Overachiever

That’s what I was in November. ‘Cause now you’re like “it’s about time, holmes, where have you been?”

My sincerest apologies. To make up for it, I’ll share with you a couple of my new favorite videos.

These things made me cry, I laughed so hard. I really want to go to a store and do this and see what would happen… even better than the things they ask for is how they try to explain them…

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Things I would rather do than go to any kind of doctors’ appointment

I have to go to the doctor tomorrow. I hate doctors’ appointments. Of any kind. Pay money, sit in a cold room and wait for them to tell you (99 percent of the time) what you already knew when you came in there – that you’re fine. Or, they tell you what your mom told you for free 10 minutes ago on the phone – you have bronchitis. Only difference? The doctors can write prescriptions.

There are many things I’d rather do than go to tomorrow’s doctors’ appointment. I’ll list them for you.

I’d rather:
• Watch the Kardashian wedding in its entirety
• Have my appendix put back in
• Listen to a Sugarland album
• Take an eight-hour plane ride again
• Cheer for the Yankees
• Go Black Friday shopping
• Stay in a hoarder’s house for an hour

I could go on, but I won’t. I need to start mentally preparing for tomorrow’s appointment. UGH.

Challenge completed

And there you have it. Challenge accepted. And completed. 30 days, 30 songs.

Hopefully I got you interested in a new song or two. If not, then, well, you’re a damn hard audience to please!

I could do 30 more days if I had 30 new categories.

Song Your Mom Wouldn’t Let You Take To School For Show And Tell: ‘Whiskey Ain’t Workin’ Anymore.’ I was in third grade.

Favorite song at age 3: ‘Hip To Be Square.’ I saw it on Sesame Street when it was shown with a little skit about shapes. And apparently preschool-age me loved some Huey Lewis. And shapes.

And just to recap, here’s a full list of the songs you’ve just heard read about for a month.

day one: “I’ll Be Waiting” by Adele
day two: “Stuck Like Glue” by Sugarland
day three: “Grace Kelly” by Mika
day four: “Don’t Take the Girl” by Tim McGraw
day five: “You and I Both” by Jason Mraz
day six: “Call On Me” by Jah Cure
day seven: “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
day eight: “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems” by Diddy, Mase and Notorious B.I.G.
day nine: “Single Ladies” by Beyonce
day 10: “My Immortal” by Evanescence
day 11: “Uncharted” by Sara Bareilles
day 12: “The Good Stuff” by Kenny Chesney
day 13: “Eenie Meenie” by Justin Bieber and Sean Kingston.
day 14: “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats
day 15: “Green Eyes” by Coldplay
day 16: “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon
day 17: “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga
day 18: “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
day 19: “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5
day 20: “F— You” by Cee-Lo Green
day 21: “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and The Machine
day 22: “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks
day 23: “Nothin’ Fancy” by Dave Barnes
day 24: “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
day 25: “Shots” by LMFAO
day 26: “Master of the House” Les Miserables
day 27: “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley
day 28: “MMMBop” by Hanson
day 29: “Will You Be There” by Michael Jackson
day 30: “Misery” by Maroon 5

Now get to downloading. Unless its the Sugarland song. Or one you already have. ‘Cause doing either of those things would be ridiculous.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled content.

Sneak attack

I found a computer. Don’t ask where or when or how. I’ll give you a hint though – it’s not the roommate’s.

So what do I have to say? Housekeeping stuff, mostly, because my time on this computer is limited and I have a couple posts in the works I’m not ready for you to see yet.

Firstly, I don’t think I’ll keep up Sunday Night Suggestions – at least not on a regular basis anyway. I can’t think of stuff every Sunday night and if there is something I want you to see, I’ve already shared it on here, or it’s linked on the side or it’s linked on Facebook. Unless you have suggestions of what I can do with it/change it to, it goes. At least for now.

Secondly, I’m looking to start some other new features after the first of the year. Ones that may or may not involve my friends and family. What am I talking about? Check back and see. Mysterious. Oooh.

