#26Acts of Kindness: It’s a Start

Two weeks ago, I was wondering what I could do to help. Most of the world was. There are still so many more questions than answers (although I can think of many things that are certainly not the answer), but one positive movement has come about: Ann Curry started the idea of doing 20 (now 26) acts of kindness in honor of the victims, no matter where you are. It’s gone viral and I’m so happy – relieved, even – to be taking part.

Let’s spread the word: We are better than this. This is a good world after all.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

1: Sponsored a package through Project Night Night, which will provide a book, stuffed animal and security blanket to a homeless child. I actually heard about this through The Bloggess a while ago; this provided the extra push I needed to make the donation.

2. Donated canned goods to a food drive (hosted at my friend’s Cookie Swap Party, so really a win-win for everyone).

3. Bought coffee for all of my coworkers. This was not an act of kindness for the poor trainee behind the counter at Caribou, however. “I need one medium northern lite hazelnut latte, one large white berry sugar free raspberry mocha with no whip, one regular latte with an extra shot…” She did great.

4. Bought a coffee for the man behind me in line. He was…startled. But agreed that karma is a good thing.

5 – 8. This one is my favorite so far. I went to my favorite children’s bookstore in all the world, the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, and picked out four of my favorite children’s books in all the world: “Miss Rumphius” by Barbara Cooney (for obvious reasons), “Walk Two Moons” by Sharon Creech (who I also met at the Red Balloon once), “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery, and “Matilda” by Roald Dahl.

Four children's books

I immediately donated them to the Red Balloon’s book-donation program. It felt awesome. I could have spent all of my time and money in this store (er, which is why at least the next few of my Acts of Kindness will be on the free side).

9. Gave out candy canes and cards to everyone in my building. Well, almost everyone. I was shy one candy cane, so…

Have a VERY merry Christmas.

Special moments made…specialer.

10. Helped serve ice cream at the nursing home with my mom. And did not eat all of the ice cream myself. That’s not exactly a good deed, but I still feel like I deserve some sort of medal. I really like ice cream.

11. Made lunch for my family one day over Christmas weekend – nacho bar! At one point I had to stir some sort of meat in a pan and two (2) of my four (4) immediate family members were compelled to take pictures. Yeah, yeah. Laugh at the vegetarian. See if I offer to be nice to you ever again.

The rest of the weekend/early week was spent hanging out with my family, and it’s hard to count any time spent together as an “act of kindness” when I enjoy it as much as they do (probably more, because I only cooked that one (1) meal in four days. Thanks for feeding me, mom).

Back to looking for random acts and random recipients. Any suggestions?

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Something Spooky 4, Or: Pumpkin, Book, Pumpkin Book

(Read parts one, two and three here)

Day 15: “Haunted,” This American Life

It turns out this wasn’t actually a Halloween episode of TAL, but it did feature one of my all-time favorite David Sedaris stories, “Ashes,” so at least I enjoyed myself. I also bought a pumpkin! I haven’t done anything to it yet, though, so no pictures.

Day 16: Read “5 Little Pumpkins” to several little punkins

Tuesdays are generally my favorite days of the week, because I spend a couple of hours volunteering with babies. (I don’t mean the babies are also volunteering, I mean I volunteer to hang out with them.) For two hours I try to stop small people from banging their heads into things and/or screaming, and it is not without precedent that I’ll call a friend after and say, “Hey, can I come over and watch a movie? Yes? Great! Also, can I borrow your clothes and throw what I’m wearing in your washing machine, because I’m covered in spit-up.”

Seriously, I love Tuesdays.

So for Day 16, I corralled the children (okay, two of them) long enough to read “Five Little Pumpkins” aloud. It seemed to be to their taste because they kept trying to eat the book.

Day 17 – 19: “The Twelve” by Justin Cronin (vampires are in this book so it totally counts)

“The Twelve,” the sequel to “The Passage,” was finally released on October 16th. I picked it up that day, and started it the next.

I finished it three days later.

