nice breakfast, with the latter offering some nice suggestions on healthcare reform.
8. Getting some incredibly helpful and kind revisions from a former professor on my Zondervan articles
9. The fact that our vacation starts in four days.
10. The fact that our cruise embarks in nine days.

26 October 2009

Pumpkin Carving Pros and Cons

A few weeks ago, Kip and I embarked on that most beloved of Autumn traditions: pumpkin carving. Afterwards, as the apartment smelled like pumpkin flesh and seeds sat toasting in the oven, I realized that this is probably up in the five weirdest holiday traditions of all time (right up there with lugging foliage into our houses to celebrate the birth of a Middle Eastern Messiah). I was left with the burning question:

Who on earth first looked at a pumpkin and went,
"Gee, that'd look great with a face carved into it!"?

At best, it's a hokey tradition; at worst, a creepy display that's eerily close to shrunken heads. And I still don't have an answer. I'm going to have to file it away with other questions like, "Who was the first desperate soul to have a go at cow's milk straight from the udder?"

Pumpkin Carving Pro: It was a fun afternoon of enjoyment
Pumpkin Carving Con: We looked like vegetable murderers

Pumpkin Carving Pro: I tried not to waste anything and toasted the pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin Carving Con #1: They're nothing more than pumpkin guts.
Pumpkin Carving Con #2: We haven't even eaten them yet.
Pumpkin Carving Con #3: Maybe it's because of Pumpkin Carving Con #1.

Pumpkin Carving Pro: We carved a pumpkin for our faithful fish, Sparky. It's a self portrait, including his favorite plant and pebble.
Pumpkin Carving Con: We're not sure he could really appreciate it.

Pumpkin Carving Pro/Con: Kip made his pumpkin to look like my dad, complete with raised eyebrow and moustache. I'm not sure why.

Pumpkin Carving Pro: I made mine to look a little silly...
Pumpkin Carving Con: ...no cons, I really like mine :)

23 October 2009

Friday Photo Shoot-Out: Childhood Classics

Inspired by Barry's passion for his community, I've decided to take part in the My Town Friday Photo Shoot-Out, a project begun to get bloggers out into their communities and showing them off to each other. If you want more details about this fun project, or if you want to join, check out the MTFPSO gang's blog here! As for me, I figure there's no better way to get to know my new home of Juneau, Alaska!

This week's theme, chosen by Ellisa was Childhood Classics. I got the memo about it being memories from your childhood/things you want your children to remember too late, so here are photos with that interpretation and from my own. In retrospect, knowing that I should have been shooting photos of things I wanted my children to remember about Juneau would have been helpful in averting strange "Why are you lurking at the edge of the playground photographing my children?" looks from parents afraid I was a pedophile.

Oh, Converse, you are the symbol of childhood for many. I set mine and Kip's next to each other on the dock at Twin Lakes for this photo.

Two classics of childhood in one photo: field trips and utter fascination with bad-smelling things. I woke up one morning this week to find a field trip of elementary schoolers in our neighbor's backyard learning about compost. I knew the teacher had opened the lid to the pile when I heard a chorus of "EEEeeeeeeeeeewwwww..........I WANNA SMELL IT!!"s.

What is more classic to North American childhood than a playground?

This pile of coats brought back so many memories.

"Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?" This garden beneath the statue of the BVM outside the Catholic cathedral downtown has seen better days, but in the summer it's positively dripping with color!

Kip and I don't have any kids, but we do have an adorable three-month-old niece, Alli. If Alli were to come to Juneau to visit, here's what I would want her to remember:

I would want her to remember its nautical-ness. I've never lived so close to a major body of water before, so I'd want her to remember seeing barnacles underneath the docks and the gray-blue color of glacier runoff water. I would not, however, want her to remember falling into aforementioned water. It's really cold.

I would want her to remember how scenic Juneau is; how a walk through a graveyard like this isn't scary, it's just beautiful and peaceful and quiet.

I would want her to remember that Juneau is in the middle of the Tongass National Rainforest, so when she learns about climates in school, she can say she's been in a rainforest!

