Honey Lavender Coffee Creamer

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ae1/69902393/files/2014/12/img_2088.jpg I don’t know what I would do without my morning cup of coffee. I usually preset my machine on mornings when I have to work and I get really excited for it while I’m grinding the beans at night. My alarm goes off in the morning and my coffee starts brewing as I get ready with my eyes on the prize.

I know Alyssa loves her honey lavender lattes, so I thought I would try to make something similar in order to make my morning cuppa a little sweeter. This creamer is subtle but delicious. Adjust your amounts to fit your flavor preference and look forward to your morning coffee a little more.

Honey Lavender Coffee Creamer

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups milk, half & half, heavy cream, or some combination of those 3. (I used 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream)
  • 3 tsp dried lavender
  • 1TBSP Honey

How To Make It

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  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Slowly bring it to a simmer over medium heat stirring occasionally just until the milk starts to froth.
  3. Once you see little bubbles start to form, cover and remove from the heat. Let everything cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
  4. Taste your mixture. If you want it a little stronger, repeat these steps one more time.
  5. Pour your creamer into a strainer held over a large bowl with a spout, or a funnel into your creamer container.
  6. Pour into a cup of coffee and enjoy!

It’s Beginning to Look Like Holiday Spirit

DSC_0201Ah man, look at me being terrible at posting on time again. Well, better late than never?

Anywhos, it’s the last week of classes here and I’m dealing with packing and trying to complete some essays before I leave for my month long, graceful, tumble around Europe. At this moment I’m a bit sick, which is a little terrifying, but I’m keeping my head up that I’ll be mostly better by this weekend. This upcoming Monday will be my first day in Barcelona so I don’t know how well posting on this blog will go, but I’ll do my best.

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The pictures you’re seeing are from the city center of Nottingham where they have a Christmas market set up. Apparently they have Christmas markets all over Europe. The best ones are in Germany and Austria, but I’ll just have to settle for the few we stumble upon while traveling and this one, about twenty minutes away from me. The holidays are making me both really sad and happy. Sad because I will not be with family this year, but happy because I’ll be in Amsterdam instead. Not to mention Christmas in general makes me happy (it helps you guys sent me presents to open on actual Christmas day).

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The holiday season also gave the hall an excuse to have our Christmas formal, which is why we all look so dapper in these photos. I’m really going to miss all of these kids while I travel. I’m really glad I come back for two weeks to take finals because it would have been a rough couple of days if I had to say a permanent goodbye.

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There are a lot of opportunities to get into the holiday spirit. A bunch of girls from Linfield all volunteered with helping to make holiday decorations for a party and spending the afternoon drinking Starbucks Christmas drinks while cutting out paper snowflakes and not so carefully applying glitter to everything was the perfect way to bring myself some holiday cheer.

Okay, now I should really stop avoiding other responsibilities. This Shakespeare Histories essay is not, unfortunately, going to write itself. Hopefully next will be a post from Barcelona where it will not be quite as cold.

Friendsgiving

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Last weekend, I came up with another excuse to gorge myself with way too much food yet again. I had a few friends over and we had a little “friendsgiving” a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving because we all have totally crazy schedules. I don’t have many pictures because my friends are shy and I didn’t want to force them into this awkward “take pictures for the internet!” type of thing. Plus, I live in the moment and totally forgot to take pictures of everything.

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Our menu consisted of classic Thanksgiving fare with a twist as 1/3 of us were vegetarian. Everyone was in charge of different aspects. I made the main course, appetizers, and dessert. And I made some apple cider just for funsies. I made some individual pot pies, 4 chicken, and 2 tofu for the main course. I even came up with this cute idea of using pie crust letters to show which pies were vegetarian. I am kicking myself for not taking a picture. I should also note that I used Ina Garten’s chicken pot pie recipe, which states that it makes 4 servings. It probably makes a little closer to 400 servings. I have no idea who could eat that much pot pie, but my friends went home with enough leftovers to make about 4 more pies each. Oh, Ina.

When you have pie for dinner, you can’t have pie for dessert too, which left me a little stumped. Pie is the go-to Thanksgiving dessert. Plus, I was a little overwhelmed with the pot pies and didn’t really have time to create a fancy dessert. Bennett came up with the great idea to make a little s’mores bar with sterno candles and tons of fancy chocolates. I highly recommend it. He also bought those flowers without so much as a hint from me. He’s got this hosting thing down pat.

