Coming October 2017 – New Apartment!

I believe when I first started this blog Tyler and I were thinking about moving when are lease was up but decided to stick it out. Our complex was sold without residents being told, we were given 48 hours notice of major renovations that we and the dogs had to be out of the apartment for so we got a hotel, our rent went up almost 200 bucks for said renovations which were so poorly done that it wasn’t worth it, and so on and so forth.

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New Apartment Layout

We were able to work with the complex before re-signing because while we hate the complex we love our apartment. But it is that time of year again and this time we really are moving because yet again they have hiked up the rent and we are just over dealing with complex as a whole. I mean they have a high turnover rate in the office, they fired the nice maintenance guy and now they have new guys who suck at responding to requests, and the new trash compactor is constantly over-flowing because they never told us how to use it. They recently sent out instructions but the door gets stuck, people (like me) aren’t strong enough to lift a full trash bag to eye-level to get it in there, and overall it just doesn’t work. I still love our apartment though so it has been tough. I like our big (but drafty) windows that Percy uses to check on his neighborhood, we like being on the top floor, everything has a place right now and its just comfortable. But it’s time to move somewhere else, and by somewhere else I mean only five minutes away.

 

Our new apartment will not only be cheaper but it will also be cheaper! We are getting an extra room, an extra toilet, and a large screened in patio. The extra room can be an extra bedroom but it has pocket doors that lead into the living room so it is labeled as a den. I think I am most excited about having two toilets! One for me and the other one for Tyler but also for me! The screened in patio has an amazing lake/pond view where ducks IMG_0649and geese hang out, we think Percy will love that. The apartment isn’t perfect though and there are a few things I am worried about. We will have a smaller kitchen that doesn’t look into the living room which means it will be much harder to bother Tyler while he is cooking. The apartment is also on the bottom floor which gives me anxiety. I hate hearing noise from neighbors and am hoping our upstairs neighbor is really light-footed. I am also worried about feeling closed in by being on the bottom floor. I’m sure my anxiety will be unfounded once we move in but I still can’t stop those thoughts from flooding in. On the plus side we are getting a new bed, new dining room chairs and new living room furniture. Big purchases like these make me feel like a real adult.

img_0678.jpgIn other news, things have been pretty much the same as always. Tyler and I finally finished Buffy and I convinced him to start Firefly. Opie and I went to a sister’s cookout at my younger sister’s house in Rensselaer a couple of weeks ago. It was a great time filled with excellent food and fun conversations. This coming weekend is going to be pretty busy for me. Tyler and I are going to drive to Cincinnati to check out Ikea. There is a new one being built just down the road from us but it won’t be open for a few more months. We want to check out furniture for the new place and decided to make a day out of it. Then I have a boat party to go to in Bloomington to celebrate a friends birthday and I get to see a bunch of people I haven’t gotten to see in a long time. I know it is only two things but for someone who prefers to do nothing all weekend long, it is action packed!

 

My Job….An Update

I haven’t talked about my job on here recently and since I haven’t been able to come up with a better topic to write about since my last post it seems like a great time for an update! I am still working at the Indiana Historical Society and loving it! I finished a large cataloging project back at the beginning of the year and have since started on a similar yet completely different project since then. My original project involved updating and making corrections to the current records for the clipping files collection. This collection is massive and took me almost 7 and a half months to do. It is pretty just a mish-mash of different newspaper clippings and other manuscript materials on a variety of topics, some world related others specific to Indiana counties. Not only did I have to make corrections to the records, I also had to go through each file and put the clippings in order by date. This way I had the right date for the record and also made it more chronological for patrons to look through. Everyday my finger tips would become discolored from the ink and had a weird, but comforting, old paper smell.

I thought I was finally free of inky fingers and old paper smell, but my next project was more clipping files, but different. The project I am working on now is our Black History Biography Project and is made up of clipping files of notable black people from Indiana and from the United States. These files are different because I am creating the entire record from scratch. I get to do a little research on the people, write out my own descriptions, and add my own tags. It has been extremely interesting learning more about Black History. I mean there are the usual suspects like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Madame C.J. Walker, but there are also just random Indiana natives tossed into the mix as well. I’ve learned about two brother detectives who would have made a great buddy cop show, I’ve learned about women striving to make their communities better, and I’ve learned about black history in Indiana as a whole.

Moving on to my second job at IHS, digitization! At the beginning of the year I worked on the Indiana at 200 collection which involved editing and uploading various iPhone pictures taken all over the state. After I wrapped that up, I started working on adding different images to different collections. These came from orders made by patrons that the digitization department decided would be great additions to the online collection. A lot of the images were World War I postcards that featured towns, soldiers, battles, and more. There were also a bunch of World War I letters from the collection, the saddest one about a soldier who died of the flu on November 1st, 1918. He had written in October, the family hadn’t heard from him and wrote him when news broke the war was over, the letter detailed how happy they were and they couldn’t wait for him to come over. The next letter was written by a family friend a couple of weeks later after they found out he wouldn’t be coming home.

