Wednesday, October 28, 2009

new blog!

Not sure if anyone checks this blog still, but just in case:

I have officially changed my blog over to what was the wedding website:

So... that's where I'll be.

Over and out,


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance."

-Jane Austen

**With special emphasis by Haylie Swenson,
fiancée of one Ross Dewey**

Sunday, May 10, 2009

in just spring

I'm loving two things about equally right now: spring, when the world is "mud-luscious" and "puddle-wonderful"; and e. e. cummings, who wrote this poem.

What is delighting you today?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

the fitful blogger

I know I've been an unsteady blogger recently (after I promised so faithfully to post often), but seriously, I've had the most maddeningly hectic week at my job(s). Good thing I love what I do.

Anyway, more to come soon. I promise.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

my house... is a veryveryvery nice house

See? I promised that I would be a more consistent blogger once I got a camera, and I am trying to deliver. About a month ago I put an ad on Craig's List advertising my availability as a roommate. I was actually pretty floored by the response I got (apparently, in the current economic climate a lot of people are looking to pad out the old income), and after interviewing with a bunch of people I finally moved into my new place last week. I love my house and my roommates. I live with this fantastic married couple. His name is Humberto. He's 33 (?) and from Peru. Her name is Lucyna. She's 24 and from Poland, and they are both incredibly nice and laidback. They met while Lucyna was studying abroad in Peru, and two weeks later he asked her to move in with them. I don't have a picture yet, but Lucyna is stunningly beautiful (like all Polish women, apparently... thanks, Ross!). Plus, their house looks like Ikea. And they have wireless internet. And they like my fish. Life is good.

Sugar (cukier) and rice (ryz), in Polish. Lucyna says Ross speaks Polish with a pretty decent accent. I'm so proud.

The only thing prettier than the quince tree in the backyard is Bono the fish.

i'm so excited i might throw up

Even though I feel kind of like the kind of dad who insists that everyone see the birth photos--in all their gory, gruesome detail--I am just too excited not to share. Today I spent a deliciously sizable portion of the whole day playing with Ross' and my new toy. Here are just a few of the results. A sampler, if you will. And I will.

Locations: My house, downtown Hillsboro, and the Oregon Zoo.

Regarding the above, I (mis)quote from one of my favorite movies, The Philadelphia Story: "Can Haylie pick 'em or can she?"

And Ross took this photo of the sequoia, by the way.

This is of two of our ladies at the Zoo, Shine (a nickname: her real name is Sung-Surin) and Chendra, who is on the right. Further zoo photos, including pictures of baby Samudra, coming soon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

radish underground and camera custody

Just a couple of things today, folks.

A week or so ago Rosco and I stopped into Radish Underground, my favorite boutique in Portland (conveniently located between The Black Rooster Cafe and Powells), where I tried something on and had my picture taken for Underground's blog, here (you might have to scroll down a smidge to find me).

Further adventures in Portland: Today Ross and I (okay, Ross, but I did most of the talking) bought a camera!

This camera, in fact--a Nikon Coolpix P80.

I am in love. And the best part? I get custody. Pictures (of something, anything, I don't care) coming soon!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

farmer's market love

Today I went to the Portland Farmer's Market and, for a slim $20, acquired the following:
1 Pain du biologique aux olives (Apparently, that's organic bread with olives) 1 bundle of asparagus, containing approximately a dozen stalks;
10 daffodils;
1 quarter-pound bag of spinach;

6 sticks of honey, and a package of lamb riblets (for which I could not find a picture).

I love the Farmer's Market. And it loves me.

*Photos borrowed (stolen) from the following sources: bread, asparagus, spinach, daffodils, honey.

Friday, April 24, 2009

still here

This is just a quick note to declare my intention to rejoin the blog-o-sphere (I feel so bad about myself when I use words like that). I never actually intended to skip out on blogdom (I made that one up... that one is okay) but life, as we know, gets in the way.

Anyway, um...

That is all.

P.S. Look for pictures once Ross and I finally get a camera (hopefully soon)!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

for i am the pirate king

As I was killing a marginal amount of time today I came across these photos, all of which are from plays I appeared in at Theatre in the Grove, my very favorite community theater ever. While certainly not the most professional, well-financed, or well-organized theater I've ever worked with, these people were like my family for my first two years of college. I miss them very much, and if I ever find time (more likely, I suppose, if I quite killing it) I'd love to work with them again.

This is from Little Women. The script was terrible, but the cast was a joy.

