Friday, May 31, 2013

A Great Quote

This lovely quote is from a writer named Tyler Knott Gregson. I know nothing about him at all, but I love him. But that's how art works, isn't it?

Visit his website if you dare and be exposed to more of these lovely tidbits. Are they a part of something larger, I wonder? It almost doesn't matter because they are somehow whole and complete as they are. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Elkmont Campground in Tennessee

The second part of our mountain vacation involved camping at my favorite Elkmont Campground inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I was excited because Sadie was able to come with us this time. She's so well-behaved, even in such an interesting and exciting place as the deep woods, that you can't not want her there!

Sadie checking out the truck of Nick's car
 We enjoyed, as usual, wandering over into the Elkmont village. This is one of my favorite sites. It used to be a logging camp and then it was changed to a place where people vacationed. The owners were granted lifetime leases and the last one expired in 2001.

Which is a friendly way of saying the guy finally died. The injustice of it all bothers me very much, but the homes are also really cool to check out. It makes me sad to think that the original owners' descendants can't enjoy their family cottage any longer!

A view of the Elkmont homes

Sadie being a good girl at the campground

Tents and tarps, oh my

Lots of campfire cooking was done that weekend

The best seat in the house
Highly recommend Elkmont campground!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Physical Therapy (Because I'm Broken)

Physical therapy has been going great. I can tell because I am so sore! I've been doing it for 2 weeks now, and let me just go on record to say that it is really hard to start doing something differently from the way that you've been doing it for at least 13 years.

My physical therapist has informed me that I use my neck muscles to move my arm, and since the initial visit, I've realized that I use my neck muscles for just about every movement involving shoulders, neck, and back. I came into the office the other day with a sore shoulder and he laughed at me and said my pain was telling on me...having pain where I had it essentially proved that I had been using those neck muscles still. Boo, stupid soreness tattling on me!

Also, I'm stuck wearing this ugly tape to keep my shoulder where it's supposed to be...

But in all, I'm enjoying learning how to be normal and use the right muscles to function. I'm such a weird kind of handicap...but my physical therapist assures me that soon enough I'll forget this ever happened :)

Here's hoping that's true!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Emma was the first Jane Austen novel I've ever read, and quite honestly, the only one I've liked. (I enjoy the film adaptations of Austen novels.) When I read Emma the first time, I was also using my Kindle for the first time. I enjoyed the book so much, I read it in about two days, and even stayed up all night to finish it. I loved the way that the story took my by surprise, a bit like a Charlotte Bronte novel might.

The Book

As I said, the book held my attention like crazy. (Not more than any other book though. I love books. Live vicariously through books. I don't think one book necessarily thrills me more than another, just in a different way. Unless it doesn't thrill me at all...that's a different story entirely.) I really enjoyed reading this book and related to the main character, her friendships, and her interests. That's one of my favorite things about reading: getting to "be" someone else for a short time and learning what makes them feel and be the way they are. It's a lesson in relating. I won't give any spoilers about what happens though, if you haven't read it. 

The Miniseries 

I recently started watching Emma the miniseries. I'm only halfway through, but so far I think the makers captured the mood that Austen presented in the novel. And I love Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley. I've liked him ever since I watched Byron, although if I'm being honest, I was only watching that for Stephen Campbell Moore. (More on that romance another time.)

Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley
In short, I recommend both the book and the miniseries. This comes from a girl who isn't a big Jane Austen fangirl, so this recommendation should not be taken too lightly. I have not yet watched the Gwyneth Paltrow version, but I'm sure I will one day, once this one stops holding my attention.

I'm being dramatic. Do what you will with this recommendation.

(And don't watch any Stephen Campbell Moore movies. He's mine.)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Stunning Promotional Video

Watch First:

You may or may not know this about me, but here goes.

As a writer, I've always been interested in visual display as well as written illustration. I have always wanted to learn filmography and this video depict the style I am aspiring to. What do you think?

Friday, May 17, 2013

This Month in Hobbies: Watercolor Painting

My interest in watercolor began very simply. I saw a watercolor set for sale somewhere and couldn't stop thinking about it. I started reading up on tutorials and learning how to do it while my mom went back to the store and picked up the kit for me!

Bookmark I painted for my mom
 I dabbled a little by creating a couple of pretty pictures while we were sitting before our stunning view of the Smokies in our cabin. I am not that good at it, but I definitely had fun with it and want to do some more! What do you think of my creations?

My first painting of flowers

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mountain Time

Disclaimer: We were in the Smokies so it was actually Eastern Standard Time. This title is not meant to exhibit time zone. 

