Sunday, November 18, 2012

Month in Review

Now that we're well into November, I figured it was the perfect time to give you an overview (with lots of pictures) of October, a.k.a. somehow the craziest month of grad school each year.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Local Celebrity

Everybody, I am married to a Bloomington celebrity!  I saw Knuffle Bunny last night with Julia and it was really good!  Enjoyable for children and adults alike.  Ben got spotted today by an admiring four-year-old who had seen it with her class.  She couldn't place him exactly though, and told her confused parents that he had seen him in a movie.  Adorable.  Ben is really good.  He (and the show) got raving reviews in the local newspaper, the Herald Times.  After the show Julia turned to me and exclaimed "you and Ben need to have babies immediately so that Ben can be the best dad in the world!"

Ben as "Shuper Dad" in Cardinal Stage's production of Knuffle Bunny

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Whoa, it's October?

Hi everyone.  So, much to Barbara's chagrin, it looks like posts are going to be more like once every fortnight rather than once a week.  "And we'd been doing so well to keep up our blog-once-a-week-New-Year's-resolution!" She says.  She's been incredibly busy, so, I've been asked to fill you guys in on what I've been doing while Barbara toils away at school.  I must say that Barbara is working incredibly hard, and she is doing really great work.  Just as an outside observer, I think her work is just at another level this year from last, and the amount of weight and pressure she is able to operate under this year is much greater than last.  She's focused, organized, and despite the amount of work she constantly has, maintains remarkable poise.  All in all, I'm very impressed.

As for what I'm doing, I have a show opening this week!  I've been in rehearsals for the last couple of weeks for a show at Cardinal Stage (I did Annie with them last year, and I just auditioned for the Wizard of Oz, so fingers crossed).  It's part of their Cardinal for Kids series and it's an incredibly fun musical based on the children's book Knuffle Bunny. Those of you who are parents may be familiar with it.  For those who aren't, you can read a synopsis here.  It's very fun, and very energetic.  It's only about 45 minutes long (it's for kids) but I literally collapse in sweat at the end of running it, and we have a few three show days.  It's been (and will continue to be, I'm sure) an adventure.

The other thing I'm working on is job searching.  I've talked about the job I had last year, but at the end of the school year I decided not to return.  It left me too drained emotionally to be able to pursue the things I actually want to be doing.  So the good news is that my blood pressure has dropped significantly (not joking), but the less good news is that I'm back in the job market.  One exciting possibility is that I may start teaching acting classes with local high schools and an arts studio.  That would be fantastic because it's sort of the only thing I've been specifically trained in, so here's hoping it works out.  In the mean time I've been getting applications for random places like grocery stores and such.  I'm not super picky, but I need to find something, so any prayers or good will you can send my way would be great.

It's a bit too early to go into much detail because there's just too much that's still up in the air, but I'm starting to have talks with a small local theater company about my one-man show, "Questions of the Heart: Gay Mormons and the Search for Identity."  I'll let you know more as things become more solid, but we may be aiming to debut at a fringe festival and from there I'd have a very mobile show I could take on the road.  So, hopefully more of that to come.

Finally, I've been enjoying house-husbanding.  I've always had a hard time remembering recipes I've done, and had no real organizational system.  So now I'm using Pinterest as my recipe book.  When I find recipes I'd like to try I pin them on my Food I Haven't Tried Yet board, and when I get around to making it, if I like it, it graduates up to the Tried and True board.  I'm discovering the very cool world of food blogs as a recipe resource.  I like them because the person doing it is usually just a homemaker like me, not a professional chef, and they write about it, so it's more like getting a recipe from a friend than a cook book.

Anyway, life is good.  We're enjoying it and looking forward to the fall season and holidays (which according to Pinterest is bearing down on us pretty strong).  This is the first time we've been in the same town two years in a row, so there are lots of things we know are coming up that we have to look forward to!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Powerpoint Master.

