Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pride! A Deeper Love!

As Pride month comes to a close, I wanted to take a little bit of time to write about my own experiences during Portland's Pride weekend. I'd be remiss to not acknowledge the difference in how this year's Pride felt compared to last year's Pride. Last year Portland Pride happened just after the Orlando massacre and every event (and all of our lives and hearts) heavily reflected that. From candle-light vigils to a more somber collection of marchers at the parade, we all felt crushed and scared.

I think we all still feel crushed and scared but it's overshadowed by something else - anger. Determination. Resistance. And community. We're going to fight but we're also going to dance, sing, and celebrate who we are. That's exactly what I spent 4 days doing this month.


I started the long weekend off with my trivia team, Darryl's Lesbian Haircut, with special guest teammate Nick, attempting to redeem ourselves at the annual Queers vs Breeders trivia night. Two years ago we experienced a humiliating defeat when we lost by a hair for forgetting a lyric to a Gaga song. It was so bad we skipped the following year but managed to shake off the defeat and come back this year AND WON!

Were we only one of two teams who actually showed up this year? MAYBE, but we were the victors nonetheless and therefore get to be considered the smartest queers and allies in the whole city for the next year.


Anyone who knows Portland karaoke knows that this sign means a complete shit show occurred. Sometime in the Spring, Kathy, Jill, and I decided we wanted to do a Pride karaoke and invited everyone we thought would be down for singing queer anthems, dancing, and having 1 too many strong, cheap drinks.

About a week before our event, Chopsticks 3 announced that karaoke that night would be PRIDE KARAOKE and everyone who wore gay swag would get 50 cents off all drinks. I didn't even mind that they clearly stole our idea because now the bar was going to be full of beautiful gays that weren't part of our group and we'd get discounts.

If you know anything about me at all, it's probably how much I love a discount.


Did my Queer As Fuck rainbow shirt get me 50 cents off every drink? I'll never know, you guys. It's Chopsticks 3. Do you think you get a detailed receipt? NO you sign off on whatever they say it is and stumble into the night hoping that you managed to tip (and not tip 700%)




Karaoke is my favorite thing, but this night was particularly good. We all got to sing a lot of songs - highlights probably being Emily doing Defying Gravity in ASL (as shown in the above video), Jill and I killing an A+ duet of Meatloaf's 'I Would Do Anything For Love', and all the amazing dancing we all did (also as shown in the above video, secretly captured by Emily on my phone). The low point was when they didn't have the Mulan song Ash was going to sing and we all died just a little bit inside.

The bar was full of LGBTQ beauties and each song choice was better than the last. Hell, our Speaker of the House was there and sang a country song with another lady. I saw her laughing along with the rest of her table when Kathy and I performed 'Fuck Her Gently.' (HEYYYY Tina Kotek! If you google your name and find this, that was me! Hit me up; let's talk politics!)

I will say, I probably won't close the bar out again. As most of our friends left at (semi?) reasonable times, Jill, Kathy, Katie, and I stayed until they kicked us out. Things got weird at least a half hour before that part. Frankly things got weird way before that for me because of a particular lady who wouldn't leave me alone but honestly, I was in no position to care! Why wasn't I?

Remember how I mentioned having 1 too many strong drinks? Well, I may have had more than 1 too many.


After getting home around 3am, I woke up at 5:30am and thought I was dying so I made the executive decision to add thousands to my already outrageous medical bills. Luckily after being really cold in a silly gown for a while, I felt well enough to snapchat which is great because I'm very pleased to have evidence about how good my eyebrows looked after such a night. In the end, after multiple tests, I was discharged with my cure:


And some tips from the doctor on how to handle my alcohol in the future. (Sorry family and bosses, current and future, but it was PRIDE!?) The next thing on the docket was the Pride Festival. I was 100% ready to rally - once I make a plan, I hate to change it, and no little thing like being in the hospital was going to stop me!