IMG_0668I finished that project and have gone back to working on good old Larry Foster. The Larry Foster collection is an extremely large collection of images taken by Larry Foster throughout his photography career. When I first started working on this project and for the digitization department, we were on his World War II photographs. But since there were a lot of folks working on uploading, the folks who do the actual digitization couldn’t keep up and we ran out of boxes, i.e. the other projects. Now that I am back to Larry, the war is over and we have entered into the 1950’s. The photos are still pretty interesting but not World War II interesting. A lot of the images are of old local Indianapolis businesses and the Indiana State Fair. There are still quite a few famous 1950’s actors and actresses like Bob Hope and Barbara Stanwyck. You never know what is going to pop up next and its always surprising.

My position here is only part-time (29 hours a week) and it isn’t permanent (2-3 years at most), unless more funding comes through. I’ve loved working here though and have learned so much in my first year working in the museum field. I continue to apply to various jobs that interest me that are full-time but nothing has bitten yet. But I won’t give up hope and I’ll just keep on chugging away at IHS!

 

Yoga, Frappuccinos, and Dog Beds

I wanted my blog to be a weekly thing, but last week I could not think of anything to write about at all! I mean I could tell you what we ate again or what we were up to but it just seemed boring to me. So I didn’t write anything. I don’t want this blog to be a forced thing that I felt obligated to do. I took last week off and inspiration struck over the weekend! Get ready for a big mash-up of topics that sort of relate but not really!

Ever since I started working at the Indiana Historical Society, I’ve been pretty serious about working out. I have always been really slender but in the last couple of years I’ve notice a good amount of weight gain where there wasn’t before (tummy and thighs, boobs too but I’m not complaining there!). I am by no means saying I’m fat but I haven’t felt like myself. While working at Children’s Resource Group, my job mostly consisted of sitting for long hours and there was always food readily available. I would eat and snack even if I wasn’t hungry. It was a real problem. So when I switched gears and got my IMG_0652current position I started walking more. I would ride with Tyler to his work, walk two blocks to get to my work, then walk on the canal during my lunch break, and then another two blocks back to car. Soon it got too hot to walk on the canal at lunch so I started walking on the treadmill at work. How cool is it my job offers an on-site gym? While I did lose a few pounds, I wanted to do more to hopefully get better muscle tone. I added ab and leg work-outs to my morning routine and I’ve noticed it gives me more energy to get my day started. I started out with short workouts and have slowly worked up to more reps. That used to be a routine Monday-Thursday with rest days Friday-Saturday. However, I started noticing it was harder to get back into my routine on Monday after not working out all weekend so I wanted to add something relaxing to the other days. I had previously tried yoga and while I enjoyed it I never really gave it a good go, so I decided to try again. I went through a couple of different routines before finding a 20 minute full body routine that I love. I set up my mat in my office, make a frappuccino, watch Food Network and yoga hard. By the end I feel great! And if you say you don’t like Corpse Pose you are lying. Not only do you get to just lay there you get to feel all of your muscles relax and let your mind go. I think all workouts should end with just laying on the ground. Working out has always seemed so daunting and was a horrible experience before but now I actually enjoy it (though I still complain while doing it).

 

 

I usually only drink coffee on the weekends, unless its this week where I have had coffee the last two day, but normally it is just a weekend thing while I do yoga (pictured above). If you know me, you know I hate/despise/am disgusted by warm drinks. I don’t know why but I just feel like warm liquids should only be food related. So when I drink coffee it has to be cold. While I love Starbucks, I can’t afford to get a Venti Caramel Frappuccino with a shot of espresso and no whip cream everyday so I found a way to make them at home and it is super easy. Tyler and I grind our own beans. Honestly it is a pain in the ass but does make a better cup of joe. If you have the chance to go to Fresh Market, try their wholesale beans. They have regular beans but they also have flavored beans like chocolate cherry or creme brulee, our favorite is Caramel Butterscotch. So after I grind the beans and use our Aero-Press (a hand pressed coffee maker, again a pain in the ass), I have an espresso shot of coffee. I add it to a blender with a half cup or so of Caramel-Vanilla creamer, about a half-tablespoon of caramel syrup, and ice. I blend that all together, pour it out into a glass with a straw, add a little decorative caramel syrup topping and I am all set!

