That’s a lot o’ words, yo

I have more than 500 songs on my iPhone/iPod. I’m only embarrassed about like, two of them.

My eye has twitched about 500 times this week alone.

Somewhat related (on account of he’s in a movie called 500 Days of Summer), I also loved this:

At this point you are either so happy that I’ve just shared a glorious gif of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this post, or are super confused as to why you’re here and if this all has a point.

Of course it does.

As in, 500 posts. This is a milestone. I think. I mean, 500 is pretty cool. Or it means I talk write too much. And you’ve read some (maybe most, hopefully all) of them. So thanks for that.

Yeah, so 500 posts. 3.5 years.

And probably only like 340 of them had a curse word.

I thought a little while after I posted number 499 about doing something exciting for 500. About doing something to make it the best post ever. And then it was late and those Family Guy episodes weren’t gonna watch themselves.

So here you have it. Post #500. Landmark moment right here.

I sure do hope you’ll stick around for the next 500. You won’t be sorry. And I’ll try to curse less more.

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Three friggin’ years

And I’m still goin’.

That’s three years of writing about happy stuff, sad stuff, personal stuff, funny stuff, downright ridiculous stuff, photography stuff…..all on this lil’ website which people continue to visit for some reason.

And whatever that reason is, I’m happy about it. I’m glad that you’re here. I want to hear more from you and do more stuff on here that you’ll find interesting so you’ll keep coming back.

I write this a lot for me, but I want it to be for others too. I want to share my stories, happy or sad, because it’s therapeutic. And it’s fun.

I have plans for this next year of blogging. And if there’s anything you want to see or see more of or want me to quit writing about altogether, lemme hear it.

And thanks for sticking with me!

Happy birthday, blog!

Also, this. Just because I can. And if you don’t love Stevie Wonder, you don’t love America.

Bloggie buddies

My friends and family members are all ridiculously talented at different things. Crafts, cooking/baking, photography, speaking foreign languages, life…

There are several of them who are awesome at writing. And luckily for me you all of us, they’ve started blogs!

And even though you see ’em down the side of this page every time you visit, you may not know what they’re about. But I’m going to need you to give them a better look. ‘Cause then you’ll be a fan like me.

You’re welcome.

Somewhere Only We Know – My sister writes this one, in fact, she just started it this week! She’s planning a wedding and moving to Boston with my future brother-in-law this summer so he can be a smart kid at MIT and whatnot. She’s going to write about all that and more, and it will be good. And funny. Because she’s funny. And she’s my sister, so the talent for blogging has to have rubbed off some.

Caitlin pequeña, Mundo grandísimo – My lil’ cousin Caitlin decided to start a blog and she writes about (some of) her adventures in college. She’s spending two months in South Africa this summer, and I can’t wait to read all about it!

Lager Jogger – My good friend Matt writes this blog about the two things the title of it suggests – beer and running. He brews his own beer with a kit in his house and he’s training for a triathlon at the moment. He and his wife (one of my besetst friend and the most frequent commenter on this blog) are my inspiration when it comes to running and also sometimes he shares his home-brews.

Oh Me – One of my bffs, Ashley, is responsible for this blog. She’s a kindergarten teacher and a great lady. And she’s not afraid to write about poop. Reason #1923801820 why I love her.

Life Unscripted – Another friend named Ashley keeps this blog up. She does some really cool link-ups and writes about her life, obviously, as the title suggests, including her cute lil’ nephew and adorable puppy, Max!

Waiting On The Butterflies – Sarah is hilarious. Also a kindergarten teacher and friend of mine, she has no shortage of funny stories.

These people are all my friends/family. Read their blogs. Love them. Bookmark them. You won’t be sorry.

If I ever add a tagline to this blog…

I cannot take credit for naming this blog. That would be The Roommate, who said something like, “You should call it ‘On Account Of’ or something like that since you say that a lot.” And the rest is history.