This is not really unheard of for me, as once I get hooked on something I have trouble doing anything else. Plus, this storyline is really engrossing – I recommend this book to people who like Stephen King, post-apocalyptic storylines, Battlestar Galactica, and reading – and I’m already bummed I have to wait so long for the third to be released.

Still, finishing a 500 page book in three days turned some heads…

Twitter Screen

THAT’S THE AUTHOR, YOU GUYS

Ahem.

Day 20: Danced to “Thriller” at a wedding

Nothing scarier than me on the dance floor. These guys do it much better.

PS: If it’s not clear from this post, I love reading and I love kids. That’s why this year I’m going to participate in All Hallows Read. Consider giving a book this Halloween!

Something Spooky, or: The Science of October

I love October. Not only were two of my best friends born this month (love you, Lacy and ma!), it is the first month that truly feels like fall, my favorite season. And, because this is Minnesota, it is also the only month that feels like that.

Best of all, October is the season of spooky. It’s my preference to look ridiculous at all times, so I love any excuse to wear a costume. I love history, and weird, macabre history is the best. And c’mon, I super love candy.

So in order to make the most of life, I’ve decided to challenge myself to do something spooky – every day in October. I’m calling it…wait for it…

Something Spooky.

(and your reaction to this reveal is…)

Day 1: (Re)watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 2 episode, “Halloween.”

Look, I made up this challenge at about 9 pm on a Monday, so I had to start with what was available. Plus, what’s more fun than the episode of BtVS where the Scoobies become their costumes?

Day 2: Apartment Creep-ification Begins

I’m a dork (sentence could end there and still be true) for home decorating. I’m obsessed with Apartment Therapy and Young House Love and antique stores and artwork and crafting. Still, my Halloween decorating usually begins and ends with knocking down real cobwebs to hang fake ones. But not this year. This year, my 100-year-old-apartment is getting a haunting Halloween makeover.

Skull and webs

My new doorman

Books and Petals

“Spooky” books are essential to the decor

Please note that I do not have roommates, nor do I entertain guests all that often. I’m just doing this to creep myself out, I guess. There’s more to come, and some things will even be handmade. Blame Pinterest.

Day 3: Read a spooky story

I did not watch the debates, because I am not after a real “what is this world coming to” kind of terror. Instead, I reread one of my all-time favorite stories: “Lamb To The Slaughter” by Roald Dahl (part of the collection “Skin,” or you can read it online here). Oh, you didn’t realize your favorite children’s author also wrote creepy stories for adults? Do yourself a favor and check them out. Then re-examine your childhood.

Day 4: “Dead and Undead,” a Social Science Event at the Science Museum of Minnesota

I’m very lucky to have a wonderful and delightfully weird best friend who, when asked, “Instead of taking you out for a nice dinner for your birthday, what if I take you to a science museum and we learn about mummies and zombies?” immediately answered, “MUMMIFIED CHICKENS!”

The Science Museum of Minnesota occasionally has “Social Science” events for the 21+ crowd, and this week’s “Dead and Undead” event was a treat. Lacy and I:

Took this awesome picture in the Lost Egypt exhibit.

Fake camel photo bomb

Photobombed by a fake camel

Saw this guy sewin’ up a squirrel.

Taxidermy on a squirrel

Some people juggle geese.

Became ghosts.

Ghost Rachel

Boo!

Allowed professional makeup artists to do this to our faces.

Zombie face Rachel and Lacy

We later ordered a pizza and were so prepared to freak out the delivery guy. He did not react at all.  Apparently that delivery guy has seen some s***.

Did the “Thriller” dance up the stairs of a museum as zombies.

Lacy doing the Thriller at the Science Museum

‘Cause this is THRILLAAAAAAA!

And of course, saw this mummified chicken.

Mummified Chicken

No birthday is complete without a mummified chicken.

So much more to come. Something Spooky October has just begun! I’ve got a huge to-do list started, but suggestions are welcome. Any great Halloween-y activities out there I just must try?

On Reading.

