Table Topic Tuesday. 6/10.

This Table Topic gets a little personal.

6.11

The real question is: What will I admit that I hoard?

I hoard emails. I knew it was bad, but it might be time for an intervention.

work email count

work email count

 

personal email count

personal email count

Did I just lose a few friends?

The next confession is just as embarrassing and not at all surprising. Most families have a junk drawer, right? That catch-all collector where you can stash all the stuff. We have one, too. But we also have a Disney junk drawer. You read that right. But calling it “junk” is a little harsh. We have a drawer where we keep the sorcery cards, old room keys, last year’s passholder guide and unused fast passes (which are now collectors’ items). Shameless.

 

Disney Digression

Disney Digression

 

I participate in normal hoarding, too. Take a peek in my office. I’ve held on to hundreds thousands of pieces of paper. Those scribbles are precious, y’all. And I’m partial to purple pens and pretty notebooks.

pens

 

notebooks

Let me get out of the hot seat and give my friends a chance to out themselves.

 

Javi says:

Come in to the merry wonders of my mind where we’ve got shame of all kinds. In my brain I horde a veritable wonderland of shame! I produce embarrassment like a tragic Wonka Factory, and the shame business is a-booming. We’ve got all types of shame to choose from. Try out our Chronic Shame – the kind that bubbles up at 3 am to remind you of what you should have said to that one time to that one person when you were six. Timed Shame, packaged neatly in the form of a sad trombone noise that plays whenever you take your shirt off. And, Shame Bursts that shout across the recesses of your soul, championing your behavior with encouraging phrases like “congratulations on taking down that sleeve of Oreos like a wood chipper! Next time let’s charge the neighborhood children a nickel to see the amazing fatso huff an uncooked cinnamon bun roll from the cardboard tube!” Get in line to ride the various shame attractions. Slide down the dizzying Shame Spiral. Brave a long stare into the Pit of Shame. Climb the treacherous Mountain of Shame. And, stroll down the Walk of Shame lined with plenty of cringe worthy moments to reflect on like Every Second of High School, The Time You Butt-Dialed Your Boss While Singing Spandau Ballet In the Car, Every Time You’ve Tried to Ask a Girl Out, and soooo many more. Yes, if you’re looking for embarrassment, shame, or just a moment that feels like a train wreck happening in slow motion, you’ve come to the right place my friend. When it comes to disappointment, we don’t disappoint. We’ve got shame and we’ve got it in droves. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a shirt that needs tucking into underwear.

 

Lindsay says:

I used to have a problem letting go of things. Like when I graduated high school, but refused to join the notebook burning party with my classmates. What happens if I need those Trig worksheets someday?

I held on to letters from friends from gymnastics camp from the fourth grade. Sentimental value.

Pancake sneakers and racing flats with no miles left on them were shoved under my bed and wedged at the top of my closet. Some of my best runs and races were in those babies; every pair has a story.

Stationery. Oh, beautiful stationery. Everywhere I go I pick up a new package. The writer’s disease.

Blue ribbons and yellow ribbons and participant ribbons from Estling Lake Field Events. My home away from home, where I found and fueled my love of sport.

I’ve stopped collecting as much over the years because, well, my parents’ garage is running out of room, and my sweet parents are running out of patience.

Let’s hear it! What do you hoard?

Table Topic Tuesday. 4/29.

Tuesdays sneak up on me the way the boys creep in too early on Saturday mornings, silent stealthy boogers, and stand a half centimeter from my face (as if staring into my snores will get me up).

It’s already Tuesday again. Happy Table Topic Time!

Here’s our weekly DIY Therapy:

4:29

I wouldn’t say that I’m a control freak but, for an easy-going gal, I do have some freakish tendencies. My desk is usually a wreck, covered in leaning towers of paper and sticky note reminders. My closet is a cluster, more messed up than a pile of coat hangers. More often than not, I’m comfy in this chaos, a master of my mess. But if someone jumbles up my Tupperware cabinet, I feel like dropping a people’s elbow on someone. I like the utensils to be perfectly stacked in their respective slots in their designated drawer. I like each bath towel to be folded just like its brothers and sisters and facing the same way on the linen shelf.

No, I don’t care where we eat. Or when. I don’t need to map out the weekend. I don’t mind at all if you drive.

But if different foods are mingling on my plate, I may freak. I load grocery items on the checkout  belt by the order I want them bagged. I may listen to a new song I love 52 times in a row.

Enough of my crazy. Ready to hear from my fellow control freak peeps?

Lindsey says:
I’m a control freak in a lot of ways… Picture perfect type A. I don’t like to leave much to chance. I insist on paying bills individually – none of this automatic bill pay. I double and triple check my court files (that I prepare myself) before any hearing. But I think my control freakness tops out with planning. I have to plan out my day, week, month, year as early as possible. It can be as simple as planning out my work day to planning out vacations. Walking into disney – you better believe I know what I’m riding and when. Food and wine festival – no problem: the individual stands are marked with what day and in what order they will be visited on the map. It might be borderline OCD but anxiety attacks will happen if I don’t know what’s happening at what time. And while I know this habit can annoy my more laid back peoples (Mindy, I’m looking at you), deep down I think they appreciate this particular habit of mine.

Lindsay says:
Control freaks are so annoying. They’re controlling in a freaky sort of way. But I’m the kind of control freak that everyone can deal with. I’m the controlling type that likes to control things as long as everyone else is ok with it, or when no one in particular feels a sense of responsibility for the situation. I’m a pushover and a default control freak.
School projects. Everyone in the group dreaded them, and no one would make a move until someone took hold of the reins. The reins-holder also ended up doing 95% of the work. That was me: pushover. I’m also controlling when it comes to where my family goes out to eat. But that’s because I get “I don’t care”-ed to death. Then when they realize I’ve brought them to a hippie noodle house, they start to care. Default control freak. I could be worse.

