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The solstice has passed.  Daylight is creeping back.  The new year is almost here.

Tunnel, Coastal Trail, Anchorage
Tunnel, Coastal Trail, Anchorage

2011 has been a pretty good and eventful year, with some big highs (graduating from planning school, moving to Alaska, meeting someone awesome) and a couple lows (mainly, driving my car into a ditch and expensively ruining it).

And reflecting on that (highs and lows) got me thinking about Alaska itself, a place with some pretty serious extremes:  extreme light in the summer and darkness in the winter, extreme cold, extreme distance within its borders and from everything else, and a variety of living things (human and otherwise) that adapt to live in these extremes.  I’m already adapting some coping strategies – vitamin D supplements and a “happy” light!

Things are pretty good right now, but I feel worn out by the end of this year.  Working a lot, eating a lot, missing the sun a lot, woefully behind on things I want to do and keep up with regularly (like this blog).  So call it a resolution if you like, I’d like to focus on achieving better balance in 2012.

Bike Rack, Coastal Trail, Anchorage

Bike Rack, Coastal Trail, Anchorage

At work, this means continuing to be mindful of time management among projects, and to make some time to keep up with those things which languish without good maintenance.  It also means taking some time off work regularly, planning a few awesome vacations (whether or not I actually leave the city limits).

Along with keeping some boundaries around work and play, I would like to balance my time with more hours for photography, blogging, and general creative activity.

It also means balancing “inside” and “outside” time – taking more walks, in all weather … well, most weather.  Maybe learning a new winter activity.

And finally, better balancing my relations with others.  Making sure to spend some quality time alone, more quality time with J, to make time for new friends, and of course to make time to keep up with old friends (even if they are far away).

In general, I’d like to be more intentional about my time and how I use it, so I can stop feeling like I’m constantly fighting against the feeling that it slips away. I’d also like to have a better balance in terms of health – eat better, move better, exist better.

I won’t elaborate on the many profound thoughts one can find on the subject of balance,  but here’s a nice one:

Order is not pressure which is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium which is set up from within. ~ Adam Cummings

Happy New Year!

Night Falls on the Park Strip, Anchorage

Night Falls on the Park Strip, Anchorage

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Gosh, it’s been a while and I’ve neglected this site (not least those food links I promised!).  In honor of the new year, I decided to start by sprucing the page up with a fresher photo and a couple of other tweaks.  I’ve also posted an updated resume on my About page, as I’m officially in the home stretch and graduating in May!

Please also note that I’ve added many new photos to my Flickr page, and will be adding more from my research trip this month.  I’m currently in the writing stage of my capstone report, focusing on the relocation in 2000 of the Chicago South Water Market, now the Chicago International Produce Market, one of the few remaining wholesale produce market facilities in the U.S.  I’ll post some cool history, interview tidbits, and other things as I work through the project this semester.  And of course, photos of the market.

More to come soon.  In the meantime, do you like the new header image?  Below are the runners up, photos from Chicago and elsewhere I’ve seen in the past year.  Should I have chosen a different one?  Which one do you like best?

Header 1, "Urbs in Horto" (Chicago)

Header 1, "Urbs in Horto" (Chicago)

Header 2, "Times Square" (NYC)

Header 2, "Times Square" (NYC)

Header 3, "Windows" (Chicago)

Header 3, "Windows" (Chicago)

Header 4, "Long Island City" (NYC)

Header 4, "Long Island City" (NYC)

Header 5, "Getty Museum" (LA)

Header 5, "Getty Museum" (LA)