Saturday, March 28, 2015

Date Night: March Madness

Today, was a day!

Originally, I was going to the Farmer's Market with my friend. But, then those planned changed and I was going to a family Easter event. But then THAT turned into, "No dumb Whitney, family Easter is on Sunday. Duh" And Boyfriend was like, "We have date night."

Date night is something we've been doing since September. It. Is. Awesome. We get pretty busy. We both work full time and are going to graduate school, so we don't always make time to hang out without the distractions of TV and homework. So, date night is one night a month and this is how it works.

Alternate planning months, plan one activity and go to one restaurant neither of you has been to before. And, everything that is planned has to be a surprise.

This afternoon, Boyfriend and I drove down Salt Lake. It was his planning month. We went to a great vegan/vegetarian restaurant called Zest. Our food was great and the service was super friendly. A little, slow but not in an annoying way, in a laid back way. They let you enjoy your food and the atmosphere.
This scary spider hung out with us until we went
inside because Boyfriend was getting a sunburn.
He then became our friend.
I want to make it clear, Boyfriend is a meat-eater. For the first two and half years I knew him he a) ignored me because I was vegan and b) made fun of me because I was vegan. He has completely come around now though, to not teasing. Not to vegan eating. I'm pretty sure Kitty already likes him better because he slips her shrimp and chicken under the table.

After lunch, I had no clue what we were doing. We went the the Salt Palace and started walking around. There was a Health Care Provider conference going on, which I thought was weird and maybe the worst idea ever. Luckily we walked past that.

We kept walking. FOREVER. I had no idea the Salt Palace was so big! Finally, we made it to convention center five where they were having ... the tattoo convention ... at first I was confused. I had no idea what we were doing there. Kind of thinking, "Is this a last resort thing Not Babe?"

But then, of course, he explained to me. He knew I had been throwing around some ideas for a tattoo and the convention had artists from all over the country and all over the world. I could find an artist I liked or at the very least get a pretty solid idea of what I liked or didn't like. I loved it!! He always has the best ideas (I'm proof of that!).

After about an hour and a half of walking around the convention, I took the plunge! I found someone I liked and started to discuss. The rest of the blog will be conducted through photo entries. Thank you.

Look. At. My. Face.
The mountains, based off of this image of Ben Lomond peak.

Brad from Las Vegas! He was nice. 

Blood AND Gore

Back home, after some of the oozing has stopped!
I love it! I think it is gorgeous and dainty. It'll look better in a few days when it is done oozing and scabbing and peeling. ;)

P.S. Boyfriend is now currently winning for date night! Something we haven't done before and something we won't be doing again.

P.S.S. Boyfriend mentioned that I should add a little bit of info ON the tattoo and why I chose it. It is pretty simple. I love the mountains. I love hiking. Being in nature makes me feel nice. When I left Utah and moved to Greece and California in 2013, the only thing I missed besides people were the mountains. They're a nice reminder of home and they make me happy. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Updates About Us, but Mostly About Kitty

For the last couple of weeks I have been very angry. But, since there hasn't been a way for me to let this out, it has been beneath the surface and spitting out at the people I care about most. Mostly: Mom (I've hung up on her twice this month) and Boyfriend. I might have been snappy at my dad too, but I'm way too scared to yell at him. So, I'm angry AND whimpy. I'm only super mean to the people who won't yell back. Real great.
Boyfriend and I have been
together a year now. Crazy
Kitty begging for food.

I got a great new shirt.
I know, that getting over large trauma is a complicated process. Grief is a complicated process. The last couple weeks I have been focusing on my anger and it has made me negative.

So, as of now, I'm going to do my best to move on from this stage. Maybe I'll return to it, but I realize how dumb it is to focus on the things that suck when there are so many things that are awesome.

For example(s):
1. Kitty is doing FANTASTIC! She and Boyfriend are best friends, even though he sometimes still pretends not to like her.
2. I'm taking a photography class with my mom. We spend time together. It's nice.
3. I love my new apartment
4. I don't hate my job
5. I'll be done with school the first part of December! I'll have my Masters of Professional Communication, which I think is kind of like being a wizard? I'm not sure.