Big Bear Lodge main living room

A Week in The Smoky Mountains

Our week in the Smoky Mountains was just wonderful...and far too short! Sometimes I just need to be gone on an adventure for a lot longer than one week in order to feel like I've really experienced the place. But regardless of how short the adventure felt, it was still a great adventure.

Our view from the dining room at Big Bear Lodge

We spent five days at an awesome cabin in Wears Valley...Big Bear Lodge by Timbercreek Realty. I highly recommend them! It was such an affordable rental and the place was spacious, with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, a pool table, a hot tub, more porches than I can count... The cabin where we stayed had room to sleep 11 people, so naturally it was roomy for 5. We had 3 additional guests on our last night and it wasn't even crowded to add them to the mix as well.

We loved taking advantage of our pool table!
Our family went on a lot of adventures throughout the week, including hiking Laurel Falls trail, going out for BBQ in Gatlinburg, taking the Cades Cove tour, going shopping at the outlet mall in Pigeon Forge, going out for a steak dinner with my parents for their 32nd wedding anniversary, mini golfing on the course the climbs the mountain, exploring Elkmont and the Little River trail....not to mention cooking out, playing pool, hot tub time, and watching a couple of Hawks games.
A slightly blurry image of the main living room by firelight
 Some of my favorite parts of vacation are just relaxing. I read a lot, did some painting, painted fingernails, watched the game, cooked a was great to just take it easy and have a nice time.

The dining room with its fabulous view

Elkmont village

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Patio Gardening

This is going to be my second summer living in my apartment and I'm doing my patio gardening again. Last year I planted basil, oregano, mint, green peppers, tomatoes, and jalapenos. The herbs came in handy because I cook with herbs all the time, but unfortunately the mint grew with the most weed-like tendency and (darn) I had to enjoy a lot of mojitos last summer. The vegetables were the biggest disappointment because we ended up with one little tomato (delicious of course, but tiny) and two green peppers. Now that I think of it, I don't remember what happened in the jalapeno department. The reason last year failed was because it had no choice. We didn't get back into town after our honeymoon until late June, so that was a little late to start anything.

Plants that I will be adding to my terrarium vase
This year, I am starting plants inside in preparation for summer. I also have a mini greenhouse on my patio, which I am really excited about! It was only $20-some dollars from TJ Maxx and when I saw it, I put back all the other dumb things I was already carrying around and left with the greenhouse. I am starting organic carrots and cucumbers, and I'm already growing some rosemary and sage. I think I'll add some basil to the bunch (although I go through so much of it, it's hardly worth trying to grow it) and maybe some lettuce. I've always wanted to try lettuce even though you could eat the whole plant, stuffing all your efforts into a sandwich. But I guess that's what we plant things for, right?

My little plant starter greenhouse from TJ Maxx

Every spring, as soon as the weather warms up even a hair I get so excited about planting and eating fresh. This year is no exception!

My herbs: sage and rosemary

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Have you ever seen the TV show Awkward? I had never seen it but had heard a few good things and thought I'd give it a try since it was free on Prime last week.

Um...WOW. I'm obsessed.

But then, I've always like those teen-high-school-dramadies. (Some of my favorite films include Easy A, Superbad, Adventureland, and films of that kind.) I love the coming of age story, I can totally relate to the awkwardness of social situations...come on, it's just fun!

So if you have MTV, check this show out. It's a must-watch if you like the same kinds of movies that I like.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Project: Organization/Project: Creativity

This summer's goal is to organize my house until every single thing I own has a place, and if it doesn't have a place, its new place is Goodwill.

I have a Pinterest board dedicated to my organizational plans to keep me focused.


Last week I tackled my closet, and it looks amazing. It now has a floor, to begin with. I removed 5 boxes of items to give to Goodwill, 2 boxes of items to do other things with, and 4 boxes of garbage. It was a successful organization. I think my favorite thing about it is that I now have empty shelves and lovely coordinated storage boxes that are half empty! I love having places where things can go. The worst part about a full closet is that you can't get new stuff!

The other areas of my home that need to be organized are:
  • Bookshelves/Home library
  • Desk
  • Craft storage (this will be a HUGE project)
  • Dresser
  • Childhood items
I have been a sentimental person my whole life, but I am starting to think that some things I'm sentimental about can be parted from me. I will still remember the items even if they are no longer stored in my house, visited only yearly or so when I snap and have to go through all my boxes again.


The second part of this goal is creativity.

