Today, I made a cookie shaped like the periodic table of elements.  It is pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.   

Please note: I did not make the extra two rows at the bottom, because there was no way to attach them and make it clear they were elements. 

This was a day-long adventure making nerd cookies by Becky & I for one of our nerd-buddies who is studying organic chemistry.  We also made beakers, test tubes, molecules (one of which you can see in the picture!), and the state of Illinois (he attends Northwestern).  Illinois came out remarkably well, considering we had to look up what exactly it looked like!  

A very creative afternoon.



Today, April 26th, is the two-year anniversary of my grandpa's death.  It's strange.  To be honest, I had forgotten.  I have little to no recollection for this particular date, only that I recall that it was mid-April (ish), but I thought it was earlier.   

I remember exactly where I was when I found out (Gettysburg College, senior parking lot, driver's seat) and events afterwards, but I have literally no memory connected with those events happening on any day in particular.   How very strange, but not altogether unsurprising.  

My aunt sent out an email a few weeks ago letting us know of the upcoming anniversary (which, incidentally, was how I found out when it was) and a suggestion that we use the day to spend it thinking of Grampa and do something that reminded us of him. 

Well, I forgot that it was today.  I forgot, that is, until I started to get emails in my inbox from various & sundry relations, forgot again, and remembered as I am heading to bed, as the day is turning into the next.  

I'm not sure yet what I will do.  Right now, I'm listening to a recording of Clair de Lune, which has certain points in the melody that bring out such quick, sharp memories that it surprises me.

I finally finished Atlas Shrugged.  I've had it for 6 years.  He bought it for me (of course).  I finally re-started reading it a few weeks ago, and could barely put it down.

I return again to the Edith Wharton quote that I read during the memorial service, and perhaps it's something good to meditate on:

"...one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways."  

I stick by that being a consummate description of Gramps.  

I suppose the real point is, at least for me, Gramps was such a key figure in my life that I can't help but think of him.  

Little things: pianos, skiing, hawai'i, green grapes, the waldorf=astoria (not so little), Lincoln...  It surrounds me.  Even my cherry-blossom print, which has not yet found a home on my wall.  

Those are my every-day memories, the things that make me smile.  It's the things I don't expect, that crop up in unexpected ways, that are how I cherish his memory. 

Another year will pass soon, and I will most likely forget the date again.  That doesn't matter.  What matters is the love, the happy memories -- I was just reminded of Kemp's Koffee Korner and those marine-layer mornings! -- and lessons learnt.  Be a leader!


fifth grade for lunch.

The place where I work always has peanut butter & jelly to make sandwiches.  So today I made one.  Also, I picked up those orange-peanut-butter crackers that everyone eats in elementary school, and found reese's peanut butter cups. 

Clearly, the theme is peanut butter.   Also: fifth grade retrospective. 

Regardless, it was delicious.   Oddly enough, it looks quite picturesque on that plate.

pilgrimage to the monuments

The Lincoln monument is by far my favorite.  I say this without question - every time I visit (and recently, that has been a lot), I walk in, admire the statue, then head to the sides and read the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural.   In addition to making me realize that I will never write that well in my entire life -- or sum up a nation's feelings (while "binding up its wounds") about a war that had spent the last four years tearing it apart.

Of course, there are other parts that strike me, but the end is particularly stirring.
...let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
My own dear friend who has "borne the battle" -- or, rather: bearing -- and I spoke a few nights ago.  I was surprised -- a blip, and a message from across the world.  It was sweet to talk to him, though there is nothing that makes your heart ache so much as knowing they have to go.  I worry.  Perhaps I shouldn't -- I should pray, but I haven't yet.   Instead, I end up finding my way to the World War II monument.

fountain at the monument

It makes me contemplative.

I think of the plans that were hatched to move with all of our friends to Spain and own a restaurant there, and it is my one exception to my rule that I will never be a server (due to me being inherently klutzy, incidentally).  Somehow Spain will give me the grace I need to balance tapas plates and I will learn Spanish and this idea was proposed to me 2 years ago, and I still cannot wait for it.  It's not set in stone, but it's something to look forward to.


In the meantime, I make my pilgrimages.  I stop at the paratrooper bronze, and remember our day at the Getty, all sunshine and ocean breezes.   


summit, saints & sinners.

