Category Archives: Tallahassee

Christmas 2011

None of my Christmas plans actually happened.

On December 21st, I woke up at 4:30 am with excruciating lower flank pain which I immediately knew from past experience was a kidney stone. Several hours later, lying on a rather uncomfortable cot in the hospital emergency room, a doctor confirmed that I had not one, but two stones in my right kidney.

Due to the likelihood of pain and the necessity of prescription pain medication in the following days, I was advised not to travel. So, my parents and brother came to see me in Tallahassee rather than me driving to West Palm Beach to see them.

I appreciate that my family came to visit, but Christmas in Tallahassee is just not Christmas to me. It was really depressing. I normally love Christmas and never thought I would say this, but this year I’m glad that it is over. I’m ready to focus on the new year ahead.

On a happier note, I received more gifts this year than the past several years. I truly wasn’t expecting much because most of my family has taken a big hit from the recession, so I was very surprised to receive a new 24″ flat-screen LCD TV from my brother. Most people would probably think 24″ is small, but when you have been staring at a 15 year old box TV that makes people orange it’s a major upgrade.

– An American Twenty-Something

The dessert spread at my work holiday gathering.


Authentic old traincar at the Tallahassee Museum.

My favorite ornament.

Not sure why this came out blurry, but it's my $7 Christmas tree.



Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November

November has always been one of my favorite months, and this year it has also become one of my busiest. All of my “free” time has been consumed by school projects. I sincerely envy those students who can financially afford not to work while they are in school. It would be so nice just to focus on studying. This past week alone I wrote a policy critique for Tuesday, conducted and transcribed an in-person interview on Thursday, and met with the Public Administration PhD Program Director on Friday. And of course, all of these things have to be researched and prepared for preceding the actual task.  Before the end of the semester I have three more exams (two of which are essay-based), two 20+ page research papers due (one of which is a group project), and a group presentation. Somewhere in there I’m also supposed to submit my PhD application and work 40 hours per week as well. You notice I didn’t include sleeping or having a social life in my laundry list.

Speaking of laundry, since today was Saturday I decided to run a few wash loads and start purging my closet. This purge was nowhere near as exciting as Carrie’s in Sex and the City: The Movie where she prances about in her classic designer clothing. I started dividing my clothes into the following piles:

  • Too big – Donate to the battered women’s shelter
  • Still too small – Try on again after losing 20 more lbs
  • Clothes to pack for my cruise
  • Clothes to wash
Many people who lose weight talk about how fun it is to go shopping for new clothes, but rarely do they mention the expense. After you’ve lost 88.5 lbs like I have, there is very little in your wardrobe that fits well. I’m constantly in a limbo stage where clothes are too big or too small, but never just right. Piecing together outfits is a challenge, and so I tend to wear the same things a lot. There is little point in buying new things in every size because in a few months they don’t fit any more, but at some point you have to because public nudity is not an option. Ultimately, you spend a lot of money on clothes that you don’t wear for that long.

This afternoon I headed out to the annual Tallahassee Greek Food Festival with two goals: spanakopita and baklava. Spanakopita is a Greek pastry with spinach and feta cheese wrapped in phyllo. Unfortunately, they were sold out, but I did have Greek fries (spiced), tiropita (think spanakopita minus spinach), and I bought baklava to go. In addition to food, there were a few tents set up up with interesting wares for purchase, such as belly-dancing attire, jewelry, pottery, fragrant oils, and other mystical items.

Holy Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church

Assorted baklava and Greek pastries.

The obligatory Shiloh picture.

– An American Twenty-Something

Running Behind

I am behind schedule. My running schedule that is. I finished Week 1 of Couch to 5K on Saturday but have yet to start Week 2. Between the sweltering heat and summer lightning storms something always seems to get in the way of my training. I don’t belong to a gym, so running outside is currently my only option (and I prefer it as well). Excuses, I know.

Big Bend Cares finally posted the 5K race route, so on Sunday I decided to head over to the park to check it out.

Image courtesy of Big Bend Cares.

It was around 7:00 pm when I arrived at the park, but it was unusually dark because of angry, black clouds signaling an impending storm. Although I’ve hiked several trails in this park, the race route trail was unfamiliar to me, and I was a bit apprehensive about walking through the woods in such poor light.

Nevertheless, I pushed my apprehension aside and started out on the paved part of the route, then descended down a hill onto the unpaved, wooded part. Now, when I say wooded, I mean you are in the FOREST with nothing but trees and wild animals. Occasionally, the trail will veer close to more populated parts of the park such as the dog run area, but for the most part you are extremely isolated. As I walked into the woods I saw a bloated, dead squirrel, which felt like a bad omen.

