Home Sweet Sarah
3Jan/172

2016 review

I guess I'm a little late with this one, but oh well, I DID IT. Here's how 2016 shaped up. (I am kind of with my girl over at Life of a Doctor's Wife--it might be time to update some of these questions.)

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?
Went to improv camp! Went on a week-long family vacation. (Related: Went to New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts.) Went to Michigan! Went to Wisconsin! Went to (brunch in) Indiana! Went to Mt. Hood! Went to a lot of new places!

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any. I might for 2017, check back here.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope. (I always feel like I must be forgetting someone. I hope not!)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Nope.

5. What countries did you visit?
None.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you didn't have in 2016?
Clarity/direction around what I'm doing with regard to comedy.

7. What dates from 2016 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
November 8th was a real shit day and YOU KNOW WHY.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
I sent my little infant baby off to kindergarten. Towards the end of the year, I made a commitment to do more yoga, and I did something like 30 classes in three months. My teacher said she could tell my practice was improving and that I was getting stronger. I walked/ran 625 miles, the most I've done since I started keeping track in 2013.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I did a lot of thinking about what I'm going to do, instead of just doing.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope. I am fairly certain I didn't get sick once--a far cry from 2013, where I was sick CONSTANTLY. Of course, for the last three months, I've been waiting for the winter cold to make its appearance, so that's fun.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Anything related to our family vacation.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
All of us who stood up for what we believed in.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
YOU KNOW.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, travel, cocktails, dinners out.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Family vacation! Improv camp!

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
That dance dance dance song by Justin Timberlake.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: A) happier or sadder? B) thinner or fatter? C) richer or poorer?
A) Maybe a little sadder.
B) Fatter. Who even cares.
C) About the same? Maybe a little richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Read books.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Drank booze.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
The three of us spent Christmas at home, just us and a shitton of food. The usual. (I kept this answer from last year because as I said, it's the usual. We're pretty predicable.)

21. Did you fall in love with 2016?
NOPE.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Vanderpump Rules, Below Deck, all the Housewives, Gilmore Girls (old school and reboot), The Americans, Billions, The Night Of (so good, so sad), Shameless, Stranger Things, Ladies of London, The Affair, Homeland.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
NOPE. I HATED HIM LAST YEAR TOO.

24. What was the best book you read?
The Bullet, by Mary Louise Kelly.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Maren Morris!

26. What did you want and get?
A family vacation!

27. What did you want and not get?
Comedy comedy comedy.

28. What was your favorite film of 2016?
I do not think I watched a new movie except for Moana on Christmas Eve. So Moana.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
On my actual birthday, we went to dinner here in town and then the next day we went to Chicago and went out to dinner there. I turned 33.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
IF HILLARY CLINTON HAD WON.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2016?
Work from home running and yoga clothes shower at 4pm and put jammies on chic.

32. What kept you sane?
Running, yoga, my friends, my family, avoiding the news.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
DISGUSTING FLOPPY HAIR.

34. Who did you miss?
My mom and dad.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
Even though I haven't seen them much recently, I did meet fun new improv friends here in Chicago.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Don't get too comfortable and don't believe what the pollsters tell you.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Last year I quoted Tracy Chapman and I'm doing it again this year. "Don't you know / They're talkin' about a revolution"

23Dec/16Off

Improv update

I've been meaning to talk about improv/comedy and where I'm at with all that. It's been knocking around in my brain, but I am still not quite sure "where I am with all that," so I figured maybe if I wrote it down, I would get some clarity.

Last we left off, I was enjoying performing improv in Sacramento. Then we moved to the Chicagoland area and while I was sad to be leaving my home theater, I was excited to start taking improv classes here.

In January, I started taking improv classes at a well-known theater. I took levels 1 and 2 and really enjoyed both my teachers and (most of) my classmates. In May, I took a break from the well-known theater because we were planning a lot of summer travel and I was going to have to miss classes. (You can't miss more than two classes or they won't let you advance to the next level.)

