Scaring My Pants Off

I’m sensitive.

This is a fact. This has affected my life in many ways however the only one that causes a minor problem with my wonderful hubs is that we don’t go to the movies. He loves the whole movie going experience and used to go fairly regularly but I can’t do it. The first reason is that movies are seriously no less than 2.5 hours and I don’t think I can sit that long with focused attention. Also, what if I have to go to the bathroom? I don’t want to miss anything and have to maneuver past people numerous times with my goings and comings while they are trying to enjoy the movie. It’s just too long. However, the second reason I can’t do it regularly is this pesky crying because I’m overly sensitive issue that I have.

My most recent trip to the cinema with my movie loving husband was to go see Non-Stop.  Easy day, right? Action. Suspense. Liam Neeson. It was supposed to be 106 minutes of thrills! I was so confident in this that I even wore eye makeup.

No spoilers here but it definitely was all the action that one could hope for but the last 10 minutes I was bawling. Ugh. So. Embarrassing. When the lights came on I turned my head to see my husband staring at me incredulously.

I remember when I was very young, my grandma was visiting and the post theater was playing Snow White. So we all went. I remember that my grandma cried at the end of Snow White and my mom razzed her quite a bit. I remember thinking it was strange that she was crying. It is only Snow White…I have turned into my grandma. I’m okay with this because she’s pretty cool.

When I’m home alone, I actually do like to watch movies but I lean toward the horror genre (as previously mentioned). Horror movies don’t make me cry and not crying is pretty awesome to me.  The problem with watching movies though is I actually have to pay attention to the screen. Especially if it’s a movie that is in a language that I don’t speak, of which there are many because I only speak two languages. In my circumstances, I spend quite a bit of time counting stitches, making cables, and all manner of fiber art. Better that I have something to listen to rather than miss the movie. Or constantly have to backtrack which will make a 90 minute movie so much longer.

GargoyleI recently discovered there is a solution for people like me. The horror podcast! I wish I’d discovered this sooner. I’ve only just started listening to these podcast but they have been perfect solution to be entertained in a short doses- I realize an audiobook would serve as well but I have a problem with that kind of commitment at this time. I have yet to find an episode to make me cry but when the sun goes down, I make my dog go with me when I have to go into different rooms in the house because these stories give me the willies.

  • No Sleep Podcast-very well produced. There are many narrators, sound effects, and music.
  • Knifepoint Horror- this is a single person telling a story. It gives me chills.

These are the only two I have checked out and really enjoy. Are there any podcasts or other media that would be suitable for someone with busy hands? What do you listen to for diversion?


Pick a Winner

I didn’t grow up in a household that constantly had a blaring (insert sport here) game on at any given moment. We never discussed the merits of which sports team over another, we did not keep up on who would be the most popular draft pick, we didn’t even bother with knowing which season it was frankly. It wasn’t until I attended graduate school that I realized that schools in fact really do have football teams. Who knew?

Then I met my husband. And then I met his family.  I realized that people actually like this stuff. They LIKE yelling at the tv. They love the feeling of camaraderie when they run into someone who also very much prefers their favorite sports team, especially if they are a stranger in a strange town. Especially if they are actually at the game.

This has been a enormous change for me. Even still, my attention span is negligible but I have at least tried to learn what’s going on in the field/court/whatever. One of my least favorite sports is basketball. I wish I could say it was for something profound, but it’s not. I can’t stand the shoes squeaking on the court. If I’m forced to watch it, it has to be on mute. Also, I have found that with basketball or hockey I cannot focus on a single other thing except the game. This annoys me. What if I have to count stitches? I don’t want to miss anything. Football is my much preferred sport. It gives me time to do my thing.



Now it’s March Madness and, as is family tradition, I must join the family pool. My husband asks me sweetly to fill out a bracket multiple times a day until it’s done. I’m not willing to say no, but it seems like such a chore. Additionally, I was very willy nilly about my very first bracket and actually won the pool. Now I have a reputation to uphold.

Here is the criteria I use for picking winners so that I can dominate in the family pool in order of importance:

1. Did I go to that school? Automatic winners. Always.

2. Is the team a rival of a school I went to? If so, they are out. No questions.

3. Did my school ever lose to that school during football season, particularly in a bowl game? If yes, they’re gone.

4. Have I ever lived in that state? Yes? In.

5. What do I know about the team? Is there a cocky star player? They’re out. Did they do some fabulous work of charity? They’re in. This could be anything. The trick is that I actually have to know about it. Chances are I don’t.

6. Did I think about attending that school? If I did, there must be some redeeming quality about it. It may not be the basketball team, but surely there is something. They’re in.

7. Do I like the coach? I may not know anything about the coach, but do I like the coach’s style? Does he look angry? Does he have a nice face? My gut feelings about a coach can sway me in either choosing a team or discounting them.

8. Do I like the uniforms? What about school colors? I’m not one for fashion, but I can’t tolerate garishness. Understated fashion=humble talent, if you ask me.