These next three photos are from South Pacific, in which I played Ensign Nellie Forbush (can that really be right?). The dapper-looking gentleman with the turban is my dear friend David McHarg, who sprung my first stage kiss on me in our very first rehearsal (picture not shown).
My last show to date with Theatre in the Grove was The Pirates of Penzance. I was a pirate. Obviously.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I realize it's pret-ty lame to blog twice in a row like this (I mean, sheesh, lady, structure your freakin' thoughts already), but I've been meaning to share this for months, ever since it appeared on my friend Molly's fabulous blog. Seriously, this woman is hilarious. I know we're all busy--what with the flailing economy and the hoarding of supplies and whatnot--but if you can find nine minutes out of your day this video is completely worth it. To my Mormon readers: note how she structures this speech almost exactly like a General Conference talk: Brief gospel setup followed by long allegorical story followed by moral. To my non-Mormon readers: Elna Baker has been featured on "This American Life." What more could you want? What more could anyone want?


So, like a dutiful blogger, I looked up the sixth picture in my sixth photo album today (thanks, Charlotte!) and it was a picture of myself and my ex (thanks, Charlotte), and that's just not happening. Instead I decided, for the good of the order, to post the sixth photo in the sixth album of my England file.

This is Leicester Square on my last day in London. It was December. It was cold. But what did I care? I was in London, for heaven's sake.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

alive and well in pdx, or eight things that are making me happy and one thing that isn't

Dear blog-

Contrary to all appearances, I am, in fact, alive and well. I know I've been neglecting you, but I've been busy: moving, researching graduate schools, searching for jobs, cleaning my apartment, setting up my furniture, spending time with friends, dating Ross... Anyway, sorry. But I am BACK and ready to go, starting with this entirely subjective and disjointed list.


1. The Max. Public transportation, lovingly known as the Max. For the uninitiated, the Max is, quite simply, one of the best systems of public transportation in this country (although it still sucks when compared to Europe). I still drive a lot, of course, but with my apartment's convenient location (within walking distance of a Max station) I find it increasingly convenient to just Max it.

2. PhD Comics. I stumbled upon this comic strip, PhD Comics (short for Piled Higher and Deeper) and it is hilarious. I've found my voice in academia, and it speaks to me in four brightly-colored panels.

3. Ross. My boyfriend can put together Ikea furniture without directions. If I wasn't dating him for the free dinners, I'd be dating him for that.

4. The PSU Library. So although my apartment is awesome in many ways, it's not so awesome in others. One of the more minor of its drawbacks is that I don't have internet access. But as luck would have it, Ross (see #3, above) has at his disposal an entire university of computer access, which access I steal regularly with great abandon and minimal guilt.

5. The Zoo. Here's my feeling about the Oregon Zoo, and zoos in general: it would be wonderful if we had no need for them, if society and the universe were ordered such that there was no need to keep endangered animals on display. However, until that day comes, I am grateful that I get to work and teach at such a fine example of what zoos can accomplish towards conservation and education.

6. The Portland sky. I forgot some things about Portland and the Northwest in general while I've been away. For instance, I completely forgot how the clouds and the rain give the sky here an incredible depth that is completely lacking in the blue skies of Orange County. I didn't take this picture, but it's a decent example of what I mean.

7. The New York Times Magazine. One of the biggest blessings of being back in Portland is that I've had lots of time to read (see #8, below). It's a small thing, but I picked up this article in the New York Times Magazine at the Hillsboro library yesterday and I've been thinking about it since. Caution to my more sensitive readers: this is a fairly graphic and controversial article about the work of three female sexologists, but if you're willing to dive in it's also extremely fascinating and thought-provoking.
8. Reading. Like I mentioned above, I've had a lot of time to read since I've been back and it has been fantastic. I am currently working my way, for instance, through volume 1 of the Norton Anthology of English Literature, and today I read Peter Shaffer's Equus on the Max. I'm currently reading a biography of Lewis Carroll, and later today I'm going by Barnes and Noble to pick up Q and A, the book upon which Slumdog Millionaire (which was incredible) is very loosely based. Anyway, that's enough of that, and enough links. All I mean to say is that I feel very lucky to be able to spend so much time with literature.


1. PCs. I miss Grammy's Mac. I have converted, and my conversion is incontrovertible. No matter what Ross says.

Monday, February 2, 2009

apartment lust, part 2

Why do I do these things to myself? This is the second unaffordable studio apartment I've fallen head-over-heels, madly in love with (for the first, see here), although I've had several crushes in between. Like any good unrequited devotion, my infatuation with the apartment has gone through stages. At first I was captivated by the building's classically handsome exterior.   

As I got to know the apartment better, however, I found myself drawn to its inner beauty, like the black and white tiles and flattering lighting in this bright bathroom...

... the crisp clean lines of these cabinets (notice the dependable continuity of the tiling)...