I heard about an improv theater in the suburbs from one of my classmates and decided to check it out. This theater ran a Thursday night drop-in practice (part rehearsal, part class) for a nominal fee each month (basically what would be a coaching fee.) You also had opportunities to perform. I figured, I'll try this over the summer, to keep myself improv-ing while I take a break from the well-known theater. The first night of practice, the owner/coach announced that they would be holding auditions in a few weeks. Serendipity!

A week later (early June), I went to improv camp in the Catskills. It was amazing. One of the best trips of my life, improv or otherwise. On the first day of classes, in my very first class, the instructor (an awesome, intense person) told us not to play (aka: perform improv) with people who didn't play the way we wanted to play. "Easy for you to say," I thought. When you're trying to "make it," you take what you can get and perform with whomever and wherever you can.

[But his words stuck with me and they still stick with me. Probably of everything I learned at camp, that is the one thing that has stuck.]

I came back from improv camp and auditioned (that same day--improv overload!) for the new team at the new theater. I have never been great with patterns--improv talk...the pattern is basically the through-line of a scene or a show that performers keep coming back to. When you're in the audience and you're like, "I hope they bring up XYZ again" and then they do, that's the pattern. It's what makes improv truly funny--so I focused more on going on the journey with my scene-mates and being supportive and calm.

[This was something my level 2 classmates said about me in our final class (we went around telling each person individually what we enjoyed about performing with them). They said they felt taken care of when I was on stage with them and that I never seemed worried, that I was always calm. These were huge compliments to hear because that is how I try to be onstage. Since I am not great at pattern, I know I have to be a good support and also as a personal M.O. professionally, I always try to appear calm.]

A few days later I found out I'd made the team! I honestly was not surprised. But I was also wary of who else would be on the team. I am far from the best improv performer, but there are certain styles of improv ("too much about the game," as my friend Kim would say) that I don't like. Like, "Oh look, now we're in the middle of the jungle! How'd that Holiday Inn get here?" Or, one person during auditions just kept shouting things. Oftentimes, people try to make sure there is no silence in a scene. I like silence in scenes. I can sit silent in a scene and just stew in it. I think you can end up moving a scene forward more if you take a beat instead of just filling the silence with crap.

Rehearsals for the new team started and I was pleased with most of the people on the team, which I took as a good sign that the theater/coach also didn't want to go the "game-y" route. But then on the first night of rehearsal, we were doing a practice show and somehow, "slut" and "whore" became patterns throughout the show. And we couldn't get out from under it, no matter how hard we (mostly I) tried. It wasn't funny slut/whore stuff, either (if funny slut/whore stuff is even a thing, which I think it can be, if done really right, which this was not.) Worst part was that the coach didn't say anything. A far cry from California and the way we did things there, where a coach would tell you in no uncertain terms that we don't make women "sluts" and "whores" on stage.

Long story short-ish, I brought this up the coach, who was responsive. She brought it to the owner, who was very responsive. I continued going to rehearsals, but just didn't feel it. Something had been lost. Or more accurately, trust hadn't ever been gained. And that's what you truly need to have a successful and magical improv team, I think. Lots of trust. Trust that the people on stage have your back, that they're not just out there to make themselves look good, but that they want to make the team shine. After that first rehearsal, any knee-jerk trust I'd gone in with diminished and I couldn't get it back.

As I thought about this team and what, if anything, I was going to do, I kept coming back to what the camp teacher had said. And then it was clear to me. I thought, I really do not want to play with these people. This is not the way I like to play. And my whole, "Easy for you to say" disappeared because I was like, He's right. If this is what I have to do to "make it," I'd rather not. I'd rather quit this team and go off and find some people who play the way I like to play.