Finally, I did a little DIY dog bed for the boys in my office that Opie seems to love and thought I would share it. We used to have an extra dog bed that was Opie’s when he was an only child but became Percy’s. Well, Percy had a pretty bad rip-apart problem when we first got him. I say rip-apart problem because it wasn’t a simple chewing problem, he needed to completely destroy his target. I lost two pairs of black dress shoes, Tyler lost several whole magazines, and our couches took a good beating. The bed was another one of Percy’s victims. To make up for the loss, I just laid down a blanket for him in his spot (can be seen in yoga picture above). IMG_0656Since putting my office space out there, Opie has been laying around my feet or on the blanket, now that I think about it that was his favorite blanket before we got Percy too. Poor guy had to give up a lot of his stuff. I’ve actually had the blanket longer than I’ve had Opie. A friend made it for me in high school and I’ve had it ever since. Anyway, it wasn’t too big of a deal for Percy to lay on the blanket because he wasn’t out there for very long but Opie and I can be out there for hours. I wanted to make sure the love of my life was as comfortable as possible so I made him a bed! I took two old bed pillows we don’t use anymore, wrapped them in a old comforter and placed the blanket on top of it. Now Opie has a soft comfortable bed to lay on while also being as close to me as possible.

So all of these things relate because I do yoga in my office, which is where the new dog bed is, and I usually drink my frappuccino while I’m doing yoga. Is that too much of a stretch or does it all work out? Oh well…..

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Bonus Picture of Opie on the bed, was not staged in the slightest, totally natural…..

Non, je ne regrette rien.

Do you ever lay down to fall asleep but your brain decides to bring up every bad past decision you ever made or dumb thing you’ve ever done? It happens to me quite a lot, but it doesn’t bother me like my brain is hoping it will. When I was in college, I was really into French films. I would watch them all the time, even keeping them on in the background while I studied. If you haven’t seen “A Very Long Engagement” you are missing out on a great movie but that wasn’t the film that stuck out to me the most. The movie I watched and rewatched was “Le Vie en Rose”. This movie is the biography of Edith Piaf’s life. Édith_Piaf_914-6439Piaf was played by Mario Cotillard and she ended up winning an Oscar for her performance.  Piaf was born into poverty in France during World War I and rose to international stardom through her amazing singing voice, acting skills, and songwriting ability. Along the way she had some stumbles including the death of her child at a young age, the death of her first husband in a plane crash, and a horrible car accident leading her to be addicted to pain killers and alcohol which was only worsened by two more car accidents. Her life was cut short due to the damage of her addiction and she died at the age of 47 in 1963. In 1959/1960 she was presented with the song, “Non, je ne regrette rien“. When she heard it for the first time she said it was fantastic and formidable. She knew it was the song she was looking for and would be one of her greatest successes. The song was about not regretting anything that has happened to you, not the good things or the bad things. Everything that has happened, happened for a reason and shaped the person she would become.

Anytime I remember something really dumb from my past, I almost always think “Non, je ne regrette rien”. I mean there are a lot of dumb, petty, shitty, awful, sad, etc. things that I have happened to me. High school was pretty awful for me. I had shitty experiences with friends but ended up graduating with a few good ones. I had boyfriend problems, that led to a brief mental health issue my sophomore year. I had illnesses a-plenty, mostly involving my stomach. I fell in and out of love a couple of times, almost always for the wrong guy which was something that continued into my college years. I even had people tell me to kill myself, including an online poll in how I should do it. But, if those things hadn’t have happened, I would not be the person I am today. I would never found a passion in history and museums, I never would have gotten Opie, or met Tyler and gotten Percy. My life would probably be so different and, honestly, a lot darker if I had let all of those mistakes wear down on me. So instead I regret nothing.

Even now, I make mistakes but instead of letting them nag me, I laugh them off. Even if they do nag me, which there have been a few, I have a great guy right next to me pushing me up so that I can laugh them off. I’ve begun focusing more on the good things I have in my life. And I always remember to not regret a single thing!

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Captain Underpants and other things…..

As I mentioned in my last post, this last weekend I took my nephew to see the new Captain Underpants movie. He loved it but I think I loved it even more! While the movie has a lot for the little ones there is a good amount of talking and jokes that kids might not get. Either way, it was pretty much like they took the book and put in on the screen, every book nerds dream ever! The potty humor, the flip-o-ramas, the nostalgia, they were all there! After that we went back to his house and played outside, and had dinner with Tyler. Kendal decided to pass out at early, too early, but Tyler and I got some Buffy watching in. We let him sleep for an hour and half, woke him up, and played for a couple more hours before it officially became bedtime. We fell asleep watching the new Pokemon series, which I kind of enjoyed. Next to getting to spend quality time with Kendal, I got to spend quality time with Paisley. Paisley is a mini-schnauzer mix and she is the cutest girl puppy ever. I saw girl puppy because well have you seen Percy? He’s beautiful. Anyway, I got to play and cuddle and sleep with that adorable little girl and I wanted to steal her so bad. The next day Tyler made lunch for his family to celebrate his sister, Kim, returning from Greece. When I say made I really mean assembled because it was a charcuterie board. We had four different types of meat, three different types of cheese, two types of olives and rounded it with homemade pickled red onions. We made it home before dinner, we each made separate things, and spent the rest of the night lounging around not doing anything. Watching a four year old boy is tiring work!