... and, most particularly, the hardwood (the word play stops here) floors and chandelier. *Sigh* Of course, it is only a studio apartment (and a steeply priced studio at that) but I don't care. I like it just the way it is. As Shakespeare said, "Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with a remover to remove: O no! It is an ever-fixed mark, that looks on tempests and is never shaken." That's one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes, second only to the little-known "Dear Universe: please give me $725 monthly (plus utilities) right now so I can live in this beautiful place." 

*The sonnet quoted is Sonnet 116, readable in its entirety here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


As promised, I reward myself for my hard work yesterday by going to see "Frost/Nixon" at the Triangle Square theater last night. It was amazing; absolutely one of the best films I've seen all year (possibly the best, if I allow for a tie with "Wall-E"). The trailer doesn't do it justice at all. In the trailer, Frank Langella's Nixon seems overbearing and forced, more of a tired caricature than an impression. And I'll partially agree: at the film's beginning Langella's portrayal was a little distracting. But that's part of the point, I think: Frank Langella wasn't trying to imitate Richard Nixon, he was was trying to convey his essence. To do that, he had to break the audience's expectation for how Richard Nixon should seem onscreen. Once he did that, he was, I thought, incredibly convincing*. I quote Roger Ebert:

"Frank Langella and Michael Sheen do not attempt to mimic their characters, but to embody them. There's the usual settling-in period, common to all biopics about people we're familiar with, when we're comparing the real to the performance. Then that fades out and we become absorbed in the drama."

Go see it. 

*Disclaimer: Bear in mind, of course, that I was born twelve years after the Watergate scandal broke, so my ability to judge the accuracy of Langella's impression may be somewhat hampered. However, my ability to judge a good performance is not, and this was a very good performance, with an even better one by Michael Sheen. 


It's taken me a while to get these pictures up. My apologies about that. Visit here for some explanation. 

Anyway, over Christmas break Ross and I went rock climbing and camping at Joshua Tree National Park. That was my second time going and Ross' first (we've both since gone again, with my ward). I'm kind of a huge fan.
This was our tent. It took us forever to find this site: apparently, Joshua Tree is popular in the winter. Late at night (it must have been 11:00) we climbed up onto that rock to look at the stars. Life is hard when Ross is here. 

This is a Joshua Tree. Apparently, according to J-Tree's website, Joshua Trees were named by Mormon pioneers:
"By the mid-19th century, Mormon immigrants had made their way across the Colorado River [editor's note: take THAT, Colorado river!]. Legend has it that these pioneers named the tree after the biblical figure, Joshua, seeing the limbs of the tree as outstretched in supplication, guiding the travelers westward." 

Me, relishing life at the top of the hardest climb in the world. Rock climbing is a great experience: it's very safe if you're very careful, and there's absolutely nothing quite like making it to the top of a difficult climb. 

Ross part of the way up the hardest climb ever. 

Of course, he finished it like a champ. 
We climb in Hidden Valley, my favorite part of Joshua Tree. It's got a ton of fantastic climbing and really beautiful light in the late afternoon. 

I'm pretty grateful to this guy for teaching me how to climb. And some other things, I guess.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

what would liz lemon do?

As of this posting I am officially moving in two weeks and three days. Ross will fly down on Thursday the twelfth to help me pack and load up the car. Thursday and Friday we'll do that (celebrating Valentine's Day on Friday night, about which I am embarrassingly excited), and then early Saturday morning we'll drive up to Sacramento, where we'll spend a night and Sunday morning with my Dad and step mom, Judy. Then on Sunday afternoon we'll drive home. I've been thinking a lot about this decision. I suppose that's obvious: one doesn't typically move 1,000 miles on a whim. But what I mean is that I've been pondering why I came, what I accomplished and learned here, and why I'm going back. It's a daunting decision, for sure. Although I have some leads, I'm not 100% sure of where I'll work, or even where I'll live for the long term. But I'm sure (as sure as you can be while still harboring some doubts) that this is the right thing for me to do. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I've had to be here, but it's time to go home. 

In that spirit, I've been trying to productively fill my days (I still have my job, by the way, but Borders is not weathering the recession particularly well and my hours allotment reflects that fact). I find that I work best with a schedule, and that that schedule looks best on a catalog card. 
Having more-or-less stuck to this schedule today, I am going to celebrate by going to eat 100-calorie snack packs by myself at Frost/Nixon, a la my television alter ego, Liz Lemon

Friday, January 16, 2009

catalog card

This catalog card generator can be found (and endlessly and delightfully played with) here. For the library geek in all of us. 


