Life

December 2017

December was a busy month as it always is around holiday season. December started off as a bit of a down month having lost two of my grandparents in the month of November. Brian and my dad went on a fairly last minute trip, but perfectly timed trip to the Grand Canyon for a week leaving me alone at home for a week at the start of the month. Luckily they had a great time despite the cold spell in the Grand Canyon while they were there and they spent the week hiking down and then back up, something of which I have no desire to ever do. I would like to see the Grand Canyon someday, but I’ll be content viewing from the rim.  Holiday season was a range of emotions this year with wanting to celebrate, but all of us majorly missing our anchors. My brother and his wife refused to come to any Christmas get together for who knows what reason, so that made it a bit drama filled on top of every other emotion we all had.

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November 2017

November was an incredibly challenging month for my family, especially on my dad’s side of the family. We lost my grandma on November 4th and within the course of the same day, my grandpa fell and broke his hip. Upon his visit to the hospital, the doctors discovered he had cancer and that it was pretty aggressive. Moments after he left for the hospital was when my grandma passed away and watching my dad tell his father that grandma passed away was heartbreaking. My grandpa’s reaction was one of immediate heartbreak and then instantly turned to the rest of us in his hospital room and wanted to ensure that we were okay. Three weeks to the day after my grandma passed, my grandpa reunited with her. It was harder for my grandpa’s passing, mostly because it was so much more sudden and while we had three weeks to get “used to the idea”, he had been in such good health before that it was hard to see him go down hill so fast. My grandma had suffered from dementia for about 3 years and mostly only recognized my grandpa by the time she passed away. I did get to see two of my cousins who I hadn’t seen in years as they traveled from Colorado to the funerals, so that was a small blessing in an otherwise horrible few weeks.

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October 2017

October was a busy month and I am grateful for everything we got to do during the month of October, especially when we closed out the month with a long weekend in Orlando, Florida visiting Universal and Disney World. The primary goal of the trip to Florida was to experience the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, something that I’ve been trying to go to for years. We typically travel somewhere in the fall so I feel like I can’t take a long weekend so close to having a whole week off. Well this year, worked out perfectly with our last vacation week of the year in August. We were plenty free to take off on a long weekend to experience the festival. Of course, we had to add in a day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as well. We had visited back in 2011, just months after the Hogsmeade part had opened. It was so intense back then and I remember the hour long wait to even get to enter the Hogsmeade World. We were dying to experience the Diagon Alley side plus return to Hogsmeade without the insane crowds. We also spent a day in the Animal Kingdom (the hype about Avatar Flight of Passage is real!) and a half day in the Magic Kingdom.

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September 2017

September was a fairly quiet month for us personally. The month opened with Labor Day and while a lot of people take that long holiday weekend to get away for the weekend, Brian working as a manager at a grocery store means he always works holidays. I could have gone somewhere, but opted to just take the long weekend and enjoy some extra time at home with Yumi. I did a day trip to Windsor, Ontario in Canada for some shopping and some girl time. As always the three of us had a blast and look forward to the next time we head up.

Yumi

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August 2017

The biggest excitement from August was our trip to Slovenia (with a bonus day in Venice, Italy). It already seems like a lifetime ago that we were there and we’ve only been back a month. It was an amazing week spent in a new country for us. Slovenia was epic in terms of natural scenery, food, and wine. I can only image that the secret about this relatively little visited country (at least compared to its popular neighbors Italy and Croatia), will be out soon. We were there in peak tourist season and other than a few spots, it was never that crowded.

Restaurants:

We actually didn’t visit any new restaurants in Columbus this month. We visited loads if you count all the vacation restaurants we ate at while out of the country though. The biggest food event of the month was the annual Food Truck Festival in Columbus. We missed last year while we were in Rio for the Olympics, so visiting this year was a must do for us. The organizers moved the location of the event this year and it was such a great decision. The new location downtown allowed a more open environment with less claustrophobia. We could spread out on the grass in the shade with plenty of room. We caught up with friends and relived our vacation in detail to them, and I only snapped one picture of the entire night. Ooops.

Food Truck Festival

Books

  • Forbidden Bread by Erica Johnson-Debeljak: I give this book that I read for my book for my Slovenia trip a 4/5. It was an interesting memoir written by an American citizen, who fell in love with a Slovenian guy and moved to Slovenia just after their independence. It was incredibly interesting to read about living in a newly independent country and all the changes and challenges that it brings in addition to adapting to a new life and culture in a relatively unknown country. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in traveling to Slovenia from a cultural perspective.
  • The Children Act by Ian McEwan: I gave this short novel a 3/5. It wasn’t spectacular like my favorite of his Atonement, but it was an enjoyable easy read. It follows an older judge as she has marital struggles as well as hearing a case about whether medical doctors can intervene to save a 17 year old boy with a procedure that would violate his parents religious beliefs.
  • Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann: I give this old school classic novel a 3/5. It is by far not an intelligently written book, but that doesn’t mean that parts of it weren’t enjoyable. It’s most interesting trying to put yourself in the frame of mind of the majority of readers when this book came out decades ago. There is so much scandal, drugs, alcohol, and more both in Hollywood and everyday lives that is so much more publicized that the book isn’t quite as scandalous as it was back then. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure read and one that only needs to be read once,  but reading knowing Anne’s downfall was looming you just want to scream at her the whole time ‘Stay Away!’.
  • Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann: A short story collection that I’d give a 3.5/5. I enjoy reading short story collections from time to time and usually find them enjoyable but not amazing. I feel the same way about this collection, though I really enjoy McCann’s writing, so it bumps up the rating a bit. It’s an interesting collection featuring vague connecting themes but an incredibly diverse set of characters and events.
  • In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park: I listened to this as an audiobook and give it a 4/5. It’s the story of how Yeonmi and her mother escaped the brutal regime of North Korea. I’ve read/listened to several of these stories now and Yeonmi’s felt different than others. They took a different route through China and skirted around the edges of the terrifying sex trade that the Chinese men participate in against the incredibly vulnerable North Korean girls and women is deplorable. At times her tale is horrifying, but her strength and her mother’s strength is empowering. She is able to avoid some of the worst horrors due to being so young, but she is all too aware of what was going on. Probably my favorite book of the month.
  • The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs: I feel terrible giving this audiobook such a low rating, but I just wasn’t into this book. Maybe some of it was related to the audiobook reader, her voice wanted to put me to sleep and I found my mind wandering quite a bit while listening and I would have to force myself at times to pay attention. The memoir follows Nina’s journey after her diagnosis of breast cancer which initially seemed not too worrisome, but quickly changed. It’s about her ups and downs through her remaining time including losing her mother. It’s touching at points and I almost think my biggest problem was with the audiobook reader rather than the actual material, but I can’t say for certain.

