Open For Service

So there is some pretty crappy stuff happening in my home state of Indiana today. Governor Mike Pence just signed a new bill into law that allows business to discriminate against people based on their “religious freedom.” That’s as bad as it sounds–they can segregate gays, lesbians, transgender…basically whoever they feel jeopardizes their religious freedom.

As you’d expect, shit has hit the fan this week. When the House passed it, everyone took to social media–regular citizens, companies, news organizations, EVEN CHURCHES–to try and get this thing stopped. They wrote to Pence, did everything they could to try and get him to understand that WE DO NOT WANT THIS BILL. But, today he signed it. And now, this discrimination and segregation is LEGAL. And we are horrified, ashamed, and angry.

I know this article is making the rounds, along with many others. And people across the nation are seeing it and probably thinking HOLY SHIT INDIANA, WHAT IS YOUR DEAL?

Know this, please:  Sure, there are some people in the state that are probably thrilled this is happening. We do have a lot of conservatives living in Indiana. But for most of us, we are not OK with this bill. We are devastated that Pence is taking such a huge step backwards. We were ecstatic when the marriage ban was lifted this year–for ourselves, for our friends, for our families. It’s good for our people, it’s good for business, it’s just good for the state.

This new RFRA bill is the exact opposite of that. GenCon is threatening to leave, which will mean millions in lost revenue. Salesforce, who has an entire branch company here, has cancelled all programs and travel to Indiana. The NCAA has it’s Final Four coming up in Indy soon and they have come out negatively against the bill. I’ve even seen a few religious groups and churches cancelling their conventions! They aren’t happy about the representation this is giving either.

In addition to the big guys, local businesses and restaurants are putting up stickers showing their support for their community.

 

If you live in Indiana, have a business, and plan to be OPEN FOR SERVICE, click on that sticker above. I’ve linked it to the site that has all the information on how to get involved.

 

On a personal note, I may not live in Indiana anymore, but this is an issue that lives very near and dear to my heart, for a lot of reasons. People should not be discriminated against for any reason, but love? Why should love cause so much hate? I have never understood it.

This blog is not technically a business. I don’t make money from it, it is just a hobby. And even if I did…I live in Texas now, where RFRA has been around since 1993 (Again…why are we going backwards? This should not be happening in 2015. GIANT step backwards. We should be removing these laws, not establishing them.)

But guys, this blog is definitely OPEN FOR SERVICE!

 

Movin On–Indy to Dallas

We’ve been in Dallas almost three months now. That’s crazy to think about sometimes. I grew up in Indiana, and while I moved gradually from the north down to Indy, I never left the state. And now, we are living so far from home that sometimes it feels like a whole other planet.

There are a bunch of differences between Indiana and Texas, and a lot of similarities too. I meant to write this post sooner, and just kept putting it off. I don’t know why. It just never felt right. Still doesn’t, really.

Here’s some differences:

1. The tap water is never ever cold. This is a huge annoyance to me. I can’t just go get a drink from the faucet, I have to let the pitcher get cold in the fridge before it’s drinkable. I guess because the ground (and in turn the pipes) is warmer?

2. The roads don’t have potholes…just ridges. And mannnnn are they bumpy. They don’t use salt here from what I understand, so they don’t get the big gouges in the asphalt like Indiana does. Over time it just kind of shifts and creases into itself.

3. And speaking of roads….all of the sudden….SEMIs!!!! Funny story with this one. The freeways here are insane. They just build roads on top of roads on top of roads. So when you go on an onramp, you might have another on ramp crossing next to you, with cars coming the opposite direction. If you aren’t expecting it, it can be pretty jarring. One night, we were coming back from the movies, and hit one of these. R was driving, and all of the sudden, there was this semi coming RIGHT AT US. It looked like it was on our bridge. We thought we were going to die. But no, it was on the bridge next to us, but it was so scary. Driving here is taking a bit to get used to.

 

4. Children in bars. This has got to be one of my biggest annoyances. Until 9, children are allowed in bars. So all my favorite hangouts, where I go to be an adult, become family restaurants essentially. Which, on one hand, is great because our best friends have a 1 year old (who is an absolute joy when we go out), so they are able to come out with us more often. On the other, it means that there are 8 year olds running around being idiots while I’m trying to have a peaceful adult evening. For me, there’s a difference between Bar and Family Restaurant.

5. SPEED BUMPS EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6. There are these things called Frontage Roads that make entering and exiting highways so much easier. Thank you Texas for Frontage Roads.

7. I have trucker arm from sitting by my window in my office. Not even kidding. One of my arms is noticeably frecklier/tanner/sunburnt than the other.

8. Clouds are rare. It may be a little overcast in the morning, but by 10-11 am, it will be completely blue sky. And when it rains, it will rain straight down with very little wind. We had one really big storm with 90 MPH winds, but the air is just so still here.

 

My favorite thing about living in Dallas so far is that there is always something to do. There is always a festival going on–really just about every weekend. R is out of town this weekend, but Untappd is having a beer festival that we would have gone to probably if he was here. We’ve been to a Chipotle festival, there’s a big whiskey tasting coming up. There’s certainly no shortage of restaurants for us to check out. We also live right next door to the Dallas Arboretum, which is a big garden architecture place. I’ve even joined a yoga studio, which is something I’ve never considered doing until we moved here. We live right on a big lake with a walking path all the way around, and though we haven’t researched it yet, I think there are canoe/kayak rentals and stuff like that. There’s also a much bigger reservoir not too far from us.

Also, the people here are super friendly. You can’t go to a grocery store or sit at a bar without someone striking up a conversation with you. For someone who grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone…that’s my honey. I may be an introvert, but I also feel more awkward in social situations if I just sit at a bar and DON’T talk to the bartender, or the person sitting alone next to me. That’s just so weird to me. Because back home…I probably KNEW that bartender or that person sitting next to me. So when the girl in line behind me the other day at Target started laughing because she had a stack full of freezer meals and made fun of herself for being single, of course I chimed in about how not too long ago I was buying exactly the same thing! We were so distracted, the cashier had to cough to get my attention when it was my turn in line! Whoops!

It still doesn’t completely feel like home yet. My apartment does. I love our townhouse, with my office and the porch overlooking the neighborhood. But I’m still getting used to living in Texas. I’m trying to get out more often on my own, and I think once R’s store opens, that will help–we’ll get into a real routine, and I’ll stop by the store on my way back from yoga, like I used to do on my way home from work. We’re getting there. It was a bigger adjustment than I expected it to be, but it hasn’t necessarily been a bad one, just different.

I do really love that there is a taco stand on every block. Thank you lord for TexMex.

Goodbye Indianapolis

This morning is finally here. We are all packed (I’m prewriting this blog so the me that is writing this sincerely HOPES that everything gets done in time…) and are pulling out of our parking spots in Fishers IN, next destination Dallas–with a quick stop in Memphis for the night. My cat is most likely crying at the top of her lungs, and my radio is turned up full blast to drown her out.

I’ve been writing this post in my head for weeks. How do I say goodbye to Indy? As much as I have been looking forward to our next chapter, Naptown has become my home for so many wonderful reasons. I couldn’t leave without a tribute post.

For those who follow solely for book reviews…this is not one of those posts. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming soon. For those of you who know me personally…this one is for you.

Indiana has always been my home. I was born here, raised here, and I moved to NE Indianapolis three years ago. Has it really been that long? Hard to believe. As a small town girl, the move to the “big” city was a little overwhelming at first. I had no idea how quickly this city would change my life forever.

Indy is the place where I got my first out of college job. My first foray into the corporate world. No more 20 people businesses. This is a battle through real bureaucracy, constantly changing goals and bosses and coworkers. It’s been both a curse and a blessing, and I have grown so much from working here. I’ve met so many interesting and wonderful people, and thankfully I am able to keep my job as we move across the country.

Living here blessed with me with some of the best friends I have ever had. We are so close we are like sisters sometimes–and if you have to sit next to us at a restaurant on girls night…I’m sorry…we are LOUDDDDDD. Our group has been through hell and back and we fight for each other constantly. Moving away doesn’t change a thing, and I’m so glad I have these girls at my back.

I dated here, I kissed a LOT of frogs here. And finally, I met my prince here, and we got married here. We are both gigantic goofballs, but that is completely ok with us. I could not ask for a better partner to walk through life with. R is my absolute best friend, and we will go through life holding hands walking side by side.  Dallas is just one new adventure of many we will find, I’m sure.

My nephew came into the world here two years ago, and he is one of the great loves of my life. My Little Man is the sweetest, funniest little boy and I can’t wait to watch him grow up…even if it’s from afar. And, shortly after he was born, I met R, and so I met my niece and other nephew, and my life was blessed even further. Being an aunt is one of my favorite parts of life, I gotta say.

I learned about beer here. We will miss the beer culture in Naptown terribly–don’t be surprised if we hit you up for a shipment of Indy craft at some point. You know we are going to miss it!

I learned about baseball here. We had season tickets to the Indy Indians this year and had an absolute blast. Ed and Brendan, who ran our section, were the nicest guys in the worked. And who could forget Beer Mike! There’s no other beer vendor like him. Hopefully, he’ll come visit us in Dallas soon (he has family there), and bring us some Sun King! We even got the honor of ringing the bell after an Indians Victory!

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I became HAPPY here. I learned who I was here, I learned how to be me here. Because of that, Indy is not just a city, a point on a map. Indy is the people, the culture, the environment. To all of you here who made my life what it is now, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you. You can never know the size of the impact that you had on my life.

And now, because of all of this, I can move on. So, goodbye Indianapolis. Goodbye, Indiana. I will miss you. But I do not need you to hold me up anymore. I will visit soon. I love you all, so very much.