In the first four weeks of school I have made eight, count them, EIGHT, Powerpoint presentations.  I have learned so much about Powerpoint!  You can pre-record transitions and make them automatic, insert music and sound effects, not to mention animations... I love animations.  And I have not used them until now!  Well, friends, now at 26 I know better.  Animation is fun!  I know what you're thinking: "oh no, Barbara's presentations are probably super cheesy with too much swiveling, bouncing, and pulsing"  No no, I am super classy in my animation usage.  I mostly use fades and floats and I try to make it all very consistent.  I have very high standards.  If your thinking that I have gone too far, let me tell you about the powerpoint for my ritual class (this class is insanely insane, but more on that later).  It was an exercise called PechaKucha.  Here is an explanation from the official PechaKucha website (!!!)... (main points are in bold in case you don't want to read the whole thing):

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back to School?!

School officially started two weeks ago.  The evidence of school started a couple weeks before that.  The traffic became almost intolerable (construction combined with thousands of extra people is a terrible mix).  Also, stores began stockpiling things in preparation of back-to-school shopping that would occur when the new students arrived.  August 16th was widely known as the day to just stay inside your home, because it was the official dorm move-in-day.  Here are some pictures we took inside Target:

When we moved in last year, Target has already been left in shambles.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making Our House a Home

Boy is this long overdue!  We have been enjoying the fruits of our DIY labors for just about two weeks now, and just in time, too, because school is happening, folks.  It's happening with ferocity.  But that's for another post.

Last time we spoke I mentioned that we were eagerly attempting to do all we could to make this apartment feel like us.  To give it character and make a place we wanted to be.

First step: painting a wall in the living room.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Second Annual Resale Trail

Saturday, August 11th marked the Second Annual Resale Trail!  We rose at 6:30 am and departed at 7 armed with a positive, adventurous attitude, a list of things for our apartment, and our friends: Jaron, Nicole, and Mara.  We had good feelings, but no clue how great it would actually be.  We were ready for anything.

In line for the Hoosier to Hoosier sale.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A.B.A. (Always Better with Abbotts) in Chicago!

Okay, so A.B.A. is actually the American Bar Association, which brought Ben's brother, Josh, to Chicago for their annual conference August 1st-4th.  We thought "what the heck, we have half our stuff unpacked, let's go to Chicago!"

We had a little hiccup when we arrived in Indianapolis to take the train and discovered parking is $22/day.  Who does Indianapolis think it is, Chicago?!  But after getting a surprising full refund on our tickets (I thought the policy was to get vouchers for future travel) the blow of having to drive up ourselves was softened and we continued on our way.

 A good omen that our trip would be FABULOUS!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

... hello Fountain Park!

A week has past since we officially moved into our apartment at Fountain Park.  Half of that time we were actually in Chicago visiting Ben's brother, Josh, who in turn was there for an annual conference of the American Bar Association (more on that later...).

We already love this apartment so much more than our previous one. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A short post to sum up the other stuff.

Wednesday marked my final day working in the costume shop!  I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand: yay, no work!  I can focus on preparing for the upcoming school year; researching for shows, drawing, getting our finances in order, cooking, and generally having fun!  On the other hand, we need all the work we can get and I feel a slight discrepancy between how much we were told we'd work and how much we actually did.  But then I go lounge by the pool or curl up with a good book and remember the joys of summer vacation and the complaints float away.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rose Hill Cemetery

This week marks the beginning of Ben and I taking full advantage of what Bloomington has to offer.  First on the list: Rose Hill Cemetery.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Old(ish) Friends and New

Last Sunday evening we were met with a pleasant surprise: the Vaisey's - a family of six we met while we were in Berkeley - were in Bloomington visiting Rebekah's sister, Zilia.  They were only staying through breakfast the following morning, but with work in the costume shop winding down it was no problem for me to come into work a little late, so we scheduled a date.  Of course, we weren't in Berkeley very long and we didn't spend very much time with the Vaiseys before we all moved (they moved to South Carolina for Steve to teach Sociology at Duke) but when we did get together it was epic.  The same was true this time.  We only had a short time so we wasted none of it and had a blast in catching up.

 It was inexplicably good to see these people.  Obviously because they have good fashion taste.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Back in Bloomington

We've now been back from Europe for just over a month and we are in full summer mode. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012


After London Ben and I spent a week in Germany visiting the Meldrums, Tyler and Sara (friends from Berkeley) and the Canons, Krista and Chris (Krista and I attended undergrad together). 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ben's week in London!

Before I begin, here is a link to a post I wrote for IU about the class trips to Stratford-Upon-Avon and Bath.

