Tag Archives: Movies

It’s the Final Countdown

Dooty-do-do-, dooty-do-do-do.

Tell me you’re also one of those people who sings the instrument hooks of songs? I know I’m not the only weirdo. My sister does it, too.

I digress. I really am into the final countdown until my 30th: 5 more days. I really can’t believe it’s time for that already! I decided to do this 29 before 30 because I was feeling a little bummed about getting older. I figured having all of these things to look forward to would make that process a little easier. Not only do I feel like I had such a big and fun year, I’m actually really looking forward to turning 30 now. I’m feeling like all the best is still yet to come.

It’s been great for me to blog along the way of this process as it has a) kept me focused on trying to accomplish the things on the list, and b) I now have a record of what most of my 29th year was like, which is pretty cool. I am absolutely not going to cross everything off the list. I only have 5 more days, and there is no way to make it happen.

I would say that you could break my list down into 3 categories: the things I completed, the things I started and made a big effort on but will not complete by my birthday, and the things I completely failed on. Let’s start with the failures:

Mail a birthday card to each of my friends and family members. 100% fail. I didn’t even mail 1 single birthday card. My intention with that one was to be more like my grandmother and mother, who never forget to send a card. They are still to this day the only birthday cards I always get, and it always brightens my day. I bought cards with the intention of doing this and even made a calendar with everyone’s birthday, but I would always forget to mail them and would end up giving the card in person whenever I’d see that particular person around their birthday. I so badly want to be the person who sends snail mail, but I just am not.

Visit our dear friends the Jarretts. We tried to set something up with Lindsey and Brian for July, but our washer and the electrical around it had other plans for us, and we unfortunately had to cancel. Why is it so hard to schedule time to see long distance friends? This is the one I’m the saddest about not fulfilling. I am super hopeful that Tim and I can get to Arkansas soon. Lindsey– I’m coming for you, girl! I promise!

Now for the things I started and made a big effort on but will not complete by my birthday:

Watch every single Academy Award winner for Best Picture. I TRIED on this one. Like, really tried. But some of the late 20s, early 30s films are so hard to find! You have to special order them through Netflix or pay to order through Turner Classic Movies, and that got a little pricey. Plus, it was hard to find time each week to watch a 3 hour film (why are so many of the Oscar winners over 3 hours long?!?). I will say, I did see all of the 1970s-present, most of the 50s and 60s films, and I really only have some 30s and 40s and one 20s film left. I think I honored this list item pretty well even though I won’t finish.

Read 10 books over the course of the year. I read 9! Again, so close. I could read something in the next 5 days, but that feels forced, so I’ll choose to wave the white flag now. I used to love to read and just got out of the habit after college. This is something on the list I really want to keep as a habit after my birthday.

That means that I completed (or will complete in the next 5 days) 25 out of my 29 goals! Not a total win, but I feel pretty proud of it. I’ll do one more post-birthday blog to recap the victories, but I’ll be wrapping this up. It’s served it’s purpose in having helped me have an epic last year of my twenties.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I cooked recipes 47-50 since I last blogged. These oven baked sweet potato fries, this veggie stir-fry, this coconut butter, and these crispy fried eggs.
  • I read book #9, Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers. I have always loved Carson, and this book was just as beautifully written as her others.
  • We will be celebrating my 30th with a super fun party this weekend.
  • I’ve continued to write, take photos, and go on as many dates with Tim and weekend and day trips as possible all throughout this past year.


I’m currently…

-Wishing summer could stay around forever. I hate letting go of longer days!

-Craving the Thai iced coffee from Hopscotch. It’s soooo good.

-Feeling busier than I have in awhile with my students back and work really picking back up to a high speed.

-Looking forward to my 30th, which is officially 1 month away!

-Watching The Office re-runs non-stop. Even though Tim and I occasionally take breaks from it, we always go back to this show. Michael Gary Scott forever.

-Eating all the avocados, all the time.

-Desperately trying to fit everything I can from my 29 before 30 list in the next month, but quickly realizing that’s probably not going to happen. And feeling totally ok about that because it’s been an epic year.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made the world’s best BLTs the other day, and I made the bacon this way– game-changer, seriously. I also made these maple dijon roasted carrots last week and they were so good. Roasted carrots are perhaps my all-time favorite vegetable side dish. Then, I made this super-delicious Greek-style rice that I served with tzatziki-marinated chicken.
  • I got busy on watching some movies! It may be hard to believe, but I’d never seen Gone With the Wind. I finally watched the 1939 Best Picture winner two weekends ago, and although I definitely complained about the length a few times, I’m really glad to have watched it. I also watched the 2014 winner, Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). It is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, and Michael Keaton is amazing in it! And finally, I saw 1956’s Around the World in 80 Days.  It was neat to see all the cameos, but was really kind of meh. Underwhelming.
  • I’ve stayed up with writing and taking photos.
  • I totally forgot to list concert #4 from all the back in May when Tim and I saw Brazilbilly at Robert’s Western World in Nashville. We also just saw concert #5 two weeks ago, which was Gillian Welch and David Rawlings at the Bluebird here in Bloomington. It was a really special show! Tim and I went out for dinner and drinks beforehand, so it was a really nice date night.

Taking Care of Yourself

I’m not really sure why, but I struggle sometimes to put myself first. I constantly think about and worry about the loved ones in my life, and it truly comes second nature to prioritize them over all other things. And when one of those loved ones is having some sort of problem, I’m quick to remind them to take care of themselves and put their needs first. But when the script is flipped and it’s me in some sort of distress, I can tend to approach it with this “maybe if I just ignore it, it’ll go away” mentality.

Don’t get me wrong– I’m not saying I don’t complain. I certainly don’t broadcast problems to any and everyone, but I definitely vent to my husband and occasionally family and best friend. But if I am totally honest, I do a lot of my suffering in silence. I have this thing where I worry about bothering people, being a burden to them, or wasting their time. Recently I learned a really valuable lesson that I need to do a better job of taking care of myself despite those worries.

I am currently recovering from a little medical thing. I hesitate to call it an emergency because it was definitely not like my life was on the line, but let’s just say I was not well. Nope, you know what. I’m going to share it because I often feel there is silence around women’s health issues, and they can frequently be brushed under the rug. I had an ovarian cyst rupture, and it was TERRIBLE.

It all started about three weeks ago, when I noticed that I was just not feeling great. At all. I kept thinking it’s nothing, it’ll go away, but with each passing day I would feel a little worse. Although I could pinpoint a few symptoms, the worse part was that I just didn’t feel like myself. We all know when we are sick, like with a cold or the flu or sinus infections, we don’t have the same energy or appetite as usual and that we don’t feel super well. But this was different. I didn’t even feel the way I feel when I’m sick… I just felt… off. Not like me. It’s hard to explain. When I told Tim this, he was pretty insistent that I make a doctor’s appointment. My friend’s and family were the same. After some hemming and hawing, I did finally make one– but I couldn’t get in for about a month. I accepted this and tried to move on. I went on about my days per usual, but I kept feeling worse. And then, I developed some pretty intense pain in my lower right abdomen.

After a few days of this pain, everything finally came to a head. It was pretty clear I needed some immediate medical attention, but I continued to put it off, not wanting to “overreact in case it’s nothing.” Luckily, those close to me who knew what was going on kept gently encouraging me to go ahead to the hospital to get it checked out. Friday morning, I finally listened, and went to the ER. After an awful lot of time in the ER where the doctors and nurses around me felt certain it was my appendix, I finally found out that it was a ruptured cyst. I felt relieved knowing what was wrong, but I don’t think the doctor I saw there fully prepared me for how long it would take me to recover and how bad I would continue to feel. I left the hospital thinking I would be better in a day or two, but that was just not the case. Several more days passed of the same amount of pain and feeling really bad.

Finally, I decided to take the time off work and do what I really needed to do– rest and take care of myself. I laid around with a heating pad for days, wondering if I’d ever feel normal again. I made an appointment to see my gynecologist, and she could not have been more helpful. It’s not like she gave me some miracle cure (because with ruptures, all you can really do is wait to feel better), but she listened to me and reassured me that my pain and discomfort were totally normal. She also did something so nice: she apologized that I had to go through something like this. She encouraged me to keep resting and taking it easy, to listen to my body, and reminded me that it was still going to take time to fully heal. After about 4 straight days of rest, I’m finally really feeling on the mend and have been improving with each passing day. Thank goodness.

This whole situation has really been a huge learning experience for me. I’ve learned a valuable lesson about listening to your instincts and putting yourself first sometimes, especially when it comes to your health. I’ve learned a whole new level of love and care from my friends and family and especially my husband. I’ve learned the value of rest. I’ve learned that sometimes women’s health issues aren’t taken as seriously by some, but also that there are really great doctors out there that do care.

I tend to be a little more private, and I went back and forth about whether or not to write about this. I mean, I know that only about 5 people read this, and most of those 5 people are close enough to me that they already knew what I was going through. But still– this was sharing some personal stuff. Ultimately, it just seems like my experience was real, and it deserved a voice. And maybe even one person will be reminded to take better care of themselves.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • Three weeks ago, I made this glorious cacio e pepe. Due to not being well most of the last 2 weeks, I didn’t make a new recipe, but Sunday was Tim’s birthday so I made him dinner Saturday night with this awesome recipe for grilled pizza dough. I also made this amazing Milk Bar birthday cake on Sunday.
  • Having lots of bed rest recently gave me time to watch 1927’s Best Picture winner, Wings. It was the first ever Best Picture winner, and also the only silent film to win until 2011’s The Artist. I also watched 1971’s The French Connection.  I totally should have watched more Best Picture winners, but I mostly watched trashy television and slept.
  • I tried to keep up on writing, but I definitely dropped off on taking very many pictures. I’m barely over a month left and I still have so many things to tackle on my list….I’m getting nervous I won’t make it!

It’s Been Too Long

It’s been way too long since I’ve written on here, but I’d like to think I have a pretty darn good excuse. Those that know me know what I do for a living and that I just completed the weekend/events/miracle on cinders that we work towards ALL YEAR LONG. And due to a few extenuating circumstances, it was particularly busy and stressful. There was just no time to write on here or do many of the items on my 29 before 30 list. I mean, there was barely any time to see my husband or be home for anything other than sleeping or think about anything besides work. But I made it through, and successfully, I might add, due to the greatest co-workers and students a person could ask for. And even though I’m crazy tired and still decompressing, it was one of the most rewarding times of my professional career and I’m filled with a lot of pride.

Now that I’ve made it through, I will do my best to get refocused on my list as I am well over the halfway point and it’s go time!

List accomplishments as of last point:

  • I did manage two weeks ago to make Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil, and it was awesome! I didn’t really have time to cook at all last week, but I did make myself this Coconut Date Shake for breakfast last Monday morning. SO GOOD!
  • I watched 1962’s Best Picture winner Lawrence of Arabia maybe 2 or 3 weeks ago? I can’t remember. Pretty impressive special effects for an early 60s film.
  • I bought my investment piece a few weeks ago! I needed a new purse, and have never treated myself to a nice one before. I normally don’t spend over $30 on one, but I wanted something unique and high-quality that I would keep for years to come. I ended up getting a Leaders in Leather cross-body from Relish here in Bloomington, and I love it!
  • I can’t believe it because I totally didn’t train, but I also ran in a 5k– the Little 500 5k on April 18th to be exact. I was sore for 2 straight days, but I did it– with help from Tim.
  • I’m not going to lie. I didn’t write in my journal really at all, and I only took a few pictures here and there, but I hope to get rolling back on both of those this week.

This One’s For the Ladies

Ladies, I need to rant for a second.

In so many ways, I am shown daily how far we’ve come. I know that it’s an uphill battle to educate the ignorant that feminism is for EVERYONE, but lately there has been a lot of positive activity that keeps me hopeful, from Emma Watson killing it as the UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador to #askhermore and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. But sometimes right when you feel like there could start to be a paradigm shift, cue the infuriating jerk to walk in and act like it’s 1950.

I won’t get into the specifics, but the other day I was completely incensed by a conversation with an older man that was filled with callous, chauvinistic questions and comments directed at me in the context of my gender. I was so stunned as it was happening that I could barely react until much later on in the day. I couldn’t believe that someone still looked at the world– and women– in such a backwards and inappropriate way. I was utterly dumbfounded, and then, as time went on, I grew to a place of extreme outrage. Who does he think he is?

I wish that was the only time something like this has happened to me. I have countless other stories, but here is one that really sticks out. My old job consisted of working with a mostly male-led athletic department, and after accepting the position, a WOMAN said to me, “I can’t believe they’d put a woman in that job.” When I asked why, she said “Because you have to deal with all those men. You’d think they’d want someone with balls.” And to that, I simply smiled and said, “Don’t you worry about me. I have plenty of balls.” I wish I’d been able to see out of my shock enough the other day to stick up for myself in a similar way.

The sad thing is, I know each and every woman out there has several stories just like this. It’s hard sometimes to get lost in the negativity, and we do still have a very long way to go. But I just want to take a moment to say a few things to all the ladies out there:

First, you’re awesome. You multi-task in ways a man could never even dream of. You are terrific daughters, mothers, sisters, aunts, friends, wives, and human beings all while being amazing leaders, game-changers, homemakers, professionals, and teachers. You’re smart, funny, and powerful. You can do anything you want, EVER. And anyone who ever doubts or tries to diminish you is an ignorant asshole. And that’s the truth.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • Last weekend was my dad’s birthday, and I made him and my whole family a delicious lasagna based on this recipe.
  • I watched 1985’s Best Picture winner, Out of Africa, with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. It was good though exceptionally long and a little slow-moving, but I’d pretty much watch anything with either of those two actors.
  • Tim and I took a day trip to Indianapolis on Saturday for a little shopping for the house, and we doubled it as a weekly date, too. Really fun, and great to get away– even for the day.
  • I’ve kept up on both photos and writing in my journal still– on a streak!

Beginning Homeowner’s Lessons

We’ve only owned our house for 12 days, but we’ve been hard at work from the get-go doing some small renovations and preparing it to be move-in ready. I’ve already learned so many valuable lessons in these early days, and I’ll share some of that wisdom here so that any of you who find yourselves owning a home in the future will know what to expect:

1- Think of all the times you’ve been to Lowe’s over the past year. Multiply this number by 2. This is how many times you can now plan to be at Lowe’s WEEKLY. Sometimes 2 or 3 times in one day.

2- Choosing paint colors in rentals used to be so fun. Now, choosing paint colors is stressful! Nothing seems right, and there’s a huge amount of self-induced pressure to get it perfect the first time around.

3- You start doing things you would never before do, such as Youtubing videos on “how to scrape plaster ceilings” and “how to paint over wood paneling.”

4- Nothing is ever as easy as it seems, and hours in the day pass by at warp speed whenever you are working on your new house. Meaning, whatever estimate you’ve made on the time it will take you to complete a project, add at least 3 hours.

5- You eat really random and weird things for meals while standing up in your kitchen at your current house so that a) you can quickly get over to the new house to work, and because b) you are scrimping and saving for the new house.

6- Finding the random things that the old owners have left behind is sometimes sweet, sometimes funny, and sometimes leaves you puzzled and wondering, “but…why?!?”

7- Priming is the worst. Bottom line.

8- Shopping for new furniture and decor is the best. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

9- You alternate between states of sheer excitement and awe that WE OWN THIS!! and sheer panic and worry because we…ownnnnnn…this.

10- Your project and to-do list grows with each passing day.

11- But, your house feels more like home with each passing day.

All in all, it’s been a really fun first week and a half. We’ve already put in a lot of sweat equity, and there’s so much more to go, but it’s already proving to be rewarding!

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made this marinated flank steak on Friday and ending up using it in two different dinners this weekend, as a main with broccolini and sweet potatoes and in an Asian stir-fry. Very tasty.
  • I finished book #4 Barrel Fever. So funny!
  • I watched 1992’s Best Picture winner, Unforgiven. I’d seen it once a long time ago, so I wanted to rewatch it and it did not disappoint. I love anything directed by Clint Eastwood.
  • I watched a sunrise! Like, really watched it. Last Saturday morning, I got up when Tim did for work, and I caught the most amazing sunrise through our kitchen window. I went out in the backyard with our dogs and soaked it up. Below is a photo, cameo by Gunner.
  • Continued writing and snapping photos daily.
Golden hour.

Golden hour.

Trivial Winter Problems

I’m sitting here looking out my window as only the second snow of this winter season falls onto our front yard. In comparison to last winter’s Polar Vortex that nearly drove me and pretty much everyone I know to a breaking point, this winter, at least thus far, hasn’t really been all that bad at all. But that certainly doesn’t keep me from complaining, as I’ve always kind of hated winter– especially here in Indiana where the sun pretty much doesn’t shine come late-November through March. The gorgeous springs and falls tend to make it totally worth it, but sometimes it’s hard to see silver lining when your county just issued a Wind Chill Advisory for part of this week.

Here are just some of my extremely trivial but nonetheless extremely annoying winter complaints:

1- The above-mentioned snow is pretty right until you have to go out in it. Then it becomes THE WORST as I struggle to dig my car out of it. Inevitably, snow ends up down my coat and shirt sleeves and under my gloves to painfully melt right against my skin. Snow also makes the selection of work-appropriate footwear nearly impossibly. Just sayin’.

2- The snow at least provides a slight rationality for why the temperatures are so low, but we really don’t get it all that much. Mostly, Southern Indiana winter days are sunless, damp, bone-chillingly cold, and soul-killing.

3- To combat the above, I spend most of winter indoors with the heat cranked up, which honestly just encourages couch-potato-ness, the opposite of what I need when all I crave is comfort food.

4- All that cranked up heat leads to me having the driest skin EVER, which I try my best to keep lotioned, but there is this one spot in my mid-back that I can’t even reach to begin with and it itches 24/7 in the winter. And since I can’t reach it to put lotion there, I also can’t reach it to scratch it, so I resort to these weird shoulder-shimmies that a) make me look crazy and b) aren’t really much help at all, so I just continue to itch until April. Oh, and to boot, I also take ridiculously hot showers in the winter for 5 minutes of sweet, warm comfort, which in turn only makes the dry skin problem worse. IT’S A VICIOUS CYCLE.

5- Right around this time, I always start going through serious withdrawal from my favorite summer foods. The lack of seasonal vegetables sometimes makes me feel like I have scurvy. Tomatoes and corn especially– I missssssss you!

6- Every night I go to bed freezing for the first few hours, so I layer up in long sleeve/long pant jammies and thick socks and bundle up under blankets only to wake up sweating and hating life in the middle of the night.

7- I wholeheartedly admit that Bloomington does an excellent job staying on top of salting and plowing our roads, making travel fairly simple for folks during snow days. Why, oh why, then does the mere threaten of snow make every person here feel that they must go to the grocery stores and ravage every ounce of milk, bread, and eggs?

8- This may be preemptive, but that damn Punxsutawney Phil always seems to see his shadow and threaten me with everlasting cold. I’ll be watching you come Feb. 2, you jerk.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made this chicken tikka masala for my weekly recipe.
  • I was off for a holiday staycation last week, and I watched 3 Best Picture winners– and they were 3 great ones. First up was 1953’s From Here to Eternity, which has to be one of the best war films I’ve ever seen. Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr kissing on the beach is exactly the image “‘old Hollywood” brings to mind, and Montgomery Clift is beautiful. His character in the film and his own personal life are both so tragic, but he makes me swoon. Next, we watched 1978’s The Deer Hunter, and it was so haunting and sad but exquisitely acted. We also watched 1967’s In the Heat of the Night where Sydney Poitier says one of the most famous lines in cinematic history, “They call me Mr. Tibbs!” The mystery and tension really hold up in that one.
  • Tim and I managed to go out on NYE for a date night, and we had a fantastic meal with our best friends at Restaurant Tallent.