I love books. The way they look on my shelves, the way they destroy my sleep pattern, the way they educate, infuriate and delight me. I love collecting them, sharing them, borrowing them, and (of course) reading them.

I don’t remember the first book I read, although there is a video of me reading one aloud at around age five. My mother, a reader, was impressed enough to film the whole thing; it’s very boring. It would have been more entertaining to watch my childhood best friend and I play-acting The Littles series by building forts (we play-acted everything by building forts). Around that same time, my mother the reader took me out of school, allowed me to wear my best yellow dress, and drove me to The Red Balloon Bookshop to meet Barbara Cooney, the author and illustrator of many of my favorite children’s books, including Miss Rumphius.

I don’t remember as much of the day as I’d like. Mainly I remember Barbara Cooney was very old, around 75 to my 7 years, and had very white hair. And she was nice; so nice that when I wrote to her a few months later, asking if she remembered “the girl in the yellow dress,” she wrote back and assured me she did.  We wrote back and forth for a few years, but unfortunately I didn’t keep it up and we lost touch by the time she passed away. I regret it. I still have that first card, framed now, on my desk.

A few years after I met Barbara Cooney, I met my favorite book in all the world. I was maybe nine, and climbing the furniture in our living room in search of a set of dirty playing cards my brother told me about (my dad’s one contribution to our book shelf, no doubt). I found the cards disguised as a book, wedged next to a dingy, yellowed paperback with a title I recognized – The Princess Bride. I had seen the movie but until then, I didn’t know it had been a real book, and I didn’t take it off the shelf until three years later. And I never put it back.

I have three copies of The Princess Bride now, and if I needed to evacuate my apartment in a hurry I’d still take all three of them.  That first, disintegrating copy, the front cover long missing and the first page – the one that starts “This is my favorite book in all the world, but I have never read it” – has fallen off too, but that I’ve saved in a frame.  The second, a more recent hardcover, the version I read year after year without fear of it falling apart. And the third, a 1973 hardcover signed “To Rachel, As You Wish, William Goldman” – a gift from (who else) my mother, the reader. After life itself and the love of reading, this is probably the best gift she’s ever given me.

In college I became an English major because I loved reading, I loved writing, and also because a nun told me to. I read some classics, like The Brothers Karamazov, The Master and Margarita, Lolita, and some others that weren’t written by Russians, I’m sure. I name those three because I loved them, and recognize their greatness, but I will likely never re-read them. I’m sorry great literature of the past and the future, the top spot in my heart has already been taken. But please, keep trying. There are other little girls out there still in search of their Favorite.

The Princess Bride marked the first time I realized a good story could break the rules (and that’s really what that book is about to me – storytelling). But I’ve gone on long enough about that. I didn’t even intend to mention my Favorite when I started writing this. I just wanted to say how much I love a good story, a good book, because I’ve only just come out of a long period of not reading by finishing another rule-breaking story. It’s not a perfect series, it took me several years to get through all of it, and parts of it made me want to smack Stephen King upside the head, but The Dark Tower series took me on a journey.

I mean, I really hated some of it. I don’t think I ever laughed, but man, did I sob during those last few hundred pages. I love crying at books. I never knew what was going to happen, and frankly I could not explain what it was about even if you had also just finished reading it. As far as books about stories go, these seven (okay, there are eight now – the man actually wrote another one in the series in the time it took me to read the seventh) make up a dense journey full of broken rules. They’re still not my Favorite and never will be, but they are my brother’s, and that’s as good an accomplishment as any for Sai King.

I guess what I’m really saying here is I’ve finished another book. What should I read next?

Best Things of 2011

Another year, another Nuns Having Fun calendar, and another chance to look back and ask, “What was I thinking?”  Welcome to 2011: The Year That Was.

January: Best Month I Forgot About Entirely

Seriously, I had to turn to the new-fangled Facebook Timeline to help me remember January 2011.  And here’s what I found out:

1. I made these cookies with Manolo.

Cookies, Kind of

On the left, either me or Velma from Scooby Doo; on the right, Manolo with a tan or Medusa.