However, I wasn't the only one who closed out the bar and was feeling it the next morning and not everyone is as dedicated to doing things while feeling awful just because it was the plan. Who knew? It honestly turned out for the best that we skipped the festival because, after napping, it gave Jill and I a chance to leisurely visit our favorite local camera shop, Hollywood Camera, to pick up some film and chat with the owner, Ed. We followed that up with picking up churros and pizza so the grease could sop up  the previous night and get us ready for the Thorns game that night.


Here is something I know to be an undeniable truth: women's soccer is superior to men's soccer and the Portland Thorns are the best women's soccer team. Kathy and I met up at the stadium with Ash and Ilea early so we would make sure to get our desired seats for the Pride game. We're all season ticket holders who "sit" in the supporters section, which means we stand and chant and yell the whole game along with the rest of the Riveters. It also means our seats are general admission so we need to be in the second gates open. Jill and Danielle joined us before the game started and we settled into our home to wave rainbow flags and chant with 18,000 of our closest friends.

One day I'll find the words to write about the Thorns and how special being in Providence Park supporting them is, but this is already pretty wordy, so just know that it's an incredible feeling being in a place where you feel 100% welcome and supported by everyone you see.


Finally, we've reached the day of the parade. We have a spot we like to sit, near the end of the route, beneath the stag sign. After dropping Kathy off to march with her work, and walking to grab some breakfast, Jill and I arrived at our spot a couple hours before the parade was slated to start. I worked on some friendship bracelets while Jill tried to nap.

Eventually we were surrounded by The Worst People on all sides and were forced to move to a different area. It was truly the difference between feeling like we were surrounded by people watching a spectacle and feeling like we were surrounded by our peers and allies. Maybe that will be our new spot.


The parade was everything I've come to expect - the same things make me cry every year: Dykes on Bikes, Raging Grannies, any and all elderly queer marchers, anyone carrying a sign about how much they love their gay/trans/etc child, and anyone who yells about something important to them (IE a cutie marching with an HIV awareness group who stopped and yelled "I'm healthy, I'm STRONG, and I'm HIV positive" before marching away.)

I love the marching bands and all of the singing. The Spin Cycle people who are doing their thing on a float for an hour. This year, I loved the abundance of protest signs everyone was carrying. I loved all the specific call outs to Black Lives Matter and, in particular, supporting and protecting our black transwomen sisters. 

I always keep an eye out for a Catholic church because, even though I'm an atheist as an adult, I was raised Catholic and still have all the guilt and mixed emotions that come along with that. I don't know how to explain it, even to myself, why I want to see them amongst all the different religious groups that march in support but it likely has something to do with listening to anti-gay sermons when I was younger and wanting that reminder that not all Catholics feel that way. Who knows? All I know is there's ONE that always marches in our parade and I'm glad for it.

Anyway, I yelled out to my own work's marchers (who tossed me beads and hugged me) and Kathy's work (Kathy didn't see us, she was too serious about her marching) and various groups and places I like ("PORTLAND NURSERY! I BUY MY PLANTS FROM YOU!") because I literally have zero chill at Pride. I leave my body and all of my shy tendencies behind, just for a minute.

Once the parade concluded, we went to a brewery on the east side with our dogs, had a drink and some lunch, and declared this Pride weekend a success. Honestly, I'm ready to start planning next year because nothing at all feels as good as Pride.





Sunday, May 14, 2017

John Day Fossil Beds Roadtrip!

I first have to say that this blog is about 2 months late, but in the interest of getting back into writing and blogging, I'm doing it anyway. So, let's get into it!

In April, my favorite roadtrip companions, Kathy and Jill, and I spent a whirlwind 3 days exploring a little slice of Eastern Oregon. This is a trip I've been wanting to take since the minute I moved to Oregon but, despite it being an easily driveable distance, it always seemed like an insurmountable task. I was determined to make it happen in 2017 (my hastily written new year's resolutions demanded it, in fact) and we managed to carve out a few days to turn it into reality.

When I first started planning this trip, I really didn't know what to expect. I knew that I wanted to take the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway because, well, the 3 of us all really love a scenic byway. I knew that there were 3 units in John Day and that I wanted to stop in all of them. However, I didn't know too much else.