Javi says:
Control is something I barely think about any more thanks to all the lists I make. Making lists let me dabble in the feeling of control without ever actually obsessing over it. Being overly controlling is barely even a passing thought for me. It’s almost laughable to think about. Making lists really has been so great for me. Let me list out the reasons I love lists:
1. Because lists keep me from becoming, what some would vaguely classify as, a control freak. That was the old me. Thanks to lists, I’m just really easy-breezy. Lists allow me to be what I would call… more of a control enthusiast.
B: Because I don’t need my lists to be numbered. That’s how easy going I am. My lists can be lettered if I want. My lists don’t control me. I control them. If I ever even thought about control. Which I don’t.
C: Is for cookie. That’s good enough for me.
4. Because I can go back to numbers on a whim. Who’s the boss of you list? I am.
5. Because I have been told I need to “let go”. Lists allow me to scratch things off and remove thoughts from my life. And, in turn, through lists, I have learned to let go of grudges with people. Forgive people. People like Rick. Jerks like Rick. Rick you JERK. How does a person even manage to sell a CAT on ebay in one afternoon RICK! MY CAT! I seriously left you alone for two hours! TWO HOURS!
6. Seriously list. I run you.
%. Because lists give order to my life. Structure and purpose in an unruly world. Allowing me total control over the mundane day-to-day like some kind of list wielding demi-god, reigning down thunderous control in the form of lists from a mountain top.
D. If lists were people, I would amass an army of lists to do my every bidding. Life as we know it would be structured and ruled by my controlling iron fist. My dictating rule would cross the boarders of all lands, as I acquire control that bends nations to my will.
7. BOW TO YOUR MASTER! THE KEEPER OF THE LISTS! THE FORCE THAT GOVERNS YOU! THE PATH THAT GUIDES YOU! FOR MY LISTS ARE YOUR ONLY TRUTH! I CONTROL ALL I SEE!
Sorry. I blacked out… What just happened?

Lynda says:
I think the more appropriate question for me would be…what am I not a control freak about?  I am, by nature, a freak about most things, most especially “control.”  I mean, you’re talking about a girl who, while growing up, had to get dressed for school in the exact same order…every..single…day.  I could try and defend myself by saying that I had to wear a uniform, so the very nature of doing the same thing every day came naturally…but alas, I don’t think there’s a good excuse for that.  My poor mother had to endure many a Monday morning fight when clothes were still in the laundry getting ready for another week, yet not ready for my rigid morning routine.  The poor woman could not understand why socks had to go on before shirts and jumpers.  Obviously I started young…but I’ve become a little more lax in my old-er age.  Although, I still look back and chuckle.

I more than admit I like routine and I’m a creature of habit.  I think those naturally extend and grow into becoming a control freak in some ways.  But when I think about it, some of the stuff I control is slightly embarrassing.  For drinks, I like seven ice cubes in my cup at home.  I only do laundry on Sundays…all eight loads or so.  I play three games of Solitaire on the iPad before I go to bed, no more, no less.  I have set chairs I sit in for certain meetings and in all meeting rooms.  Stuff is arranged in the dishwasher in the exact same way…every time.  And that’s just a few of the highlights.  Spontaneity and I just don’t jive…I’ve got to plan and anticipate and arrange all the little boxes in my life so nothing is out of my control.  I just might be on the path to world domination…but in a weird, self-obsessed, obsessive-compulsive, neurotic kind of way.

Over to you. What are you a control freak about? Let me know.

Table Topic Tuesday. 4/22.

Another Tuesday. Another topic!

4:22

My inner child isn’t super funny. Some things never change. And she does not want to think.

Disney Digression

Disney Digression

 

But she does want to be petted.
She wants her hair brushed and braided, shook loose and brushed and braided again and again.

She wants an unlimited supply of bubble gum in the pouch–you know the sugar-dusted string kind? She wants two cheekfuls of bubble-blowing ammo.

She wants to dance to every thumping beat, whenever she hears it, even if it’s on a crowded aisle 6, smack in the middle of the grocery store rush hour.

She wants to go to Disney and run from ride to ride so not a single second is wasted. She actually wants to ride It’s a Small World, because it is a small world, after all, and she wants to shamelessly scream-sing along, at the tip top of her lungs. She still loves the People Mover, the Carousel of Progress, Dumbo. She wants to meet every character (although she does not want to wait in line) get their autograph and trace each letter of their signature with her pointer finger.

She wants to go back to school, learn something and prove it, get a 100 on a test and feel the fleeting high of near-perfection.

My inner child wants to swap her lunch for her friend’s dessert, roller blade around and around and around a rink to Color Me Badd, go a day without a stitch of make up.

And she kinda wants an afro.

Enough about me. Here’s what my friends think.

 

Javi says:

My inner child is a little jerk face. There. I said it. He’s has no volume control. He questions every decision I make – tirelessly persuading me to do things. And, he’s constantly pressing me to get his way. His demands are relentless and he is unwavering in his fortitude. “CAKE IS MY FAVORITE KIND OF BREAD!”, he decrees. I refute him. “LIVE ON A DIET OF CEREAL ALONE!” he orders. I fight him away.  “WEAR A CAPE! DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT!” he commands. I deny him. “ADULT FOOTIE PAJAMAS ARE ON SALE!”, he proclaims. And, I shove his hand away from clicking “Add to cart”. “MAKE A BOUNCE HOUSE, YOUR REAL HOUSE!”, he mandates. I stand strong against his convincing argument, despite the many obvious bounce house benefits. “BRING ME A JET PACK!” he exclaims. And, because of the gross lack of jet packs available to the general public, I cannot oblige him. Luckily, I cannot. Luckily for all of us. For the world. Because, if my inner child had a jet pack he would be virtually unstoppable. With a jet pack, mooning a flying plane would no longer be an issue. In fact, it wouldn’t even be a question. On a whim he would travel to beautiful lands to see stunning sights, historic monuments, and wonders of the world… and he would TP them. And, at night, he would silently fly through your bedroom window, and draw wieners on your face while you slept. He would basically be like awful Santa Claus.

