I am Dusty

I bought this incredible hat.

I think I’m a hat person, though I haven’t worn hats since I got a pixie cut because the whole look was too shocking. Sure, I could rock having a virtually no hair on the back of my head, but wearing a hat without hair seemed too overwhelming.

But now my hair has grown, and hats are coming back into my life. So I bought a one. It’s a Pepperdine hat. I don’t have many Pepperdine clothes. Half my wardrobe is made up of Indiana University plastered t-shirts, but I hardly have anything for poor Pepperdine. That’s weird because it feels like I actively invested in my Pepperdine life more than my IU one without anything to show for it. Well, until my hat.

I bought my hat at a garage sale for a $1. I did not buy the double-decker bus that would be perfect for a future baby’s nursery because it was $5, and that was out of my price range. (Especially since Jill got a coaster collection for 75 cents.) (It’s my opinion that coasters and dusty toy buses should be close in price.) (This is all very important information.)

That morning Jill and I went rollerblading. I dressed in my running spandex, strapped on my helmet, and flailed my arms. Jill wore her sundress and brought the agility of Apolo Ohno. The two of us went rollerblading until I fell enough that Jill said we should stop.

So then we went to a garage sale. Naturally. I wish they had had kneepads there, but instead they had the love of my life: my Pepperdine hat.

I bought the hat as a half joke. To be honest, I’m not on board with the flat bill look. I’m pretty sure I made fun of my brother for wearing his flat hat last month. Rhett, I am sorry.

But I bought the hat. And I wore the hat. And I love the hat. But today I realized something about the hat.

This morning I put on just enough clothing to leave the house. I don’t mean it wasn’t much in fabric, but it wasn’t much in quality. That’s how I’ve been dressing lately. I pick out a shirt that smells decent, bottoms in varying length depending on how recently I’ve shaved my legs, and the same sandals. I repeatedly paint my big toenails before I go out the door. (It feels like they’re all painted if those ones are). So I walked through the June gloom to my car feeling awesome in my hat and my baggy shirt and wet two toenails.

And then I saw my reflection in the car door. I recognized that person, but it wasn’t me. Goofy smile. Big hat. Straw hair poking out everywhere. Crazy shirt that’s too big. Who do I look like?

And then it hit me. And here’s what this blog post is really about.

I look like Dusty from Twister.

dustyfromtwistertwister-435x580Maybe on a different day, I would have been upset about this. After all, Dusty looks like a slob and is a man. But on this day, I shrugged and completely accepted that I do look like Dusty from Twister. There was no denying it. I turned up Led Zeppelin and hit my steering wheel with the beat.

Then, I realized I not only look like Dusty, I freaking am Dusty.

Where do I go from here? Do I need to wear hoodies over my hat? Am I supposed to be a storm chaser? Do I need an RV? I think I need an RV. Dusty would like that.

My first move has obviously been to repeat this line:



Am I insane? Not for thinking that I’m like Dusty, of course, because that’s just the truth. But Dusty seems a little off. Does this mean I’m a little off? I guess I am if I’m Dusty.

And here’s the thing. Being Dusty means just going for it. 100% being yourself even when that’s weird and even when it’s not. I love that. To think of the time I’ve wasted trying to be a Bill Paxton–reenacting his emotional “Me, Joe” speech–or fearing I was an Aunt Meg. All this time, I’ve been a Dusty: a sloppy oddball with the most fantastic, loved, cheap hat.

The Bachelor Party

Is it such a crime?

I mean, in a world where I could spend my Monday night ironically checking out the newest Gastropub renovated from a movie theater complete with a bronze mural of the Tenenbaums that serves some sort of imitation meat pie by a bearded man without a beard net, is my choice so bad?

I don’t think so, and yet… I am embarrassed. If I had gone to something like that Gastropub (most likely named “The Sweaty-Toothed Madman”), I could feel free to brag right now. I could boast in my most recent foodie/hipster/unique conquest.

But this I keep to myself. I hide it within. I keep my mouth shut and my ears open. In the lunch room at work, my head shoots toward the whispers.

“Farmer Chris.”


My hope is shot down when I realize they’re discussing a distant relative and also Citizen Kane. (For the record, I would actually not be that disappointed if this were the topics of discussion during lunch.)

I, like what seems to be very few self-respecting women, can’t help myself. I like The Bachelor and not in an ironic way.