2. We also ate them.

3. I finished what wound up being the best book I read all year: The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop by Dan Charnas. I could tell you how well-written, informative, and crazy-interesting it is, but if you’re not already on board from the title, this might not be the book for you.

4. And I found out my name would be featured on “millions of cups” at Caribou Coffees everywhere. This would be the peak of my fame in 2011.

February: Best Second Month of the Year

Another one I don’t remember! Apparently: I went to a couple of concerts (favorite: Pete Yorn at First Ave), and I continued one of my favorite traditions of watching the Oscars with my bro.

In my defense there was a lot of snow on the ground last year. I didn’t get out that much.

March: Best Month To Start New Friendships

At some point in March, Lacy invited me out for brunch with one of her old friends who had just moved down the road from me.  Going against my usual winter attitude of “people are the worst,” I agreed to go.

That friend was the Ginger.

Also joining us that day was the Ginger’s roommate, another guy I vaguely knew years ago. And because I feel confident he will never read this, I don’t mind telling you he totally ignored my presence for the first half hour or so of our brunch and I wasn’t thinking we’d ever hang out again. Then I mentioned Battlestar Galactica. And now I can’t get rid of him.

****JOKE! THAT PART IS A JOKE.****

But really, our friendship formed because of BSG, found its footing in football, further developed over beer, and continues despite the amount of hell I give him.  He would probably like to make some jokes about getting rid of me, too, but is too nice to do so.

Easily the best brunch of my life.

April: Best Month to Get Older

I turned 26 by being sick on my couch and having a Die Hard marathon.  Later I convinced some coworkers to buy me an ice cream cake if I picked it up; this is what I chose to put on it.

Die Hard Cake

"Live Free or Die Hard" PG-13 version; the DQ employee had no idea who John McClane was. KIDS TODAY.

April was also when I saw Chuck Klosterman at the Fitzgerald, and went to my first of several Twins games of the year.  Spring is better than winter, you guys.

May: Best Month To Be Named Daughter of the Year

I took my mom to see Paul Simon at First Ave.

Paul Simon at First Ave

Therefore, I win.

And I took Lacy to see Donald Glover/Childish Gambino at The Varsity.

Donald Glover

Therefore, I need a new camera.

I also got a tan-line from a candy necklace while at the Lyn-Lake Festival. I regret nothing.

June: Best Month To Start A Blog

I started this blog in June for a class, but at first I tried to keep it homework-centric. Some adventures that happened in that time that haven’t yet been shared with the internet:

1. I took a tour of the Liberty Belle, a WWII bomber like the one my grandfather was in as a gunner.

Inside the Liberty Belle

How happy do I look to be holding that gun?

2. I rode a mechanical bull at Grand Old Day.

Rachel and the Bull

And you thought I looked happy with the gun.

3. I broke my bowling record (133 and it still stands! I’m not very good at bowling!).

4. And I officially became an Irish citizen (oh, have I mentioned that a time or two before?).

July – December: Best Things I’ve Already Written About So Just Read the Archives, Particularly Anything About Traveling With The Ginger, Visiting Virginia in July, Screaming at The New Kids On The Block, Being Thankful For Things, And Being Disappointed By The Vikings Live and In Person.

(We may be on memory lane here, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take shortcuts.)

So that was 2011: New friendships, new adventures, and a new passion for volunteering. Things were constantly ridiculous. Some ideas were bad. Mistakes were made on a daily basis. But overall, I think I nailed it in one take.

Bring it, 2012.

Best Things of the Week: Packed summer weekend edition

1. Old friends, interesting decisions

On Monday, one of my oldest friends popped into the Cities for a surprise visit.  I hadn’t seen him in three years, putting him in the “long-lost” category, plus he was the victim of my first crush (he came to my fifth birthday party and gave me a My Little Pony, how could I resist?).  So when he and another friend showed up on my doorstep, good sense went out the window.  A bar was visited.

Gypsy dog

And that's all Gypsy has to say about that.