My final week in London was fairly different than that of my peers because Ben came out to visit and not only did I get to play tour guide, helping to plan how to make the most of his four days - two of which would be almost completely on his own - but I also got to stay an extra two days longer than most people in the group.

Monday, June 11, 2012

You know you're a costume geek when...

My sister-in-law, Hillary, asked a very valid question: why am I in London to begin with?  Which made me realize how sad it is that in two weeks of blogging not only have I covered only four days of my trip, but I also haven't even mentioned my purpose in coming to the UK at all.  And now we're home and we need to get this trip written up!

That being said, I spent three weeks in London for a class called "Costume and Character: 18th and 19th Century English Costume and Society" led by my costume design professor at IU.  We lived in Nido Spitalfields, the tallest student housing building in the world.  It's a horribly modern building that, strangely enough, I didn't take any pictures of.

Left: Our housing, photo courtesy of the Nido Spitalfields website. Right: Our class building.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Stupid Moments

Last I left you I was arriving in London - now there's only five days left until we leave for Germany.  Seeing as how Katie brought Julia and me free cupcakes from the Sunday UpMarket and now it's 2am, I don't see me making a ton of progress but I'll do my best.

Katie and I arrived on Thursday, technically a day early.  Our apartment building is a two-year old highrise near White Chapel and Spitalfields - prime killing grounds for Jack-the-Ripper (a tour we decided to make a prioritysince it is relevant to the area).  The building is very modern and highly secure with sterile halls and rooms.  The best thing about the room is the huge window, along with a grated window that can open.  The worst thing about the room: the very flat pillow.

 The amazing view from my room.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The post you've all been waiting for...

... an update from London!

Just a forewarning that this is going to be a long post, as so much happens every single day, and it has been 12 days since I left (we'll see how far I can get tonight).  It's really quite amazing what we've done so far.  There will also be plenty of photos, but I'm creating a shutterfly account where all the pictures will be posted (there are also a sprinkling on facebook, but that's mainly to tag people)

Where better to start than from the beginning.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

and Ben too!

Hi everyone.  While Barbara's in London she will be continuing to post blogs about her amazing adventures.  Meanwhile, I'm going to drop a note or two about some of my goings-on while she's gone.

First, on Monday I drove Barbara up to O'Hare Airport in Chicago.  It's about a four or five hour drive, but it was significantly cheaper to fly out of Chicago.  Also, I was happy to take a day off and spend some time with Babs before she left.  The drive up was nice and in fact it was the first time we've driven to Chicago in the day time.  We were early enough, so we went to our favorite place to eat in Chicago (so far), Orange with a Peel.  As always (we've only been once before, but I say "always" because we plan to go as often as we can) we enjoyed the pancake flights, the frushi, and delicious savory sandwich.

The pancakes were different flavors from the last time we had them.  Unfortunately, we didn't document which flavors they were...

Monday, May 7, 2012


Looking back on this week, I feel as though nothing of significance has happened, but that's prooobably because I leave for the U.K. tomorrow.

In reality, a ton happened, obviously.  I mean, which of the weeks this year didn't have lots of stuff going on?  But this week was a little different as it was finals week... of my first year of grad school!  I finished it!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Okay, dear readers, the end is upon us!  By that, of course, I mean the end of my first year of grad school!  Next week is finals and a week from today I will be frantically packing to go to London (I leave the following Monday)!  My mantra right now is: Just keep working. Just keep working. London! London! London!  Ben's is similar, but he has four weeks left in school.

With the end of the year comes exciting (and some not so exciting) annual events.  Last week (I knew I was forgetting something in last week's post...) the MFAs and BFA seniors had a portfolio review.  We first years weren't required to present a finished portfolio, just whatever portfolio we had coming into school and a stack of things we've done throughout the year.  We met individually with the tech/design professors during the day to present our work and talk about our progress.  At 5:30 there was a reception open to the public.

Left: You may recognize the booklets in the back from my URTA presentation last year.  This picture is kind of a tease because you can't actually see much of the renderrings... apologies!
Right: The dresses I made!

 Some close-ups of my 20-inch renderings.
Left: Edward Gorey inspired renderings
Right: Late 18th century costumes.

The MFAs!