Thirdly, my ridiculously early New Year’s resolution (one of them anyway) is to try a few different things out this year in the interest of making this blog better/prettier/more popular. It’s now my main creative writing outlet (I got a new somewhat writing-less job, but we’re ecstatic about that, I promise) and I want to take advantage of that and do some cool stuff on here that’s fun to read and look at. In March it’ll have been two years that I’ve had this blog and my goal each year is to learn more and more about what I’m doing and get more and more readers.

Hmm. What else?

Speaking of resolutions, I’ll have a new/updated/possibly somewhat different to-do list. Instead of the one for life, I’ll have a list of things I want to do in 2011. And I’m interested in having help for several of them. Some things I’ll pull from that big list I still need to cross stuff off of. Others I’ve thought of recently and have more of a possibility of accomplishing in the near future. LIKE, UM, GOING TO ENGLAND.

Oh yeah. For reals.

It’s also my goal to learn a little more about web design so I can jazz this thing up past the basics wordpress gives you to work with. Anyone who knows how to do that and can teach me – I’ll be your best friend.

So there ya go. Kind of boring, yes. But I had to tell you. Hopefully I’ll get a computer very very soon. It’s driving me nuts not to have one. Which is really sad. On the other hand, I am getting a lot more reading done.

Giving thanks and all that

This time last year I told you what I’m thankful for. And I’m still thankful for all that stuff. But I’ve added a few more things to the list. And asked my sisters to share theirs as well. And they did. On account of they’re awesome and will humor me.

So. Without further ado, with their first official – kind of – guest blogs, my baby sisters. Enjoy. AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Rachel

I am thankful for…

1. Raspberry flavored anything.
2. Having a best friend who will rub my head when I have a migraine no matter how old we are.
3. Deep conversations with people about a fictional TV show.
4. Board games and people who like to play them.
5. Colorful sunsets with amazing clouds that I can take pictures of.
6. Starbucks dates.
7. Rainy Sundays when you have nothing to do except lay on the couch and watch movies all day.
8. Black Eyed Peas (especially at a high volume in the car after a bad day at work!)
9. Books that are so good you’re still thinking about them days later.
10. Express clothes coupons in the mail.

Laura

I am thankful for…

1. Clean sheets on the bed still warm from the dryer.
2. The fact that my Rolling Stone always seems to show up in my mailbox after a particularly bad day.
3. Amazon and Half-Price Books’ cheap movies and books, without which my collections would be significantly smaller.
4. Listening to a song or watching a show and realizing halfway through I’ve been grinning like an idiot the whole time.
5. Being able to write down or draw anything on a slip of paper during charades with my friends and knowing they’ll act it out no matter what.
6. Being able to use movie quotes in conversations all the time.
7. The inventor of Moose Tracks ice cream.
8. Listening to waves crash on the beach.
9. Afternoon naps.
10. Laughing until my abs hurt.

Baby Einstein

I am thankful for…

1. Roman history.
2. Pizza crust.
3. Rainy days.
4. Baby shoes.
5. Hair mousse.
6. Soft scarves.
7. Fluffy puppies.
8. Inside jokes.
9. Texting.
10. Archaeology magazine.

Just a thought…or 20

Whenever I go to update my Facebook status and I notice the little box where it says “What’s on your mind?” it always stops me for a second. Because just because it’s on my mind doesn’t mean I have to share it with everyone.

Enter this blog. Where everything – well, almost – that’s on my mind gets written and if you don’t like it, too bad.

So these are the things I’m currently thinking of, unfiltered, unedited, unafraid of you judging me. They’re really not that serious..just FYI.

