I’ve still got this ridiculous cough which sounds far worse than it actually is. It’s a little embarrassing at work to be like, “Oh, excuse me while I hack up a lung. Don’t worry, I don’t think I’m contagious. Probably.”

Seven days of influenza has also taken a toll on my running, but today I victoriously ran my 900th mile of 2013 (I should say that 900 includes 12 miles of swimming, which I count because swimming is so hard!). Right before I got sick I calculated out how many miles/day I’d have to log to make 1,000 by the end of the year. Missing as many days as I have means it likely won’t happen, but who knows? I am planning to do the currently-in-vogue Holiday Running Streak, in which one runs at least a mile every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanks to my faith, I will be counting a walk on Sunday as running. If nothing else, this should get me out the door on days when the weather is unfit for man or beast.

On Saturday we embarked on our yearly late fall trip to Ikea. Seriously, last year we went in October and the year before that we went in December. It’s not far away, but I’m of the opinion that relationships can suffer if repeatedly exposed to Ikea. This trip was not bad, though; we had a list, were well fed and rested, and hadn’t been driving away from beautiful Lexington for nine hours while my dad followed in the moving truck. We picked up a new TV stand (photos to come), new pillows, measuring cups and spoons (because my plastic sets are one-by-one biting the dust), and the ottoman for Jason’s POÄNG chair. We also picked up the leather covers for our chairs. Those chairs have been with us since the second week of our marriage and it felt like a betrayal as we tossed the well-worn seat covers into the dumpster. Then I sat on the cool comfortable leather and didn’t feel bad anymore. Jason also bought me a stuffed panda because I am five years old. Kidding! He bought it for me because he was going to get me a stuffed Ikea panda five years ago for Christmas and didn’t. Omission rectified!

One thing worth noting: we carefully measured the trunk of our car to make sure it could accommodate the EXPEDIT bookshelf we got for our TV. Dieter’s back seats fold down and provide trunk access which, according to our calculations, should have provided enough clearance for the package. Unfortunately we didn’t factor in rigidity and spent more than a few minutes at the loading dock trying to finagle the sixty-six pound package of wood into the back. Try as we might, we just couldn’t make it fit. We were just about to unpack it and stack everything separately (which would have been a fine solution) when I suggested trying to fit it horizontally across the back seat instead. By scooting the passenger side front seat all the way forward, we were able to just barely squeeze in the EXPEDIT. (Seriously, the thing could not have been one inch larger.) I rode home with my feet knocking the glove box, but “Wait Wait! Don’t Tell Me” was on and we made it home without incident.

Saturday afternoon was spent with friends watching the BYU v. Notre Dame football game. We were the only BYU fans there and it was a little sad. Our sorrows were assuaged by phenomenal pulled pork and chocolate cake. We brought coleslaw and non-alcoholic beverages.

Other things we have done lately:
– Stayed up far too late to watch the BYU basketball team take on Iowa State. Stayed up less late last night to watch them beat Texas. Will stay up far too late tonight to watch the Wichita State match-up.
– Made the Holbeins’ acorn squash with cornbread-sausage stuffing, which is really the most autumnal meal ever.
– Took a headshot at work. It’s not official; folks were testing out a lighting concept for portraits and I got to take advantage.
– Still haven’t achieved fall bingo.
– Worked a lot.
– Read a lot. I just finished Sonia Sotomayor’s autobiography and a thrilling book about the first (and only, until a few years ago) five women to summit K2. I think Jason is reading Passage of Power, or “More Than You Ever Needed To Know About LBJ, Vol. III.”
– Talked about putting up our Christmas tree. It’s going to happen soon.
– Watched The Hunger Games over the course of three nights.
– Bought the season’s first box of Peppermint Joe-joes! (a.k.a. mint Oreo-style cookies from Trader Joe’s.)
– Experienced our first fall cold snap. On Sunday morning, my Forecast app informed me that it was 23 degrees, but the windchill made it feel like 10. Brrr. If it’s going to be so cold out, I’d at least like some snow (and a snow day).

And all was well

That nice Jason came home on Saturday night. I’m not sure what about this trip made it seem so abysmally long. He did bring me back a polka-dotted aluminum cuff bracelet this time, which I like very much. I like having him home even better.

I got a few things accomplished before his arrival (though, per usual, only half of the things on my To Do While Jason Is Away list).

