Thursday, January 29, 2009

Miss Independent?

There are so many things that I usually rely on David to take care of. Big things, like filing our taxes; little things like unwrapping the Hershey's kisses when I bake peanut butter Hershey's kiss cookies. And I'm always aware of the ways I need him, and try to be sure I make it clear, on a regular basis, that I appreciate him.

But wow, being a whole week without him really highlights all the ways I'm dependent on him!

Here's a list of just some of the things I did all by myself this week, that I normally would never have to do:
  • Woke up every morning with the alarm clock. Usually, David turns off the alarm, gets up, takes a shower, gets dressed, and then tells me that I really, really have to wake up.
  • Got my own breakfast. Again, something that David takes care of for me while I blearily make my way towards the shower.
  • Shoveled our car out from the snow that had been dumped, oh-so-helpfully, all around it by the snow plow.
  • Killed a beetle in our kitchen.
  • Scraped ice off of my windshield.
  • Hosted a dinner for our small groups all by myself -- granted, it was a potluck dinner, and it was with people who are all wonderful conversationalists and great helps at cleaning up, but still!
  • Took the garbage out.
  • Hooked up our computer to our TV so I could watch some free internet TV from the comfort of our couch -- without breaking either the TV or the computer, and without electrocuting myself!
These are all things that I'm fully capable of doing on my own on a regular basis. Except for the beetle. I really, really can't deal with bugs of any sort. With their creepy little legs, and their skittering little ways... Ugh. I was tempted to cede that wing of the apartment to this beetle, but then realized that it might skitter its way over into the bug-free zone, so I had to deal with it... Shudder.

Whoops, lost my train of thought there a little...

I really am a capable, smart, full-grown adult. And I can certainly handle taking care of myself for a week. But I love the way David and I have our own spheres of influence within our marriage -- and I love the way we take care of each other.

So excited that he'll be back home tomorrow night!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I get by with a little help from my friends

You guys are all so wonderful. :) Thank you for the blog and facebook comment love, and for looking out for me while David's gone! It was very heartening to see these concrete examples of care and affection -- I really appreciate you!
Quick public service announcement: it looks like maybe blogger isn't publishing all of your comments? A friend of mine mentioned this morning that she had commented on the post below, but I don't see it there. (HHD, this is for you... Oh well, at least we see each other on a regular basis in real life!) I'm guessing that may be a glitch on blogger's part -- there are certainly times when my connection to their server is lost -- but I don't know for sure. So if I haven't responded personally to a comment, check to make sure it posted.
It's also wonderful spending time with my IRL friends. :) I got to hang out with our married couples' small group last night -- can't think of a better group to be a fifth wheel to! And then my friend Mimi came over tonight and brought dinner! And tomorrow night, we're having a potluck dinner with our other small group!

What a surfeit of blessings. :) Thanks for the "little help," friends!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cheer Christina up while David's away -- leave a comment!

Day one of the PEF/Manna winter retreat... So I'm all alone in our suddenly too-large and too-quiet apartment.

I was supposed to be traveling to DC tonight for a deposition tomorrow (and then hanging out with a college roommate and her boyfriend), but the trip got canceled at the last minute. Literally at the last minute: I was starting to shut down my computer to leave, when I got a series of emails postponing and then canceling the deposition. So there goes my new and exciting work challenge -- and my distraction from a David-less home.

So I thought I'd declare my very own delurking day on our blog as a cheering-up measure. :) According to Google Analytics, we have had 134 unique visitors to this blog since its inception. The vast majority are referred from Facebook or Google Reader, so I'm guessing we know most of you out there... And we'd love to hear from you! Staying connected with friends and family is, after all, the primary purpose of this blog.

So do me a solid, and leave a comment! Whether you're a long-lost friend, a next-door neighbor, or someone who just stumbled across our blog somehow, I'd love for you to delurk and let us know that you've been reading.

It sure would cheer me up... :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

SnapKeddie: Overarching Beauty

This is the second installment of our "SnapKeddie" semi-regular feature -- the pulling together of our favorite photos from the week, or from however long it's been since our last SnapKeddie post. :)

Princeton is such a beautiful place to photograph. David and I have gone on a number of photography walks during the odd free hours we have together, and we've been pretty pleased with our results so far. Of course, with a subject like Princeton, we'd be pretty pleased with pictures taken by a disposable camera, too... :)

There are so many beautiful details in the gothic architecture of upper campus. So here are a few of our favorite Princeton archways, buildings, and stone details -- enjoy!