I would want her to remember the loving and warm people you find between snowdrifts here, like these friends who got together to celebrate Oktoberfest at our church.

And I would want Alli to remember how big Juneau is. Montana might have a big sky, but Juneau has big everything else--waterways, clouds, mountains....

21 October 2009

The Tale of Despereaux

"Ohmigod!!!!!" Kip sat straight up on the couch, intensely staring at the floor next to our bookshelf.
"What?" I asked, more than a little freaked out at his sudden outburst.
"Ohmigod." he replied, not answering my question in the slightest, still staring at the floor.
"WHAT?" I was genuinely freaked out now. He pointed to the space of floor he was staring at.
Still. Staring.

Not. Answering. My. Question.


"I saw a mouse run across the floor" he answered, as if I should have known that all along.
"Ohmigod" I responded, jumping up further onto the couch. "Was it big?"
"No, it was a little one." His eyes were still glued to the spot on the floor at which he had seen the furry culprit.
"Did it have a long tail?" I cupped my ears above my head, "And really big ears?" I scurred further up the couch back and pulled the blanket up, just for good measure.
"No, it was just a little mouse."
"Oh" I descended from my perch atop the couch. "Well that sounds kind of cute."
"Yeah, actually, it was." Kip teared his gaze away from the floor and looked at me.
"Do we have to catch it?"
"We probably should"
"But then we'd have to kill it"
"That would be sad"

We both thought for a moment.

"Let's keep it"
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah, we can name it and then it won't be so creepy"
"Or we can catch it in one of those live traps and let it loose across the street in the high school."
"Oooh that's an idea. But in the meantime, let's name it."

And thus Despereaux, our faithful apartment mouse, was named. I'm sure he'll be showing up in later posts. Welcome!

20 October 2009

Ten Things Tuesday---Late Edition

Seeing as it's about twelve minutes until Wednesday on the East Coast, this is the Ten Things Tuesday Late Edition, brought to you by the most finnicky Internet connection in the world.

Ten Things That Made Me Smile This Past Week:
1. Getting my Internet connection back about five minutes ago
2. Receiving a care package from my friends in Chicago in the mail. It made me cry, too, but mostly smile :)
3. Adopting three new plants to spruce (teehee, get it, spruce...like a tree? It's a horticulture joke!) up our apartment--a Christmas cactus with buds that make it look dangerously like it's about to become a Halloween cactus; a tiny little Burro's tail that Kip took a liking to; and a leafy, viney plant that I forgot the name of. It's intriguing and has chutzpah.
4. My snazzy new haircut. I biked downtown today and said au revoir to about eight inches. It's fabulous.
5. The comments on my Friday Photo Shoot-Out, like always.
6. A day of sunshine today!
7. Eating at the Sandpiper after aforementioned haircut during aforementioned sunny day.
8. Getting photos of Alli in the mail. She is such a cute little baby!
9. My newfound passion for non-toxic, homemade cleaning supplies. Posts will follow.
10. Sitting at the Hangar with five--count 'em, five--friends drinking and talking. It was the closest I've come to having a circle of people to hang out with since I left school.
10a. The person walking on the street below my living room window who just busted into "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys. Classic.

16 October 2009

Friday Photo Shoot-Out: Sunrises and Sunsets

Inspired by Barry's passion for his community, I've decided to take part in the My Town Friday Photo Shoot Out, a project begun to get bloggers out into their communities and showing them off to each other. For more information about this project and how to join it, visit the "Friday Shoot Out Gang's" blog here.

This week's theme was "Sunrises/Sunsets". Here in Juneau, we have an interesting relationship with the sun. For half of the year it's our incessant pal, always present (albeit hidden behind a curtain of clouds like the Wizard in "The Wizard of Oz"), swooping just below the horizon for only a few hours each early morning. For the other half of the year it's a scorned lover, barely showing its face and even then, just peeking above the mountains to remind us it's there. We worship its rare presence the entire year 'round, skipping work and class when it peeks out from behind the clouds in summer and doing the same when it briefly shows its face in winter.

A view from the grass of the sunset reflecting off Mt. Roberts

Walking to the high school during the 8am sunrise.