This Friday was Drama Prom (not Drama Proma, much to Ben's chagrin).  It was... a lovely evening during which we got dressed up and had some good food.  To be honest, the event was mostly geared towards the BFAs and they were way more into it than any of the MFAs were.  Not to mention that Pepperdine University's Theatre Department had a KILLER banquet each year, so I'm a tough critic (it's also possible that I just need to get over myself...)  But it was fun to see so many people dressed up.

Prom pictures!!!  This is also the first appearance of Benolds in the blog... see what I mean?!  And when they both have beards... whatch out!

The best part of the evening was the dramatic romance novel reading done by our costume professor and mentor, Linda.  Let me explain... Linda 1. is awesome, 2. is really well read and spoken, 3. is an amazing designer, 4. reads romance novels almost non-stop providing us with some great out-loud readings, and 5. writes some of her own.  Each year the Theatre Department's Student Activity Board holds an auction to raise money and this year an item on the docket was a reading of a romance novel excerpt custom written by Linda for the winner.  It was also to be read at Drama Prom.  Yay for us!

Benolds audaciously asked if they could go bowling while the long awards ceremony commenced and we informed them that firstly, no way could they bowl while we had to sit through the long list of awards; and secondly, Linda was on the program to read so it would be worth their while.  The verdict:  completely worth staying!

Ben kept track of where we were in the program - note his marks of exclamation next to Linda's reading.

Finally, yesterday evening Katie and Jeff hosted an end of the year cook-out at Jeff's house.  We were unfortunately rained in so it became a ... cook-in?  Regardless, it was a great final gathering with wonderful company, delicious food, and less noise (BFAs are loud).

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Little 5.

Bloomington prepared for and celebrated the Little 5 this week.  The Little 5 is a 50 mile bicycle race held each year at the IU Bloomington campus.  People celebrate by spending the entire week intoxicated and disrupting traffic in various ways (driving drunk, walking in front of moving cars, and other general mayhem).  I only witnessed glimpses of the festivities as I was mostly locked away in the theatre building preparing for finals, which are ONE WEEK AWAY!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Titanic Week

Looking back on this week it's hard to believe all that got accomplished.  Waiting for Lefty opened, I had three big assignments due, attended an amazing two-day master class for rendering in Photoshop, I broke my old phone and got a new one - finally joining Ben's phone plan, and managed to have an amazing girls' night with Julia and Erica (which involves a story about having an amazing husband).

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Week 13

Happy week 13 everyone!

After a month or so of hearing nothing from Indiana Festival Theatre (IFT - the summer stock theatre based out of IU) about Ben's audition for their summer productions we assumed that he was out of the running.  However, Wednesday Ben got an email asking if he was still interested and, if so, could he come in to read again on Friday?  Read he did and they offered him two rolls right on the spot!  He will be playing Hortensio in The Taming of the Shrew and Donald in You Can't Take It With You.  We are thrilled that he got cast and that he doesn't have to worry about finding a non-theatre job for the summer.  Plus we will be working together once again!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Catch Up

I know.  We missed last week.  It's just that it was a relatively uneventful week when you compare it to the weeks preceding it and I just keep putting it off until this week had completely finished. Now it'll just get combined into this week's entry.

So here's what's going on:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break Part I: Ben

So this week was spring break, and I (Ben) took the opportunity to cultivate the teeny bit of dirt we have around our back patio. I've always wanted to, but I've never planted a garden of any kind before, so this is my first attempt. I'm a little nervous about doing it so early in the year, but the weather has been agreeable, this was the only week I'd have time, and I don't have a mentor to give me any sound advice, so here I go. I made probably 3 trips to the local nursery getting info about plants, advice about soil etc. before I finally went and bought things.

First step was preparing the soil. I raked it out and pulled up all the weeds (which was much easier than when I did this when we first got here. There weren't nearly as many weeds.)

This is post-raking but pre-weeding

Spring Break Part II: Babs

So this week was spring break, and I (Barbara) got my hair cut!  I also got a lot of work done... but this post is about FUN!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An IU Addition!

This week was mid-term, and therefore, quite chaotic.  I didn't have any tests, but did have loads of projects.  Two rendering projects: a movement piece based on the Seven Deadly Sins and an upbeat musical called "The June Wedding." Each meant to give us practice using colored pencil on different colored paper, which is super cool!  A design project: 12 designs for the show of our choosing, in my case, "Blithe Spirit" by Noel Coward.  And I may or may not have finished my weekly draping project on time... it's okay, we get one free pass.  I apologize for not having anything to show for all my work... just know that at some point this summer I will have a very nicely updated online portfolio for you all to see.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Week at Home!

