31 A Year for Fun: Found a Craft

I’ve been looking for a craft for many years, without much luck. I like crafting. I like the creativity and skill that it involves. I like the idea of creating something new and beautiful out of other materials. I like having something to do with my spare time that feels productive, but isn’t work. I work in research, which involves a lot of precise and exact measuring. I’ve spent more time than I care to arguing the differences of 0.1% or less. I’ve even gotten passionate in some of those arguments! But I still wanted something for my life less precise and more creative (though one can get creative with statistics, let me tell you!). I tried adult coloring books, but could never get super into them, which makes sense since I wasn’t into children’s coloring books as a child. I then took a stained glass class at my park district, which while I’m proud of the finished product (pics below of all of my crafting attempts), stained glass is about precise measurement and cutting of glass and then shaving milimeters off of it so the picture fits together perfectly. So not the less exacting leisure activity I wanted. Also, if there is any chance I can make a small cut in my hand on a material, I will find that way. I used more band-aids making that stained glass than I care to count. I then found fabric crafts. Now, much like the Iron Born on Game of Thrones, I do not sew (I’m sure the Iron Born mean sow, but it’s a good pun!), but apparently a whole world of fabric crafts exist that involves no sewing! I first made a banging wreath out of some fabric. I then used the leftover fabric and some of my many, many old t-shirts from high school, along with some other old clothes to make a super awesome braided circle rug. I just sat around watched TV and braided fabric (I love braiding!). The only problem was, I didn’t read the instructions about making sure it would lie flat, so I had to fold it over to make it flat, and now have a super awesome braided triangle rug. The thing was, all these crafts felt like one-off activities and not something I wanted to make multiples of, until I discovered hooking, hook rugging that is.

Now, hook rugging was great in that it combined my love of Iron Born approved fabric crafts and the ability to make puns. One can say things like, “I hooked a bunch last night” or “I haven’t hooked in a while, so I really gotta get back on it.” The possibilities are endless. Now, you make ask yourself, what is hook rugging? Well, it’s taking pre cut lengths of yarn and using a hooking tool to knot it through a grid that creates a pattern. I found it to be fun, but not super exacting. It also took up a lot of time to finish one rug, but I could still see progress every day. It is exactly what I need in a craft. You may also ask, how did you learn about hooking? My mom hooked in her B.C. (before children) days. She did however, leave a Christmas tree skirt undone due to the children and the responisiblity that apparently entails. She tried to take it back up but her arthritis was too bad. You can’t hook with arthritis. So my dad took up hooking. Now he struggled with some of the shades of green when hooking at night so he was only a day time hooker. I decided to start my hooking at Christmas time as it seemed like the festive thing to do. I was hoping to finish by Christmas, but got too busy with the holiday season to really give hooking my all, so I finished in January, just in time to put it away for next year. I already have my next 2 rugs picked out. See some pics below.

31 A Year for Fun: Asked the Dishes about the Gray Stuff (It was Delicious)

Hi All! Here is my much anticipated last post about my trip to Disney! Even if you haven’t seen Beauty and the Beast, you’re probably aware there is a song in it called Be Our Guest. It’s a great song where Lumiere, an enchanted candle stick, and other enchanted objects sing a song about how Belle is their guest (that’s kind of a given with the title) and they’re happy serve her. This song is sung while they give her dinner, defying the Beast, their master who ordered she not be fed because she won’t eat with him, the man who is keeping her prisoner. So it’s a song about two things I love: food and defying bad social structures. Anyway, one line suggests Belle “try the gray stuff, it’s delicious, don’t believe me, ask the dishes.”

I need to take a moment and give a shoutout to my mom, whose IT knew to just come down cause there was no use guiding her over the phone. She used Disney’s website, app, and eventual phone calls to book all of our fast passes (faster entrance to rides) and dining reservations. And people are crazy about their Disney trips! She had to book these things EARLY in the morning when we were first able to and couldn’t always get what we wanted when we wanted it but she made it work! We got to do everything that anyone in our group expressed a strong desire to do.

Anyway, most of our group wanted to eat at the Beast’s castle. My mom got us literally the last reservation available. The food was stupendous! I had a fantastic salad with Ahi tuna and a poached egg, champagne (cause vacation 2pm is basically 5pm), and a cupcake with the infamous gray stuff.