This week I have been plagued by awful headaches so there hasn’t been much going on when I get home from work. I’ve just been cuddling with the boys, by boys I mean just Opie because cuddling is beneath Prince img_0623.jpgPercy and trying to stay awake while watching Buffy. Speaking of the boys, I haven’t really given much of an update since I started writing again. I’ll start with Opie since he is my favorite! A couple of weeks ago Opie was having some serious tummy issues, I mean he would not stop pooping! It started after Tyler tried to walk him more to help him with his weight issues. Opie has gotten very chunky. Anyway Tyler has since stopped taking him on his chunky walks and the diarrhea has stopped. I think it was Opie’s form of protest. Little does he know that we are planning to start a diet for him soon since the chunky walks didn’t work out. Percy is still Percy, weird, paranoid, easily scared but he has been hanging out with us a little bit more when he isn’t laying in the closet. It’s his new thing. If you enter the bathroom and he wants in the closet he follows you in and stares until you open it. What would I do without that beautiful little weirdo!

This weekend is going to be another big food weekend at the Ewen-Murphy household! We are doing a big seafood boil, even though Tyler is allergic, baked ziti, homemade chocolate croissants, chicken salad sandwiches, and beef and broccoli. Again I will try to remember to take pictures of all the food but we know how well that turned out last time. I’m going to start mixing up post types soon. These update posts have been getting me back in the groove and I want to write more! So expect posts about my job, history, food, pets, family, short stories and of course my life!

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I Forgot

I forgot to post about our anniversary weekend and I also forgot to take a lot of pictures of the food. I’m just a forgetful person.

Our anniversary weekend started out with on Thursday night with Joella’s Hot Chicken. We both had never experienced hot chicken and have been wanting to try it since we first saw the signs go up. At first the meal was amazing! I got a quarter dark in their medium heat with green beans and Parmesan garlic fries and Tyler got a quarter light same sauce with potato salad and mac and cheese. The chicken was spicy but not too spicy with a good amount of sweet and savory. The green beans were my favorite but the meal was ruined by the fries. The first few were great but as I made my way deeper in the more saturated in oil and grease and tasted nasty. I would go back but I won’t ever get the fries again. This was the beginning of me forgetting to take pictures.

Friday began with me returning clothes to the mall and a delicious sushi lunch at One World Market. Its a cafe inside an Asian grocery store and has some of the best food. It’s also a good stop if you need any strange Asian ingredients you can’t find somewhere else. Then we began our shopping to get everything we needed for our food extravaganza. We went to Costco, Aldi, Fresh Market and Kroger before heading back home. We spent the rest of the day watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. For dinner, we bought a rotisserie chicken from Costco, which I highly recommend, and had stuffing and fries on the side. Again I forgot to take a picture of both of these meals.

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Saturday was more relaxed because we didn’t have anything to do. It was lovely! We both played Overwatch, we watched Buffy, and just enjoyed each others company. For lunch we had BLTs, which I did remember to take a picture of, and made from scratch coleslaw. I hadn’t had a BLT is forever and it was so good. For dinner I made Beef Stroganoff. I use Paula Deen’s recipe and it comes out perfect every time. But you will never see what mine looked like because, you guessed it, I forgot to take a picture.

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Sunday was the actual day of our anniversary. I woke up with Japandroids stuck in my head, which was weird because I hadn’t actually listened to any of their music beforehand. Again we had a simple relaxed day of Buffy watching, Overwatch, and food. We did re-watch Everybody Wants Some. It’s by the same director as Dazed and Confused and its really good. For food we started out with a new recipe, Croque Monsieurs, pictured left. It was Tyler’s first time making them but they were amazing. For dinner, I did an ol’stand out favorite, Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourginon. I did take a picture of it but that was on Snapchat and now it is gone.

Monday was Memorial Day so I didn’t have to work and got to spend another full day with the love of my life, Opie. Tyler and Percy were there too.

Again, same old stuff (Buffy, Overwatch, etc) but we also watch8C4AFF72-DF4F-4B02-B200-EEAD3B52C6FFed Children of Men. This was one of the first movies we watched together on his little twin bed all those years ago. So we watched it again began it has meaning to our relationship but also because it is a really good movie. Tyler made Chilaquiles for breakfast/lunch which I took a picture of! It doesn’t look that great but it tasted good! For dinner Tyler made a Tomatillo Stew with Chicken Thighs. You eat it with rice and tortillas, it is probably one of my favorite foods that Tyler makes but, yet again, I forgot to get a picture.

I  know it doesn’t seem like the weekend was all that action-packed but that is how I like things. I like to be at home with my dogs and Tyler doing nothing. It is my dream life! This weekend will be a change of pace. Since I didn’t work Monday I had to make up hours and work today/Friday. It is only a half day but it kills the three-day weekend joy I usually have. A three-day weekend would have also been nice so I could build up more energy for tomorrow. What’s happening tomorrow? Tyler, the boys and I are heading up to Rensselaer to watch my nephew Kendal. Kendal is a burst of energy and also a small child. Two things I am not used to. I love getting to spend time with him so the tiredness that will come afterwards is worth it. I also get to hang out with his puppy, Paisley who is the cutest most sweetest little girl ever. The reason we are going up there instead of him coming to stay with us is because he has special tickets to see a showing of Captain Underpants at the local theater. I am a huge Captain Underpants fan! At one point, when I was younger, I had all the books. It is going to be so cool to get to see it on the big screen! We are also going to get some food from some local restaurants we love and hopefully get to see Tyler’s family while we are there.

