7.30.2015

Uninvited

Did you guys hear the news story about an ex-boyfriend hiding under a woman's bed in New Jersey for three days?! He didn't give a specific reason, seemed to be surviving on water, and confessed that he came in when she took the garbage out. How about the guy earlier this year hiding under a woman's bed in Florida? When she reached under looking for her cats, she touched his skin instead of one of her furbabies. And a few years ago in Japan a homeless woman was living in a man's closet for almost a year! There are a lot of stories about killers and squatters in attics, walls, basements, and closets and it's creepy!

Ever since I saw the movie When A Stranger Calls Back as a kid (where the killer paints himself into a wall so he can hide in plain sight in his victim's apartment) I've been terrified of people hiding in my house. Before I had a bedside lamp, I used to hit the light switch then dive into bed, afraid of someone's hands coming out to grab my ankles. It turns out I wasn't so irrational in thinking that crazy things could happen under there!


I've always been afraid to look out peepholes too. I know people aren't supposed to be able to see in, but it freaks me out. When Carrie and I lived together in college, one of her bedroom windows faced the front porch. We lived in a house on a main street and friends were constantly dropping by without warning. Normally that was fine, but on this day we were purposely ignoring a friend so we hung out in her room with most of the lights out, pretending we weren't home. When we heard a knock on the door, I crept over to the window, carefully parted the blinds about a centimeter, and just saw eyeballs!!! A friend of mine stopped by to say hi, saw me approach the window, and thought it'd be funny to stick his face right up to the glass. I screamed bloody murder and probably peed a little. Now I'm afraid to look out windows too.


Another time, in the same house, all of my roommates went to a party, but I had to work early the next morning so I stayed home. Around midnight I started hearing noises on the roof. Our house was situated on a hill and you could easily climb onto the roof without much effort from the front yard, which friends had done many times. I just froze in bed, totally paralyzed, listening to someone pace back and forth. My parents lived six blocks away so I called my dad and asked him come over to scope out the situation. It ended up being raccoons. Ha!


I'm also afraid of people hiding in closets or showers. I came home one night to find my front door wide open. Jacob was working out of town, but my BFF had just stayed the night so I assumed he left the door ajar and the wind popped it open. I went inside, but instantly got a really weird feeling and ran back to my car. My dad came to my rescue once again and searched the closets, showers, and under the beds with a baseball bat. The house was clear, but I still had a hard time sleeping that night.


Nothing has ever happened to me, but I can't stop being afraid.
Have you ever had an uninvited guest in your house? Tell me your creepy stories!

- - - - -

But you, you're not allowed
You're uninvited
An unfortunate slight

7.27.2015

Currently

Current Book
I started Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock last night. It's about the day a boy plans to kill his
former best friend and then himself. It's dark, but good and I'm sure I'll finish it this afternoon.


Current Playlist
Good For You - Selena Gomez
18 - One Direction
Lean On - Major Lazer
Search Party - Sam Bruno
My Type - Saint Motel
Chasing Cars - The Wind and The Wave
Cool For The Summer - Demi Lovato
Can't Feel My Face - The Weeknd
Creep - Michelle Branch



Current Color
Plum/fig/eggplant. I'm really into these dark shades of purple lately.


Current Food
Popcorn. I've been eating it almost every day! At the movie theater, Target, or air popped at home.


Current Favorite Shows
Catastrophe on Amazon is only six episodes and absolutely hilarious! It's a rom-com set in England, but actually very funny, not cheesy and sappy. I've been a fan of Rob Delaney for years and love seeing him on a show. The Astronaut Wives Club isn't amazing, but the performances are great and I love the style of the show. It's part history, part '60s nostalgia, and part soap, with a hint of feminism. UnReal is such a guilty pleasure! It's totally insane, dark, and dramatic and I can't stop watching it.


Current Need
Naps! And more naps! I seriously can't seem to sleep enough lately.


Current Celebrity Crush
Niall Horan. I would have said someone else last month, but since I just saw
1D in concert he's on my radar again. Thanks for the poster, Leeann!


Current Favorite App
Instagram. Bor-ing, but I can't get into Periscope or Shots or whatever the kids are into these days. #oldlady


Current Indulgence
Birkenstocks. They're back in style, so comfortable, and my podiatrist recommended them!
I bought Mayari in black and Gizeh in brown, and kinda want to buy Arizona in white next.



Current Excitement
Vacations! Jacob wants to go to Toronto rather than New Orleans next year and I'm
pretty excited about the switch. We also just booked our hotel for Disneyland in February.


Current Favorite Quote
This isn't exactly a quote, but I saw it on IG and related.
I'm walking that super busy/needing some downtime line again.



