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Hi there. It’s been a while.

But guess what – I am alive – yay!

And I miss this page, and I have so much to share. So I’m coming back, with good eats (can I FINALLY put my cooking classes from NOLA last year to good use and pull off a Mardi Gras dinner party with crawfish étouffée and seafood gumbo and bread pudding?!), and photo documented wanderlust, and a snippet into the perfectly ordinary but celebrated moments of my life.

2016 is going to be a good year for me. It really has to be, because I’ve been saying for YEARS now that I’m meant to reach my peak at 24, and then will just maintain that until menopause. Was speaking about my physical peak, of course, but after lots of quiet self-reflection these last few months, I’ve decided that I want to really push myself to be the best version of me that’s ever existed! I turned 23 last month, so it’s time to kick it into high gear…

Ideal me – I want to be kind to others, and be an especially good friend. Be involved in the community. Nurture my mind, broaden my perspectives, and be engaged. Reconnect with my hobbies (hellooo knitted afghan, finishing you may be my loftiest 2016 goal yet!). Find the opportunities to travel and make the best memories!!

To that end, here’s the plan –

  1. Form some good and lasting exercise habits. Like seriously… More concrete goal – run a half marathon this year in 1:55. Seriously… Looking at you, Chicago Rock ‘N Roll Half. Coming for you.
  2. Read two books per month. Obtained a Kindle about 10 days ago, and have not been able to put it down since, so this should be easy. Started with My Life on the Road, Gloria Steinem, per Emma Watson’s new book club! Continued with The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins, psychological thriller. Couldn’t be more different, obsessed with both. Now reading another fluff thriller while waiting for the next 5 books on my list to become available for checkout from the library!
  3. Volunteer Friday evenings 7-8pm at Liberty Plaza, handing out hot food and drinks and packets of groceries and donated clothing items (especially warm, in the winter!)
  4. Join Ann Arbor Meet-Ups. The first one I did was awesome, what a fun community!
  5. Keep up with the little things. Make Hunter’s days for no reason. Make friends’ days for no reason.
  6. Hobbies – finish my afghan!!! Blog!!!
  7. Full steam ahead with my travels, and never lose my sense of gratitude for having the means and opportunity, and amazement for how big and exciting and marvelous this world of ours is.

Okay sorries for the long, text-y post. Will be the last of this kind for a while.

Stay tuned!

Xo

Monthly “Make It Happen” List – October 2015

  1. Horror movies, haunted house. It’s officially October and October is the one month a year where I actually really enjoy being scared! Attempted to have a horror movie night last week, but after watching a dozen trailers trying to pick the SCARIEST, we accidentally picked a parody – Drag Me to Hell. Um, best horror movie ever? Or…?
  2. Apple picking and cider mill visit. Now that I have my list of apple-things-I-want-to-make ready to go… need apples! We’ve of course already gotten our first cider + doughnuts fix at our local Dexter Mill, but still need to visit Erwin’s for our giant sack of orchard picks.
  3. Cedar Point Halloweekend. Unsure how likely this is to actually happen, but it’s Cedar Point (aka best theme park on the planet)! I’ve never gone during Halloweekends, but how can you possibly go wrong with thrill rides and monsters combined?
  4. Get Carrie Underwood’s new album. Comes out this month!! I just love her. Always have. Even though I’m now officially using Spotify, I think I’ll still just get her album to show my support. (You know what? I should really plan on going to see her live sometime. Probably much less expensive and much more doable than a Taylor Swift concert…)
  5. CHEER ON THE #13 NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS as they take on #18 Michigan in Ann Arbor! If we can manage to beat Michigan, that would likely catapult us into the top ten?? Has that ever happened?? I wouldn’t know. I just know that we’ve never beaten Michigan since I started cheering for the ‘Cats in 2010, and it’s been heartbreaking every year, and I JUST WANT TO WIN ugh. Will be wearing purple in the student section sea of maize and blue (lol).
  6. Visit Ann Arbor’s Palmer House. Most everybody who knows me at all knows that I seriously love Frank Lloyd Wright designs and have gone out of my way to visit his houses. Turns out, there’s one right here in Ann Arbor! Located right by the Arb, this could make for a really fun Wednesday “happy hump day” date.
  7. Have an Oktoberfest bier. I think I’ve pretty much already missed the Oktoberfest things… but ah well, can still feel festive downing a pint or two or some fest bier right?

