“Across the street I have neighbors who have three skeletons…”

Across the street I have neighbors who have three skeletons that they unveiled probably three years ago, and they -- the three skeletons have developed a personality and a story line over the past three years. And every week that neighbor of mine will take those skeletons and shape them into another scenario. For instance, last week they had a kiddie pool that which had one skeleton sitting in the kiddie pool while two others played, I don't know, maybe, badminton, I think it may have been. And this week one of the skeletons is in their tree, stuck in their tree, presumably, with two other skeletons down below reaching out to help and one has a stepladder. So I guess I do -- I guess I do have a favorite decoration now that I think about it, and it's right across the street from me. So, a tip of the cap to that guy who keeps the Halloween decorations fresh. It's not brutally scary or anything. It's in good fun. He's got like a three skeleton family thing going on over there, where the child skeleton's always up to no good.

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“… it’s definitely worth the hype.”

I think Nutella is delicious. It's chocolate and hazelnut in a spread form. A good portion of my grad school like exams and paper writing, was like staying up really late night, drinking a lot of coffee, trying to find things to eat that were fast but felt rewarding for all the hard work I was putting in. So there were times where I would just eat Nutella and have a jar of Nutella and a jar of peanut butter and just kind of alternate between spoonfuls of that. So I would say, yeah, it's definitely worth the hype.

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“Wow, this is a little bit bizarre.”
Two tornadoes at once in Kansas

“Wow, this is a little bit bizarre.”

When was the last time my power went out? I don’t, it’s been actually quite a while since my power went out. Knock on wood, I guess, right? Hopefully, it doesn’t go out anytime soon here. But I think that when I was in — I lived in Indiana for a little while and we had a tornado warning there. And the power went out and I was actually — I was at the library working, and we had to take all the patrons and staff that were in the building at the time into the bathrooms. And I, you know, I’ve never had to do anything like that before. I’ve never lived anywhere else where there’s kind of tornado warnings and tornado shelters, and things like that. And the power went out when we were in there, and I remember, kind of thinking “wow, this is a little bit bizarre.” And I think there were some sort of like, emergency lights or something that were in there. Or maybe people just had their cellphone lights. Now I can’t even remember that. But my mom was actually visiting from northern Michigan at the time and I remember, you know, she wouldn’t have had a clue what was going on. So I told her to go into, you know, the closet in my apartment you know and she, you know, she was at my house at the time and I came home and, you know, after everything had been cleared and she was still sitting, still sitting in the closet in my apartment. And I said, “Mom, you know, we’re safe, everything’s good.” But the power had come back on but she was still sitting in there. So I don’t know. That was — I think that was maybe the last time.

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“That’s really delicious.”
Homemade Yogurt Labneh Cheese Dip with Olive Oil and Pita

“That’s really delicious.”

Have you ever tried to make yogurt or cheese? No, but my grandma does it all the time. She's from Jordan and she makes a Arabic or Middle Eastern yogurt called laban. It's a white yogurt. Kind of like Greek yogurt, maybe a little thinner. You eat it normally, on top of -- we normally eat it, like, on top of rice. She has a dish called maqluba, which is rice, chicken, cauliflower. I think there might be some onions in it too, and it's pretty good with yogurt on top that she makes, the laban. And then -- then the cheese is called labneh and it's thicker. It's kind of like cream cheese. I think it's a little more sour and that's pretty good in like a sandwich with -- on bread. You eat it with like, tomato and cucumbers and other, you know, vegetables, lettuce. And you can make a pretty good sandwich out of that. Or sometimes on za’atar bread. Za’atar is like a spice. And you can eat that with like tomato and labneh. And then there's a third type of yogurt called mansaf laban, which is made out of dried yogurt balls. You like mix it with water and it's kind of like a soup and you eat it on top of like a rice dish called mansaf, which is rice and then it has lamb meat. And then you drown it in the sauce made from the yogurt balls. And that's really delicious.

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“..I was just overwhelmed because I felt seen in a way that I don’t normally feel seen”

I don’t know that I ever cried tears of joy. When I saw the movie, Inside Out, I cried at the end not because I was sad, exactly. But I was just overwhelmed because I felt seen in a way that I don’t normally feel seen, and I had some mental health problems going on, like flare-ups at that time. So it was a very emotional time for me overall. So feeling seen was very — It was just a very positive experience and a very positive feeling.

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“This is just a reminder that you don’t need as many things as you think you do.”

