This time last year.

Feeling mopey and stuck and jealous of those plane tickets to Beijing.

I want my passport in my pocket and a backpack as big as me and two months to lose in far away lands. I want a one-way ticket to anywhere with strong coffee, charming locals and a bookshop that smells like 100 years ago.

But let’s be honest: I’m really just disappointed my skin will  never be as tan as it was after two weeks on the coast of Spain.

It’s right here.

Last night I dreamed I had to show a steady stream of people, friends and strangers, where Kyrgyzstan is on a map of the world. This is probably because it’s been in the news so frequently.

Anyway, in case you were wondering:


I didn’t move to Iowa to share space with a 50-year-old man who seems to always be wearing the same pair of jorts. But I’m a light sleeper, and when next-door Larry wakes up with a coughing fit at 5 a.m., these thin walls and the yard of space that separates our beds don’t do much to dull the sound of his hacking.

Being the middle child of four means roommates — at least for the first decade of life or so. It means bunk beds and learning to sleep through snoring. So I was no stranger to sharing sleeping space when I got to college and met Kristy, random freshman year roomie who turned out to be the cookie-cutter crazy bitch of university lore. She had a habit of sleeping for only an hour each night and drinking a 12-pack of Diet Coke each day. Kristy was manic, shrill, and her boyfriend enjoyed getting ridiculously drunk and peeing all over our bathroom. I think the urine was the last straw.

Then I got Katie, who is The Best Roommate Ever (present tense because she still lets me sleep on her couch every other weekend). Katie and I bonded over Radiohead and Sufjan Stevens and the Food Network, and when we upgraded from 12′ x 12′ dorm room to apartment with kitchen she would make me butternut-squash risotto and brownies. Best Roommate Ever.

But I don’t know anything about Neighbor Larry, other than his penchant for denim fashion and current sore throat, and it’s creepy to hear a stranger sleeping (dear God, so thankful it’s just sleeping…) so near you. It’s creepy AND I feel guilty now about my habit of listening to Lil Wayne remixes after a long night at work. Larry doesn’t look like the type who enjoys being woken by “A Milli” at 1 in the morning (as opposed to the two people I know who would be ecstatic about this).

Barring sleeping on my living room air mattress to resolve this issue, I’ll probably just relocate my computer so Larry can sleep peacefully — without having to listen to my midnight snack of YouTube puppy videos. Anonymously slipping cough drops into his mailbox might also work.

Looking for:

“[If] I think there’s a chance he may have read something other than a vegetarian cookbook in the last year. Or if his jokes are funny and his laugh is rare, or he calls me ‘kiddo’ and it turns me into wobbly parfait. Or if his hand on my back feels like the relief of walking into a spot of sunny pavement.”

I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I’ve Dated, by Julie Klausner

I should go to bed earlier.

Instead I stayed up late listening to songs I loved in high school. Not in a nostalgic way, more in a “well, at least I had good taste in music back then” way. I’m listening to the albums I had on repeat at a fragile 17-years-old when my younger sister and I would drive to school (8 a.m., windows down in stifling St. Louis September) harmonizing with Sufjan Stevens’ “I’ve made a lot of mistakes, I’ve made a lot of mistakes…” We had no idea.

“You won’t recognize yourself in four years,” Mr. M. told our senior government class. How ominous. How true (thank God).

I’m carrying a fragment of four-years-ago self in stacks of CDs in the glove compartment (different car, different town, different interpretation of the lyrics about sex and drugs and love and road trips). Here’s to Sufjan, The Decemberists, Death Cab, Stars and Shout Out Louds for, it turns out, being that part of 17 most worth holding on to.

Little by little…

Happy Easter.

“Did you get anything fun in your Easter basket, Dad?”

“Yep. A bottle of Scotch.”

In my Easter basket package from Mom: "Jesus I Trust in You." ... to make my lips super smooth.