life unfiltered, travel, work

Official things are official

My farewell tour of Montana started back in October. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it a full year, not living apart from my husband (I actually like the guy). My goal was to get through another contract year and I made it.

I drove 10 hours to see a concert (in the same state), I toured Glacier, a deer hit my car, I visited Mt. Rushmore and Devil’s Tower, visited numerous state parks, had drinks, did good work, spent time with friends and colleagues. There are worse things than knowing you’re going to leave.

Spring is here and things are just now starting to green up, thanks to the long dry winter. I’ll be going to North Dakota – again, but likely for the last time – next week to pick up my husband before we drive south. I think I’m going to go a little out of my way to Fargo before we turn because, why not?

I looking forward to the warmth. I’m looking forward to hanging out with my guy. This has been a life-changing experience and I’ll never be sorry I did it.

books, health, travel

There’s something in my eye

Actually, it’s not in my eye anymore. After almost two weeks of travel, I’m back in the blustery western plains. My eye was red, angry and sensitive enough to light that walking outside felt like someone stabbing me in the face. I went to the ER, where some things were flushed out of my eye (?!) and it’s hopefully on its way to good repair.

Instead of reading, which I’d planned to do, I listened to several back episodes of Pop Culture Happy Hour during my plane and airport time yesterday. Today, instead of finishing Girl on A Train (no, not that one- the other one) I’m watching/listening to Pride and Prejudice.

The 2005 version with Kiera Knightly and Matthew MacFadyen is becoming my favorite iteration of all the adaptations. It hits all the highs and lows needed to make the story feel satisfying and, controversial a stand as it may be, MacFadyen is a better fit than Colin Firth.

Second runner up has to be Bridget Jones Diary and my third place goes to Austenland.

Do you have a favorite Pride and Prejudice?

food, life unfiltered, travel


We’re doing a lot of things differently this year.

Typically our home is open to anyone who doesn’t have a place to eat. This year we’re still in temporary housing, most of our things in boxes, which makes it a bit more challenging. So it’s just the two of us and what will likely be a large amount of leftovers. We’re not the kind of people to just cook a turkey breast, ya feel me?

So I’m adjusting most of my recipes, thanks to ChefTap (which has long been my most favorite recipe app). On android, it will automatically scale down (or up) and it is AMAZING.

I’ve changed up my cranberry-jalepeno sauce recipe, I’m making a new green bean casserole, and I’m experimenting with doing gravy-prep the day before.

What I’m most excited about, though, is my mom’s Pumpkin Torte. It’s been a staple in our home since I was a kid and it’s my favorite pumpkin recipe of all time. Last year we had a bunch of leftovers (shame!) so this year I’m making a 1/2 batch BUT I’m also putting them in individual graham cracker cups! I’m super stoked about individual desserts and thrilled to find a way to have my favorite for a smaller crowd.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!


Friday Five, travel

Friday Five

Making Me Happy This Week:

Chicago Style Pizza
Since I left the state, Pizza Papalis has expanded and sprinkled locations all over Metro Detroit. Since no one outside of the Great Lakes seems to understand what real Chicago deep dish is, I’ve made two visits this week. Totally worth it.

Mom is still recuperating and we’ve gotten through almost 9 seasons. I expect we’ll get caught up before I get on a plane.

Tool Skillz
While I’ve been here, I’ve been able to do some repairs around the house. My dad was a handy guy and passed on plenty of knowledge to me, which I am always grateful for.

I know it seems superficial, but I love a good tea and especially a good tea latte. Starbucks is consistent, something I didn’t realize made such a difference until I lived in three different states and was driving through four. Proximity here means I may even get to keep my gold status.

