DSC_0562It’s hard to believe that our first academic year at PLU is coming to an end! I have my final  concert tonight with the PLU concert band and it’s hard to believe that it’s one of the final concerts of the semester! It’s been a whirlwind of an academic and it’s still not quite done yet. With both of us acclimating to new jobs and a new city, the time has flown right by. And while I’m almost done until things ramp back up next fall, Will is not! He actually has yet another business trip coming up! Prepare yourselves to be jealous of this one…..he gets to spend three, yes THREE, weeks in England. Raise your hand if you’re jealous (raises hand). He’ll be working with PLU’s program at Oxford and also likely checking in on other partner programs in the UK and possibly Scotland. (Raises other hand for double jealousy). Unfortunately this was an end-of-budget year decision for his office, so I will not have the opportunity to join him on this trip, but it’s okay because we plan to go back together in the future anyways. He’ll just be working the entire time, right?! RIGHT?!?! He will in fact take a moment of fun to most likely go and visit White Hart Lane, historic home of Spurs, before it is totally demolished this summer, which will be bittersweet after such a phenomenal season from the team. So while I’m sure you, like me, pity the amount of work he’ll be doing, we can all find solace in his one planned excursion for himself. #pitypatrol #sorrynotsorry 

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Happy Friday friends! I hope you’re gearing up for a busy, fun weekend, like we are. We’ve been squeezing it all in recently, with the end of the academic year drawing to a close. I’ve been attending concerts and recitals most weekends and this one will be no exception! We’ve also been watching lots of soccer, as the BPL season comes to and end, and Will has been playing a lot as well. Plus, on top of all that, kitten season is nigh, so I have lots of adoption-related activities coming up at The Humane Society including a Kitten Shower tomorrow to garner interest in fostering kittens. On top of it all, we’ve been hosting lots of friends, now that we finally have a kitchen table that Will has completed! We had some friends from college over last weekend and are hosting our Spurs group after final games this Sunday. And then we’ve also been GOING to friends parties, including a Siete de Mayo party at Mandi and Billy’s house last weekend and are going to a Minimalist Baker-themed potluck tomorrow for a friends birthday. All the social activities!

DSC_0201We had the most epic weekend this past weekend. I got to check two things off my bucket list: see a Beatle perform live and meet an idol. On Friday, we drove down to Portland after work to see Paul McCartney perform. It was an unbelievable production, lasting 3 hours. Of course the music was incredible, but so was the artistry of the lighting, graphics, media, pyrotechnics, everything. It felt surreal to see an artist as influential as Paul perform and he was truly a gentleman and a real class act. He told stories, paid tribute to friends, performed a variety of songs from all stages of his career and genuinely seemed grateful to still be performing sold-out concerts worldwide. I can’t fully describe what an amazing experience it was to see him. Let’s just say I cried. A lot. It was overwhelming.

Sriracha Deviled EggsI got to play with a kitten yesterday at the Internet Cat Video Festival and it was the best. On Sunday, I got to hang out with some cool middle-aged and older cats. Equally the best. I could go on for hours about why I love volunteering at The Humane Society, but now that I am officially at the level where I can handle/socialize with the cats, I am thrilled. You see, there are many steps you have to take over the course of several months, in order to be allowed to handle the cats, for safety reasons (and also to make sure you’re a serious/committed volunteer). You do a LOT of cleaning of cages and food bowls. You dump a lot of stinky litter boxes in the trash. You build lots of hidey boxes and the more exciting adoption boxes for kitties to go home. You feed lots of cats their dinner. You clean up the messes they make in their cages while they watch you with feigned interest. You talk to a lot of cats and start to question your sanity as you meow back at them while doing the dishes (so many dishes). There are so many steps before the glorious day where it’s just you and a cat or kitten, chilling in an adoption room, as you play, pet and observe them to give them a stellar write-up about why they would be the perfect home companion. But when the day arrives that they go home, it is worth it. Knowing that your personal attention with a 12-y.o. senior cat, who might have arthritis issues and not be able to jump up, but will purr like a motor and let you pet him for an eternity, helped to get him a home the next day? Priceless. 

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So the other day Will and I registered for a couple races. The first is a virtual race benefiting the National Parks in honor of National Park week. We just have to run a quick little 5K, submit our times and voila! We’ll get our super-fly National Parks week virtual race medal in the mail next month. Despite having totally fallen off the running train, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal to accomplish. Otis and I have been running recently and while we’re working on pacing, he’s at least getting me up and moving. Will plays soccer weekly, so while that’s not designated running, it’s enough running to make a 5K no big deal.

DSC_0300Though we do not define ourselves strictly as “southerners,” there are certain things that remind us of “down-home” cooking that we not-so-secretly enjoy indulging in. In the months after we’ve moved, we’ve become increasingly more interested in cooking things from the South and expanding what we have always enjoyed about Southern cooking, into a strictly-vegetarian palate. It sounds like a contradiction, but it’s true! Not everything is chicken & waffles or BBQ. In doing so, this was one of our first ventures into pairing Southern-style foods to make a fully vegetarian meal, not lacking a meat-focused central component. This ended up being dinner AND lunch leftovers one week and while it makes a ton of servings, it certainly fills you up every single time.

DSC_0232You know those kinds of recipes that just get better by the day? This is one of those. On day one, this was super tasty. The broth hadn’t had a chance to really thicken up, but the flavor was solid over a bowl of fresh rice. Day two? Broth/coconut milk had definitely had a chance to thicken and the Thai red curry paste had taken over the flavor threshold and the combination was dynamite. So good that I couldn’t wait to see how day three goes before telling you all about it! So so so good. No trace of cauliflower, all traces of sweet potato and peas and flavor bombs of curry paste and coconut milk. There is no hidden ingredient in this recipe and each one holds its own.

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So I’ve heard a rumor that some of you on the East Coast might be preparing for a wee bit of snow, eh? Fancy that, in January no less! We are blissfully unaware of the impending doom living on the other side of the country – we’re just continuing to wake up to a beautiful day of rain, every. single. day. Well today we actually saw a proper sunrise over Mt. Rainier before the rain kicked in, so that’s progress. But otherwise, rain rain rain. It’s no lie what people say about the PNW, but when the sun shines, it is oh so glorious and you forget about all the grayness and dreary rain that falls. Instead, you thank it for keeping the grass green, the mountains white, and your car, clean. Either way, no snow precipitation here for us- we just enjoy seeing it on the mountain!

Um, hi October. Nice to see ya. When did you decide to show up? Because I definitely thought you were still a couple months away. It feels like we just moved to Tacoma, but the leaves on the ground have been telling us otherwise, for the last couple weeks. It’s been absolutely beautiful here – warm(ish), crisp days, cool clear evenings. We’ve been enjoying time outside and have even had to turn the heat on a couple times, in our cars at least. It’s absolutely wonderful to be in early October and not having to worry about being too warm, but rather being too chilly. A total reverse of our normal situation!

Our new university is pretty cool. There, I said it. Hard to admit after coming from an awesome university where we both attended AND worked, in some capacity, 6 out of the last 8 years. A school that we are deeply rooted in, connected to, invested in emotionally (and financially), and the place we call home. But gosh darn, our new university is great in its own right and in its own way. Sharing so many similarities to our wonderful W&M, PLU is a place focused on community, service and growing into its high potential as a stellar institution. A baby school, celebrating only its 125th anniversary this year, PLU is deeply rooted in its community strength and support and even as a staff member, you feel it. It’s also deeply committed to serving three (really good) square meals to staff on university conference day, but that’s a different matter.