Sunday, November 12, 2017

Winter Sundance

My second year of Sundance - I finally figured out what works for me. Get tickets for SLC shows, don't bother with the Park City hoopla, and it's all good. I managed to snag tickets for most everything I wanted to see, and as things have gotten released this year, I've been able to see the rest.


A few highlights, mostly documentaries. First up, Plastic China, and it was amazing to see many, many cities in China that live in piles of trash and plastic, and people trying to make money recycling it. It's fairly disgusting.



I saw Novitiate on the first weekend, and it was incredible. It's almost out in theaters now, please go see it. So much to absorb about women and religion and adapting to change. I've still been thinking about it since I saw it months ago. Lots of parallels to current topics in Mormonism.

Some of the best shorts:
Mare Nostrum - basically a Syrian father throwing his young daughter in the water so she will learn how to swim, in case her raft to Europe sinks, she will know how to survive.
The Diver - imagine diving through the sewer system of Mexico City to repair pumps and remove clogs when large things get in there. Fascinating and gross.
Ten Meter Tower - so so entertaining! Watch people face jumping off a 10 meter dive platform.

City of Ghosts is one of the handful of docs I've seen on the Syrian situation, and I think it should be required viewing. It follows a group of people reporting on the city of Raqaa, which was an ISIS stronghold.  A few of the guys were able to come to the screening and talk after the showing. They're currently living in Europe, because their lives are in danger.



I saw the doc, Oklahoma City, which covers the 1994 bombing of a federal building. I was in 8th grade when that happened, and I certainly remember the day. I liked the film, but it wasn't my favorite.

Cries from Syria should also be required viewing. I saw this on the day that Trump announced his travel ban, and I cried all day long. This film did an excellent job of explaining what's happening in Syria and the history behind the civil war. It's a complicated recent history and this laid it out really well.

The last film of the week was Bending the Arc, about Paul Farmer and friends, who have changed the face of public health. Dr Binagwaho was the minister of health in Rwanda for several years, and she spoke after the screening.

Other films released this year that I've seen:
Icarus - Russian athletes doping scandal. Now on Netflix.
Beatriz at Dinner - great acting and so uncomfortable.
Casting JonBenet - long live the tiny pageant queen.
Chasing Coral - also on Netflix, watching this week at my doc party.
Last Men in Aleppo - more on the White Helmets 

Still need to see The Big Sick!

I've already purchased 2 locals packages for Sundance 2018. Definitely makes January not so terrible!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Bleak, Snowy January 2017

Cheers to 2017! Since I'm writing this update in November, I can tell you it turned out to be a big year.

But let's go back and document anyway. We started off back at REI again, trying to figure out the backpack situation and how to use our gift cards from Christmas.

Anthony tried to find one in a color that he could also use with the Army (since theirs are heavy or something?) but he was indecisive and didn't get one. I think he eventually got a backpacker stove and fuel and a couple other gadgets.

So much snow. Ugh.

Mike came into town and found a last minute hotel deal at the Monaco. I met him for lunch one day and proceeded to lose my brand new wool gloves. I sucked it up and ordered a new pair right away. I need those things.
He had a food credit to use with his hotel room so we ordered everything.

Dinner that night at Tibet House - my last night with Anthony for 11 weeks. He got a slot to train as an Army Medic in a condensed training program, so he was off to Pennsylvania the next morning until March. Ugh - that was the worst.
He was all clean shaven and ready for military life. I was a borderline wreck.
We stayed the night at his parents' house (his house) so we could all hang out before he left. And we tried falling asleep together on a tiny twin bed, but that didn't work so I moved to another bedroom. Alas, I was too nervous and didn't sleep, and morning came and it was time to drive him to the airport. I took his dad's large 4x4 truck since it snowed a lot during the night. I hate winter driving and I hated having to take Anthony to the airport. But I did it.

Baby face. Countdown til he returned. Good thing I started school to keep me busy.

I went up to campus one day to get my ID and get official.

I completed my annual Dowdle holiday puzzle.

Orientation!

Rachel got our coworker crew some Fiiz mugs. So good. We go almost every Wednesday on double punch day.

Thank goodness for Celisse's birthday getaways. She kinda hates January birthdays (she says everyone is on a diet and broke) but I was ready for some warm weather.

Hello, Long Beach! Taking off my huge puffy coat was so glorious.

We booked an Airbnb from this guy who apparently caters to visitors from China. He didn't speak any English to us, and when we asked for the wifi password, he just typed it into all our devices. Whatever. It was a nice place.

First stop - Target.

Next stop - late night In n Out. Wild Friday night.

Saturday morning we went to the Newport Beach temple. It's so little! And also so very pretty.


Then we popped up to Huntington Beach and had lunch with Kari Ann. Their new mall is nice.






Celisse had heard about the Donuttery in HB, so we had to drive over and try it. This trip is mostly about sweets. It's a birthday trip, what do you expect?

The lunch crew - Dixie in town with her little, Kari, me and CC.


We met one of Celisse's friends for dinner at SOCO, then headed north to LA for more adventures. LACMA and Salt and Straw. A few of my amigos were able to pop over and say hi.





While we'd been at SOCO, we stopped at SusieCakes, and let me tell you, I've still been thinking about that cake! This is the vanilla celebration cake and it is amazing. I also got a chocolate whoopie pie. But that cake. Whoa. They deliver if you live within 50 miles. Sad.

We hit up a little church action on Sunday morning, then showed ourselves to Wahoo's for fish tacos.




Kari Ann offered us her house to hang out, and bikes, so we headed out for some last ocean views.







Kari made us an amazing dinner before we left.


Early morning flight.


Back to the snow.
 
I colored my hair purple, finally. I loved it. I wish I could have this all time.




Imagin had a ladies night out at the Japanese Grill, followed by a showing of La La Land. I liked it more the second time. I also saw Hidden Figures, which is awesome. I wanted to cheer a lot during it.

We stood in line for free Sundance tickets to Best of Fest one Saturday morning.

Followed by breakfast. I love Publik's toast. Rosemary and oil bread, goat cheese, and tomato jam.

Jessica P got married! She had a huge fun party at the other Publik location.




Baking cookies - it's what I do.

One night little H wanted to call me. She is the best.

Gourmet grilled cheese night at Meghan's house. This should happen way more often.

I got myself a new slow cooker cookbook from America's Test Kitchen. This beef stew is bomb.


More on Sundance later.


Craziest Saturday - I was stressed. Meghan was in town from Texas, there was a huge snowstorm, I had Sundance films to get to .


I got to a Sundance screening at SLCC through unplowed streets, meeting Dana who tried to get us food beforehand. We all tried to meet at the restaurant, but the streets were so bad that no one could get there on time.  Then I rushed through streets to get to another film downtown, left that early and went to a wedding dress shopping appointment that I'd made, since Meghan convinced me (she'll say it was all me).

She and I had talked a couple weeks before she came into town about what she wanted to do, and she said we should go look for a dress for me. Keep in mind, Anthony and I are not engaged at this point, and I felt weird about pretending that I was, since you kinda have to do that when you make an appointment. This isn't like trying on a sweater at Gap, you have a consultant who is helping you. But I sat on the idea, and figured whatever, it'll take me forever to find a dress I like when the time is right, so might as well get started. Welp, dress number five looked like a big nothing on on the hanger, but I put it on and it was the one. I guess you find it when you're not looking....

Also I'd like to state that I saw a lot of other people wear this dress this year, but I bought it first :)


Also in that same day, we had tickets to the Ice Castles. I'm already a nervous driver in the snow, and the new snow storm and driving through canyons made me a wreck. Ugh. I need a Xanax next time I have to drive in the snow. I don't do well. But we made it! And it was cold in Midway but not too terrible. Glad I saw this once, but don't feel the need to do it again.










Azhar made me Middle Eastern food.


I had an enrollment hold at school since I can't find vaccination records from the 80s, so guess who had to get a shot and bloodwork?

Bye, Meggles! Thanks for making me find a wedding dress! It was a fun time telling Anthony on the phone that - hey, no pressure, but I am gonna buy a wedding dress....


One Friday night I took Azhar and family to a Meet the Muslims event at a local mosque. Super great, love that so many people here are interested and showing up. They also had a ton of food, but we went to Shawarma King after.



Munchkin visit at Cafe Rio.



My lovely new computer. Thanks for the friends discount, Meggles!

Masato came to town!


And in between all of that, there was lots of this. Lots and lots of facetime and phone calls. But only when he could get a signal (not in his concrete bunker) and when the wifi worked (when he stood in one spot in his room)



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