Nassau Hall cupola
50mm, f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO 200, no flash

Figures on East Pyne (James McCosh?)
50mm, f/3.5, 1/125 sec, ISO 200, no flash

Holder Hall archways
50mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO 200, no flash

Carvings on the chapel exterior
54mm, f/3.5, 1/100 sec, ISO 200, no flash

Ivy over Dickinson Hall (the history department)
31mm, f/3.2, 1/40 sec, ISO 200, no flash

Rothschild Arch, bridging the chapel and Dickinson
21mm, f/4, 1/60 sec, ISO 200, no flash

Chapel interior
17mm, f/2.8, 1/5 sec, ISO 800, no flash

Stained glass window inside the chapel
38mm, f/2.8, 1/8 sec, ISO 800, no flash

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Busy busy busy...

Apologies for the lack of substantive posts around here lately... We've been super busy this week! Here's some of what's been keeping us busy over the last several days:
  • Last weekend (MLK Jr. weekend): Manna Alumni Retreat, down in Langhorne, PA. This definitely deserves its own post -- that's on my list of things to do!
  • Tuesday: I was hard at work all day on this brief I've been drafting for one of my cases, since we were planning on filing it on Wednesday. David was busy with staff meetings in preparation for the PEF/Manna winter retreat, coming up next week.
  • Wednesday: Found out in the morning that we had lots of new stuff to incorporate into the brief, so we decided to work on the brief some more and wait to file it. Then at noon, we decided we could do it all for filing that day after all, which caused a fairly stressful afternoon for me; just barely got the brief to the courier in time.
  • Friday: Got asked to go down to D.C. for a deposition next Tuesday, in a mass tort that I've only sort of been involved in... The midlevel associate who usually goes with the partner on these depositions can't go next week, so she asked me to fill in. I'm basically just going as the exhibit handler -- the partner will put various documents in front of the witness, so I need to be ready to hand them to him. A glorified Vanna White, if you will. But it's still terribly exciting! :)
And the non-career-related reason why I'm excited about going to D.C. next Tuesday -- David will be gone all week for the winter retreat. Every year, PEF and Manna do a joint retreat over intersession (the week off between fall semester exams, which take place in January, and spring semester classes, which start in February). Last year was the first year I didn't go on the retreat, since I had a job and work and stuff... :P I was gritting my teeth to prepare for this year, missing out on what had always been my favorite retreat of the year, and missing David -- it was rough for me last year. And then I got asked to participate in this dep -- nothing like scary/exciting new work experiences to take my mind off of things!

So now we're both gearing up for traveling on Monday. Though truth be told, I've been having more fun helping David get ready for his retreat... One of his retreat prep duties is to help with the baking responsibilities. Which generally translates into me doing the baking. :) It actually works out really well, because I love baking. And we've developed our own Keddie family system for handling the huge amounts of food prep required for this particular retreat. We got assigned 16 dozen cookies this year, and we always do our special peanut butter Hershey's kiss cookies -- so that's what we spent the bulk of today doing.

David helped -- he unwrapped all the Hershey's kisses!

And now that the cookies are cooling (it takes a while for the chocolate to solidify), we have just enough time to relax together before heading off to a dinner with students...

It's a crazy busy life, but we love it! :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

Even though we didn't vote for him, and don't particularly share his political views, we do find hope in the fact that Barack Obama, a man of mixed ethnicity, has been voted into the highest office. Many others have written much more inspiring posts and articles about the racial healing that the Obama presidency will bring to this nation, and about what a wonderful new chapter in American democracy has now been ushered in...

This isn't exactly one of those posts. :)

Check out this hilarious (and true!) song about Obama -- apparently, Obama himself sings this song in the shower, and invited this band to his inauguration:

NOTE: A better version of the song is available here; embedding was disabled on that video, though.

Seriously though, David and I do appreciate the importance of Obama's election, from a race history perspective. Our prayers are with our new President and his administration.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

SnapKeddie: How the Keddies Got Their Oeuvre

Ever since the advent of Zaphod, we've been taking tons and tons of pictures. Here on this blog, and on our Facebook profiles, we tend to post pictures in the context of events -- a brunch, a party, a holiday, etc. But what about those really cool pictures that were just taken randomly? Or the particularly beautiful pictures taken on our photography walks (which, by the way, are a really fun date idea!)?