I have to also give credit where it is due. My dad initially said he was going to ask the dishes about the gray stuff. I think he thought when he suggested it we’d roll our eyes but I was excited and determined to copy. So I ate my delicious salad in anticipation of the gray stuff. When our waiter brought it around, he started his bit about how the gray stuff is delicious but if we don’t believe him we could ask the dishes but my dad finished it for him. He was slightly stunned said we were actually one of the few groups to get the bit let alone want to ask the dishes ourselves. Come on America, be better! Have some fun! Live a little!

So, I asked the plate, how is the gray stuff, and it said it was delicious (Dishes there don’t actually talk. I was just listening to a silent unenchanted, non-sentient plate which in any other circumstance would be cause for alarm). I ate it and the plate didn’t lie (again not a talking plate)

Slightly unrelated note, I genuinely felt like I was in the ballroom in the Beast’s castle.

Bonus pic of me in Gaston’s tavern boot and all!

2020 Vision

Well, another New Year is upon us. As I’ve said before, I love holidays. Christmas is my favorite and New Years is my second favorite, so it’s quite the week for me. What I like about the new year is it’s a time to reflect on where you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to be. I think it’s good to look back as change is slow so you forget how far you’ve come. I also like to look ahead and dream up crazy amazing things for my future. Critically looking at where you are right now can be tough. I did it and it was hard.

  • 2018 was a rough year for me. So I went into 2019 determined to make changes. I wrote down 3 things I wanted out of life. They were:
    1. To make the world a better place
      To be happy
      To be healthy
  • I then came up with small ways to get closer to those goals for my life. I wasn’t always successful and there definitely were some very rough parts of the year. Literally at one point life seemed so hopeless I just made a list of things that I seemed mildly interested in living for. It honestly helped a lot. I continued to work on my mental health and I think I actually did a pretty good job working towards my big 3 goals for 1 year and will keep working towards those in the coming year.
  • Now, I’d like to brag about some of the awesome things I’ve done this past year:
    • Went to Nepal where I saw Mt. Everest, saw the sunrise over the Himalayas, saw the sunset over the Himalayas, hiked with the Himalayas in the background, and finally saw one of my dearest friends get married.
      Went to Denver and saw the Rocky Mountains and Garden of the Gods
      Went to Disney World and had a really phenomenal time. Some of it I’ve blogged about. I’ve got one more post on it in the works. Stay tuned!
      Saw the Bazaar in Istanbul
      More traveling: Nashville and Albany
      Got a new job, that I love, where I really feel like I am working towards goal #1.
      Did 2 5ks (in one month would not recommend that)
      Found a craft I like – making hook rugs, probably a blog on that soon
      Did a storytelling event, probably a blog on that soon
      Started this blog
      Find things I could eat with IBS
      Donate my hair for the second time
  • Here are some ideas I have to achieve my goals in 2020:
    • Buy a condo – incredibly terrifying but I think it’s time
      Run a 10K once my foot ever gets back to 100%
      Do more strength training
      Do another storytelling performance
      Continue to make hook rugs
      Blog more, I’m going to shoot for twice a month
      Expand on my cooking skills and eat healthier
      Some smaller traveling
  • I hope you all take some time in the next few days to reflect. I wish you all a very happy 2020!
  • 31 A Year for Fun: Pilot the Millennium Falcon

    As you know from my last post, I was recently at Disney. The trip was great, and in fact, let me hit several things on my path to do 12 fun things while being 31. Today I’m going to talk about piloting the Millennium Falcon!

    If I’m being truly honest, the majority of the reason why I wanted to go to Disney was the new Star Wars area. I love Star Wars, like my father before me. The idea of going inside Stars Wars whilst helping my sister cross off a bucket list item was a win-win. Star Wars is a new area at Disney and it only had one ride open, Smugglers Run, where you and other riders take the Millennium Falcon on a smuggling trip. The cool part is what you do affects the ride. You can, and if you’re me will, in fact crash the Millennium Falcon into an asteroid!

    First of all, the whole area is incredible! You feel like you are in the movies! There’s almost too many photo ops. There’s droids, speeders, TIE fighters, and the greatest hunk of junk in the Galaxy, who did the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs (even though a parsec is a unit of distance not time so that makes no sense), the Millennium Falcon. There were also Storm Troopers patrolling the area!

    We were very lucky that the line was less than an hour, but honestly the line itself is incredible! Not only do you have amazing views of the Falcon herself while you wait, but, there’s cargo that you can pretend to move to help the Resistance/photo op, there’s incredible details in the line area like what looks like rust, oil leaks, and controls. When you finally get to the end, you can even sit at the table in the Falcon, but sadly no chess set.