Movies & TV

Game of Thrones was the major TV event for us for the month. We watched every episode at least once and enjoyed almost every minute of it. It’s almost more enjoyable now that it is so far from the books that we can stop comparing details and character storylines. The lines are so blurred between the two, and as long as you can accept that, the show is so much more fun. The next to last season has taken away all the intrigue and journey and seems to be about the big wow moments, so a bit is lost in the process, but I understand the need to wrap the series up and not continuing to drag it out. I’m excited and a bit sad that there’s only six episodes remaining. We also started the second season of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. Such an excellent and heartbreaking show, but am so glad that her and Mike Rinder are out there exposing Scientology for the cult that it is.

Other:

Honestly, other than our trip, it was a pretty lackluster month without a lot of special get togethers or outings. After the busyness of the spring and early summer, it was nice to just relax and get some other stuff taken care of.

Yumi watching White Fang My cute little Yumi Waiting to go boating Yumi and a Rainbow

 

July 2017

This is pretty late again for my monthly recap, but better late than never, right? July was a fairly quiet month as two of our best couple friends were both gone on honeymoons. But it was still a nice month with a lot of fun happenings.

Restaurants

One week in July in Columbus’s restaurant week so we hit up two new restaurants. The first we tried was Lemongrass in the Short North area. It’s an Asian Fusion restaurant, which we typically avoid as they never impress me too much. But Lemongrass’s Restaurant week menu looked really good and we figured it was a good time to try it out. It ended up being pretty decent. It’s not a restaurant I’m dreaming about returning to, but I would be more than happy to return in the future. Plus they served up mango and sticky rice as dessert, which is so hard to find in the states. Our second new restaurant during Restaurant Week, was Spagio in Grandview. It was also really good and had been a restaurant we had been considering visiting for awhile now. I had ravioli here that was really good, though the dessert was a bit of a flop.

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June 2017

This is really pretty late as far as recaps go as it’s the end of July by this point. June was an incredibly busy, but incredibly fun month as well. One of my besties got married at the end of the month and another eloped at the beginning of July making for lots of celebrating during June. We also managed to fit in some other fun activities during June. Plus it was my birthday in June.

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May 2016

May started with getting back into routine from returning from our trip to Palawan, Philippines at the end of April. At the end of the month, I visited Boston with a couple of friends for our trying to be annual girls trip and to celebrate one’s upcoming wedding. Also in May, I had a wedding shower for another friend. It was a busy month, but a good one in spite of the relatively chilly weather for May. May also had the first boat ride of the season (though without getting into the water!). We also booked tickets to Disney Food and Wine Festival in October!

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April 2017

April started and ended up fun events. I kicked off the month celebrating a dear friend’s upcoming wedding with her bachelorette party. We ended the month flying back home after spending a lovely week in Palawan, upcoming summary post will be posted soon. In between, I had one horrible week were I had to work 47 hours due to my boss’s vacation.

Restaurants: 
While I didn’t visit any new restaurants with Brian in Columbus, I did visit a new place while out for the bachelorette party. We visited a wine place called Quail Crossings Cellar. They make their own wines and had a really good variety of options available to suit everyone’s taste levels. We did two different create your own flights and did both a dry and sweet flight. While I’m not a big fan of sweet juice tasting wines, if you are into that, they had loads of fun options. They also had plenty of nice tasting dry red and white wines. All their wines have fun names like No String’s Attached, Party on the Patio, and Tall Dark & Handsome. It’s a very casual place to enjoy a glass or a wine tasting. They have a couple food offerings on site, but they let your order from next-door Harvest and bring the food over. Harvest is a Columbus favorite for pizzas that uses local ingredients. They have three locations around the city and I’ve only had their pizza one previous time, but it is quite tasty and always nice supporting local businesses. They also have sandwiches, burgers, and salads if you want something other than pizza.

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March 2017

Three big events happened in March, I finally bought my new computer and we booked our August trip (Headed to Slovenia!) and I booked my Memorial Day girls weekend trip (Headed to Boston!). I couldn’t be more excited about all three of those things, so while otherwise March was pretty lackluster, those made it an exciting month!

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