Taking Stock on the Cusp


Popping by this blog for my semi-random appearance of the moment. I’m reflecting tonight on several things: it has been almost two months since I moved to a monastery to intern, and it is also my birthday weekend. Both of these things bring to mind the amount of change that has occurred in my life in the past 12 months.

There’s been the really difficult things–senior year, family, moving (again, and again, and again). There’s been really wonderful things…not really things, mostly people. People who open and have opened hearts and homes and lives to me. The joys of graduation and finishing four years of hard work. The joy of new experiences and new places and new adventures.

So without further ado, I have written out a “taking stock” post. To say these things that I am doing, feeling, thinking, and to record them for myself in a year, five years, ten years when I want to revisit my thoughts as a young adult.

Taking Stock

making art of all sorts. Oddly, my creative streak has emerged in an intense way over the past few weeks. Let’s just say that I’ve made several trips to Michaels, which is several too many for my budget.

drinking tea. Luckily, there is a fantastic tea shop just a few blocks from where I currently live, which is very wonderful and dangerous.

wanting fall to last longer, to feel the lingering, warm sun for just a little longer, to freeze the red orange gold leaves in place for just a few weeks more.

watching Poe Party, obviously. I’m also meaning to catch up on Elementary, but that hasn’t happened yet, as my TV-watching time has mostly involved watching Pride and Prejudice on Amazon Prime. Just because.

reading Mary Oliver’s House of Light. A random mystery called Thoreau at Devil’s Perch (which I’m having trouble finishing because of the odd plot/narration, but am trying to stick it out for the sake of trying something new). I tried to not buy any more books, but that has only worked for about a week. I broke that mandate tonight at Harvard Book Store, as per usual (but e.e. cummings! Anne Fadiman! Laurie R. King!). Obviously I just need to read faster.

listening to (and singing) mostly hymns and plainsong these days. But I do jam out to Florence + the Machine or Broadway albums as needed.

eating well. This weekend is a bit abnormal, as it is my birthday, and I am allowing myself more sugar than I should.

wishing that the sky stayed the color of sunsets on some days.

enjoying the weekend (or Sabbath, as it is known around here). Relaxation is so important for the body, mind, and soul.

hoping for more adventures in Cambridge tomorrow. Also hoping I will be able to finish that darn Thoreau mystery so I can move on to something more interesting.

needing nothing, right now. Contentment is priceless, when it lingers.

following the election, obviously.

feeling quiet elation, excitement (because birthdays are exciting, even when you’re an adult), present in this moment.

wearing boots and sweaters, because New England falls are the absolute best.

bookmarking this piece about Thoreau and ambition (causing me to buy a copy of Walden), and this article about the popularity of cathedrals vs regular parishes (fascinating).

loving the moments of humanity and kindness I see in the world. There’s so much evil and so many pressures that we face in our day-to-day lives–we need more kindness from both ourselves and others.

Goodbye August

Oh, August.

Most of June was spent in Oxford. Most of July was spent at the library or knee-deep in research work. But August. August was different, in that, between work and studying, I found time to have a bit of summer.




At the end of July (which counts as August in this post), Liz came to visit me for a weekend. We braved DC and the tourists, and had photoshoots in the streets of Alexandria. It was a weekend of cafes, cupcakes and laughs. On Saturday night we saw dog & pony dc’s A Killing Game (my second time, Liz’s first).




The next weekend, some friends and I headed for Assateague Island.


The next week, my friend Kara came to visit. (We may or may not have ridden the carousel on the National Mall because of the dragon.) That day consisted of a culinary tour of DC (a student’s definition of a culinary tour, that is).



Elizabeth Brunne-0019


Elizabeth Brunne-0010



Now August is almost over, and I am once again back at school. After a week of training and honors orientation, I’ve started classes. Five today. Two tomorrow. Six on Thursday. A course-load of English classes, which I’m so excited about.

August is leaving, but you know what? I’m totally okay with that. I can’t wait to see where this fall takes me.


Next on tap: photos of Wales

Second Year Approaches

The last post that I wrote on here is dated June 21st. Over a month ago. I was in England then, just over a week away from coming home. So much has changed since then.

I’ve been back in the States for over a month now, at University (that I am always tempted to call “uni” after hearing it called that so often in Oxford). I’m sitting on my bed in my apartment, listening to this song (by Dirk Maassen), whose music I’ve become addicted to (after he let me use Solstice d’Ete in this project).


(Lewes Train Station, Sussex)

It’s been a crazy month, and it is hard to believe that this evening I’ll be packing my things (again) to leave school for the next few weeks. However, because I can’t actually stay away from school very long, I’ll just be moving a short ways down the road. No big deal.

This evening I finally sat down and edited the second half of my England photos, so expect to see some of those to be popping up in the near future (I’m including a few in this post.).


(Monk’s House Greenhouse, Rodmell, Sussex)

For me, school starts again in about two weeks or so. All of my classes this semester are either major or minor classes, so I’m excited about, well, all of them.

I should write a full post on this, but seriously; don’t commit a huge portion of your life to doing something you hate – if you hate your major or your job, then that’ll make the rest of your life miserable as well. I adore being an English major, and the people who say that I can never get a job with it tend to be naysayers who underestimate the power of loving what you do for a job. I think enthusiasm is an equally important part of the interview process, you know? (My current boss can attest to the part of my interview where I talked for a full 5 or 10 minutes on how much I loved libraries. I got the job. What can I say? I really do love libraries.) …I’ll get off my soapbox now.


(Pony near Southease Train Station, Sussex)

To conclude for now – I have so many stories and photographs to share with you all. I’m so excited to be back on this little blog and can’t wait to talk with each of you over the course of the next semester. Stay in touch – leave a comment or tweet at me with any questions or comments you may have. It’ll be a busy semester, for sure, but more experiences mean more stories for you, right?

Farm on a Spring Evening


Last night. It was the most picturesque definition of spring on the farm. There was a soft breeze, and warmth lingered for a short while well the sun set. I took the baskets and sought out eggs that our very free-range chickens had deposited in the old tobacco stripping rooms and elsewhere. The grown pigs chased the stray chickens that had wandered into their pen. The seventeen baby pigs slept in a pile, snoring. The horses gorged themselves on springtime grass, and ten lambs frolicked around their pasture.

There are times when you don’t need a camera to document something, because the subject is impossible to capture on a visual still. The air, the sounds, and the feeling of last night was impossible to capture on camera because it can only be truly experienced in person. And yet, I attempt to tell you about it in writing.

Words are amazing.