Friday, January 23, 2015

in remembrance of 2014.

last fall, i remember thinking..."oh my gosh, what did i do with this past year!?" it wasn't a a question of curiosity, it was a question stained with judgement about how i spent my time. so i responded by making a list of everything i experienced in 2014 and categorized them. (ahh, i love organization!)

but this list isn't about saying, "hey, look at me!" it's about reflecting on a full year and feeling deep gratitude. it's about remembering that although i had a lot of fun experiences, it was in the loneliness of living in rural montana that i began to truly treasure community. it's about looking back in order to shape how i move forward.

and wowwowwow, do i feel grateful!!

adventures
  • biked from canada to mexico with samuel
  • backpacking to cedar lake (montana)
  • backpacked the teton crest trail with mary and samuel (wyoming)
  • hiked all over the madison valley
  • summited sphinx mountain (montana)
  • road trip to banff & jasper national parks (canada)
  • jumping into glacially cold leigh lake (only for a moment, but a lifetime of cold)
  • horseback riding with mel (montana)
  • this extrovert having to navigate isolation! 
travels
  • USA: el paso, texas
  • USA: all over western montana 
  • N.AMERICA: canada to mexico (bike)
  • USA: seattle > portland > bend > shasta > sf/bay (train)
  • FRANCE: la havre > fougeres > ile-aux-moines > paris
  • USA: jackson hole, wyoming
  • USA: catalina 
  • USA: la > san diego 
first time experiences
  • our first real winter
  • ice fishing
  • dog sledding
  • walked on a frozen lake
  • got our car stuck in snow in the middle of nowhere (and had to get rescued)
  • first snow-related car accident 
  • my coldest day ever at -29 degrees
  • my first log sawing competition
  • skiing at bridger bowl, whitefish resort, snowbowl, discovery ski
  • snowcoaching in yellowstone national park
  • shooting a handgun and a (serious looking) rifle
  • "helped" ranchers with cattle sorting (translation: i just tried to stay on my horse and not cause trouble.) 
  • cattle branding
  • lassoed my first calf!
  • biking in yellowstone (twice)
  • a rural duathlon (bike/run)
  • hired a coach
  • met william devane
  • horse pack trip in the backcountry with people i had never met (except for one person)
  • attended a french wedding
  • an overwhelming allergy attack in the backcountry 
  • attacked by a grouse
  • a chuck wagon dinner
  • ate moose, elk, and deer
  • designed a founder's retreat agenda for a bay area start-up
  • joined a food co-op
new skills (also all first time experiences)
  • skiing
  • snowshoeing 
  • cross country skiing
  • mountain biking
  • baking bread and bagels from scratch
  • making yogurt and granola
  • making kimchi (and other korean dishes)
  • brewing kick-you-awake pour over coffee
  • water coloring
  • resolving conflict with husband
animals i saw
  • saw my first grizzly (in captivity)
  • bison
  • moose
  • elk
  • wolf
  • deer
  • white tailed deer
  • pronghorn antelope
  • bighorn sheep
  • mountain goats
  • bald eagles
  • mountain blue birds
  • magpies
  • osprey
  • golden eagles
  • grouse
  • rocky mountain sheep
  • scottish highland cattle (my absolute favorite kinda cow!)
lifestyle experiments
  • reduced our life down to one car load, then slowly acquire what we needed for our new place
  • lived in my first rural town
  • completed artist's way
  • experiment: 30 days of drinking 3L of water/day
  • zero waste living (still pursuing)
passion pursuits 
  • got certified in wilderness first aid and cpr
  • started building a website to make wilderness backpacking simple for women
  • conducted user research interviews for said website
  • created a website for a bed & breakfast
choices made toward finding home
  • moved to ennis, montana on jan 1, 2014
  • moved to missoula, montana on oct 6, 2014
  • got a new drivers license for the state of montana
  • apartment hunting for three intensive days in missoula and found one
watched
  • joy & billy get married
  • zack & sarah get married
  • jb & nino get married
  • my husband officiate his first wedding
  • all seasons of friday night lights and scandal in a relatively short period of time. (aka: binging!)
we hosted
  • messengers x2
  • mary chang
  • the first (and only) instameet in ennis, mt
  • sister alice
  • candice & matt 
  • six bike tourists in a span of seven days
  • my sister, lily, lydia, and mom
  • a neighborly get together in our new town
  • jenny morgan
we were hosted by
  • the messengers (stevensville)
  • the kims x2 (san diego)
  • the chois (la)
  • paula (france)
  • torea & jeremy (sunnyvale)
  • mary chang (menlo park)
  • mary carrera (san jose)
  • my momma (la)
  • chris murchison (sf)
  • all the amazing people during our pacific coast bike tour
new(ish) relationships formed
  • judy
  • the noacks
  • mel
  • the jarvis'
  • the maccalls
  • the lewtons
  • m&m
  • the messengers
  • folks from our church
  • vlad
  • brian/ollie
  • craig & melissa
and ordinary things
  • got my annual dental check-up
  • ate almost all my meals with my husband (that's about 1000 meals!)
  • took dozens & dozens & dozens of naps
  • spent countless days in my pajamas

