2014 Goals: End of the Year Retrospective

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Pike Place Market, April 2014

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August 2014

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Green Lake, October 2014

Books: What a joy this resolution was! I set out to read 15 books and completed 22. A few others were started and abandoned, as always happens. The real gift of this resolution was a reminder that I am, in fact, a good reader. After years of struggling through dense political texts (which definitely, definitely have their own distinct merits) I began to forget how breezy reading fiction can be. I enjoyed remembering that in 2014 and was a richer person for it.

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En route to Mexico

Recommended books from my 2014 reading list

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Delancey by Molly Wizenberg

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya von Bremzen

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Solo happy hour

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Monkey Bar, Edinburgh

Exercise: The lesson of this resolution, for me, in 2014, was the importance of setting SMART goals. To be honest, at this time last year I was feeling overwhelmed by moving and my job and while I knew that building a new exercise routine would make me feel better it felt unpleasant and expensive. While I did manage to find a yoga studio I like and a swim workout that was focusing and challenging I allowed other areas of my life to crowd out what I had passively hoped to change. A longer commute and dating (oh dating, you glorious time suck!) contributed but these are not insurmountable obstacles. In a year of saying “yes!” to so many things, I struggled with saying yes to that inner voice reminding me that I would sleep better, feel less stiff, and generally not want to stab difficult faculty in the eye if I spent a little more time tiring myself out.

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Inspirational love notes

Shows: Music, beautiful, beautiful music. This resolution was all about embracing joy and leaning the eff into being the kind of person I didn’t think I was cool enough to be. Turns out you can show up and do exactly what you want. (Do other people know that?) As someone with precious little musical talent but a deep love of kick-ass jams this resolution got me out of the house and enjoying all the robust talent that too few folks are lucky enough to do full time.

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Neutral Milk Hotel, Seattle, April 2014

Stats: 38 shows at 14 different venues. February and August were my most robust months with five shows each. July had the largest concentration of bands since I cleaned up at the Capitol Hill Block Party. Far and away, I spent the most time at Neumos but the Showbox and, adorably, Zoo Tunes also had strong showings (pun intended).

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Hanging with Wiggities, Zoo Tunes, Summer 2014

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Zoo Tunes season kickoff, Summer 2014

Top five concerts of 2014 (unranked because impossible)

Deep Sea Diver

Neutral Milk Hotel 

Jungle (both shows)

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

Slyvan Esso

Live and in the flesh 2014: A playlist of concerts attended in 2014 (I made you a thing)

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Beat Connection, Neumos, December 2014

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Guanajuato, Mexico

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Secretary of Education, Mexico City

Travel: DC. Mexico. London. Scotland. Lots of emoji thumbs up to well used vacation days!

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The Highlands, Scotland

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Accidental selfie, Isle of Skye, Scotland

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The Highlands, Scotland

Want to relive the magic? Read all the monthly recaps in the archives.

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2014 Goals: December

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The reason for the season

Books: December is busy, did you know? I finished Delancey (and actually had dinner there!) and started my buddy Jesse Hagopian’s exceptional More Than a Score on resistance to standardized testing. As I own that book, it has been placed aside for books arriving from the library. I’ve started Rebecca Solnit’s engaging Wanderlust: A History of Walking though I’m not optimistic about finishing it in 2014. Annual total: 22/15

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More Than a Score, edited by Jesse Hagopian

Exercise: Let’s not discuss. I’ve spend a good portion of the last month considering how to refine this goal to make it more manageable and accountable in the new year. Thoughts, opinions, and lessons from the trenches welcome.

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Holiday party behind the scenes

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DIY Christmas card photo shoot

Shows: This month, true to form, has been a non-stop march of holiday parties and other frivolities. But we shall leave no stone unturned and I’m squeezing back to back Beat Connection shows into the last two nights of the month. See you at Neumo’s tonight!

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Meet Gertrude Pine

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Band photo

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Christmas, 1989

Travel: I went to work on Boxing Day and repeated the mantra “I am working today to have time for the traveling I want to do” over and over and over. Eyes on the 2015 prize.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a special best of 2014 recap! You know you love those.

 

Out and About: Little Uncle

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Little Uncle, Pioneer Square, Seattle

In a beautiful Christmas miracle, Siiri took the holiday week off and I talked her into meeting me for lunch while she was running errands. (It wasn’t that hard. We’re both pretty easy….ahem.) I rolled down the hill from my office and we converged at the delicious Little Uncle in Pioneer Square.