Stay tuned for more exciting posts from yours truly!

4 Years Ago….

I haven’t been on here in a while, a real long while. When I first started writing on my blog, I loved it. I had a bunch of posts planned and some are even typed out just waiting to be posted but they never saw the light of day. I got bogged down by it. I lost the initial love for it that I started out with. I mean who wants to hear about the life of a 26 year-old living in Indiana? My life doesn’t seem that interesting anyway. But I recently realized who fucking cares if other people don’t want to read what I write, I just want to write! So I am going to get back into the swing of things and I realized what a better way to get started then to talk about a very important upcoming event!

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This weekend, Sunday to be exact, marks 4 years that Tyler and I have been together. On May 28th, 2013 we had our very first date and it marked the beginning of a bunch of firsts for me. It was the first time, in a long time, I agreed to go out on a date with a boy. It was the first time I went out in Broad Ripple, a hip neighborhood in Indy, and set foot in a club. It was the first time I had gone out to see a band I had never heard of before. It was the first time I had actual fun with another human being in a long time. Finally, it was the first time I could actually see myself in a relationship.

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We went to The Vogue to see Japandriods in concert. I was introduced to them maybe a week or so before we actually went and actually really like their music. They are a two-man band that play somewhat punky rock and roll. We met at my place, had a drink and went to the concert. It was crowded which made me nervous cause, you know, anxiety and I remember grabbing Tyler’s wrist so I didn’t lose him. It was a small gesture but still really cute. After the concert we got Taco Bell and went back to my place to my place to eat. We talked and watched tv, it was perfect. I loved how simple and sweet our relationship started out.

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It’s really crazy to think how we grew up in the same town and went to the same school but never talked before. I literally only have one memory of actually physically seeing him and that was my senior year after a play I was in with his then girlfriend. I remember thinking it was really cute how supportive he was of her but that was it. But even then I didn’t even remember what he looked like so I had to look him up on Facebook and his picture was a skinny kid with longer hair. That was the kid I was expecting to show up at my door but instead I got a somewhat buff, buzz cut kid and I liked that look way better. I fell in love with him extremely fast, and even had a couple embarrassing early I Love You moments that he still makes fun of me for.

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This weekend also happens to be Memorial Day weekend so we get to spend four whole days together. We usually go out to eat somewhere special but this year I wanted to stay in. Tyler asked if I wanted to do anything and I told him I wanted to move our mattress to the living room so we can watch movies (maybe build a fort….). He meant like go out and do something but nah. We have a full weekend of delicious food and drinks planned and I can’t wait. We are kicking things off tonight by trying a new restaurant, one of only two places we are going out to eat at. The rest we are making ourselves!

I’ll try to make a lengthy food post after the weekend if I can remember to take pictures. I’ll have to write myself a note on our whiteboard. Then I’ll start posting more regularly about what’s going on with us and the dogs. Stay tuned!

My Love for History

It’s been awhile since I have posted a new blog and today seems like a perfect day to get back on the wagon.  Last week, on Valentines Day none-the-less, I received the unfortunate news that I had not been accepted into Indiana University’s Graduate Program. It really put a damper on my mood but didn’t ruin our Valentine’s Day festivities. Part of me was really hurt that I didn’t get in but there was a small part of me that was relieved that I didn’t get in. As much as I really want my Ph.D. the idea of going back to school and being even more in debt seemed daunting.  So what if I don’t have a doctorate degree? I have a great boyfriend, two adorable dogs, a master’s degree from one of the top universities in the U.S. and am on a great career path. I still haven’t lost my fire for history and instead am looking into different ways I can still keep that fire burning. I thought I would take down the time to write about how I came to love history.

There has always been a part of me that really enjoyed history when I was younger. It was by far my favorite subject along with Science and English. I would actually read ahead in history textbooks for fun, like a big nerd. I loved documentaries and any movie that had any type of historical significance even if it wasn’t true. I would take the time to research the actual events afterward, which was kind of hard since the internet didn’t really take off until I was older. I always looked forward to history class, no matter how boring the teacher was or the subject matter I was all ears.

When high school rolled around, I was lucky enough to be entered into AP English and History courses. Originally, I found myself in regular old English class but Mr. Kellow, our freshmen English teacher, pushed me to work into getting into AP classes. The next three years, I was introduced to a more college-level way of teaching both subjects and by my senior year I was enrolled in a 300 level English course at the local college. It was around this same time that high-schoolers are pushed to figure out their plans beyond high school. Where do you want to go to college? What do you want to study? What is going to be your future career?