Lindsay says:

I’m not sure I understand the question. And that’s probably because I’m an adult now. Children have an answer for every question, no matter what it is. No matter if it’s crazy or zany or makes no sense at all. But I bet my inner child wants Beanie Babies to come to life. I bet my inner kid wants a snow day in the middle of the summer. I would bet money that my inner child wants Mickey and Minnie Mouse to have breakfast with her every single morning. I bet my inner (fat) kid wants candy for breakfast and to never touch a vegetable ever again. But I think what my inner kid really wants is just to be a kid forever.

Lindsay

 

Your turn. What funny shenanigans does your inner kiddo want to get into?

Table Topic Tuesday. 4/15.

It’s Table Topic Tuesday time!  And here’s the question:

Table Topic 4.15

I’ll give y’all a few.

1. Gum. I go through a lot. I’m not picky, but Orbit Sweet Mint is my favorite. It tastes just like a Thin Mint cookie. I obsessively, compulsively throw gum in my mouth after most meals and before most conversations.

2. Coffee. The smell, the steam, one swirl of cream. I’m full-on addicted. Is it bad that one sip of this liquid boost actually calms me down? I drink way too much in the morning, so much it does nothing to wake me up. Now, it’s nothing but a hot cup of comfort.

Birch Coffee, NYC

Birch Coffee, NYC

 

3. Disney. I get a little twitchy when I don’t get my fix. A movie or a few songs can get me by for a bit, but there’s nothing like being in a park. The first step is admitting, right?

Disney Digression

Disney Digression

 

My friends fessed up, too.

 

Lindsey says:

While there are lots of things I like and lots of things I do repeatedly (like going to disney) there is one thing that stands above the rest when it comes to addiction; one thing I can’t go one day without – mint flavored Chapstick!

I mean, Chapstick in general is quite addicting (rumor has it the more you use it, the more you need it). Mint flavor is on another level. It is the perfect flavor; refreshing, cool, minty. I have stashes of these babies everywhere. It’s the small things, ya know.

chapstick

Lindsay says:

The easy answer: Running.
The hard answer: The running I could do before I came down with a nasty, incurable neurological disorder.
But that’s a bit heavy for a Tuesday, yeah? Other than running, I could never go too long a stretch without a bag of trail mix full of salty raisins. There are worse things to be addicted to, I think.

Javi says:

I’m addicted to cold turkey. I can’t stop myself. It is so hard to quit cold turkey. Especially if you’re trying to quit cold turkey, cold turkey. It’s almost impossible. I’ve tried to talk to people about my addiction to cold turkey, but no one understands. Conversations usually go something like:
ME: I need your help. I’m trying to quit cold turkey.
YOU: What are you trying to quit?
ME: Cold turkey.
YOU: I applaud your conviction, but what is it?
ME: What is what?
YOU: Ok. I get it. You don’t want to talk about your problem. Some substances are rough. I understand. When you’re ready to talk, I’m here.
ME: I agree. It’s been really rough. That’s why I’m trying to talk about it with you now.
YOU: So, go ahead and tell me about it.
ME: About cold turkey?
YOU: We can just talk about the process if that’s where you want to start. But, maybe quitting whatever it is you are trying to shake all at once, might not be the answer.
ME: So, you think I could quit cold turkey gradually?
YOU: Thats not how quitting cold turkey works. When you quit cold turkey, that’s it. You quit cold turkey.
ME: I know what cold turkey means.
YOU: I don’t think you do…
And, so it goes. I’m in a spiral of cold turkey addiction, all the while wrestling with the fact that only by going cold turkey, could I truly quit cold turkey. It’s a constant battle I must fight alone. The curse of being a fan of tryptophan.

Lynda says:
Well…lots of things I suppose.  I mean, who isn’t?  But I even went so far as to create an entire blog about all the things I’m addicted to, which I lovingly called “my passions.”  Addictions can seem like bad things because they sometimes lead you down dark paths, but at the end of the day, I like to think of them as all the things that make life worth living, that I love, and that bring me joy, excitement, and something to look forward to.

So to truly answer this question, I suppose I’m addicted to White Cheddar-flavored popcorn.  And cinnamon-scented things.  And British television, and books, and travel planning.  Cadbury Mini Eggs, left-handed people, and sauces. And anything and everything related to France – wine, cheese, and the Eiffel Tower.

But what is my number one passion…I mean, addiction?  Queso.  Melty cheese dip that is like nectar from the gods.  It’s delicious, it’s warm and comforting, and you can pretty much eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Yep…queso.  I will be addicted to it for life.

Confession time. What are you addicted to?

Table Topic Tuesday 4/8. Meet the team.

Today, I’m introducing y’all to my Table Topic Tuesday peeps. I started this little game without proper introductions. Now you can connect a face to the funny.

Every Tuesday, I’ll pull a table topic conversation starter and send it to my pals to get their take.

To help you get to know the panel that will be answering a weekly question, I asked my friends to answer a few, yup, questions (I get to answer first).

What song do you listen to more than any other song? (Me? Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby. Foolproof for any mood. Dare you to try it.)