I know I'll be sad and angry still, but I'm making a conscious effort to move past the crap and focus on the good. For my own good, and ... so I can stop yelling at everyone around.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Exodus of Kitty

When I was about 9, my parents let me get a kitten. Her owners were standing outside of Winagers in Roy and giving away the litter. I picked a small black one and named her Abby. She was sweet, but a little a wild.
The black spot is the back of Nick's head
as he waves goodbye.
A few weeks later, at my youngest brother's birthday party, my aunt picked up Abby and looked at me like I was nuts. "This cat is a boy, dipshit." Just kidding. She didn't say that. But! It was a boy. We promptly renamed him Diablo, since his favorite activities seemed to be biting, clawing, drinking from hoses and chasing the neighborhood dogs.

His wild side couldn't be contained and shortly after we got him, he ran away. To sow his wild oats, go adventuring or whatever.

A few months later, I convinced my parents to let me try again. It was September, and I remember my mom picking me up from school so that we could go search the pounds. We went three days in a row and I still couldn't find the right kitten for me. I wanted one that looked exactly like Diablo, all black. But, this time an actual girl.

At the end of the third day, we found her. She was sitting in the drop box outside of the pound. I always thought it was so nice that she never actually had to go in the pound, she was just waiting outside for me.

On the way home, I named her Babybelle. Since, Diablo's nickname was always Baby, I thought I would skip the extra step and just name her Baby. But, I never called her this. We all, very originally, took to calling her Kitty. Kitty became her official name when a couple of years ago my brother's wife said, "Whose Babybelle?" If after almost ten years Lindy didn't know that Kitty was Babybelle, then Kitty was probably just ... Kitty.

For the last 15 years, Kitty has lived at my parents, ruling their backyard. She had her heyday, where she brought in all sorts of creatures and set them free in the house. She even brought a bird in once and left it to fly around the living room. I still vividly remember Nick, about 8, in his underwear, screaming and fluttering at the top of the stairs, "Kitty's got a bird! Kitty's got a bird!"

She developed rivalries with other cats and more importantly my Dad. After years of doing battle, he scares her when she walks in the house, she poops on him while he sleeps, Kitty was finally banished from the house. She quickly went from an inside cat, living the life of luxury, to an outside cat with a bed in the garage.

When I moved back last year, I knew that the next time I left I would be taking her with me. As Nick put it so eloquently, "There's no way mom and dad are letting you leave without taking Kitty."

Last night, we officially moved her into the new place. She's nervous and has spent the majority of her time hiding underneath the chaise, but she is adjusting more quickly than I thought she would. I bribe her with soft food to move things along.

It is officially starting. Boyfriend, me, Kitty. Adventures.

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Apartment, Old Feelings

Our new apartment is coming together so well. As my friend Michelle said, when looking at the pictures, "You have real furniture! It looks like you're adults now!" Cause for celebration that at 24 and 29, Boyfriend and I have achieved adult-hood! Or, at least something that looks like it.

I'm happy. I love where our apartment is. I've never lived by things before. Growing up in West Haven, everything was at least a 20 minute drive away. Going out was a chore! Now, I can literally walk across the road to be at a coffee shop, hair salon, restaurant or grocery store. It is a good place to be for this stage of my life.

I love our apartment itself and the work that we are putting into making it feel like home. I even, I mean especially, love seeing Boyfriend every day. Even when we're bickering about junk being everywhere, and especially when we wind down at night, curling up on the couch.

Sometimes, something else creeps into this happiness and brings up old wounds. I've recently realized that I sorely underestimated grief: its process, its grip. I had an ugly marriage and a messy divorce that lasted too long. I don't talk about it to a lot of people, but I talk about it A LOT to a few people. This is the first time I decided I could write about it here, even a little bit. Though, I'm sure it wasn't hard to figure out. Two years ago I was writing about things I did with my ex, and then suddenly 95% of my blog posts disappeared and I was living alone. SURPRISE!

I've spent the last year and a half since things ended feeling so sad, and guilty. Even a year later, it would sometimes hit me out of nowhere and take my breath away.

Something has changed now, though. I thought I would move on and leave this behind me once I got over the sadness I was feeling. But, that thought process was leaving out everything else: the hurt, the anger, the bitterness. Anger at both myself and my ex. For letting myself be pushed around literally and figuratively, during the marriage and divorce. I am over being sad. I don't feel even a touch of guilt now. But, I'm filled with anger, the kind that balls up tight in your stomach.

