family dinner

Jeremy and I used to cook all the time. Pretty much any night we had together we were making something for dinner, and often something new.

Here in Chicago our kitchen is not quite as conducive to hanging out while making meals, we no longer get all the delicious produce we enjoyed in Echo Park, and our time together post-work feels slightly more limited. As a result, we haven’t had many great dinners together. And we miss making real food. So we’re taking action.

We’re doing that plan-out-your-meals-calendar-two-weeks-in-advance thing, choosing dinner’s we’ll make, delegating who’s in charge of which meals, and taking a major trip to the store for groceries every couple Sundays. We’re only one week in and we started on a Tuesday so it’s only resulted in two new meals thus far, but it’s been great. Thursday night, we lucked out with a great recipe courtesy of Real Simple Magazine. Fun to make, delicious to eat. I highly recommend you give these Chorizo and Potato Tacos with Black Bean Salsa a try.



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Dear west London, thanks for the music.

It’s official. I’ve found a favorite.

I hate when people ask me what my favorite of anything is. Movie? Color? Place to eat? It doesn’t matter what it is; I hate it. Favorite is such a strong word. It’s not fair. I can never provide an answer that represents myself well and is actually true. It drives me nuts. (You should know that I’m aware I am a little crazy. That’s beside the point.)

Moving on. I have a new favorite band. A favorite band. Perhaps someday I’ll regret claiming that Mumford and Sons is my favorite band, but today I just cannot help myself. I bought their album on itunes. It’s official.

I found these peeps at Lollapalooza, of all places. “Lolla”–as it is affectionately called by music-loving Chicagoans–is a huge 3-day outdoor music festival that happens in Grant Park every summer. Jeremy and I coughed up the cash to attend one day, to take part in a major Chicago summer tradition.

One of Jeremy’s friends had told us that, as crazy as giant outdoor festivals can be (not to mention sweaty, crowded, boozy), Lolla was a neat opportunity to discover unfamiliar bands and new music. At the time I wasn’t so convinced, but still was looking forward to seeing bands like MGMT and The Arcade Fire perform live.

We arrived in the early afternoon, and stumbled upon a crowd waiting for Mumford and Sons to perform. Jeremy knew of them, and I remembered my friend Emily saying they were really great, so we stood in the hot sun under an umbrella and waited for them to come on. As I watched and listened, I said to myself, “I think I’m becoming a fan right now.” And I was.

photo by: Matt Ellis

Everything about this band is awesome. They’re described as four young men with “fire in their bellies, romance in their hearts, and rapture in their masterful, melancholy voices.” They come from west London and play the most brilliant music with clever lyrics and a wide variety of instruments. You’ve got to love a band that utilizes an accordion, a madolin, a banjo, and a dobro (have you ever even heard that word?). They all sing. They all play all the instruments. It’s clear they play music for the love of it, and that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Need I say more?

This music reminds me of all the reasons I love music. I’m so glad I have eardrums.

tribute to my shmaps

This is my dad. Michael Moore. Hands down, no question, the absolute best father in the world. You will not find a better one. This man is so great, it makes me sad he has no sons to carry on his family name. That’s how great.

This tribute is not for no reason at all. Today, September 16th, is his birthday. And I couldn’t be more thankful this man was born. I’m not thankful because he made my existence possible. I truly think the world is a better place with Michael C. Moore in it.

Some things I love love love about my dad:

The fact that he’s an engineer. Engineering wasn’t always my dad’s dream job, but he’s really great at it, and I love how easily he can understand and explain complicated things. One time he told me all about how the air conditioner in the car works, just for fun.

His creativity. My dad is quite possibly the most creative, inventive person I’ve ever known. When we were young, in the days long before digital video and editing, my dad got all the neighbor kids, my sister and myself together to make a silent film about a family of zucchinis, set to music.