Current Movie
Trainwreck wasn't the best movie I've ever seen. The pace was weird and it went back and forth from straight up comedy to predictable rom-com to heartfelt drama. But I laughed out loud so many times and even teared up during one scene. I was pleasantly surprised by John Cena and LeBron James and Ezra Miller's extremely uncomfortable scene was so bad and so funny. I just love everything about Amy Schumer so it was a win in my book, and I'll definitely watch it again and again, but I can't say this one is for everybody.


Current Wish List Item
Kendra Scott Kiri Necklace in Mint.



Current Favorite Product
Trader Joe's Shave. It took me a while to get used to cream instead of foam, but it smells great,
doesn't irritate my sensitive skin, and makes my legs feel so soft. It's also super cheap.


What are you currently up to?

7.23.2015

Audiobooks Are My Jam

The first time I listened to an audiobook was when The Hunger Games came out. People were raving about the book, but the hold list on ten copies at my library was crazy long. The audiobook was available right away so downloaded, but hated it. The narrator spoke too slowly, I was easily distracted so I had to go back and listen to parts of it over again, and I felt totally disconnected. I quit after about an hour.

(Side note: I ended up checking out a hard copy of The Hunger Games a few months later and still didn't like it so I returned it without finishing. When I saw a trailer for the movie I got excited about it, bought the trilogy, and read all of them in a week. I still don't know why it took me so long to like the first book. Dystopian YA is not my thing, but those books are pretty great.)

A few years later, I thought I'd try again and downloaded another buzzy book, Room. I couldn't handle it at all. The narrator had an annoying kid voice and spoke way too slowly, so I stopped after ten minutes. (I recently read this book and enjoyed it much more in my own head.)

Jacob and I are senior citizens and sometimes listen to NPR and news radio when we're in the car without the kids. I've also listened to This American Life when an episode is recommended to me. But I still scoffed at the idea of listening to an audiobook. Last fall I got hooked on Serial, just like the rest of the country, but because I'm ALWAYS with my kids I didn't have much time to listen to it. I had it on in the car while running errands by myself, but also stretched out on the couch at night with headphones on because I had to know what was going to happen. The best thing I discovered with this podcast was the speed adjustment on my phone. I'm a fast talker, probably too fast for most people, and lose my patience with slow (and quiet) talkers, so the ability to change the speed was life changing. Not only did I listen to Sarah Koeing's slow, calm voice at my speed (2x as fast), but it also helped me get through the podcast quicker.

I drive alone at night a few times a month, coming home from Seattle after concerts or musicals. I always listen to music and sometimes call friends, but I felt like another podcast would fill my time better. I asked Twitter what I should listen to, but none of the recommendations came close to Serial for me. Someone told me to try audiobooks instead. I was hesitant, but with knowledge of the speed adjustment, I decided to give it another try. I downloaded, Ashley's War, thinking a non-fiction book might work better for me. I loved it! I was totally engrossed in the story and immediately downloaded two more non-fiction books.

Since then I've listened to two fiction books too. They were a little harder to focus on, probably because they are so descriptive and have more characters, but I'm digging the listening process. I put on my bluetooth headphones and do chores around the house and still listen in the car when I'm alone. I'm breezing through them! The best thing is that the hold list for audiobooks at my library is always so much shorter than ebooks and hard copies. Score!


Are you into audiobooks?

7.21.2015

Jacob's MMA Fight

Jacob's second MMA fight took place on June 20th. (You can read here and here about his gym and his first MMA fight.) I love him, respect his passion, and completely support him, but I really hate it when he fights. I would never, ever tell him not to do it, but it's nerve-wracking and terrifying and I worry about him for weeks leading up to it. It's also hard because he has to train a lot and he's not home very much. He did his best to work out after the kids were in bed or on weekends when we just hung around the house, but we still missed him. All his hard work paid off though. He won with a first round TKO! Take a look.




I didn't go because I just can't watch. I was able to watch the video after I can see with my own eyes that he's not hurt. I totally feel bad for the other guy though and it's still not easy to watch. Jacob has never wanted me at a fight anyway. He said he'd worry about me. He had tons of support in the crowd with about a hundred fellow fighters, co-workers, friends, and family members all there to cheer him on. Carrie, my sister, and Jacob's brother kept me in the loop with constant texts, which put me at ease but also gave me SO MUCH ANXIETY. Thankfully he walked away without any injuries and has decided that this was his last fight. He's getting older and training was a lot harder this time around. Instead, he wants to put more effort into his gym. He already teaches and coaches, but wants to take over more responsibility on the business and promotion side of things. I'm all for that! 