The sunrise shone through my steaming windows and I couldn't resist this photo

And when the sun doesn't shine, we make it---by taking superfluous amounts of Vitamin D!
This is Kip's and my favorite type: Vitamin D in gummy form. Why take a pill when you can have a gummy? It even mentions sun right in the title!!

Now you all go enjoy your places of residence where the sun shines for a normal amount of time!

14 October 2009

The Willow Manor Ball...Alaskan Style!

Blame it on the time difference--that or the incessant need to feel like Cinderella--I'm late to Willow Manor's Annual Ball! I dash out of the dressing room looking fabulous and grab my date--my handsome and talented husband--who has been patiently waiting by the door, checking his watch and calmly announcing "Waitin' on one, honey" every 45 seconds or so.
Always the gentleman, him.

In all the late planning trying to get to the ball, Orlando Bloom was unavailable...but who am I kidding, Kip's the only one I'd want to go with anyways! So he agrees to throw on my favorite black three-piece suit of his along with the shadow stripe white shirt and the black on black paisley tie he wore at my surprise 21st birthday Masquerade (his presence was a surprise, the Masquerade was not). How dapper. Now what to wear for me?

With the lack of designer---or really any--shops up here in Juneau, I resort to whipping up something fabulous from a pattern. I've decided on this vintage number in a light blue chiffon, thinking it will conjure up visions of glaciers and elegance...or at the least that it will be fun to twirl in as the chiffon takes flight away from my ankles.

Who needs jewelry stores when you have a newlywed husband? I wear the gorgeous diamond necklace Kip gave me for our wedding and grin all night in the knowledge that last time I wore this, I was a bride and he was my groom.

On our feet, we both wear that beacon of fashion in Southeast Alaska: the Extra Tuff.

We arrive fashionably late to the party and all my favorite bloggy friends are there! Barry and Tessa and dozens more! Everyone is looking dapper in their chosen apparel. Designer names drop like rain. The crystal of the champagne glass stems reflect the glowing candlelight while Michael Buble offers some mood music in the background. As women wince at the painful works of art on their feet, I am happy that I passed up those Louboutins for my less fashionable choice in footwear; if there is one perk to an Extra Tuff, it is that they're comfortable. And waterproof, although that doesn't seem to be an issue tonight, as the sky is speckled by every star you've never seen before. It's as if someone tossed a diamond necklace into the great blue abyss and the clouds are staying away out of the sheer beauty of it all.

Canapes are passed among the guests, and Kip and I dance the night away, occasionally taking a seat by the dance floor and people watching, making up stories about our fellow guests at the ball like we used to do when we went to Jazz at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. "That guy is planning to propose soon, but only because his girlfriend is sort of a wretch and has been pressuring him into it. His mom is one of those traditional types that doesn't like that they've been living together, and really all he wants to do is run away and join the circus. It was his childhood dream."; "That couple over there is celebrating their 34th anniversary, and loving every minute of it. The kids are out of the house and they have several grandkids. They've taken quite well to the role of grandparents, but they like to get away every once in awhile and shun the role by dressing up and having fun in a very un-grandparentish kind of way. See that red dress? She's a total rebel at heart!"

We laugh like the youngsters we are and collapse into a pillow-topped bed outfitted with 1000 thread count sheets at the end of the night, drifting into dreams of balls and stars and adventures.
The next morning, we awake to a breakfast in bed of cinnamon raisin toast and orange juice. Kip tosses on a pair of slacks and the striped shirt that I bought him, and I slip into this little Vera Wang number for brunch. We descend the marvelous staircase to see our friends--some old, some new--helping themselves to morning mimosas and eggs benedict, while fresh wildflowers sit in vases on every imaginable surface and the sun streams in the windows.

"It's a beautiful morning at Willow Manor," we all say, "I wonder how next year's ball could be any better?" although we know full well that next year will surely put this one to shame.