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My most proud moment is probably this centerpiece I made. It’s a miniaturized version of this tutorial with some glasses with salt and tea lights and scattered metallic pom poms. I kind of love my paper hollies.

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We even got Kirby in the Christmas spirit with the sweater Lacey got him. I kept it on him until everyone got to see him, but his fur coupled with the sweater made for a very hot dog. Too bad you look so cute in that sweater, dude, because you will have to wear it again.

All in all, it was a rather successful even. We all ate until we hurt, and we had a ton of fun. The food was good, and so was the chatting, and I didn’t get too stressed out while preparing. Success!

Macrame Wall Hanging How-to, and Cats. So.

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Two exciting things to report:

I made a macrame wall hanging that I am actually proud to display
and
I got a kitty!

Let’s talk macrame first. I’ve been wanting to create a macrame wall hanging for a couple months now, to hang over our bed in our apartment. I bought some stuff for it while I was still at Lee’s parents’ house, but it’s sort of an involved craft and I make a mess/take up a lot of room while I do it. So I had to wait to be in my own space first.

What I bought:

100 yards of cotton piping, 1/4″ (I started out with only 50 yards, but quickly realized that wouldn’t be enough)
A three(ish) foot wooden dowel (home depot, most art stores carry these)
Tape
Scissors

The total cost was about $40, which is a lot, but these puppies can sell for up to a grand if they’re done really well and they’re as big as the one I made. If you make a smaller one, I’m sure 60 yards would be plenty, especially if you used a smaller size of rope or a different kind. A lot of people use plastic rope, which you can find at Home Depot. I found my rope at a little yarn shop close to my work, but I know they also have it at places like Hobby Lobby.

The first macrame I did was made of really thick yarn, and while I really like the texture, it was a bit too stretchy and the hanging narrowed at the bottom. I also used the square knot for that one, so I wanted to change it up for this hanging. I used an alternative method of the square knot, which uses a loop and looks slightly different.

Make sure all your individual strands of rope are twice as long as you want them to be when you cut them, because you will fold them in half when you attach them to the dowel. Fold in half, then wrap around the dowel by pulling the two ends through the loop you have created. It will look like this:

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As you can see, I did not remember to make my rope twice as long as I wanted it to be. I think if I had, each piece would have been about 12 feet long, maybe a little longer. I had to tape them together at the ends and try and camouflage it into the knot on the dowel. It worked pretty well. Also make sure to tape the tips of your rope, so they don’t fray.

Now for the fun part, knotting!

Each knot takes four strands of rope. You will be working with the two outside strands of each knot. In each row, you will alternate which four strands you are working with. You’ll grab the last two strands from the knot on the left, and the first two from the knot on the right in the row above.

To start, separate the two outer strands of the four from the two in the middle. These are the two you will be working with for each knot. Create a “C” over the two center strands with the rightmost strand.

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Then (this is sort of hard to explain), using your pointer finger and thumb on your left hand, reach through the loop you just created, under the two strands in the middle, to the base of the loop. Grab both side and pull through to the other side, so they wrap around the two strands in the middle and create two smaller loops inside the big one on the other side. You will be grabbing from underneath on the right, and bringing them through to the left. It will look like this:

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Now, take the leftmost strand and string it through the two loops you have created, like this:

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Pull through until it is taut. You will now have two loose ends. Pull these, along with the loop on the bottom right side of the knot, until the knot sort of twists and straightens out to look like this:

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And there is your knot! I usually have to reorganize the middle strands so they aren’t all twisted up; you want them to stay straight.

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So, go ahead and repeat this until you run out of strands. Make sure you alternate between each row of knots. In the end, I was pretty happy with mine. It came out like this:

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I had to take a straight iron to the rope that was left hanging at the bottom. It honestly made the piece look a thousand times better. I also added an angled edge to each side to make it look a little more interesting.

In my next piece, I would love to incorporate a different color, or attach some yarn somehow to make a chevron pattern. I’ll keep you guys posted! And both of you, let me know if you want one. I might ask for a little help paying for the materials, but I can’t have a hundred of them around my apartment and I love making them!