7.14.2015

What I Read In June

Woohoo! It's time for my favorite linkup! Since Jacob was busy training for his MMA fight for most of the month, I had a lot of alone time, which I filled with books. (BTW, he won! TKO in the first round! I'm hoping to blog about it as soon as the video is released.) Take a peek at the twelve books I read in June.


P.S. I Still Love You  This sequel to All The Boys I've Loved Before was almost as adorable as the first. I'd probably give it 4 1/2 stars, just because I felt like the resolution was rushed. It's an easy, breezy YA book that I finished in a day. I love Lara Jean just as much as she irritates me. There better be a third book! #TeamPeter 


Binary Star I don't think I was the right audience for this book. The content is important (she's anorexic, he's an alcoholic), but I wasn't into the lyrical prose or the astronomy analogy. I also didn't really care for the characters. I felt like the author did a good job portraying a person suffering from an eating disorder, but I would have rather read it as a regular short story. 


Good In Bed People really, really, REALLY love this book. I thought it was well-written, but it wasn't my favorite. I don't know. I understand that it's classic chick lit, which isn't really my thing (says the girl who just gave a YA romance sequel five stars), but it felt extra soapy and unrealistic to me. I appreciate the attempt, but Cannie annoyed me halfway through, her friends were flat, stereotypical rom-com characters, and it seemed too long. 


Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World I love (and own and recommend) Koenig's books about Disneyland. This book, about the conception, creation, expansion, and operation of Disney World is very detailed and sometimes surprising (Epcot was supposed to be a city, not a theme park), but not nearly as fun as his previous books. The chapter about Disney injuries and deaths had me Googling all kinds of theme park related injuries and freaked me out! Overall good book, if you're into this sort of thing, but long. 


The Art of Racing in the Rain This is another book that everybody loves and even though I'm not a huge dog person (gasp!) I've always wanted to read it. I love the unconventional narrator and thought the story moved along nicely, which made me read it really fast. I laughed, I cried, I got mad. It made me want a dog again. 


The Martian It took a hot minute (at least fifty pages) for me to get into this book because it was just so technical and bland in the beginning, but the shift in POV kept me going. After a while, I really loved it (and ended up skimming most of the math and science stuff). Mark was a great character with a cheesy sense of humor (like most super smart people) and so much positivity (almost too much at times). I felt like I was there, on the edge of my seat with the rest of the world, waiting to see what would happen to him. 


Room I've had this book on my list forever and when I heard it was going to be made into a movie (with my favorite, Brie Larson, as Ma), I had to move it up. It's a very disturbing topic, but since it's narrated by a child, it didn't seem as dark and I felt a little detached. I thought the perspective was interesting, but maybe too gimmicky at times. I loved Ma though. She was a strong, smart woman and I felt her sadness through Jack's observations, so that says something about the writing. 



In the Unlikely Event I've never read one of Judy's adult novels, so I wasn't sure to expect. I don't do well with multiple POVs (I'm dumb) and this one had at least twenty! It took me a long time to get them straight, but by the middle I had it down and liked how their stories started coming together. It's a little depressing, a little too long, a little mundane at times, and the characters aren't all that developed (except for Miri, whom I loved), but I still really enjoyed it. I felt transported back to the '50s and I'm still so curious about those plane crashes! 



The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry A.J. is a struggling book store owner/widower who has an unexpected event happen in his life, which leads him to a new, positive outlook. It's heartwarming and cute and started off strong for me, but ended up being too fluffy for my taste. I also couldn't care less about all the literary references. 


Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield I'm ashamed to admit I had no idea this groundbreaking all-female Army Cultural Support Team existed! The book follows Ashley White and her fellow soldiers as they were tested, trained, and selected to be the first women in this special ops program who served alongside Rangers and Green Berets in Afghanistan. It's intense and inspiring and surprisingly well-written and easy to read. 


Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America's Gutsiest Troublemakers I wasn't in love with Offerman's first book, but the concept of this one sounded promising. He wrote about 21 people from America's history from George Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Benjamin Franklin to Carol Burnett and Conan O'Brien. I loved some chapters and skipped right over others (about furniture making and folk/country music). It was original, and I think he's great, but it wasn't totally for me. 


You Deserve a Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery I think YouTube star Mamrie Hart is funny, though I'm not an avid follower. I loved this right off the bat, but just like with most comedy books, her over-the-top was too much after a while. I should have read a chapter at a time between other books. She's funny, has had awesome and hilarious adventures and experiences, and I definitely want to hang out with her, but I don't know, I'm probably too old for this sh*t. 

 I can't wait to see what you read!

Life According to Steph