Posted in 29 for 29, Life Musings, Uncategorized

29 books that will change how you see the world.

29. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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28. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

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27. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

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26. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and Cornel West

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25. Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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24. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

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23. The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield

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22. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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21. The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl

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20. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

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19. …And I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children’s Drawings and Poems from the Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944

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18. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

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17. Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger

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16. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock  by Matthew Quick

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15. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

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14. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

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13. House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski

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12. A Monster Calls by Siohan Dowd

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11. M*A*S*H by Richard Hooker

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10. Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco Stork

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9. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

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8. Hero by Perry Moore

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7. The Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde

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6. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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5. The Wump World by Bill Peet

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4. The Tale of Two Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean

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3. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

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2. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

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1. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

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Posted in 29 for 29, Humor, Uncategorized

29 videos that make me happy.

This is a day late…but yesterday would have been a day early…February is a little bit crazy, but it still deserves a #29for29 list.

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns…and we all have our ways of dealing with them. One of my favorite methods of dealing with the less-than-pleasant world is to watch videos that bring me joy.

Here are my top 29, ordered from amusing to life-bringing. Watch at your leisure.

29. Obama’s like a real person

 

28. Weekend Update Joke-off (where my fave people on SNL were all together)

 

27. Pretty much any Scrubs episode prior to season 7. Here are some options for you (and I do the first one, btw).

 

26. Canadian Tire thingy aka…sappy teacher video

 

25. Jack Sparrow

 

24.  Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (the middle is my favorite part)

 

23. The adorable laughing penguin.

 

22. Movie Insults (for when you want to say things you shouldn’t)

 

21. The end of Crazy Stupid Love

 

20. Any of Jimmy’s Thank You notes

 

19. Dick in a Box (an oldie but a goodie)

 

18. The final Obama Anger Translator (because I can’t anymore)

 

17. If you’re not a Texas Tech fan, you won’t get this one – if you are, I don’t need to explain. Crappy video quality, sure, but my memory is sharp.

 

16. The Little Miss Sunshine dance scene

 

15. Bruce Willis as Rachel’s boyfriend

 

14. Glove and Boots Hero’s Journey (yes, it’s educational, but I still love it)

 

13. Drunk History vol. 5 Remember when drunk history was only online? I do. I’m so old.

 

12. Any Celebrity Jeopardy sketch with “Sean Connery” in it. That 40th anniversary edition is like a high school classroom.

 

11.Kyle’s Mom (no, I’m not better than this)

 

10. Beyonce’s dancers

 

9. Sassy Gay Friend – Giving Tree

 

8. The Mysterious Ticking Noise

 

7. Whine about it: Why mornings are the worst

 

6. America’s Sweethearts buffet monologue – I know this whole thing. Like, memorized.

 

5. Bonjour, Girl!

 

4. The convenience store scene. Sorry not sorry. At all.

 

3. 2015 Madden commercial (I still love it, shamelessly. I still don’t totally know why.)

 

2. Substitute teacher video pt. 1

 

1. Substitute teacher video pt. 3 (low quality, I know, sorry, but it’s worth it)

Posted in 29 for 29, Life Musings, This is real life.

29 unforgettable experiences

I’ve had 29 years and 8 months of experiences. And as Colbert would say, I love experiencing experiences. Many of these experiences have made me a better person. Others have made great stories. At the end of the day, these 29 experiences have helped make me the person I am today.

29. Watching my high school football team win the state playoffs. The rain, the chilly weather, and awful playing conditions definitely made the showdown seem Hollywood-worthy. It also solidified my love of the game and being a fan.

28. Riding out a tornado at Sea World. I know, sounds like a Sharknado spin-off, but it happened. While I don’t think it really shaped me, it’s unforgettable.

27. Harvesting wine grapes. Never underestimate the power of a working weekend vacation.

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26. Road tripping late at night.  When you’re in college, it’s always a great idea to drive 5 hours one way from Columbia, MO to Ames, Iowa and back on a weeknight to see Frank Warren speak. It’s also always a good idea to go for extensively long weeknight drives to air out frustration, even if you do end up in Fulton, MO.

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25. Seeing Hot Hot Heat perform at the Blue Note in Columbia, Missouri my freshman year. I didn’t know who they were, but I do now, and it continues to stand as the best concert experience I’ve ever had.

24. Getting my tattoos. There are people who appreciate body art and people who don’t. I OBVIOUSLY love it – even if those two-three weeks after going under the needle are less than comfortable.

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23. Finishing a whole chapstick. No, for real, it happened. I couldn’t believe it, and I don’t think that I’ve ever felt a greater sense of achievement.

22. Finishing my first book. Despite the fact that I will never, ever, ever have that one published, it was truly a labor of love and one of the top 5 things I’m proud of in my life.

21. Seeing Barack Obama speak at Mizzou before the election. It wasn’t just that he was a phenomenal speaker or that he became President, it was the whole process and feeling of the night. When there’s that much energy focused in the same direction, you can feel it in the air.

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20. Getting pulled over for the first time. I drive with purpose. Sometimes that purpose is also quite urgent (or I feel like it is, anyway) and I end up driving a little faster than I should. I doubt that I’ll ever NOT drive like this, but the first time I got pulled over will always stick in my mind when I hit that one speed…

19. Being snow-stranded in NYC. As much as I love my friends and love traveling, I’m really, really bad when my travels don’t go as planned. I learned a ton about my tolerance for incongruity that three days.

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18. Taking a positive psychology class. This class was one of the least-important classes I’ve ever taken, but I also have to say that

17. Seeing my name in print for the first time. It was addictive, and I still miss it a little. But in the end, I’m not about that cutthroat life and I want to actually MAKE change happen, not just write about people who do.

16. My second first kiss. When your first kiss is at age 5 on the playground, the second one is the real first one.

15. Doing missionary work in Piedras Negras and Eagle Pass. The summer after my freshman year of high school, I went on a mission trip with my (soon-to-be-abandoned-by-me) church. A lot of what happened on that trip informed my opinions about missionary vs aid work and helped me realize what I consider to be my ultimate goal in life: helping others.

14. Finally attending an Aimee Mann concert. I’ve loved Aimee Mann’s music since I was but a wee middle school student, so actually seeing her in concert after years of pining was absolutely amazing. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

13. Earning a journalism degree at Mizzou. Believe me, Mizzou’s undergrad program truly deserves its notoriety. There are things you learn about life, people, and the world as a working reporter that you can’t learn any other way. And Mizzou is the best place to do it.

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12. Breaking my tailbone. So much pain. Going to classes and standing up the whole time. Not being able to actually SIT for a while. Whole thing.

11. The first time I bought something in a single-digit size. Yes, body positivity! We’re all beautiful! But really, I still remember the day that I actually fit into a size 8 pants and I started crying in the dressing room.

10. Every time I’ve thrown a dance. I love hosting things, whether it’s at my house or elsewhere. Homecoming at MHS, the Honors dances at Mizzou, I loved all the stress and excitement combined.

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9. Graduating high school. I know, my college degree doesn’t make the cut, but this one does? Yeah, because leaving high school is like discovering that a whole world is open to you. That feeling is the best in the world.

8. Watching the kids I taught for three years move on to high school. I had all the feels with this one, because in my mind and heart, those kids were my kids – still are. I was a hot fucking mess for like 48 hours, but I wouldn’t trade knowing those kiddos for anything.

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7. Buying a house. I’m so bad at making decisions that I can still remember the anxiety I felt at pulling the trigger on buying my house. Yet, I absolutely love it and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

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6. Almost flipping my car in the snow. Aaaaaand continuing to drive from Columbia, MO to Olathe, KS because I was determined to make it the hell out of dodge for the holiday. I was a fool. But oh well.

5. Going through therapy. Best decision I’ve made for my own health, ever. If you truly want to know yourself and improve your life, consider it.

4. Adopting & rehabilitating a street dog (or three). Each of my fur babies have come to me with their own stories and their own struggles. Figuring out earn their trust, keep them healthy, and make them a part of the family made me a better person.

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3. Studying abroad in South America. It make have been a short stay, but learning how to communicate across cultures, expanding my horizons, and building connections in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay really made an impact on how I imagined my future and what I believed I could do.

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2. Being a PA. I swear, being a PA was the best preparation for anything life can throw at me. Except like, paying taxes and bills and whatnot. But everything else? Yeah. Definitely. And it gave me confidence I never had before – so I owe ResLife one (or 18,000).

1. Traveling alone. I recently went to the UAE and Ghana, but I’ve been other places on my own before – from Chicago to Boston to road trips galore. Truth is, you learn something new about yourself with each trip.

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Posted in ...for real people, Life Musings, This is real life.

Thanksgiving…for real people.

This year, I didn’t do a Thanksgiving post.

There are a few reasons for that, most importantly because I was too busy hopping from one Thanksgiving to the next, in New York City. However, there’s one more reason that I just wasn’t having it about Thanksgiving going on the blog this year. And that’s because I didn’t want to fake it.

You know, there are those years when you feel absolutely thankless because so much has gone wrong in your life. You just can’t seem to rally too much up.

Then there are other years when everything is so amazing, you feel like listing all the things that you’re thankful for would be too much like bragging.

For me, this year is neither of those types of years. It’s an in-the-middle year. A meh year. I’m not angry at the world, nor do I particularly want to celebrate it. It’s a regular year.

It has reminded me, in fact, multiple times, of a specific scene in one of my favorite love-to-hate movies.

Nicholson goes on to say that what makes it so, so very bad. The full quote, all explained, reads something like this:

Noodle salad

You see, I understand that quote. I’m not going to explain it to you, because I feel like if you’re going to get it, like really and truly get it, then you will. And if you don’t get it, well, it’s because you don’t want to, most likely.

The truth is, I have both kinds of stories. As Helen Hunt says, I have the stories that everyone has, that we all have to get over. And, in addition, I’m lucky enough to also have good times and noodle salad -type of stories.

And this week, I’m thankful for the opportunity to make more of the latter. Even if, by Wednesday, I’ll be heading away from the people who help me make my best stories. That whole leaving part? That’s what shows us that life is real.

It’s not all perfect, and it’s not all bad. It’s just…life.

And I think, ladies and gents, that this is what we forget occasionally. That life is life. It’s not a movie (despite the many movie scenes that for some reason play out in my life), it’s not a TV sitcom, and it’s definitely not a fairy tale.

The sooner we accept this, and accept what the future holds, the better we’ll be able to appreciate those good times with noodle salad and the easier it will be to deal with those other stories. Because I know that if I had the choice between having both good and bad stories or no stories at all, I’d pick good and bad every time.