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Little Uncle, Seattle

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Dom yam wun sen, Little Uncle, Seattle

Their Pioneer Square location is part of a club of fabulous lunch-only places in downtown. We each order something warm and a bit spicy. The whole menu looks absolutely delicious and is everything your ketchup-based phad thai wants to be when it grows up. The cozy, subterranean space is ideal for lunch dates, platonic or romantic, but would also suit a solo diner with a book. It is the sort of place I was always hoping to find when I was traveling. You order at the counter before taking a seat with your Thai vocabulary card and engaging in all the catch-up. Champagne feels appropriately indulgent for the holiday week. Drinking at lunch is so delightfully subversive. Everything is insanely good and everything you want an impromptu lunch with your bestie to be: filling, celebratory, easy, and joyful.

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Action shot

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Holidazzzzzzzzzzzzzze

Little Uncle is open for lunch weekdays in Pioneer Square. Their Capitol Hill walk-up stand has a smaller menu but expanded hours.

This week

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Tipsy Christmas tree selfies 4ever

I’m agnostic at best about Christmas for the first several weeks of December. It seems like a lot of effort and expectation for maybe not so much payoff. Then, just like that, the solstice comes and suddenly I’m a holiday maniac. Christmas music in the office! Obsessively liking photos of presents! Decorated trees! Tiny, adorable children in tiny, adorable pajamas! My brother and his delightful new girlfriend arrived from Chicago last night and I shoved my face in front of their faces and basically turned myself over to Christmas cheer. Wishing you peace, love, joy, and companionship this holiday.

READ

A throwback but a thing I very much needed to read whilst living in my body this week. The price of private prison. Gordon Parks in 1950s Alabama. Ayn Rand reviews children’s movies. #blacklivesmatter and mental health. NYC subway: 1966. Home Alone is actually a horror movie. New York’s protests must continue. Our Enemies in Blue.

Holiday cocktails from the archives: Hot Toddy | Champange Cocktail | Lion’s Tale | Franken-Nog

WATCH

Jungle on Seth Myers. That Salt-n-Pepa commercial. Christmas, examined (required watching for Serial fans). “But it’s cutlery!

LISTEN

Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas (the most pleasant kind of batshit nuts)

Kristin’s holiday album round-up

This week

freedom from want pirates

Freedom from potlucks

Can we talk about holiday potlucks? They utterly overwhelmed me this year. I realize, as a public employee, that discussing the minutia of holiday plans while balancing a festively printed paper plate is my destiny but I long for a different life. Out in the world, I hear tales of wine and sometimes even a band. My friends in tech smuggle these stories back like Levis into Soviet Russia. I’m not wholly convinced they are real. Luckily, we had plenty of leftovers from our own holiday party that I successfully shuttled to various windowless conference rooms this week. Childrens’ wish lists were discussed, deadlines were lamented over, and not one single person died or was even seriously maimed. Here’s to the wet blankets of the world, may your 2015 stretch out before you as one, long, uninterrupted lunch in the break room!

READ

Is it bad enough? Mark Bittman on social movements. Socialize Uber. Six ideas for a cop-free world (from Rolling Stone, no less). Ladies, bringing the champagne to the people. White folks, please take a seat, shut your mouth, and listen.

WATCH

Millions marched.

LISTEN

Neil Young – Harvest (had a Neil hankering this week and did not regret it)

An album for every moment (or my “to listen” list for the quiet holiday work weeks)

This week

Looping animation by Drew Tyndell

This amazing (and strangely soothing gif) was introduced to me via the lovely Ann Friedman newsletter. (You’re subscribed, right?) It’s so on point. Kat and I decorated the house last night and I’m finally beginning to feel a little Christmas spirit. Millions of people are engaging in this civil rights moment. I sampled not one, not two, but four rare whiskeys this week. My multi-year campaign to wean my family off of holiday gift giving is going smashingly. I basically want to fist bump everyone.

READ

The overwhelming whiteness of Black art. Common police reforms: unpacked. “To my unborn son.” Female friendship and our first experience with heartache. NYC subways and an empire in decline. America is an unbelievably strange place. The power of political athletes to puncture privilege.

WATCH

SATC queer remix. Ferguson and the history of riots in America. My friend Jesse broke it down at last Saturday’s march against police brutality.