What’s your favorite writing utensil–pencil, sharpie, etc? (Purple pens. I don’t like slippery, smudgy ink. Black and blue are too legal and red is way too angry. Purple is just right.)

What’s your favorite quote? (I have a bunch of favorites.)

What’s your favorite dessert? (Pecan (that’s pee-can) pie, salted caramel, coffee ice cream)

What’s your biggest pet peeve? (mouth noises, pity parties, mean people)

And the best for last: What is your all-time favorite Disney ride, attraction or movie?
(Magic Kingdom: Big Thunder & Wishes. EPCOT: World Showcase. Hollywood Studios: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest. Movie: Beauty & The Beast)

Now, the panel’s up.

Meet Javi.

Meet Javi

Meet Javi

Javi says:

Song? U2′s For the First Time.

Writing utensil? A keyboard, headphones and my iTunes library.

Best quote eva? Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. – Calvin Coolidge

Yummiest dessert? Cookies and milk.

Pet peeve? Any denial of my right to failure Disney highlight? Peter Pan:  “think of all the joy you’ll find, when you leave the world behind and bid your cares goodbye.”

 

Meet Lindsey.

 

Meet Lindsey

Meet Lindsey

Lindsey says:

Song? That’s really tough. It varies all the time. Right now “stronger than me” from the Nashville soundtrack.

Writing utensil? Blue ink pen. (distinguishes originals from copies). Lawyer thing.

Best quote eva? “be a best friend, tell the truth and overuse I love you. Go to work, do your best and don’t outsmart your common sense. Never let your prayin knees get lazy. And love like crazy”

Yummiest dessert? Root beer float or pecan pie

Pet peeve? When people don’t follow through with what they say they’ll do.

Disney highlight? Because I can’t decide: Ride: rockin roller coaster, attraction: world showcase, movie: Cinderella

 

Meet Lynda.

 

Meet Lynda

Meet Lynda

Lynda says:

Song? Who Wouldn’t Want to Be Me…Keith Urban

Writing utensil? Definitely a black roller ball pen…always. Unless I’m doing a crossword puzzle, then pencil all the way.

Best quote eva? “What we leave behind is not as important as how we lived.”

Yummiest dessert? Rice krispie treats, because who doesn’t love a little gooey marshmallow in their life

Pet peeve? People who don’t know how to drive. Road rage is a fault of mine, which is why I maintain a 5-minute commute to work.

Disney highlight? Spaceship Earth…hands down. With the Norway movie coming in a close second.

 

Meet Matt.

 

Meet Matt

Meet Matt

Matt says:

Song? Probably a tie between “Carousel” by blink-182 (My friends and I all take our hats off during the intro, out of respect), “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” by Brand New, “Pursuit Of Happiness” by Kid Cudi and “Halftime” by Nas

Writing utensil? Whatever is in front of me. I do usually write out scripts, headlines and posts on paper before typing them out.

Best quote eva? “You’re not useful to me until you’ve made three momentous mistakes.” – Dan Wieden; “Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time.” – Chuck Klosterman; “You idiot, the Boston Tea Party was in England” – My friend Noah; Everything Bill Murray has ever said

Yummiest dessert? Pinkberry original with fruity pebbles, almonds and gummy bears

Pet peeve? Having to declare one pet peeve as the biggest. (A few highlights: People who call the Nike ‘swoosh’ a check; cotton balls; cats; drivers who don’t use blinkers; every person in every airport, ever)

Disney highlight? Somewhere at my parents house I have a full set of Disney trading cards, every issue of the short-lived Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers comic book series and a 3rd grade yearbook picture of me wearing a homemade Pluto Christmas sweater. Top 5 Disney movies: 5. Peter Pan 4. Snow White 3. The Great Mouse Detective 2. Beauty and the Beast 1. The Rescuers Down Under

 

Meet Lindsay.

 

Meet Lindsay

Meet Lindsay

Lindsay says:

Song? This changes every few months, but I love Burn It Down by Awolnation

Writing utensil? Black pens because I’m boring.

Best quote eva? “If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.” –Andy Rooney

Yummiest dessert? Cookie dough ice cream

Pet peeve? “Literally”

Disney highlight? One from each park:
Epcot — Spaceship Earth
Magic Kingdom — Space Mountain
Animal Kingdom: Everest
Hollywood Studios — The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

 

Meet Erika.

 

Meet Erika

Meet Erika

Erika says:

Song? Depends on the week!

Writing utensil? My laptop. How unromantic, right?

Best quote eva? “I don’t think any day is worth living without thinking about what you’re going to eat next at all times.” ― Nora Ephron

Yummiest dessert? Publix’s Carrot Cake. To. Die. For.

Pet peeve? When my husband throws his towel on the bathroom floor instead of the hamper.

Disney highlight? The Little Mermaid!

Your turn! I want to hear about your favorite song, writing tool, quote, dessert, pet peeve and Disney highlight.

Table Topic Tuesday. 3/11.

It’s Table Topic Tuesday.

Party People–this one’s for you.

3.4

Costume parties, theme parties, last-minute parties. I love them all.  And grown-ups don’t have enough parties. We save them all up for the holiday season. Remember in college when breathing was an excuse to celebrate?

A great party needs the right location. Enough rooms that you can spread out (or hide), patios or balconies and a mile-wide dance floor. If money were no object, I’d have a party here.

Disney Digression

Disney Digression

Themes are great, too. What about 80s get-up? How can you not want to party in a side pony and slap bracelets?

Then there’s the music. Essential. You want songs that everyone can sing to. And you need dancing music–slow jams to shakedowns. Enter the world’s best party band.