And so that's what I did. Except I haven't started taking classes again (a busy summer turned into a busy fall) and I am not entirely sure where I go from here. Part of me thinks the improv magic of my California team may not truly come along again, at least not here. The Midwest is different, comedically, which was surprising to me since so many greats have come out of the Chicago. That being said, I am thinking about giving stand-up a shot, or writing (sketch). I am not sure. But I see exciting things happening to other people, and it reminds me that sitting around and thinking about comedy or even sitting around and writing about comedy are not actually getting out and doing comedy. Everyone who is making things happen is doing the work to get there. There's something inspiring about that, I think, and I hope it'll inspire me enough to get off my ass and do something.

Filed under: Improv 3 Comments
30Dec/15Off

2015

2015 was a year. A year, it was.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Performed weekly with an improv team. Lived in the Midwest.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I made any resolutions. I am not making any for 2016.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister-in-law!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. (CRYFACE EMOJI.)

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you didn't have in 2015?
(Haha, last year I said, "A finished kitchen." Since we sold our house, now I don't give a fuuuuuuq about my kitchen.) Anyway, I would like a goddamn vacation.

7. What dates from 2015 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
September 15, the date our shit was packed up and headed off to Illinois. September 19, the date we left California for Illinois.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Being asked to perform weekly on an improv team, finding a job I really liked, being a very supportive spouse.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't think I failed at anything.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I can't really think of anything that I bought that was that great. Champagne?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Chris got promoted! He's a badass. LG continued to be chill and took all the big changes in stride. I was, once again, a very supportive spouse.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
After marriage equality, when people continued to passive-aggressively quote Bible scripture on Facebook as if to make some stupid point...STOP IT. The only point you're making is that you're a bigot. Go away.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage/rent, daycare, food, booze.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Being asked to be on an improv team!

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
"Changes," by Langhorne Slim and The Law. I heard this in my last yoga class in California the week we moved and I cried and then I couldn't find the song anywhere and then a few weeks ago, I randomly heard it during an Auto Trader commercial and I was like, There's that song! And also I need to send my yoga teacher a Christmas letter! Life works in funny ways sometimes.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: A) happier or sadder? B) thinner or fatter? C) richer or poorer?
A) Same.
B) Same.
C) Richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Improv or anything else comedy-related. Stand-up, sketch, etc.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Ate fried food.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
The three of us spent Christmas at home, just us and a shitton of food. The usual.

21. Did you fall in love with 2015?
Nah.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
All the Real Housewives, as usual; The Affair; Homeland; The Americans; Better Call Saul; The West Wing; Vanderpump Rules.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope.

24. What was the best book you read?
Yes Please, by Amy Poehler.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I recently downloaded Grace Potter. I dig it.

26. What did you want and get?
More comedy!

27. What did you want and not get?
A family vacation!

28. What was your favorite film of 2015?
Haha, "film." I don't think I saw any movies this year, except the Peanuts Movie, which was really quite stupid, and Inside Out, which was not stupid, but which made me cry.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Chris and I went to San Diego--alone!--and hung out with friends and went to the bar where we met. I turned 32.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
It was a pretty legit year, so I can't say there's more I would have wanted. Don't be greedy.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2015?
All I can think of is that most recently, it's puffy coats.

32. What kept you sane?
Running, yoga, podcasts.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
There are too many shootings in this country and I don't know how to solve it, but it needs solving because what the fuck is going on?

34. Who did you miss?
My mom and dad. They came to almost every improv show and I loved seeing their faces front row center every Wednesday.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
My bosses; my old cubicle-neighbor, who has turned into a real friend; and improv people.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Just say yes--adventure is a good thing! Be loyal to your family--ride or die.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Gimme one reason to stay here and I'll turn right back around..." (LG and I have been listening to a lot of Tracy Chapman.)

8May/15Off

Friday!

Weekend plans

Hey, did you know, it's Mother's Day weekend? Mother's Day weekend, guys. THE WEEKEND OF THE MOTHERS.