    There’s 6 people per ride and we were a group of 6, so perfect! There were 2 pilots, 2 gunners, and 2 engineers. My dad and I insisted we pilot and, as I would have been angrier than a Wookiee losing chess if I were not a pilot, no one stopped me. Dad insisted on sitting in Hans spot, so I was the right pilot.

    Throughout the ride I had to move the Falcon up and down while Dad moved it left and right. Again, we could crash! Occasionally directions would be given to us, for example, right pilot punch it into hyperdrive. Which I did! Once successfully and once unsuccessfully, which was honestly more exciting because I got to say it’s not my fault because it wasn’t. On our way back from smuggling cargo we obviously got caught in an asteroid field, which thankfully no one told me the odds of successfully navigating. Dad and I more or less successfully navigated it, though we did hit a few asteroids including one that hit us on top. So, I got to say it’s not my fault, even though it was. The point is I was basically Han Solo! We damaged the Falcon a bit but after repairs we still walked out ahead. Our group celebrated at an incredibly realistic looking cantina at 11am for a drink.

    Bonus! See below for Chewie himself thanking us for our hard work and Vader trying to intimate me, but me taking none of his nonsense because I remember when he was an incredibly hot but incredibly emo teen (These were honestly the two best characters I have ever met at Disney).

    31 A Year For Fun: Be Ariel

    Longtime fans of the blog will know that I love holidays, and Halloween is definitely in my top 3! My favorite part of Halloween is the costumes. This year’s Halloween was very special because I went to Disney World for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

    Now, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has been on my sisters bucket list for years, and this year we finally did it. The whole trip was awesome and will inspire many blog posts in the weeks to come, but today I want to talk about being Ariel at the party.

    The Halloween party is the one time a year that adults can dress up at Disney World. So I decided to take full advantage and be my favorite Disney character Ariel. I have loved The Little Mermaid since before I can remember, but have never been her for Halloween.

    Despite the fact that I was less than a year and a half old when it came out, I actually saw The Little Mermaid in theaters. Legend has it, the prior summer, my Grandparents had to pick up my sister early from day camp. The day camp was at a movie theater watching a screening of The Jungle Book. My Grandparents were also watching me. We went to the theater to pick her up but we’re early, as this was my Grandparents M.O. Anyway, the guy at the theater said we could go in, but Grandma said no, thinking I’d not be quiet (which was a decent bet). Eventually, as the guy kept insisting, she relented and I was mesmerized (much to Grandma’s shock)!Grandma told my Mom and I got to see The Little Mermaid when it came to the theater that fall.

    I was obsessed! I had Little Mermaid everything: clothes, birthday parties (yes, multiple years), sheets, drapes, dolls, and books. That love has never died. Is the story technically about a girl who literally gives up her voice for a man? Yes. Is it also about a girl who knows what she wants and goes after it despite what others tell her? Yes! Are we going to focus on the latter? Yes!!

    Anyway, due to the revealing nature of the costume, I’d always been a little scared to do Ariel, but as mermaid everything is a thing now, it was easy to put the costume together. My friend has a cricut machine (thanks Amy) which is essentially a machine that makes custom iron-ons and made the shirt. I got the leggings online. It looked so good, one kid did think I was the real deal!

    I had a blast at the party! I got to ride The Little Mermaid ride (highly recommend and there surpassingly no line), see my main man Eeyore in costume, and see the best fireworks display I have ever seen at Disney (this was only my 3rd time but still).

    Fitting with the nautical theme, it actually poured for a good chunk of the night but I was Ariel so I’m fine with the water. Also like Ariel I was wishing for legs that are required for jumping, dancing and so on. I re-injured my foot, which I broke a few years ago, giving me a lovely piece of footwear for the trip! See pic below. Despite that I had a wonderful time and am glad I finally got to be Ariel!

    I’m a Little Over Halfway Through Game of Thrones and I Wanted to Share My Thoughts

    Hi All!

    As you may recall, I have recently started watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I watched a few seasons when the last season was airing and I could borrow an HBO password, but the show, ended the subscription was canceled, and I was forced to wait until the opportune moment to get my own HBO access. September seemed good as the vast majority of summer TV has ended but fall TV hasn’t quite started yet.

    My thoughts on the first 4.5ish seasons are below, organized by house *spoilers ahead*

    The Starks

    Thank God I knew Ned was going to die or else I’d be distraught, but he never actually does the meme. He doesn’t stand there with the sword and say “Winter is Coming”, disappointing!

    I knew there was a Red Wedding. I guessed when Rob’s wife was pregnant it’d be soon. Still though, I watched the wedding as was like what a nice wedding, too bad they’ll die at a different wedding soon. Like how dumb am I? In my defense I thought the little Stark boy was there with them. I don’t know why.