Boyz II Men

Motown Philly back again.

Now we just need party snacks. A sangria fountain and butler-passed Mickey ice cream bars? Check.

All the rides would stay open, of course, and I’d have a fireworks nightcap, too.

My friend Javi had some ideas for a party.

What kind of party would I throw with unlimited money? An underwear party on the international space station. Yup.

“But, I feel insecure in my underwear. I’m not space underwear party ready.” You say to me with furrowed brow and trembling hands.

And, I take your hands in mine, and look with stoic confidence in your eyes, like a father would to a child, and speak with quiet wisdom, “Oh my precious, naive, little lamb. The international space station is anti-gravity…”

“So, you mean, my saggy bits –”

“They will rise on cherub wings my pudgy pal. Everything looks sexy in space.”

Suddenly, the realization of space sexification washes over you like a soothing ocean wave of sexy space logic. But, a new question bubbles behind it.

“What if someone gets into a fight at the party?”

Sensing your anxiety, I cup my hands beneath your chin, and quiet the roaring winds of worry behind your eyes as I let these words unfurl from my lips: “Have you ever seen anyone fight in their underwear? Of course not. It can’t be done. Being angry in your underwear is instant hilarity. Nothing can be taken seriously when you’re in your underwear. When the walls are down, compassion is set free. And by walls, I mean pants. The Dalai Lama is the embodiment of kindness, because the man pretty much just wears a sheet. If the UN would check their pants at the door, we’d have world peace in less than six months.”

And, the world peace potential of space underwear rejuvenates your faith in this party and in humanity itself – and you RSVP with sexy spacified zeal.

Oh yeah. I’d also probably play a lot of 90’s Hip-Hop. Keepin’ it G in zero G, you dig?

Okay. Your turn. Tell me what kind of party you would throw.

Thursday Thanks. Helping #20.

I’ve been a serious slacker, but I couldn’t miss today’s Thursday Thanks.

Thanksgiving Chair

Because March 6 marks the day that I got a little sister–my taller, wiser, younger sister.

And I could not be more thankful for this girl.

sisters

It’s the way she knows baseball things and hollers knowledge from the stands to support the boys. The way her thoughts rocket from her brain and over her lips without apology. The way she calls me out on my bull-drama like no one else on the planet is brave enough to do.

I can always count on her to share a drink (tea or something stiffer), to share a laugh (and not prim, sissy giggles–but messy, snorty, all-in-body-shaking-til-you-tinkle silly), to have a plan. Thank goodness she always has a plan.

She’s a bulldog in the courtroom. A bailiff told her so. She sings bedtime songs to the boys like a Disney princess. And she brushes another brain surgery off like dirt off her shoulder.

On her birthday, and every day, I’m grateful for my beautiful sister.

Who are you thankful for today?

A birthday letter

I turn 33 today. Double 3s.

It makes me think back to turning 22—where I was. Who I was.

What would I tell myself during my senior year at Wofford College, if I could write a letter to me?

Here are 10 Things.

1. You will never drink peppermint schnapps again.

2. You think you know what love is.

Engaged at 21! You crazy kid, ya. You’ve never even lived in the same zip code.

You’re two odd socks. He’s numbers. You’re words. This won’t be a Disney movie marriage because he doesn’t dance or sing (two of his three only flaws).

Right now, you don’t know that love, sometimes, is taking out someone else’s trash. Learning to sleep without a radio, but with a fan. Counting coins to finance a washing machine and giggling all the way. Listening to understand, not to answer. Giving. Giving in. Giving in to silly. It’s unconditional, unlimited and unimaginably easy.

Right now, you just know that you’re smitten with the freckle under his left eye, the way his one palm spans the small of your back, the brush of him that sends you to shivers. You don’t even have a job yet when you say yes to forever. But you know this man will nonstop love you, encourage you, inspire you. You know he will make you laugh and make you whole.

And you’re right.

Now, in 10 years, one of Jeff’s co-workers will ask him: so, do you and your wife go home and talk about unicorns and rainbows? (No clue how he could possibly leave pixie dust off the list). You two think it’s funny that so many people ask you if you ever fight, if you ever raise your voices, if you ever feel anger.

Ha. Ha.

anniversary

3. You think you’re smart.

Between the two of you, you have a few degrees from important places with squeaky GPAs and a string of accolades. You’re going to do well, you two. A big, brick southern two story house with an open-arm driveway and jasmine vines crawling every which way.

Well, no. There’s no jasmine, no view, no outdoor entertaining, no “Oh, here, let me take your coat and hang it in our mudroom.”

But, minus the cruddy dishwasher and the cream-colored couch (girl—don’t buy that cream-colored couch), you’ll be surprised how much this won’t bother you.

4. You think things will never change.

And some things won’t. You’re an ENFP for life. Sensitive. And blessed beyond freakin belief.  But you will lose touch and perspective and weight. You’ll gain it all back. In time, you’ll lick the chapped nostalgia from your lips. You’ll realize that life isn’t always simple, but there’s always a corner of magic somewhere.

magic

Disney Digression

5. You think you’ll have girls.

Your doctor told you a while ago that you’re going to have a hard time having babies. You may not be able to at all. So you and Jeff have had lots of grown-up talks and you’ve settled on adoption. And your future as a parent hasn’t gone much further than consideration and a few daydreams about dance recitals and fairy tales.

Spoiler alert: there will be no tutus.

feet

And this parenting gig? That’s another letter. I wish I could write you a book, really. Good gracious. Maybe a book for each stage, with instructions, diagrams, pictograms and the perfect calm response to every shock that pops up. Or a little tip-off so you know that you will no longer possess your own heart. I’ll just say this. You think you love your parents now? Psssh. Wait til you become them. Wait until your firstborn has surgery and you’re holding him as he comes out of a post-anesthesia stupor. His eyes beg you for an explanation and, though you know exactly why he needed this procedure, he can’t understand it. And you get the tiniest taste of how your heavenly Father might feel when you’re hurting and you don’t understand.