There was an amazing switch almost immediately once we pulled onto the Journey Through Time. The landscape became vast, wide, and incredibly humbling. We spent most of the time without cell service and also without seeing another car or human being. As much as I love that kind of 'off the grid' experience, the super anxiety ridden part of my brain can't help reminding me that if the car broke down or one of us had a medical emergency we would be totally on our own. That's why I live in cities and only visit sparsely populated areas, to be frank.

The best thing about areas like this, where you don't see another car for hours, is that there's nothing to stop me from slamming on my breaks to exclaim in joy over a wild animal I caught in my peripheral or pull over and walk down the middle of the road taking photographs of the breathtaking hills surrounding me. 

Our first stop off the byway was a small ghost town called Shaniko. It has a population of about 30 and, if you include Sadie the dog, we met 10% of it on our stop. From what I understand, it gets a bit of a tourist boom in the summer months, but we essentially had the entire town to wander around by ourselves. There were 2 open shops - a small mini-mart/junk shop where I was hoping to buy sugar cubes for any roadside horses we might come across and a small "gift" shop labeled as a bar. The woman working in the mini-mart ignored us entirely and knitted while we wandered the store. Even when I told her to have a nice day I just got stoney silence in response. 

Was she actually alive or a ghost? We'll never know.

The woman who owned the gift shop, however, was amazing. Her dog ran out to greet us and she offered to take our picture with some carved wooded cowboys on a nearby bench. While we looked around her shop, I asked her about the town and when more things open. 

"Does the hotel open in the summers during tourist season?"
"That hotel hasn't been open in 10 years."

GHOST TOWN, Y'ALL. Also that plays right into the running joke Kathy and I have going of "she's been dead for 10 years."


Kathy and I walked down the street a bit to meet a very dirty horse who was extremely happy to  meet us. I didn't have any sugar, but he happily took handfuls of grass from my hand. Every time I'm around a horse, I miss riding. I miss it deep in my bones. BUT I DIGRESS.

Onward!

Eventually we hit the first unit of John Day - Clarno. The Clarno Unit is made up of these enormous walls of rock, made from volcanic mudflows. Apparently this area used to be a rainforest area until the volcanos turned it into the desert area it is today! We took a walk on a small trail around the base of the rocks. Jill climbed up on a trail into them a little more while I quietly panicked and waited at the bottom, nbd.

If you're not on a hike, a climb, or a fossil finding expedition, the Clarno Unit is a quick stop on the byway.


Our next stop was in Mitchell, OR. This tiny depressed town is the "gateway to the Painted Hills" and our home for the night. I booked us a room at The Oregon Hotel which, frankly, was a Dream Come True. We were the only people staying at the hotel and were greeted by a teenage boy who gave us our room keys (actual keys!!), told us that there would be muffins at the front desk for us the next morning, and left. We saw him the next morning briefly (he let us pet his amazing dogs) but aside from that, it was just us and the hotel.


We grabbed dinner at one of the two restaurants in town, bought some cheap wine at the tiny grocers, and made our way to The Painted Hills.

 

 The Painted Hills are completely indescribable. To say that they're beautiful is wholly inadequate and no photos I've ever seen can capture how it felt to stand and look at these miracles of nature. The hues of the painted hills showcase a color blocks of climate change over thousands of years. They're all super delicate and the ones you can get closest too are surrounded by wooden walkways.


It was actually quite shocking how there were no other people around and nothing protecting these beauties FROM people besides a few signs asking that no one touch the hills. Maybe I don't think highly enough of people to assume that that's enough?


The next morning we decided to try out the other restaurant and were immediately uncomfortable with the men at the table next to us both strapped with guns. Honey, we're not in Portland anymore! Their conversation consisted of liking concealed carry laws and not wanting their pictures on facebook because of face recognition software. Cool, cool...check please?


