Tag Archives: lists

10 Books That Are Important To Me

This thing was going around on Facebook, and One Classy Dame tagged me to do it, but I felt like it deserved slightly more space and thought than just a Facebook status or note.

Then I forgot about it for a month.

But I remembered. And so I thought I would share with you 10 books that have been important in my life.

Dollanganger01_FlowersInTheAttic1. Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews. I found a copy of this book in my grandma’s house when I was about 9 years old, and it set me on a course of trashy romance novels, from which I’ve never fully recovered. I’m sure I would have turned out to be an entirely different person, had I not discovered these types of books. I certainly wouldn’t have been the sixth-grader who took them to school so my friends could also read the trashy parts. (Yikes.)

2. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery / Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Two wonderful books, particularly for young girls, written by excellent female writers. I was deep in my VC Andrews phase when my parents got me a copy of each of these books for Christmas, and I remember being vaguely disappointed. (I’m really sorry, Mom and Dad!) But then I read the books, and I liked them. I reread both of these books in 2013 and they’re even better than I remembered.

3. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. The first time I’ve ever liked a book and a movie adaptation, as separate things. It happens rarely…but it happens.

4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Okay, this is kind of a long story but bear with me. When I was younger, we made a lot of movies. Not exactly home movies, because it wasn’t stuff like birthday parties and Christmas morning. We would make movies for class projects or just for fun. And I remember making some kind of movie, where I – as a middle schooler – was reading The Grapes of Wrath to my little brother, who was at that point maybe…10 years old? I have no idea what this was for. And we kept cutting away to show the clock ticking forward, and I’d be further in the book, and my brother would be more and more bored. And finally by the time I read the last lines, I think he was gone maybe? Or just asleep? I don’t remember. Anyway, at the time of making that movie, I tried to read The Grapes of Wrath, and I was SO BORED. Then, in my junior year of high school, we read it in my English class…and I loved it. I couldn’t understand why, just a few short years before, I hadn’t gotten into it. So, to me, this book is a solid representation of growing up and maturing.

5. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s held a spot on my favorite books list for the last, like, 15 years. Barbara Kingsolver offered me an eloquent way to express the feelings I was having about faith in high school. I printed out a quote from the book and had it stapled to my wall along with everything else in the world that I thought defined me. (The “it” in the first line is the Bible, by the way.)

photo (7)Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to not print in an artsy font.

6. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. My first exposure to nonfiction humor. Before that, I assumed “nonfiction” meant “history book” or “book on how to refinish a dresser.” David Sedaris, a gem in and of himself, opened up an entirely new world of reading to me.

7. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The first time I ever cried while reading. You know what I’m talking about.

8. You’re Not You by Michelle Wildgen. I don’t know anyone else who’s read this book, and I don’t remember how I found it, but I’m obsessed with it. The writing is incredible, it’s gorgeous to read, you just know she labored over crafting every sentence. Plus, the plot is enthralling. (I actually just discovered there’s a movie coming out this year, with Emmy Rossum and Hilary Swank, and yes I’ll totally watch it.)

9. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth MD. I read a bunch of parenting books when I was pregnant, to prepare myself, and then I read a bunch of books on dealing with an infant, when I had an infant. This was the first book that I got partway into…and just had to toss out the window. There was so much BS in it, and I figured I had two choices: I could either throw it all away, or I could go crazy trying to follow all these rules to have the perfect child. This book represents my revelation that you read some books, you talk to some people, you do what works for you. And everything will be all right.

10. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I know…it’s cheating. But these books (all seven of them) feel like family to me. Like, I know there are some minor plot holes. I know that some people have complaints about them. I know they’re totally overexposed. And I DON’T CARE. To me, they are perfect. I have all these memories: of reading The Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time and realizing this was something great; of sitting, waiting for the mail when the fifth book was coming out, and reading it all in a day; of Drew declaring his intention to read them all out loud to me once I was pregnant. (For the record, we are on the seventh book – it’s slower going now, but we’re still making progress.) These books are ingrained in my adolescent and adult life…and I’m proud of that.

HP collectionA set of hardcover for posterity; a set of paperback for actual reading; and some spares.



Filed under Awesome, Books, Children, Fiction, Love, Memoir, Nonfiction, Sentiment, Writing

30 Before 30

I’m turning 30 almost exactly a year from now, so I was thinking about doing a “30 before 30” list. I like lists and goals, so it seems like an exercise that I’d enjoy.

But maybe I’ve made too many lists in my life, because my 30 before 30 list was very derivative of all my other lists, including but not limited to: to-do list (short term), to-do list (long term), wish list, New Year’s Resolutions 2013, bucket list, to-do list (work), RunKeeper goals, New Year’s Resolution 2013 updates, and the half-hearted bucket list I’ve been keeping in my head.