I would like to do something fun and creative somewhat regularly this summer. Summer is a great time for creative projects! I'll be posting about these projects, so keep your eyes open for some new things that I'm working on!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Orthopedic Specialists and Shoulder Pain

I went to see the orthopedic specialist about my shoulder this week. It's been bothering me for over five months now and I just had to do something about it!

I went and saw my husband's orthopedic specialist (the one who repaired his ACL in January) because he specializes in sports injuries, which is what mine is. Weight lifting caused the injury. Our doctor is really great and was able to give me a lot of answers, which helped a lot.

So the result is that it's a rotator cuff injury (specifically he thinks it's tendonitis from bursitis) and probably not anything that requires surgery. He thinks physical therapy will do the trick, so I'll be back in the office in July for a check-up. He gave an injection in the shoulder yesterday (OW!) but today things are feeling surprisingly a lot better. (I've also been told to take Ibuprofen for the pain, so that might be part of it.)

He gave me a list of exercises I can do, but I am going to wait until the physical therapist (first visit the 15th after vacation) sets me up with those, and meanwhile just work on the posture suggestions (and drugs) that the doctor prescribed.

Overall, I admit it is exciting to hear that my crooked shoulder is not an injury but it is normal. "Just how I'm built," I was told. The downside is that those injuries will be more common because of my weird shoulder. Apparently the muscles don't have enough to "push off of" because my left shoulder has a big gap in it between the joint and the collar bone. Not bad, I guess, just different, so the weakness will always be there a little.

Meanwhile, I look forward to PT, and then getting back into my workout regimen. I'm thinking of starting with yoga so I can do some strength and flexibility training, but that will be something that needs to be cleared with the PT. I'm just happy right now that there's hope! :)

P.S. The doctor said rowing and kayaking will be a an excellent future exercise when I'm healed, but not this year. (It's Nick's newest legless hobby.) He said if Nick and I need a hobby together this summer, we can go to physical therapy together. Thanksss.... :-P

Naturally Straight Hair

I have naturally straight hair. Like, stick straight. I mean, some of my friends hate me because I can let my hair air-dry and it comes out perfectly straight (although the older I get, the less my hair cooperates).

I have always wanted wavy hair--not curly hair, just wavy. My hair is long and I love when it has some wave, but it has to be consistent waviness.

Just last night I read something about how sleeping with your hair in a sock bun can yield pretty waves. Well, you know me, I hate having perfectly straight hair, so if someone says it works (and it doesn't sound too uncomfortable) I'll give it a try.

Step 1: The sock bun!

I put my pre-curl hair spray all over the ponytail before I started. Also my hair was slightly damp. If you don't know how to do a sock bun, this video is pretty helpful:

 Step 2: Go to Sleep

I hate being uncomfortable in bed, and that usually means that I hate wearing my hair up. I like it loose and free and comfortable. But a sock bun doesn't hurt too much, and it stays up high so you don't have to lie on it. It's a win-win.

Step 3: Remove Sock and Style

If your hair is still damp in the morning, I'd recommend using a diffuser to dry it out inside the bun. Pull the bun out, style as usual!

It's not perfect, and honestly, I don't think the waves last as long as ones made with a curling iron (even with curl lotion applied after the bun is removed) but they are a lot more effortless than curling iron waves. I think I'll do this style while camping next week! :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Community Writing Classes and Having a Master of Arts in English

When I first moved to the Indianapolis area and didn't know anyone, I thought the best course of action would be to get involved in some writer's communities, which I did. I have now taken four courses through the Indiana Writer's Center, and I wouldn't say it's been a bad experience by any means. Certainly the teachers are very qualified. The IWC is a great group of people!

So what's the problem?

I have a Master of Arts in English. I was a college professor of composition for four years. I read constantly. I analyze constantly. In short, I know how to write.

My Identity As a Writer

When I attend these community writing classes, I feel sometimes like I have to defend my identity as a writer, which is really a backward thing. I am confident, I am comfortable, I know I am a writer, and I understand that the reason I've never been anywhere as a writer is that I haven't given it a good, real try yet. All of that makes sense to why do I feel the need to identify myself in a classroom full of other people who write with varying degrees of seriousness and dedication?

The point is, I know what I'm doing. I know how to do it. I have it under control. It's just when I have these panic attacks, these moments of serious "low" where I think, for some reason, I have to subscribe to some unknown stranger's expertise to help me.

And then two months later when I'm feeling really great about my writing, I'm sitting in this classroom wondering "Why am I here?"

So it's not a matter of needing to "learn" something, it's a matter of needing to "do" something. Next time I want to take a writing class I need to instead take a day off and fix my own problems. Every time I've done that so far, it's actually worked pretty well.