To put it simply, I had no fucking clue.

If I had known back then that you didn’t have to everything figured out straight out of high school, I probably would have went down a different path. I knew that I loved history and wanted to study it more but anyone who studies history inevitably is asked “And what do you plan to do with that degree?”. Adults made it sound like a degree in history was useless, so I of course had no idea of the possibilities out there.

When I graduated high school, I was 100% set on being a lawyer. Could you imagine little old me standing in a court room, arguing that some guy didn’t murder his wife even though it was very obvious that he did? I can barely introduce myself to new people, how was a I going to talk to a whole jury of strangers? Luckily I never had to figure that out. On my first day of college, as I sat in my first classroom, a bitch of a lady (whose name I don’t remember) squashed my dreams. At IUPUI, incoming freshmen are grouped together into three classes that they would all be a part of. It was to help with the transition and to make friends. While I am still friends with several of the girls from that group on Facebook, I don’t even think I saw them again after our group classes ended. But that’s not the point! Each group had career/college adviser attached to them. These people were supposed to help you figure out what you wanted to accomplish at IUPUI and set you on that path. Well, as I mentioned, our lady was a bitch. As we went around and introduced ourselves, she made snide  comments about our intended paths. When it came to myself, I expressed quite firmly that I was pre-law. The bitch laughed and said there is no such thing as pre-law and said most freshmen think that but most never make it. This bitch, who is supposed to help us and encourage us did help me that day, she encouraged me right out of pre-law.

A semester into college and all my future plans crumbled. It wasn’t until I took my first history course that I realized where I belonged. I dove into the history department head on. I met with Dr. Morgan and set up all of my plans to graduate with a degree in European History. By my junior year, I added a minor in Classical Studies and found my history niche in Ancient History. As I worked towards graduation, I lost count how many times family members snidely asked what I planned on doing with my degree. “What can you possibly do with a degree in History?” “Are you sure that is what you want to study?” “What kind of money does someone make in that field?”

Simple answer, fuck off. I hated justifying myself to everyone who asked. Don’t worry about my future cause I (somewhat) had a plan. I knew that to get any where with my degree I would need to go to graduate school. While I loved studying history, I also loved studying historical objects. Enter Museum Studies! Did you know there is a place where you can work with history on a daily basis that involves the chance to touch a piece of history? Well neither did I until I started applying to grad programs.

I applied to a variety of history and museum studies. I was accepted into one of each. I could either move to Massachusetts and get my MA/PhD in History or I could stay in Indianapolis and work online with Johns Hopkins University for an MA in Museum Studies. Now around this time, I met a boy named Tyler. Tyler doesn’t know it but he did play a part in my decision, though a minor one. The biggest factor was just the greatness of one school over the other. So after a long lost of pros and cons, including a budding romance, I chose to stay local and get a MA in Museum Studies.

I have yet to regret the decision that I made. While I would love to continue my study of history, and will eventually, I would have never learned about the wondrous world of museums. I would have never found my current position at the Indiana Historical Society and I wouldn’t be on the path that I am now. I would have never entered into my whirlwind romance with Tyler and I would have never gotten Percy. I am going to continue my love of history in a couple of different projects and will hopefully find a museum position in that future as a curator. Overall, I am pretty happy with the way my academic life has turned out so far and, in the future, will continue expanding on that life.

 

Final This Time Last Year

After a relaxing weekend in Barcelona, it was time to jump back into seminar. Day 8 started out at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies (Antoni Tàpies Foundation) which happened to be one street over from my apartment. This visit was a little different since the foundation was closed to the public while they finished a large renovation project. We did a short visit and were supposed to head back to the MNAC to hear Phyllis Hecht, the director of the JHU Museum Studies program, give a lecture, and to test an app for the museum in the afternoon. It was great to get to meet and spend time with Phyllis in person rather than through e-mail or on the message boards in class. I might be wrong here, but I don’t think testing the app ever happened because the app was only available on an iPhone and not everyone had one, or something like that. I think that the afternoon ended up being a make-up of a lecture we had missed earlier from the week before or it was spent researching. Hey, I can’t possibly remember every detail!

Day 9 began at La Pedrera/Casa Milà, a building designed by Gaudi. Again this was one of the stops I remember from my first visit to Spain all those years ago. From the interesting designs through out the building and stone structures on the roof, Gaudi thought of everything. Our next stop was the Museu del Disseny (Design Museum of Barcelona). It was one of my favorite stops mostly because of the fashion exhibit. We had our lecture before we went on a tour of the museum. My cold decided to rear it’s head and I ended up having a coughing attack during the lecture which again killed my anxiety, being loud and having everyone look at you in the room and out in the hallway sucked. This museum is also interesting because they are still working on moving the collection to its new home. Back to the fashion exhibit! It highlighted how different areas of the body were shown off in different eras and how those same areas are shown off in fashion today. I have always loved the history of fashion. It’s definitely one of my top three areas of history after Ancient History and Native American History. In the afternoon on this day, we again had time to work on our projects.