In fact, one of the highlights of my week is The Bachelor Party hosted by Jill.

(Are they hosted by Jill? I mean, they’re at Jill and Rachelle’s place, but Rob’s the one cooking. Rachelle is the one baking. Jill’s the one telling Rob to make a dirty diet coke after I whisper in her ear. Really, they’re all the hosts, and I’m the ultimate consumer.)

I think, quite possibly, we have the best The Bachelor Party in the world.

I sit there, as we all do, sprawled out on the couches, cocooned in blankets, with homemade buffalo chicken dip an arm’s reach away. I sigh when Chris Harrison enters the room in his navy suit. The sigh says, “I wonder if life can get sweeter.”

When drama happens–basically the whole show!–the entire party gets restless.

Arms start flailing! The buffalo dip is forgotten! Voices rise! (One of these three is not true.)

“She’s insane! How can he not see?!”

But it’s not all tearing these women down. I promise. Sometimes we find ourselves getting too involved: pulled in 25 different directions.

“Poor thing. She’s the Anne Hathaway of the group.” “Yeah. Trying too hard.”

And then, when they go home, things get rough for us all.

“I hate this part. I want to be the person who’s there to hold them and tell them that this was not the love of their life.”

I don’t know. Maybe I am crazy to be this involved. Maybe I’m one of those silly girls I always never wanted to be.

But I don’t think so.  I mean, yes, I’m silly. I know this, but I like who I am: this silly, Bachelor-watching, fails-to-blog-regularly, talks-to-much, watches-old-60-minutes-episodes-and-also-tennis-matches-when-she-can’t-sleep girl. I know where I’ll be on my Monday night, surrounded by friends and food and watching a huge group of people search for love. I even hope two people find it. Maybe that makes me silly and the worst kind of viewer, but I also think it makes me silly and the best kind of viewer. Besides, I’d rather be there than at the Sweaty-Toothed Madman, choking down a home brew (obviously called “Barbaric Yawp”).

(I have to say, I kind of want to go to this restaurant. Excuse me: “eatery experience.”)

Sea Glass at Last

I have good news, but first…

I’m unemployed. I don’t where I’ll be living in August. My hair has been perpetually in an “awkward phase” for two years. (I continue to blame the stylist I visited in June 2012.) Sometimes when I call my family, they don’t answer because they claim to be “at work” during the day. Ha! My right arm is kind of sore. I think I slept on it wrong.

This was the way I was thinking about my life a month ago. I was a complainer.

Then, I kind of sort of a bit realized that maybe my life is pretty much almost practically… awesome.

I’m finishing my master’s degree at 23. I have a bright, cheery apartment for at least the next two months. I have hair. I have an incredible family full of goofballs who leave silly voicemails. God has a crazy good plan for my life, and my right arm bends and looks good doing it.

This is the way I’m choosing to think today. I have an astounding amount of blessings, and I’m so grateful for this life.

Where was I going with this? Ah, good news! The thing about good news is that it needs to be recognized.

There are some writers who think of story ideas constantly. I used to think they were crazy, but then I made a conscious effort to hold onto the ideas passing through my head somewhere between “my arm hurts” and “is this milk okay to drink?” Over time (and it’s still a working progress), I trained my brain to recognize an idea as it passes. Although I’m not to the constant-idea machine level, I am much better.

The same is true with good news. A month ago, the good stuff was hidden under a smog of life and frustrations, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. I just had to clear that other stuff out. I needed to train (and am still training) my brain to recognize the amazingly good things in my life.

I had a bit of good news yesterday, but I almost didn’t recognize it; I found my first piece of sea glass.

(I know I’m jumping around a lot. Welcome to my world.)

I won’t say that I’ve been looking for a piece of sea glass my whole life, but ten years sounds about right. Maybe you’re thinking that if I really wanted to find a piece of sea glass, I would have scoured every beach and found one in a week. I live next to the ocean, for crying out loud! Well, maybe you geography nerds out there might realize that it was a bit hard to find a beach with sea glass in my previous location of Indiana. (After 90 seconds of research, it has come to my attention that apparently you can find sea glass at Lake Michigan. I apologize for the snark.)

But, guys, I haven’t been obsessing over sea glass. Who do you think I am? [Insert famous sea glass artist here]?!

It’s been more of a casual pursuit. On vacations I would look, and now that I live close to the ocean, I half-heartedly scan the shore as I walk. Then, yesterday, my brother and I were looking for cool rocks (because we’re cool like that).

