Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ben's birthday bash

Today was Ben's birthday, so our floor decided a party was in order. Some 'funfetti' cake mix, chocolate frosting, almond M&M's, and a bag of jelly beans, and we were good to go.

Doesn't Clare make the cutest Martha Stewart?

Our cake, fresh out of the oven and smelling delicious!

More birthday essentials: yummy frosting and a card.

Turning the big 1-8.

We used the M&M's to write "18" and kept the jelly beans to use as a border around the cake.

Ben doing the honors.

Yummm! Hardly anything was left.

Happy 18th, Ben!

P.S. Just got my new lens in the mail: the 50 mm f/1.8D. It's great for portrait shots - my favorite! Yay!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Cords

With an outdoor pre-orientation hiking trip (so much fun!), a solid week of orientation, and classes starting yesterday, it's been pretty crazy lately. But the other day, I had some time to take photos of the Dartmouth Cords, an a cappella group on campus. Not only are they a great group of guys, but they're also super talented! Check out their songs on Youtube and their latest CD, No Size Fits All.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

DIY: photo frame

When I saw this post a few months ago, I tried to think of a good opportunity to try the same idea. And then at the beginning of summer, it hit me! What a better way to say 'goodbye' and 'thank you for the past 18 years' to my parents than to give them this distressed window with photos stuck behind the panes of glass? It's both practical and personal, something they can hang in the house and something with sentimental value.

I picked up the this old window at Whole House Building Supply & Salvage: the place is fantastic if you're searching for DIY supplies. Doors, mirrors, marble slabs - you name it, they've got it.

Mom started getting all mushy just looking at it ...oh, parents =)

So yes, life at home wrapped up rather quickly at the end of the summer. One 6 hour plane flight and a 3 hour bus ride later, I am now at Dartmouth College! I leave for a pre-orientation hiking trip tomorrow, but I promise to return in a few days with yet another DIY post - this time about dorm room decorations!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Reunion with a wonderful friend

He stood at the end of the hallway, hands folded, deep in thought. I took a deep breath.
"Are you Father Schall? I think I'm signed up to sit in on your next class."
And thus was born our friendship. It was my junior year of high school, and I was visiting colleges. It was his forty-third year of teaching, and he was waiting for his next class to begin.
James V. Schall isn't just one of the most prolific Catholic writers in the country. He's a Jesuit priest with an award named after him. He's both wonderfully optimistic and hilariously cynical. He knows sports, literature, and political theory like the back of his hand. He is on a lifelong search for the perfect croissant. He's a favorite professor of Georgetown students.

But of course I had no clue I was introducing myself to one of Georgetown's legends. Heck, I was sure I had this college visitation thing down pat: attend the info session, go on a campus tour, and (time permitting), sit in on a class.

Fr. Schall arched an eyebrow as I explained my trip back east. "So you fly out here, maybe visit one school a day? How do you know if you like it or not?" I confidently explained my theory about getting a 'vibe' from the people at each place and getting to know the student body.
"So you meet one person you like and you decide you'll apply to the school. You meet one person you don't like and the school's out?" He began to smile. "Seems like a waste of your parents' money."
We talked for the next fifteen minutes or so before class started: it turned out he had grown up in the Bay Area as well, and my parents had attended his alma mater.
I sent him an email a few days later thanking him for letting me attend his class - I think I wrote that something he said had reminded me of Huxley's Brave New World. Fr. Schall jumped all over the reference and wrote back asking me for my opinion on various literary themes. And so we quickly became pen pals.
When he told me he would be in the Bay Area to attend a bash at Santa Clara University this summer, I insisted we meet up for lunch. Fr. Schall is such a fascinating person. Seeing him again was wonderful!

What mentors or teachers have shaped your life?

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Most of us have not been to a tea party since those elementary school days with close friends and a few stuffed animals.
Which is why I thought it would be fun to invite my friend Courtney over for a little tea party before we left for school. I've known her since second grade! And thanks to her British parents, tea was always a regular part of our playdates. But we haven't seen each other - let alone had a tea party - in a long time.
It was so much fun! While catching up about our summers, we made four batches of cookies: chocolate peanut butter oatmeal, cinnamon pecan, gingersnap, and coconut macadamia. Baking is twice as fun with a friend.
I'll link to the recipes we used, but we also did a bit of experimenting:
Chocolate peanut butter oatmeal: we left out the chocolate and peanut butter chips and added Quaker oats instead.
Cinnamon pecan: it's just the basic Tollhouse recipe, but we substituted chopped pecans for chocolate chips and sprinkled cinnamon on top. These are also tasty if you add a pinch of salt on top right after they come out of the oven.
Gingersnap: We left this recipe intact.
Coconut macadamia: We added chopped macadamia nuts.

We only used about one third of the dough for each recipe - which believe me, allowed for more than enough cookies! I baked the rest of the dough the next day and brought it to school for the newspaper staffers.

From the center of the plate outward, the cookies are gingersnap, coconut macadamia, chocolate peanut butter oatmeal, and cinnamon pecan. Yumm! What are your favorite types of cookies?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Slowing down...

Lately, I've been trying to pack all sorts of things into my schedule before leaving for college.
Go out to my favorite restaurant one last time (check!)
Make cookies for the newspaper staffers (soon to be completed!)
Meet up with old friends (check check check!)
Go bowling (I even made a strike without using bumpers!)
Attend an outdoor concert (double check!)
Go to the farmers market to buy fresh fruits and veggies (check!)
Write more letters to people who have influenced my past four years of school (check!)

My mom laughed at my last minute to-do list. "Kaytee, it's not like you're dying. This will all still be here."

Yes and no. Yes, everything will still be here when I come home for Christmas. But that seems so far away. I want to soak it all in right now. I want to make sure I remember and appreciate every little thing. Don't get me wrong: I can't wait for college to start. But I also know there will be a lot of things about home that I will miss.

The other day, my parents and I went over the hill to Santa Cruz to have breakfast on the water. We walked along the beach for a little bit and then played a game of Scrabble on the sand. What with working two jobs and being obsessed with frantic to-do list making, I always seem to be so busy. So many things I've planned all the time. But just for once, just that one morning, spending time with my family - it was enough.