This past weekend was the Christian Science "youth activist" (whatever that means) Summit in DC.  It's basically a get-together for CS kids 12-30, to see lectures, go to workshops, and meet other kids.  I went to one in Chicago this past October, which was surprisingly fantastic.  

Also, it gave me an excuse to be tourist-y!

I probably should have expected connections with people, but since Chicago was remiss in connections from my past, I assumed I would fly relatively under the radar at DC as well.  However, no less than five people upon hearing my name said something to the effect of: "You know, I know a Hummel family in California."   Turns out, conveniently, they meant my family!  Small world.  

Also, since very good friends of ours were throwing a "Saints & Sinners" party in Gettysburg, us Gettysburgians headed up -- armed with nerdy costumes, as this was no ordinary party.  To begin with, our ride up consisted of: 

Of course, there were the requisite "sexy" devils and angels, but we demand more creativity than sparkling devil horns and tail.  Josh went as Sisyphus, with our friend Tom as "a rock."   

My friend Mike was dressed as a post-modern Judas ("You know, like Jesus Christ Superstar") and, at midnight, walked over to his friend dressed as Jesus, kissed him on the cheek, and had Josh hand him a bag full of coins.  Mike then wandered off to the bathroom to make a noose, and Jesus was dragged off, dead, to another room.  

Moments later, as Becky and I were observing the situation, I turned, looking for Jesus, but he was not there.  Becky squealed: "He's risen!" and we just fell apart.  



a love affair with kitch.

Two major things in my life have made me stop and take pictures of them, and so I think that warrants a blog post.

The first is that I found an Abraham Lincoln keychain in the parking lot.  It's pretty fantastic.  Lincoln (in the middle) spins around.   Possibly the best part is that I am currently in the middle of a book called Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America that is all about the mythology of Lincoln.  It's a sign! 

In other news, I'm doing some temp work, at a place called KaBOOM! (they promote community-built playgrounds - awesome!) which is proving to be more involved than temp work, but that's ok - it's keeping me very, very busy.  Also: money!  This office is super colorful, and there are pots of plastic grass everywhere. 

I love my plastic grass.  I swear it looks real.  It is right next to my monitor, and it's not as if there are not 5 other pots within easy reach, but this pot does not have a pinwheel in it, and I love it.

I could put some "new growth" spin on it, but I won't.  I like it because it's springtime-y and green and fun.  At this point, I'm enjoying simplicity (and, apparently, kitsch!) and it makes things fun.

Tomorrow is the Washington D.C. area Christian Science Summit.  I'm excited, and I have one of my my friends that I met at the Chicago Summit in town, so I will have a buddy.   Here's hoping for good lectures and regular sodas!

cute grass


adventures in surreality

Today, Amy and I headed into Old Town Alexandria to go shopping, and as we are walking by the town square Amy looked confused, and said "Hey!  Is that the Pillsbury Dough Boy?"

Yes.  Yes it was.

Wow.  Apparently it was the National Trademark Expo at the US Patent Office, and there was a guy dressed as a giant registered trademark sign, which was odd, but so was the juxtaposition of the two corporations represented by characters: Pillsbury & Microsoft.


All I know is I got a picture with the Master Chief from Halo.  Eat your heart out, nerd-buddies.


let's roll some dice -- or, wait...

Originally uploaded by hummeline
So today was spent driving out to a game store for the intent to buy dice.  Not regular dice, but polyhedral dice.   As you can see, I am now the proud owner of a lovely little collection of dice, including 2 twenty-sided dice ("d20s") - and the middle one is purple, green, and blue: gorgeous!

At any rate, they're the first dice I've ever bought, as I no longer have access to Eric's bag of dice, which contains the sparkly-pink ones I have previously used (and loved).

It's strange, because I don't think of myself as a gamer, yet I've been involved with it for 8 years, and I bought these specifically for a game (and by that, I mean role-playing game) of Tyler's, called the Circle

This game in particular becomes an excuse to delve deep into character development & world-building, which provides an excuse to write and makes one think about fictional characters (for that is what they are) in new ways.  They take on minds of their own, which is a familiar feeling for those who write, but it is always strange to have a character react to things in ways that you don't expect -- or to hang on to feelings that you thought they would have long-abandoned.  

