Mini Vacation is over & I’m back in Washington

Allie Brosh

Allie Brosh

I think I’ve officially recovered from my mini, cross country vacation. I had a really good first time flying experience. Thank God, really, the security gate at 3 in the morning in Seattle is pretty quick. Also, surprisingly, the Security check at O’hare wasn’t bad either. I was standing in a huge long line but they opened a second place to go through & the new line started only a few people ahead of me. So, I was in & out. I also was about 2 hours early for that flight as well. I think the worst part was driving back from Indiana to Chicago in my rental. I’m not entirely sure why they refer to it as the Dan Ryan Expressway, when it’s more like the Dan Ryan Slow as Fuck, took me an hour to go 14 miles-way. But other than that- the weekend was really fun.

I got in Friday evening & went straight to my Dad’s. Again with the rental car, I had an appointment to pick up my car at 11:30 & didn’t get to the check in counter until 1pm – so I was a little later getting back home than I wanted. But, regardless, I made it safely. The first person to greet me was Jake, my dad’s dog. I know that may sound sad but really, he jumped through my car window with excitement. So, it was worth it. The weather was hot & muggy, I kind of forgot about the 150% humidity mixed with 80 degrees with pending rain. I had to change into a tank top, I could have skipped packing make up & hair products (Actually, I did skip hair products & just used my sisters, she has no idea). I had dinner at my mom’s, some good ‘ole Polish sausage.  Then I stayed at my Dad’s, I woke up after about 45 minutes of being asleep in a panic, not knowing where I was.

Saturday I saw my favorite person in the world, my best friend’s mom and her dad & one of her younger brothers. Rosa couldn’t get the weekend off from work, so she wasn’t able to come back to Indiana. But either way, her mom gave me some beers at 11 am & made me breakfast tacos. Then it was lunch at Tjo’s – if there’s any theme to my visit back home it’s something related to food. I had lunch with my BLTMS group of friend – BLTMS stands for : Bacon (Me) Lettuce (Lauren) Tomato (Tjo) Mayo (Marianne) Sourdough Bread (Star).  🙂 Another theme to my weekend is dogs, I got to see Tjo’s dog Duke, who was just a little baby the last time I saw him. Now, he’s a giant & peed everywhere when I walked in. After lunch and some extreme gossiping & more drinks, I went to my dad’s for a cook out with both of my sisters & my grandma & my sister’s boyfriend. And obviously my dad & his girlfriend. Again, we had sausage (brats).

After the cookout, everybody went out to Hacienda. Everybody being Rosa’s mom, dad, brother & his girlfriend, my sisters, my sisters’ bf, my mom & bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo & my friend Kristin. We had margaritas & generally shitty service, Kristin ended up getting her meal for free. Which is pretty common for this specific location & has happened multiple times before but it’s an iconic restaurant in town, so we suffer for the margs. Afterwards we walked over to a new bar in town, the Smokestack. They had a live band & no air conditioning. It was mostly an older crowd but still fun.  We didn’t do much dancing because we were too busy sweating but after an entire day of drinking beers & margaritas & vodka tonics I didn’t mind the sweat. A few of us finished up the night at Rosa’s mom’s house with some homemade Apple Cinnamon whiskey. I went back to my Dad’s, I only tried to moon my sister once & she didn’t even look. Boo.

Sunday was the best day, I got to go to my church – Granger Community Church with Rosa’s Mom, Dad & Tjo showed up as well. I was kind of worried because the first two songs that they sang I didn’t know. But the sermon was really good, educational & worth every second of going with my God given family. After that, I ran over to Kristin’s to meet her new puppy Lucy and chatted with her for a little bit. Then on to another cook out with my mom’s side of family. This time, no sausage but some bomb ass pasta salad. One of the best parts of that cook out was when my autistic cousin, who I haven’t really spent a lot of time around and who probably doesn’t know who I am at all, even though I owe him $10 from the day he was born when I needed to pay for parking at the hospital- told me goodbye & gave me a hug before he left. That was pretty cool. Also awesome, getting to see my little cousins, especially the girlie who is coming of age & was just baptized a couple weeks ago. I got to tell her how proud I am of her. And of course see my the rest of my family, especially my Aunt Doris who cried when I left the first time & this time. I tried to remind her again that she still has my mom but she rolled her eyes at me. >.<