I also played a round of Star Trek Scene-It with the guys because I am a patient and understanding lady.

2. “When I was your age, television was called books.”

The Princess Bride is my favorite book in the world, and I’ve read it at least twenty times.  I once wrote a ten-page essay about the movie adaptation (for a class, not just for fun, but don’t tempt me).  So when I heard it would be playing for free at Lake Harriet, I planned to go.  Then when Vita.mn had a contest on Facebook calling for the best line from the movie, I went with my favorite (above) as delivered by the wonderful Peter Falk.  And surprise! I won a DVD and a poster. Obviously I already owned the DVD (my love for all things Princess Bride cannot be overstated), but it came in handy when the outdoor showing was rained out and my friends and I needed to finish the movie somewhere else.  And the poster (by Landland) is really cool and makes me feel far hipper than I actually am.

This is such a silly joke, but it makes me legit snort-laugh every time (and there went all my hipness):

3. I ain’t never had a friend like Manolo

There were so many awesome activities this past weekend, and Manolo was there with me for just about all of them, so here’s the condensed version of How We Roll:

– 1/2 movie in the park, 1/2 movie in an apartment (Friday)
–  Teaching Manolo About the Vikings lesson two: It’s more fun when we win!  And it’s even better when we’re with friends at a bar and later a dance party and scroll up for the dog-of-censorship again! (Saturday)
–  Volunteering at Feed My Starving Children – special session for the Horn of Africa (Sunday)
– Discovering we know all the words to “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin while in my let’s-pretend-it’s-soundproof car (Sunday)
–  Obon: Japanese lantern lighting festival at Como Park.  Manolo won a girly pink purse for betting on what I can only describe as chicken-fighting ninjas.  Way to step up your game, universe.  I truly did not see that one coming. (Sunday)
– Laughing obnoxiously (Every day)

Best Things of the Week!

1. This one should be obvious.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to write another five-hundred-word essay about how I got dorky for Jordan Knight.  Because the Backstreet Boys were also there!


I genuinely love this song.  And if I haven’t already made it clear, I had an excellent time at the NKOTBSB concert.

 

Harry Potter 7 poster

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

2. Harry Potter and the End of the Tradition
Of course I’ve read all the Harry Potter books.  Of course I went to the movie the first weekend, and of course I loved it.  But more importantly, I’ve loved the tradition that came with it: I went to every HP movie from Chamber of Secrets on with my oldest friend, CK.  Even though we haven’t lived in the same part of the state in eight years, we have always made a point to get back together for the movies.  Sometimes it winds up being the only time we get together all year, which means we spend the hour or so before the movie using all our words at once to bond/gossip.  A lot of things have changed since I was five (well, kind of), but CK is a forever friend.  She is an excellent person and she makes me feel tall.  We will have to pick another movie series to keep the tradition going; maybe The Hunger Games if Jennifer Lawrence can do justice to Katniss Everdeen.

3. Street Festivals! Extremely hot street festivals!

A friend shared a personal rule with me, and I’m trying to follow it: you can either complain about the heat or the cold, you can’t complain about both.  I personally choose to complain about the cold, so I’m really trying to keep it together during this week of extreme heat.  But then I see things like this:

Weatherman's tweet

You can't spell "damn" without MN.

And this:

94 is buckling

Not great.

When things get life-threatening, I think I can break the complaint rule and join with the rest of the Minnesotans in our unofficial state motto: “Some weather we’re having, then!”

Anyway, despite the extreme heat over the past few days, I ventured out to two separate street festivals this weekend: Highland Fest and Barbette’s Bastille Day Block Party in Uptown.  Both featured a lot of sweaty people, music, kids being super cute, and fair food, but only one featured carnival rides.  Highland Fest wins!

I need an adult.

A hand lands on my shoulder, followed by an ominous voice: “You have been chosen.”  Pause.  “Bring your sandwich.”  Thus began my illustrious career as a model, when one of the nuns pulled me out of my lunch break and into a photo in which I was instructed to “act natural” and “hold that Cheeto higher.”  Coming to a Catholic teaching publication near you this August: Rachel the Cheeto model.