6. You think you’re busy.

Homework every night, hours and hours of reading, pages and pages of paper-typing. Cheer practice, sorority meetings, newspaper deadlines, weekend drives over the mountains to see Jeff. There’s never enough time.

Just you wait until you’re working full time. You work all day, race home, help the kids with homework, make dinner, give baths, referee, mend a heart, bandaid a booboo, read stories, tuck them in, work some more. Add the kids’ birthday parties and baseball practices and play dates—in between all the dishes and dinners. Then you’re in 3 cities in 3 days and you still have to make sure that all 4 people in your house have clean underwater options at all times.

7. You think you’re fat.

Oh, you’re cute. No. Really.

Hush.

8. You think life is super cute.

A bubble that floats you from one fun thing to the next.

But diagnoses and disease and death smear in. I wish I could warn you.

Soon after your mom is diagnosed with breast cancer, you’ll be at an appointment with her when the doctor, appropriately stoic, prescribes her fate. His voice will be free of swells and dips as he runs through the chemo and radiation schedule. “And you will,” he will say, as if he’s saying oh, by the by, “You will lose your hair.”

You can’t see the mass poisoning her body or feel the weight of worry in her infected chest. So you don’t cry for the cancer. You cry for her hair.

And you try to heal with diversion. Glossy bridal magazines, appointments with florists, photographers. Unmessy things. Things lacy and rosy and new.

You think death politely taps someone on the shoulder and, with manners in his mouth, tells that someone that it’s time to go. You take your time for goodbyes. I’ll wait here, death says with a nod and a bow.

You think that until death grabs someone by the neck and rips them from their bedroom. And you get a phone call from your husband and he tells you that his mom just died. Just. And you’re driving over a bridge to pick him up and you’re screaming at God and crying and calling out “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry” over and over and over. And you think if you scream loud enough and fast enough, everything you say may reach her ears before she crosses to the other side.

I’m sorry that I didn’t call enough. Or ever. I’m sorry that I moved your son, your only child, hundreds of miles away. I’m sorry that the DJ played the wrong version of the mother/son dance at our wedding.

After a whirlwind flight, you’re walking through her front door. You have to step through first because Jeff can’t. She’s gone, but nothing else is. It still smells like her house, a familiar, sweet, suffocating smell.

You walk through her room and there’s a brand new pair of shiny white Keds, still in their box, because she was planning on so many more steps. And on her bathroom counter, jewelry for the week is rationed out in a re-purposed pill box. Earrings for Tuesday, a ring for Thursday.

In that moment, you swear that you’ll never take another day for granted. But you will. You’ll get lost in the busy and you’ll forget how precious and glorious and miraculous each new day is.

9. Oh. You think you’re so fancy, huh?

Look at you. You’re the editor of the college newspaper, the co-captain of the cheerleading squad, VP of your sorority, member of a dozen clubs, groups, societies. You lead, you do, you like need to shine.

And you just fell down the rabbit hole into advertising, an intern in an Atlanta agency. It’s a pretty sweet shop, but you don’t know that. To you, “shop” is a class with a band saw and safety goggles. But you’re taken by the energy of the place—it runs on the same urgent pace as the newsrooms you’ve worked in. But the agency’s hip edge left you tingly and tipsy. You came up with a print ad for Toyota, someone told you it was pretty good and that’s all you needed to hear. You must be made for this, of course. (p.s. Today, I hardly recognize your bloated self-confidence and I wonder how and when and why it deflated).

And—you’re hired! Good girl. But you start with just a few toes in the door, a place you’ve never been. So, you’ll spend the better part of a decade studdering, trudging, fighting to be sure of yourself. Until, finally, finally, you’re content to just be yourself.

10. Strike that. Forget everything I just said. I don’t want to tell you a thing. Because a predictable path won’t lead you to poetry. You won’t find life in sonnet-like structure. It’s the unruly, unexpected bits of this human experience that jump start your heart. The moments that don’t go according to your own plan are the faithful ones that remind you that you’re a thread in a much bigger one. And you’ll just have to wait.

Wait. I will tell you just one little thing. Buckle up, sister. Buckle up. Throw your hands up and keep your eyes wide open and upward.

Table Topic Tuesday. 2/4.

It’s Table Topic Tuesday time. And the survey says:

WHAT FIVE FOODS DO YOU WISH WERE BANISHED FROM THE EARTH?

It’s a little absolute, I know. So I apologize if I banish something you can’t live without.

#1. My first answer (read: gag reflex) is eggs. Ew. The thought of them, smell of them, taste, texture, existence of them as a food source, completely icks me out. I don’t remember when I first hated on eggs, but I’ve never looked back.

I do love cake—cupcakes, breakfast cake, birthday cake—as much as I hate eggs. I’m just in denial that those globes of gross have ever been cracked into any batter.

#2. Milk. I just don’t dig it. Cold. Warm. Chocolated. Strawberried. Just no.

But I heart ice cream, yogurt, cheese. Hello, cheese. And I also take a little coffee with my half & half. Go figure.

#3. Bologna. What a mystery of a meat. Just look at the way it’s spelled and pronounced. A hodge podge of rejected meat pressed together into a perfect circle? No, thank you.

#4. Bone marrow. I tried it. I didn’t like it.