    What happened to the little Stark boy? Will we see him again?

    Will the Stark children see each other again? Will they know that most of them are alive?

    Why is Catelyn Stark so mean to Jon Snow, be mad at your husband for bringing home a bastard? Also, why didn’t Ned just tell Catelyn the truth? (I know some spoilers)

    Speaking of spoilers why are people mad Bran is the king. If you’re buying ice cream for a large group and you can have 1 flavor, you guy vanilla. Bran Stark is the vanilla ice cream of people. Nobody’s favorite, but nobody dislikes him, he hasn’t murdered people. You want you king to be vanilla ice cream. Also, it seems like having a king who gets visions from a 3 eyed raven, who is sought after by the Kid from Love Actually (RIP buddy, also hope you don’t look like you’re 14 some day) and an old man living in magical tree roots is a strategic plus.

    Why haven’t we seen Bran in half a season? You just meet the 3 eyed raven/tree man then disappear?

    When does Sansa get to be as awesome as everyone thinks she is?

    Also Sansa has bad odds for engagements 2/3 are psycho!

    Aria’s cool, but like waaaaayyy too much vengeance/ murder for a teen!

    Why did the Night’s Watch vote for Jon Snow? He’s great and all but he hasn’t been in the Night’s Watch very long and half the time he was falling in love with a Free Folk (keeping it PC with my terms).

    Finally, I think Ned and Catelyn messed up as parents in that they taught their kids that while they should be good and fair the world is not. They probably wouldn’t get screwed over so much. Though if Ned wasn’t so trusting he’d probably be alive still.

    The Lannisters

    Tyrion is the only good one. I hated Cersei and Jamie so much in the beginning. I felt for them more then they do something awful. Jame had some great moments with Brienne, saving her life but then he rapes his twin sister/ lover in front of their (their meaning both of them not a preferred pronoun situation) sons corpse! Cersei deals with the patriarchy and sees her son die but then uses a religious order to imprison people who are in her way.

    Kudos to everyone I know who has seen the show for not spoiling the fact that Jamie loses a freaking hand! Then the episode just ends and you’re like how am I supposed to get to sleep now?!?!

    Tywin’s death was amazing! To see a powerful man murdered by the son he loathes whilst pooping! Phenomenal!!

    The Targaryens

    I don’t know why everyone thinks Daenerys actions at the end of the show are so out of character. So far she has: 1. Let a man be attached to her horse, naked, and walk behind her until he died 2. Basically set is up so her brother was murdered. 3. Burned a woman alive because when asked if she could bring Drogo back from the dead said sure but you won’t like it. She did and Dany didn’t like it. Sounds like not a problem! Also that woman was raped by Drogo’s people repeatedly, enslaved, and saw most people she knows be murdered by Drogo’s people, so you can’t blame her for not going into specifics of you won’t like it. 4. Bought the Unsullied to then have them destroy the city so she didn’t have to pay for them. She freed them yes, but only after they destroyed the city. 5. Had 163 people crucified because of their social class. 6. Had her dragons burn and eat someone alive. My point is she cray cray and violent and powerful! The only thing that surprises me is that nobody killed her earlier

    The Baratheon

    Robert was such a drunk slut! So many bastards! Thank God someone finally told Gendry! Poor guy is just walking around like why does everyone want to murder me? It’s cause you have a claim on the throne son.

    Stannis needs to get away from this lord of light nonsense!

    How did Stannis get North of the Wall? One minute he’s in Bravos then bam North of the Wall. Confusing!

    Why is Mrs Stannis mean to their kid?

    How didn’t everyone figure out the kids weren’t Roberts? It’s pretty obvious!

    Everybody Else

    Brienne is amazing! Why with all the GOT kid naming is everyone not naming their girls Brienne?

    I’m so mad at Theon that I’m only slightly upset about the toy that he lost *wink wink nudge nudge* and how he’s being treated.

    Can we just kill Ramsey already?

    I love Grandma Tyrell! She holds her own with Tywin and Tyrion. She ends homophobia by being like what Tywin you’ve never had sex with another man, how weird? Iconic! She takes matters into her own hands to make sure her family is ok but how exactly did she and Little Finger kill Joffrey? Also, do not go to a Westerosi wedding! High death rate! I thought the Dothraki had violent weddings but I was mistaken!

    How is The Hound not dead?