I also cannot take credit for this next gem, which is a beautiful, wonderful compliment (of which are few and far between when it comes to The Roommate and I, but we love each other, I promise. He’s my best friend.) and as I mentioned earlier, a possible future tagline for this here blog.

Anthony: Your writing reminds me of a touching Oprah story.

It’s a toss-up between that or “Like Oprah, only better.”

10 years later

Where was I that day? In newspaper class, fittingly, my senior year of high school. We watched as the first tower smoldered and then, live, as the second tower was hit.

We watched them fall in the next class period, as I sat next to a friend who was worried for the safety of a family member working in the area that had been attacked.

For the rest of the classes throughout the day, we sat transfixed, watching as replays of those moments early that Tuesday morning became etched in our brains, became what people call “Our generation’s Pearl Harbor.”

I listened to people speculate as to which other cities weren’t safe – wondering where the terrorists would strike next. Los Angeles? Chicago?

I went to Dairy Queen with my sister and some friends (something she reminded me of today, I’d forgotten) after school because we really didn’t know what else to do.

I wanted to write something today, acknowledging the 10th anniversary of that day. But I’m kind of at a loss. What’s there to say that hasn’t already been said? I am grateful for our freedom and those who serve and defend our country. My heart breaks for the families of victims of 9/11, who actually are just as much victims themselves.

Seven years ago – in 2004 – I was a college student. I was in a feature-writing class and we had an assignment on columns. I chose to write mine on United 93, the flight that crashed in Shanksville, Penn. the day the towers fell. My family had just come back from a Thanksgiving visit with my aunt in New Jersey, and stopped at the crash site on the way home to pay our respects.

It was a much different site than what’s there now. It was a makeshift memorial, with messages written in Sharpie on a guardrail and flowers, notes and other mementos hanging on a fence.

My column focused on United 93, because I felt at the time – and still do – that there’s often not as much coverage of and remembrance for those who died on that plane in Pennsylvania or in the Pentagon.

What I wrote that fall, at age 20, expresses my feelings as they are today. It was published in the school’s newspaper – the award-winning College Heights Herald – at the urging of my professor at the time.

Here it is in its entirety:

Everyone remembers where they were that fateful day in September of 2001. It is a day that is burnt into the minds of this generation and it will affect the whole country for years to come.

The televisions showed footage of the World Trade Center as a plane flew into it, it caught fire and hundreds of people jumped to their deaths. It was a horrible tragedy and the whole country mourned.

That same day, there were also things that no one saw. No cameras were there to see the plane that hit the Pentagon, and there was no news station in that field in Shanksville where Flight 93 went down as it was headed for Washington, D.C. No one saw what took place, just the debris and destruction left behind. In fact, many people don’t often remember that there were two other planes.

Tens of thousands of people visit Ground Zero each week in New York City to see the wreckage of the World Trade Center, to pay their respects to those whose lives were lost. In the heart of one of the biggest cities in the world, it’s hard not to remember. But go a few hours south of there to Shanksville, where the scene is completely different.

In the mountains of Pennsylvania, off of a quiet road that once led to a strip mine, is the site of the crash of Flight 93. The actual crater made by the plane went down 54 feet into the ground. It’s now filled, fenced off, and only accessible to family members of those who were on board.

On a hill close by, is a memorial site, where up to 7,000 people come every week to pay their respects to those brave passengers. Various items are left at the memorial: flowers, hats, flags, rosaries. A well-worn firefighter’s uniform hangs from a fence. A guardrail set up in the makeshift parking lot is covered with the wishes and prayers of some of the visitors from all over the United States.

There isn’t much talk about Flight 93 in the media, except that it was headed for Washington, D.C. – just 20 minutes away by plane – but never made it because of a group of passengers. Todd Beamer, who was last heard on a cell phone saying “Let’s roll,” was one of those passengers. They are believed to have tried to regain control of the plane, which is why it never got to Washington.

At the site is what they’re calling a “temporary memorial” until a permanent one is built. There is a tiny shelter where 43 volunteers working two-hour shifts every day from 10 a.m. until dark stand and tell visitors about the crash and the site. Volunteers give an address for financial contributions, show photos people took that lived nearby and invite visitors to write their thoughts in a guestbook.