Other things that happened yesterday: I went for a walk and came home with seven books.  Clearly I need to move to a location not within walking distance of a used bookstore, also to an apartment that is not an inferno.  My heat system is malfunctioning, kicking out high-heat at all hours even though I have it set to “OFF.” It is currently 65/feels like 65 outside, 78/feels like burning inside.  It seems all I do is complain about temperatures; my office is cold!  Minnesota is cold! My apartment is hot!  Will nothing make me happy, you ask?  Well, yes.  Sixty-five/feels like 65 is pretty much perfection.  If I can only convince my apartment of this.

Easter happened.  Family ate its way through Rochester.  My dad said some unintentionally funny things (“Bob Saget? Are you still talking about him? Move on with your life!”).  Then I came home and my brakes failed, kind of.  According to the mechanic, the brakes were fine, but the sensor was broken, a distinction that doesn’t matter much when you find yourself unable to stop at a red light.  Luckily, I remembered all of the pertinent lines from Speed and hit mostly green lights (and no pedestrians) on my way to Target.  Because yes, I didn’t turn around until I realized the store was closed: such was my desire to shop.  Either I’m out to singlehandedly end the recession, or I’m on my way to a Darwin award.

7% blogging

I wonder if there is such a thing as selective dyslexia.  I just finished the book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, and it takes all of my brainpower not to call it Snow Flower and the Secret See by Lisa Fan.  I’ve read it, I know what the title means and I certainly don’t know what a “Secret See” could be, and yet I persist.  It’s sort of like something Becca (accidentally) got me thinking about this morning: the number one most common name I am called by accident is Rebecca.  Does this happen to all Rachels?  Is it just the R thing?  But then, the next most common is Sarah, so what does that mean?  Am I just Biblical, or what?  Becca suggested it has something to do with spending all my time with nuns.  Valid argument.

Anyway, I’m thinking all these things to distract from my latest fiasco: I have gray hair.  Or hairs — two hairs, to be precise, and I don’t actually have them anymore because I ripped them out.  This is frightening because not only am I emotionally six, I am physically twenty-three.  Yeah, I may love cardigans and Cosby sweaters, and maybe I wish I knew how to knit, but I’m NOT ready to be a gray-haired lady.  Early grayness only looks good on Steve Martin or Anderson Cooper, not me.  Panic level = high.

Actually, I’m more like 32% panicking and 61% finding this funny/bizarre.  These gray hairs were several inches long and both from the same spot on my head, so either I’ve been going gray for a long time and haven’t noticed (you’d tell me, right?), or else it is a fluke.  Like, I have a partially-albino scalp.  Or I was hit on the head very hard at one point and suffered follicle damage.  I don’t remember anything like that happening, but possibly this proves it to be true.  This is how scared I am of aging: I’d be more comfortable with brain damage.

Endings

I rang in 2008 with Hannah, Anna, and a marathon of The Office.  Tonight I’ll be ringing it out with Steve, Jason and a marathon of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  So you can see how much I’ve grown.

The point of this entry is two-fold (how do you fold a point twice?): to do my final quarter book survey, and to review the year as a whole.  I’ll start, as I usually do, with the books.  So, since October 1, in order read:

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason – Helen Fielding (re-read)
Love Walked In – Marisa de los Santos
You Suck: A Love Story – Christopher Moore
The Partly Cloudy Patriot – Sarah Vowell
Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
The Raw Shark Texts – Steven Hall
The Witches of Eastwick – John Updike
Your Movie Sucks – Roger Ebert
Practical Demonkeeping – Christopher Moore
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – Barbara Robinson (re-read)
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards

The first two I read on the train to and from Seattle.  The next two were doing my first few weeks of work, while I was living on Steve’s couch.  Water for Elephants was my book club pick, and the first book I read in my new apartment.  The Raw Shark Texts came highly recommended and was in my possession for a while before I finally picked it up and fell in love.  Then another book club pick, an impulse purchase, some Moore madness, and a holiday favorite before yesterday finishing The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, a book I borrowed from my mother almost a full year ago and which, it seems, every person I’ve ever met has read and enjoyed (as did I).  That’s 76 for the year, which is a shock even to me — but almost half of those were read in the first three months of the year, so I guess my pace has slowed.  We’ll see what 2009 brings.

