Things I’ve done to procrastinate today:
Take the dog on a walk
Listen to a podcast
Eat a snack
[Go to a meeting]
Make some tea
Eat early lunch
Run to the grocery store (just real fast)
Search Craigslist for various cars and pieces of furniture
Eat an apple
Search Zillow in five different cities (just in case)
[Respond to one work email]
Read neighborhood newsletter
Order replacement CrockPot piece
Think about everything I’ve done wrong in life
Research skin care brands
Learn all the words to JT’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”
Realize I now have four hours until deadline
Write list of everything I’ve done to procrastinate today
GET TO WORK
...now browsing by category
Things I’ve done to procrastinate today:
In anxious anticipation of next week’s release of the Netflix special Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, I give you my ranking of the series’ characters, worst to best. Not mentioned is the wretched “La la la la laaaaaaa” soundtrack, which would fall somewhere between Mrs. Kim and April.
Disagree with my ranking? I want to know how you’d list them! (Just don’t tell me you’re a fan of Kirk — or Dean, that sad sack.)
There is no better summation of my 2015 than this: Everything Changed and I Cried.
I should caveat this by saying that right now, in the last days of the year, I am steady and stable and grateful for my life and current situation. It took a little while, but here I am.
But for the last 363 days until now, 2015 has been a doozy. One year ago today, I lived in Denver and had no inkling I was about to turn my entire world upside down with one little job application. Fast forward until now, having made it through five months of an interview process, an eventual job offer, the selling of one house, the purchasing of another, a cross-country move, the beginning of a new job (in a new role with new people and new responsibilities), and all that goes along with “starting over” in a new city, and here I stand, scratching my head and wondering where the year went.
Given that the last 12 months were a blur (I don’t remember the first half of the year at all), I figured I’d take a page from my girl Dani’s book and reflect via a listicle. If you’re a blogger (or even just a journaler), feel free to lift these questions — I found it to be a helpful way to sort out the past year.
1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
I sold a house, moved for a job, mowed a lawn, and helped harvest honey on a friend’s farm.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
In the name of self-acceptance, I didn’t make any resolutions at the beginning of 2015. I am now feeling snarky about that concept, and would like to change everything about myself in order to be better, cooler, and prettier in 2016. My goals for the coming year will flow from this place of self-loathing.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Just about everyone, it feels like. Welcome Willa, Arthur, Adelay, Blake, Harriet, Autumn, Jenna, Griffin, Hank, Ramona, and many others! (Theo, Teddy, and Eliza just missed the cut, arriving in late December 2014.)
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, not even my car, thank God.
5. What countries did you visit?
USA all the way.
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you didn’t have in 2015?
The runner’s booty.
7. What dates from 2015 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
July 3. I left Colorado and didn’t stop until I got to Minnesota.
8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Accepting the fact that people do what makes sense to them, and it’s useless trying to control them. It’s even okay to forgive them.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I let my heart get entangled with someone who didn’t like me as much as I liked him. Such is life. I definitely wouldn’t call it a “failure,” though, since given the option, I think it’s always best to use one’s heart instead of protecting it. #noregrets
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I have been consistently dizzy for the past month, experiencing about two bloody noses per week (one of which occurred five minutes after I finished singing “Breath of Heaven” for my mom’s church on Christmas Eve — happy holidays). I am not dehydrated, so the only other option according to WebMD is that I have a fatal disease. Stay tuned!
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A new house, obviously. But I’m also quite fond of my new pom-pom hat.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Kristen, who quit her comfortable life in Denver to take a really difficult but important job in Jackson, Mississippi. Kayla, who went beast mode on her dreams and started a non-profit initiative designed to empower women. Anna Talley, who drove Foxy from Denver to Minneapolis. Becca Groves who, after being 10 days overdue, made it through a 54-hour labor to deliver sweet baby Hattie. Glennon Doyle Melton & friends who took actual action to assist with the refugee crisis. The guys with the eagle.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
14. Where did most of your money go?
My fence. RIP, money.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I was really, really, really excited when I was offered the job I am now in. I also was really, really, really excited when Foxy finally arrived in Minnesota, bringing our month-long separation to a close. And I bought a ticket to Hong Kong for a trip that’s now only seven weeks away!
16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
I wish I had a cooler answer, but “Stay a Little Longer” by the Brothers Osborne.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Sadder (only slightly). Fatter (only slightly). Poorer (but more money always comes). But I never want to say the sentence “I am sadder, fatter, and poorer than I was last year,” so let’s forget this ever happened, shall we?
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Hiking while I lived in Colorado. I did a lot, but it’s never enough — especially now that I live in a less hike-worthy state (but nonetheless pretty and explore-able).
I also wish I had written more.
I also wish I had cooked more actual dinners.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasting time on social media.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
I woke up and drank coffee with my mom, then took Foxy on a walk, then read for a while, then ate grilled chicken and salad, then went to see Joy. No presents — that will happen tonight.
21. Did you fall in love?
No, but I suppose I could have if circumstances had been different. Ain’t that always the case.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate’s a very strong word, and I don’t hate anyone. No.
24. What was the best book you read?
My favorite book always tends to be the one I’m currently reading — which right now is All the Light We Cannot See.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
26. What did you want and get?
A house with a guest room, a yard, a front porch swing, and a basement.
27. What did you want and not get?
I can’t be trusted to answer this question. I could share an entire Rolodex of the things I wished for, but then Garth Brooks would start singing “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers” and I would be totally pwned.
28. What was your favorite film of 2015?
I watched so few movies in 2015. I never saw Inside Out, Star Wars, Creed, Trainwreck, Steve Jobs, Still Alice… in fact, the only movie I saw on this list of Top 100 Movies of 2015 is Selma. So I guess Selma? (To be fair, Selma was very good.)
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I went to work, had a visit from my mom and nephews at the office, and ate salmon and salad for dinner. I am now 33, the same age as Bridget Jones and Jesus.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
The runner’s booty.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2015?
Lazy and generally misguided.
32. What kept you sane?
Long walks and the occasional anti-anxiety pill (honesty is the best policy).
33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Gun control. There is absolutely zero reason why a civilian should have access to an assault rifle.
34. Who did you miss?
My girlfriends from Denver.
35. Who was the best new person you met?
36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Don’t leave Foxy at a friend’s house with white carpet.
37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
When you see the one you used to love
Beneath the mistletoe
With a girl you’ve never seen before
Who’s dressed just like a ho-ho-ho
All in all, 2015 was an exciting but stressful, transitional year that was a necessary step in order to get to a new chapter — one that I believe was the next right step. I am ready to see what 2016 holds, and I really hope it doesn’t include Donald Trump as president. Kumbaya.
Even if better songs are written in the future, I will always love these best.*
*Not a guarantee. Except for the first one, which will never, ever be unseated.
Lori McKenna, “The Luxury of Knowing”
Jonatha Brooke, “Because I Told You So”
Court Yard Hounds (w/ Jakob Dylan), “See You in the Spring”
Lee Ann Womack, “I May Hate Myself in the Morning”
Gretchen Peters, “Circus Girl”
Gretchen Peters, “Five Minutes”
Patty Griffin, “Trapeze”
Sugarland, “Want To”
Just ignore some of the YouTube videos, mmmkay? Just listen to the songs.
Also, I recently updated my About Me page. It’s nothing you don’t already know. But there it is.
My entire office takes the last two weeks of August off. It’s such a brilliant idea, because when everyone is out of the office, no one needs to catch up when we all return. Everything just… pauses… and then it starts again.
I knew that this break was coming, so I thought about what I might want to do – visit Seattle, or Nashville, or Denver, or even Hong Kong (dream big) – but in the end, I decided to stay right here in the old M-P-L-S.
It was such a good decision.
Don’t get me wrong – the last two weeks have been quiet as a mouse. Many boring tasks were attended to. I spent 90% of my time alone – by choice, because as an introvert, this was a DREAM COME TRUE.
Since I’m heading back to work tomorrow morning, I thought I’d list all that’s been accomplished in the last 17 days:
- Enrolled in my new 401K
- Rolled over my old 401K
- Found a new dentist, and had my old records sent over
- Found a new vet for Foxy, and had her old records sent over
- Vacuumed my car
- Weeded every flower bed in my yard
- Picked up all of the sticks in my yard
- Visited the DMV for the third time
- Touched up paint in the bathroom
- Bought a desk off Craigslist
- Bought a headboard for the guest bed off Craigslist
- Bought bedding for the guest bed
- Mowed the lawn
- Organized the work bench in the basement
- Visited the Minnehaha dog park seven times
- Visited Wisconsin twice
- Read two books (For the Love, The Invention of Wings)
- Watched two movies (The Theory of Everything, Whiplash – and I sent Birdman back before finishing it)
- Watched Good Morning America every day
- Killed a mouse in the kitchen
- Got an oil change
- Got a massage
- Brushed the dog (Foxy’s coat is VERY soft these days – I blame Solid Gold)
- Got the dog enrolled in doggie daycare, just in case I ever decide to take her (the jury is still out)
- Organized my closets
- Made multiple CrockPot freezer meals to get ready for the fall
- Arranged for gutters to be installed
- Arranged for the way-high-up trees to be trimmed
- Figured out my property boundaries without the help of a land surveyor (I shall keep my $900, thankyouverymuch)
- Got YARD WASTE stickers for my bins
- Installed new ink cartridges in my printer
- Hosted Greta and Jeff for two nights
- Hung pictures on the walls
- Hung a door back on the hinges all by myself
- Got a toilet brush and a paper towel holder and a kettle
- Edited a piece I’ve written for a magazine
- Hit 20K+ steps on my Fitbit a lot of days
- Bought a ticket to Hong Kong after all
GRIN. I am smiling so huge. I’ve wanted to visit my dear friends in Hong Kong since I was in high school, and come February, I’ll finally get my chance!
I am so grateful for an uninterrupted window of time to take care of all of these little tasks that would have worn on me throughout the fall. Tomorrow, I’ll go back to work a little less ragged, slightly more together, and ready to take on a very busy season.
May you embrace your staycation with gusto.
The guest room is ready for you.
There are a bunch of “Top 10 Stories of 2013” lists floating around the Internet right now, and that’s all well and good. But I have a few favorites of my own – and whether they be for legitimate or ridiculous reasons, here they are.
- 5,000 people gathering at the Mall of America to sing Zach Sobiech’s “Clouds” in his memory.
- The man commissioning the crafting of a 12-foot bronze statue to flip his ex-wife and her new boyfriend the bird on a daily basis.
- The fraudy sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial. (See here for an awesome translation of what was actually being signed.)
- Batkid saving the day.
- Kim Jong-Un sending a threat of attack by fax. By fax?
- The Boston Marathon bombing survivor meeting the woman who saved her life.
- WestJet Airline reviving the holiday spirit.
I tried to get to 10, but the list started to feel watered-down. So there are 7. Let me know if I missed your favorite.
I don’t own a computer – not one that works, anyway. My Macbook is from the year Two Thousand and Six, back when dinosaurs roamed the Internet. It barely turns on. Work has provided me with the privilege (?) of a PC laptop that blows hot air like [insert politician of choice], and when it’s 95 degrees outside and the house I just bought doesn’t have air conditioning, said laptop is the last thing I want to cozy up with. Besides, the wi-fi that I share with two (count ‘em) neighbors is spotty at best. Plus – PLUS – my digital camera is broken, so I can’t even make you a video of the Shotgun. All of these things make me want to pull out my newly dyed hair – which, sidenote, has now grown out to the awkward in-between phase. Great.
I saw “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead,” okay? And yes, now I’m doing the trendy thing and spending ungodly amounts of money on produce just to distill it into vegetable sewage. The process of juicing is time consuming and the cleanup is a beast, but I’m hoping that switching out a meal or two a day will help me feel like my old self, back when a mere breakup was the hardest thing I’d experienced, before the years of hard living got me down. (But seriously, if anyone knows a fruit/veggie combination that won’t leave me tasting liquid spinach with a celery splash, please let me know.)
Last Friday, I came home from work with big plans of reading a book, relaxing, maybe drinking an end-of-week cocktail. What did I do instead? I set up my newly purchased ladder and, rake in one hand, iPhone in my teeth, climbed onto the roof. I spent nearly an hour filling three turbo-sized garbage bags with leaves, sticks, twigs, dirt, and the remains of a few unfortunate critters. When I’m not spending time on my roof, I’m taking things to the cellar (we can’t even call this hole a basement – the entrance is a HATCH in the backyard). And when I’m not taking things to the cellar, I’m painting my bathroom or running loads of laundry or paying bills or trying to decide if buying a house was a good decision (it was).
Let’s not lie, I’ve only gone three times. I’m supposed to be there right now. Whoops.
Maybe it’s the aloneness. Maybe it’s the book I’m reading. Maybe it’s watching Toad get more fragile. Maybe it’s reading about deaths on the mountains I’m planning on climbing this summer. Maybe it’s just turning on the news, hearing about massacres and beheadings and building collapses and freak accidents. Whatever it is, I’m not sleeping through the night these days.
But don’t go feeling sorry for me – I’ve had some great music to keep my toes tapping and my heart humming. Hunter Hayes’ “I Want Crazy” makes me happier than everything. The Band Perry’s sophomore album “Pioneer” is solid – they’ve won me over, despite their hair. One of my favorite writers, Gretchen Peters, came to Swallow Hill a few weeks ago, and I took my mom; sharing the music I love with the people I love is one of my favorite things. I saw David Ramirez at the Soiled Dove last week, and his new EP “The Rooster” is songwriting at its best.
Also, joining a group guitar class 16 weeks ago was the greatest, most life-giving decision. I love the new friends I’m getting to know, and it’s good to have a reason to practice.
Sike. Haha, sucker.
3) SOCIAL MEDIA
If being online wasn’t such a big part of my job, I’d scrap it all. Social media is a major source of envy for me, since it’s easy to read other people’s happy posts and assume that everyone’s life is perfect except mine. We’re bombarded with a steady stream of highlights and never the low points – which makes sense. I don’t particularly want to share my Ugly Cry face, or the moment in which I say the very most hurtful thing – why would anyone else? So we continue to revise our wording, and crop our photos so no one sees the mess, and pretend that everything’s okay when it most decidedly is not.
Someday, I’m going to hike the Colorado Trail, record another album, live out of my car, write a book, fly first class, spend quality time with my nephews, hold every one of my friends’ babies, sit still, speak the truth, drive all the way to Alaska, cook a turkey, take an art class, stop guarding my heart and start using it, do something drastic, trust, read so many books, finish climbing the 14ers, stay at a bed & breakfast, and sing to old people in a nursing home.
1) NO GOOD REASON
I miss you. Maybe that sounds weird, since to you I might just be words on a screen – but you (yeah, you) are more than that to me. You are an important part of my community and my life. My posts may be sporadic these days; I suppose that’s the season I’m in. But I skipped doing anything “important” tonight just to write, because that’s what felt important and significant and as necessary as breathing. This space matters to me, and you matter to me, and it feels good just to say hi.
Whoa. I disappeared from the blog for a while there. But now it’s a new week, a new month, and I’m back – at least for today.
Can I be honest? I’m glad to have March behind me. March held some wonderful things, but it was a crazy month in which it felt like every minute was booked with something: work, travel, work travel, meetings, volunteering, visitors, get-togethers, occasions, paperwork, budgeting, blowing the budget, and too few workouts. I’m spent. And I’m looking forward to a small spell of relative quiet before jetting out of town again – when little sister Sarah gets married in Kansas City in less than 3 weeks.