Now, on to the interesting part: my kitty!

His name is Kristoff, or as we call him, Kristofferson (after the cousin in Fantastic Mr. Fox). He’s a rescue kitty. He’s still super shy, his current kitty cold probably has a little to do with that. But if you put him down somewhere he will curl up and fall right to sleep, be it your lap or a bed you make for him full of comfy pillows and blankets in your dresser drawer. He is too cute to handle. His tail curls around his little paws every time he sits down. He loves to snuggle. We are so very happy to have him in our home.

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Micro Kitchen Meets Big Personalities

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Lee playing his nerdy computer games pre-wifi days.

I have a terrible habit of only posting every other week, I’m sorry! Hopefully I’ll have something cooler to post next week. Work has been nuts; we’re launching a brand new, completely, 100% different website on Monday, and I’m in charge of posting all the new content to the blog (or “journal,” as we’re calling it). 40 posts and counting. Hopefully I am near the end. I’ll think I’m done and then my boss will think of something new for me to post (which literally just happened as I am typing this). It’s always in a series of 10 or so. It’s mostly copying and pasting, but it’s a lot of work. And it’s on a new platform, so we’re all learning as we go, which makes it a little stressful. But it’s kind of fun. It’s at least a little creative, because I get to play with the layout.

I’m also lacking motivation to do actual work today because more than half of the office took today as a vacation day. Seven people usually occupy the room my desk is in, and there are only three of us here today. The chicks. One of them is my closest friend in the office, so a lot of post-Thanksgiving gossiping happened this morning.

So, anyway, I’m living with a tiny, tiny kitchen. So far, it’s not  a huge problem. The worst part is just the feeling of being cramped – I’m cooking stuff on the stove and my elbow bumps the wall, or I’m trying to get something out of one cupboard and I can’t open another. It’s not a big deal, though, because all the portions I cook are pretty small since it’s just the two of us. And I make very basic meals since I’m not a great cook. Tacos, pasta dishes, salads, casseroles, nothing too fancy. No steaks or chicken and dumplings or fancy stews. Not yet, anyway.

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As you can see, I got my over-the-sink cutting board!! I LOVE it. And I felt so grown up buying it…and I feel so grown up owning it! It’s a wonderful, hefty chunk of wood. Every cutting board I’ve owned has been a flimsy piece of crap plastic slab or something. It creates a lot of counter space, just enough extra room that I can mix things, cook things on the stove, and chop things all at the same time. And what’s great is that it doesn’t quite cover the whole sink, so I can still drop ends of veggies or dirty spoons into the sink while it’s there. I really can’t recommend something like this enough. I got mine at IKEA, and get this: it was TEN BUCKS. Ten! Get yours here:

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30087148/

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One thing that Lee and I CANNOT agree on is where to hang that damn hand towel to the left of the oven. I like it there. Our oven handle doesn’t come out far enough from the oven for us to slip a towel back there, so we have to hang it on a cabinet knob (we’re too cheap to go buy, like…a command hook…and too lazy). He puts it on the handle of the cabinet above the sink, so it’s just dangling in our faces while we do dishes. It irritates me…so much…fl-flame-flames…on the sides of my face…b-burning…

But he lets me put my mugs right there, on top of the oven, since the cabinet we put our other mugs in is too high for me to reach. That’s another problem with tiny kitchens: storage space. I honestly didn’t think this would be much of a problem; it seemed like we had a lot of room. We don’t. It gets used up really, really fast. We’re making do, though. We keep minimal food in the apartment in the way of snacks, just essentials for cooking, and most of our stuff goes in the fridge, because we figure that healthy stuff is the stuff that spoils. So we utilize what we have.

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This little portal has changed since I took this photo – as you can see, Jos, we are using the french press you gave me for my birthday. Lee was NOT convinced the first time we used it (this may have been the first time, I think he was cooking me breakfast on our first Saturday at the apartment), but he won’t use anything else now. This morning, while he was driving me to a doctor’s appointment before work (such a nice guy), he was drinking some french press coffee and just said, “you know what? I’m sold on the french press. I love it.” And so do I! It’s so much easier than coffee from a coffee maker, and it tastes a thousand times better.