9. Finally, chances are I have no idea about many of these criteria…so I always go underdog. I love a good underdog story. This criteria alone has made me look like a mad genius on numerous occasions. It’s fantastic!

So for 2014…I’m predicting Wichita State…does that sound wierd? I got nothin’ against Wichita…

Friday Night Rituals

I love Friday night. I think it’s obvious to most people why I would love any Friday, but over time I have developed a ritual that fits my energy level and complete decompression from my weeks.

I’m a shift worker. I live my life on a different schedule than the rest of this entire state. I discovered on my trip to Ireland that I live my life in the U.S. on Irish time. It made it very easy to become accustomed to my vacation immediately, while my hubs struggled with jet lag.

By Friday, there is no helping me though. I’m run down, sleep deprived, and more likely than not looking for some delicious sugary treat to dip into my light kahvi because I’m jonesin’ for the rush. The thought of sleep is detestable because I don’t want to waste a perfectly good weekend. I will stay up with my dry, sandpaper eyelids, and enjoy every lethargic moment of the start of my weekend. So what does one do when they are too exhausted for words? I will share that right now.

  • Drink coffee. The more the better. Make sure it’s so much that you get a slight belly ache. The buzz will keep those eyes open regardless of the energy behind them. Stare off into space, it’s okay. Trust me, I do this every week.
  • Watch a movie. Not one where you have to think or follow closely to ensure that you don’t miss anything meaningful. I actually prefer French horror flicks with a female protagonist. At least that’s what Netflix told me that I like.  Try High Tension,  The Horde, or Devil (which is still a goodie even though it doesn’t fit my strict French-female-horror guideline). The great thing about these movies? They will probably give you just enough willies to stay awake without they nightmares of truly terrifying movies. It’s a win-win!
  • Knit something. Preferably something without a lot of detail. A garter stitch blank perhaps. That’s preferable in the winter time because at least your lap will be warm. But don’t make the rookie mistake of knitting with metal needles. They are slick and your yarn will slip off and you will waste all your precious energy trying to get your knitting back on the right track. Besides, metal needles get cold. No good. I like to save socks with long stretches of knit stitches for Fridays. This takes some planning. Gussets and heels during the week. I can’t be expected to pick up stitches whilst barely coherent.
  • Finally, take out or something super easy. Fridays are hungry days for me. My body wants energy. Food is the default. Beyond that, my coffee filled tummy will probably demand food for a reprieve from coffee. I like easy stuff on Fridays: take out, eggs and leftovers, cookies. Whatever. This may take some more planning (I never said this would be easy), but nourishment is one of those necessary type things.

One of these days I won’t be exhausted on a Friday. Maybe I will go out dancing? I don’t even remember what that’s like. Until then, I’m pretty happy with this set up. It’s worked for me for 3 years.

What are your Friday night rituals? Is there anything you recommend I do differently?

5 Ways to Nurture Your Inner Finn

I’m a little obsessed with Finland right now (see previous post). I do some research from time to time on the country and find its bits and pieces fascinating. As I move through the content, I have collected some information about Finland that I’m embracing.

1. Kahvia, Kiitos (Coffee, please)

According to, the average American drink about 3 cups of coffee a day or 4.1kg a year. Really?! That’s it? I can slam that before I even get to work. Then there are the coffees I drink while reviewing my paperwork, investigating incidents, interviewing candidates and on and on.  At the beginning of the year, I was feeling a little bad about that one. Is it too much? Should I rein it in as a New Year’s Resolution?  At the rate I’ve been  going, am I nearing the point that I will never sleep again? But I love it. Everything about it. It’s soothing. I don’t stress quite as much when I catch the first whiff of a hot cup. Then I discovered it’s not just me! So exciting.

I found a paper, “Coffee as a Finnish Institution,” by Taija Ojaniemi, that outlines the Finnish history and customs around coffee. Turns out Finns drink 4 to 5 cups of coffee a day or a total of 12.1 kg per year. I feel normal. A few things worthing noting:

  • Finns enjoy the light roast coffee whereas American like the medium
  • Finland is the only country in the world that requires coffee break at work
  • Pastries are a feature of the coffee drinking culture but the practice has declined since the 70s

I’m totally adopting the final two bullet points.

2. Listen to New Music

Apparently Finland is known for its metal/hard rock music (ever heard of HIM?) It’s just a bit too hard for me. I tried. I really did. I’m guessing I just haven’t found THE song. It’s out there, maybe I’ll meet it someday.

I found Death Hawks. Sounds like a hard, vintage jam band. I really like the one posted below. I terrible at describing music because I rely so heavily on the feeling it invokes. I know that this pretty much rocks. I intend to give them another go.

French Films is definitely more my speed. It’s a little indie, little rock. little upbeat. Definitely a mood enhancer.