Okay, so admittedly, Mother's Day is not a huge deal to me. It's one of two days a year I allow myself to eat donuts, so that's fun, but other than that I pretty much just like to be left alone (so no different than any other day of the year.)

This year, après-donuts, I am going to go to yoga (mamaste) and then to Mexican food brunch with my two faves. I bought two different bottles of rosé today, so maybe I'll bust into one of those. The possibilities are endless. (Actually not really, as I have a job interview at 9am Monday.)

Tomorrow we're going to the farmers' market and then to the fair. I am not the hugest fair-going person, but I like this one because it's on the smaller side and it's early enough in the season that it's not disgustingly hot outside yet. We'll check out the car show (Chris's favorite thing on the planet), the baby animals (no one's favorite thing), try to coerce LG onto some rides (seriously no one's favorite thing), and after half an hour, we'll probably flee to the nearest beer-monger.


This one told me she didn't want me to go to Muffins With Mom at her school today. Excuse me while I go cry in my cheerios.

Meal plan

Tonight we're making these pizza rolls. Tomorrow is fair food. Sunday is clams and pasta. Monday is burgers. Tuesday is chili. Wednesday is TBD. Thursday is also TBD, but I imagine I'll have Chris grill up some chicken thighs when he grills burgers on Monday and then I'll make a few sides to go with them that day. Speaking of sides, anyone make any good side dishes lately? I am in a salad rut (I KNOOOOOOW) and need some inspiration. This cucumber and avocado salad looks good (I'd use Greek yogurt or sour cream in place of mayo), as well as this grilled Greek panzanella salad. Ooooh, and this: roasted red peppers with anchovies, garlic, and goat cheese.


Last night's buffalo turkey lettuce wraps. Ugh, healthy food, I am over you.

'Tis the season...

...to update my closet. I bought a few of these shirts on MamaBub's recommendation. They should arrive tomorrow and when they do, I'll report back. I am also trying one of these tank tops. As much as I'd like to buy nicer things that will last a long time, the truth is I am terrible on my clothes. I literally had to take the last white t-shirt I bought and throw it in the trash the first day I wore it because I spilled coffee on it. So now I'm just like, fuck it. I'll spend $12 on a t-shirt and if I ruin it right away (likely), then who cares?

I have a couple pairs of shorts (Gap boyfriend shorts are my favorite, but I am laughing/crying at the fact that anyone can wear them rolled. NOT ON THESE THIGHS) and a couple maxi dresses. If the shirts/tank work out, I'll buy a few more in different color/patterns and a new pair of boyfriend shorts. I could also use a new pair of sandals, as I haven't bought any (minus my Birks) in a couple years. I was just perusing Target, my favorite place for cute summer sandals, and everything on there looked horrifyingly '90s, so that's not great, Bob.

Parting thought

I'm finding that spending most of my time with a 4-year-old is really great for my improv skills. There's a lot of character work ("I'm a dog!", "I'm a cat!") and today we worked on accents. (Not that accents are necessary for improv, but they certainly help when playing a character.) Today LG ate some bread and she said, "This is a tasty orange!" and I was like, "Is it juicy and delicious?" That's basically improv in a nutshell. Yes, I will go on this bread-as-orange journey with you. LET'S DO IT.


Possibly the most well-lit picture of me ever taken on stage. Thanks, Mom!

1Apr/15Off

1Q15 books

Not a lot to say about the books I read this past quarter, but here they are.

Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
Everyone loved this book; I thought it was just okay. I kept waiting for it to get really good and it never seemed to get really good. It was mostly just predictable.

The Next Best Thing, by Jennifer Weiner
This was cute, as I believe all Jennifer Weiner books to be. Easy, fun read.

The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins
Holly got me this for my birthday and told me it was being talked up as this year's Gone Girl. I liked it! I liked the pacing and thought it had a good little twist. Maybe not quite as twist-y as Gone Girl, but still good.