I don’t want to just repurpose old bullet points for a new list. Isn’t 30 supposed to be a big milestone in a girl’s life? I don’t want to pay my respects to 30 by vowing to floss every day until then. (See also: I have totally flossed every day for last the two weeks and I am incredibly self-satisfied.)

But a year isn’t a very long time, and realistically, there’s no way I’m going to go in a hot air balloon in the next year, or buy a house, or go on a cruise. Those are bucket list entries – at least, I think they are, but I’ve never written any of them down. I feel like maybe I should have done this 30 before 30 list about 5 years ago.

I’m not sure if it’s responsible and wise of me to know my limitations over the next year; or if it’s kind of sad that I’m not bothering to dream big. Is my love of crossing things off making me censor what I write down? Should I go ahead and shoot for the moon here, even if part of me doubts that I’ll ever actually find the time and the means and the inclination to even get off the ground?

Or should I focus on some of the tasks I’ve already set myself? And just enjoy the last year of my 20s?

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Filed under Being a girl, Dreams, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Self improvement

The 10 Worst Things About “The Office”

The Office used to be a really great show. Like, a really, really great show. We were late on the train, but we started watching it in the summer of 2009, which was overall a really good, happy, sunny time for us.


I would say the first three seasons are really the best. At the end of Season 3, Jim and Pam got together, which was nice, but was also the beginning of the end. Seasons 4 and 5 were still okay. In Season 6, Jim and Pam had their first baby, and the show tried to replace the romantic tension of “Jim and Pam” with “Andy and Erin” (which failed).  They brought in a new company (Sabre) and a new recurring character, Jo (Kathy Bates) (who I normally love). Then Season 7 was the final Michael Scott (Steve Carell) season, and frankly I don’t remember much of it. In fact, I can’t tell you what happened in seasons 7 through 9, and I just finished watching the most recent episode 5 minutes ago.

Next week is the final episode of the final season, and it can’t come fast enough. Back in the early seasons, we couldn’t finish one episode without starting the next one. Now we spend the whole time half paying attention and occasionally snorting with exasperation.

So without further ado, here are the 10 worst things about The Office:

Oh, it probably goes without saying that if you are still catching up and you don’t want to read spoilers, you should probably stop now.

Okay, the 10 worst things about The Office:

1. They’ve tried so hard to force Pam and Jim drama.

We loved watching them flirt, watching the near-misses, and yearning for them to get together. Those moments were so touching. Once they got together, there were still some nice moments – the proposal, finding out she was pregnant, and the wedding, for example. But we’re missing the push-pull of two people who are so obviously meant to be together but can’t make it happen. None of the substitutes – Andy and Erin, Dwight and Angela – have lived up to that. Face it, Pam and Jim, you guys are a boring married couple who mostly gets along. Just enjoy it.

2. Which reminds me – what the heck is Jim’s Philadelphia job?

And you don’t have to hit me over the head anymore with the fact that Pam feels guilty for making him come back to Scranton, but that Jim just loves her so much, blah blah blah.

3. Blatant foreshadowing – quit acting like we haven’t seen all this “surprise” stuff projected for seasons.

Yes, Phillip is Dwight’s baby. Duh. Dwight and Angela are going to get back together for reals. Duh. Why have you taken so long getting to this point? This is what you’re going to use to fill up all these hour-long episodes?

4. Too many random, flat characters.

What is Nellie still doing there? Who are Pete and Clark? Why are they there? Are they just trying to replace the brilliance of BJ Novak, Mindy Kaling, Steve Carell, etc? It’s not working.

5. Here are some other character complaints: Kevin has turned into a ridiculous and unfunny parody of the actual character he used to be.

But remember when Kevin brought us this gem? He’s totally not like that anymore.

6. Also, they just never figured out Andy Bernard’s character.

I guess he was kind of funny at the Stamford branch, when he was calling Jim “Big Tuna” and singing “Lovefool” over and over again. But then he was dating Angela, and then he was the angry guy who punched a wall and had to go to anger management (aka go film The Hangover?), and then he came back and was the dorky guy who went to Cornell, sang in a capella groups, and was in a community theatre production of Sweeney Todd…and since becoming Regional Manager (a TERRIBLE decision) he’s just been given Michael Scott-esque storylines and dialogue. Oh, except for when he was gone for months on a random boating excursion (aka filming The Hangover 3?). Ugh, I like(d?) Ed Helms but I am so over Andy Bernard.

