Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

Moving, again.

This is a pretty good summary of my life right now:

My bedroom floor at the moment: a sea of boxes.

Incomplete compartmentalization. Mess. Trying to make sense of chaos.  Looking forward to the new, while trying to resign myself to the many loose ends that I’m leaving behind.

I really dislike moving.  Packing is one of my least favorite activities, and I must admit that after 6 years of splitting my time between multiple (very far-apart) geographical regions, I’m more than a little sick of pulling up stakes twice a year and hauling my stuff across the country.  Nevertheless, this is the stage of life I’m in: young, transient, not yet settled into a steady career.  Still growing, exploring.  Running headlong into new things—good and bad—and figuring out how the real world works.

Time to remind myself once again that—just as He’s always been—God is good, and He’s fully in control.


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Gifted Mail

Look what arrived in the mail for me the other day (won as part of a giveaway on The Gifted Blog)!

Mail . . . for me! ❤

Even the envelope was beautifully done — delicate blue paper sewn up around the edges.  It was so pretty I was sorely tempted not to open it.  But of course, what was inside was just as adorable, so it was worth it in the end:

The reveal . . . a handmade, reusable gift pouch.

Practical, and pretty, too.  Thank you, Gifted Blog—your package was a bright spot in the midst of what has been a very difficult week.  And congratulations on your first successful year!

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Jill Bliss:

California Poppies

Tae Won Yu:

Blue Rolliflex

* * *

I have been trying not to spend quite so much money on accumulating objects (other than on turning over my closet) recently.  Moving back to South Bend next month will be a bit of a wrench, in that I plan on not bringing back most of my books, and only one of my beloved little menagerie of stuffed animals.  I have no idea how long I’ll be living there (it’s possible it might just be a four-month stay), and so it doesn’t seem like a good idea to drag my entire library back and forth with me.  I’m trying my best to keep it simple: clothes, a few books (mostly poetry & teaching texts), a couple of strategically-chosen kitchen items, a few crafting supplies, blank mini notebooks to scribble in, and blank cards for correspondence.

I do look forward to the day when I won’t be moving around so frequently, and investing in decorating an apartment will be both more within my budget and more practical.  (At the very least, it would be wonderful to have my whole library in one location, instead of half at home / half away / and partly in storage boxes at that for lack of shelf space) For now, if perhaps I can convince myself to buy either one of these prints, it’ll go in my room at home (which I am trying to fix up anyway).  Even if not, I guess it’s good practice in the value of living simply.

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New Books.

Can't wait to sew and cook my way through these.

* * *

New Recipes
(Sweet Potato Crescent Rolls recipe from Land O’Lakes)

Delish! (And I've finally conquered my fear of yeast doughs).

* * *

Cleaning out my childhood room.  Digging up old treasures.

Pretty Origami Papers.

Old toys, new life. (I loved that Happy Meal toy once - it's a mini-transformer!)

* * *

A couple of bento.
(I finally convinced my parents to let me pack meals for them. The pear-ginger muffin is from Nigella Express).

Dad's lunch, Mom's snack.

* * *

A new craft.
(From Megan Nicolay, via Threadbanger.  I’m SO sad that the hosts are all leaving that channel!)

Infinity t-shirt scarf (DIY'ed), vintage brooch (from my grandparents).

* * *

LOTS of syllabus prep for my new job this Fall
(teaching Freshman Comp at Notre Dame).

I didn't end up using most of these.

* * *

I’ve gone shopping a lot, too. Trying to update my wardrobe to be more teacher-appropriate. (My official hiring letter says that I’m an “Adjunct Assistant Professor” during the term of my appointment.  0.o  It’s just for the fall term, but the thought still kind of boggles my mind!)