Bake: MACARONS, apple pie cookies
Read: Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson), Women Don’t Ask (Linda Babcock)

How’d I do in September?
Okay, but not great haha. I have yet to learn proper songs on the guitar (I HAVE learned some chords, but it’s hard to play songs without being able to sing while playing). Running is going hilariously miserably – add a twisted ankle and persistent lingering cough to the mix. We did not learn how to belly dance. Going for a more successful October…

by MPD, March 2011

Hi Sunshine,

A short philosophical digression from your crazy Dad … your mileage may vary.

It’s all Issac Newton’s fault. His formulation of a “clockwork universe” as a infinitely large machine that operated according to natural laws in absolute time, space, and motion provided the intellectual fodder for other elites in the Enlightenment to apply those same principles to societal issues. For surely, if one can explain the movements of the planets and stars mathematically, one can discover, by “rational” thought, similar mechanisms in other areas of human behavior – be they political, economic, or philosophic.

Alas, two problems arose – neither of which are admitted to by the practitioners of these disciplines. First, is the problem of scale. Sir Newton’s mathematics applied to very, very large systems (i.e. the Universe). While the scale of human endeavors is, by comparison, the proverbial “grain of sand on the beach”. Anomalies occurring on the scale of the Universe are totally subsumed by the primary effect and thus, mathematically, disappear. On the human level, those anomalies may actually predominate and overwhelm any mathematical model. The second problem has to do with the nature of systems of explanation.

For a system of explanation (say a school of economics) to be valid, it must satisfy two requirements. It must “explain” the phenomenon it seeks to model and it must be predictive. If it cannot predict, it is merely history. If it cannot explain, it is glorified roulette. To model and predict, you must know: all the important variables; the relative importance of those variables; how those variables interact; and, the starting conditions of your model. If this sounds like chemistry – there is a reason.

For the Social Sciences in particular (and I’d class the “dismal science” of Economics as one), despite centuries of rational thought and study, what the important variables “are” is still being debated and how they interact is pure conjecture. You can see this in the manifold competing “Schools” of each discipline and in the absolute failure of any “School” to predict significant events such as our current recession. There is no “Chicago School of Chemistry” in competition with a “Harvard School of Chemistry”.

I’ll offer my own conjecture that Social Sciences will never successfully model their associated systems. Not just because of our friend Gödel, but because, even on their limited non-Universe scale, the number of system variables and their interactions approach the infinite. To which I will add my own guess that many of these variables, like the protein shell of a virus, change unpredictably over time.

When I sorted this out – during my sophomore year I think – I found it very liberating. It reinforced my belief in free will (some of the Enlightenment philosophers would be happy) and I began to see the Social Sciences as fascinating artistic expressions of Man’s attempt to understand himself in terms of the cosmos. So I studied them as one would Impressionist or Cubist painters – no one would argue that the works of either artistic school represent an objective reality, but each captures a fascinating dimension of that reality.

For what its worth …

LYD

Thursday Thoughts – 9/24/15

  1. Got my Nando’s sauces in the mail. Thank you Nando’s <3. The peri peri saga continues...
  2. Started a new, fun “tradition” this week! Happy Hump Days (with Hunt). We’ve decided that we’re going to set aside about an hour every Wednesday to do something special together, even if small (like a long walk)! Just to be able to put away and turn off everything else, and enjoy each other’s company. It’s a nice way (after all this time, and now with us living together and seeing each other all the time) to continue treating our relationship as something really special to us. Don’t forget folks – if you love, love openly, often, and well! Plus Ann Arbor has really awesome happy hour specials hehe. This week we went and indulged on half off glasses of wine and sushi rolls. Will never, ever say no to sushi rolls. Or wine.
  3. These potato latke waffles by smitten kitchen were fun to make, and reminded me of the winter markets in Europe! And I love smitten kitchen.
  4. I’ve been watching Criminal Minds again… ever since Netflix started relentlessly reminding me that Season 10 came out for streaming… HOOKED ALL OVER AGAIN. Matthew Gray Gubler is my #mcm on this Thursday, whatever. His twitter is my absolute favorite. Also, this show has started making me cry during episodes sometimes… don’t remember if it used to?? I JUST LOVE THESE CHARACTERS AND THEIR STORIES.
  5. Kroger pleased me this week! The one we shop at had a nice display of moon cakes, just in time for the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival this weekend! Of course, I already have a beautiful box of moon cakes ready to eat, gifted from mama. Just need to gather some friends to share them with.
  6. Daydreaming about my next trip(s) already. Looking at California for next on my radar. One of my best friends in the whole world just moved there, and I can’t wait to visit.
  7. Am I the only person who isn’t super digging the Ryan Adams 1989 cover album?
  8. Starting my DSLR education! Sort of. Via WhatsApp and Snapchat directions haha. We’ll see how this goes… I’ll really try to make a greater effort at learning how to use this thing.
  9. Excellent reminder that I can’t not smile in photos. If you try to direct me to do ANYTHING else or make ANY other kind of expression, this is what might happen… (photo credit and direction by Sijia, June 2013)