7. Introducing the film crew.

The first time Pam looked up and spoke to Brian (the boom mike guy) I had a moment of “Whoa, that’s kind of cool.” Then it turned into more fake Pam and Jim drama, and it just got to be too much. It just feels like a gimmick to draw out these plot lines to fill the rest of this finally-final, but it-just-never-ends, final season.

8. Making the documentary into a thing.

Also, all of this talk leading up to watching the documentary feels like filler. And in tonight’s episode, the whole office gang gathers round at Poor Richard’s to watch the documentary. But…how can it be airing if there’s still one more episode for us to watch? Also, all the talk about the film crew and the documentary has just meant that we’ve had a lot of clip show-esque moments. Lots of footage of the good old days for us to look back on and remember when we used to love this show and marathon it and rewatch the Christmas episodes. But it’s like rubbing our noses in it, to show us the moments we loved, when what we have now is so much LESS.

9. Dwight’s beet farm spinoff that almost happened.

Luckily it didn’t get greenlighted, but for a hot second we almost had a new NBC show called The Farm. It would have featured Dwight Schrute and his family running a bed and breakfast -slash- beet farm that they had inherited. One of the episodes of The Office season 9 was the pilot episode for The Farm. I get why NBC passed, and I support their decision.

10. I am going to be seriously bummed if Michael Scott comes back for the finale.

I think Steve Carell made the right choice in leaving when he did, and I think the series should have ended on that note. It’s limped along now for 2 more seasons, and I want to remember him on the show the way it was. I hope that Steve Carell holds to his decision to not come back for the finale. I like to think of Michael as moved on, married, and raising kids with Holly.


Look, The Office: I will 100% still watch rerun episodes of you on TV. I will seek you out. I even still want to go back and watch your original, British version. But, like many things, you’ve just overstayed your welcome. (You took the Weeds path, rather than the 30 Rock path.) This is partly my fault for continuing to watch you, but we had some good times. I’ll be there watching next week, for the full hour and 15 minutes or whatever nonsense you’ve got up to, but then I’m going to gently but firmly change the channel, and that will be your signal that it’s time to go.

We’ll always have Diversity Day, and Booze Cruise, and Casino Night, and so many more.


Filed under Endings, Fiction, Humor, Not awesome, TV

Google Me, Part 2: iPhone search terms

Back in the day, I wrote a post called Google Me about all my iPhone search terms, and I reminisced about why in the world I needed to look up these things. Well, it’s been awhile and I noticed the other day that my search history has been getting kind of eclectic again. So I thought I would share.

skyfall Lincoln – I was looking for this image.

mary reilly imdb – My parents were here the other day and we were naming Julia Roberts movies, and then Drew mentioned this one and it sounded interesting so I looked it up. (Julia Roberts plays Dr. Jekyll’s maid, and she falls in love with both him AND Mr. Hyde!)

healthy horizons burlingame – A breastfeeding center that we went to the other day to weigh the baby

goose goslin – A baseball player with a funny name

peninsula library catalog – I wanted to look up the book Insurgent and see if it was at the library. It is…but I shouldn’t go check it out because I’m already in the middle of 3 books (4 if you count Harry Potter) and I should try to focus a little bit.

obama birthday – When is Obama’s birthday? Answer: August 4th, 1961.

aspirated w – I was checking if this is really the term used when you do that funny/annoying pronunciation of the wh in words like “white” and “wheelhouse.” (It is.)

kellan lutz – He appeared on an episode of 30 Rock, and we had no idea who he played in the Twilight movies.

fontanelle – I needed more info about babies’ “soft spots,” like, Am I going to injure my baby via his fontanelle? And, when will his head get hard so I don’t have to stress out about his fontanelle?

edd – edd.ca.gov, just looking up claim status information.

giants game – My lazy way of just tracking the scores of the World Series’ games on my phone, for the games we weren’t home to watch.

third rock from the sun cast – We were trying to remember the name of French Stewart. (We were thinking Stewart French.)

1 month old baby eyesight – I wanted to know how far he could see at 1 month, and what kind of tracking/focusing skills he “should” have. (To be honest, there were a lot of baby-related searches, but I wanted to show a range here. Just know I google a lot of questions I have about babies.)

robert louis stevenson – We were looking up when he died, because I was thinking his story “The Bottle Imp” was set in the 1940s, but I was way way off – he died in 1894.

walgreens pacifica – My pharmacy. I am constantly googling this to get the phone number.

giants schedule – Self-explanatory.

plutos locations – We were in Lodi, craving Plutos, and wondering if there was one nearby. But Sacramento/Davis seemed too far out of the way. So we just went home.

…Seriously, what did we ever do before smartphones?

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Filed under Baby, Books, Children, Drew, Friends, Nonfiction, Technology, Travel, Writing