Moving on (by looking back): here are my thoughts on 2008…

Accomplishments: Moved five times (lifetime total of 14); didn’t kill any animals; wrote a semi-popular blog for babyjob 1; went for a walk in L.A.; ran reunion number five for babyjob 2; spent summer on the floor of Bobby Vee’s house; survived a tornado from the safety of a coffee shop; was personally insulted by David Sedaris; got a real job and a real apartment; read a lot

Not so positive things: Hit an old man with my car; spent two months being unemployed at my parents’ house; got too drunk at a street dance with high school classmates; had to tell a priest to stop moving my Jesus

Year’s best: My travels: a weekend in L.A., and the Seattle/Vancouver vacation from nothing with my mom

Year’s least best: There were some dark days after my grandfather’s death in January, and during my unemployed period in September.  But both of those lead to some big, positive changes, so I’ll take it all.

Let’s hope my zookeeping days are behind me: In order, in 2008 I lived with: Genosse (parrot), Lily (turtle), James (rabbit), Loppy (evil rabbit), Cybil (emo poodle), Dammit Janet (cat), Martini (cat), Shadow (ancient skeletal cat), and Suzy (deaf but totally awesome husky)

TV Show Addictions: Since the only time I had television was the dark period of living-at-home (and all I really watched were reruns of What I Like About You on the family channel), my TV addictions continue to be DVD-based. I love and now own It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lois & Clark, Bones, and Psych; give me some time and I’m sure I’ll have Angel and Moonlighting (don’t judge)

New favorites (books) in no particular order: The Raw Shark Texts (Steven Hall), When You Are Engulfed In Flames (David Sedaris), A Short History of Nearly Everything (Bill Bryson), Love is a Mix Tape (Rob Sheffield), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Michael Chabon), Assassination Vacation (Sarah Vowell), Lamb (Christopher Moore), You Tell Me  (short story – Chuck Klosterman)

Book clubs restarted: 1
Book clubs joined: 1
Book clubs potentially killed: 1 (Progress!)

New favorites (movies): Baby Mama, Live Free or Die, The King of KongBBC’s State of Play, I’m having trouble remembering any new movies.  I basically just watch Speed and Die Hard over and over again.

Movies that shouldn’t exist: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, why go on after that?

New favorites (music): “Rain,” Patty Griffin; “The War Was In Color,” Carbonleaf; everything on “Volume 1,” She & Him; “Pride,” Syntax; “Paper Planes,” M.I.A., “I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz

I hate you (songs): Mariah Careymas songs; Lil’ Wayne’s shit; Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long;” effing “Bleeding Love”

Other (slightly embarassing) addictions: dlisted.com, vampires (seven books and two TV shows on the subject would suggest something), and David Boreanaz, apparently (Buffy and Bones and although I don’t own Angel, I do own a movie he’s in.  Can you even name a movie he’s in?)

Quotes of the year:
“When you are forty, and wear bifocals, and are the vice president of something, you can take us out to dinner.” – Scott predicts my future

“I usually often occasionally contain my excitement, sometimes.” – My mother, in Seattle

“I don’t want to have to worry about pants.” – Lacy explains why living alone is the best

“Now I know what it’s like to watch you die.” – Andy after Indy 4

Goals for 2009:
Continue to have real job and real apartment, maybe get a real life
– Go to Disneyworld
– Read either more than 76 books (if I want to one-up myself) or less (if I want to have a life), I can’t tell
– Brave public transportation at least once
– Take more pictures, or at least better pictures
– Figure some things out
– Keep having stupid adventures

That’s it.  Happy everything to you.