Oh day 10, day 10 was my most favorite day! I have loved Ancient History for as long as I can remember and day 10 just set my heart a flutter. We all met at the museum to take a two hour drive to Figueres where we would visit both the archaeological site of Empúries and the Dalí Theatre and Museum. We started out in Empúries which is along the coast which means we got to go to the beach. Is there anything better than ancient ruins and the beach? Empúries is both a Greek site and a Roman site. The Greek site was there first and has been excavated more completely than the Roman site. They were port cities and were pivotal in playing a role in both the Greek and Roman history in Spain. After Empúries, we had lunch in Figueres and then walked over to the Dalí Theatre and Museum. Okay, I am going to get this out of the way, I am not a huge fan of modern/weird art. That being said, I love Dalí. His work is just the perfect kind weird enough that it clicks in my brain without creeping me out too much or just turning me off to the subject entirely.

Day 11 continued on to be second favorite day and it was also the last day of our visits to other institutions. We met at the MUHBA, Museum of History of Barcelona. We did a lecture like usual and then we toured the ruins of Barcino, the Roman city that would become Barcelona. The ruins are located underneath the museum and we worked our way up through the exhibits. We were then given the option to visit a small museum dedicated to telling the history of the Jewish population or not. I decided not to miss out on getting to see this extra place, especially since it was opened just for us. This museum was also more hands-on than the others and allowed visitors to interact more with the subject via touch-screens, projects, etc. The afternoon was spent finishing up our projects. Day 11 was also when a huge curve ball was thrown into my travel plans thanks to a large winter storm hitting the east coast.

Day 12, I had been up pretty early rearranging my travel plans. I was originally supposed to fly from Barcelona to Newark then Newark to Indianapolis. It was simple. I wanted it to be that simple, but life and the weather had other plans. I had to talk to three different people to get my flight rearranged because the only other option was to transfer to another airline and the first person said it wasn’t possible, the second  person wanted to help and transferred me to the third who got it all sorted. In order to get home, I ended up having to leave early on day 12. I gave my presentation and listened to all of the other Wikipedia presentations before departing from the MNAC and the amazing people I had met there. It was bittersweet to leave because I really did want to stay longer but I had to get home to Tyler, Opie and Percy.

The new flight plan sent me from Barcelona to Frankfurt, Germany to Chicago to Indianapolis. Sounds simple but because of the connecting flight times I had to spend the night in Frankfurt airport. Which also seemed simple, take a nap, read a book, get on my flight and go home. Well it wasn’t, because apparently things just can’t be simple! First they close the terminals so you can’t sleep in the nice comfortable chairs there. You had to go down to different level. It was cold, they were doing construction and I should have just gotten a room. Luckily it wasn’t too creepy as there were a good amount of travelers just like me doing the exact same thing. The good thing about this was that I was one of the first to go through security and one of the first to get on the plane in my section. I had a window seat and the most leg room so as soon as my ass hit that seat I passed out. It was nice to finally get some sleep, I go two hours at best in the airport, and by the time I woke up we were in the air. But thanks to falling asleep, I didn’t realize that we had sat on the runway for an hour or two as they de-iced the plane. When I landed in Chicago I had maybe 30 minutes to get from one flight to the other so I could finally get home. 30 minutes sounds like plenty of time but it wasn’t. When you take an international flight coming into the US that connects to another US flight you have to claim your checked baggage, go through customs, re-check the bag, and get to your new terminal. They handed out express passes so those of us scrambling. I asked the guy who took my bags where I needed to go and he told be exactly where and that I should make it in time. I needed to get to terminal 3, which was several stops away by tram. I ran off the tram through security and arrived at my gate with seconds to spare. Unfortunately it wasn’t my gate…… He gave me directions to a gate that did have a flight leaving to Indianapolis but not for several hours. I was sweating, exhausted mentally and physically, and I didn’t have any shoes on them. I stopped to make some phone calls, put all of my carry-on bags down and re-group. When I got back up, I was still in tears but determined to get home. I decided my best option was to just rent a car and drive instead of waiting another 4 hours. I would get home before the other flight was even ready to take off. It turns out my checked luggage also didn’t make it on my missed flight and would be sent on the next one.

I drove my ass all the way home after traveling for at least 24 hours and was so glad I did. Opie was excited to see me, Tyler was excited to see me and Percy, well he peed himself which either means he was scared because he didn’t remember who I was (this happens sometime or he was just really really excited to see me. I was able to go the airport later that same night and get my bag and drop off the rental car. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized by laptop was missing. It turns out I had pulled it out and left it sitting on the chairs where I had stopped to have my mental breakdown in the O’Hare Airport. Luckily it was easy to claim and mailed directly to me.

Well, that’s it! That is my entire trip to Barcelona! Of course, I left out some details about what did on some days but not everything would seem as exciting to someone reading this blog compared to how exciting it was to me living it.