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Thursday Thoughts – 9/17/15

  1. Tonight for dinner, we cooked and ate our second attempt at Peri Peri Chicken. THIS time properly with bird’s eye chili, a little bit less garlic, and a little bit more lemon. Second time was better than the first! Still, cannot wait to have my third time cooking peri peri chicken be with actual Nando’s sauces!!

    Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 9.58.31 PM

    Shoutout to Nando’s.
    My favorite chicken ever.
    Nando’s is the best.

  2. Tomorrow, the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art (UMMA) is hosting an after hours event featuring the art of Tyree Guyton! He’s the creator behind Detroit’s Heidelberg Project, literal street art at its best with an inspirational message that never fails to spark discussion. The Heidelberg Project is near and dear to my heart because of a couple of visits in high school, and I’m excited to check out the UMMA event and show my support for an awesome artist and leader!
  3. Speaking of Detroit, I just watched this short documentary called “The Detroit Graduates” yesterday, which peers into the lives of five kids in their senior year of high school, and again a year and a half later. It was real. Just real people and their stories. It’s good.
  4. I caught up with someone I knew in high school the other day, and it was so nice. It’s got me really thinking about trying to organize some kind of reunion this holiday season. Everyone is scattered everywhere, and we’ve all grown so much and so differently, but people still come home to see their families during the holidays right?
  5. Relatedly and unrelatedly, I miss the days when we’d all just pick up our phones and call people randomly, maybe just because we didn’t have anything better to do, and talk, maybe for hours. Now I feel like if I were to do that, the person on the other line would definitely think that I’m super weird. Or probably just not pick up and text me back later. Sigh.
  6. Fall Ball is this weekend (the med school’s fall dance). I’m excited! Hunt missed out on going last year because he was in Chicago visiting me that weekend, so we decided we’re going to check it out and have a blast at this year’s. What to wear, what to wear…
  7. I’m thinking about getting back into tap dancing! Again! Kelly wants me to do a hip hop class with her (lol), but the dance studio that class is at ALSO offers tap. I am not good at hip hop and that’s going to be a disaster/hilarious when we go next week, but tap, I love tap!
  8. I’m doing miserably on my September reading list. The two books that I wanted to read are apparently REALLY popular(??) because there are like a million requests on the copies at the library and none available. Guess I’m skipping over them for now. But today I picked up “The Invention of Wings”, and I’m excited to read it after my trip to Charleston. “Sue Monk Kidd’s sweeping new novel is set [in early-nineteenth-century Charleston], and is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday in 1803, when she is given ownership of ten-year-old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. The Invention of Wings follows their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years as both strive for lives of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement, and the uneasy ways of love. This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at one of the most devastating wounds in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.”
  9. Apple things to make: apple pie, apple sauce, apple onion chutney (pork chops), apple gruyere caramelized onion bites, apple grilled cheese, apple bacon burgers, apple popovers, apple cinnamon pancakes, apple butter, apple slaw… READY FOR MY ANNUAL APPLE ORCHARD TRIP! Conveniently, the local Northwestern alum club is hosting at my FAVORITE orchard (Erwin’s). Will be thanking NU for the free cider and notes.
  10. Donald Trump saying “China” drinking game? “People from China, they love me!”

