It’s a rare weekend I’m staring down today: an extended period of absolutely nothing.

From midnight last night to 8 a.m. next Wednesday, I’m between employers. And in an rush to get addresses changed and hairs chopped and one junk Honda inspected before leaving Ottumwa during the early part of the week, I’ve left myself with not a lot left to do here. Next step: Three long days to think about filling a half-dozen moving totes (this will inevitably happen Monday evening).

I will Google bed frames (I’ll be sleeping on an air mattress for the next couple of weeks — I’ll be supremely grumpy about it). I will memorize anecdotes and sandwich recipes to enhance the first few days of New Job. I will let my anxious mind wander over the new challenges/remind myself that I’m totally awesome and will, as a friend put it, “kill it” there. I will polish off the three beers and four string cheeses left in the fridge. I will have half a panic attack and take too many naps.

486 lbs.

I need to remember that change = good. And I’m good at change, after a lifetime of practice. Seriously, ask a Martin how to transplant a life. It’s kind of our thing, along with pre-dinner wine and moose. In moving, the key is shoes with traction a fine pair of biceps (because oh my gosh, I have way too many heavy books).

So thanks for all the encouragement, prayers, love, baked goods, etc. Reflecting on this support will get me through four days of nothing — because nothing can be damn intimidating.


Saturday’s wedding had the best mix of dance tunes of any wedding ever of all time:

(The bride and groom specifically requested the Glee version — love.)

Wedding Day.

Marriages are the best, for too many reasons to name.

  1. Because of love.
  2. Because of dressing up.
  3. Because of this. A conversation between a bridesmaid and 5-year-old ringbearer at today’s event:

Bridesmaid: “Henry, are you going to dance at the wedding?”

Henry: “Yeah. I’m gonna dance like crazy. Is the floor hard or soft?”

B: “Um, probably hard.”

H: “Oh…OK. I was thinking about doing a somersault.”


Things are just awfully pleasant right now. It’s easy to be kind when everything is going right, but I’m feeling particularly magnanimous — give me a baby to hug and a world problem to solve.

Mushy, mushy, mushy, blah blah wonderful life.

Download Wandering Bears here.


I’ve been living and working (crying, drinking, dancing and spending too much time at the library) in Ottumwa for two years now. And in approximately two weeks, I’m moving to Cedar Rapids. The best part about this new job: I don’t have to change the Iowa license plates I just finished paying off. Also, the new office is full of brightly painted farm animals. It’s a dream.

Still, I have to give Ottumwa credit. Though I’ll be minus one stolen car radio when I leave, I’ve gained as well. Ten reasons to appreciate this dirty, friendly, scary, sunny small town:

  • My former housemate/still Iowa BFF Pat.
  • That hot air balloon ride I got to take for the paper. So lucky.
  • The courthouse ladies, the Target fitting room ladies, the YMCA front desk ladies, and Marsha, the best bartender ever.
  • Watching trains and the Des Moines River pass by through my kitchen window.
  • Cooking in said kitchen — a 5-foot-by-5-foot 1920s affair.

  • The chance to do a little bit of everything around the newsroom — probably the main reason I have a new job now.
  • Several always caring, often hilarious coworkers who got me through thievery, boredom and one snow-bound car fiasco.
  • Wiley, the landlord’s stout Scottie dog.
  • Walking everywhere.
  • Time to get “strong,” as my mom calls it, by which I think she means “independent, unsympathetic hard-ass.” I’ll take it.

Good, Bad and Ugly.

Highlights of this week:

  • The aforementioned shoebox of sisterly affection (still trying to find a good place for Zac).
  • Allowing myself a Wednesday morning off to explore the (still fully stocked) Missoni collection at Target. Sometimes living in a town that’s a year behind the times has its perks — like the stellar zig-zag make-up bag I picked up.
  • Temperatures that warranted cozy oatmeal-colored cardigans. It’s the hap-happiest season of all!
  • Waking up to Nutty Nuggets cereal.
  • Strange Mercy.
  • The early premiere of Zooey Deschanel’s new show.
  • K’s texts from her Dallas business trip: “Just got asked if [my school] has a rodeo team. Hello, Texas.” | “Just drove past a store called Condom Sense.” | “Texas stores, continued: the Quilt Asylum.”


  • The realization that I’ve replaced dating real people with filling out job applications and interviewing for stories. And that I’m 100% OK with this.

The Ugly:

Sleeping in a pile of clothes.

The Best Sister in the World.

K sent me a shoebox full of random, delightful gifts yesterday. Love love love. In the box: yellow nailpolish, ribbons, a cocktail sword, My Little Pony magnets and a box of worry dolls. Best. Sister.

Packaging covered in encouraging fortunes and Barbie stickers.

A poster of Zac Efron, torn straight from the pages of Tiger Beat.

Journals for my "Life in Ottumwa" screenplay.

Kuzco, the traveling stuffed Alpaca.


Today, my friend Rebecca is headed to Paris to gorge on macarons and Mona Lisas. In two weeks, another friend is moving to Spain — like, living there. These are songs that make me feel like I’m doing cool things in chic black clothing, even when I’m really sitting at a kitchen table in rural Iowa thinking about fixing that leaky faucet: