Wednesday, August 24, 2022

2022 Summer Loving

 Summer 2022 is pretty much over, even though the calendar says differently. But school has started and pumpkin spice is everywhere, so let's call a spade a spade. 

I had a good summer for the most part, but with a pretty dark cloud of the whole thing. Here's what happened:

1. I rejoined Farrell's kickboxing gym and I am SO happy. My friend Erin and her husband Andrew bought a location and I committed right away when I heard that news. I am way busier now than I was the first time I belonged, so I am not able to go as often but even a few times a week is better than nothing. 

2. I won two awards at work - one from my students for service, and the other was the Distinguished Service Award from Clarkson College, which is basically staff member of the year! I work my ass off, so I am very proud of these honors. 

3. Missy and I did a roadtrip to Pella, LeMars and a few other small town Iowa stops. 

4. I did a Freedom Rock tour in Iowa which resulted in lots of pictures of rocks and getting pulled over for doing 83 in a 55. 

5. Quinn became a dancer. 

6. Kate got inducted into ANOTHER Hall of Fame - this time for her college conference - so Nicole, Kate and I headed to Morehead, Minnesota to celebrate her accomplishment. 

7. Mom and I roadtripped to DeSmet, South Dakota to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum and other historical spots. 

8. I turned 42 and Missy, Katie and I celebrated with dinner and the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit. 

9. I went to see Machine Gun Kelly and became his biggest fan. 

10. I made Nick go to Walnut Grove, Minnesota with me to see the Laura Ingalls Wilder stuff there and eat at Nelly's Cafe with me. 

11. I was in charge of keeping Cooper and Chandler alive for one night, so we went to LeMars for ice cream, then to Pizza Ranch for dinner, then I bribed them with candy to watch the Little House movie with me. Yes, Chandler was sick the next day. Oh, and yes, I got pulled over for speeding on my way to Okoboji (I only got a warning that time).

12. Now for the dark cloud. One of my oldest friends got diagnosed with Stage 4 Cervical Cancer in April, and it's been a rough ride. She's currently in the hospital and needs prayers, positive vibes and energies for comfort and peace. 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

50 before 50: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee

I took some time off work and knocked out four states on my bucket list. 

And yes, I did this alone. 

Some people were very weirded out that I was doing this alone. But with things going on in my life and the amount of stress I've been under, this trip came at the most perfect time. 

Day 1: I left town and headed to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It was about 6.5 hours away and I figured I would want to stop driving at that point. I was right. 

Eureka Springs is the cutest little touristy town. I stopped at a little shop on the side of the highway that had a lookout tower. It was a bit too windy for me to feel that uncomfortable on the climb, but I did it and then went into the shop and was asked how I was from the nice clerk lady. I replied "good, how are you?" and she responded with "I'm good every day the Jesus wakes me up and has a place for me in his heart". 

After that I visited Quigley's Castle which was advertised as the strangest dwelling in Eureka Springs...and it was. The granddaughter of the Quigley's was there and gave us some information on the house and then we were able to explore. After that, I headed to Christ of the Ozarks which was amazing, and I met another Iowa couple while walking up to look at the statue. I checked into my hotel and asked the desk clerk where I should eat and he said "Myrtie Mae's has the best fried chicken in three counties!" so I headed straight there, then explored town a little and went back to the hotel. 

Day 2: I woke up before the sun was up, so I sat and waited for it and then hit the road for Little Rock. I stopped at a Waffle House on the way because #hashbrowns. Next on the list was the Bill Clinton library and museum because you all know I'm a bit of a presidential history nerd. I enjoyed the museum a lot, but it was a little weird. I've only gone to those types of museums that are about dead people, so it was a little weird. Clearly I hit up the gift shop, then hit the road for Monroe, Louisiana. I was a little excited to get out of Little Rock - TONS of construction and traffic. (Which I did know already, because obviously I emailed the museum before I left to tell them I was coming and they warned me.)

In Monroe, I explored town and found a lovely little path to walk along the river. Then I had dinner and met the loveliest lady who was also road tripping and was retired from the higher education industry. I fell asleep early since I had been up since before the sun came up. 

Day 3: I woke up, again, before the sun rose and I just sat and waited for it to come up. Then I hit the road and drove east to Mississippi. Louisiana got a little swampy, and I pretended I was Sookie from True Blood and kept my eyes peeled for vampires. I didn't see any, and soon I was crossing into Mississippi!! Why is the Mississippi river sooooo much prettier than the Missouri?? I stopped to see the Devil's Crossroads, which was wildly underwhelming. Like I was looking up to try to find it, but then I just looked at eye level out of my car and it was right there. So I traveled on to downtown Memphis and went to the Civil Rights Museum which was so overwhelming. When I was telling my friend Natalie about it, she said it's like "time just froze" and that was the best way to describe it. The last part of the museum is peering into the room where Martin Luther King Jr was staying the day he died. It was just eerie. I had to walk away from it. 

After that, I didn't really have a plan, so I just drove until I got tired which ended up being in Springfield, Missouri. I found a hotel and was asked if I wanted to upgrade to a whirlpool bathtub and I said YES. So I had a nice steak dinner then sat in my bathtub and watched the 90 Day FiancĂ© Tell-All. 

Day 4: I had a meeting at work I had to jump on, so I drove as far as St. Joseph and had lunch at a Waffle House because #hashbrowns, then found a spot to log into my meeting. Then I hit the road for home!

It was an amazing trip and I'm so glad I did it, even though several people either 1. told me not to, or 2. told me to wait until Missy could go with me. I listen to two full audio books and the entire Taylor Swift collection about 2389180 times. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Life insurance and other adult things

It seems like as of late, my friends have gone through some bullshit. 
I have one friend in stage 4 breast cancer, going through some rough chemo.
I have another who was just diagnosed with another kind of cancer. 
A lot of my friends have lost parents in the past few years. 

It all gets you thinking. 
Back in November, my uncle died and he had nothing prepared. Luckily there was a life insurance policy for him, nothing big, but enough to give him a proper funeral and burial. 

I decided I needed to get a life insurance policy for myself. I have my group insurance through work, but I wanted something I knew my family could count on in the event of my untimely death (or timely, hopefully). 

I called my insurance agent and he helped me so much - we spent an hour on the phone, him explaining what he thought I should get, but going over all the other options as well. We landed on one, I did the application and he said everything looked good. He said if the underwriters had any questions they would call me. 

A few days later I got a call, and this is how the conversation went:

Him: Hi, I'm working on getting your life insurance policy approved. I'm going through your prescription history and I see you were on Lexapro about a year ago for six months. 

Me: Yes, I was. 

Him: (very awkward silence) ....well do you want to explain that?

Me: (completely thrown off) Oh! Well...I mean, I was going through some family stuff and also I think just the pandemic kinda threw me into a whirlwind and my family practice doctor suggested I try it to see if it helped with my anxiety."

Him: (more awkward silence)

Me: (not being able to handle the awkward silence, I keep talking) I mean, with the election and all the political stuff, I'm the only one in my family who believes the way I do, so I was feeling very isolated and then I WAS isolated with the pandemic and I was just getting up in my head. But I only needed it to get through that and now I don't take it anymore.

Him: Well I also see you are on an anxiety med now. 

Me: (like wtf how does this guy have this information, this feels very invasive) Yeah, when I got off the Lexapro I was a little nervous about things like the holidays, so she gave me one to take for situational anxiety. But there are no refills and I rarely take them. And it's also for allergies and itching, so it serves two purposes.  

Him: (more awkward silence).................well I guess that makes sense. 

Look, I get they need to make sure I'm not trying to get life insurance to kill myself soon. I get that. But that conversation could have been handled with a little more care. Plus, since clearly he had access to everything, he could see the meds hadn't been refilled and clearly I am not taking them anymore. 
THIS. THIS is why people are ashamed to talk about mental health. RUDE shit like this. 