Hi everyone. We've had a very nice week with no trips or travels of any kind. ahh. But speaking of trips and travels we thought we' take this slow news week to tell you about some of our exciting summer plans! As of just recently, we have plane tickets to London! Barbara is going for a three week study abroad program with her school and I'm...also going. (mostly Babs felt bad that this will be her third time to the UK and I've never been. In fact other than my mission, I've never been out of the country.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


This week we went back to Chicago to claim our reward for winning a contest given by the Chicago Loop Alliance! 

The lights are now decked out for St. Patrick's Day - there's no music playing yet, but you can bet some great Irish music is in the works.

Monday, February 20, 2012


As many of you may already know, our week started out with a bang!  You may remember me writing about some funny lights we noticed around downtown Chicago:


Monday, February 13, 2012

Louisville, KY and a non-stick pan

Hi everyone! Ben here. I had the exciting week I guess so it's my turn to write the post. The day after we got home from Chicago (what an amazing and packed trip. Great blog post Barbara!), I went to a half day at work and then jumped in the car to head the opposite direction: South toward Kentucky.

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Glasses in the Windy City

Just a forewarning that this is going to be a long post because this weekend we went on a trip to Chicago!  We go back and forth about what our objective was in going; Ben likes to joke that it was a long drive to get art supplies, but really, it was SO much more.  We are both a little in shock at all we were able to see and do during a brief two-day trip.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Another Fun-Filled Week!

As the title denotes, it has been another busy week with tons of fun included.  Thursday and Friday I spent packing up costume storage because we are moving to a bigger, nicer building.  It's going to be pretty great.  The old building is getting demolished, and rumor has it that it was condemned?  But that really is just a rumor from someone in Slavic studies (shared the building with us)... so don't take my word for it.  It took three days just to pack up all the shoes!

Friday we went bowling on campus (that's right folks, a bowling alley ON CAMPUS!) with the "Party of Two" (a.k.a. P.O.T.  maybe not the best acronym...) group from church.  This group is comprised of couples without children.  It was a blast getting to know some more people and I happened to kick everyone's butts in the second game... Ben did really well too :)

Saturday night was Arts and Culture night at church.  We thought this was just a fancy way to say "Talent Show" but it really was quite the classy affair.  In the Relief Society room paintings, pottery, and other visual arts were displayed.  I set up my four little portfolio books I displayed at U/RTAs last year. With the highly reputable Jacobs School of Music here, we have a very musically skilled congregation.  There were arias sung, classical piano, violins, Jazz, tap dancing and MAGIC!  That's right, folks, Ben was a HIT with a short magic show which I recorded!  So, without further ado, here is the video I've been promising :) (I apologize for making the one sideways... I didn't have the forethought when I was recording)  Enjoy and have a great week!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Super, Duper, Pooper Scooper Fast!

Three-year-old Daniel provided us with this quote-of-the-morning in primary at church this morning when challenged to sing "head, shoulders, knees, and toes" as fast as he could.

First order of business: I have discovered the snail mail version of twitter and it's FABULOUS! It's called Post Crossing.  I won't make you suffer through my terrible descriptions, but it's extremely exciting.  If you love checking the mail like I do, now you can actually know that something good is coming.  I hang the post cards I receive in my cubical at school which makes for an interesting and fun-looking work space.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dear California: We miss 70 degree winters.

So winter is officially here and I'm not sure I like it.  We finally got Ben a pair of gloves, so that helps a bit, but I still need some shoes with good grip, and our car is making strange noises.  Ben and I have each had two scary driving incidences where we continue straight too long after we've turned the steering wheel.  Luckily, we haven't had any accidents and we will continue to drive at about 5mph when snow is visible.  Also, our apartment is a little drafty...

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Christmas Tree has come down...

... marking the end of Christmas break (or at least MY break, Ben has been back for four days already).  I don't think I've ever appreciated a break more than I have this time around, and boy did we cherish it!

The first week we mad-dashed around getting Christmas presents together and our very first annual Christmas letter sent off.

This is our photo-booth Christmas picture:

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