It is hard to understand how so many visitors come to the memorial. It is not publicized, there are very few signs on the main road that let you know here it is and the media seem to pay relatively no attention.

A story was done by a local paper on a Bible that was found completely intact after the crash, atop a pile of charred mail. Otherwise there is no way people really can find out where the memorial is. National news concentrates on the Trade Center towers when talking about 9/11 and the other two planes are seemingly lost and forgotten.

Not that it should be glorified, but Flight 93 needs to be recognized too. Our country would be a completely different place if the terrorists on that plane had succeeded. All the lives that were lost took a toll on our country and will continue to as long as there is terrorism.

But when you think about that day, think about everyone that our country lost. So many innocent people died in a more horrible way than any of use could ever dream of and each and every one deserves a proper memorial, especially those that bravely gave their lives to protect so many others from the same fate.

Today, we turn 2

Two years.

If you’d have told me this day two years ago that I’d have a blog I’d keep up with – and that people would actually read – two years later, I’d have laughed at you.

I’ve started blogs before. One was in college and was lame and I didn’t write much and if I did it wasn’t anything fun to read.

I started one at my last job in an attempt to up the web interaction at the newspaper but that quickly fizzled when it was realized that with everything that needed to be done for the job already, adding a blog wouldn’t be the most productive idea.

Then, one night in 2009, I got bored. I wanted to fill the void of creative and feature-y writing I wasn’t able to do, the writing that was in my voice, not just the newspaper voice.

227 posts, 128 comments and more than 5,200 page views later, here we are. I can’t believe I’ve kept it up, but mostly, I can’t believe people read it and like it as much as they tell me they do. In the past year, more and more of my family and friends, including some I never expected to, have said “hey I like your blog” or tell me they read something and thought it was funny.

I’ve gotten comments saying my writing is “hilarious” and makes people “literally laugh out loud.” One of my cousins even got funny looks for laughing out loud in public while reading an entry, and just recently my mom cried from laughing too hard at a post.

It makes a girl feel good to hear those things and have that support. I love that several of my friends have blogs I’m now addicted to. I love that one of my friends – and possibly this blog’s number one fan – thinks this thing could be a book someday. I love that I can share my photos, my stories, my accomplishments and some of the ridiculously stupid things I do, hear, say, see or think with you. I try to keep it light and funny the most of the time, but when this thing takes a more serious turn – like when I write about missing my grandpa who passed away in 2008 or a vague post about how I’m so stressed I can’t see straight and therefore can’t blog about anything worthwhile – the support is still there.

I wouldn’t still be doing this if it wasn’t for you all and my hope is to continue sharing the good the bad and the mildly disgusting or awkward with you for as long as I can.

Thanks for reading, and happy birthday, little blog!

Take a look, it’s in a book

A few months ago, I went to Half-Price Books (best bookstore in the world, if you ask me) and spent about $50 buying a huge stack of books. On account of I LOVE TO READ.

So this week’s suggestions are authors I think you should check out. It’ll be worth it, I promise. Have I ever steered you wrong?

Don’t answer that.

Authors to add to your list:
1. Christopher Moore.
He has a very unique writing style and I’ve only liked about half of his books, but they ones I like are great. For example, “Lamb.” It’s the story of Jesus from age 3 to 30 told by his fictional best friend Biff, because there’s really nothing in the Bible about that time in his life. I was told about it by the seminary intern at my church and I have since recommended it to several people. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s worth a read. If not, buy one of his vampire books, they’re pretty great too.

2. David Sedaris.
Have a sense of humor? Because all his writing is funny. It’s short memoirs and they’re about some of the most random things. He’s the first writer who has made me laugh out loud while reading his stuff. “Me Talk Pretty One Day” is, in my opinion, his best one, but really, they’re all great.

3. Stephen King.
Duh. If you haven’t read at least one of his books, you should. They’re not all scary. “The Green Mile” is a good one to start with. Or “Eyes of the Dragon.” But don’t read “IT.” Because clowns are the devil.

