I grew up listening to the classical music of my mom, the folk-ish music of my dad, and the constant stream of National Public Radio. I was a band kid through college (trombone), when I switched to choral music (soprano). I'd been drawn in by the music of the King's Singers and the Cambridge Singers and I'd found my place. I sang throughout college in the Berea College Concert Choir. When I studied at the University of York, I joined the student-run Glee Singers. Heading to Minneapolis for grad school, I discovered the Plymouth Congregational Church Choir, led by maestro Philip Brunelle. Moving to California, I decided to take a break from singing, but ended up being a founding member of the Vocal Network, Facebook's a capella group. My Spotify profile demonstrates my current musical interests and obsessions. I have a piano and can, technically, play although I'm quite rusty.
Growing up, my mom did most of the cooking, but in high school, I split duties with dad. Since then he's taken off, making bread, cheese, meats, and more. He's been incorporating this into his teaching and has played a large part in helping open the Berea College Farm Store.
Like most people, I enjoy food and eating. I enjoy cooking and baking a variety of food. My recent obsessions have been with walnut-oat crackers and chocolate milk. Simple, but satisfying. I enjoy rice pudding, pudding pops, warm brown rice, fresh berries, cheese, cheesecake, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I can't stand processed cheese, olives, sausage, or fennel. Recently I've been on a diet to try and eliminate or minimize my headaches. Avoiding soy, gluten, and eggs is hard, it turns out. It also is a great way to mix things up in the kitchen. I highly recommend America's Test Kitchen How to Can It Be Gluten Free. In general, some of my favorite cookbooks are Baking by Dorie Greenspan and the Cook's Illustrated Cookbook.
Most recently, I've spent most of my time in Minneapolis. My favorite delivery pizza is Pizza Luce, with the best pizza being NO LONGER ON THE MENU (taco pizza). The baked potato pizza and pizza Athena are pretty delicious though. My rule of thumb at Luce is not to order a pizza you could find at another pizza spot. Best dine-in pizza? Pizzeria Lola. The Boise, hands down (gluten or gluten-free crusts). (Though if you need a second pizza, the Xerxes is amazing, sans olives, and makes the best cold breakfast pizza ever.) And get the roasted cauliflower as a starter. Favorite nice restaurant? Tilia. They've changed their butternut squash soup since I've been there, but I'm betting it's still amazing. My favorite restaurant meal outside of Minneapolis was at FIG in Charleston, SC.
I've enjoyed reading ever since I can remember. Here's a (partial) list of my reading from the summer of 1997.
During college and grad school, my reading dropped off, but with a Kindle purchase last year, it's picked up. I really enjoy memoirs and recently I've been into mysteries. I'm always happy for recommendations. The mystery series that I just finished is the Kate Martinelli series by Laurie R. King. Strong women are always an asset in a book. I've been occasionally keeping track of my reading on Goodreads.
Over the course of my life I've lived in two countries and six states. In addition, I've visited 43 states, seven Canadian provinces, and fifteen countries on three continents. I enjoy traveling alone although I'm starting to feel a bit too old for crashing in Youth Hostels. Some of my favorite trips include:
Our honeymoon on the South Island, New Zealand in 2013
A week I spent in Finland, Estonia, Denmark, and Sweden in 2011
A canyon backpacking trip with a group of friends in Utah in 2009
A trip with Ben to Alaska in 2008
A week in England to attend the King's Singers 40th anniversary celebrations in 2008
Traveling around Italy and Switzerland with my friend Rachel in 2007
Studying abroad in at the University of York in 2004
A college course trip to Mexico in 2004 to study women in the Zapatista movement
Driving from Alaska to Kentucky as part of our family move in 1998
Around home, I rarely pick up a camera that isn't in a phone, but when I'm traveling further afield, I like to take photos as momentos of my excursions. I've graduated from a disposable camera in 1996 to my third small point-and-shoot from Canon. Still, I'm proud of many of the photos I've taken documenting my travels.
Left to Right: On a ferry outside Tallinn (Estonia), the Otago Peninsula (New Zealand), Lupines at Lake Tekapo (New Zealand), the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River, Florence (Italy)
Kenai Lake, Alaska
I have more pictures on flickr.
Perhaps because I spend so much time at computers in a week, I've found that I really like working with my hands.
Several years ago I started accumulating supplies for making scrapbooks. I enjoy dealing with design and layout in such a tactile form. For some reason, I'm terrified of writing the wrong thing on the pages though, so none of my scrapbooks contain any words beyond the headers.
I tried knitting when I was eleven. The scarf was huge. And long. Knitting was boring. In college I tried again, but I was too cheap/poor to buy good wool and again, scarves were boring. Finally in grad school I discovered the hat and the world beyond simple knitting back and forth. I'm still a relatively cautious knitter, but I've accumulated a number of projects to try on Ravelry and my yarn stash is also growing quickly.
Last spring I decided that I'd channel some of my extra energy into a ceramics class. Ceramics seemed cool, but a big factor was that the rest of the community education courses were one week in and ceramics hadn't started yet. My class is amazing. Once a week I wake up bounding with energy: "I have ceramics tonight! I have ceramics tonight!" The class is run as an open studio with an instructor there to answer questions and guide newcomers. I highly recommend it. Also if you want a ceramic bowl, let me know. I have, well, a lot. Of varying quality. I'll post pictures at some point.
For a while, I regularly wrote a personal blog. Mostly abandoned, you might find it interesting. Lots of pictures and various ramblings. Topics include: