“I heard something sort of swooping around my room.”

One night I woke up in the middle of the night, and I heard something sort of swooping around my room. Like, I could hear it flying. It was doing circles around my room, and I got scared because I didn't know what it was. And it was the middle of the night, so I had woken up from kind of a dead sleep, so I was partially still asleep I think, and a little groggy, and -- so instead of trying to, like, figure out what it was, I, I left my bedroom and closed the door behind me. And I leave my door open at night usually which they say you're not supposed to do, but I do. And then I'm standing out in the hallway. And the bat is in my room and I thought, "Okay. This is ridiculous. I can't go back to sleep. I can't -- I ne- I need to figure out what to do." I didn't have my glasses on so I couldn't really see what was going on with it. So I reached in and I turned the light on in my room thinking that if it was a bat -- which I assumed it was a bat, not a bird -- thinking that it would -- I would at least be able to see what it was or maybe it would scare it or something. I don't know. I just thought, "Okay, light, and I need" -- you know, the place is completely dark, “I need to get some light so I can see what's going on." So I turn the light on, and I could see it flying around in the room. But again, no glasses, so couldn't really tell what it was. So then I thought, "Okay. I need to get this thing out of my room so that at least I can go to bed even if I can't get it out of the house. Like I feel like if I can shut my door and I'm inside my room, then I can go to bed." So I turned -- left the light on in my room, turned the light on in the hallway and left all the other lights off, again, thinking if it was a bat, it might try and go where it was more dark. So I did that and I came and I sat…

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“The bagels are evil.”

My partner and I both lost our battles with a Panera bagel yesterday, so. When we began our drive back, we stopped at Panera, so I was like, "Let's pick up some bagels that we can have Monday morning." So, I was going in the office earlier so I was leaving first. I was awake on my own and I've cut myself the same way on a bagel before where it's like I'm kind of sawing at it towards my hand. And so I'm actively thinking about it. And I was like, "Okay, let me hold the bagel a bit further from my hand and let me be careful." But I don't know if I was just thinking too hard about it or I just, you know, shoulda gotten out the cutting board and, and cut it on there instead of cutting towards my hand, but I learned my lesson because I immediately got caught near the end and, and sliced my hand, I'd say pretty badly for me but not too badly. I didn't have to go to, like, the ER or anything. Didn't cut anything important. I bled a lot because you know, it's my hand and I, I gave a decent like centimeter, two centimeter long cut across my hand between my finger and that -- my thumb and my index finger. And it was very frustrating and it hurt a good amount and now it just feels like -- I'm a day later now and it just feels like -- it almost just feels like I have a bruise there. So now it’s like the cut's still there and it's healing. I've been changing the Band-Aids and it just feels bruised. It still feels tender there. So I, I have felt awfully dumb about that and definitely not going to let myself cut any more bagels like that for the foreseeable future, hopefully for forever. Hopefully I've learned my lesson for good but apparently it wasn't enough the first or second time and cutting it worse the third time is definitely good re-encouragement to be more careful about that in the future. But then my partner, after I'm at work, they send me a text that just goes, "The bagels are evil." And I was like, "Please tell me you didn't cut yourself." But apparently she stepped away while it was toasting. And hers was a…

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“I always thought if I could see them in Michigan, they’d be like the, you know, the Michigan version. The off-brand, lower Peninsula version of Northern Lights.”

I have to imagine however many diaries are recorded, um, 80% of them have to probably mention the Northern Lights. What a great phenomenon. I know people were mocking how many pictures of the Northern Lights people were just pasting all over their social media, but what an amazing thing to post on social media, right? 'Kay, so here's my personal one. So, my girlfriend is really in touch with weather-related matters. You know, like her, her favorite follow on social media is the former meteorologist for her local station, who left his position and went independent, and now she follows him closely. So she had a beat on this whole Northern Lights phenomenon. So what we did on Friday is we drove down to the beach, got as far away from the beach house as we could along the lonely shores of Lake Michigan at around 10 P.M. And, initially, we looked and were like, "Are we seeing anything up there? I can't really tell." And then the lights began dancing, and it's like "We are. This is it. It's happening." And it was amazing, it was beautiful, it was something we never thought we would be able to see here, especially the way we did. It was, it was a moment that you knew you were living. You know, we went to Iceland and we didn't see the Northern Lights. Granted, it's because we went to Iceland in the summertime when the sun is up for 22 out of 24 hours a day, but the feeling was always, we probably need to go to the Arctic Circle to really get a good -- and just pray that we, that we were treated to the Northern Lights at some point. And instead, it came to us randomly, out of nowhere, on account of this solar storm. And we could actually see them! It was not -- I always thought if I could see them in Michigan, they'd be like the, you know, the Michigan version. The off-brand, lower Peninsula version of Northern Lights. But, um, it was glorious. It was spectacular! And now, the one thing I'll say, and this is a -- and this is a good thing. They were not as spectacular as most photos would lead you to believe, if you're someone who missed them. Which is not to say they weren't spectacular, just not as spectacular. Because I remember -- I…

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“Somehow, I think I did not choose the correct things, because it was too spicy for me.”

We said okay, let's go to the restaurant. We went there and then you, you will not believe that how crowded that was with lots of Indian young people. Like those who are here. So, we were waiting and waiting and we do not know if we will get space to -- if we will get placed to sit or not. But by God's grace, we got the place and that place was kind of dirty. So then I said "No." And then I asked -- we got some Kleenex and started cleaning and then after that we sat and we ordered. And then, then the, the girl, she ordered chicken biryani, my husband ordered mutton biryani, and I was just -- I just sticked with the veggies and then -- and chicken, I think it was tandoori chicken. So, but I thought okay, it will be very good for, for me to eat just veggies because I am on Optavia diet, so wanted to be very strict with that. So, somehow, I think I did not choose the correct things, because it was too spicy for me. And chicken also was too spicy, even though it was tasty, but I know that after eating that it will bother me. So -- and I don't wanted to say no because then my husband will feel bad. Then I, somehow, I managed to eat the chicken and then the cauliflower coated with the -- I do not know it was, kind of like a, uh, fried cauliflower. So, but, somehow, then also I ate, and I did not say any single thing, because it was tasty also. And then I know that next day it would bother me, or the same night. Then when I came home, oh my goodness, my stomach started hurting a lot. And I did not know what to do and all. I put peppermint oil on my stomach and then even my throat was itching. And even I took one acid tablet, but then also it was, like, bothering me like anything. And I know that's the effect of only chili because chili is kind of very, very bad for me. I cannot handle any kind of, like -- not even black pepper also. That bothers my stomach a lot. And then I did not have enough of vegetable, I think that also was the reason…

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“So he cropped my head onto Paula Nakayama’s body…as if I was one of the Supreme Court Justices.”

When I got admitted to law school, my husband wrote one of those fake news articles announcing that I had been appointed to the Supreme Court. Just a comedy kind of thing to congrat-, you know, congratulate your girlfriend on getting admitted to law school. Uh, this is before we were married. I have a copy of it somewhere but that was, like -- what was that? Close to 40 years ago so I have no idea where it is right now. But I would love to find it and it was, it was a really nice one. When I graduated from law school, he did one of those -- this was the days before Photoshop. There happened to be a female Justice on the Hawai'i State Supreme Court, so -- and her name was Paula Nakayama. So he cropped -- he's a reporter, he's a -- they have to do photography and reporting back in those days. So he cropped my head onto Paula Nakayama's body in the photo of the five Supreme Court Justices of the Hawai'i State Supreme Court and as if I was one of the Supreme Court Justices. So that was his graduation present to me when I graduated from law school. So th- that's a nice -- it was a nice, really nice present.

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“It turned out that this very healthy man who had had a very healthy life at 76 years old had advanced cancer.”

I am going to talk about adjusting to a sudden and dramatic change. In 1997, I -- it was in the summer and I had four kids and left and a teah -- I was a teacher, and I was just off for my summer vacation and we had lots of fun plans with the kids on fun stuff to do that summer and I got a call from my brother that my father was taken away in an ambulance from his backyard. A neighbor called the ambulance when they saw him go down. Now, this is my dad who was very very healthy his entire life. I never remember him being sick. He carried on no matter what and really there were very few times that he felt like he had to carry on. He was very lucky that way. So we all, of course, went to the hospital and it turned out that this very healthy man who had had a very healthy life at 76 years old had advanced cancer that probably started in his lungs but had now progressed rapidly to his brain. And he was no longer himself. He needed a lot of care, and because I -- my -- I have seven kids in the family, but two of my sisters lived in Colorado and my four brothers are local, but in 1997 and perhaps even today, the daughter is usually expected to be the caregiver. It was my pleasure to do so. It -- it was the honor of my life to take care of him as he died. And the only people it really screwed were my kids and my husband because I abruptly made the decision, I packed a bag, and moved in with my parents as soon as he was home from the hospital and basically lived there until he died, which was only six weeks. So that was actually another lucky thing. I was teasing him as I would read him to sleep, even though he really I don't think knew, I'm sure he heard the sound of my voice, but I'm sure he couldn't follow. But as I was teasing him about “I have to go back to school, dad,” “school starts in September,” and he died, like, August 18.

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“It felt like a gamble of not knowing if she was gonna be an absolute menace the night that I left.”

So I recently had a baby about three months ago, and my partner and I are obviously learning a lot about being parents and figuring out what works for us, what doesn't work for us. And this week is my second week back to work after maternity leave. I had the opportunity to travel to a city about two hours away from home for a conference. And the request was that I come overnight because the conference started really early. So it was only my second week back to work, so I was kind of saying to my husband like "I don't need to do this. There is a virtual option. The preference is that I attend in person, but, essentially we have options. So no pressure. You can join me if you think that would make sense. I'm just trying to figure out what we should do.” And he decided that he thought it made sense if I went and he stayed behind with our daughter. So that was like kind of surprisingly hard for me, not because I had any reservations about him taking care of her. I was mostly worried because we were having some light issues with her taking a bottle for a while there. She was taking a bottle really really well, but right when I started back to work for some reason she started to be a little more resistant to it. So it felt like a gamble of not knowing if she was gonna be an absolute menace the night that I left. And I was really grateful to hear that that was not the case, and even though it was hard to leave, it was good for us because it showed us that we could make -- that we could do that. And my partner has a weekend away coming up. He's gonna be playing in a tournament out of state, I think, and so I'll be home alone with her. And it's easier for me because I'm breastfeeding. So that's sometimes is enough to kind of comfort her but it's still I don't know. I feel like it's building our confidence a little bit. So that was something that started out kind of challenging but was a success. But I did find myself just more anxious about it than I expected and it wasn't even like a discernible thing I could…

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“Here comes another disaster.”

I learned how to make pretzels from the Great British Baking Show, and that was something I had never tried because it seemed like it'd be too complicated and I saw all you do is you mix up the dough and roll it out and make it into the shape of pretzels, which is not as easy as you might think. It took me a few tries to figure out how to do a pretzel shape and then the secret of a pretzel -- how you get that interesting texture of the crust is that you have boiling water and -- with soda in it and so I have my boiling water. Here comes another disaster. I had my boiling water and I put the soda in and it exploded over the sides of the pan and I had soda water everywhere on my stove and it even got down between the windows on the glass on the front of the oven. And so that was kind of a disaster to start with but then I started over with my boiling water and that time, I put the soda in before it got to boil too much, and it didn't have any problems. But anyway, you take your already formed, raw dough pretzels and you lower ‘em into this boiling soda water just for like 30 seconds and then you take it out and you put it on your baking sheet sprinkle it with salt and then you put it in the oven. And that --the -- apparently the water in the soda is what gives a pretzel that nice sheen -- that nice brown sheen on it.

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“There was lots and lots of comments from people about how I had my own private nurse.”

I had been in an accident and I was on crutches and I went strawberry picking with my mother. And early in the morning -- she had just gotten home from working in the emergency room. She was an RN, and she had just got home from working at the emergency room in Eaton Rapids and she still had on her white nurse's uniform and she just stopped at the house and picked me up and we went strawberry picking. So, here is a girl on crutches with a nurse picking strawberries and there was lots and lots of comments from people about how I had my own private nurse and it was just a funny event.

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“I ended up emailing the designer to ask for clarification.”

I was working on a new knitting pattern and it said that it was for an advanced knitter, which I probably qualify as in certain circumstances. So I bought the pattern and I started it and I was reading the instructions word for word and it was -- on paper, made sense to me, but every single time I tried to knit it, it wouldn't work. And I don't really exactly know how to explain the problem -- if you're not a knitter it'd probably be really tedious. But I went to -- there's a website called Ravelry and it's where people post photos of their finished items and they'll comment sometimes on specific patterns. So there were a lot of people that said like, "I also got caught up on the first step. But then, once I figured it out, it went really smoothly!" And it was kind of annoying 'cause it was like, "Well, what did you figure out? Like, what am I missing?" And so I think a couple people in there said something that kind of helped me, but I still was lost. So, I ended up emailing the designer to ask for clarification and they got back to me super quickly and clarified it. And I tried it and it made perfect sense. It worked out just fine, but I was so frustrated. I think I knit it, like, four or five times and then had to rip it out. And the type of yarn I was using -- like, some yarn you can knit and knit and knit and knit over and over and, like, rip it out and knit it again and it's fine, it doesn't look any worse for the wear. But this specific kind I was knitting with is mohair. It's like super airy and not really something that you should be knitting over and over and over and over again. And so I was getting really frustrated that I was gonna mess up, you know, a big portion of my yarn, too. So, anyway, that is my story.

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