After that, dinner at the best wings restaurant- Wings Etc with my Dad’s side of my family.  Not the entire family but the ones who lived close by. I was happy to see the small percentage of cousin’s who were in town & spend a little extra time after drinking beers with my Aunt Lisa & her husband. Then got some beers & a margarita at Scotty’s Brewhouse.

Monday morning I went on a walk around the riverwalk in Elkhart, waiting on my old boss to show up to work. I really, really tried to look at the riverwalk with new eyes. Hoping to see a glimpse of the beauty here in Washington but they were very small glimpses. Especially when the river is gross & you’ve got some radioactive green slime build up by the trees & these turtles jumping in & out of it. I got a chance to spend a couple hours with my old boss & an old co-worker. I may or may not have had some PTSD like flashbacks when I pulled up to my old job & listened to the other workers complaining about our temp workers & talking about how crazy busy they are. That was a big motivator to feel grateful I was coming back to Washington. Not that I don’t appreciate my struggle but forreal, God Bless the fact that I am no longer that stressed.

Met up with my Mom for lunch at Barnaby’s another historical site in my hometown for delicious food. Then we hit up Goodwill afterwards, then I was off. I started my should have been 1 hour & 45 minute trip back to Chicago that in fact took 3 hours because traffic was so shitty in Chicago. I think my GPS said 14 miles left for about 30 minutes at one point.

As soon as I hit the highway, I started crying. Not because I was sad to be leaving Indiana because I do not think anyone could actually be sad to leave such a boring state but because I want, so much in my heart to find the kind of friends (but not better) & the kind of support I have in Indiana, in Washington. And I was crying & praying & jamming with the windows down & the air conditioner blasting on my feet. (It’s a rental, of course I’m going to abuse that privilege.) The clouds looked so much closer than the clouds here in Tacoma, it was almost unreal & I wanted to remember that forever. I also wanted to remember for at least 6 months before my next trip home the feeling of driving 80 miles per hour on the highway, rather than 60 on I-5.  And then I realized that what I really should be praying for is that I can become that kind of support, that I could give the kind of love I received while I was home to all of the new people I’m meeting in Washington. How great would it be to make people feel the same way I feel when I have such loving, encouraging, nurturing, strong friends & family back home. I prayed that I could give that to everyone in my life new & old. (One is silver & the others’ Gold #girlscouts)

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard some version of – “We may not have talked in a long time but as soon as I’m around here it’s like we hadn’t spent a day apart.” I don’t know how many times I’ve said that same exact thing about my friends. If I had a superpower, I’d want it to be that feeling of comfort. That no matter the distance, the circumstances, the good or the bad – I’ll always be there. I’ll always love you. And we’ll always pick right up where we left off, without holding a grudge. If I had a superpower,  I’d make a home for you, in my heart so that whenever you are near you’ll feel safe.

I’m so grateful for all of the people in my life, it overwhelms my heart to the point where I think it might explode.

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🚀 Headed Home for the Weekend

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On on my way back to Indiana this morning! It’s 3:50 am, the plane boards in 40 minutes. I was so nervous, well I still am, this is my first time flying but the security check was a breeze. It took like 3 seconds because it was 3 in the morning. Now I am literally hoping I have to poop before I get on the plane, not during & that I have a normal reaction to take off & landing. I also hope the person next to me has a normal reaction bc if there’s panic in the air idk how I’m going to feel. I’m so tired!

