Small Things

I have just a few small things to share today.

First of all, Happy birthday to my nephew Akio!  This little guy officially turned four on Monday.

Akio Four

OK maybe he’s not so little anymore.  As his auntie who regretfully doesn’t see him everyday, sometimes I forget that he still doesn’t look like this:

Akio 1

I did wish him a happy birthday on his actual birthday, but I chose an inopportune time to call as he was just getting ready to open his presents.  So all I got in return was a “Hi! I’m going to go open presents now.”

Also on Monday, Patrick and a small team of classmates flew to China where they will be traveling for the next couple weeks to work on a design research project they’ve been planning for the past year.  They will be visiting a number of minority villages in Guizhou (the poorest province in China), including Jidao village, which I got the chance to visit last year.  While there, they will be working closely with an NGO to come up with a business plan to help the villagers sell their handicrafts in order to create sustainable income for their communities.

On their first day, before setting off to the villages, I’m told that they squeezed in a bit of site seeing.  Here is a spectacular, snow-covered view of the Forbidden City just outside their hotel:

The Forbidden City

They also made it out to the Great Wall on the first day:

The Great Wall

One of his teammates has put together a blog about their project.  You can read more about their experiences here:

Meanwhile, I hope everyone had a fun St. Patrick’s Day.  Most people around here wandered into downtown Chicago and celebrated with a green beer and a lovely view of the green river.  While it was tempting to go and take part in the festivities, I had a more important engagement to attend:  The Evanston Community Garden Lottery.

A couple weeks ago, as Kelli and I were riding the train to calligraphy class, the idea came to us to check if there were any community gardens around Evanston.  We discovered there are actually four parks in Evanston with gardens and a lottery was held each year for the available plots.  As luck would have it, the deadline for registering for the lottery was on Tuesday, just three days later!

The lottery took place the following Saturday afternoon.  We were very nervous about our chances after hearing there were only 15 plots available this year!  Two parks were already completely full, and in the closest park near us, only seven of them were available (highlighted below).


Over 50 people were vying for one of these 15 plots that day and FORTUNATELY I was the 10th person to be called!  I ended up choosing 39E – a lovely half plot with full sun, which is perfect considering that the plants I’m most excited to grow are tomatoes which require a lot of sunlight.

Patrick and I went to check out the plot the following week, and I was surprised at how spacious it was:

photo photo-1

I’m glad Kelli and I decided to team up and share one!  Hopefully this summer I will have some exciting updates on the progress of our garden.  I’m a little concerned since it’s my first time gardening and so far every plant that has come into my possession hasn’t lasted a week before dying.  Anyone have any green thumbs they would like to lend me?

And finally…

I leave you with a photo of the new miniature containers I acquired from Crate & Barrel a week ago – one for my flax seeds and the other for my Korean hot pepper flakes.  Aren’t they cute?!?


It’s amazing how such little things like these containers can bring so much joy and excitement to my life…

Enjoy the small things, everyone!

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4 thoughts on “Small Things

  1. Susan says:

    Umm… you’re talking to the person who gets really excited about new address labels and stamps (yes, postage stamps), so I completely understand what you mean about the containers. They’re super cute! 🙂 Congrats on getting your garden plot – I should have you talk to Liz, my best friend from HS. She’s been growing her own stuff for a while and now she works for a traveling farmer’s market truck. Happy b-day to Akio, too!

    • Monica says:

      Yeah, when it comes to acquiring new kitchen stuff, it really doesn’t take much to enthuse me 🙂 Address labels and postage stamps are also on the list.

      That’s awesome about your friend Liz working for a traveling farmer’s market… I should try to reach out to her, especially since I may need all the help I can get!

  2. Sue Longenbaker says:

    HI Monica,
    I miss SQUOOSHED! How is your garden? Can you give your fans an update?
    We’re looking forward to seeing you guys soon xoxoox

    • Monica says:

      I know! I’ve been really busy/lazy (some combination of the two). But I will be updating regularly again soon! Especially once the garden gets up and running 🙂 Can’t wait to see you this weekend!

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