Thursday Thoughts – 9/10/15

  1. I know it’s been a good one and a half weeks since the MTV VMA’s, but Tori Kelly’s “Should’ve Been Us” performance is STILL giving me chills. Have followed her on Youtube since 2010; so happy she’s such a star now.
  2. When J.K. Rowling says it’s so, you KNOW it’s so… it’s officially the dawn of the Age of Hufflepuffs. I’ve never been a prouder Hufflepuff!!
  3. There’s a jazzy street performer on the Main St block by the lofty, and the other day he was sax-ing up a jazzy version of Blank Space and it was COOL. I love street performers, and it made me think of all my favorites in Chicago (tap dancer at Monroe red line, super soulful singer at Grand red line, British magician on the Michigan Ave bridge).
  4. I don’t understand DSLR cameras, can someone please teach me how to use them. Kelly and I went to Detroit on Labor Day and I thought, oh why not take this nice camera (it’s my mom’s), but then half the pictures turned out blurry/dark. Help.
  5. I am really bad at yoga. I would really, really love to love it (it’s so good for you! yoga bodies are so bomb!) but I’m so bad at it.
  6. I’m going to Charleston this weekend!! Very excited. I don’t know ANYTHING about it, but one night, about a year and a half ago, I had a dream that I moved to Charleston and was so very happy there… and ever since, I’ve really, really wanted to visit. Since then, I’ve learned that it’s one of the top wedding destinations in the states because it’s so charming and beautiful. I’ve also learned that it’s a major foodie hot spot. And I love food. And I’ve made reservations at Husk and Magnolia’s. Can’t wait to get my southern comfort food fix and share it with you guys!
  7. Speaking of trips, my mom and I are thinking about eschewing all Thanksgiving tradition this year, and road tripping it down to Nashville for the extra long holiday weekend! She’s really excited about it, and texted me a (Chinese) article about all the things we can do in Tennessee together. Like visit Elvis Presley’s home (lol).
  8. I’ve been re-reading the 101 Zen Stories from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones and am reminded of why I loved it so much the first time around. I sometimes summarize my overall thought perspective by saying “I strive to carry my treasure house with me, and find all the strawberries along the way.” And here are the two stories from where this comes from –

    Daiju visited the master Baso in China. Base asked: “What do you seek?”
    “Enlightenment,” replied Daiju.
    “You have your own treasure house. Why do you search outside?” Base asked.
    Daiju inquired: “Where is my treasure house?”
    Baso answered: “What you are asking is your treasure house.”
    Daiju was enlightened! Ever after he urged his friends: “Open your own treasure house and use those treasures.”

    […]

    Buddha told a parable in a sutra:
    A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.
    Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

  9. This video of men trying out what labor pains feel like… is amazing and hilarious and everyone should watch it.

Monthly “Make it Happen” List – September 2015

  1. Tune guitar and learn a few songs. I now have an acoustic guitar (Yamaha F310 for anyone who knows anything about guitars aka not me) snugly sitting in a black case in the corner of my living room. It belonged to my dad and I don’t think it’s been touched in several years, but it has a new home here now! And I mean, if 14 year old Justin Bieber can do this with a guitar, I should totally be able to learn a few chords/songs, right?
  2. Make an art trip to Detroit. I love Detroit. I hugely believe in its roots, stories, arts, and am a supporter of its revival! Saw this article on 35 must-see pieces of street art in Detroit, and definitely need to make a trip out to see how many I can find.
  3. Check out Literati events. Literati is the bookstore right across the street from the new lofty, and it’s so charming, and it has a monthly calendar of events that it hosts! I first heard of it last year when a couple of my friends went to a British books and cheese event that it hosted. British books and cheese! I’m considering joining the book club.
  4. RUN (before half-marathon in Oct…) Yep. I’m running my first half-marathon in October. How’s my training going? Don’t really want to talk about it.
  5. Learn how to belly dance. My friend Kelly has actually convinced me to sign up for belly dancing classes with her at Leilah Dances. They start next week. I’m not convinced that I’ll be very successful at it (that region of my body just doesn’t move that way!) but hey, we’ll see what happens.
  6. Obtain Indian chai. And practice making it until satisfactory. I miss the stuff, and the friend who used to make it for me all the time.
  7. Compile a list of apple recipes (in prep for apple orchard season!). I LOVE APPLE ORCHARD SEASON. In the years that I lived in Chicago, apple orchards and cider mills are what I missed the most about Michigan. Fun fact – did you know that the nearest “apple picking” experience around Chicago is a drive super far west to pick apples out of crates? Crates that are IMPORTED FROM MICHIGAN.

Cook: PERI PERI CHICKEN. (Stay tuned for a post!)
Read: Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson), All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)