I was driving yesterday & remembered this one time I was taking the Amtrak to Michigan with my grandma . She had to tap me on the shoulder & tell me I was singing out loud to everyone on the train. Haha! I can almost Remember perfectly the tape player & those old janky headphones like they have at school & I was for sure singing Spice Girls- I had forgotten about that for a minute even tho I was telling someone the other day how on that same trip to Michigan I almost drown because I wanted to be cool & go off the water slide like everyone else but  I couldn’t swim. So when I flew off the slide & into the water, my grandma had to grab me bc I was going down. Haha I also have a picture somewhere that shows me sitting on the water slide with my cousins & grandma. ☺️

^ That was a nervous ramble, wish me luck!

A Beautiful Day in Tacoma.

11140333_10153269642290833_1399572956045708510_nSuch a beautiful day in Tacoma. Met up with a friend after work & we walked the Tacoma Narrows Bridge – I was in such a good mood today, I think it just radiated to the outside world. During work, a co-worker & I spent our breaks & lunch walking the Thea Foss Way bridge in Tacoma & we were saying hi to everyone that passed by. Then on my walk across the Narrows Bridge we were saying Hi to every one, we had a couple cars honk & wave at us. Then we went to Boathouse 19 for happy hour & idk man, in the parking lot a little boy waved at me while I drove past him. Then inside, another little toddler was staring at me & giggling. I like when I’m in the extroverted mood that just attracts happiness from everyone else. Sometimes the introvert inside of me tends to keep my eyes towards the ground or avoid eye contact with people. But it’s much more fun when you’re interacting with strangers in a positive way like that. Reminds me of how my soul sister Shrylle is ALL OF THE TIME, that is something I cherish about her & wish I was around more. And hanging out with BP is always a good time.

We ate on the waterfront & walked out on the pier afterwards. It was the perfect way to wrap up my big 1 year anniversary of moving here & starting my new job. It doesn’t even feel like a year, maybe that’s because it didn’t even snow this winter. (WOOH!) So my brain hasn’t fully comprehended that it’s been a full calendar year of all four seasons. I’m much excite for the summer. American Lake is only a mile away from where I live, so I’ll be back on the beach a lot like I was last year. And going on walks is much more pleasurable, especially now when it’s sunny & only 70 degrees ish. BP, Ashlee & I are going hiking this Sunday. I don’t think I’ll manage to keep up with hiking when it gets into the 80s because it’s like 10 degrees hotter in the forest but I’m so happy & so proud of myself for getting out there & exploring all this beautiful nature Washington has to offer. I’ve had so many people tell me that I’ve done more in the past year than they have in the numerous years that they’ve lived in Washington. I love that. I love that I have that kind of flexibility with my work schedule as far as not working weekends. And even though every pay-day I contemplate getting a 2nd part-time job so I’m not so fucking poor, it’s worth it.

May 2nd, 2014- I drove in to Tacoma for the first time. On May 5th, 2014- I started my new job at the corporate headquarters. And on May 7, 2015 … Just a couple of days ago, I took a huge step towards becoming an adult… I made my first payment towards my student loans!

I’m on the up & up from here.

It’s been an entire year since I’ve been home & with Mother’s Day & my mom’s birthday within 10 days of each other, I figured I should make the trip back home. So, next weekend I’ll be in Indiana for a couple days. I’m like all of the emotions packed in to one. I’m nervous to fly for the first time, I’m excited to see all of my friends, I’m sad because last week my best friend’s mom’s best friend passed away but I’m also grateful that I’ll be able to offer some comfort & hopefully some good laughs when I get home to those hurting the most. I’m going to miss my cats 😦 But I’ve very excited to see my familia both i immediate & extended, both biological & my God given family. And see all the things that have changed back home & I’m also nervous to see all of the things I left back home. UGH & I can not wait to see all of my friends, which were definitely the hardest to leave. I don’t understand why they haven’t just moved out here with me, I think I’ve done my job of proving it’s awesome. Ever since I booked my plane ticket I’ve been rolling through all of these emotions. But now, with only 7 more days to go, I’m pumped.