His sense of humor. All you people out there who think I’m funny, this man is largely to blame. He’s the source. When we were young, he told my sister and I we were not aloud to tell others to “shut up.” He said instead we could just tell people to SYFFT (pronounced sift), which stood for “shut your fat flapping trap.” It’s difficult to explain in written words how he is the best kind of hilarious you can find. I just love being around him.

His humility. My dad is so low profile. He has all the reason in the world to be prideful, and yet he is the most humble, unassuming person you’ll come across. He’s kind and generous and never draws attention to himself.

His love for my mom. All our lives, my dad set the bar high for my sister and my future husbands. He has always treated my mom like he really enjoys her. In a world where marriages were constantly struggling and falling apart, my sister and I always had a healthy one to look up to. I’m so thankful for his faithfulness and love to her.

His trust in the Lord. My dad has a strong relationship with God, and has set an incredible example to be content in our circumstances and to expect that God is able to do great things. He lives his life in a way that is sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and he’s taught me to seek to do the same.

I could talk about my dad for hours. I just really truly think he’s the best. He inspires me to be a far better person than I am. I admire and love him so much, and hope I can be just like him someday.

I’m so blessed to be the daughter of this man! HERE’S TO MY SHMAPS ON HIS BIRTHDAY!!!

hello again, everyone.

It’s not officially autumn, but the most pleasant fall breeze is blowing in the window next to my desk. It’s my day off. My favorite music is playing, I’m drinking coffee out of my favorite mug, and the dog is close by. It’s times like these I’m convinced life is significant, and short, and that I might be the most fortunate person in the world.

Jeremy is in New York City for the day. Teach For America sent him on a 24-hour-trip for some training to prepare for the rapidly approaching selection season for new TFA applicants. It’s incredible how quickly we’ve settled into our lives here. It feels like we’ve been in Chicago far more than just half a summer.

Both of us are back to working full time. My new job is a handful, to say the least. I’m finding it far more difficult than my previous job. I was oriented to the hospital, NMH (Northwestern Memorial Hospital) nursing, and my unit (the CTICU) in five weeks. My second day on my own I admitted a patient with open heart surgery straight from the OR (in all the months I worked at UCLA off orientation, I never did this). My third day, I pulled a patient’s chest tubes (something only doctors and nurse practitioners can do at UCLA). My fourth day I extubated a patient (which I also never did on my own at UCLA). Never a dull moment. Never a slow day.

All that being said, I’m really enjoying how I’m being challenged at this new job. Every day I’m being pushed to be a better nurse (and human being, for that matter) whether I feel like it or not. The transition from UCLA to NMH has been just the thing that I needed at this point in my nursing career (and life), and also probably the very thing I would not have chosen, had I known all it was going to involve. For this reason, I’m so thankful God drew our hearts to Chicago and put me in this job immediately.

Something else I’m thankful for:

This is our church! Covenant Presbyterian. It’s wonderful. It’s a PCA church, just like the one we’d found in Pasadena before moving. Jeremy and I are leading a small group in our apartment with a girl named Abby, who is really neat. We had our first meeting last Monday evening, which was a delight and a blessing. Something else I have been incredibly excited about and blessed by at Covenant is the ability to be involved in worship. They even have a choir. Yes, please. Yes. Music is an element of my life that never seemed to fit into my California world, and being able to participate meaningfully in it here makes me feel like I am my whole self again. The church is not quite a mile from our place, so we bike there a lot. We love this.

SPEAKING OF BIKING. Jeremy and I drove to Ohio last weekend to participate in the big Hancock Horizontal 100, a bike race in Findlay, OH. We got really sore, and sunburned, but we made it 50 miles. Jeremy’s grandpa (!) went 62, and his parents rode all 100 on their tandem. It was great to spend some time with family, and get a little exercise while we were at it.

Well. I don’t have much else to say, and I hate to say it but I have no clever way to end this post. So I guess I’ll just end by saying YOU SHOULD COME VISIT US HERE IN THIS WINDY CITY.