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
I enjoyed this very much; favorite book of the year so far. I loved hearing about Amy's entrance into comedy, especially her time studying improv and starting the UCB theatre. The owner of the comedy club where I perform studied at UCB, so it was cool to read her experiences and then compare to how/what I've learned/am learning about improv. I also loved her take on parenting small children AND doing what you love, i.e.: comedy. And I loved to hear that she wasn't cast on SNL 'til she was 29. There's hope for me yet.

Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty
Everyone hated this book or couldn't get into it, but I thought it was super fun. This is the second book I've read by this author (the first being What Alice Forgot), so I will read more by her.

What have you read lately?

19Mar/15Off

I mustache you a question

Stolen from Hillary. Feel free to steal for all your blogging needs. (I just went to comment on some blogs and it seems that none of us have been posting much, so get on it. I'm talking to you Holly, MamaBub, Raven, et. al. XOXO.)

The highlight of my week... Installing new lights in our kitchen, FINALLY. It makes me happy whenever I go in there. Also, today's playdate with EBJ and K Dubs was pretty fun, especially when Katie tried to hug LG goodbye and LG ran away from her. The manners on this kid, honestly.

The low point of my week... Waking up this morning with a raging headache. Lack of sleep hangovers are some serious bullshit.

The best book/article I read... I've been reading Yes Please (Amy Poehler) and enjoying it quite a bit. Yesterday afternoon I'd read the part about how the Upright Citizen's Brigade theatre's theme is "Don't Think" and last night at improv I saw a shirt on someone that just said Don't Think on the back and I was like, Hey, I know what that means!

My favorite photo I took...
New lights!
New lights!

This week's workouts... Consisted of a lot of walking to the dreaded playground.

The best money I spent... I checked my bank account this morning and found that the winery charged us for our next wine shipment, so even if it's not in my hands yet, it's still a good purchase. Also, new lights for the kitchen!

My plans this weekend... Tomorrow LG goes to school, which means my weekend officially begins. I'll go to yoga in the morning and we'll probably make pizza for dinner. Saturday morning, I am going to a yoga class featuring a DJ, which should be fun. Sunday is brunch/lunch with the ladies. Monday funday (Chris's day off and LG's other school day, so an extension of the weekend) is still up in the air. Hopefully something fun with my bae. (I just said bae, how hip am I, guys?)

What about you all--what's new?

10Feb/15Off

Insert tattoo here

So I've always liked entertaining people, but besides my small role in the junior high play or spontaneously belting out, "GOOD MORNING, BAAAAAALTIMOOOOOORE!" in my kitchen, I really have not spent much time focusing myself on "the arts" or "honing my craft" or anything like that. (Because I am not artsy. Because I do not actually have a craft to hone. These are the lies we tell ourselves.)

Almost eight years ago I started this blog because, as I said, I really liked entertaining people and I also liked writing and I found I could do both here. My readers were, and still are, limited to pretty much family, close friends, and some of my aunt's coworkers. Readers didn't really matter---I just really liked this place where I could be brutally honest (embarrassingly so, sometimes) and I think people enjoyed reading one person's account of how she (and possibly they) really felt about the topic at hand. Occasionally this blog is serious, but mostly I just aim to make people laugh. This is me in real life, too. Serious when I have to be, but mostly not.

My dad (hands down the funniest person I have ever known, ever) has been telling me for years that I needed to do something with the blog material. Like standup comedy. And I knew that! He was right! As he said, "You've written it all down already! You already have a tight 5!" But even though it was all written down, I just could not put together how I was supposed to do this. Like, mentally, I couldn't figure it out. It wasn't a fear of being on stage or speaking in front of a group (TWO THINGS I LOVE EVERYONE LOOK AT MEEEEEE.) I can't really explain it except to say it just wasn't computing for me.

