Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Coming to a Close

I've not been keeping up with The Church Mouse, and I wanted to give a little explanation! 

I've been busy getting into a good work schedule and settling into my new home! Instead of spending so much time on my computer at home, I've been out and about making new friends and exploring the city.  I've been trying to hunt down furniture and appliances, save some money and adjust to the cooler climate! I'm really starting to love Ohio.

-BUT-

 I started this blog as a way to compile inspiration then started using it to keep a sort of growth chart of my early 20s. I posted two to three times a week to keep myself focused on something positive while experiencing the ups and downs of life. I feel like I've grown up so much in the last two years, maybe not so much as a writer, though. ;)

For now, I'm putting this little guy to rest. Who knows! Maybe someday I'll start another blog? 

Thanks for reading, friends!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Insta-Thursday

In my last post, I was homesick. Very, very homesick. I feel much better this week after getting to work at my new job with some awesome girls. I even got my hair colored! I'm in the process of going blonde for the first time. I'm nervous and excited to see how it turns out!

I decided I would do a post about what's been going on with me lately since I haven't done that in quite a while.
Watching this guy draw for class. All. The. Time.
Drinking lots and lots of tea.
I read an EXCELLENT book by John Green.
Had a few lazy days before I started work.
Cooked a delicious dinner of asparagus, parmesan crusted salmon and accordion baked potatoes.
Played Donkey Kong in pajamas.
Watched the snow fall
Needle felted a tiny fox for a brooch.
Went to a hockey game

...and spent the last week with a terrible cold. Thank goodness I haven't run fever or anything but I've been congested and coughing for what feels like forever. 

I woke up yesterday with an awful earache, went to a clinic and got some medicine. I'm feeling so much better today but my ear is still stopped up. Yuck. I'm ready for some warmer weather! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Texas, I miss you.

Sometimes I feel like a walking Texas stereotype. My paternal grandparents have a farm and raise cattle. My maternal grandfather worked in the plants his entire life while my grandmother raised four children. My favorite beer is Shiner. I love fried food and TexMex. The only Spanish I know applies solely in a restaurant setting. I sometimes say "y'all" or have a slight drawl when I say words like "mama" or "bye." I think every restaurant should have margaritas on the menu. I only have summer clothes in my closet, and temperatures below 50 constitute coat weather. I didn't know there was life outside of food trailers and breakfast tacos. I never realized just how Texas I am until I moved to Ohio.
(image from Pinterest, if you know the source please let me know!)
I recently got a job as a receptionist here, and while filling out tax paperwork, found out there are things like state and city taxes. Texans don't have those little gems deducted from each paycheck. Tax season next year should be a nightmare for me. Sigh. 

 If I want to get groceries, I have to go to Kroger or Giant Eagle. I have yet to find a place with a golden honey mustard as good as Whataburger's. I don't hear about high school football or the Longhorns, now I hear about the Blue Jackets (hockey), Columbus Crew (soccer) and the Cleveland Browns (football). OSU has replaced UT in daily conversation. I can't find Blue Bell ice cream in grocery stores around here, I buy Graeter's or Jeni's now. I miss live music every night of the week. I want to go to a La Cantina or Cafe del Rio and listen to a blues band. I miss the little things like Buc-ees, driving on the freeway with the windows down, Doguet's roux and TexJoy.

Don't get me wrong! I really like Ohio, and I am definitely not complaining. The people here are great and very welcoming. There's curbside recycling, and a thriving art scene in Columbus. I'm not getting lost as much when I drive around town, which is nice! I just miss home. My first month here went by so quickly, I hardly had time to process everything.  I'm starting to feel the permanence of moving. After being in the UK so long, life started to feel like one long extended vacation. Moving to Columbus felt no different, kind of like I'd be back home to Beaumont in no time. Once I started training for my job, I started to feel it. I realized I am miss Thanksgiving for the second year in a row. My mom and siblings are going to the Color Run 5K in Austin this summer, and I can't be on the team. I am going to miss everyone's birthdays, and my family won't be here for mine. I can't show my sister the cool vintage shop I found on High Street or take my brother out for coffee. I can't stop and get good TexMex anywhere, haha. I'm realizing how much stuff I took for granted. 

I hope once I get into a work routine, make some more friends and really get settled I'll feel less homesick. Moving is a little harder than I thought! Any advice on keeping the blues away?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Music Discovery: Local Natives

In 2010, Local Natives released a single called "Sun Hands."  I can't remember why I started listening to this song but it starts out slow. Drums, a smooth melody, beautiful harmonies, a pretty basic folky pop song. Then, part way through, the song just bursts in the best way. "Sun Hands" gets loud and exciting, a perfect summer song. Kamryn and I listened to this over and over again. We fell in love with the rest of the album, too. Some of my favorite tracks are "Airplanes," "Camera Talk," and "World News." 

Kamryn and I got lucky enough to get tickets to a rather small show in Houston, and they were awesome live. During 2010, I remember Local Natives toured like crazy. They played SXSW in Austin, too! Then we never really heard from them again. I listened to their debut album "Gorilla Manor" until I just couldn't listen to it anymore. Then Local Natives kind of drifted out of my awareness. Last fall, Omar and I were talking about them and I just couldn't believe they hadn't released a follow up to such a good album. We looked into it, and found out they were planning to release a new album this year. 