Rhett at beach

Did someone say RFK?

(I realize that JFK is usually considered to be the better style icon, and therefore some might feel that he is the one to reference here, but since I have an unexplained preference for RFK (I think it’s the teeth), I chose him because it is my blog. Thank you.)

PS We found some really cool rocks (because we’re cool like that). Look at these things.


Then, I picked what I thought was a frosty, white rock out of the sand. Rhett said, “Hey, sea glass,” in a chain-smoker’s voice (read: Mama Fratelli).

(Note: Rhett doesn’t smoke or have a chain-smoker voice, but this is my story.)

I took another look at the vaguely triangular object in my hand. Could it be? After years of searching, could I have actually… not even recognized that I had sea glass in my hand?! Yes. Yes, it was. Yes, I didn’t get it. Yes, I’m entirely too thankful to have a brother who’s better at identifying tidal leftovers than I am.

I have my sea glass at last, and you know what? I’m not exactly sure what life lesson to draw from finding it.

But since writing the sentence right before this one, I’ve had a thought. It’s been really fun looking for sea glass for the past decade. The beach is a pretty amazing place. It was a lot of fun finding sea glass yesterday. It will probably continue to be a lot of fun finding the next piece and the one after that and the one after that. Life is full of beautiful pieces of sea glass, and sometimes the piece I want is right in the palm of my hand. I just have to recognize it.


I apologize for the number of parentheticals in this post. (Seriously.)


still alive

I’m still alive!

Ha ha ha ha stayin alive, stayin alive!

The Bee Gees! I can do a pretty good Barry Gibb impression, by the way.

Did you know that Stayin Alive has the perfect tempo for CPR compressions? The more you know… brought to you by lifeguard training.

Yes, I was a lifeguard once. I got the most amazing tan lines you can imagine, and I was able to show them off at my brother’s wedding. Don’t worry, those pictures will just be framed and on display for the rest of my life. No big deal.

Wedding Guest: “Hilary, is that a white t-shirt under your dress?”

Me: “No.” **Silent tears**

I feel like we got off-topic. Back to the beginning.

I’m still alive!

I’m sorry I’ve neglected this blog. Although, I’m sure no one too disappointed (except for my mom).

I’ve been having some adventures since I last posted.


I flew to Denver to see my Norwegian Rachel. I was able to tell her, “You haven’t seen Frozen?! It’s the film of your people!” Worth the trip just for that conversation, I think.

But mostly I’ve been snuggling my dog and trying to not be sick, which is hard when you are sick.


I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist putting a picture of Ms. Estelle Getty in here. Proud Dog Mom. (Is that a bumper sticker? Someone keep it far away from me if it is. Far, far away.)

Anywho, I wish you a very happy rest of your week, and I hope that you, too, get a “Let The Good Times Cinnamon Roll” photo op for Mardi Gras. Although, I suggest you don’t lean over or be sick in said photo op because it will make you look eight inches shorter and twenty IQ points lesser (but that won’t stop you from liking the picture!).






growing out a pixie cut is the worst

I know you’re all dying for an update on my hair.

Last summer I trimmed my pixie for the “last” time. It was the last cut before the great grow out, the final feast before the epic quest. I braced myself for the days of graceless hair ahead, but I had no idea of the trials that would befall me in winter. No idea at all.

In my defense, I trimmed the mullet along the way. I knew that much from pinterest, but not even mullet trimming can prepare you for the ear-length-bob-now-I-look-like-a-Bob months. That’s right. Months. The hairs (all of them) beg to be pulled back into a half-updo, yet cannot reach the clip. The agony!

What they said–no idea who “they” are–is true: growing out a pixie cut is one of the worst experiences in the world. Growing out a pixie cut should warrant some sort of major award. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking automatic stellar hair-days forever or a year’s supply of Propel water. (Am I the only one still drinking those things?)

Growing out a pixie cut requires a six-month hiatus from mirrors.

Growing out a pixie is like carrying the One Ring across Middle Earth to be destroyed in Mordor. I took on this impossible mission and began the trek.

But then February came, and like Frodo, I failed. I got to the edge of the Cracks of Doom, but couldn’t complete my task.

In other words, I got my hair cut on Saturday.