In the spirit of a quick catch-up:
What I’ve been [reading]: East of Eden. All of my hours on airplanes in March allowed me a bit of time to read, and I’m so glad that I’ve chosen to spend my time with Steinbeck. “Do you take pride in your hurt? Does it make you seem large and tragic? …Well, think about it. Maybe you’re playing a part on a great stage with only yourself as audience.”
What I’ve been [watching]: Homeland. It’s addictive and I’m obsessed – but fair warning, it’s graphic (in more ways than one), so if you’re sensitive to language, violence, and nudity, maybe just steer clear.
What I’ve been [loving]: humming and strumming. I’m in a group guitar class at a local music school, just for fun, and it’s my favorite thing I do all week.
What I’ve been [wishing for]: a solid week of silence. That probably won’t happen for a while – but I can still wish for it because I’m an American and I deserve whatever I want.
What I’ve been [looking forward to]: Sarah’s wedding this month, a trip to the Florida Gulf coast with some besties for Memorial Day weekend, using my new backpacking sleeping bag this summer (which, between gift cards, coupons, and my REI dividend, I got for over 50% off).
What I’ve been [listening to]: this new song by David Ramirez. He’s giving it away for free in advance of his new EP “The Rooster,” which is out in early May. If you don’t know about his music, you need to.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make this week productive, which ultimately is going to make it peaceful.
Lately, I’ve been using this space for a lot of personal processing, and just realized that I’ve neglected to update you on some of my actual goings-on. Yes, I am just that pompous to believe that the world is desperate to know about the ins-and-outs of my everyday life – so without further ado…
1) I cut off my hair: 10+ inches on the salon floor, leaving me feeling like a sassmuffin. My hair hasn’t been this short since 2008, and I’m ready to go even shorter next time.
2) It’s hard to tell what’s been the worst expenditure of the past week: head gasket repair, new clutch, 4 new tires, bill from the ER, or dental work. When it rains, it pours. And I cry.
3) If you want to believe in magic, watch “Searching for Sugar Man.” I haven’t been so captivated by a documentary in ages.
4) Today, I’m wearing a grandma shirt. No really, it used to be my grandma’s. It’s a red and black silk houndstooth print with a high neck and puffed long sleeves that cinch at the wrists. It’s the most old lady thing in the world, and I kind of love it.
5) Lissie’s cover of “You Can Go Your Own Way” is haunting and beautiful and completely transformative of the original. And I know what you’re thinking: you wonder if this means that I saw the movie “Safe Haven.” And the answer is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
6) The things I am currently most looking forward to: eating here in March, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity next weekend, and Greta’s arrival tomorrow night. Praise be.
Wherever you are, I hope that it’s warmer than it is right now in Denver. Someone put me on a beach so fast.
Thanks to our office Christmas lunch yesterday afternoon, I had the chance to spring out of work early and take myself on my standard 9-mile walk.
Wearing my new Patagonia Nano Puff jacket (which is the perfect weight and warmth for winter in Denver), I booked it from Sunnyside down through LoHi, across the Highlands to Sloan’s Lake. I looped the lake just in time to look back and see this sunset.
Given that the only daylight I see anymore is on my drive to work in the morning, witnessing this was a rare gift.
As I turned toward home and the light faded from the sky, I had the thought that an amazing(ly horrible) holiday album would be “Jolly Old St. Nickelback.” And as is the case with ALL of my genius ideas (trust me, there are plenty), I posted that very thought on Facebook this morning.
Little did I know that my friends would take it to a whole new level.
With a little help from my friends, I present to you:
Holiday Albums That Should (Never) Happen
What Destiny’s Child Is This?
We Three Kings of Leon
Mary J. Blige, Did You Know?
O Come All Ye Faith Hill
The Friendly Beastie Boys
The First No-LMFAO
It Came Upon a Midnight Everclear
Deck the Hall and Oats
Little Drummer Boyz II Men
O Come O Come EmmanuElton John
Joy to the World Wide Web, y’all. And joy to your Wednesday.