• Leonardo DiCaprio is on the cover of the next Rolling Stone that will soon appear in my mailbox. Thank you, Jesus.
• Was Titanic really worth seeing four times in the theater? Um, yes. Totally. 13-year-old me was obsessed.
• Speaking of obsessed, that new Eminem/Rihanna song is pretty catchy. Except for the whole part when he said he’s gonna tie her to the bed and set the house on fire. Parental advisory, indeed.
• Dominic Monaghan is supposed to be in the video for aforementioned song. I love him. [Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen up through season 3 of LOST] RIP Charlie Pace.
• Mexican food always sounds/seems good at the time, but several hours later when you feel like you have a rock in your stomach and acid reflux from the cheese sauce, you re-think the choice.
• I’m convinced time moves slower when you’re anticipating something.
• I have a stack of books almost three feet tall I still have to read and yet I bought four more at Half-Price Books the other day.
• But one was The Client, one of my favorite books ever.
• Also an awesome movie.
• RIP Brad Renfro.
• Aww, Tom and Huck – whatever happened to JTT?
• If I was a kid when Silly Bands came out, I’d have had an armful of them on.
• Who am I kidding, I’m 26 and I wear them. And trade them with the kids I babysit and a co-worker’s daughter.
• There are two things I really want right now and would love you forever if you could make both happen – I want to see Maroon 5 in concert next month in Lex and Daniel Tosh in Louisville in October.
• I miss Jamaica.
• Maybe someday I’ll sleep like a normal person.
• And by normal I mean not sprawled out in an X and in three- to four-hour spurts, if at all.
• I love lists.
• But you knew that already.

Summer project

Once you’re a grown-up, you really don’t have a summer vacation – unless you’re a teacher, which I’m not. Instead, I have the same days off I have the rest of the year, unless I want to use some of the time I’ve earned to get outta town for a few days. Last year, I took two weeks off in a row, going to Myrtle Beach with my family and Jamaica as a chaperone for my church’s summer youth mission trip. So really, I can’t complain.

This year, I have no plans to go on a big vacation. Yet. I may take some short weekend trips to BG and Nashville to see friends and I’ve talked to a couple of my aunts about taking a trip up north to visit at some point later this year. But no matter what I do this summer, I have some goals to accomplish. And I need your help.

Remember that to-do list I wrote about last year? It’s time to get to work on it. And I kind of already have.

I already bought a car on my own. And I’ve started volunteering with an organization, kind of. I’m helping out at my church. I volunteered to baby-sit some of the cutest lil’ kids once a week for a few hours while their mothers take ESL classes.

There are some more things I want to start checking off though:
• Ride in a hot air balloon.
• Learn how to throw a football.
• Take a cooking class.
• Learn how to play golf.
• See the Red Sox play in Fenway Park.
• Get a tattoo…maybe, still thinking about when. I know what I’m going to get, though.
• Start a book club – for reals this time.

And there’s some things I want to add:
• Host or attend one of those murder mystery parties.
• Try a few new foods – and not be scared of it.
• Buy one of those paintings done by an elephant.
• Stand in a celebrity’s footprints at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
• Drink green beer.
• Meet Robert Downey Jr.

I’ll take any help I can get checking this stuff off. Any volunteers? 🙂

I’m gonna need a bigger bookshelf

My perfect day – if I could have a day just to do this and nothing else – would include little more than a comfortable chair and a stack of books. Oh, and lunch delivered from McAlister’s.

Seriously though. I love to read. Always have. And I’m pretty good at it. Insert moment of shameless bragging here: In the first grade, I went to reading time with fifth-graders. I loved when the Book Fair came to my elementary school, I always had at least three things circled on my Scholastic Books order form they’d send home with us, and that Book It program, where you earned free stuff from Pizza Hut for completing certain reading tasks? I was on it. Not for the pizza so much as the books. NERD ALERT.

I guess I’ve got a somewhat creative mind – I liked the reading and writing aspects of school infinitely more than the maths and the sciences. Like how I used infinitely back there? Hey, vocab! I think if I didn’t write I could definitely be a librarian, or work for a publishing company.

I’ve tried starting a book club, but it hasn’t worked out too well as of yet. But I’m gonna do it. It’s on my list, so I have to.