I even had a stylist (Sauron? Gollum?) that said, “I wouldn’t keep your natural color. It’s kind of dead mouse brown,” and then she washed my hair. “What I’m putting on your hair is called shampoo. You should try it sometime.”

I’m not kidding. But I think she was?

Then I stepped out of the salon (Mount Doom) with cut hair. Short hair. Looks-like-I-never-beared-THE-ONE-RING hair.

Oh, well. The good thing about short hair (one of the many) is the reminder that it’s just hair.

Maybe next time I decide to grow it out I’ll keep that in mind. For now, I’ll just enjoy making it stick up in weird ways.


searching for john green

So I haven’t met John Green.

Despite being from Indianapolis.

Despite looking for him every time I’m at the Indy airport.

Despite showing his picture to my family just in case they see him in Indianapolis and can tell him who I am (because then he’d remember it forever).

In fact, my family is completely unhelpful. Rhett even said, “He looks like any other man I’ve ever seen in Indianapolis.” Excuse me, Rhett? Do you have eyes? Do you even care about this at all? “No,” he’d say.

Despite all of this, I have imagined meeting John Green for some time now…

I walk around the Indy airport, about to leave to go back to California. Maybe it’s summertime. Maybe it’s not.

Mom & Dad dropped me off early, so I’m walking along looking at the work by Hoosier artists displayed in glass cases because that’s what I do at the airport. (I do not utilize as much of the free WiFi as possible. No.)

In the reflection of the glass I see a puff of hair. A big hair puff. And under this hair is the leader of Nerdfighters: Mr. John Green.

I turn.

Me: You’re John Green.

JG: Hi. How’s it going?

Me: Really great! How are you? How’s it- how you?

JG: I’m well.

Me: I’m not a crazy one. The people who hyperventilate because they’re so excited to see you. I mean, they aren’t crazy because they’re just super excited to meet you because you’ve made a huge impact on them and that’s cool I just mean that I’m not like that I mean, yes, I’m a fan, and- and- and- and- and- Oh gosh.

JG: Thank you.

John Green starts to walk away. This is worse than Ralphie seeing Santa. I have to think fast.


John Green turns back and smiles a little.

Me: I love the vlogbrothers and what they stand for. I participate in Esther Day. That’s one of the coolest initiatives, and you’re you’re you’re a great writer as well.

John Green nods.

JG (telepathically): Yes. Yes, I am.

Me: I could maybe babysit your kids sometime, or go to lunch with your wife.

JG: No.

John Green walks away.

And that would be it.

Even in my imagination, this interaction does not go well, but I will continue to imagine. I will still look around at the airport. I will still show my family his picture.

I will still pretend to think that if we met, we would be friends because… aren’t we already?

Isn’t that what happens when you are pulled into a world that someone creates? You read and watch, and suddenly you know who they are. And they know exactly who you are because what they’re saying verbalizes all of the feelings you have and even the ones you didn’t know you have. That’s what’s so cool about telling stories and sharing them. The stories and storytellers become almost as dear of confidants as the people who are actually around us. Reading and watching is as comforting as a hug from a good friend.

So even if a real meeting with John Green would go as spectacularly terrible as the one I’ve imagined (and most likely it would), it’s okay because we’re friends already (he just doesn’t know it yet).

throwback thursday

In the words of Paul Revere: Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!

We have a tradition in the Miller home of (the kids) taking turns to pick out the Christmas tree. I picked this year’s. It’s gorgeous. The last time I picked a tree was seven years ago (which makes me think my turn was skipped or I’m a liar and picked another one in there). Anyway, the last tree I picked was a thing to behold. A beast. A beaut. A symbol of the magnitude of joy Christmas contains.

(My dad is 6’1″ by the way.)


Oh, and if you want to know what to get me film lovers for Christmas, this short gift guide might help you out: LYDIA.

catching fire, feel the flame

That’s an epic title, am I right?

This Thursday evening I had the profound pleasure of seeing Catching Fire, but this wasn’t just any Catching Fire experience.  This. Was. SO COOL.

I got out of class at 10.  Night class, am I right?

We get to the Chinese Theatre at 11.  We transform into mega-Hunger Games fans at approximately 11:05.  Right around here.


Let the ridiculousness begin!  The ridiculousness was spectacular. The movie was spectacular.  Jennifer Lawrence was spectacular.

I mean, the Chinese Theatre, am I right? Okay, I’ll stop.