Every one here in Washington always ask me if I ever think I’ll want to move back to Indiana… My answer… Fuck no. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard to go home & see 25 years of comfort & friends & family right at your fingertips & have to leave them again. But I’m pretty much rocking this whole Washington thing, so they’ll just have to hide in my luggage or something.

I’m also super excited to go to my church, which is why I made sure I was flying back on a Monday. I think I’ll explode with happiness, no matter what the sermon is about. That’s another huge comfort that I am currently living without, not that I’m not going to church or worshiping God but I haven’t found MY church yet, my church is very much still in Indiana but I know God will show me the way. Maybe I should ask someone there if they have any recommendations for churches in Washington. I was reading a post on the church’s Instagram that our lead pastor had a mild stroke while leading a tour of the early days of the New Testament Church (he was in the Vatican in Italy, of all places). An update now states that all is clear & he’s doing fine, they are just waiting on another test since he is still having issues with seeing double.

In the update on their blog, the Executive Pastor wrote, “Dr. Tom Morton- a GCC founding member who is also with Mark in Italy, has 25 years of vision rehab exactly of this nature. God is good. He’s been watching over Mark every step of this unforeseen journey.”

I’m not the perfect Christian, I certainly haven’t always been this invested in my relationship with God, I honestly haven’t even read the whole bible. But now, when I read things like this, when I see tremendous amounts of hope in the face of tragedy, I get choked up & I know it is the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart. I can’t help but to feel an overwhelming happiness & relief to see the bigger picture in full effect. It’s beautiful & not a coincidence. It’s a great reminder that we are serving a higher purpose and that all of our suffering is pale in comparison to what God has waiting for us.

1 John 5:13: “These things I’ve written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”

God put Dr. Morton on that trip with our pastor so that there would be no doubt, in anyone minds, that God is real, God is good. And being able to see his saving grace in the face of tragedy is true peace & confidence that he is amongst us at all times.

Book Review : Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

A second dose of Gillian Flynn-

Title: Dark Places
Genre: Fiction, Dark, Thriller
Author: Gillian Flynn

Dark Places is Gillian Flynn’s 2nd novel, although all three novels to date do not correspond with each other. So, it does not matter which order you read them. I read Gone Girl first, then Sharp Objects & finished strong with Dark Places. If you were to read them in the order they were published you would be able to mark the growth in Gillian Flynn’s writing. Where Sharp Objects was a detailed story about too many details, with a lack luster ending – Dark Places evolves into a much better story.

From the table contents you can see that the story is told from several different perspectives. First we hear from the main character Libby’s perspective in present tense. Libby is 30 but her story line starts when she was 7 years old, she escaped a massacre on her farm where everyone in her family was murdered except for her & her older brother Ben. Her family included two sisters who were only a couple of years older than her & her single mom. She has burned through the large inheritance she had received from supporters after she gave enough evidence, at 7 years old, to convict her brother Ben as the murderer. She was now depressed, broke, and desperate for money.

The next perspective is Libby’s mom, Patty in the few days leading up to the murders. She was broke, losing money on the family farm she tried to keep going, and overwhelmed as a single mom of three girls & a son going through puberty. Her ex husband, the father of their children was a drunk, abusive and only came around when he needed money.

Then we hear from the past tense perspective of brother Ben, a teenage boy going through puberty with a girlfriend who was sexy, dangerous, older than him & mean. He was working a shitty job, annoyed by his little sisters, lacking a good relationship with is dad which made him feel worthless as a man & permanently annoyed & angry with his mom. He listens to heavy metal, dyes his hair black, drinks, smokes pot, and people start to associate him with this cultural idea that teens were devil worshippers. Oh & his shitty girlfriend is pregnant. And a few other damning things to go along with this ploy to make you think he’s the bad guy.