So what kind of books do I read? Well. My tastes have changed over the years and are still changing, actually. I started out, of course, at a young age, with “The Babysitter’s Club” series – which is why this blog appealed to me when I found out about it and MAN, I wish I’d thought of that… I also read pretty much every incarnation of “Sweet Valley High,” which I think I heard recently might end up a movie? I read some Stephen King stuff in late middle/early high school, which I probably shouldn’t have (more on that later). I did the mandatory reading for high school and ended up finding a few favorites, and some I wouldn’t read again if you paid me. Well, scratch that. It depends on how much you’d pay me…

In high school I found out I really liked “To Kill A Mockingbird,” though Mr. Marshall almost made me hate it because we had to write our own Cliff’s Notes for the book, a project that took about 35x longer to do than he took to read and grade it. I also found I liked “Beloved,” even though about five years after I graduated they decided to not allow it in our high school anymore…

We read some books I didn’t like, too. “Crime and Punishment” is not a favorite, neither is “The Great Gatsby” (sorry, Rach) or “All The Pretty Horses.” We read “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” which wasn’t too bad. Cool concept for a movie though, I’m still deciding if I need to see it.

College provided little time for reading because I was doing so much of it in my classes I didn’t have time to get into a book, much less feel like it after all the other reading I had. I did read during summer and winter breaks though – and college is where I really got into the Harry Potter series. When it first came out, I was in high school. My sister was reading the books and I thought they were for kids and had no interest. A few years later, I thought I’d try ’em out and see what all the hype was about – which I did with Twilight too but found I only kept reading to see what happened, not because I liked them. From then on, I was hooked. I’ve been to three midnight showings of the movies and the book release party for the final book in the series. In fact, I just got the third book in hardback, the only one I needed to finish my collection of all seven of them. Wow that’s a lot of numbers in not a lot of sentences.

In my post-college years, I’ve tried some different books. I’m open to pretty much any genre – except romance novels with cheesy pictures of Fabio on the cover with some headline that has to be read while breathing heavily – and any author. I like my books like I like my music, you hook me with one, I’m gonna at least give the rest of the stuff you’ve done a chance. For example, Jodi Picoult. Read one book, “Nineteen Minutes” and immediately started devouring the rest of the books she’s written. Same with David Sedaris and now, Jeff Lindsay.

I’m really into memoirs lately, more so than fiction. But I’ll give the occasional fiction a chance. It just depends on the subject. And the author. Like Stephen King, for example. Remember how I told you I probably shouldn’t have read his stuff at such a young age? Yeah, on account of how his book, “IT,” made me deathly afraid of clowns. But then again, his “Eyes of the Dragon” is one I read soon after and one of the few books I have read/will read more than once. “The Green Mile” is also pretty great. It’s a love/hate relationship. I have his new one on my list of books to buy, which, like this post, is getting progressively longer.

I’ve been told I should get a Kindle. Besides the ridiculously high price tag – I need to be saving for a new car, a laptop, a Wii…a girl’s got needs, even though all three of those actually kind of sound like a boy’s needs – I am hesitant to buy something that keeps me from being able to hold a real book in my hands. I already stare at a computer screen all day as it is, I want a book. And a bookmark. Preferably with a nice quote on it, or some puppies.

I’ve got some pretty good books on my shelf. Here are a few of them.

“When You Are Engulfed In Flames,” By David Sedaris
The first book of his I read, “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” is the first book that has made me laugh out loud while reading it – luckily this happened when I was at home, alone, not in Starbucks or something where I might look like a crazy. His books are memoirs, short stories about things that have happened in his life. The best story in this book is called “Solution to Saturday’s Puzzle,” about his cough drop falling from his mouth onto the lap of the person sitting next to him on a plane.

“The Eyes of the Dragon,” Stephen King
For as much as I like this book, it really should have made me want to read Harry Potter long before I actually did. It’s one of King’s older-ish books, to me anyway, it came out when I was 3. It’s about a kingdom. The king’s advisor poisons him, locks the heir to the throne away in a tower and has the king’s youngest son crowned king, who’s only 12, therefore needs help, which is what the advisor is there for. Pretty good stuff. And like I said before, the first book I wanted to re-read.