Thus, "SnapKeddie" was born. :)

We've decided we want to do a semi-regular feature on this blog, where we post our favorite photo(s) of the week. Pictures that we thought were particularly beautiful, ones where we learned a new feature/technique on our camera, etc. We're hoping this will be a fun way to archive our photography learning curve and pull together our favorite shots.

So, without further ado, here's the first installment of SnapKeddie!
(As always, click to enlarge pictures.)

David holding the 20-sided die from "Killer Bunnies," in a shaft of sunlight.
33mm, f/5, 1/30 sec, ISO 200, no flash

One of our neighbors had these ornaments in their tree for Christmas.
You can see our reflection in this one!
55mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec, ISO 200, no flash

Debbie and her camera.
50mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO 400, 430EX II flash

You can sort of tell that one of the things we most love about Zaphod right now is the ability to control depth of field (or the amount in each picture that is in focus)...

More of these "SnapKeddie" posts to come!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pancakes and Killer Bunnies

We love hosting events for our small group. In large part, of course, because they're a wonderful group of people. But it's also nice, every once in a while, to host a gathering where you know your guests will all want to bring something and/or help clean up afterwards. It's like we're all grown-ups or something... :) Remember our small group Christmas party? Where we had like fifteen different kinds of desserts? Good times.

We had this idea to have a pancake brunch as a social gathering for this new ministry we're spearheading through our church, reaching out to the post-college, pre-kid demographic. The church had two other brunches planned for this Sunday, though, so we couldn't advertise our brunch as an "official" church ministry event. So instead, we decided to invite people over just for fun. :) It was so good to be able to hang out with people again after the holidays -- we're all such a transient bunch, and pretty much everyone was out of town for Christmas and New Year's.

I'd thought that I could be Martha Stewart for the afternoon, making all kinds of brunch foods and being the perfect hostess. But as soon as I sent out the email invites, offers of food started pouring in. Here's what I ended up making: (1) caramel apple pancakes (from a mix!); and (2) a batch of regular buttermilk pancakes. And here's what others brought: (1) pumpkin chocolate chip bread; (2) bacon; (3) sausages; (4) cranberry peach juice; (5) aebleskiver and filling.

Aebleskiver! And all manner of special filling!

Scrumptious Danish pancake puffs being made;
served with apple butter, powdered sugar, and other fillings

I'm pretty sure we got the better end of this deal. :)

Matt and Carrie also brought the game Killer Bunnies. It's a pretty simple card game, really -- you just have to keep a few sets of rules in mind as you play...

As explained to us newbies, you have Run cards that determine actions you can take, but some of the Run cards can only be played if you have a Bunny on the table. You also have Special cards that can be played either through your Run or saved on the table. And then there are the Very Special cards that can be played directly from your hand, or saved on the table. And some of the Special or Very Special cards need a Bunny on the table, too. And then the Play Immediately cards have to be played immediately, once drawn. And Kabalah Dollah cards are the currency of the game, and if you draw a Dollah, you have to save it on the table and draw again. You can buy Bunnies, Carrots, Cabbages, Water, Defense Cards, and Weapons. You can play a Weapon card through your Run, though again, some Weapons require a Bunny on the table. Some Weapons have wide ranges, and will hit the Bunnies next to your target Bunny. A Bunny can deflect a hit if the player rolls higher than a certain number. Oh, and you can get Barrier cards which deflect range Weapons. And there are also Feed the Bunny cards, which mean that the target Bunny needs to get a certain number of Cabbage and Water cards before that player's next turn, or else the Bunny dies. But the point of the game isn't to have Bunnies (though you do need at least one Bunny by the end to defend your Carrots). It's not even to have Carrots. You just need to have, at the end of the game, the one Carrot that's at the bottom of the deck of small Carrot Cards.

Makes sense, right?

We're so thankful for our small groups, and all the friends we have here in Princeton!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Telephone Charades

Telephone charades. Best. game. ever.

It really is just a combination of Telephone and charades -- the first person on your team is given a clue to act out, while the rest of the team is out of the room. The second team member is allowed back into the room, and the first person acts the clue out to the second person. The second person then acts it out to the third, and all the way down the line, until the last person has to guess what the clue was.

And hilarity ensues.

It's funny to see what details get lost in translation down the line:

"Kung Fu Panda"...

...somehow becomes kickboxing with your (very large) belly.