ANYWAY. The portal currently houses those two little cacti (his is the single one, called Diglet, and mine is the three little guys, called Dugtrio – ten points if you get the reference), the cowboy boot shot glasses Lee got at Fifthmas last December, a glass skull full of our laundry change, a little hedgehog Christmas ornament, and a ceramic reindeer that mysteriously showed up in my car when I got back from mom’s last weekend. Wonder how that got there…

So that’s my micro kitchen as of right now. We had a little set of pots hanging on a rack above the sink, but Lee’s massive swimmer arms flailed a bit too aggressively and he knocked them off the wall, so there’s a hole on one side now. He gets to fix that. Also, look at this:

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This is how Lee thinks you should hang curtains. He gets to fix that too.

The Easiest (and Cheapest) DIY Wreath Ever

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I like wreaths, but I don’t like wreath making. And I really don’t like spending a bunch of money on a wreath either. I decided I needed one, though, so after a little research for inspiration online, I got to work creating a wreath that fits my simple Christmas decorating personality and my thin wallet.

You literally need 4 things to create this wreath:

  • Dollar Store Christmas Garland
  • Bottle Brush Trees
  • Hot Glue
  • Ribbon

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All I did was take my garland and wrap it into about a 14 inch circle and wind it around itself. You can hot glue the ends together if you’re worried, but the wire works really well.

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Figure out your arrangement for the bottle brush trees by laying everything on the ground. When you find what you like, just hot glue those guys straight onto the wreath.

Add a ribbon to the top to hide your wreath hanger.

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You’re all done!

I do feel like it needs something. I think that something might be flocking, but I’m a little to frugal to purchase something so frivolous. I do have some leftover pinecones, though, do you think those would look good on the bottom?

Some Things I’ll Miss About England

DSC_0010Hello sisters.

So I know I still have a considerable amount of time abroad, but the the facts are, I only have three weeks of school left until I leave for break and even though after break I return for another two weeks, I’m already feeling nostalgic for a place I’m still living. The thing is, the idea of leaving this new place where I’ve discovered so many things and met so many people is wrenching my heart. Going to Uni here has been like starting over and in an effort to avoid thinking about the upcoming holidays where I won’t be with my family, I thought I’d list some of my favorite things about the place I live.

1. England is beautiful. The picture above is from Wollaton and Deer Park. I have found that Wollaton is the exact perfect way to take a study break. Sometimes, I’ll load my phone up with a new podcast or good music and just take a walk around the lake. There are always families walking around or people cycling and I find it a great way to clear my head and breathe in some fresh air. The fact is, England is beautiful. It’s like they try especially hard to make everything aesthetically pleasing and I love it.

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2. The City Center. Nottingham is not exactly England’s shining jewel, but the city center has always surprised me with the amount of things to do and the amount of weird adventures I’ve had. Whether it’s going out to clubs where everyone dances embarrassingly and I have yet to see any true grinding, or just randomly going into town one day and finding a vintage fair, Nottingham makes me happy. The other evening, after 80’s night at a dance club, me and a friend ran through town attempting to get McDonald’s before our bus was due to arrive. We made it, but only by sprinting with burgers and fries in our hands and mouths and almost choking from laughing.

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3. Traveling. The picture above is from a random two day trip I took with my friend Molly to Cambridge. The town was having a little carnival type deal for Guy Fawkes night where the fireworks were actually pretty impressive. The fact is, I took a random trip to a completely new city in the middle of the week and just took time to explore. I don’t do that at home, no one really does. I know it’s harder to do in the states than it is here, but I’m going to miss it when I return. I’ll be flat broke from all of the traveling, but it’s oh so worth it.

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4. The people. This one is going to hurt. The people in my hall are becoming some of my favorite humans. It’s going to hurt like a bitch leaving them.

Anyways, there’s a quick, more optimistic comment on how my life has been going lately. I have some footage from other, more recent travels, I just need to get my shiz together and actually edit it all. But this is all I can manage at the moment, I have to go read some criticism on Death of a Salesman now. Byeeee.