“Handle With Care,” by Jodi Picoult
I bought a Picoult book on a whim once, when I was at Walmart in college without a book to read. The cover looked interesting and the info in the jacket even more so. I finished it pretty quickly and proceeded to read everything else she’d ever published. Her books are so well-written they’re hard to put down. Each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view, and the stories are ripped from the headlines or at least sound like they should be. This book is about a girl with brittle bone disease and her family, who sues the mom’s OB/GYN for “wrongful birth.” She’s got a new one coming out in March, according to her Web site.

“Columbine,” by Dave Cullen
Before you think I’m morbid – especially because this is the second book about high school shootings mentioned in this post – hear me out. This book is written by a journalist. And seeks to disprove pretty much everything we thought we knew about the shooting that happened 10 years ago at the high school in Colorado. Like, that the shooters weren’t in the Trench Coat Mafia, they weren’t targeting jocks, the girl who actually professed her belief in God to one of the shooters wasn’t killed. The book jumps back and forth from events leading up to the shooting to what happened after. And Cullen appears to have done his research. A good chunk of the back half of the book is his bibliography. Hard to read at several points, but very interesting. **Update: Also, what I failed to add when I wrote this is that the book is just as much about media criticism and how easy it is to misunderstand what happened – as a member of the media, I find that the most interesting.

“Water For Elephants,” by Sara Gruen
Never thought I would like a book about a circus. Remember, I fear clowns. This book, however, is clown-less. Thank God. It’s instead about a guy who loses his parents in an accident and joins a circus as the show’s veterinarian. It’s a surprisingly good read and I’ve recommended it to several of my friends who were looking for their next book.

Then we’ve got my wish list on Amazon.com, currently about 10 books longer than it was a few days ago. On it? The next three books in the Dexter series – which has become my second favorite TV show ever, after LOST. Also, Dan Brown’s newest, “The Lost Symbol,” and Stephen King’s “Under The Dome,” which my mom got for Christmas and the book looks to weigh about half as much as the couch in my living room. It should keep me busy for a while.

I’ve also got “The Nanny Diaries” on the list, mostly because I saw a second one just came out and figured the first one must have been good, if they’re writing something else. Plus it got made into a movie. Then of course, a book for my coffee table – the Postsecret book I’ve got there now is kind of lonely. I’m ordering “Cake Wrecks,” by the writers of the blog of the same name. Hilarious stuff.

So, yeah, I like books.

18. Santa letters

For every Christmas since I’ve worked for a weekly newspaper (that’d be four, if anyone’s counting), we’ve run letters to Santa from local kids. The letters have been hilarious – one kid once asked for a fake mustache and a snake – and also kind of sad – one girl asked for something nice for the policeman who helped her family.

They never fail to make me smile though, because for all the words the kids can’t spell at their young ages, they sure know how to spell all the video game stuff, Polly Pockets and Bakugan on their lists. They aren’t shy about telling Santa what they want, and in between their items listed, they make sure they ask Santa how he’s doing, how his reindeer are, what’s going on with Rudolf these days, oh and how’s your wife? If he needs to know how he can answer these questions, one kid this year provided a possible way he could communicate: “Once I have a laptop, e-mail me and let me know! And a really, really, really, super Merry Christmas to you.”

You’ll find all sorts of endings to the letters as well, ranging from Sincerely, Love and From to Your Friend, and my personal favorite, Your True Friend. That’s another thing they make sure to include too, how he’s nice and he’s their best friend. They check on him to make sure he’s alright, like one kid this year who wrote in his letter, “Having any trouble?” Another wrote “You are my best friend. Are you doing okay Santa Claus?”

The kids also want him to know what they’re leaving for him to eat, in case he’s curious. You know, cookies and milk, or as one kid wrote a few years ago – spaghetti and a Pepsi. One letter this year promises 35 cookies at his house for Santa to enjoy.

In looking through the ones we published this year earlier this evening, I found some great little excerpts I’ll share.