you can see some pics from this year here.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 year end reflection questions

this is our second year as a married couple to partake in a couple hours of reflection on the last day of the year. i think we'll make this a family tradition. :) last year, there were a few too many questions, so i trimmed it down a bit and made it simpler. 

one
1. what went well in 2014? 
2. what did not go well in 2014? (thanks chris guillebeau for these two)
3. top 5 most significant events this year.
4. hardest thing to let go of.
5. what are you proud of? 
6. i felt most connected to God when...
7. i felt most alive when...
8. i felt most sucked out of life when...
9. one word to describe 2014
10. in 2014, I'm grateful for:

two
1. what are my intentions for 2015? 
2. what are my desires? 
3. what do I want to LOVE? 
4. what's one word to describe 2015?

three
write a letter to yourself for what you hope for in 2015. 

four
fold the paper up into an envelope, write your name on it and tuck it away to open at the end of 2015!


i hope your 2014 was well-lived: full of learning, growth, compassion, depth, hope, love & joy!
happy new year to you! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

quote | true mystics

I have come to believe that the true mystics are not those who contemplate holiness in isolation, reaching godlike illumination in serene silence, but those who manage to find God in a life filled with noise, the demands of other people and relentless daily duties that can consume the self…. If they are wise, they treasure the rare moments of solitude and silence that come their way, and use them not to escape, to distract themselves with television and the like. Instead, they listen for a sign of God’s presence and they open their hearts toward prayer.
Kathleen Norris

Thursday, November 13, 2014

eat | bagels

so i have this obsession. 
with bagels.


the chewy, denseness of a bagel drives me insane. and the cream cheese. jesus christ! i won't even get into that...

unnaturally, i needed to make some for myself ever since my obsession began earlier this year during our bike tour. since we are guided by zero waste living, i haven't been able to get myself to buy bagels because they usually come in a plastic (non-recyclable) bag. so months ago, i said i would make my own and i've finally gotten around to it. 

i looked around briefly for a recipe and found chow's and trusted it rather immediately for one reason: because they did the work by "baking nearly 100 bagels"... and they're "confident that [their] recipe produces the best in the west." awesome! i love their confidence.

the first time i tried the recipe, i rushed the process. the bagels came out a little...how do you say...small and overcooked. the flavor was nice, but the experience of biting into a chewy bagel was lost. and that's at least 50% of the experience. below is chow's recipe, but structured and written in a way that made a little more sense to me.


step-by-step instructions

step 1
ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of water (100°F-105°F); 2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast

place water in measuring cup and dissolve yeast, put aside.

step 2
ingredients: 4 cups of bread flour; 2 tbsp malt syrup; 2 tsp of salt; 4 tsp granulated sugar

combine and mix these ingredients together. then add the yeast mixture until the dough is "stiff, smooth, and elastic." since i do this all by hand, it takes about 8 minutes or so, to incorporate everything. i found the dough will be dry and somewhat stiff when it's ready for the next step.

step 3
shape the dough into a ball, place it into a large oiled bowl (i drizzle a little canola oil into a stainless steel bowl), and roll it around to coat the dough ball. cover the bowl with a damp flour sack and let it rise for about 20 minutes (i put the damp cloth right on the dough). place the bowl in a warm place in your home. after this first rise, it should be "noticeably puffy and spring back when you poke it." 