Before we headed out of town, we came across these guardians that I had to take a photo of. I snapped this and then took out my film camera and leaned across the stone fence at the end of the yawn to get in closer. As soon as I did that, the orange cat stood up, hunched his body, and started moving towards me to kill me. Who's shocked this town has aggressive kitties? Not Kathy, as she immediately tried to pull me away while I hung over the wall trying to focus.


 
 Final stop in John Day was Sheep Rock Unit. This was my favorite area for a few reasons:
  1. The wind was INSANE that day and all of my photos of us are just my hair covering my face entirely.
  2. There was a little visitors center where we got to walk around and learn about the plants and animals of this region, see people actually working on restoring fossils, and watch a short film about John Day.
  3. I finally got to buy myself a National Parks passport.
 When the short film started I exclaimed to Kathy and Jill "I love national parks!!" which the adorable park ranger overhead and replied "ME TOO!!" Perfection.

Additionally, driving into Sheep Rock was a new experience for me in terms of awe. I've seen a lot of beautiful things over the years and plenty of lovely landscapes, including what I had already seen on this trip, but this was something special. I asked Kathy to pause her playlist so we could drive a bit in the silence and take it all in.


Having had our fill of John Day, we started heading west again to a more populated town, Bend,  where we'd spend the last night of our trip. The last day of our trip was spent eating delicious food, visiting a brewery, 1000000% enjoying the High Desert Museum, and MEETING ALPACAS, but I can't blog about everything now, can I?









Sunday, July 19, 2015

Favorite Things of the Week

Okay, so.

My goal was to have a weekly post of my 5 favorite things of the week, where a week is Monday through Sunday. Of course, when I schemed up this idea ("inspired" by many other bloggers who do similar things, of course), I didn't consider the fact that maybe I just don't do that much on a normal week because I have to workkkkkk and watch TVVVVV or because my social group isn't large enough to keep me busy every day. Unless you consider my cat part of my social group. Which I do. Okay moving on.

Additionally, because I'm not a real blogger, I'm just not good at taking pictures of everything I do. Don't get me wrong, I instagram pretty constantly and I can be fairly annoying about taking pictures of every drink or cheese plate I order, and yet...I found myself at a bit of a loss for 5 things I could display this week.

Without further explaination into my thought process (and ado), here are my favorite things for the week of July 13 - July 19:

Trivia night! I love my trivia team, Darryl's Lesbian Haircut, more than almost anything. Despite the fact that our wins are few and far between, this is always a highlight of my week. The bar we play the most at panders to our mystery shot (no tequila, please!) requests, gives us a discount for being regulars, and always seems to enjoy us, even at our drunkest. 

We've also branched out from weekly trivia to participate in a few special trivia night AND a scavenger hunt during which they all humored me and wore the matching t-shirts I made us.

In conclusion, I love these girls and I love this night.

 
video 

Taking JP for a walk. She's on steroids to hopefully help control a disease that's making her unable to absorb any proteins so she basically has to pee every 5 seconds. I ran over to take her out while Jill and Kathy were out. You guys, I just love her so much.


This kite flying lady on the coast. I took a solo drive down the coast today and one of the first places I stopped, I saw this lady just chilling on a hill flying her kite. It was freezing cold and crazy windy and it just made me ridiculously happy that she saw these conditions and was like "better get out there with my kite!" Also I think she was barefoot.

Oops, done at 3. Three favorite things of the week!!

Next week I'll try harder guys, I promise.
 






Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Love of My Life: Lifetime Original Movies


I’m planning to write about Pride weekend before the month is over, but something incredibly important needs to take priority on this little baby blog. It simply couldn’t wait another second. That's right, I need to talk about Lifetime Movies.

No, this isn’t a post about the A Deadly Adoption, the newest Lifetime Original Movie staring Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell, but it is what prompted me to want to wax poetic about Lifetime Movies, so let’s start there.



This past weekend I excitedly recorded A Deadly Adoption to my terrible DVR box and after hitting up our new restaurant of the month (18 months running!), Kathy, Jill and I settled in to watch it.