My Go-to Dinners Part 1: Fried Rice

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This series is mainly for Alyssa, who by the end of living with her for one summer, had both me and my boyfriend terrified for her health. Seriously, we actually went out and bought her some easy to make meals that were at least mildly healthier than Spaghetti-Os and Ramen. Sorry, Alyssa, but hopefully this series can help you learn to cook healthier meals even if it does take a little extra work. I’m going to try to do this once a month. I’ll share some really easy meals with you guys that can be made from whatever you have in the fridge. Assuming you have healthy things in there. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, so maybe these posts will help you get to cooking healthy meals all the time a lot quicker than it took me.

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I’m hoping this will also teach you how to shop for yourselves too, telling you what I think you should always have on hand and how you can use those items. Some of this stuff might seem a little weird, but I either use pretty much everything in this recipe elsewhere. I’ll let you know why I think you should have some of the weird stuff on hand.

So, here we go.

Easy Go-To Fried Rice

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 1/2 cups Brown Rice, cooked – Always have brown rice on hand. It’s so filling and a great source of protein.
  • 2 cups Chopped Vegetables – Whatever you have on hand is fine. This particular version I made used carrots, red pepper, and. I put onion in pretty much everything I make. In the past, I’ve also used peas, green onion, kale, spinach, and those frozen stir fry veggies. Seriously, anything goes.
  • 1 medium Onion – This is separate from the veggies because it needs to be in there, and you should always have onions on hand.
  • 2 cloves Garlic – I just keep a few cloves handy for pretty much anything I make. Garlic is another ingredient that just goes with everything.
  • 2 TBSP Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil – The secret to keeping food from sticking.
  • 1 egg
  • Soy Sauce
  • Optional: Some form of protein. I use tofu cooked with this method, but you can use chicken or pork if you like.

Okay, here’s where we get to the weird stuff…

  • 2 TBSP Hoisin Sauce – I pretty much only use this for fried rice, but it can be found in the Asian food section of pretty much any grocery store, and it’s a condiment so it lasts a while.
  • Rice Vinegar – If you do even a small amount of Asian food cooking, this is a must, it really helps bring out the flavor.
  • 1 tsp. Cumin – I use cumin for pretty much everything. A little chili powder, garlic salt, oregano, and cumin is all you need for quick taco seasoning. It’s great with Asian dishes too.
  • 1/2 tsp. Ginger – I only use ginger for recipes like this, but it’s another good spice to have on hand
  • Chopped Cilantro – Cilantro is pretty much the cheapest herb you can buy and goes great with a lot of different foods. If you don’t use it all, it’s not a big deal because I think the 60 cents was money well spent for even one meal.
  • Lime Wedges – I’ve kind of learned to always have a few limes on hand. It might seem weird, but it’s really great to have for pretty much any Asian or Mexican dish. A little lime juice over a burrito, awesome. 

Okay, my justification for just always having these items is over. Now it’s time to make some fried rice.

    1. The rice to fry is day-old rice. It’s difficult to have the forethought to actually cook the rice the night before, but it’s well worth it. That thirsty, dried out rice really soaks up all of the flavors and ends up with a great texture. If you really want fried rice for dinner the same night, make sure to cook the rice ASAP. At the very least, you don’t want to even think about anything else until that rice is fully cooked. Once it’s done, take the lid off your pot or rice cooker, and let that steam out. Stir it around occasionally so the rice dries out evenly. It won’t be as good, but you won’t end up with a pile of mush either.
    2. If you want a protein, marinate it for 10 or so minutes in a little soy sauce and rice vinegar before cooking. Thoroughly cook your protein before adding it to the rice.
    3. Next, take the biggest frying pan  you have, or a wok, and heat up your oil over medium heat while you chop up your onion and mince your garlic.
    4. Once the oil has thinned out and can easily flow throughout your pan, add a little rice vinegar and then throw in your onion and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally until the onions are slightly transparent.
    5. Add the rest of the veggies and stir.
    6. Now, add your Hoisin Sauce, Cumin, and Ginger and make sure all of the veggies are well coated. Sprinkle with a little salt or soy sauce and saute for about 5 minutes.

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  1. Once the veggies are cooked crack your egg into a small dish and beat it until it’s scrambled. Then, push your veggies aside and pour the egg right in the pan. Stir the egg constantly, trying to get as few veggies in the mix as possible. You want scrambled eggs that can be stirred in later.
  2. Once the egg is fully cooked, stir everything together so the egg is evenly distributed.
  3. Now, add your rice and protein and stir constantly until everything is nice and combined and the rice and protein have had time to absorb some of the sauce. If you like the taste of the Hoisin sauce, add another tablespoon or so to the mix.
  4. To serve, add your rice to a bowl, sprinkle with a little cilantro and squeeze a lime wedge on top.