Dear diary, this is just a reminder that you don’t need as many things as you think you do. I’ve learned this from moving into a home, furnishing a whole home – almost, except for a couch – and then, four months, moving out. The amount of stuff – I thought I was good, I thought I was, like, more of a minimalist, but I’ve learned from repacking my stuff that I brought that I have more than I need. And so let this be a reminder that you actually don’t need as much as you think, and if you buy new, you’re never going to get back what you think, because selling a lot of my stuff on Facebook Marketplace has been really hard. So next time, go on Facebook Marketplace, and try to find stuff, instead of buying more of the new stuff, because you won’t get the money back if you sell it.

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“I wanted to give a shout-out to the diarists who just ran their second half marathon”

I wanted to give a shout-out to the diarists who just ran their second half marathon in Chicago. I always have the utmost respect for anyone who’s able to lock down and commit themselves to being able to run 13.1 miles. That is amazing. There’s so many athletic things I’m proud of, particularly in basketball. But sometimes when I hear about what people are doing in distance sports, it makes me feel so mortal and it puts all my stuff I’ve done in perspective. Here I am, I’ve really — I’ve run my heart out before for like 90 seconds, and then I like having a break and then you want me to run really, really, really, really hard again for another 90 seconds, okay, but then give me another break please. That’s basketball in a nutshell. So for people, the Chicago half marathon, props to that person. You’ll never hear this, but just hopefully I can put my respect out there in the world and somehow — I don’t really believe in this as a thing, but hopefully they can absorb my kudos spiritually somewhere somehow.

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“It’d be fun to be able to go so fast that the wind is catching you.”

“If you could turn into any animal at will, what would you turn into? One of our team members said ‘a cat,’ so they could choose when to pet and when to be left alone.” I actually like that logic, that’s really, really cute. I don’t know that I’d wanna be a cat, ‘cause, don’t they lick their own butts and so do dogs and everybody sniffs butts, and… I think I’d want to be something that could run fast, really fast, like a cheetah. Or like one of these animals, like, that can climb to big heights. Maybe not, because of the — they stink — but the monkeys, you know, I don’t want to be a monkey, ‘cause they stink but it could be kind of cool, if you could like scale these trees or, you know, or swing from branch to branch and know, just have this, like, mentality in your head that, you know, you’re going to swing from this branch to the next, and you’re going to hit it. You don’t have to worry about falling twenty feet. I think that would be super cool. Like a squirrel, like a flying squirrel, would do that and stuff. That would be kind of cool. But I think it’d be fun to be able to go fast, and run so fast that, you know, like, the wind is catching you. Like you’re super fast. I think that’d be kind of cool.

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“Why isn’t this purple?”

“What do you associate with the color purple?” That’s so funny that the Godmother does. My grandmother, is what I associate with purple. She absolutely loved purple. And everybody knows that she loves purple. And usually, if you give her something that isn’t purple, that could be, she kind of gives you a look like “what’s your problem here?” Like, even the envelope on a card she kind of looks at you like “why isn’t this purple?” Or the writing in the card, “why isn’t this purple?” Like she kind of gives you that look like “This could have been purple and it isn’t, so maybe make that happen next time.” I’ve recently bought her a book that’s called — I’m not going to remember the exact title of it, but something like, something about having more purple people in the world. And I thought that was so totally appropriate for her. And the book is really interesting too, about being your unique self.

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“I ran my second half marathon ever today”

I ran my second half marathon ever today with my brother and I’m really proud of myself. It was really cool. Because this race was very different from my first half-marathon I did. The first one I ran just by myself last year because of quarantine and Covid. There weren’t any races going on, but I really wanted something for me to do, since I had more free time was to learn, how to train to run a half marathon. And I did it. And then this year my brother was inspired. So he wanted to run one with me as well. And so we signed up for the Chicago half marathon, which was today and it was so much fun. And so different from the first one. We ran with six thousand people. It was wonderful. The entire time there were people cheering us on. The whole race just went by in a flash. I know it sounds crazy because it’s such a long run. Like, I did the whole thing in two hours and six minutes, but I feel like I blinked, and I was at 9 miles. And I just — every second was so fun. The halfway point was inside of a concert venue, and we — like the back of the venue where someone would drive a car to drop off equipment in the venue, we ran through there, and then turned around in the venue, and then came back out. We ran along Lake Michigan. It was just so beautiful.

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