Though the holiday is Thursday, I’ll be too busy driving home then napping on my parents’ family room floor to even think about typing this (so much work). The day will start with a lap around the kitchen, sniffing out the menu and picking off unattended pecans and cheeses. My sister’s boyfriend will arrive bearing his Irish family’s Irish soda bread. We’ll take a Christmas card picture, hopefully before the food bellies show (and stay for the rest of the weekend). We’ll clean, we’ll sleep, we might go hiking.

Generally I’d make a list of all the tiny or quirky events I’m grateful for this year, and there are a lot of those (like when the customer service guy shouted “Yay!” after helping me fix a computer problem last week — I’m thankful for that). But this year, I have some significant events and people to celebrate.

First, this new job and new city. The last few weeks have been full and fulfilling with assignments I’m proud of, weekly visitors and a friend just 20 minutes down the highway. Now, after the grind of daily news, I have an official holiday break.

Second, a spring road trip to the Grand Canyon.

Third, a summer road trip to Tennessee.

Fourth, a birthday road trip to Kansas City.

It’s been a miraculous year — each complaint and moment of insecurity included. I’m lucky to have these friends and family members, talent and gumption, stability and love. Thanks, world, and thanks, you guys.




I am an impulse buyer. It started in Ottumwa when I had nothing better to do but wander Target, and continues here, where I use “necessary” apartment furnishings as an excuse to wander SuperTarget. It’s a compulsion that’s left me with a closet of little-worn tops, a stack of magazines in the recycling bin and the smell of Target popcorn lingering on all my outerwear.

Today, I take comfort in the few things I don’t regret buying. Like books (Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? Very excited).



And the chunky oatmeal sweater I spotted from the checkout line last weekend, bought without trying on and wore two days in  row. It’s 90s ski lodge chic meets Sunday sweat pants comfort.

And finally upgrading to a big, shiny pot for serious, non single-serve cooking. Five yams boiled comfortably in this baby on Friday. Good-sized yams.







I am becoming an adult.

I own a large houseplant. I water it on a regular basis.

I am comparison shopping bedroom curtains.

I am remembering to moisturize.

I send professional emails.

I am planning Christmas gifts in advance.

I am reluctantly networking. I collect business cards.

I attend various farmers markets.

I dust.

I set the coffee pot the night before and wash the dishes and put away dirty clothes.

I am showering every day. Even Sundays.