LISTEN

Solange – True (rediscovered and perfect for dancing in your living room)

In the Kitchen: 25 Minute Lentil Soup

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Red Lentil Soup | Liz Takes the World

Recipe: Red Lentil Soup from The Kitchn

Soundtrack: Spotify put together an awesome Alternative R&B playlist that I’ve been listening to on shuffle all weekend

Weird things I will admit on the internet: I’ve always been intimidated by dried beans and other legumes. The rinsing and soaking didn’t seem necessarily hard, it just seemed like a lot of lead time. When I first started cooking at home I was short on time and money so I split the difference and bought cheap canned beans. And you know what? They are totally fine. That is a completely shame free situation. I do it all the time. Zero shade thrown.

But maybe, just maybe, you want to try something new just for the sake of it. This soup is a great primer. Split red lentils are Dried Legumes 201. You’ve done the prereqs and are totally going to rock the group project. You’ve got this.

Lentil soup is quickly becoming a staple in my weeknight rotation. While some oil is heating up in a large pot, dice up a few handfuls of onion, celery, and carrot. Saute those for a few minutes (perfect time to pour yourself a glass of wine). Stir in the lentils and season the soup as appropriate. Add the chicken broth and let everything simmer for 20 minutes until the soup thickens and the lentils are tender and fall apart. I stir it occasionally but typically use this time to flip through instagram or my email while leaning against my kitchen sink drinking wine. In the last few minutes of cooking I’ll poke around the fridge for something to gussy it up with: a dallop sour cream or plain yogurt, finely chopped parsley, a pinch of shredded cheese, a small handful of leftover bread, thinly sliced apples, the possibilities are endless. Dig in and get warmed up!

This week (and last week)

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Cafe Allegro, Seattle

#BlackLivesMatter I’ll be at this protest tomorrow. If you’re in Seattle, you should be there too. If you’re elsewhere, there are protests against police brutality in cities all across the country. Join one. Author and activist Sherry Wolf put it best, “participation in protests can be radicalizing, energizing and eye-opening. But to be transformative, these actions must lead to politicization and organization. It’s not a sexy answer, but I believe it’s true.”

READ

What constitutes appropriate rebellion? The history of Thanksgiving appetizers. Justice denied yet again. Thanksgiving sides: ranked. This heartbreaking essay on the scarring double life of Black academia. Why you should quit football. My childhood video store closed, a last of the greats. Ferguson and echoes of Mockingjay. “Why do they burn down their own neighborhood?” The whitest band ever.

WATCH

Angela Davis on violence. Peaky Blinders on Netflix. Our household prefers it with 2-3 fingers of bourbon neat. You live your best life.

LISTEN

Snakadaktal – Sleep in the Water (to lull you into a post-Thanksgiving nap)

Public Enemy – Bring the Noise (for all your Ferguson reading)

Beat Connection – Industrial Condo Sadness (a new mix tape to sip your hot toddy to)

2014 Goals: November

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Decorative gourd season

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Coffee with Lena

Books: I read Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl and rolled my eyes the entire time. I’m so over Lena. I’ve been over Lena. I suffered through so I could have something concrete to say. In much more pleasant news, I’ve been enjoying Delancey by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette. Maybe I’ll finally be spurred to actually go to Delancey once I’m done reading all about it? Fingers crossed. Annual total thus far: 21/15

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Winter is coming

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Urban Light Studios, Seattle

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Marching for Mike Brown

Exercise: It snowed on Saturday so I’m officially looking for any and all exercise I can do indoors and with minimal back and forth from the comfort of my couch and slippers. I returned to the pool for the first time in months and had a great swim (and a great sauna) so we’ll be back soon. The time has finally come, I think, to join a gym. I’ve been weirdly avoiding it for the year since we moved but history shows that open gym hours are the best fit for my life. Time to stop being a cheap ass about it.

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The Dip, Tractor Tavern, Seattle

Shows: Hadar and Yoav invited me to see We Were Promised Jet Packs with The Twilight Sad at Neumos and then baby Alma was born five days later. Clearly she was ready for her own concert calendar! Welcome baby! Danced it up at the Dip single release party at the Tractor and then rang in the Thanksgiving holiday with a three hour Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme funk-a-thon at Barboza.

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Shopping for Thanksgiving

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Mondo beyondo thankful…

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…for this lovely human to call a friend.

Travel: (I really don’t want to talk about the fact that I still haven’t posted pictures from the Highlands. I’m sorry I’m lame and it’s taking forever.) I have some fun ideas for travel goals for 2015 but you’ll have to wait for the big reveal. *wiggles eyebrows*

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Scrapping away

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Hot toddy season