#5. Candy corn. Okay. I’m the kid who would often trade her sandwich for a friend’s dessert in the lunchroom (sorry, Mom). I love cake for breakfast (see #1). I have sweet teeth. So, I haven’t met many sweets I didn’t want seconds of.

Candy corn does not equal candy. Or corn. Is it even edible? It’s colored, triangular wax posing as a treat. Beware, kids.

Now, to detox from all that yuckiness, here is some delicious food for thought:

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 1.07.14 PM

Disney Digression

Lindsay‘s up! She says:

There aren’t a lot of foods that make me squeamish. None that I’m truly revolted by except one: Olives. Nothing is more offensive than a bowl full of olives. Strike that. State fair funnel cakes are pretty foul. But I can live with those. Olives, on the other hand, are sneaky little buggers that have been ruining salads for the history of ever. Did you know that olives are actually in the fruit family? That poor, poor family. A perfectly delicious reputation stained by the ugly little step children. And they really are ugly. The green ones have eyes. If I had to banish a certain food from the universe, that’d be the first to go. I can’t even think of four more that I’d get rid of; all this olive talk has messed with my brain.

olives

Javi says:

I love to eat. I eat without question. Without emotion. Without judgment or prejudice. More machine than man, I have the power to devour. However, there are foods that do not belong. They have coerced their way into the realm of human consumption without warrant, purpose or function. But, no more. I’m taking a stand. For myself. For my children. For my food, my future… my freedom. These five foods… I banish thee.

Candy Corn: It is neither of those things. How can you name something two NOUNS and that thing is neither of those things? People get sued over that stuff. It’s more of a lie than it is food. Plus, what kind of monster names a candy after a vegetable? Who exactly do you think you are fooling candy corn? The jig is up. You’re gross. And, for those of you who refuse to join me in my crusade against candy corn ask yourself one question: In the next few hundred years, when the world candy treaties are signed across a unified globe of nations, what side of history will you be on?

Tea:

ME: Hey, watcha’ drinkin’?

YOU: Tea.

ME: What’s that?

YOU: Well, I brought some water to a boil. Then drop this small bag full of leaves and twigs in the water to soak, and then I drink it.

ME: You put a bag of mulch in your water?

YOU: It’s not mulch. It’s leaves and sticks and…

ME: [staring]

YOU: It’s not mulch!

ME: So, you’re drinking scalding hot, dirty water?

YOU: It’s not dirty water. Well, it is, technically… but not the way you think it is.

ME: I don’t understand… did you lose a bet or something?

YOU: No! Stop it! Tea is good for you. Want to taste it? It’s called Green Dream Baby Laugh.

ME: …

Black Licorice: It’s just melted down old tires, right? It’s what’s left over and gathered in landfills when environmental criminals burn piles of tires. It’s not even food. It’s a byproduct of illegal behavior. Besides, food has to give your body something of substance or value. The only thing I’ve ever experienced after mistakingly eating a bite of black licorice was a week of night terrors. When people accidentally eat black licorice they react like they’ve been shot with a poison dart in the tongue. But, there is always someone you know that has some crazy second cousin or distant relative that loves black licorice, and that family charges the neighborhood kids a nickel each to watch him eat it without dry heaving.

The Pecan: No one can pronounce it. Say pecan. Nope, you’re wrong. Keep saying it. You’re still wrong. God forbid you say pecan in front of another living soul. Say pecan in earshot of anyone and that person will be whole heartedly compelled to correct you in some overly pedantic way like they have a PHD in nut grammar.  “Its not pecaaaahhhhaaannnneeeee. It’s peeeecccooouuugghhhnnneee.” Pecan has 5 letters in it, is pronounced with 18 letters (6 of which are silent), and is broken down into 12 syllables.

Banana Now & Laters: Not now. Not later. Not ever. It’s not a candy. It’s not a food. It is a personal affront. If someone presented me with a banana flavored Now & Later, I’d fight them. I would slap that horribly offensive gelatinous square out of their awful little carny hands and challenge them to fistacuffs. Imagine if a panda cub approached you riding the back of a baby elephant. Think of how incapably cute and arrestingly adorable that would be. And then that panda cub extended its wonderful little panda cub arms, and opened its little panda paws to reveal a rainbow of light. And then, the elephant, with it’s baby trunk reaches into the rainbow of light and presents you with a banana flavored Now & Later. Imagine the spectacular nature of it all. The indescribable beauty. The joy that such an event might bring to children. To adults. To the world. I’d punch that panda in its adorable panda face.

Your turn. Speak up. What food would you banish?

Table Topic Tuesday. 1/28.

Happy Tuesday, y’all.

It’s Table Topic time and, with Winter Storm Leon barging through, this question is apropos:

1.28

Would I? Heck-to-the-yeah. I would live in summer all the days. Summer means there’s no school bell to beat in the mornings, sangria is in season and there are no cold toilet seats (I’m looking at you, Winter).

Right now, I’m on a plane, wearing two pair of socks and high-top tennies because, when I land in New York City, it’s going to be 17 degrees. That just sounds like an immature, angry, awful temperature. I can’t feel my feet. And feet were meant to be free!

Each season does have its redeeming gems. Winter means boot slippers. (I know I just said that feet should be free, but they should never be freezing). Spring has red clay and peanuts and cracker jacks. And Fall? Mickey. Pumpkins.

Disney Digression

Disney Digression

But no other season promises as much fun and mischief and warmth as summer.

I love my friends’ responses this week and I know you will, too.

Javi says:

You can argue with me all you want on this. You can state your case with science and facts. But, believe me when I tell you that the ONLY season that is not actively trying to kill the human race… is summer. Summer is the only acceptable season.