New Kicks
I got some new shoes this week, with the new school’s colors. I’m pretty excited about them.


life unfiltered, travel

You can’t go home again


My parents moved when I was at the end of elementary school. They moved again during my freshman year of college, so the house I left wasn’t the one I returned to after Christmas. Dad has been gone 10 years now and my mom moved again. During junior high and high school, we lived on the outskirts of the school district: a 2 mile walk to the bus stop and a 45 minute ride to school. Mom relocated right down the road from my junior high school, which makes this visit home a bit more surreal.

I didn’t have a lot of friends outside of school. My parents were religious zealots and I had a real fear that anyone I brought home would get pigeonholed by my dad, who would try to Save them. I was also a nerd, when being a nerd wasn’t cool. I was good at school and I liked it, and I didn’t care if anyone else didn’t. I was kind of a jock- basketball and track – but never ran in those crowds. I worked as soon as I was old enough to punch a timeclock (well, earlier really) so that’s where I spent as much free time as they’d pay me for.

Now I’m staying in the heart of all these areas where I only rode the bus, or walked after school on half-days. I’m closer to the elementary school where I spent 6th grade and those houses of my friends whose parents likely are no longer there. Everything is the same and everything is completely different. 

I don’t recognize huge chunks of this area and the parts I do… well, I’m feeling the distance more keenly tonight. I’m reminded that I never had much of a community here – as much my fault as anyone else’s – and how glad I was to go away. I’d have given my left arm to live where my mom’s house is now. It’s nice to think I would have had a different set of friends or a different experience but I recognize enough about myself to know that’s unlikely.

I don’t miss this place or those times. I do miss my family now. My good friends who are scattered across Colorado. The handful of people in Michigan that I still interact with. My Buffy friends. My LJ friends. Because this is not my home and there isn’t much for me here.

My sister had Netflix running non-stop today and there was a terrible episode of Bones on (are there good ones?). Someone killed Santa Claus and the subplot was about how Brennan’s family wasn’t going to be together for Christmas because some were in jail and she was going to Peru. And I realized, for approximately the billionth time, that my family will never be together for Christmas again because my father is dead. It seems like at some point in time that should stop gutting me. That time was not today.

So yes. You can go home, but it’s not the home you left and the people aren’t the ones you remember and nothing feels the same even if it appears to be. I’m a long way from home here.


Packing up

I thought I jammed my toe but it looks like a case of turf toe instead. I’m all taped up now and while I’m still recovering from yesterday’s packing marathon (15 hours) I’ve still got a lot to do today.

I’ve managed to sell some things, which is great, and donate/pitch more. There’s still a lot to do though and I’m beginning to doubt my timeline.

Perhaps it’ll go more quickly today since the tape will help with my hobbling.

running, travel

My run tonight

It was gorgeous tonight, despite an incoming storm. I continue to be able to run more than I’m walking. I walk the first half or so mile (I’ll have to clock it out tomorrow), I run almost all of the second mile and then the third and a half is a mix of run/walk.

I’m still enjoying it. I’m listening to All the Lights we Cannot See and I think audiobooks will be my listen of choice if I’m not doing a training run/spring. I haven’t decided yet whether or not I’ll be on board for a Turkey Trot this year but I think there’s a chance I might prep for it just in case. No pressure if I don’t do it, but it’s a goal to maintain consistency.

In other news, I’ve got a lot of flights coming up and I’m dialing in my carryon packing game. My little blue duffel is going to get a serious workout.

running, travel


Today I got distracted packing boxes and didn’t get to running until sunset, so I cut my run short- 1.4 miles instead of my usual 3.5-3..8. My time was better, though, and the run felt good. I even had a phone conversation during the first half mile or so. Didn’t get my steps in, but I’m happy with how I felt at the end of the workout.

I’ve got a plan for tomorrow’s boxes, including the great wardrobe reduction.I’ll be sending my Halloween stuff (yes, I have several costumes) and some miscellaneous summer- related items down to Texas since I’m not going to be needing them here anytime soon. Reservations have been made and notice have been given, so the real move is on. Now I’ve got the deadline to get all my boxes packed.