It was perfect and there were a lot of literal laughing out loud moments and one particular moment that may perfectly display my personality – when I asked out loud if Lifetime knew that this was a joke. You know, because I didn’t want Lifetime to have hurt feelings.

You guys, here’s the thing. It might have been two famous comedic actors starring in this movie, but it’s not really a joke. Everything in it was exactly how a Lifetime movie works. And I LOVE Lifetime movies.

Seriously. During the viewing of this one I saw ads for two more that I want to watch and when I discovered that it was too early to add them to my DVR, I simply noted them in my phone. A Perfect High and The Full House Story? I’m coming for you.

Though A Deadly Adoption really drove home the dangers of ketoacidosis and taught me that simply falling in a lake can cause you to miscarry, it was not one of my favorite Lifetime Movies. Thus, I bring you Manda’s Incredibly Important List of Top Three Lifetime Original Movies.

#3 – Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life


Cyber Seduction is the story of how Peter Pan gets addicted to internet porn. He discovers that porn exists when he’s 16 (which seems old to me, but he’s pretty sheltered.) There’s porn played at parties! He gets caught by his mother looking at porn websites! He downloads porn to his girlfriend’s PDA so he can keep looking at it during swim practice! HER PDA, GUYS!!

Eventually he tries to hook up with his classmate who happens to star in porn (16. They’re 16.) and he gets beat up and then tries to drown himself. Don’t worry – he doesn’t and his addition is gone. Phew, was worried there that this Lifetime movie wouldn’t have the required happy ending.

#2 – She’s Too Young


Everybody’s favorite Lifetime movie! She’s Too Young is the story of a sheltered teen virgin. She’s kind of nerdy and smart but a popular boy at school ends up paying attention to her! He’s a well known man-whore (they’re children!) and she hesitates to hook up with him. Of course, she hooks up with him BUT GUESS WHAT? Everyone at this school is just having sex parties all the time and there’s clearly no sex-ed, much like most of the country today, so everyone fucking gets syphilis. Including this sweet little nerdy girl.

The best part of She’s Too Young isn’t the syphilis. It isn’t the weird social media slut shaming that happens to baby-face-McGee. It’s her mother. She tries to tell all the other parents about the syphilis outbreak and most don’t care (geez mom, how embarrassing). She shows up at parties to find her STD-ridden daughter (ugh mom, you’re humiliating me). In the end everyone is sad about the indiscriminate sex and cries a lot followed by your requisite “wait to have sex” PSA.

#1 – When Friendship Kills


This one is my longstanding favorite. Me and this movie are BFFs forever. It came out when I was in highschool and it is incredibly After School Special. In fact, I likely watched it after school, so there you go.

This is the story of a girl at a new school who makes a friend at volleyball tryouts. The coach suggests she drop a few pounds and the two decide to diet together which sets the scene for….you guessed it! Anorexia. The actress who plays the main character seriously commits, because she looks like she’s about to drop dead for a lot of this movie.

There’s some drama between the two friends when the new girl goes to treatment for her eating disorder and her mom snitches that the other girl also has one. (God, moms just ruin everything.) One of them DIES; I won’t spoil which one; but the other one sees her smiling spirit while she plays volleyball in the end. Another happy ending!

It's just all too good.

In conclusion, Lifetime movies may very well be the best genre of movie out there, and trust me, it is DEFINITELY it’s own genre. Now if you’ll excuse me, I really need to go make sure the next great masterpiece is ready and waiting to record.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rose Festival = Start of Summer

Oh, hello tiny abandoned blog. I made a new years resolution to write more and blog more and it's June now so...doing great! Anyway, I'm here now and let's never speak of this again.

Now, I know that the official start of summer is June 21st but, to me, it feels like it's beginning coincides with Portland's Rose Festival. The timing of this years Rose Festival, coupled with the oppressive heat we had last weekend (yup, the New Englander in me has totally acclimated and I now consider low 90s oppressive) and I'm officially declaring it summer.

There are a multitude of events that happen around the city and this past weekend Kathy, Jill, and I partook in two: CityFest and the Dragonboat Races.