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I’m so Tired of Being Afraid

Hey guys,

Sorry about this post. It’s going to be melancholy and not very fun. Honestly, this might not be the right place for it, but it’s something I want to say and I’m not really sure where else to say it, so here it goes.

As you may or may not know a boy from my home college, Linfield, was stabbed several times Saturday night for apparently no reason and passed away later from the wounds. If you’d like to read more about it there’s a lot of articles floating around but I’ll just link one here: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2014/11/linfield_college_football_play.html

The victims name was Parker Moore. I didn’t know him well, but I did know him. He sat in front of me in my econ class last spring and although I never really talked to him, I would occasionally eavesdrop on his conversations and he seemed like an average, good-hearted guy. He played football and was a residence advisor. He had a lot of friends and wasn’t very good at accounting. He deserved so much better than he got. My heart goes out entirely to his family and friends and to my Linfield community at home. Linfield is such a small school that when something like this happens it touches everyone and although I’m not there right now, my thoughts are with my home at Linfield and with all the people I love who I know are impacted by this.

When I learned the news yesterday I felt very distant from it. I just had a casual conversation about it because I honestly wasn’t quite sure of the situation or the circumstance. I glanced at the email and figured it was another scare that Linfield was sending out that wouldn’t hold up. I didn’t think it would have real consequences. I didn’t really acknowledge that it was real. It wasn’t until I attached a face to the name I was reading on the screen that the news hit me. It hit hard.

I was sitting in my room just looking at the screen and looking at pictures from home and then not really looking at anything. I couldn’t help thinking that I knew who this was, that this was just a random tragedy, and that this boy deserved so much more in life. Mostly, I couldn’t help but thinking how afraid I was.

Tragedies have been too common lately. Earlier this year the school our uncle Lynn teaches at had a shooting and though he didn’t get hurt, my heart was beating so fast when I heard the news it took hours to calm myself down. Now, a boy from my school gets stabbed across the street from campus. A place I used to walk by everyday to get to my apartment and the world just seems to come crumbling down around me and I am so afraid. I am afraid for the people I love. I am afraid for the people I know. I am afraid for everyone at home and the world around them and it’s hard. It’s hard because I’m over here and I feel distant from all of it and I tell my friends here about it and they look at me with big, sympathetic eyes and ask me if I’m okay and I want to tell them that this sort of thing doesn’t normally happen, that this sort of thing isn’t common place, but I don’t know if that’s true anymore and it’s making me feel so powerless.

I’m afraid because the world isn’t as pure to me as it once was. I’m afraid because things like this are starting to make me lose faith in the world around me. I’m afraid because Parker Moore should have lived a long life and he didn’t get to and it’s absolutely terrifying. I’m afraid because things like this keep happening and no one seems to be doing anything about it.

I know fear doesn’t actually help anything. I know that the only thing we can really do from this point is move forward. That me being afraid for people at home doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen to them and that in reality, I have no control over the safety of the people I love, but that doesn’t help. I want to feel some sense of control. I want to know that the world is a just and fair place and that bad things shouldn’t happen to good people and when they do, we reevaluate what’s happening. When bad things happen we should try to fix them, but that doesn’t feel like the truth.

It feels like when tragedies strike we look at them and say that the world is unfair and move forward. The problem is, sometime I don’t want to move forward. Sometimes it’s impossible to move forward because instead of hope I’m left with fear. The truth is, we’re all afraid and that’s why it’s so hard to move on.

We’re afraid of our government so we refuse to give up guns, despite the fact that mentally ill kids use them to harm other people. We’re afraid of each other to the point where it’s getting hard to lend a helping hand. We’re afraid of the world around us so we shut ourselves away from the news and make ourselves deaf to the tragedies that we can stay disconnected from. We’re so afraid of each other and the world that it’s getting impossible to solve problems when it’s so obvious to everyone that something needs to be done. That something should be done.

But nothing is going to happen. Nothing is going to solve this problem.