– Got my hair cut without crying. Actually, I like it a lot.

– Contributed a roasted poblano corn chowder to the work soup potluck.

– Went out for frozen yogurt with Elayna to assuage my loneliness.

– Did a great 10.5 mile run with Katie on Saturday morning. We went to the temple and back. We’ve had steady rain for the last week, but it let up just long enough for our run.

– Bought new (500 thread count!) sheets and a duvet.

– Ate green beans, popcorn, watermelon, and Trader Joe’s s’mores candy for dinner every night last week.

Clearly I’m not at my best when Jason is away.

We both had Columbus Day off, so we got up early and went for a run around our neighborhood. Then we headed off to Tysons Corner to see No Se Aceptan Devoluciones, or Instructions Not Included. It’s a Mexican film en espanol that Jason has wanted to see for a while. We both liked it a lot.

In the afternoon we ate pizza, took naps, and did a little reading. We stayed up late because only one of us had to work a full day today. I love having Jason home.

in which Roni comes for a fall visit

Roni and I live closer to each other than we have in the last four years, which is a very good thing. She came down on the bus this weekend to keep me company in my hours of loneliness. The first night we stayed up after 2 AM talking and eating homemade pizza and authentic New York City mini cupcakes.

The next day, we decided to go apple picking out in Winchester, VA. (I always want to say Winchester, KY, which is a very cute town a scenic fifteen minute drive from Lexington. Nostalgia.) 20130930-112624.jpgFirst order of the day was apple cider donut eating. When Jason and I went apple picking (because I am becoming quite the apple picking aficionado), the country store only had cinnamon donuts. While delicious, they were not apple cider donuts. Fortunately, Marker Miller bakers had just put out a pan of piping hot, sugar-covered donuts when we got there. We decided two each seemed appropriate and enjoyed them while sitting in rocking chairs on the wraparound porch. It was idyllic, I tell you.
After savoring our donuts, we went to work picking a half-peck of apple varieties I’d never heard of before: Ida Red, Stayman, Rome, Nittany. Oh, we did also grab a Crispin or two, I think. We also tried to get a picture of the two of us together using the SplitLens app, which was moderately successful. I do think I’m taller than this in real life.
Then, of course, it was time to eat another donut. When we went inside, there were none to be had! Patience, especially in terms of delicious food, is one of our virtues, though, so we nonchalantly perused the bottled goods and fresh vegetables until a new batch of apple cider donuts were produced. We each ate another (in the rocking chairs, of course), before deciding it was time to head home.

We were pretty exhausted after a late night and early morning, so we lounged much of the afternoon talking and watching Parks & Recreation. Eventually we headed to dinner at Lebanese Taverna. While finishing our delicious Lebanese fare, we mused about whether to try and see a movie. Turns out, Blue Jasmine, which I have wanted to see for some time, was playing in Fairfax at 7 PM, only thirty minutes hence. We hopped in the car and made it just in time.

While we settled into our seats, a kind theater employee gave us a free bucket of popcorn! I ordinarily would have appreciated this gesture, but we were insanely full from three donuts apiece and the bounty that is Lebanese Taverna. I hid it under my chair and surreptitiously tossed it as we left the theater at the end.

Blue Jasmine was great. Highly recommend.

On Sunday morning, we drove to the marina by the airport and went on a leisurely stroll to Old Town. I think the Mt. Vernon trail is one of my favorite places around here, even if it is sometimes overrun with unfriendly bikers.
After church we had black bean and cornbread panzanella and chocolate chip cookies (which were flat. What did I do wrong??) before Roni had to catch the bus.

Being with Roni is like being with my family–we begin again right where we left off. There were so many moments during her visit that felt like we could be back on my family’s fort or walking through the “Nature Park” that was actually just a bunch of undeveloped land on 800 South. I’m glad we live close so we can see each other more regularly now!

topsail beach

My wonderful Mom came to visit! She arrived last Wednesday and met us at our apartment after work. It was so great to see her and just be able to have a conversation in the same room; I miss that, being 2,000 miles away from the fam. We had homemade pizza and a tiny little zucchini for supper, then drove around town so my mom could see how her hometown has changed (and it definitely has). We went to bed earlyish to get some rest before our fun-filled weekend.