Desperate for money, Libby allows herself to get involved with people who kind of worship her family’s massacres. They’ve studying & come up conspiracy theories and have club meeting to discuss evidence. There’s even a group of women who visit Ben in jail regularly and almost idolize him & they are all convinced he is innocent. This group pushes Libby to re-examine things that she believed when she was 7 years old. She visits her brother in jail for the first time and starts connecting dots and coming to the realization that maybe she was antagonized to give a testimony against her brother, at the age 7 year –

My favorite thing about this book is the fact that we hear the story from multiple perspectives. Rather than just one, we get to examine what exactly was going on in the family before the murders and where it led to afterwards. You can put together simple misunderstandings & the mother’s inability to see her son was struggling in a house full of women. All the tiny things that to a reader seem so obvious & so clear but in the story line, they become misconstrued & lead the reader through a really fucked up story line. Again, this isn’t the best written prose, much like Sharp Objects. It’s very easy to read but at the same time it keeps you its grip and you can’t put the book down. Halfway through your either thinking, I know what’s going to happen or you’re thinking – holy shit this is an amazing story line & I probably could write a much better story. But I think the simplicity is what gives it its merit.

Again the books carries heavy in the climax only to reveal a short passage on what actually happens. The massacre seems to happen very quickly &  with many hands covered in blood. But the follow-up after the murders is much better than Sharp Objects. You get to see how the plot twist plays out past the story line and there’s even some more crime riddled intensity in the present tense that aligns with the past massacres. The characters are well written, only lacking on the motive of the brother Ben who is in jail & limited to the short prison visits.

Ultimately, this books gives you insight to what could be a very real story, I think that’s what I like the best about it. I also love that I gave you a very generic run down of the plot & didn’t reveal any of the really juicy stuff.

I’d give it 4/5 stars & I’d probably pay to see it in the movie theater, depending on the cast.
All though, I think I did see that they are shooting the movie already & Charlize Theron plays Libby & it’s not really getting much hype. So, we’ll see.

 

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Dream Job: Professional book reader.

Although I am not shy to the fact that when asked/forced to read, much like in school, it is far less enjoyable than doing it on your own. Regardless, I kind of wanted to start a book review section for my blog. To strengthen my commitment to reading & just to have some intellectual & physical proof that I read these books & have formed an opinion on them. And maybe you’ll pick up on a book or two you might want to read.

sharpobjectscoverTitle: Sharp Objects
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Author: Gillian Flynn

First & foremost, Gone Girl was on the best books I’ve read in the past 5 years. It kept me absolutely entrenched in the story & as cliché as it may sound, I literally could not put it down. That is what drew me to read the rest of Gillian Flynn’s books.

Sharp Objects is Flynn’s debut novel which won a Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller in 2007. According to Goodreads it is #43 on a list of 1585 Most Disturbing Books Ever Written list.  Also according to Goodreads; Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.

The novel is about a reporter, Camille, living in Chicago who has to go back to her small hometown in Missouri to ‘investigate’ / write about recent murders of two young girls. Surprisingly enough, Camille is reluctant to go back to her hometown. She has a tumultuous relationship with her mother- who happens to be the richest person in the town, a hypochondriac & more controlling than my own mother. She has no relationship with her real father or her step father, who is weird as fuck & only serves his purpose by catering to her mother. She had a sister who died at a young age due to being mysteriously sick, she now has a half-sister whose personality came straight from that movie Heathers, a little bit sweet, a little bit sexy & a whole lot sadistic for a 13 year old. Camille also has spent time in a psych ward & is forced to wear pants & long sleeves in the Missouri heat because she’s a cutter. And not just a cutter but she cuts words into her skin, all through the book she’ll trace the words on her arms, her palms, her legs, her hip, her back.