3. Take A Stroll in the Forest

The forest is essentially the spirit of the Finnish. 65% of the country of Finland’s total land area is covered in forest (check this article out). As much as I’d like to tell myself this is a pretty obvious way to calm one’s soul, I don’t do it nearly enough. Getting out in and connecting with nature is calming and rejuvenating at the same time. Some argue that connecting with nature is part of what makes us human. Check out your local parks. Find the nearest state park. Take some time to relax and enjoy life. You don’t have to wait until the perfect time. It’s right now.

4. Make Something

Arts and crafts play a large role in Finnish culture. Learning textiles is part of a Finnish education e.g. sewing, crochet, and knitting, in addition to being handed down through families.  Knitting is my art of choice. There is satisfaction in simply creating which is magnified when I see my loved one wearing and staying warm because of something I’ve made for them. Additionally, knitting, along with many other creative activities increase one’s sense of mental and physical well-being. Here is a really interesting article about Urban Knitting (yarn bombing) to take your knitting a step further.

If homemade is not for you, remember that Finland is a world leader in design. The Finnish Society of Crafts and Design was founded in 1875 which has since evolved to become the University of Art and Design Helsinki. This university was designated as one of the best universities for design in the world in 2007 by Business Week.  While right now it may not be possible right now to visit (at least for me), poke around the Design District Helsinki. Established in 2005, the Design District is 25 blocks of boutiques, galleries, and restaurants and more. Find some inspiration at Finnish and Finnish Design Shop.

 5. Be Yourself

I really love to see the street style articles. I love to see how real people live and dress and their commentary and why they do what they do. The outfits are so amazing. I realize as I’m looking through the comments that the confidence and security with who one is really inspires me to be true to who I am, even beyond my clothes,  and not to worry about what anyone else thinks.  I don’t believe this to be a purely Finnish trait, but it’s a nice reminder.

For more ideas on ways to nurture your inner Finn, check out this post.

Wanderlust: Finland

During my Christmas vacation, I promised myself I would watch more movies. It seemed an appropriate initiative given the number of subzero days we endured. I watched plenty of “visually striking foreign movies” (per Netflix) when I stumbled across a movie that I pretty much became obsessed with: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale.  Briefly- the movie is about Finnish reindeer herders who find the secret behind Santa Claus. It has apparently become a cult classic. Whatever the case, I can’t get enough. Between this movie and Troll Hunter- which is about a group of Norwegian students who document a troll hunter, I constantly think about Finland and the Nordic countries in general. I have even been stalking the temperatures in Reykjavik and Helsinki all winter trying to make the case to my hubs that there is no reason we should live in a place as frozen as the midwest- Northern Europe is considerably warmer than this place, plus it has style. What’s better than that?!

Until my hubs can be convinced that a trans-atlantic move is a great idea, my focus is on learning what I can about Finland and I’m getting lost in the This is Finland Website. They have webcams of sites in Finland. As I’m typing this there is nothing happening on said webcams but the fact they exist astounds me. They are 8 hours ahead of me so no one has woken up just yet. There are articles about Society, Education, Art, and the latest headlines. I appreciate all of it because it gives a full picture of what Finland is really about.  Did I mention the recipes?!

Another aspect that gives so much insight into culture is the language. Just looking at written Finnish is overwhelming. It strikes a fear in me that no German text ever has. I’m excited at all the resources I’ve found just poking around the This is Finland website. Hei Finland is an animated website and app that put the imposing conglomerate of letters into manageable chunks to memorize. Spoken, Finnish is melodic. Unfortunately my mouth doesn’t move that way. As a Spanish speaker, I appreciate the rolled r’s though. This site looks like it would be good for the traveler.

I’m naive optimistic enough to think that if I study them maybe I can pick up on a word or two the 22nd time I watch Rare Exports. Or any other Finnish Movie that I seek out…I mean, that may cross my path. In fact I found a list here (“Your Top 10 Finnish Films…”) Rare Exports made the cut. It’s not just me. But now I’m excited because what if I find more of my most favorite movies. Some of them sound promising. Lapland Odyssey? That just sounds fun. Punk Syndrome? I’m all in.

Realistically speaking, I may not get to Finland (or Iceland for that matter) any time soon, but I enjoy learning about all the wonderful cultures that make this world so interesting. I haven’t even delved into all this material to the degree it deserves to be. It’s so easy for me to get distracted by any little piece. It is a merely a starting point.

Summer 2013 Workout Playlist.


I am always looking for new tunes when I workout. This one looks like a goodie!!

Originally posted on haute + healthy:

Nothing makes me happier than getting lost discovering new music. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by how much great music exists out there that I have yet to hear. Pure. Anxiety. Attack. Here are the latest tracks I have been listening to during my workouts, let me know any that I am missing. Check out Spotify to listen to and follow the Haute + Healthy Summer 2013 Workout Playlist.

workout music - haute + healthy

{If you don’t have Spotify, an image of the playlist is below}

Haute + Healthy Summer 2013 Workout Playlist - haute + healthy

xoxo, Beth

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