If you say you love the winter, then I’m concerned for you as a person, because obviously you don’t have skin on your body. There are animals that spend a whole year preparing to sleep through winter, just to avoid it. Imagine actively trying to double your body weight all year so that you could pass out like a coma patient to AVOID A SEASON because that is what nature intended. I know we, as people don’t do that – because somehow we’ve evolved beyond it or whatever – but more and more, year after year, hibernation looks like a viable option. All I’m saying is why don’t we just kick it biologically old school for a year… and see what happens.  Could it be any worse than… you know… WINTER IS! Winter is attacking us right now with a Polar Vortex. I don’t know what that is, but with a name like that the streets should be filled with people fleeing in horror while others stand paralyzed in fear. It sounds like a super villain invented it. It sounds like the title of a show J.J. Abrams is producing. Why is no one hitting the panic button about something called a POLAR VORTEX!? I wore a Tauntaun to work on Friday!

Spring is round two of the assault – advanced now by chemical warfare. Have fun not breathing properly for eight weeks. There is so much pollen in the air that I don’t even go outside anymore. Why waste time slowly setting my lungs ablaze when I can do it in one shot! Instead of wheezing like Vader for eight hours, I just start my day by huffing a bag of flower until I have a coughing fit and pass out. Then, I wake up the next day on my kitchen floor and do it again. Natural law has somehow made spring the time of reproduction, where we should be cozying up to our loves, flourishing with romance, vigor, and life. Yet, everyone around us looks like snot covered 3-year-olds… making snorting noises like a beached manatee with asthma. All spring long people just ooze from the face like they opened the Ark of the Covenant, and for all that is good and holy people just blow their noses on anything they can get their hands on – napkins, sleeves, kittens… babies. How is anyone supposed to want to make out with the person next to them when their face is a yuck waterfall?

And, the fall is not a season at all. It is ALL the seasons. In one day during the fall you can experience every temperature in 12 hours. There is no fall coat or jacket. It doesn’t exist. All you have to cover yourself with is the enveloping sense of failure you experience as soon as you walk outside and realize everything you’re wearing is wrong. And, by the time you change, it won’t matter. The weather will have changed so much, you’ll be wrong again. It’s hot, it’s cold, you’re roasting, you’re freezing – you’re sweating buckets while sleet comes down from the sky.  Fall is not a season. It’s malaria. But why should any of us trust the weather during fall? Fall gives us no reason to believe in it. Because, really, how can we trust a season that has two names. Autumn, anyone? Fall is so shady, it has an ALIAS! Dr. Jekyll is less bipolar than fall.

 Summer is the only acceptable season. The sun’s rays actually give you vitamins. Nutrients from the sky! It’s true universal healthcare… because it comes FROM THE UNIVERSE! Global warming is a very real thing… and I’m all for it.

Lindsey says:

If by season, the reference is weather, then yes; spring time all year please. I love the hot but not too hot climate.

Any other season; probably not.

I like to divide my year into sports seasons: and it’s nice when they merge from one to the next. Baseball season, football season, the smidge of time we are in now which I call the in between baseball/football when all we have to watch is hockey and basketball (well until
NASCAR starts back in February anyway).

And while I love Christmas and the holiday season I think I might go bananas with year round lights, music and mall Santa Claus.

Matt says:

You know that saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side”? Or that other saying , “you always want what you can’t have”? Or that other other saying, “Every great love starts with a great story.”?
The last one is from The Notebook and it doesn’t apply. Also, if anyone asks, I’ve never seen The Noteb… actually, screw that. I have seen The Notebook and I was super suave. It was my third date with my ex, THE EX, the one that hovers above all future and ex-exes, and we were planning on seeing a movie. When we got in the car I looked at her and said, “why don’t we just grab a pizza and I’ll go buy The Notebook, since I’ve never seen it.” Speechless, she nodded in agreement. Awesome story short, we cuddled as the Gos won, lost and re-won the McAdams. Then, you know that part where future-old lady McAdams finally remembers non-cenile Gos and asks her to dance? I turned to my girlfriend and asked her to dance. And we did. By the side of my bed. Hashtag romance.
That’s called going off on a tangent while simultaniously playing to your demographic. (Ladies, I’m currently single.)
Where I was going with the first two phrases is that I always want to be in the season that I’m not presently in. Right now, like most people, I can’t wait until I’m able to break out the tank top (though, not in the office because they have been banned by my SVP). In the Fall, I can’t wait for Spring, and vice versa.
I’ve lived in one season in two different places; L.A. and Florida. It’s not great. Sure, it’s sunny all the time, there’s no -20 degree temperatures and I can always feel my toes, but I always find myself wishing a leaf would change color or that I could buy some cool winter clothes like a vintage Starter jacket.
I want to live in all of the seasons.
Except for Winter, Summer, Spring and Fall.
Lindsay says:
Can we all agree on something? Fall is not a season. It’s a time of year. Fall is much bigger than a season. The way it feels, and the way I feel in it makes it bigger.

The best Fall exists just outside Buffalo in my hometown, East Aurora. My favorites are the familiar faces bundled up in scarves they probably knitted themselves. The thick boots that find their place in the mudroom again. The misty breath you can see before you begin speaking. The crunchy brown leaves in my favorite park that we have to step on because that’s what Fall sounds like. The full mugs of early-morning coffee that feel like something special rather than routine. The best running is in the Fall when the muscles are the perfect temperature of chilled but strong. When you’re in shorts and a tank and a hat and gloves. It’s a runner thing, and I miss it. I feel at home in Fall. I could write a book about Fall. Gush aside, I think I answered the question. I would live in Fall forever if I lived in East Aurora, and I would bring everyone with me so you could feel it, too.
Okay. Let’s hear it. Would you, could you live year-round in your favorite season?