And I am so tired of being afraid.

Information On: Alki Apartment

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Sorry I’ve been MIA (again). Last week was full of packing and now that we’re moved in, we don’t have WIFI until Monday. So I’m working with what I’ve got!

The apartment is wonderful. It’s small, but that’s how city living goes, and the view absolutely makes up for it. They refinished our bathroom for us, so it looks brand new. Our neighbors are friendly (well, all of them but the lady who lives downstairs and screamed profanities at us when we dropped some shelves on the floor. It happens, okay?!)

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The move in process has been a little rough. While they were refinishing our tub, our drain broke and we had to postpone our move-in to Tuesday, so we’ve only been there for three nights. Seeing as we moved in on a weeknight and we both work all day, our place is still a bit of a mess. We got Wednesday off to do all the big stuff, but ended up spending the day figuring out my bus route, being stuck in West Seattle in the freezing cold (which was actually kind of fun – I’ll explain in a minute), then grocery shopping. By the time all that was finished, Lee had to head to his other job and I was alone to do what I wanted to the place for the rest of the day. I set up the kitchen, which took forever because Lee brought so many gadgets for the kitchen that DO NOT FIT ANYWHERE, set up the bathroom, got most of the living room organized, hung some art, set up the kitchen table area, and watched a movie on our tiny temporary TV.

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While Lee and I were stuck sort of in the middle of nowhere in West Seattle, we finally (25 minutes and a box of grape Swishers purchase from a mini mart later) caught a bus that took us on a round-about route to our apartment. It was a tiny bus with super cushy seats. A little girl with a polka-dot scarf and white sunglasses got on with her mom and chatted with the bus driver like he was her best friend. The bus wound up and down neighborhood streets, then into the heart of our new city. We saw where everything was, all the people rushing to buy their lunches on their lunch breaks, where the nearest pizza joints were, where to get Christmas gifts and drinks and groceries, and the mountains and the ocean from way up high. After weaving through West Seattle, the bus finally took us past a Safeway and turned onto the street that leads down to the water, the road I would be taking to get to and from civilization outside of our little beach town. I love that road. It’s residential but not. It’s quiet and leads you from the serenity of living by the water to the practicality and excitement of a small, patriotic city. I am so excited to be where we are.

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Our apartment is a little cold. We’re afraid to turn on the heat for more than an hour because we’ve never had to pay an electric bill before, and being by the water cools things down very fast.

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The best thing about living on Alki is the road that takes you there from the West Seattle Bridge. You take an exit and turn right, pass a little bicycle shop next to an art supplies store, a few small apartment complexes, a gas station, then out your passenger window is the entire city of Seattle across a calm body of water, and at night it’s all lit up with container ships anchored in the middle. You can see the Ferris wheel and it’s all lit up too. It’s incredible. It’s also one of the sights I saw on my first date with Lee in the city, almost exactly a year ago. In fact, we met a year ago yesterday. Our one year is on the 30th.

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I have plans for the apartment. An area we want to turn into a tiny studio (basically a desk with room on the walls to make art, a sort of inspirational spot for Lee to write). Macrame hangings, because that’s something I really want to get into, but I need internet first so I can look up tutorials. We want to find room (somewhere…) in the apartment for a vintage piece of furniture dedicated to our music-related stuff: speakers, a record player, records, an amp, my SONOS speaker, etc. We need room for a Christmas tree. I’ll need to do some shopping for those decorations – or Joselyn could just give me some from her large and growing quantity of homemade things? We’re already hosting a dinner for Lee’s friend and his girlfriend (maybe I’ll finally make a friend up here?) His sister Jess is staying with us the night before Thanksgiving. My friends Lauren and Megan are coming up on the sixth for a Secret Santa gift exchange. There’s already lots of excitement happening at our little sanctuary. I’m excited to make it a real home. And to set up our dresser so our room is less of a laundry basket and more of a living space.

I’ll try to wrap things up. I’m in a good place now. Living with Lee’s parents was incredibly rough and seriously tried our relationship, but we’re already finding ourselves again. West Seattle seems a great place to “start over.” Oh, and I hope you liked the pictures of our apartment during move in. Here are some more current images of the living room and dining area, although obviously not entirely finished yet.

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