In late September, I somehow found myself watching a video online of an improv show that I had actually already seen once before, when it first aired on tv a few months prior. But seeing it that second time, it computed. I needed to take an improv class. I did a quick Google and found two options for comedy schools nearby, then went with the one that got better reviews on Yelp. The class started the following week.

For the next eight weeks, I got up in front of my class and told embarrassing stories and acted like ridiculous characters. I learned the fundamentals of improv and had a lot of fun. And then I signed up for the next level class. I told more stories and learned a lot more (A LOT MORE.)

The night of our last class, I asked my classmates what class they were planning to take next. I wasn't sure what I was planning to do...Sketch writing class, standup class? As we were wrapping up, our teacher said that some of us would get the invite to play on the developmental team, which performs every Wednesday, and that some would not, but to not feel bad if you didn't get chosen. Keep working at it, etc.

This developmental team was not on my radar.

The next day as I was reading the class descriptions for sketch writing or standup, I got an email inviting me to play on the developmental team. As someone who cries maybe twice a year, I actually started to tear up. I was so honored and excited and surprised to have been chosen.

For years I've been trying to figure out, within my own mind, how to make this thing I love happen. Well, as Scheana from Vanderpump Rules so delightfully reminds us with her forearm tattoo, IT'S ALL HAPPENING.

Every week I get to go and act like a loon in front of strangers (and sometimes not---hi, Mom and Dad!) and practice and get better and make people laugh. And best of all, it's a relief. It's a relief for me to feel like I'm finally on the path to where I'm supposed to go with this.
Improv-ing!

2Jan/15Off

2014 in review

The last time I did one of these, I called the post, "Goodbye 2012, you and your bitch face" and then I didn't do one at all in 2013, so I guess I had a rough few years? But hey, now that 2015 is here, what better time to recap 2014?

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
Took an improv class, performed in an improv show, ran 500 miles, watched the Seahawks win the Super Bowl.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I made any resolutions. I did try to drink 80 oz. of water a day and eat one salad a day and I did pretty well at that, actually. I set a goal of running 500 miles, which I achieved. For this year, I'd like to incorporate more yoga into my life. I don't need to be doing headstands and shit, but I've been practicing for over 10 years and I still only go to yoga maybe once a week. I know (and I know enough yoga) I can do more on my own.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! Chris's best friend's wife and Chris's cousin's wife. Two beautiful baby girls (my favorite brand of baby, though I may be biased.)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. I haven't visited a country since 2009 and that was just Mexico, so let's go with states. In 2014, I visited Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, and Nevada.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you didn't have in 2014?
A finished kitchen.

7. What dates from 2014 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
I am so bad with dates, I actually forgot Chris's birthday. So. None of them are etched upon my memory, clearly.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
I got into the pay grade I wanted to be in. I ran 500 miles. I enjoyed my marriage (not that I've not enjoyed it in years past, but I especially enjoyed it last year.) I finally figured out a small piece that was missing in my life (improv, although I don't know that that's specifically what was missing, but it's definitely helping me figure out my path.)

9. What was your biggest failure?
I need to put my phone down after, say, 8pm. I really improved on not bringing my phone out during family time, but once LG and Chris are in bed, it's total zombie phone time. No bueno.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No! And considering 2013 was The Year Of Ailments, this was quite the treat.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Airplane tickets to Hawaii.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
LG's! She is always so amenable when we have big life changes going on. Being yanked from school to home with me full time to being back in (a different) school...She just takes it all with ease.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The whole Ferguson thing, and everything stemming from or related to that, was appalling.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, daycare, food.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Our Hawaii trip!

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Oh geez, who knows. Was it on NPR? Then I didn't hear it.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: A) happier or sadder? B) thinner or fatter? C) richer or poorer?
A) Happier!
B) Fatter, probably. Who the fuck cares?
C) Richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Read more at night.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Sweeping the floor.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
My parents came over on Christmas Eve and we ate a big dinner and drank A TON of champagne and then spent Christmas morning watching LG enjoy all her spoils.

21. Did you fall in love with 2014?
Sure, why not? It was a damn good year.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Homeland, Sons of Anarchy, The Americans, The Affair, all the Real Housewives.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope.

24. What was the best book you read?
I guess Life After Life. That was quite the thinker.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I've enjoyed Sam Baker a lot.

26. What did you want and get?
A family vacation!

27. What did you want and not get?
A finished kitchen!

28. What was your favorite film of 2014?
Preeeeeeetty sure I didn't go to the movies at all and I cannot remember any that I saw, even on tv. We got something out of the Redbox, but I can't remember what. I watcher Her on the flight home from Hawaii and it was WEIRD.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Chris and I went to San Francisco and had a blast JUST THE TWO OF US (as nature intended.) I turned 31.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I really can't think of anything. Maybe a new car?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2014?
Swans and pineapples. I have also decided to get back into novelty socks. I don't know why I thought giving those up for plain black socks was the thing to do.

32. What kept you sane?
Running, yoga, crossword puzzles, friends, my mom and dad, and Chris.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
I have steered clear of politics this year and it is glorious!

34. Who did you miss?
All my family I don't get to see enough.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
I met some cool people at my job and also some cool people at improv.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"...And this is All Things Considered."

2Jan/15Off

4Q14 books

Hey, Happy New Year! What better way to ring in the new year than with an update about what I read last year?

I didn’t finish the year off as strong as I started, but I managed to read more books in the fourth quarter than in the second and third quarters, so there you go.

Hunting Shadows, by Charles Todd
This was a Twitter rec (thanks, Natalie!) and I really enjoyed it. It was a British murder mystery (and Ian Rutledge book) and I would definitely read more by this author/the Ian Rutledge series. The only thing missing was a love interest storyline, which I guess not every book needs to have, but which I generally enjoy. That said, there were hints at a love interest storyline, so waiting to see if that got fleshed (heh) out added a certain element to the book.

Best Friends Forever, by Jennifer Weiner
I love everything Jennifer Weiner writes. I found this on my library’s shelves and didn’t think I’d read it (I hadn’t) and I liked it a lot. It was kind of cheeky and not as serious as some of her other books (although the main plot point was very serious, there was a lot of humor.) Recommend.

Dad Is Fat, by Jim Gaffigan
Jim Gaffigan has five kids and lives in a walk-up in NYC. Just sit with that for a second. I thought this book was fun—although it was a lot of his stand-up jokes in written form, so if you’ve seen any of his standup, then that won’t be new material for you—but I loved his perspective on parenting. (Especially parenting in NYC, which seems…Intense.) The book also contained several diagrams detailing how they put five children and two adults to bed in a two-bedroom apartment, which had me giggling.

Bossypants, by Tina Fey
I loved this! I didn’t know a ton about Tina Fey, minus what I learned on Inside The Actor’s Studio, so I liked reading about her history and start in comedy (improv!), as well as the steps she took to get where she is. Good inspiration.

Honorable Mentions
These are books I started that didn’t or haven’t yet finished.

The Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett
After hearing the author on Fresh Air, I became obsessed and immediately checked this book out from the library. It’s a collection of essays (some old, from Patchett’s magazine writing days; some new, for the book.) I will liken it to paddling through the Colorado River, if the river was made of tar: Gorgeous views along the way, but nearly impossible to get through. I would like to give it another go, because I did love her writing and her, but we’ll see.

Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems, by Billy Collins
I think I heard about Billy Collins first in yoga and then on NPR and like Patchett above, I checked this book out from the library immediately. I would read a few poems a night before bed, but just never finished the book before it was due back. I do want to re-check it out. Until then, my favorite poem for you:

No Time
By Billy Collins

In a rush this weekday morning,
I tap the horn as I speed past the cemetery
where my parents are buried
side by side beneath a slab of smooth granite.