Issue 1, and then the syllabus have taken up most of my time (and mental space) so far.  They’re done (finally!) but still, there’s SO much left to do (as always, the holiday seems way too short). I haven’t had much time for writing, hanging out with friends, re-learning to drive, or finishing the cleaning/repainting/redecorating of my room (it’s currently a complete disaster zone — not that it isn’t usually, but trust me, it’s much worse than usual at the moment).  Still, I’ve been so glad for the time to complete my own stuff (it’s the first summer I’ve had since junior high in which I haven’t had to report to some combination of work or class!).  I’ve been working my butt off morning to night, but the freedom to wake up at leisure, spend the whole day working on my projects, and take time off at a moment’s notice to fulfill family obligations or socialize without the constant fear of major ramifications is so precious. Who knows when I’ll have another summer like this?

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Despite my utterly INSANE schedule, I took some time off last Sunday to craft and recharge.

Red Flower Pin Front

Red Flower Pin Back

Three Ways to Wear:




I cut up several layers of red craft felt freehand and sewed them together at the center with a cluster of French knots. I used a felt loop at the back instead of sewing on a pinback so I can switch it out for a bobby pin if I want to. I’m since realizing that felt was not a good choice of material for the loop, as after one day of hat wear the pin is already starting to tear through the thin fibers of the craft felt. Maybe if I have time later this semester (ha! time, what’s that?) I’ll replace it with a ribbon.

I should totally be at the library right now. I have a term paper to write, a reading next week for which need to do major revision, and mounds of tasks to complete before the magazine launch (that unfinished web site code is having a staring contest with me). But here I am, blogging. Oh, well.

On an unrelated note, I have been thinking about Christmas (already!). I am definitely going to do some element of handmade this year, as usual, though less than I did last year, as I just haven’t got the time. Cookies for administrators and people who drive me places. Maybe using these cute boxes in the kraft brown color if I can convince myself to spring for them (alternately, I could be a cheapskate and start saving empty ziplock-box-style ham containers since we go through one every couple of weeks). Jewelry will likely be my route again for my girl friends. I plan to use a lot of deconstructed thrifted elements to save myself money and be a little ecofriendly this year. Am glad that Christmas season stuff is starting to pop up on blogs (I won’t get into my extreme dislike/phobia of Halloween related stuff but suffice it to say I’m relieved when November rolls around every year). Found an AWESOME tutorial for Ramen Wrapper Ribbons on The Gifted Blog today. Am wondering how well it would work with How About Orange‘s lovely Magazine Gift Bow Tutorial, which I have also been longing to try out.

Finally, a piece of not-so-fun news: after an unfortunate incident involving the toilet paper spindle earlier this week, our upstairs toilet needs to be replaced (probably the toilet paper spindle, too). Ack. Everything in this apartment is falling apart. At least it’s not the water heater this time. Thank God that we have a second toilet.

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First, the project that I’ve been secretly working on for months has, as of Tuesday, finally gone public.  Introducing:

Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry

Yes, it’s a literary magazine.  An online journal of Asian American poetry.  My collaborator Mia and I are super passionate and excited about this project.  The full site, blog, and submissions/reading period will launch in October, but at the moment we’re celebrating that we have a place to live on the web!  We also have a Facebook Fan Page, and a brand-spanking-new Twitter account.  Please follow us, add us, blog about us — do whatever you can to help spread the word!

Second, I turned 24 today.  In celebration of which, my most-stupendously-wonderful boyfriend bought me the BEST. GIFT. EVER:

Big Sister, Little Sister
Big Sister, Little Sister. (And a very messy desk).

It’s a new netbook computer – and I cannot get over how CUTE it is — so tiny and so light! It’s like carrying a standard sized hardcover book, and it fits perfectly in my bag. Now I can travel and work in cafe’s without having to lug my larger (heavier) laptop out and about.  Or I can tuck it in a tote to reference online readings in class, or use it to multitask: one screen for LR accounts, one screen for personal stuff.  Thank you, D!

