27 December 2009

Spike 2010

Social web moment: Many firsts came to me this year, related to online community building. First, in early January, my mother friended me on facebook. It was a big step! Then, this Christmas my entire family got hooked into Skype (my dad calls it Spike). Hello out there to Memphis and Somerville! Wahooooo!

26 December 2009

Dean House 2.0

Insight moment or Epiphany of the Year:

My moment of the year occurred to me in early August in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It came to me while sitting the front porch on an old house. My vision was that BVS moved from Elgin to Harrisonburg. BVS bought an old house and converted certain rooms to offices. Then, when orientations were in session, it was converted over to a meeting area. And when nothing was going on, it was the house that I lived in and took care of while nothing major was going on. Maybe one day it will come to be!

25 December 2009


Gift: What's a gift you gave yourself that keeps on giving?

Whoa. This one seems entirely hoaky. Long walks at sunset? A gorgeous morning view from my ugly balcony? Nope. The gift I gave myself that makes my heart swell and soon is my amazing and humble grapefruit knife! I use it daily during the week at lunchtime and it just makes my soul sing....lalalalalala!

24 December 2009

Do be do be Do

Learning experience. What was a lesson you learned this year that changed you?

I think B__ would agree that 2009 was the year that I learned how to do my job. It's as short and sweet as that. B__ helped think through logistical issues related to volunteers, housing, transportation, meals, and finances. In the end, I figured out how to do what I do without her prompting! Wahooooo! Independence!

23 December 2009

Apps of the Year for Wasting Time

Web tool: It came into your work flow this year and now you couldn't live without it. It has simplified or improved your online experience.

I don't know if I have a certain web tool, but I definitely have some favorite apps for my ipod touch. 

Line Up is one that I tend to play in my head before I go to sleep. It has that Tetris effect!


Tap Word is the other app that passes the time for me when I'm traveling or just trying to unwind!


22 December 2009


Start-up of the Year: What's a business you've found this year that you just adore?

I asked Eli this question today and he had a lot of good businesses to suggest.
I also asked him if he wanted to be a guest blogger for today's post, but he chose to curl up and promptly fall asleep. Eli's top notch choice for business of the year is....drum roll please...
West Paw Design  This is the company that supplies the super strong balls that Eli chomps on for hours everyday. I think they're great, personally. I've spent about $35 this year on 2 balls. Some would say that's a bit to pricey but for me and the things in the apt, Eli hasn't chewed a Christmas ornament, a flip flop, or even a plant on the coffee table.

Thanks West Paw Design for keeping Eli occupied and all of my belongings unchewed!


21 December 2009

Run Bike Run

Project! What did you start this year that you're proud of?

I'm a little uncomfortable with how the above sentence ended with a preposition, but I'll let it slide this time. I think the biggest project that I've attempted and have had success at is RUNNING (ok biking, too)! (Please say that sentence as if Forrest Gump was yelling in your ear.) I started running & biking this summer after a really great orientation in Harrisonburg. Running in the morning is quite a drag, I've discovered. I'd have to say that running at sunset in August and September are really the best moments. Most of the best sunsets I've seen of 2009 have been while huffing and puffing around the 14 blocks that make up my never changing route. Besides running, I've been able to get on my old blue bike a few times a week before the seasons changed. My longest ride was 13 miles, but I never did ride out to Elgin and back. There's always next year!

20 December 2009

!Personas nuevas!

New Person of the Year:

Well golly gee, this could be a hard one. I hate to offend anyone. So I'll just list a few:

Larry & Penny: They live downstairs and grew the most fantastic tomatoes this summer. My parking spot is right in front of their apt where the tomatoes grew. I had serious thoughts on how to steal one in the dewy morning, but instead Larry gave me a few before I had to steal any.

Sue: She's the really neat older lady at church who I aspire to be. She's a master knitter, works with refugees, and says really well thought out prayers on the spot. We sometimes wear the same blue sweater to church and I don't feel embarassed at all.

Anna: A colleague at work. My boss Dan says we have similar senses of sarcasm. We're going to Mexico with 2 other colleagues in March! Fiesta ahora!

I wonder who the new folks are I'll meet in 2010!

19 December 2009

Easy Peasy.

Car ride. What did you see? How did it smell? Did you eat anything as you drove there? Who were you with?