13 October 2009

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten Things That Made Me Smile This Past Week:
1. Pre-ordering the new Star Trek movie on Blu-Ray with the Barnes & Noble gift certificate a well-meaning wedding guest sent us, forgetting that I work at an independent bookstore. Lemons, you are now lemonade. And my indie bookstore-working conscience is now at peace. Plus, I've been looking forward to that movie being on Blu-Ray since I saw it five months ago.
2. Getting a promotion to toys manager at aforementioned indie book- (and toy-)store. Yay!
3. All the comments from my last Friday Photo Shoot-Out post, especially the last three. They made my week!!!
4. Stringing a clothesline across our living room to use less laundry-related energy when we got a look at our last electric bill
5. Another culinary victory: Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder. Adding to the victory: the fact that Ofc. Crankypants-Who-Hates-Marriage at Kip's work LOVED it!
6. Sunny weather three days in a row
7. Ignoring Kip's scoffing and thoroughly enjoying my newfound appreciation for homemade cleaning products. Projects this week: cleaning my windows with Club Soda instead of Windex and finding some washing powder so I can make my own laundry detergent.
8. Anticipating Becky and Scott sending us pictures of Alli
10. Booking a shore excursion for our cruise in November---sunset sail along the coast of Puerto Vallarta, anyone?

Basically it's been a great week.

09 October 2009

Friday Photo Shoot-Out: Silhouettes

Inspired by Barry's passion for his community, I've decided to take part in the My Town Friday Photo Shoot-Out, a project begun to get bloggers out into their communities and showing them off to each other. I figure there is no better way to get to know my new home of Juneau, Alaska!

This week's theme was Silhouettes. The problem with silhouettes is that you kind of need....the sun. And it's entering the dark season up here in the frozen north. When it's not dark, it's cloudy. So, that made for an interesting shoot-out this week.

The view from our living room window.

Obviously not taken in Juneau, I'm teasing you all with one more wedding photo by the lovely and talented Austyn Elizabeth Ford. This was taken at the camp where Kip and I met.

This WAS taken in Juneau...about a year ago, right after we got engaged, Kip and I propped up our camera on a bench and took this photo.

Happy Weekend!

07 October 2009

Andy, Meet Origen. Origen, Meet Andy.

Pop Quiz Time!
What is Cindy's favorite flower? Hydrangeas, pretty!
What is Cindy's favorite food? Shrimp Scampi, yum!
What was Cindy's major in college? Biblical and Theological Studies, yay!
What is Cindy's all-time biggest pet peeve in the world?
When people use the Bible or the Church against other people, boo!

Why the quiz? Because, as much as I love to write about daily life here and as much as I try to keep this blog positive, I am--at the deepest level of my heart--a Bible scholar and a lover of Christianity in all its diversity. And I am furious.
I am incensed.
I am incredibly saddened.

There was this guy named Origen who lived in Egypt ages and ages ago: an influential Biblical interpreter and translator; a teacher of great standing in the Ancient World; a heretic who was excommunicated from the Church, but we'll ignore that fact for now. One would think that Origen had anything a man could want, and he did have everything a man could want---except his way with the ladies. Oh yes, Origen took that bit about "if your arm causes you to sin, cut it off" a little too far and sacrificed his manhood in the name of piety.

Just imagine the giggles he got in the Roman bath houses--"Oooh look, there's Origen. What a wiener. Well not literally, obviously." All the other naked (and still endowed) men in attendance chortle while Origen, standing in the corner like a freshman in a community shower of seniors, scuffs the marble floor with his foot and pulls his towel tighter around his waist.

Andy Schlafly, the creator of this new Bible translation, needs to spend some time hanging out with Origen in the loser's corner of the bath house. Why? Because they're both reading the Bible without understanding what it's saying. Origen might have considered that maybe Jesus meant that we should cut those things that lead us to sin out of our lives--that gossipy magazine, that porn hidden under the mattress, take your pick. Shlafly might consider that translating the pronoun used for an unnamed child as "it" is not a liberal attempt to refer to a child merely as a "thing", but maybe that the Greek word used for "child" was a neuter noun that didn't designate a gender for the child.

I highly encourage Schlafly to follow the example of The Green Bible and create a text--using his beloved King James Version--with conservative devotions and references in addition to Scripture. It would get the exact same point across. But to encourage his translators to omit verses that they consider liberal, to use "powerful conservative terms", and to base their new paraphrase off the most inaccurate translation of the Bible in history (excepting, perhaps, my translations in Greek class last year) is spiritually, ecumenically, and academically reprehensible.