Like I wonder how many people this guy has pushed to get back on anxiety meds because of his rude reaction to their history with anxiety meds. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

What I'm doing

What I'm reading:
    I built myself a pretty tall To Be Read pile with real, physical books, so I'm trying to work my way through them before I check anything new out or buy any new books. My two most recent reads have been so so so so good. 
This book is about an author who gets a job finishing a well known series for another author after she's in a terrible accident. She takes some time in her home to go through her things in her office and....shit blows up. Read it, it's so good. 

This book takes place in Iowa, so that's an automatic heart eyed emoji for me, but also the different timelines and trying to figure everything out - wow. I started this book in the evening, read half of it, and then woke up early the next morning to finish it because I had to know what happened. 

What I'm watching:
When Betty White died, I started watching the Golden Girls. However, I realized I haven't seen most of the episodes - then I realized I was never really into it, I guess I just thought I was because the characters are so beloved. So I've been slowly working my way that series. 
I also have watched Inventing Anna on Netflix and LOVED IT, and now I'm watching The Dropout on Hulu. I guess I just love con artists?

What I'm doing:
Working. Sleeping. repeat. 
Oh, and I saw Fiddler on The Roof at the Orpheum and tomorrow night I'm seeing Mean Girls. 
Also, I just got back from Mansfield, Missouri where I went to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum. It was so cool - like it was her actual home, her actual stuff. Her home became a museum three months after she died, so it wasn't even cleared out. AMAZING! She and her husband are also buried there. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

2021 reading list

I made it a goal to bring reading back into my life in a more consistent manner in 2021. I read so many good books this year! I read 31 between my kindle/physical books and listened to 29 audio books. Here is my list, and I highlighted my favorite book from each month:

Jackie and Maria by Gill Paul 
In the Blood by Lisa Unger
You are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Good Girl by Mary Kubica
The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

The Other Women by Sandie Jones
Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward

Conviction by Denise Mina
The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher
The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn
The Guest List by Lucy Foley (this was a very close second favorite)
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane
Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris
The Break Down by BA Paris
The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth (very close second favorite)
The Mother In Law by Sally Hepworth

June: (good lord, I read a lot this month)
The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth 
Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson (second favorite)
The First Mistake by Sandie Jones
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid  (I cannot highlight this enough, I loved it SO MUCH)

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
The Dilemma by BA Paris
The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman
Local Women Missing by Mary Kubica
Bring Me Back by BA Paris
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

American Royals by Katharine McGee
The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Golden Cage by Camilla Lackberg
Majesty by Katharine McGee (sequel to American Royals)
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

The Therapist by BA Paris (close second favorite)
Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce
Not A Happy Family by Shari Lapena
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

The Wife and the Widow by Christian White
Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

November: This whole month of books were soooo good. I can't pick just one. 
An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
The Push by Ashley Audrain
The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Monday, September 20, 2021

Lovely things, Gavin's birthday and Homecoming edition

1. Gavin turned 15,

2. New, fresh purple hair. 

3. The week just went off perfectly. Sometimes my obsessive time management skills come in handy. 

4. Having Friday off was perfect and I managed to not break the parade with my job I was given. 

5. Beautiful weather all weekend!! 

6. Class of 99 girls supporting the Street Dance! 

7.  Seeing these three in Glenwood is like a breath of fresh air.

8. Having over 450 people at the street dance.

9. Getting so many high fives, good jobs, was a good night. 

10. And it was a good night because I have this group of support (along with Adrian and Julie)

Monday, September 13, 2021

Lovely things, Quinn's birthday edition

1. Another Husker football win, and a Tom Brady win.

2. Everything for the Street Dance coming together in the most amazing way. 

3. My sister Kate, who helped me make this out of the kindness of her big 'ol heart

4. A night of bonding on an outdoor patio with Jenny and Jaimie.

5. A night of bonding around a (not on fire) firepit with Missy, Emily and Katie.

6. Finishing my 45th book of the year! 

7. A weekend of awesome company.

8. Securing another food vendor for the Street Dance! (Yes, I was whining not long ago about not being able to find even one, and now we have three.)

9. Quinn was born six years ago, which means my life has been so much more amazing for six years. 

10. Aubrey is two now and SO much fun, and she had a blast on Saturday partying hard in Quinn's room.