Friday, January 23, 2015

My Favorite This American Life Shows

Now that the Serial craze is over what are we going to listen to? I started listening to This American Life about a year ago and I've made it all the way back to 2008 in the archives. If you didn't know, Serial is a spin off of This American Life, so if you haven't tried either, do!

I love listening to it at work as I'm doing mindless tasks.

This American Life
Ep 544: Batman
Why I loved this episode: This is the newest episode from this year and I was blown away. TAL tells a lot of really interesting stories, but this was so captivating that it inspired me to do this entire post. It's about a blind man who can "see" by clicking his tongue. If you're going to listen to only one episode, listen to this one.

Ep 534: Not So Simple Majority
Why I loved this episode: I like that TAL reports on so many different areas and subjects and this one really got my blood boiling. It's about an area of New York where Hasidic Jews took over the school board so they could make policy, but they don't actually send their children to the public schools.

Ep 529: Human Spectacle
Why I loved this episode: I think this was the first TAL episode Hal ever heard. We heard part of it on the radio while we were driving out to a hike and we were both laughing and captivated by this episode. It's about a man who lives in an apartment naked and alone for a Japanese game show where he has to win everything he eats, wears, or owns.

Ep 489: No Coincidence , No Story
Why I loved this episode: This episode doesn't follow the typical format of TAL episodes. in this episode they called out for coincidence stories and people just called in, and they followed up on some of the stories.

Ep 492: Dr. Gilmer & Mr. Hyde
Why I loved this episode: This story is crazy. Like you can't believe what you're hearing crazy. This is about a small town doctor that commits murder and is sent to jail. A doctor with the same name replaces him (what are the odds?!) and gets interested in the other Drs story and digs more into it.

Ep 460: Retraction
First listen to: Mr. Daisy and the Apple Factory
Why I loved these episodes: This is the first time TAL has had to retract a story and I loved that they admitted their part, but they didn't let the guy off scott free, they interview him for the retraction story and ask really uncomfortable questions, and it's amazing.

Ep 413: Georgia Rambler
Why I loved this episode: This episode is just fun. A guy from Georgia used to have a newspaper article called the Georgia Rambler where he drove all over the state just finding random local stories. The reporters on TAL spread out over Georgia and do another Georgia Rambler

Ep 393: Infidelity
Why I loved this episode: This episode has stuck in my mind for a long time, mainly because of act 1. It's compelling and so real. It's about a woman who left her husband for his best friend; but it doesn't end up like you think it would.

And last but not least
                                        484: Doppelgängers
Ep 484: Dopplegangers
Why I loved this episode: This was the very first episode that introduced me to TAL. My home teacher had me over for dinner and was wearing a shirt with the above picture on it. He proceeded to tell the story of act one, and told it just as well as the actual recording. Seriously, listen to act one. I'm not giving anything away.

Now you know what to do with your weekend!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It's a Sad Day

Remember how this year was supposed to be great after a rough year last year? Well, we're not off to such a good start.

This morning my 90 year old grandmother passed away. In less than three months we lost both of these beautiful grandmothers.
She was my last living grandparent and her death feels harder than the others because I just saw her a few weeks ago when I was home for Christmas.

Her death is bittersweet. She had been alone for a long time and she had dementia and was often confused about where she was, or what decade it was.

When we went to visit, she didn't always know who we were; but I'm so glad I got to spend Christmas morning with her, helping her open her presents. She had long hair for the first time and kept commenting on my hair so I showed her how to put her hair into a bun.
She lived with my dad, and he and my brothers took great care of her. I'm sure this is very bittersweet for my dad as she was increasingly hard to care for, but she was his mother, and his last living parent, but now she gets to be with her husband.

We're all sad that she's gone, but so glad to know she's back with her husband in a happier place.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Year Ago

One year ago this week I got on a plane and officially moved away from my family, and moved away from Hal. When we came to DC the August before last all we had was a car load of stuff, that would last us the planned 4 months we would stay. I moved myself out here with one suitcase and a carry on; and left so much I loved back in Utah.
Hal and I spent the next 7 1/2 months living apart. Over 7 months.

I'm not going to lie, there were some pretty terrible months for both of us and our relationship.

How people do long distance long term I will never know.

We lasted over 7 months, and I don't think either of us would do it again unless absolutely necessary.
It feels like a million years ago that I got on that plane all alone. So much has happened since then.

Was my keeping my job and starting a home out here worth living apart and the stress it adds to your relationship? Honestly, I don't know. There are lots of positives and blessing that have come from my job. I solely supported Hal and I during his last semester and through the summer. But was that worth living apart? Would I do it again? I don't think I would.
We did it and I'm glad we made it out the other side with a stronger relationship, but having gone through that experience, I think I might choose the sacrifice that means staying together next time.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Christmas Visit Home

This may be a bit late, but better late than never, eh?

Hal and I are so tricky. In his new hire paperwork for his new job, it said new hires aren't allowed to take time off for Christmas their first year, so we told everyone we wouldn't be coming home for the holidays. Only to find out after he started hi job, that his specific office would be closed from Christmas to New Years and we was welcome to take additional time off.

Oh, except he kept telling out families we weren't coming when they kept forgetting, and we bought our tickets in secret.

Cause we're awesome like that.
I wish I had recorded some of the reactions from my family. Hal's family knew we were coming by the time we made it there, but we were able to keep up the surprise with my family, and it was awesome. I highly recommend it, if you ever get the chance.

We had such a blast at home. It literally flew by. It's hard to live away and only come home once or twice a year because then you have to split up your time and try to see everyone, and give everyone equal amounts of time. That was not favorite. But it was still worth it.

It snowed overnight on Christmas Eve. Perfect to wake up to a white Christmas. It was the perfect gift. Well, except for Christ being born. That's the real perfect gift. This was second perfect.
 We got to spend so much time with family and nieces and nephews which is always a favorite. Taking selfies with kids is the best.
 My sister brought wee babe Lillian home with her and my dad gave her a baby blessing while we were there. We were so lucky that the baby blessing overlapped with our time there. The one downfall to surprising your family, no one thinks to tell you about events like that.
We were so lucky that our friends Meagan and Charles actually wanted to pick us up and take us to the airport. Especially because both flights were late at night. It snowed all day the day we left, and we kept hoping our flight would get canceled. Then we remembered Salt Lake actually knows how to live with snow, so our flight wasn't canceled. I forgot to take a single picture in the snow, so we attempted one at the airport as it was still snowing. You might not be able to see the snow, but the picture turned out pretty good anyway.
 It was so good to go home for a visit and see as many people as we could while we were there, and to bask in the snow and the beauty that is the Salt Lake area, and the wonderful mountains that we really miss; but it was so good to go home; and to realize we really have finally established our lives out here. I think our kitties were happy to see us too.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 In Review

This Year has been a pretty crazy one for us, so I thought it might be fun to review how many changes we've had in our lives this year.

We started off the year with me moving back to DC by myself while Hal finished his last semester of school in Utah. Hal sent me flowers every two weeks and I sent him a handwritten letter every single week, and a picture of me and our cat every day. Hal flew out at the end of January and surprised me and we went to Richmond, Virginia for the first time. Best surprise I could have asked for.
 In February we missed Valentines day because my flight was canceled, but we still got to see each other and celebrate with a sushi making lesson. In March Hal came to visit me and we went to Harpers Ferry and hiked along the Appalachian trail for the first time. At the end of April I flew out to Utah for Hal's graduation and we moved ourselves officially out to DC. I don't think I'll ever move myself across the country again. We also moved into a our own new apartment which felt amazing after living with a family for 9 months.
We then only had weekends together while Hal worked in New Jersey over the summer, we hit up Assateague Island almost every single weekend. We got a new cat as Hal's graduation present, Tuk Tuk and Pepe became fast friends. In July Hal decided Jersey was stupid and not worth it and officially moved home. YAY. He moved up his start date and officially started as an auditor with EY in August. We celebrated our 6 year anniversary in September. In October I got to go to Portland and meet my new niece Lillian.
I discovered I love living in a tourist city, because people actually come visit you! We've had lots of visitors since we moved out here, and think people should keep visiting.
I also chopped off my hair myself which maybe wasn't the smartest idea.
We traveled quite a bit within the US this year which was a lot of fun. We went to Moab Utah for the first time. How are we both essentially from Utah and have never been to Moab? The hike to Delicate Arch is definitely worth it. In September we went to North Carolina's Outer Banks which was such a blast. I also went to St. Louis for work that month. In early December I went to Philly with some friends for a girls weekend.
Lastly this year Hal got Poison Ivy and I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. But on happier notes, Hal took his first CPA exam and is currently studying to take his second; and we finally live in an apartment where we can have a real Christmas tree again.
This year has been so full of change for both Hal and I; some good and some bad. I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!
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