The last time I went to the Chinese Theatre I saw Gravity, or in the words of Jill: “We WERE Gravity.”

This time was just as magical.  Also, seeing movies with good friends, like my Italian Rachel is magical, am I right? Last one, I swear.  Check out Rach’s silly face and Jill’s neck below. Oh, and Peeta.  That’s all.


things i like (that no one else does)

Okay. I know everyone feels like this at some point in their lives, or for their entire lives.  You fall in like with something. You can’t get enough of it.  You share it with your best friend, your mom, your dog, and no one is as interested as you are.  This is pretty common in my life, and I’d like to share some of my favorite things (that no one else likes) with you.

KATHERINE HEIGL// People really don’t like Izzie Stevens. Oh, what’s that?  You LOVED Izzie, but you HATE Katherine? Nope. Sorry. They’re a package deal.  Katherine Heigl rescues dogs, has two beautiful children, and is still married to her husband.  Her mom is her manager (still), and she makes cute movies.  27 Dresses wasn’t trying to be The Black Swan, folks.  I encourage everyone to catch either the 1996 Disney Channel classic, Wish Upon A Star, or the 2003 Hallmark finest, Love Comes Softly, in hopes that their opinions would be altered.

SEATTLE’S BEST COFFEE// Everyone is on The Starbucks Train or The Coffee Bean Train or The Peet’s Train (which I also love), and poor Seattle’s Best is stuck at the caboose.  I understand that Starbucks and Seattle’s Best are owned by the same company.  Let me say that again: People who like to say Starbucks is better, they are owned by the same company. Get it?  My main reason for loving Seattle’s Best is their gingerbread latte (another thing that a lot of people hate).  They put a little gingerbread man on top of the whipped cream.  Adorable!

ONCE UPON A TIME// Admittedly, I have a friend with me on this.  A SINGLE FRIEND.  I don’t understand!  Every week is a fairytale on this show! It’s good vs. evil.  It’s a tale as old as time.  Literally, Belle is on the show.  Why aren’t people (my friends) watching?  Remember how people went ga-ga over Lost? Well, it’s the same creators! Ahhh, I don’t know.  I love it.  I love Mary Margaret’s pixie cut and Rumpelstiltskin’s odd romance with Belle.  Oh, and don’t even get me started on Hook. Hello, hunk! You should check it out, but you probably won’t and that’s okay.  Fyi, I recap this show for Lydia Mag.

CROCS// I’ve had my fair share of Crocs in my life.  I even had a couple of Mickey charms that went in the little holes on the top.  People out there hate crocs. Why?! They’re like flip flops with more support.  They feel like slippers.  I’m behind them 100%.

THIS MEANS WAR// The movie.  Everyone hated this movie. I really liked it.  It was funny and cute and had action.  Plus, Chelsea Handler and Tom Hardy in the same movie? Sign me up. I get that it has issues, but let’s not all pretend that we didn’t go around quoting Congo before it suddenly became uncool. “Amy, good mother.”  “Stop eating my sesame cake!”

BOARD GAMES// Okay, people like these, but usually not enough people like them to be able to play one.  Whyyyyyyyy?!  Scattergories, I miss you! I will say that if I sound depressed on the phone, my mom will play online scrabble with me.  I’ve gotten really good at fake tears.  I mean…

But really, people. Let’s play board games. Mmkay?

Happy Monday! Make it great!

12 days of Christmas films

I know it’s early, but I couldn’t resist.  Plus, I used “films” instead of “movies” in the title, so this is a fancy post, not a silly one. Okay, okay, it’s a silly one.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s not much to me that isn’t silly and crazy and weird.  I’m just going to do a list.  Kind of lazy, right?  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s not much to me that isn’t lazy and silly and crazy and weird.  What else can I add to that list?  Oh, that’s a post for another time.  Anywho, here are my 12 favorite Christmas films.


It’s a Wonderful Life (Zuzu’s petals!)

A Christmas Story (Scut Farcus is the worst villain the world has ever known)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

The Santa Clause (only the first one makes this list)


White Christmas

Prancer (Prancer! Prancer!)

Hallmark’s A Princess For Christmas (a classic!!)

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer


Christmas With The Kranks (“Haha, she must be kidding!” Oh, shut up.  It’s funny)

Miracle On 34th Street (a twofer. Both original and remake are a-okay!)


Merry Christmas to yooooooooou!  It’s not even Thanksgiving…