Monday, December 27, 2010

A (Belated) Birthday Letter

Happy Birthday Nat.

You turned 28
a few weeks ago, I know you know, you were there. Now you’re an even age in a prime year and for some reason we both like the sound of that. It feels monumental. So it stands to reason that 28 in 2011 will be a good one. Make it happen!

This year has been a long one, longer than others in recent memory. Weeks were weeks and months were months. You finished the year the way you started—one routine day after another. One foot in front of another. One crested wave at a time. You worked a lot this year and it wasn’t always clean or easy—in fact it was rather grueling and uneasy at times as you dealt with some fairly abnormal and uncomfortable situations. But now you’re a rockstar at what you do and you wouldn’t trade what you learned professionally (both project and personnel wise) this year. You’ve graduated to the majors. Congrats!

This was the year you might have become a platinum flyer if you stuck to one airline instead of two or three. Salt Lake, New York (x3), Portland, Colorado Springs, Detroit, New York, Montreal, Kansas City, New Hampshire, Amsterdam, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Salt Lake, Portland, Detroit, Panama, New York, Portland, Salt Lake. You finally figured out the art of packing (Method: pick a color palette and then create a cohesive line), and more importantly, the art of unpacking. (Method: do it the second you walk in the door. No excuses.) And to think – you planned twice as many trips as this in your head.

You also learned the nerdy joy of saving. This, plus the fact you sometimes buy your cheese at the counter has certified you as an adult.

All kidding aside, you are an adult, and you’ve learned to serve like one this year. Serving God has become part of your daily routine and it’s been the greatest blessing of the year. It’s easier to keep perspective on what’s important and what’s not when you’re anxiously engaged in a good and righteous cause. The minutia of life’s tiny injustices become moot when you remember that myopic vision keeps your line of sight narrow.

This is the lesson you should remember from year twenty-seven. Keep expanding your peripheral vision and look out for others and you’ll be alright.

You have been, are, and will no doubt continue to be abnormally blessed. Keep focusing on the “haves” instead of the “have nots.” Drink a little more water. Wear heels more often. Go and do and then don’t regret. Be a better visiting teacher. Don’t feel anxious thinking you should feel guilty for enjoying spending time alone. Use 4 words when you’d rather use 13. Laugh more. Move your car on street sweeping day and avoid the $50 tickets. Keep listening (loudly) to Country music—it still makes you believe in love.

Above all else, know that I love you. The realization has been the greatest gift of this Late-20’s stage. Please regift to 29.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Free public wifi, security, and you

As the computer nerd among us, I feel it's my duty to pass along a very important fact concerning free public wifi internet and your personal account. When you login to something (gmail, facebook, anything that requires authentication, etc.) your username and password is typically encrypted, but little else is. It's very easy for people/hackers to assume your identity on accounts by pulling your unencrypted cookies from the public wifi you're using. (This article is technical but easily understood if you have interest in knowing more.)

One of my developers walked me through this process and I was shocked to see what I could do "as" someone else on facebook, or whose email I could browse through. The good news is that most of these accounts require you to type in your old password before changing to a NEW password, so you shouldn't ever be locked completely out of your account, but much harm can be done before you know it. So! Beware of what you're doing on free public wifi -- this includes the airport (where I now sit typing this email as I'm avoiding Facebook for this very reason.) The good news is that Gmail can be saved. Each of you (ALL of you) should take the following steps to secure your Gmail connection.

1. Sign in to Gmail.
2. Click on Settings in the upper right hand corner.
3. Under the "General" tab, "Browser Connection" area, make sure "Always use https" is selected.

That's it! This will make sure Gmail is encrypting every page you're on when you access it -- from any device, on any network, anywhere in the world. PROMISE ME YOU'LL DO THIS.

Okay! That's it for me. A pre-Christmas gift from me to you. Not as great as a tin 'o three flavored popcorns, but a heckuva lot more useful, right?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A new quest

I'm on the hunt for this outfit now. I think I shall begin tonight.

Anyone want to join me?

Image found here, a collection of incredibly gorgeous photography that has me inspired on all kinds of levels.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

An Argyle Christmas Craft

I have two cousins, Erica and Brittney, who are incredibly crafty. Crafty and with kids. I hardly find time to craft, and I'm only in charge of making sure food makes it from the table into my own mouth. But with seven days of Panamanian beachy nothing-ness stretched before me over Thanksgiving week, I decided to put my hands to use.

Felt is the staple fabric in the Wood/Williams Christmas decorations. The majority of our ornaments, stockings, tree skirts, etc. are laboriously cut, sequined and beaded together by needlepoint. Knowing that lugging a sewing machine to Panama (if I had one) was out, I designed a tree garland I could craft upon while on the plane, sitting on the deck during a rainstorm, or while catching sun at the pool. And I needed something that could be completed. (I have a tendency to leave half-completed crafts.)

Step 1: Cut felt into squares. I did some 2" x 2" and some 3" x 3". It depends how big you want your garland and how much time you want it to take. (Larger size = faster to complete. Is this the best craft ever or what?) I'm lazy and didn't measure my cutting at all (isn't cutting always the worst part of crafting?) -- eyeballing it worked for the most part, but I'm not a true perfectionist when it comes to crafting. If you are, you may want to create a pattern.

Step 2: Thread your needle with three threads of embroidery floss. I used quite a large needle -- one with enough of a point on the needle to stick through the felt, but wanted an easy eye to thread. I used a #18 needle for Chenille. (This is me pretending I know what I'm talking about.)

Step 3: Stitch together. I used three colors--red, white, and cream in a bit of an argyle pattern. I created a star on the white squares, but any kind of pattern would be cute. (A green/orange/purple/black woudl be cute for Halloween too!)And thaaaaaaat's about it. Easy? Yes. I'm beyond pleased with the way it turned out and it'll be nice to have for the next few decades. Happy to answer questions if you've got them!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Celebrate good times

28 is hardly an extraordinary age to be turning, right? I mean, it's just kind of a filler year on the everclosermarchto30. Nonetheless, how thrilled and outright surprised I was that the casual celebrating of 28 are some of my favorite yet.

NatAttack's 28th Birthday

Lunch with my girlfriends. Dinner and trivia with some boyfriends and the world's-best-roommate. A lot of smiles and laughter and yellow-and-black checked-shirt-wearing.

Last year, I wrote a capstone letter to myself on 27th eve. I may be two days late, but I think I'd like a follow-up. But first I'm still working on my Christmas card. Thanks for the addresses if you've sent them. Prepare to receive them next week.

I made the following comment on Facebook yesterday, and I stand firmly behind it.
I know the greatest people in the world. Thanks for making an insignificant birthday year significant!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Well, I guess this is the year.

10 years out of the house on my own and I guess I'm going to send a Christmas card. It's been on the list for a few years now but I've never committed to it. Now that I'm celebrating an anniversary(!) I guess I'll buckle down and do it.

So. If you want in on this festive jazz, shoot me an email/text/facebookmsg/IM/owl with your address. I don't even have to know you! Because nothing says "Merry Christmas" like hanging the photo of someone you don't know on your fridge or mantel or in the trash.

Also? Each day of December has blown me away. This month might be the best in the history of the world.

Definitely, maybe, probaby related posts:

If NatA! posted a photo with this blog, here it is!