January: Chicago to Atlanta, Atlanta to Orlando.
             Orlando to Miami.
             Miami to Orlando.
February: Orlando to Decatur, AL.
               Decatur, AL to Chicago.
May: Chicago to Harrisonburg.
         Harrisonburg to DC.
         DC to Chicago.
July: Chicago to Harrisonburg
        Harrisonburg to DC
        DC to Harrisonburg.
August: Harrisonburg to Chicago.
September: Chicago to Maryland.
                  Maryland to Harrisburg, PA
                  Harrisburg to Maryland.
October: Maryland to Chicago.
November: Chicago to Durham, NC.
                  Durham to Chicago
December: Chicago to Decatur, AL.
                  Decatur to Memphis.
                  Memphis to Decatur.
                  Decatur to Nashville.
                  Nashville to Chicago!

18 December 2009

HE should be happy.

Shop. Online or offline, where did you spend most of you mad money this year?

This one is sorta interesting. Being all sorts of frugal & brethren kind of makes me not want to answer this question. I think bragging about the money one spends is contrary to the way I intend to live. But I'll give you this, Happy Elephant is doing quite well nowadays. I've bought a lot of panang curries along the way.

17 December 2009

Peace of Christ

Word or Phrase: A word that encapsulates your year.

I've been going to a little church down the road from my place on most Sundays I'm in town. What I like about the place is when we do the passing of the peace. Everyone stands up in the middle of the service and shakes hands or hugs each other and says, "Peace." or "Peace of Christ." Our group just doesn't stand around and do it. Everyone gets into the aisles and this informal clockwise sweeping of peace comes over everyone. It's sorta neato.

16 December 2009

Neighbor of the Year!

Today's blogging prompt is kinda lame: Tea of the Year. Instead I think I'll write on the best neighbor of the year. Some of you could probably guess the answer. My neighbor of the year award goes to Joe Perez! He's kind of like my divorced husband who takes care of Eli, my dog, when I travel for huge chunks of a month. Joe loves Eli as much as I do and that's hard to find in a divorcee nowadays!

15 December 2009


Best packaging of 2009: Have you had Pernod? Chances are you slim that you've had it. It's a strong lil liquor that tastes like a black jelly bean on fire. Pernod is the brand, but the common name would be pastis. It's also the cousin to the Greek version of ouzo or Turkish raki or even the Italian sambucco.The label is of classique French design. The bottle is standard green. So for the record, the packaging isn't so slick, but the label makes me grin every time. Come on over, and I'll pour you a glass!

14 December 2009

Rush 09

Biggest rush of the year:

Well it came today! And what was it:
This place! March 26 here I come!

13 December 2009

4 feet to the west.

The Best Change you made to the place you live:

Easy cheesy: I moved apartments this year. From 307 to 305, it was literally across the hall. Come visit, won't you?

12 December 2009

Palak Paneer

New Food:
Another toughy for me. Most food isn't so new to me. I've done the traditionally 'new foods' for awhile: Ethiopian, Cuban, Thai, Mexican, heck, even Nigerian food. The one that really comes to mind is this little place in St. Charles, Taste of the Himilayas. I'd have to strongly recommend the buffet so you can sample everything, nimble here and there, and then finally gorge yourself on the best dishes. But if you're feeling saucy, try the palak paneer just for me.

11 December 2009


The best place:

The best place for me has to be in my new(ish) car, a silver Scion xB. With my overdeveloped skills in frugality coupled with my parents' desire to help me, I got to buy a car in May. Ernie the ford Escort, was mine for 9 years (minus the three years it was my brother's when I lived in Kwarhi). So Scooter the Scion has come to be mine and I'm debt free from the experience. Who knew that buying what you can literally afford (ie, not taking a loan out) looks good on paper but can surely sting a bit when you empty your savings all for a car. So my favorite place is the front seat of my shiny (it's pretty much salty from the week of snow) car.

10 December 2009

Give up the Ghost!

Album of the Year:
This one's sorta easy if you know me at all.

Brandi Carlile's newest album sorta rocks my socks a whole lot. The songs aren't entirely new. She tends to write songs on the road, perform them live, shape and tweak them, and then make an album out of the best new ones. I think it's model that works quite well. The gems of the album are Before It Breals, Dying Day, and Pride and Joy! Yeah for music!

09 December 2009


Prompt of the Day: Challenges...well this one has been riddling me all day. And now it's 10pm and I still don't know what really challenged me. It's interesting to think and write about the things/people/places that present challenges. The vulnerability that comes along with voicing the things in our lives that cause us to stumble can even be difficult to bring up. So with that Doogie Howseresque insight, I think I'll just do some old-fashioned bulletpoints:
  • Nah, guess I'm not one to literally type out what challenged me
  • I'd rather let the people and things continue to push and shape me in a positive way
  • Maybe, just maybe you already know what mine already are

08 December 2009

Pot o' Mold

Moment of Peace: An hour or a day or a week of solitude. What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?