I like that.  Even if it never explicitly comes out in the game, there are bottled up emotions that I associate with my character that determine her every move, and in that way, it makes the game more real.  Not real in the sense that Infernal Gaslamp was, when my character was a thinly-veiled version of myself (crushes and all!), but real in the sense that those latent feelings makes the game a more life-like experience.

Of course, I will probably never be in disguise and a member of a ragtag band of mercenaries trying to convince a foreign government to give us an army to beat back mutated beasts, but if I were, I have a feeling it would be similar, because, in game, there are all the personalities, biases, hatreds, friendships, and reactions of real people.

In the meantime, I'm editing the wiki we've created so all the players can keep all the facts about the world straight.  It's currently 573 pages.  That's a lot of information, most of which will go un-mentioned, but the delicious detail is so fun to learn, especially for the historian in me.  

A month left until the next session -- and I cannot wait.  I will be connected through my computer, but at least I'll have fantastic dice.


rocket to the moon

Sometimes Disneyland just makes me smile.   Even though I mourn the loss of Astro Jets, I still think this Jules Verne-y tower is cool to take pictures of.   That's my superficial story & I'm stickin' to it.

(that being said, I hope they keep Small World as it is...)


bring me that cylon religion

So I was reading the lesson for this week, that has a passage from Genesis (32:30, specifically) as its major point of study for the week.

...I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

Maybe I've been watching too much Battlestar Galactica (impossible!), but I just got to giggling, because it sounds exactly like how the Cylons (that would be the robot bad guys, for those of you not as fluent in BSG) speak about their religion - in particular, it sounds exactly like Number 3's quest to find the Final Five Cylon models.

 Fantastic.  Hee hee.


nothin' but the rain

can't you see that it's just rainin'
ain't no need to go outside

It is actually raining tonight, so Jack Johnson seems apropos.  It's a strange feeling, having rain last for a day -- or days.  Maybe it's the Californian in me, that would always hope that the short bursts of rain we would get would last for the day.  

Of course, they never did, but now that I'm in the East, I still marvel at the fact that a rainstorm could possibly last for so long.  There's still this excited thrill that it still rains, after hours, and deep down, I hope it continues. 

I've been relatively spiritual and introspective recently, and frankly, I see no reason to stop now.  I need this catharsis (or something) of writing it all down and putting a spotlight on my life, because if I don't, I feel I won't see what I need to see to move forward. 

Today I'm working with this idea of patience.   I'm always working with patience.  I'm a very impatient person.   When the family decided to have "spiritual missions" for each trip, everyone picked lovely things like "seeing the Christ in others," but I had no such poetic flights.  I am impatient, ergo I chose patience as my spiritual mission.  This was back in 2005, and I'm still impatient, so it's still my mission.  Theoretically.  

Cue the present day, and my patience is being tried daily.  It's not for bad things either: it's things that I need to be patient and trust that someone else (God) knows my way better than I do.  But I'm still impatient.  I would like to, for example, have a job right now.  I would also like to know where I will live in a few months.

In the past few days, thanks to a well-timed phone call from Mom, I stood back and re-evaluated.  I started -- actually, inadvertantly! -- to really see the happiness and joy that comes from waiting to see something unfold. 

Perhaps most apparent to me, I followed the "calm, strong currents of true spirituality" (S&H 99:23) and let quite a bit of anxiety about relationships go.  I'm looking situations in the eye, and instead of fretting over the next step, declaration, or move, I'm finding myself pleasantly surprised and genuinely pleased with the gradual advances.

Also, after being a bit petrified about where I would hang my hat come June 1st, I just had a lovely housing opportunity arise, which would mean living with wonderful, sweet friends, and cooking delicious meals together.  What bliss!

I don't know where any of these will lead, but being accepting of the pace (for once!), and enjoying the journey certainly makes it more lovely.



rough waves do shake the darling buds of april

rough waves do shake the darling buds of april
rough waves do shake the darling buds of april
Originally uploaded by hummeline

Today -- finally, sunshine! -- I made it to the Tidal Basin to look at cherry blossoms.  The wind was blowing (as evidenced by the waves it chopped up) but it was a balmy, 70° wind, so it was more a harbinger of more Spring.  Wonderful!


washington, framed

blossoms & railing

long branches

roof of blossoms


abide with me

abide  verb  3 [ intrans. ]  continue without fading or being lost.

That definition is only supposed to apply to feelings or memories, but I rather like it applying to life.