The five stages of grief makes it seem like a step-by-step process. But it isn't. I jump around from angry to sad and depressed and denial of the facts. Sometimes, I feel everything all at once. It's a whirlwind! And, then, I feel stuck. Everything comes to a screeching halt and I'm just left with a jumble of emotions.

I'm starting to realize this won't go away, or not anytime soon. I am also beginning to understand that this is OK. It is OK to be mad sometimes without letting it overcome me. It is OK to feel things and not push them away or run until it doesn't feel so bad anymore. My goal for the next couple of months is to just be OK feeling things and understanding that this is a process that could last years. And in the meantime, while things sort themselves out, I'm going to keep enjoying where I am with life and Boyfriend, and being something that looks like an adult.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Weekend Adventures

I wrote this blog about a show I worked Saturday. It is super long. I took the format from This American Life. The longest part of it is the Prologue ... because I talk about me.


This weekend I had a unique opportunity to spend time with This American Life host Ira Glass. My good friend Diane runs Weber State University Cultural Affairs and was bringing in Ira's Three Acts, Two Dancers and One Radio Host show to the Peery's Egyptian Theater on Saturday night.
Diane runs Cultural Affairs without assistance, I don't know how she does it. SUPERWOMAN! But, every once in a while she does need backup. I call myself her sidekick. When she needs a couple of extra hands to run errands or make airport runs, I step in and help her out.

A couple weeks ago she told me she needed help with the Ira show and I was thrilled in a way that only other NPR geeks will be able to understand. And she gave me the good job. She let me be the person to pick up Ira Glass. I wasn't sure how to prepare myself for sitting next to someone who comes through my radio every week.

After much anticipation, Saturday March 7th arrived! I was ready! I had planned out step-by-step exactly what I was going to do so that everything would go smoothly. I wasn't about to humiliate myself in front of one of my idols. I was going to leave exceptionally early, fill my car up with gas and on my way to the interstate pick up a cup of coffee from the little shop by my apartment.
The first TWO steps of my plan went perfectly. So, I can't say things completely failed. I left the house with ample amount of time to make it to the airport and drove over to Maverick. I filled my car up and jumped back in when … nothing. My car wouldn't even turn over. Somehow, in the previous 2 minutes it had forgotten how to work. I was stuck.

The man in the truck behind me, waiting to use the pump, was becoming extremely impatient, as I was starting to panic. I walked over to him and explained what happened. My car wouldn't start. Could he help me push it TEN FEET so it wouldn't be in the way anymore and I could figure stuff out??? He rolled his eyes at me and DROVE AWAY. Thanks.

Luckily, a Samaritan eavesdropper heard my plight and offered to help as soon as his sons got out of the store. They were amazing. We push started my car, thank goodness for a manual transmission! I roared off and called my dad to explain what happened. He offered to meet me by his exit so that I could take his car to pick up Ira and not risk being stuck with a radio host in a car that wouldn't start. This was great. Wonderful. So nice. My dad is awesome. The only trouble was that it was 15 – 20 minutes each way to the Roy Exit, meaning it would put me almost 40 minutes behind my schedule.
I gunned it down the freeway and met my dad at the Sushi Ya in Roy. When I got back on the freeway in my dad's car, I had about 35 minutes before Ira's flight was going to land. It would be cutting it close, but I hoped that I was going to make it. Luckily, traffic was minimal and the speed limits have almost all been raised to 70.

Finally, I pulled into the Park & Wait in Salt Lake City airport. Less than two minutes later Ira Glass was talking in my phone, telling me he was at the airport and ready for pickup. It was a little surreal! So, even though things were initially hectic, it all worked out. It just shows, though Boyfriend may disagree, excessively planning ahead does pay off.

Act I

When I answered my phone, I got goose bumps. A voice that I only hear on my radio was in my phone. Talking to me. Telling me where he was. I didn't know what to say. My biggest goal for the day was to not make a fool of myself, which sometimes can be a tall order.