Then, all day, I think of him rising up
to give me that look
of knowing disapproval
while my mother calmly tells him to lie back down.

Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
I am currently reading this and plan to finish soon!

True Evil, by Greg Iles
I always buy a cheap Kindle book to read on my app when Chris is already in bed. I am about 11% through this book, so I expect I’ll finish it maybe before the end of 2015.

And that’s it! What did you read and love this year?

5Dec/14Off

Updates

I survived my improv show. That took up a lot of mental space for awhile there (although not much space here, so you may not know that I was freaking out about it, but I was totally freaking out about it.) Anyway, it was a lot of fun and now of course, three classes into my 201 class, where we learn A LOT more, I'm like hmm why hasn't my eye stopped twitching in two months OOOH GOT IT.

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Ours was delightful. We went to the Northwest to spend the holiday with Chris's entire family. I ate a ton of food and went on a few runs along the Puget Sound. I drank port and ate fancy chocolates and went to a dive bar. The Seahawks won their game and we all slept in until 7:55am one morning. See? Delightful.

My sister-in-law has a great singing voice and while she was trying to get our girls to nap one day, she asked LG what song LG would like her to sing and LG said, "The ABCs!" Chris and I have joked that that has always been LG's favorite song, but, uhh, I guess it really is.

LG's Christmas gifts are bought and are currently squirreled away in Chris's restoration car in the garage, the downstairs closet, and our bedroom closet. We got all her gifts at the greatest store in America. I don't know if you've heard of it. It's called Costco. Here's what she's getting:

- A baby stroller (like, FOR her babies)
It comes with a little removable carrier thing. I actually remember having almost the exact same thing when I was her age.

- Two different art kits with approximately 1.2 millions stickers each
One is Doc McStuffins themed and one is various Disney princess themed. One also comes with stamps and stamp pads. That should blow her mind.

- Giant stuffed Olaf
So maybe two days after we bought her a giant stuffed Olaf, LG told us, "I'm getting a stuffed Olaf for Christmas!" and we were like, "What! No!" and then to one another we were like, "How the fuck does she know that?!" The only thing I can think is a few weeks before, LG and I were at Bed Bath & Beyond, where she saw a similar Olaf, and maybe I said something like, "If you're good, maybe you'll get one for Christmas!" but that's not usually my style, so who knows. Maybe LG has a touch of the ESP like her ma.

- Two puzzles
The girl loves puzzles.

- Socks
She also likes/needs socks.

- As yet to be determined stocking stuffers
Whatever I find at Target the next time I'm there.

- She told me last night that she wanted Frozen pjs, so dammit, that may also make it in there. I am a sucker.

If I run 47 miles in December, I'll hit 500 miles for the year. It's five days in and I've run none so far. It's looking good, I'd say.

Chris and I are having my parents over for Christmas, so we're currently discussing Christmas menu options. We didn't get to do this for Thanksgiving and as people who like to plan their next night's dinner while they're eating their current dinner, you can imagine this has been quite the topic of conversation.

I went on a shopping spree recently and bought a ton of new clothes. Clothes that actually fit! I also went through my closet and got rid of everything ill-fitting, even items that are so soft and cozy they're hard to part with. Done! Adios, too-big t-shirt!

I got a handful of new sweaters/cardigans, a blouse with swans on it, a pair of jeans, t-shirts (one of which I ruined THE FIRST DAY I wore it. No more white tees for me), leggings, ankle boots, leopard print sneakers, and I think that's it. I'd still like a new pair of colored pants (red?) and a new blazer/jacket, but I can probably put that off until springtime. Ooh I also got something called a "cocoon" sweater from Old Navy that is fleece (god bless ON fleece.) It has a pouch in the front and a loose turtleneck-like neck and it covers my butt, so I can wear it with leggings. It's the best.

That's basically all that's new with me. How are you?