WELL, THE WAIT IS OVER.  Local Natives is streaming the new album "Hummingbird" on SoundCloud, and it's available for purchase/pre-order on their website. Omar and I gave it a listen last night, and I am so glad they took their time writing this album. It's a great follow up to "Gorilla Manor." It's beautiful and melodic, true to Local Natives' form. I've been listening to it all morning while I get ready to clean house and bake some loaves of bread. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Omar and I will get to see them when they play here in Columbus. I need to listen to it a little more to form a solid opinion, connect with the album and learn a few songs but my first impression tells me it's going to be something I can't stop playing. 

Have a listen!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Needle Felting: My Craft of Choice

Before Christmas, I watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and got an idea. The characters looked like they had been needle felted, so I started looking into the craft. I watched videos, learned about the needle and the roving you need to felt and asked for a kit for Christmas. 

A few weeks ago, I opened up my kit and started working. The thing about needle felting is it's incredibly easy. Just really simple to pick up and start. Figuring out what you what to make is the hard part! I only got white and black roving (wool fibers that look really fluffy and dyed) so I made a soot sprite from Spirited Away.
For a first ever attempt, I don't think he's so bad! His eyes are a little wonky but still cute!
He's sitting on the windowsill above our bed. 

I'm really addicted to crafts but I can never find one to stick with but something about needle felting makes me want to do more! I love it! 

Omar and I went to Michael's today to pick up some more roving in pretty colors. I can't wait to get started! Any recommendations for what I should make next?

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Walkmen + Father John Misty

I feel like the luckiest person in the world right now. Why? Because the mister took me out last night to see The Walkmen and Father John Misty at the Newport Music Hall here in Columbus.

This is exciting and special for a few reasons:
1. This is the first show I've been to that I didn't have to commute 2 or more hours to see. We took the bus, so we got to drink a little while we watched the bands play. I've never gotten to do that before so this was a new experience for me!
2. THE WALKMEN and Hamilton Leithauser's voice. 
3. Father John Misty aka J. Tillman of Fleet Foxes 
4. We got pizza at Mikey's Late Night Slice and I got to try slut sauce for the first time.

True to form, Omar and I missed our bus so we had to wait on another one which put us just a tiny bit behind schedule. I was worried that we would miss Father John Misty since they opened the show. Luckily though, we got to the Newport just in time to see the majority of the set, which was great. I was really pleased with the setlist they played, and J. Tillman was really entertaining. We ended up being a little bit further away from the stage than I would have hoped for but we could still see fairly well. I have a problem seeing since I'm petite and get just a little lost in the crowd.  
I love his dance moves. I wish I could be that suave and awkward at the same time.

If you've never heard The Walkmen before, you better get on that as soon as possible. They're probably one of my top ten favorite bands. Hamilton Leithauser's (what a name, right?!) voice is gorgeous. It's velvety and soulful and perfect. They put on such a great show last night, and they sound amazing live. I expected them to be great but there's always that possibility a band doesn't sound the same live. That was definitely not a problem last night. Here's a video from the Black Cab Sessions featuring The Walkmen, I think you're gonna like it.

Now my favorite song:
I have chills. Isn't that a gorgeous song? I wish they had played this last night!

Once the show was over (and we were a little buzzed) we walked down to Mikey's Late Night Slice (read this really awesome story about Mikey's) to get some pizza with Slut Sauce. What exactly is Slut Sauce? It's a condiment that's a little bit spicy and really friggin' delicious. It's hard to describe the flavors but it's just really awesome. I want to eat it on everything now! I already eat too much pizza, and I just read there's one in our neighborhood. EEP!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Living in the 614

I've been in Columbus for just about 10 days now! It feels like a ton has happened since I've been here. Well, I suppose a ton has happened since I moved up here. I've gotten a better chance to see Columbus and hang out with my boyfriend's friends. I also got to meet Emma from Verbal Melange

Omar and Emma have done a pretty good job showing me around the city. Omar took me to meet some friends at North Market for lunch, Dirty Frank's for hotdogs, an ice cream date at Jeni's in our neighborhood, Elevator Brewery to get our MBAs, and the Short North for coffee and shopping. Emma took me to Northstar Cafe for a tasty brunch and thrift shopping in her neighborhood. 

I have a good feeling about living here. I love my neighborhood and our apartment is adorable. I've gotten to hang out with some pretty neat people. I had this horrible thought that I would get here and be miserable but I think spending all of that time abroad really helped prepare me for such a drastic life change. It's been a really great transition. I haven't felt lonely or bored one time, and I am really proud of myself for that. Even if I don't have a job (even though a few leads seem promising!) and money is really tight, I'm really looking forward to the upcoming year.

I'm pretty proud of the progress we've made on unpacking and arranging the house.
The view from our living room window last week
A little bit of our bedroom before we hung up all of our posters. We still need to find a dresser and a bookshelf to put all of our things on. Our room is definitely a work in progress!
Our living room after arranging and rearranging.
Omar checking the mail in front of our house!

Columbus, I can't wait to get to know you better.