I am so freaking excited – new magazine, new twitter account, new facebook fan page, new computer, all in the course of a week.  It’s almost too much to take in.  24 has been awesome so far.  And I can’t wait for it to get even better. 🙂

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Obama’s Motorcade

Today I came out of work unusually exhausted and very much ready to go straight home (it’s been a long week).  But as I started walking towards 53rd street, where I catch the subway back to Queens, I noticed that a lot of people ahead of me seemed to be doing an about-face and walking back in the other direction.

“That’s funny,” I thought.  And then I arrived at the corner of Lexington and 50th, and discovered that I had to turn around, too.  The police had erected a barricade and were waving people and cars away.  A large bottleneck had formed as confused pedestrians gathered around the emptied street.  Too annoyed to stick around and figure out what was going on, I decided to backtrack a block and walk up 3rd ave instead.  But 3rd ave. was blocked off at 50th, too.  And so was 2nd.  By this point, I was utterly exasperated.  My feet hurt (and the bug bite just beneath the edge of my sneaker was itching like crazy), I was hot, and tired.  And now, it seemed, I wouldn’t be able to get home, unless I backtracked to an earlier station.  Exasperated, I stopped a police officer and grumpily asked him how far the barricade went, the implication being, how on earth did he expect me to be able to get home with the whole street blocked off?

“Well, as soon as he passes by, which should be any minute now, we’ll open the street to traffic again.”

“Can you tell me what’s going on?”  I demanded irritably.

“The President’s passing by,” he replied.


Suddenly I didn’t mind being stuck so much anymore.  I edged my way as close to the barricade as I could, and sure enough, about 10 minutes later, a cadre of motorcycles came whizzing by, followed by several black sedans, and a series of limos with flags, one of which had the President in it. I caught a fleeting glimpse of someone in sunglasses peeking out of one of the windows, whom another woman standing nearby said was Obama himself.

“He waved!” she cried, jumping up and down.  A few people clapped and cheered.  Unfortunately, I was either too slow, or too short, to see, because I missed it.  But judging from the grin I’d seen (or perhaps imagined) on the sunglasses’d face that went zooming by, I’m sure he must have given at least a little wave.   More cars with tinted windows barrelled past, and then more motorcycles, and then it was all over, and we were back to grumbling, as it took them a long time to finally open up the street to traffic (I guess they were waiting until he’d gone all the way down 50th), and in the meantime they kept yelling at people to get back on the sidewalk (even though it became increasingly obvious that not all of us would FIT on the sidewalk anymore).  But all around, the griping seemed less vehement than before.  I think all of us were trying to balance out the inconvenience of being crammed together on the sidewalk, unable to go home, with the awe of seeing the Presidential motorcade.  And somehow, the fact that it was Obama who was passing seemed to tip the scale in the motorcade’s favor.  I’ve seen a Presidential motorcade before — Bush’s, when he visited Stanford — and in fact, had a front row seat, as my dad’s car was the first one they stopped when they shut down the highway.  And even though that had been just as, if not even more, dramatic (imagine motorcycled cops squealing, Hollywood-chase-style, into the middle of the intersection, to block off the incoming cars, and much huffy gesturing and self-important arm-waving, and guards dressed in full war gear and armed to the teeth riding in an SUV behind the Presidential limo, trunk open, ready to jump out at a moment’s notice), that moment seemed more like a charade to me.  Bush, as it turned out, wasn’t even in his motorcade that day (they flew him out in a chopper because they were afraid something might happen after all the student protests), and definitely nobody peeped out of the Presidential limo and waved to a crowd full of hot, tired, crammed-up-against-one-another commuters.  As Obama went by, nobody shouted epithets or giggled (at least no one that I heard).  We all kind of stood there — curious, if not awed — essentially just caught up in the moment.

Later, as swung through the Subway turnstile, it occurred to me that the moment had felt a bit like the one in To Kill a Mockingbird when someone in the balcony nudges Scout during the trial.  “Stand up, Miss Jean Louise.  Your father’s passing.”  Stand up and watch, I thought as I replayed the memory of those limos going by, plates gleaming and crisp flags aflutter, a great man’s passing.

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