I went out to gather lemons off of Grammy's tree today. This is my favorite tradition at Grammy's house because it reminds me, in a way that absolutely nothing else does, of my childhood. There's a certain type and time of day that is perfect for lemon-gathering, and today was that day. The sun had just barely sunk behind the trees across the street and darkness was beginning to gather at the edges of the yard. It was hot today, and once the sun had disappeared the dirt, the grass and the cement began to release their smells. Smell, by the way, is caused when the molecules in an object get warm enough that some of them move from a solid to a gaseous state and jump away from the object and enter our sinuses. That's why ice cream typically doesn't have very much of a smell. By the opposite token, though, it seems harder to smell things when it's very hot. I'm not sure exactly why that is, but my guess is this: just like our other senses, our sense of smell only works up to a point. Once it gets over-stimulated (which could happen if it was warm enough outside that too many atoms were finding their way into our noses) we wouldn't be able to smell as well. 


My point with all of this is that when I went out to pick lemons today I was fortunate to do so at the perfect time on a perfect day. Of all the senses, smell is the most emotionally connected to memory, and so picking lemons today made me feel like I was a kid again, with a lifetime left of lemonade and warm days at Grammy and Grandpa's house. 

P.S. My information regarding the cause of smell comes from reading this book. It's one of my favorites. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

raising the white flag...

I've tried valiantly to avoid making too many lists on this blog, as they don't offer the creative challenge I feel I should submit myself to, given my degree and all. But this one I just couldn't resist. After all, 2008 was a year of lists for me (unlike every other year... only not); ergo, I suppose this feels somewhat appropriate. So, without further ado: 

2008: A Year In Bulletpoints

Q: What did you do in 2008 that you had never done before?
A: I went rock climbing on a real, legitimate, moss-covered wall. 

Q: Did you keep your New Year's resolutions?
A: Never, alas, alas. 

Q: What would you like to have in '09 that you didn't have in '08?
A: A studio apartment of my very own. Also, maybe a canary.

Q: What dates from '08 will remain etched upon your memory? 
A: Election day (what is that... the 20th of November? Dates are not my thing). Also, May 31st. 

Q: Did you suffer from any injury?
A: Bit of a broken heart, but it healed quickly. 

Q: Best thing someone bought for you as a gift?
A: A rosemary topiary. Best gift ever.

Q: Where did most of your money go?
A: To the races. No, actually, a sizable majority went to Christmas. Like every year.

Q: What did you get really excited about?
A: The election of (soon-to-be) president Barack Obama. Also (it must be said) the engagement of Jim and Pam. 

Q: What song will always remind you of 2008?
A: It's a toss-up tie between "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" by Death Cab For Cutie and "Yes We Can" by... a whole bunch of people, really.

Q: Favorite TV shows of 2008?
A: "The Office," obviously. Also "30 Rock," "Battlestar Galactica," and "The Daily Show." Also (and I'm not sure if this counts), "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog."
Q: What was your greatest musical discovery?
A: Ross Dewey.

Q: Best book you read this year?
A: Questions like this make me profoundly uneasy. I read a lot. 

Q: Favorite film of the year?
A: Wall-E. Possibly the most quietly daring film I've ever seen (although a special nod to the inimitable Molly Pettis for introducing me to the haunting and memorable The Lives of Other People).

Q: Describe your fashion concept of '08:
A: "Maybe if I continue to dress like I'm from Portland no one will mistake me for an Orange County trophy wife... since that's so clearly a danger."
Q: What celebrities did you fancy the most?
A: "Fancy?" Kate Winslet, probably (although I haven't seen either of her two most recent films). Also, I fell madly, head-over-heels in love with Tina Fey this year. 

Q: Who do you miss?
A: This is a surprisingly poignant question. First of all, I miss Grandpa. I'm very grateful for the time I got to spend with him before he died, although the words written on the screen do a very poor job of conveying the way I actually feel. Second, I miss Amy, who died at the age of 22 from cancer. Amy and I graduated as creative writing majors together. We were never especially close (I can't claim that, which I regret), but we were friendly. She was--is--one of the most alive people I have ever met, and a truly, truly terrific writer. Third, I miss everyone in the Northwest. You know who you are. 

Q: What countries did you visit in 2008?
A: Orange County. 

Q: Biggest achievement?
A: Breaking up with Brian and graduating from college. 

Q: Did you fall in love in 2008?
A: You betcha. With life, with Portland, with the zoo (and the baby elephant Sam), with rock climbing, and--especially--with Ross. 

Q: What's one thing that would have made your year more satisfying?
A: Honestly? Not a damn thing. Happy New Year. 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

apartment lust

I found this place as I was dreamily looking at apartments today. It's a tiny little no-bedroom studio on the east side of Portland, not too far from the river. It's (not too far, but far enough) out of my current price range (unless someone hires me and pays me a lot of money, like, right now), but golly, Moses. Ain't she pretty.  

So this is love.