Good golly, this is another toughy. I've done a lot of meditation this year but I wouldn't say they've been quality sessions, because I've either kept one eye open to see if everyone in the group was following the meditation or I've fallen completely asleep (and that's usually from a great build up of sleep deprivation from working a thousand days in a row ). I'd say I get about 3-4 moments of peace a year. And they all occur the minute I get home from a long stretch on the road. I have this weird moment when I walk into my apartment and everything looks recognizeable but nothing looks like mine. It's such a peculiar feeling to leave my place for 3 weeks and come back with everything exactly the same. (Except this last time around, I left a pot of coffee go to mold.)

07 December 2009

Blog find of the year.

This prompt is sorta tough. I have a list of 45 blogs that I follow. It's quite unfair, but I'll choose this one. I like the writer's attempts to find God in the normal places. It's kind of exciting in a weird way to read his blog every Monday morning and see where his attempts have taken him. Following in the ways of Heather Armstrong and Ree Drummond, I heard somewhere that Steve will also be publishing a book with his travels to churches (and weird church-like institutions).

06 December 2009

Queer! (A part of a session!)

December 6 Workshop or conference. Was there a conference or workshop you attended that was especially beneficial? Where was it? What did you learn?
I'd venture to say that a big part of my job is pretty much like lining up workshops and even leading a few nuts and boltsy ones. As I think back through out the last year, these are the sessions (as we in the volunteer world call them) that stand out in my mind:
Dana's half day of learning to pay attention to the things around us in life (breath, wind, water, texture)
Beth S' and my session on lgbt issues. Best memory: Having vols and staff running to different parts of the lawn and yelling and jumping out words! It looked like a scene from a rock opera in the 70s.
Merle C's session on the Church of the Brethren complete with leading the volunteers in creating a haiku and new brand for the church. 

05 December 2009

Chikenz fa life, dawg.

December 5 Night out. Did you have a night out with friends or a loved one that rocked your world? Who was there? What was the highlight of the night?

Have you ever found your people? Like one day it hits you and you don't speak up. You just kinda observe the folks around your little circle and chuckle to yourself and think, "Whoa. I think these are my people."

That actually happened to me this summer in Harrisonburg, VA. I had gone to a city council meeting to see old people fight against a motion to allow laying hens in backyards. It was an interesting meeting. I learned that day that goverment and its processes can change in a heartbeat and usually when most of the audience thinks the meeting is done and they all head for the exit.

Anyway after the meeting, I was invited by some of the pro-chicken folks to go out for an after dinner drink downtown. And as everyone was hanging out, telling stories, and buying rounds of drinks (which I didn't partake, because I was 'on the clock') I had this feeling of being part of this group. And it was good.

04 December 2009

Books Y'all

12/4 Books! What books touched you? Did you pass it onto your friends?

When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Complete hilarity. The hard part of reading Sedaris' books is that once I finish one, I move onto a new book by a different author and have Sedaris' tone and snarky sense of humor running through my head right when I'm reading. It's hard to get over, but Sedaris is the only author that pulls that shenanigan in my noodle.

03 December 2009

Yes we have no bananas.

12/3 Article. What's one article that blew you away this year? That you shared with all your friends.
I'm not really sure I have an article out there that blew me away. I do have this one article that I use for work. It's about bananas and how they're so common place in American households, but really they're quite exotic and we're not paying the full price for them. My volunteers really dig that article. So should you. Ok. I just looked for the thing online and could only find Mr. Koeppel's banana blog. I am suggesting this blog as a entryway to the article. This blog recommendation will not interfere with 12/7's entry!


02 December 2009

2009 Cont'd.

2. Restaurant moment. Who was there? What made it amazing? What taste stands out in your mind?

When I think about 2009 I think about The Happy Elephant. It's a lil Thai place down the street from my apt. The staff kinda know my order by heart. Panang Curry. Tofu. Medium spice. Cucumber salad please. Thai-iced tea. Sticky rice and mangoes. This place is amazing because Gary & Ning (the owners) work quite hard 6 days a week, Gary delivers food and runs the front of the house and Ning is a strong leader in the kitchen!

01 December 2009

Best of 2009.

It's time for the best of 2009 blog posts. I'll be writing everyday until 12/31. Let's go, K?
12/1: What was your best trip in 2009?
This one's a bit of a toughy for me. In preparation for this post, I re-read my 2009 calendar and it turns out I don't travel outside of work. I was on the road for work for about 15 weeks this year. And all those other weeks, I was pretty much at home and quite content. I'd have to say the best time I had while traveling was when I was in Harrisonburg, Virginia and B___ and I went out for super spicy Indian food and then had dessert at Cally's. That was quite a nice night!