About two seconds into our conversation, Ira yelled "F***! F***! It's warm here!! I thought it was supposed to be winter?!" He was wearing a wool coat and scarf. It was about 55 that morning. Yay global warming …

The car ride went pretty smooth. Due to bad weather in other states, the other members of the team were delayed, so everyone was starting off behind schedule and we needed to book it to the theater.
I told Ira about Utah, even though he has been here dozens of times. Talked to him a little about my job, my life. We talked about the mountains and how he has never been hiking. I'd never met anyone who hasn't been hiking. When he asked about Boyfriend, and who made the first move after a full three years of being friends. I said the only thing I could … Alcohol. And, that we were close friends before and now we get to be close friends with bills.

Act II

Almost nothing happened in this portion of the day. But, I needed to stick to this format. There has to be an Act II. I'll just sum things up.

I read my book. Boyfriend got home from work.

We left to pick up the Will Call tickets from the Dee Events Center and dropped them off at the Egyptian Theater.

Then! We met up with Ira. I introduced him to Boyfriend. I was relived because Boyfriend really helps with the not look like an i

diot goal. We had a great walk from the theater to the meet and greet reception at Downtown WSU. Ira is hilarious and extremely personable, which I guess is his job -- making it easy to talk.

After the reception, we hustled over to the show. It was great! It consists of Ira, Monica Barnes and Anna Bass. They make some jokes and do some funny dancing. Both Monica and Anna are phenomenal dancers, Ira not so much. But even this adds to the show. I recommend looking it up.

When the show was over, we didn't leave immediately. We were waiting to see if Diane would need anymore help.

Unfortunately, she didn't and we didn't get to take Ira back to his hotel in Salt Lake.


Since we had nothing to do, we went to The Pie. THE BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD. We noticed two full pitchers of lonely beer. It was just sitting there … unattended. We may or may not have taken it. Even though that is kind of weird.

So, even though we didn't get to spend anymore time with Ira Glass, we had a wonderful, wonderful dinner. Great pizza, great beer and I'm hilarious!

Overall, it was a great evening. It went too fast, most good days do.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Real Food: Warm Rice and Vegetable Salad

Boyfriend and I are almost grownups.

In the last week, we have cooked dinner at home every night! This is a big jump from eating out 2 - 3 times per week. And! We're cooking more than spaghetti, which is another meal we have All. The. Time (even though I love it).

Vegetables. Sweet potatoes. We're talking legitimate dinners this week.


Warm Rice and Vegetable Salad

Whatever vegetables you want

I used:
Yellow Squash
Brussels Sprouts
Spring Mix Salad

1 - 2 cups brown rice
1 package extra firm tofu

What to do:
1. Start the rice.
2. While that is going, open the tofu and firmly press with towels to get the extra moisture out. Then, cut into bite-sized cubes and bake at 450 degrees for ~30 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.
3. While the rice and tofu are cooking, chop the brussles sprouts, squash and zucchini and saute with garlic in olive oil. 
4. After the rice, tofu and vegetables are finished toss them in with the olives and spring mix.

For dressing, I added red wine/honey vinaigrette the first time I made this. The second time, I cooked the vegetables in broth and corn starch so they had a little bit of gravy with them. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dealing with a Hoarder

Boyfriend is a hoarder, mainly of paper products. It's weird.

While cleaning out his old place I found multiple stacks of stolen Subway and Wendy's napkins in his pantry and kitchen drawers, a huge box of padded envelopes that he stole four years ago and still hasn't touched, and loads of printer paper even though, he doesn't have a printer.

And, then I found the magazines. Boxes and boxes of them. Most women would expect to find hidden stashes of porn, but finding National Geographics from 2006 seems a little more bizarre. 

I originally found the boxes in the new apartment. I told him we'd have to recycle them, especially since they were over 8 years old and he still hadn't read them (but wanted to!!!). I wasn't about to yield what little space we had to stacks of old magazines. So, we toted them back to his townhouse and set them with the rest of the recycle and DI items.

Imagine my surprise last night, when I moved a pile of hammocks and found ... a box of magazines. We fought. It was the dumbest fight I've ever had. I contemplated storming out, calling the whole thing off, how would I explain that? "Yeaaaaah, we lived together for a day but ... it didn't work out."

I still want to throw his magazines off the balcony, but we've come to a compromise. He has until the end of the month to read them and then I'm throwing them ALL out.

This was Day One.  What am I getting myself into?