The next morning Mom and I left for North Carolina at five AM. Our drive was mostly uneventful (though I did send us on I-495 north-bound by accident about two minutes in), until the rental car alerted us to a change in tire pressure in the middle of nowhere. Kindly southern Virginians at 7-11 loaned us a gauge, and mom filled up the deficient tire and we went on our way.

[The lovely intersection where we stopped]

We were having so much fun talking and laughing that we missed an exit and ended up maybe fifteen miles off course. Thanks to our trusty phones, we recalculated and made our way back to the freeway by way of tiny North Carolina towns.


Rolling into Surf City around 12:30 PM, we decided to pick up some bagels and fruit at Food Lion for the next day’s breakfast, and hamburgers at Hardee’s (a.k.a. Carl’s Jr., for all you westerners) for lunch.


My mom’s family has been going to the beach for some thirty years, and I think this year’s contingent was a good sixty people strong (give or take a few small children). We dropped our stuff at the Hendersons’ house, then put on our suits and headed out into the warm water. My mom’s best friend Alex joined us later; she is hilarious, and I enjoyed hearing stories about my mom’s adolescence.


In the evening, we had dinner with the whole crew. My Aunt Kathleen made a staggering nineteen dozen rolls (that’s 228 total!), and we had ham, funeral potatoes (a.k.a. hashbrown casserole), baked beans, the Henderson jello, and four flavors of homemade ice cream. We sat around talking with my cousins–many of whom I’ve not seen in a really long time–and met their adorable kids.

My cousin Dave performed an acoustic guitar mini concert for us, after which we all watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol on a ridiculously huge screen. After a too-early morning, it’s a testament to the film that I was able to stay awake at all.

The next morning was kind of overcast and rainy, and the waves were really choppy. We opted to go see Alex and her family a few miles down the beach, then went to lunch at Sears Landing Grill with Alex, Aunt Kathleen, and cousin Laura.


I had crab cakes and my mom had scallops (which I’d never tried before and turned out to be most excellent).


Post-lunch, we hit up a souvenir emporium and found gear for Mariel and the boys. I considered buying this shirt for my Dad–who thinks cornhole is a hilarious thing–or Jason, but didn’t.


In the afternoon, we wandered the beach and hung out in the tide pools with the Dicksons. We visited the McClelland house and talked and played with babies. Then we had dinner, visited with the other Hendersons for a few minutes, and my mom and I decided to hit the beach again for the last time. It was getting dark, but the water was still nice and warm. We enjoyed the hot tub afterward until we saw lightning and went inside to bed.


Meanwhile, Jason and my dad were enjoying a baseball game at Camden Yards.

no new stories

[I realized after writing this out that I think I have already detailed the Vertigo-is-not-scary story on the blog. This is no surprise, since Jason insists I have told him every story in my life (many more than once). Oh well. That little quirk is part of my overall charm.]

So, Sight & Sound announced the decennial Greatest Films of All Time list, and Vertigo dethroned Citizen Kane. For more on the list and what it all means and does not mean to film geeks, see Roger Ebert’s blog post here.

I actually got the news from Jason on Wednesday night, who reminded me of when I introduced him to Vertigo. We’d been dating nearly a year and wanted to watch a scary movie at my apartment. I suggested Vertigo, which I had first seen at age 9 back in the bygone days when you had to drive to a movie rental location, walk the aisles looking for a particular title, and return the VHS tape two days later without having accidentally left it in the back window of the car. We watched a lot of old/good movies back then, which came in handy during my film student days.

Anyway, I remember being terrified by Vertigo, and assumed it would be ideal fare for a scary movie night with Jason. I warned him that it was scary, “Probably even scarier than ‘The Sixth Sense’!” (which maybe says a lot about my low tolerance for scariness). We picked up the DVD from the LRC, and started watching.

It turns out Vertigo isn’t actually conventionally terrifying (in a Halloween night-worthy film kind of way). I think I realized things were going downhill when the floating green disembodied head appeared. We laugh about it now, but at the time I was embarrassed that my “scary movie” was a disappointment (though I will insist that it is terrifying from a psychological standpoint. Jimmy Stewart has problems).

In case you’re interested, here’s the full list (films I’ve seen crossed out).