If that sounds like a lot, please keep in mind those are only a few characters. There’s also the little boy who saw the murderer but no one believes, there’s the town sheriff that is stuck in this 1950’s a woman couldn’t have done this mindset. There’s the main suspect, the 18-year-old brother of one of the murdered girls who Camille hooks up with, and his girlfriend, and his family. There’s the rookie detective sent from Kansas City that Camille falls in love with, or he falls in love with her, either way :Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t work out. There’s the other murdered girl’s family, there’s Camille’s half sister’s groupies, there’s Camille’s boss & his wife back in Chicago, who didn’t have kids of their own, so they’ve taken Camille in as one of theirs. There’s her old high school friends, the group of girls she went to high school with who are now the rich socialite moms of the town.

Basically, if you could think of any cliché that would be in a crime story about a middle aged woman going back to her hometown- you got it right in this little book. The writing reads like what I would imagine a decent romance novel would. The kind where you know it’s not superior creative writing but more dumbed down & easy to follow along with. And yet, it’s one of those books you can’t put down. The plot line is good, just like Gone Girl, there’s plenty of twists & turns throughout the story that keep you going. Kind of like a good horror movie where you think you might know the ending but you’ve got to keep watching to make sure. So, in a kind of cheap thriller, easy & quick to read, borderline mentally fucked up story kind of way – it’s a good book. I mean, I’d recommend you read it if you’re in to horror lit & maybe have some down time in between reading better written books by better authors.

I’d say the worst part of this book is chapter after chapter, you’re building up to this conclusion. You’ve got the story line & a climax that builds up for the majority of the book – only to find the conclusion in a few sentences at the end of the book. And in the true sense of a plot twist, the book ends in a halfway hopeful ending with the murderer found & arrested. Camille goes back to Chicago & attempts to go back to her life with a few changes outlined in the book. And then… BOOM the epilogue – 2.5 kindle pages reveal the truth of what happens after the happily ever after, who the real murder was and how it happened and justice prevails. I mean, it’s good, it’s shocking, it’s not like any other juvenile horror story I’ve read but 2.5 pages in an epilogue to sum up a 200+ page book? The ending definitely felt rushed.

I’d rate it a 3/5 stars.

I wouldn’t read it again but I don’t regret having read it at all & I’ll wait for the movie adaptation to hit Netflix or Redbox.

Monday Morning Pep Talk

I should have updated over the weekend but this week marks a pretty awesome anniversary & I’ll have more about that tomorrow.

Either way – My Monday Morning Pep Talk is all about the follow bible verses-

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:12

Not unlike any other human, every day I experience trials & test of my faith. And I’m lucky in a way that I am able to see & understand how my apathetic mood & the battles I have with depression are not only healed in the faith of God but also self inflicted. What I’m not very good at knowing is when the tests & trials are being communicated by something I can’t control. But I had a revelation this weekend when my past popped up in my emails. This was a test, previously I had been lazy in my faith. God had given me this new chapter in life & I was stuck rereading an old chapter. And for a while, I couldn’t understand why this kept happening- when all I wanted was peace & to be able to move on. Then I realized, it was a test of faith. By engaging in what I know was a toxic part of my past, I was calling God a liar. I was proving my distrust in his guidance & I was letting the devil distract me from my growth.

I was kindly reminded in church a few Sundays ago that God’s answers to your prayers may be right around the corner & if you stop praying, stop seeking those answers you may never receive them. Every time I engaged with my past, I was taking steps backwards, away from Christ & I was losing the vision of my faith. Sometimes, when our prayers are not answered right away it’s because God is still coming up with an answer, he is aligning everything in the universe so the answer will come to you & you will hear it. And last week, I finally heard it. And with that, my past will not hear from me.

When I first started going to church & truthfully listening it was because I wanted a new start. But what I’ve come to realize is my deliverance is made of a many new starts, many refreshing steps toward Christ, a few twists & turns to get back in the guidance & direction towards God. And this was one of the many. This is my deliverance.

Isaiah 43:18 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.