step 4
prepping your station
  • heat oven to 425°F (or 400°F in a convection oven) and place a rack in the middle of the oven. 
  • get something (a pot or shallow pan) that will hold about 2-3" of water and bring it to a boil. reduce it to a simmer and cover until the bagels are ready for their hot bath.
  • use a silicone liner (to reduce waste) and place on a baking sheet
  • set a metal cooling rack on another baking sheet, near the simmering water (you'll put your bagels on it after you fish them out)
  • get a small bowl of water ready for making bagels
step 5
get the risen dough on a clean and dry surface. divide it into 12 equal pieces. (i cut mine with a serrated knife.) place the dough pieces under that same damp cloth to keep it from drying out. 

step 6
get one dough chunk and roll it out to about 9 inches. moisten the two ends, overlap them, and press to join. (i found i needed to shape the ends so they form one cohesive uniformed circle.) widen the hole the size of a quarter. place it back under the damp cloth and let it rise for about 10 minutes. it won't get a ton bigger. repeat to the rest of the dough chunks.

step 7
by the time you're done with the 12th one, your first few will probably be ready to go in for their bath. stretch out the dough to maintain a hole (the size of a quarter). then place 3-4 into the simmering water. (you will likely need to raise the temperature of the water to maintain a simmer.) let them bob around for 30 seconds on each side. fish them out and place on the cooling rack. i used my iphone timer to help keep track of time. 
(ps. the oil in the pic below is remnant of the oil from the first rise.)

step 8
ingredients: 1 tbsp water; 1 egg white; toppings of your choice

whisk together the water and egg white and brush the egg wash all over the bagel. then, (the fun part), sprinkle with toppings of your choice. i used coarse sea salt and sesame seeds. 

step 9
place bagels on the lined baking sheet about an inch apart and bake for ~20-30 minutes. but rotate the pan after 15 minutes. (if you have a convection oven, you do not need to do this because the heat is even.) i highly recommend keeping an eye on your bagels to determine when it's time for them to come out. when it's a beautiful caramel color, it's ready!

step 10
cool down for ~30 minutes. i guess this is for letting the bagel continue cooking internally and for the outside to form a chewy crust. then EAT!

(ps. i forgot to widen the hole the second time, before boiling, so the holes....disappeared. oops!)

i never thought i'd make my own bagels, but they're pretty easy, fun, and tasty. definitely worth a try. thanks to chow.com for all their experimentation, so we don't have to. 

time for a bagel!!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

quote | be patient toward all

I want to beg you as much as you can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. Perhaps you do carry within yourself the possibility of shaping and forming as a particularly happy and pure way of living; train yourself to it—but take whatever comes with great trust, and if only it comes out of your own will, out of some need of your innermost being, take it upon yourself and hate nothing.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, October 31, 2014

quote | change

Change of one sort or another is the essence of life, so there will always be the loneliness and insecurity that come with change. When we refuse to accept that loneliness and insecurity are part of life, when we refuse to accept that they are the price of change, we close the door on many possibilities for ourselves; our lives become lessened…. Life evolves; change is constant.

Jean Vanier

Thursday, October 30, 2014

quote | ambition

When I was young, I longed to be a saint. What was I longing for? I think it was for certainty that my life had been, in the most profound sense, a ‘success’—that great and glorious success that is sanctity. We revere the saints, we imitate them, theirs is the true and lasting glory. Very clearly, this desire is, unconsciously, as worldly as that of the writer who wants to write a masterpiece or the politician who yearns to be prime minister or president. None of these ambitions has the least to do with what Jesus preached—that lowliness, that love for last place, that readiness to die and be forgotten…. To be concerned with oneself in any way, to watch one’s growth in ‘holiness’ or ‘prayer’, to be spiritually ambitious, all this Jesus earnestly sets his face against.

Sr. Wendy Beckett

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

quote | if we really want to...

"Life is meant to be lived from a Center, a divine Center. Each one of us can live such a life of amazing power and peace and serenity, of integration and confidence and simplified multiplicity, on one condition—that is, if we really want to. There is a divine Abyss within us all, a holy Infinite Center, a Heart, a Life who speaks in us and through us to the world."

Thomas Kelly
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