1 – Vertigo (1958)
2 – Citizen Kane (1941)

3 – Tokyo Story (1953) [Haven’t seen it, but I did once watch Ozu’s Late Spring. I feel like that should count for something.]
4 – La Règle du Jeu (1939)
5 – Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

6 – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) [I legitimately feel bad about never having seen this one]
7 – The Searchers (1956)
8 – Man with a Movie Camera (1939)

9 – The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927) [I’ve seen clips of this one]
10 – 8½ (1963)

And now for a film story I haven’t detailed on the blog:

Once upon a time I got 101% on a film final exam in a class that shall not be named. The professor gave me extra credit for having beautiful handwriting. It was a proud moment. The End.

blog rewind: 2012, take two

Note: this post was originally written on February 1. I just realized I forgot to publish it three weeks ago.

I feel like the first month of 2012 was kind of a wash, resolution-wise. The move, job-starting, traveling to and from Kentucky, and settling into a new place made it hard to get into a groove. Now we are groovin’ and I will be gainfully employed after President’s Day, so I am declaring January a prologue, and February 1st the new beginning of 2012 (not to be confused with the Frost fiscal year 2012, which ends on May 1. Not confusing at all).

In the spirit of the newish year, I’ve made what might be considered an unemployment bucket list (except I hate that term because it makes me think of a list you keep in a bucket, which if you do, cool. I do not keep my list of things to do in a bucket, so that designation doesn’t fit). I have 20 days left of unemployment, so 20 things should be apt. UPDATE: I had twenty days left of unemployment when this was written, but now I’m just down to 1 day. Let’s see how I fared on my non-bucket list.

1. Host Mariel for her Christmas visit.
2. Read all the General Conference addresses from October.

3. Cook (at least) one new recipe each week. Week 1: Whole wheat crackers and pita bread; Week 2: Korean beef tacos with cucumber slaw; Week 3: Sally Lunn breadmaker bread (epic fail) and macarons.
4. Finish For Whom the Bell Tolls.
5. Finish The Unconsoled.
6. Read the scriptures daily. Close enough.
7. Go to the ward’s craft group again.
8. Finish my latest crocheting project. DONE! Photos to come.
9. Compile Lexington photos.
10. Decide what to get Jason for his birthday and purchase it.
11. Enthusiastically fill in my new planner when it finally arrives (long story).
12. Write in my journal daily.
13. Work out daily.
14. Not watch any movies where the protagonist is unemployed (see Sliding Doors and Morning Glory.
15. Write something.
16. Do something nice for someone else.
17. Write Hannah and Dave physical letters.
18. Cook something for lunch that is not sweet potato fries.
19. Make pita bread.
20. Make chilaquiles.

Other things of which I am proud:

– Started running consistently again

– Got up early every day to make Jason’s lunch, have breakfast together, and see him off.

– Didn’t go crazy overboard eating cookies all day long, despite being in and around my kitchen almost 24/7.

– Learned to use the bread machine.

– Did laundry while Jason was at work more than once (usually he does all our laundry and I very much appreciate it).

– Relished my at-home time and actually never got sick of it.

– More than once sat in my poang chair and watched the sun come up.

here’s the thing…

When we lived in Lexington, I felt like Margaret Mead, sharing with family and friends the wild and unfamiliar ways of Kentuckians.  Jason and I experienced regional cuisine (pimento cheese spread sandwiches?), new traditions (Keeneland, tailgates, keg standing), charming accents/colloquialisms, and the slow-moving pace of southern life.  The blog functioned as a teeny tiny window into the alien culture in which we found ourselves.

Now, however, we are in a place that 1) is not completely new to us and 2) is not new at all to people we love. We are no longer arbiters of perception and our experiences are not uncommon.  There is a character to our new home, but it is not as foreign or distinct (or delightful, but I think it will grow on us).

The Margaret Mead-ing can continue, I guess. We are both enjoying this new chapter in our collective life and are having excellent adventures. It’s just hard for me to think of things to write about anymore–so I drink obscene amounts of hot chocolate instead.

Time to do the dishes. Tomorrow we are supposed to get a wintry mix. Good-bye, autumn weather.

I cried mightily in Downton Abbey today, probably because Jason was gone and because it is just so sad. Roni: you will definitely weep if you watch it.  I was trying to think of other movies that made me cry, and could only think of A Little Princess (I was eight) and Almost Famous. I also cried in Life is Beautiful, after which my mom and I had to watch a documentary where Julia Roberts visits Mongolian horse farmers to cheer up.  Sometimes I feel like I dreamed that documentary, but guess what! I didn’t.