The clue given to the PEF staff team was "Spider-Man":

Chris, our first team member (and really, the best charades actor on staff) mimed putting on his mask, climbing the walls, and then did the famous upside-down kiss (not pictured) with our second team member, who happened to be his wife Danielle.

As you might imagine, much of that was lost in translation.

Here's what it looked like by the time it was done by the last actor on our team:

That's right -- a genie in a bottle, who then tried to fly out the window, and ended by decapitating David. Or something like that.

I love watching the person sitting in the chair, to see if they have any clue what's being conveyed to them --

That last picture is my favorite -- everyone in the room is clearly hoping she'll be able to get it!

There's a grander metaphor in here somewhere, about how difficult it is to truly communicate with others, or maybe about how even the best intentions of working as a team can be scuttled by lack of true understanding... But really, Telephone Charades night is just the funnest night of the semester. :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Introducing Zaphod!

I have a proclivity for naming our possessions. Our portable dishwasher back in our old apartment was Maisie (because she was a Maytag). The beautiful yellow couch we had in our old place was Boule de Beurre (the name of the color was "butter," so I wanted to name it Butterball, but David thought it wasn't sophisticated enough, so I promptly "translated" it into French). Our little red Prius is Rosie (red car, no-brainer there). The voice of our navigation system is Hildegard (just because).

So now, introducing the newest item in the Keddie household to fall prey to my love for anthropomorphism -- Zaphod!

Our beautiful new camera arrived in the mail today! We've been thinking about taking the plunge into the world of dSLR photography for a while now, and after lots of research and talking to photographer friends, we decided to go with the Canon Rebel XSi. I was all set to name it Maude (I get a kick out of old-fashioned names), but David joined in the naming fun and lobbied for Zaphod. And really, that name works better for such a modern piece of technology -- especially since Zaphod the dSLR has multiple lenses. Just like Zaphod Beeblebrox had multiple heads. Get it? Huh?

Ahem. Zaphod also takes beautiful pictures! The one above of David was actually taken in our dark bathroom, in the mirror, using the external flash and the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. We've had a lot of fun playing around with the kit lens, and the well-reviewed, not terribly expensive 50mm f/1.8 lens we bought specifically for portraits and lower light photography. Check out the first efforts of the budding photographers Keddie!

See? Bathroom mirror shot!

My joy upon coming home and seeing our camera had arrived.

Look at how sharp this picture is! Swoon!

Look! Only the wedding candles are in sharp focus!
(And oof, I need to dust more regularly...)

Text image quality!

The perfect portrait shot -- shallow depth of field, and a beautiful subject. :)

A cool shot of our china cabinet

We're super excited. We've both been wanting to take better pictures chronicling our lives, and this is definitely a good first step! More photos to come...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

On Time Together

The last several days have really been blissful. Apologies for the cheesiness of the sentiment, but that's really the best word to describe our last days of vacation! We've been back in Princeton, but without any real work or social obligations, which has made for a very relaxing and refreshing time together, just the two of us.

Sure, we've had some personal projects to keep us busy, and we've found various things to do -- but it's so nice to be able to just do things when you want, and to stop doing things, period. We've spent our time watching old episodes of "Veronica Mars" (a quality show, especially the first season), reading together on the couch, researching dSLR photography... It's been wonderful just being together.

It's really shown us how frazzled we were before vacation. The stress of our Christmas card episode was just a symptom of how terribly busy we had made ourselves over the past semester. For a few weeks before our vacation started, we had commitments every night of the week. I'd get home from work, we'd get ready to go out, and then we had just a few moments together before crashing at night.

Don't get us wrong -- all of these things filling our lives are wonderful. We're both blessed with jobs we're happy with and surrounded by people we love. These are all good things that have been given to us -- things that enrich our lives and are well worth the doing.

But this last week of being together has been enormously refreshing. There's no replacement for time alone together. :)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy 2009! The last year of the -- Aughties? Naughties? 2000s? We're almost at the end of the decade; we really should have a name for it by now!

I'm easing my way back into the grind of the working world, by working from home today -- I had originally planned to take the full week off, but we're filing a motion in one of my cases next week, and I've been given the responsibility of writing the first draft of the brief. Which is actually a little exciting -- it's not a huge brief or a terribly thrilling issue, but it's still the first time I'm being given a whole brief to draft. Yay for incremental career advancement!

So I'm sitting on the couch, in my comfy sweats, half working from home and half surfing the web and hanging out with my dear husband. Life is good. :)

Here's to another year filled with blessings and growth!