This Time Last Year Part 2!

As you already know from my first post, I spent two amazing weeks in Barcelona last year. I ate the best food, met the greatest people, and toured some of the most amazing museums and cultural sites.

I guess I should mention that when we first arrived, Conxa, our host/lecturer/leader was ill and of course since my immune system sucks I got sick quickly after. It was just a head cold but a head cold combined with being in a foreign county, trying to get to places you have never been before (well I had been to some of them back when we went to Spain in high school) with people you don’t know kind of made things worse. I would wake up early in the morning just to sit in the steam in the bathroom to help loosen up my head enough to get ready for the day.

So I left off explain our first day so I guess I should start this post with our second day. We spent the entire day at the MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia). The morning was spent in lecture, then we got a break to have lunch and explore the museum, and the day ended in lecture. These lectures were designed to explain our final projects which were centered around content and digital strategy i.e. how to best set your institution up in the online world with the right content. While this day was a little heavy on the lecturing it was still fun to visit the galleries in the museum and to get to know my fellow classmates.

Day 3 was our first visit to an institution outside the MNAC though located on the same hill, the Fundació Joan Miró (Joan Miro Fundation). A lot of different artists have their own foundations/museums to show off their work and the work of similar artist. Each of these visits began with a visit with someone from the institution. They would talk to us about how their institution worked, the struggles and highlights, and other museum things that the average person would find boring. We were allowed to ask questions but thanks to my stupid social anxiety and reserved self, I rarely did which hurt my participation overall. Can I just say right here that I find participation points stupid? Because I do. Just because I don’t ask questions or interrupt someone or speak at all doesn’t mean I’m not listening and absorbing all of the information. Anyway, after our visit we were allowed to tour the Miro Foundation aided by an audio guide. I love audio guides, they don’t force you to ask questions. After that the afternoon was ours to research for our projects. I think this was the first night I hung out with the other people from our group though I may be wrong. We walked to the El Quatre Gats (The Four Cats) just to take pictures outside, saw Casa Batllo and Casa Mila, went shopping, and had The Good Burger for dinner. The Four Cats is a cafe that was a popular meeting place for artists throughout the modern art period.

Maybe know would be a good time to talk about our projects for this course. There were two options like I mentioned before, one was a group project (another academic thing I hate) centered around content strategy and the other was to contribute to a Wikipedia project that was ongoing. I went for the Wikipedia project which came with a list of articles already created by the institution of works and artists they wanted to highlight. Some of these articles were done by previous seminar attendees, some just had little blurbs copied and pasted from the museum’s websites and others had nothing at all. I started out choosing one that had nothing at all but ended up falling in love with one that only had a website blurb, Terraced Village by Joaquim Mir. He was an impressionist painter who loved color. I ended up redoing the entire page and only using one or two sentences from what was originally there and I think it turned out great. You can view it here, not many changes have been made since the article went live.

Day 4, we were scheduled to see the Museu Picasso (Picasso Museum) and the MACBA, Museum of Contemporary Art. This was the day I got lost trying to get the Picasso Museum. My cab driver dropped my off two blocks away and pointed in the general direction of the museum and left. I had been to the museum before but it was a long time ago and of course I didn’t remember where it was. The lecture started without me but I had to walk in late which killed my anxiety. After the lecture/visit portion, we toured the museum which had to be a rushed visit since we were due at the MACBA pretty quickly after that. We walked over to the MACBA and got to see some really neat local culture along the way. When we got to the MACBA we had another visit/lecture and were given a behind the scenes tour of the institutions storage.The day ended back at the MNAC for another lecture.

Day 5 was a throw back moment for me. We spent the entire morning at La Sagrada Familia, a giant church designed by Gaudi that has been under construction since 1882. We visited here when I first came to Spain all those years ago in high school and I remembered it more than any other part of the trip, how can you forget that beautiful stained glass. A lot of work had been done since my last visit and the plan is that construction will be completely finished by 2026. That afternoon everyone went their own way. I went off with my new friend Kim (Hi Kim!) to have one of the best burgers I have ever had in my life then the longest walk I’ve ever had in my life to get back to the MNAC to research my project.

The next two days were Saturday and Sunday, which we were given as free days. Since I was sick, I spent most of Saturday on the couch and only ventured out to get groceries. Sunday, I forced myself to get up, take some cold medicine and see Barcelona. I walked to the Arc de Triomf (not to be confused with the Arc de Triomphe in Paris) and all through the Parc de la Ciutadella. I saw the Cascada Monumental, the Parliament of Catalonia, the Mamut statue, and took a walk through the winding streets of Gothic Quarter. I ended up on La Rambla and had lunch by myself at a small Tapas place. It was kind of exhilarating walking through the streets of a city I didn’t know and see the amazing things I wouldn’t have gotten to see otherwise.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about my second week in Spain and the absolute horrible time I had just trying to get home!