    Finally Some Alternative TV Shows/Movies

    A prequel family dramedy about the Starks, except Jon is really a cousin who’s living with the Starks for some reason (parents dead, out of the country, doesn’t matter) and Theon’s Rob’s friend, good kid from the wrong side of the tracks (basically Sean Hunter with worse hair). It’s a little less preachy than 7th Heaven, but only a little cause I bet Ned gives a good speech.

    Basically The Hangover, but with Tyrion Sir Bronn, and Podrick. Then the sequel, basically Planes, Trains, and Automobiles with Podrick and Brienne. (I give you Pod and Brienne are basically living that plot except much less funny and it’s called Sometimes We Have Two Horses and Sometimes We Have One Horse.)

    A sitcom about The Hound as a single father raising Aria his teenage daughter. Possible episodes: The Hound has to not kill Aria’s first date, The Hound takes Aria to buy a bra.

    A teenage coming of age movie a la Superbad (Not American Pie because it made playing the flute and having had gone to band camp so much more difficult for years!) for Jon, Samwell, Would Be Hot if He Had Better Teeth, Chin, and Pip, who I called The Other One until he died. They’re trying to get someone before the battle at Castle Black. Only Jon succeeds, but Sam and Gilly go steady and there is no battle so no one dies (RIP Would Be Hot if He Had Better Teeth and Pip).

    31 A Year for Fun: Get in the Water!

    Hi All!

    Welcome to the second part in my series of doing 12 smallish fun things to celebrate my 31st year. This one is a little different for a couple reasons: 1. I started doing this before my birthday 2. It’s something I did all summer as opposed to a discrete event.

    I have always loved being in the water, pools, lakes, the ocean, doesn’t matter. Legend has it, it was quite warm the summer I was born, so my family would go in the kiddie pool every night. I’m assuming I was held in a safe manner as I was literally a new born at this point.

    As summers went on we continued to enjoy the kiddie pool in the backyard. We also had a swing set (because my backyard as a child was > your backyard as a child (unless you are my sister, then my backyard as a child = your backyard as a child )) and my Dad would put the pool under the slide, throw the hose on the top of slide and boom! Water slide! My Dad would also throw a bunch of pennies in the pool and have us collect them competitively and then return them to him. This is more fun than it sounds!

    Outside of our pool, I spent part of my summers as a small child at a Boy Scout camp as my Dad ( who is apparently the MVP of this post, which makes sense as the man was such a lifeguard he professionally trained lifeguards) worked there. There, we could swim every day in a pool and sometimes we even got to swim in the lake! I quickly earned my full swimmer buddy tag and was able to use the deep end!!

    When I got too old for the kiddie pool in the incredible back yard, my next door neighbors, who had a daughter a few years younger than me, invested in larger kiddie pools until they eventually got 4 foot deep above ground pool. Aka a preteens dream! Since I was good friends with the daughter, I used the pool all the time! I remember swimming multiple times a day, screaming underwater (which often, unfortunately, started above water), and my hair turning a little green.

    Sadly, they moved, not far though, we literally got together a few weeks ago. Luckily for my swimming, there was the youth swim at the park district pool, which I could easily walk to. You had to wear a bathing cap, but the cloth ones are less uncomfortable, so I persevered. They had a diving board and you just had to swim the length of the pool once (easy peasy since I had earned swimmers buddy tags forever ago) and they’d let you in the deep end and use the diving board!

    In high school, my parents took us to the Wisconsin Dells aka the Water Park Capital of the World (‘Merica!). We stayed at the Kalahari, which at the time had the worlds largest indoor/outdoor water park. Not to be confused with the worlds largest water park or the worlds largest indoor water park (Again ‘Merica!). We’d go for a long weekend and spend a few hours every day enjoying complimentary access to the water park featuring the worlds only (at least at the time) indoor/ outdoor water rollercoaster among other slides! My sister and I would try all the slides while my parents floated in the lazy river.

    Then I got older, summer jobs turned to real jobs, and I honestly haven’t spent a ton of time in the water for close to half my life. I changed that this summer. My local park district had a water aerobics class called HIIT the Water! (FYI HIIT means high intensity interval training so great word play!) Two nights I week, I was able to do many of the things I love in a pool, whilst watching the sunset, in the name of fitness! Things like jumping and running in one direction to move the current and then switching directions. The class only ran for 2 months as it is an outdoor pool. I had initially signed up for only 1 month, and, were it not for a change in my employment, I would not have been able to do the second. Luckily things changed I was able to do the whole summer. It was wonderful! It was like returning to a piece of myself I hadn’t realized I lost long ago.