When I started walking through the trees I grew more and more nervous. The thunder was getting louder and more ominous, it was dark under the tree canopy, and it was eerily quiet. Normally, I gain a sense of peace when hiking in the park, but this time I was seriously creeped out and my over-active imagination began to think of how easy it would be for some psychopath to attack me and dump the body for forest creatures to nibble on. (Before you dismiss me as paranoid, keep in mind that Tallahassee has already seen the likes of two serial killers: Ted Bundy and Gary Hilton.)

I had meant to snap some photos on my walk, but I was so eager to get the f*** out of there that I forgot. I kind of felt like Snow White when she flees from the wicked queen and she encounters something more terrifying around every corner. In my urgency, I also made a wrong turn and didn’t even complete the whole route. Overall, this trial run was a major fail.

I will definitely start Week 2 tonight… unless there is another lightning storm. Only 8.5 weeks until the race.

– An American Twenty-Something

Snow Fail

Is it really December 17th?  This month has truly been flying by. I had all kinds of grand plans for my blog this December, but as you can see somehow all my blog-posting time has been consumed by other things. (This is really quite surprising considering I’m struggling to remember the activities of the past few weeks.)

I currently have no new job prospects on the horizon. The Communications position I interviewed for will remain unfilled until after the gubernatorial transition at which point it will likely be re-advertised. The Events Coordinator position I interviewed for simply went to someone else. Bummer, but it happens. So, I’m really hoping I will be allowed to keep my job after January 3rd.

A few weeks ago I completed my graduate application to the Clinical Psychology PhD program at FSU. It definitely required quite a bit of effort but it will all be worth it if I am accepted. Now, I wait.

Winter is almost upon us. I have never seen snow fall before and never has it truly mattered – until this year. The temperatures have been especially severe in Tallahassee, and I feel that if I must be cold I should at least be able to enjoy the beauty of snow. Last weekend I looked out my bedroom window and saw a ghostly white pallor. Could it be? But alas, my window was simply foggy, which tinted my view of the outside world. Epic snow fail.

For now, I’ll just enjoy pictures.

– An American Twenty-Something

I Conquered Thanksgiving Dinner

Every family has their own traditions and rituals around the holidays, and one of mine is that I always make the 6.5 hour drive from Tallahassee to West Palm Beach to visit my family for Thanksgiving. This year however, we broke tradition and my parents came up to Tallahassee. This new turn of events was exciting in that I wouldn’t need to make the long haul myself, but stressful in that I had never cooked a Thanksgiving turkey and would need to clean my house from top to bottom.

Thanksgiving morning I woke up around 7 am and immediately started cooking. I made a turkey breast, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole and crescent rolls. My Mom brought cranberry sauce, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie. I decided to make a turkey breast rather than a whole turkey to avoid cleaning giblets and so forth. Although I received a lot of heckling, I decided to cook my turkey in the crock pot and it turned out absolutely amazing. It was moist, flavorful, and so tender it fell apart at the touch. After Thanksgiving dinner, we decided to go see a movie and ended up at Love and Other Drugs (Mom’s movie choice).  I rated the movie at 2.5/5. Anne Hathaway and the ridiculously gorgeous Jake Gyllenhaal are naked for at least half the movie. While this would normally be welcomed and even encouraged, when watching with your parents it’s just awkward and uncomfortable.

The next morning I had my heart set on venturing out into the masses of frenzied shoppers to take advantage of Black Friday sales. I wish I could say that I snatched up some amazing steals, but I actually only bought one item: House Season 5 for $12.99 on sale from $44.99. Although I usually relish in Black Friday shopping, I’m just a little short on cash flow this year and not in the market to ring up any more credit card debt. Friday evening I took my parents to 101 Restaurant & Lounge for some of their amazing spinach and artichoke dip, followed by traipsing around the Downtown Getdown. We quickly ran out of things to do and the weather was turning nasty, so I offered to take my parents to the top floor of the Capitol to check out the observatory by night. Reaching 22 floors, the Florida Capitol is the tallest building for 200 miles, so you have very good visibility of the surrounding areas.

Saturday morning we began the day by stopping by my favorite globally-conscious coffee haunt, Red Eye, for hot chocolate and chai lattes, and then drove over to the Mission San Luis (previously referenced here). Later, while the UF/FSU rival football game raged in Tallahassee (GO NOLES!), we drove up to Thomasville, GA for dinner at Jonah’s Fish and Grits. Jonah’s is undeniably one of the best restaurants in the region. The night was completed by driving through Dorothy B. Oven Park for our first look at Christmas lights this season.

Sunday my parents packed up and departed early for their long drive home. After they left, I randomly decided it would be a great time to rearrange my living room furniture. So, for a few hours I lugged around couches, tables and bookshelves to create a new, aesthetically –pleasing atmosphere in my apartment. All of the heavy lifting and sweating really helped take my mind off of the anxiety and life stress I’ve been dealing with lately.

Overall, Thanksgiving was a success and I now feel confident in my ability to prepare a turkey dinner. Maybe next year I’ll even use a whole bird.

– An American Twenty-Something