“For the rest, just surprise me, like some more Starwar figures and Xbox games.”

“I want a puppy for Christmas. I would like it to come with a pee mat and a pooper scooper, water and food….I want the puppy to sleep with me too. It would make me so happy.”

“I also want an iPod because my sister has an iPod shuffle and she brags. So, if I have one she will stop bragging.”

“I would like some new DS games and a necklace. I am not asking that much.”

“I want a DSi. I have a lot of reasons why I want one. So I don’t have to play with my dog, so I can be busy and so I can play by myself and I don’t have to be bored. And so I don’t have to watch TV. I will help my mom clean.”

“Make your elves work this Christmas because my friends and other people want lots of presents.”

“Do you like Christmas? Yes or no? Which one? Write your answer here ____”

“Christmas is my best holiday.”

“I help my mom with the turkey and I help my dad clean the house.”

“I will leave you a key to my door.”

“Can I have a pink DS please? It will make me not bored. I will be responsible for my DS. Like not throwing it.”

“I want a puppy. I want one the same size and cute like the one I petted. I will sleep with him. I will take care of him. I will feed him. I will not let him go out into the street. I will let him go to the restroom. I want it because he will lick us. If he is sleeping just leave him on the gray couch.”

“I want everything in the world, but not girl stuff.”

Lots of them want hamsters and several of them list reasons why they deserve their presents, because they’ve been good.

A couple chose to write letters to their parents this year, instead, and those were pretty entertaining.

Case in point:
“Everything is going fine here except for one thing. I need one more Barbie. A Barbie and Three Musketeers Barbie. How’s it going at work? I want a superhero for Christmas please. I don’t have enough Barbies. I will help you with the dishes every night. Then you maybe give me that toy for Christmas.”

Or this one:
“Remember the good times Mom and Dad. Please Mom and Dad. Dad and Mom I’ll buy you a present if you buy me a present. If you don’t I will still buy you a present.”

And then you have this letter, currently at the top of my list for favorite ones this year….

“Do not give the cat a cookie because she might throw up! Because the last time she threw up in my mom’s room and it didn’t make her happy. What I want for Christmas is my teeth. Four of them and some Tootsie Rolls.”

Part of the reason I like Santa letters is of course because they’re so funny and the kids come up with the most random things. But I think part of it is because I miss how easy life is when you’re a kid. You have few worries, even fewer responsibilities and the joy you have on Christmas morning because SANTA BROUGHT YOU ALL THOSE PRESENTS is kind of hard to replicate. Don’t get me wrong, I still get excited for giving and receiving presents Christmas morning, but it’s not the same as you get older.

My favorite part of the movie Elf – well, one of many – is the end when they’re all singing outside Central Park, everyone except for James Caan’s character, who doesn’t really believe in Santa. His son sees that he’s not singing and the second he starts to sing “Santa Claus is coming to town” Santa’s sleigh flies right over his head. I love it because it reminds me of that feeling when you’re a kid, when magic is still magic and can’t be explained away and there’s no reason not to believe there’s not a man in a red suit that brings presents to everyone all over the world in one night.

I believe in Santa. And I didn’t send him a letter this year, but maybe he’ll read this blog – you never know.

So, Santa, if you read this, I don’t have a really long list this year, but I would like a DVD player, Dexter Season 2 and a new Red Sox hat. You are my best friend. Love, Laura

15. Countdowns

Today there’s 10 days left ’til Christmas. Count ’em – 10. I will be counting down, believe you me, because I am really ready for this holiday, for several reasons, as you can tell from this list/countdown until the 25th.

I may like countdowns about as much as I like lists. If you can’t tell already. I had a big countdown this summer before my vacations – to Jamaica and Myrtle Beach – because I was so excited. So. When there’s something coming up I’m really excited about, I like to count the days until it happens. It builds up the anticipation and, I dunno. I just like it.

So, there’s 10 more days until this Christmas. And I don’t have an advent calendar so this list feeds my need for some sort of countdown to what I’m excited about right now. Christmas!