On Friday night after work, we headed down to the waterfront for CityFest which is basically a carnival with the requisite rides, games, fried foods, and perhaps a musical act thrown in. (Slaughter was playing in the concert area on this night. I know, right?) 

So, listen. A carnival is one of my favorite things. I was PUMPED and READY. Jill got in for free because it happened to be some kind of floral night and she was wearing a dress with flowers but Kathy and I were not quite so fancy and had to pay the 7$. Guess what else I was pumped and ready for? To spend a lot of money.

I remember carnivals as a kid - you paid an entrance fee and then you get to ride all the rides as much as you want for free. Well, we're in the big city now, guys, and each ride cost 5$.  The three of us rode the ferris wheel which was amazing and afforded us some beautiful views of the river and city.

Jill and I are somewhere in this picture, living the dream. Kathy took this from the safety of the ground.

Jill and I rode a couple other rides and we all hit up some games. We truly came at the perfect time before it got too crowded when we'd have to compete against children with way more skills than us and we all ended up walking away with a prize in the end. Don't tell anyone, but we also witnessed a worker giving a child a prize despite him not actually winning it and my grinch heart grew 10 sizes that day.

I realized this day that my skee-ball skills have gotten rusty. I thew so many zero point balls!? Younger me would be totally ashamed of older me.

But, what is maybe the best part of a carnival?


Fried food! Delicious in the moment and, now that I'm not 15 with an iron stomach, a tiny bit regrettable in the end. But who cares about the end - gimmie that elephant ear and sweet apple pie fries and get out of my face. Not pictured is the corn dog I also ate.  I know, I know. Stop looking at me.

The next morning, we headed downtown to the waterfront again to watch some lady Dragonboat races.


It was hot! But we piled on the sunscreen, toted our camping chairs to the grass, and cheered those ladies on. While there were many amazing things that happened, the highlights for me were a Planned Parenthood team that did a bunch of exercises in a circle near us while their assumed captain was dressed as a giant penis. Kathy heard them doing chants about birth control in the staging area to get pumped before their race. AND their flag catcher was dressed up like Ariel. God, can it get any better than that?



Second highlight (realize I may have blown my highlight load with how good the first one was) was a dad who clearly had a daughter on the St. Mary's team. He had a horn that he blew literally every time the announcer said the words "St. Mary's." Not to miss a single horn blowing opportunity, he had a stand in blow it for him when he had to tie his shoes or something of the sort. Perfect.

These strong, badass, rowing women were super inspiring and I honestly could have sat and watched these races all day, but the power of the sun and heat kicked in we all packed up our chairs and headed out. 

This weekend could have lasted forever for all I'm concerned, but I'm not too bummed that it's all over because the rest of the summer holds a lot more fun to come and besides, I live in this amazing city and get to do it all again next year.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cooking Progress - January

One of the resolutions I made for 2014 was to cook something new once a month. Normally, I make a ton of resolutions in a new year (or any time of year, frankly) but end up avoiding putting any effort into them for months at which point I realize that I actually did want to do that thing, go gung ho for a short period of time, and then forget again. Not this year! This year I'm actually starting things in January and instead of cooking one new food this month, I cooked THREE.

I know. I'm impressed with me, too.

I'm also pretty happy with how all three things turned out, which is definitely not always the case when I make something I've never made before. So basically, I'm just sitting around patting myself on the back here - it's fine.

Without further ado, this month I made:

 Manicotti! Is there any way that a bunch of cheese, pasta, and sauce COULDN'T be delicious? Absolutely not. I've always really loved getting manicotti in restaurants but never attempted to cook it myself - getting stuff inside pasta tubes sounds hard and cooking the pasta and then baking it too? Ughhhh, it's just too much for me. And honestly, it was a bit of a pain filling the tubes, but they tasted great in the end. Would I go out of my way to make them again? Probably not, but I'm really glad I did. (I basically used the recipe on the back of the pasta box, but added more ricotta and mozzarella. More cheese is always how I roll.)


Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps! This was my first journey into cooking with a crockpot, which was a little nerve-wracking. Additionally, I found the recipe on the low fat cooking blog and I generally find those types of recipes to be pretty hit or miss in terms of actually tasting good. Luckily, I survived using the crock pot and it tasted really good. I liked it even better the next day as a regular sandwich. Oops, give me all the carbs. I used more hot sauce than the recipe called for, too. More is more for me when I cook things.


Blackberry Crumb Cake! This was a recipe that I cut out of Real Simple magazine a couple years ago, but never got around to making it. We basically already had all of the ingredients besides the blackberries, so it was an easy choice to make this month. I served it with a little vanilla icecream, easy breezy beautiful cover girl.

Sidenote: I spent a little more time than I'd like to admit trying to figure out why the food processor wasn't actually processing my ingredients. It was because I forgot to put the blade back in. Professional baker right here, y'all!

In conclusion, it was a good month for making new foods and I think they were well liked all around. I'm calling this month a success and am excited to pick out recipes for February. I'm also excited to look up some tips for food photography that don't include wasting time actually setting up a scene/lighting. These were all taken on my lap seconds before eating them. Don't food bloggers foods get cold!?



Friday, January 3, 2014

Generic Resolutions Post - 2014

Well, I did it! That's exciting, right? Making it to the next year and making some fresh starts? Of course it is. I feel like 2013 was pretty emotionally tumultuous for me in a lot of quiet ways that I really didn't talk about. I had to learn to let things go and accept things that secretly broke my heart. I guess everyone does that every day and it's part of why life can be so hard sometimes and what makes the prospect of another year so appealing.

Anyway, what I'm getting at here is that it's 2014 and I've got shit I wanna do, y'all. Here are my condensed resolutions for this upcoming year: (I've saved you from the most emotional and dramatic ones. Trust me, it's for the best.)

  1. Get a job and my own place. Being unemployed is stressing me out! Worrying that my savings are going to run out or that I'm greatly overstaying my welcome is worse than war. I'm pretty sure I picked the worst time of year to quit my job and move and I'm predicting I'll do better in the new year. Or at the very least, I'm putting that thought out into the universe because Oprah says it works and Oprah is certainly employed.
  2. Read more. Once again, I've set my Goodreads goal to 50 books. I have yet to hit this goal but 2014 is definitely the year. I feel like I read constantly but, let's be real, I could be reading instead of finishing entire TV shows in days. Also, one of the first things I did in Portland was get a library card so I might as well start using it.
  3. Take more pictures!! This one is important to me because I feel like photography is something that means a lot to me and is also something that defines a piece of who I am. It's also something that I've definitely let myself fall away from and despite my many excuses about why that happened and why it's soooo not my fault guyssss, I want back in. When I get my storage box back, I want to take more film pictures. I want to buy some film and take my Holga out. Use Flickr. Actually develop photos in a dark room again. Save up to buy a better digital camera/lenses.
  4. Be a kinder person. To myself. To my family. To my friends. To strangers.
  5. Try at least one new restaurant or food cart a month. I've already started talking with Jill and Kathy about possibilities and we're makings lists and am really pumped to check out places none of us have ever been. Like Sizzler. Yes, really.
  6. Cook something new at least once a month. Picked up the supplies to make manicotti, which I LOVE but have never made, and am crazy excited to make it really soon and start this goal off with a pasta bang.
  7. Explore. Use both the walking guide I picked up last month and the one Kim and Cliff gave me at Christmas to see more of Portland. Go to Seattle. Drive down the California coast. See Britney in Las Vegas.
  8. STOP BEING SICK!! This should maybe be #1 but I have pneumonia right now and it's my third time being sick since I moved which is annoying because I basically never got sick before. I'm ready to feel better! Also, I definitely passed on these fun pneumonia germs to Kathy and made her sick as a dog, too and I want both of us to be healthy again STAT.
  9. Finally, drink more water and eat more vegetables. Obv.

Now, to start this ish off right, I'm gonna curl up with my cat to try and sleep off some sickness.