I'm sure that Andy thinks he's doing some good by making this translation, just like Origen thought he was following Jesus' advice by pulling a third-century Lorena Bobbit--he wouldn't be creating the new translation if he didn't. But he is placing politics upon piety. He is giving a sacred text a political agenda and therefore warping the words of a man who was crucified for being too "liberal" for the leaders of his time.

Let's just hope that Schlafly doesn't stumble across the same passage as Origen. His wife might be a little ticked.

06 October 2009

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten Things That Made Me Smile This Past Week:

1. Buying flowers at the newfound local flower shop for when Father Thomas came over for dinner
2. Homemade projects: creating a door draft blocker out of an old sweatshirt, and some throw pillows out of old clothes.
3. Several days of sunshine
4. Starting to read a good book--Lamb, by Christopher Moore
5. When Kasey wrote on my Facebook wall :)
6. Kip finally going through the rest of the boxes from when he moved into our apartment
7. The cake that I made for the dinner in #1
8. Finding out more of the details about our cruise in November
9. Hearing from Mary that one of my Zondervan articles was good (with a few editorial changes, of course)
10. Getting to finally talk to my dad on Friday while having lunch on the empty docks in the sunshine!

02 October 2009

Friday Photo Shoot-Out: A Photo Study of a Building

Inspired by Barry's passion for his community, I've decided to take part in the My Town Friday Photo Shoot-Out, a project begun to get bloggers out into their communities and showing them off to each other. I figure there is no greater way to get to know my new home of Juneau, Alaska!

This week's theme was suggested by none other than the people behind the madness, the My Town Friday Photo Shoot-Out team. Check out the central blog here for a full list of participants as well as instructions on how to get involved yourself!

For my photo study of a building, I chose the Ice Castle at the community park at Twin Lakes. Years ago, before either Kip or I were in Juneau, the community got together to build what I consider to be the best playground in the history of playgrounds.
It has an ice castle.
What playground is better than that?
Not having any knowledge of or experience with photo studies, I played this one by ear, choosing to shoot my subject at different points during the day. I hoped to find the different moods evoked at different times by this stately building. I have my own opinions about how the project worked (coughcoughutterfailurecoughcough), but I'll leave the photos captionless this week so that you can experience the Ice Castle yourself.


(I know I promised no captions, but I highly suggest clicking on this one to enlarge it!)

See you next week with some silhouettes!

01 October 2009

Mmmmm, Fall!

I love Fall. And I have no idea why. The colors are beautiful, yes. The weather is the perfect temperature, definitely. The wardrobe is the cutest of the year, without question. But as much as all of those things are beautiful, there's something intangible about Fall that I just love.

Maybe it's the transitory nature of it all. At least in Spring the blooms stay blooming for the summer. In Fall, the leaves....well, they fall. For good. The landscape changes from a mellow green to a firey red, as if nature itself is in protest to Winter. (Or perhaps Nature is just a complete and total ham that can't leave the stage without making a grand exit.) Does that temporality make me cherish it that much more? Do I maybe feel a kinship with the change, given the fact that I'm going through so many life changes myself?

Is it the fact that Fall, with its frosty mornings and sunny afternoons (well, rarely sunny up here, but sunny everywhere else nonetheless), is so utterly photographable?

Cool nights--spent under warm blankets just pulled out from the linen closet--give way to seemingly cooler mornings, mornings that leave me wishing I'd finished that set of mittens I've been working on. Mornings so cool that the lakes around Juneau steam, they're so unused to it being cold.

Frosted children's swings have to entertain themselves, their riders now locked in classrooms and sweaters.

Whatever it is about Fall, it gets me in a mood. A joyful, cozy, mischievous mood. For full details on this mischievous mood, see my post today on Woman's World Magazine, but suffice it to say that this mood involves warm apple cider, my favorite sweater and/or skirt, some Hellogoodbye playing in the background, and several mischievous grins at passers-by.

Welcome, October!