Favorite Library

Guys, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I read REALLY fast. Which means, I go through a LOT of books. And, while I would LOVE to buy everything I read…I am not Bill Gates. So, I have limited space, and a limited budget. *sigh*

I used to make weekly, sometimes biweekly trips to the library. And Indy has a great library system. Trust me–I’m used to small town libraries with a limited (although usually wonderful) collection. When I moved to the city, I couldn’t believe how many books I had access to. Suddenly, not only did I have one branch, I had several! I just had to request a book online, then my lovely librarians would pull it into my local branch from whatever location it was housed at. Awesome! Sure it took a little bit of wait time, but that’s ok. I didn’t mind that, because I have such an extensive list that I always knew ahead of time what I was going to read next.

I don’t remember where I found Overdrive. Maybe I saw an ad, or something on Twitter. But I know something caught my eye one day. “Wait…a library app? That exists?” So I downloaded it. And it has changed my entire reading world. Because now, I no longer have to drive to the library every week. I have access to all of the ebooks and audiobooks that the Indy libraries have in their files. And, now that I’m living in a neighboring county…I have access to THOSE files too. And if we move…guess what! I can have access to any of those libraries too. As long as I have a library card to a library who uses Overdrive for their ebooks–I can use the app to read.

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What I love most about this app is that it is compatible with all of my devices:  my phone, my kindle, even my computer. And it syncs to everything. So I can read a book on my breaks at work, then I can go home and read it on my tablet. Then, if I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, I have it on my phone too! To download it on my Paperwhite, I just have to click a few times on my computer first, and then it downloads automatically with WIFI.

I think one of the reasons I have read so much more this year is because I have so much more access to the books I really want to read. No more borrowing stacks of books and then running out of books that are just so-so. Don’t like the book I’m reading? Ok…download another one. It is so convenient.

Audio books work the same way, and most libraries have a huge collection. No more spending boukou bucks on Audible. No thanks. That’s a great product, I’ll admit, but I just don’t have the money for it, and I don’t listen to enough audiobooks to justify it. So, instead, I rent them from my library through Overdrive.

This app is so easy to use. Just enter your library card info and pin, and the app saves it. Then just start adding books to your wish list, hold list, etc. You can read the books on the browser, or download them to the app. I usually just read them on the browser rather than take up memory, because I read too fast to justify downloading them (which is why my screenshots show there’s no books on my shelf), but you can load them if you want.

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If you aren’t using Overdrive yet, you should be. FREE BOOKS PEOPLE! Stop pirating. Support your local libraries.

Favorite Book Store

There’s a place here in Indy that I’ve been wanting to tell you guys about for awhile, so when I saw Favorite Book Store on Tee’s list, I basically jumped up and down. This isn’t a review blog, but here’s my chance to share MY PLACE!

I have two big passions in my life:  BOOKS, of course, and food culture. Beer is a HUGE part of that second one. My husband and I are big time microbrew drinkers, and seek out local breweries wherever we go. So when I found out that there was someone opening up a book store slash brewery two minutes from my office. UM WHAT?!?!?!?!?! I am THERE.

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And guys. This place does NOT disappoint. The beer is awesome. The people are awesome. The front shop is stocked with used books of all sorts of genres. Last week, I found a mint condition Harry Potter #6. Hardback. I mean, come on. The back of house, where the really good stuff is is full of wooden tables and chairs where you can talk to anyone and everyone–conversation is highly encouraged.

They have a huge social calendar, which is available on their website. For me–that means bookclub, every Monday night. You’ve heard me talk about it here. We have a different theme every week, and it rotates. Lit, Sci-Fi, YA, and Non-Fiction. Our Upcoming books are: Night Circus (YA), Orange is the New Black (NonFic), Dorian Gray (Lit), Jurassic Park (Sci-Fi). Our group is quickly becoming friends, and the discussion is always lively.

They also have Tabletop Tuesday, Trivia Wednesday, and live music on most other nights. They also do a lot of after hours game nights. Just this weekend, they had people in to play Cards Against Humanity, which I was bummed to miss! It’s one of my favorites!

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The beer board from a few weeks ago. This varies a bit week to week.

The Brewmaster is starting to play around with his beer, and is changing taps every Friday, so make sure you get in and taste what he’s got. Right now he has a 200 IBU concoction that blew my mind. For someone who likes to be kicked in the head, this did not disappoint! I hear rumors of a chocolate milk stout this Friday…yummmmmmmmm…

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Smaug Grog Red IPA

 

Oh! I almost forgot, they do have food! They have terrific grilled cheeses filled with local products. They get their meats from Smoking Goose, and I can tell you, everything I’ve had is just delicious. The sandwiches come with homemade chips out of Broad Ripple.My favorite thing to get is the Frankenstein platter, which is a cheeseboard covered with cheeses and meats and olives and breads and holy crap is it good.

Can you tell that I love this place? If you are in Indy, especially on the north side, make sure to head their direction. This is the perfect place to let your geekiness shine. Everyone in the joint is welcoming and happy.

It IS a little out of the way, but worth the winding road to get there. You can find them behind the Bob Evan’s at 96th and 69. Come have a beer!