4. Celebrities that have written memoirs.
I have books by Tori Spelling (don’t judge) and Kristen Chenoweth. On my Amazon wish list that’s currently loaded with books and seasons of TV on DVD, I have books written by a few other famous people. I’m not gonna tell you who, because I’ve already severely diminished my cool factor by telling you I have Tori Spelling’s book. But I promise it’s an interesting read.

5. Jeff Lindsay.
One of the best shows, um, ever, is Dexter. And the books are just as awesome. I’ve only read the first two but the rest are on my list. And if they’re anything like the past few seasons have been, I will love them too.

So there ya go – GET TO READING!

I’m still here

Oh hey, remember when I had a blog? I do…I promise. And I would have been writing in it all this time, but, see, I’m a writer.

Doesn’t make any sense? OK. Well. Because I am a writer, that’s how I get my feelings out the best. And considering my feelings as of late, writing about them wouldn’t have been the best idea. I’ve been stressed and needed some time to breathe, really.

Why, you ask? Oh I don’t know. BUSY. In addition to my full-time, 40-hour a week job, I also have two freelance gigs – one of which just got a whole lot heavier but there’s more money involved so why not – I volunteer Wednesday mornings to babysit at church. I’m on the nursery schedule at church and a nominating committee and I’m still helping out Sunday nights as a youth leader for our youth group. Oh and it’s wedding season and there’s all that Forensic Files I need to watch.

But seriously. A lot’s going on and I’m not complaining, promise. I wouldn’t be doing a bit of any of it if I didn’t want to. It’s just a lot. And I’m all about organizing and planning and time managing. That’s what planners are for.

I’ve dealt with the being stressed and stuff. In the way you’re ‘sposed to, ya know? I watched a lot of Jersey Shore, which helps. And so does pretending to be Rachel Berry when I sing the Glee version of “Somebody to Love” as loud as possible in my car.

But it’s calmed down. And this is me letting you know I’m back. And I remembered I have a blog. And it’s gonna be full of exciting and fun stuff for you to read from now on – just like before, remember?

Like later this week when I post the third installment of the Texts from Last Night that sound like my friends – read the first two here and here – and I promise that unlike the third in the series of Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars and Back to the Future, it’ll be just as good as the first two.

Oh and also later this week – a belated birthday note to my momma and some other cool stuff. So keep checking back. It’ll be worth it.

Happy birthday, lil’ blog

Today is my blog’s first birthday. And what a year it’s been.

Exactly one year ago today I sat down at my computer and thought, “hey, I should start a blog.” I didn’t have a purpose for it, other than to share with my friends and family – and other random people that stumbled upon this site – stories about things that happen to me, good or bad or funny or gross. At the very least, it could be a way to keep track of all the stories for myself, it’d give me something to go back and read.

Some has changed in the past year, some has stayed the same. I’ve hit a bird with my car, I’ve bought a new car, I’ve made some lists, I’ve won some awards, I’ve moved apartments and I’ve laid in my bed at night in fear of the ceiling fan falling down and cutting my feet off.

I have a few more readers than I did at first, but I only know who they are because they told me they saw something on my blog they liked, or they made a comment. And for all of you who read this, I just want to tell you, thank you. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. Having supportive people in your life who care about what you do – even if it’s something as silly as telling about when you play grammar police or wanting to share the WTF moment from your Netflix account – means a lot. I love when I find out someone has read something I wrote and liked it, or it made them laugh.

What started out as something kind of just for me and kind of just to see what happened, has become something kind of important. It’s become fun, a stress-reliever of sorts. And I’m sorry if it bugs you when I post these links on Facebook and Twitter, but you can’t be too mad, you did click on it. 😉

It’s part of being a writer, though, to want to share, I think. Could I add any more commas to that sentence? Geez. What was I saying? Oh. If I didn’t want to share, I’d just keep all this in a notebook, hidden in my room, where no one could read it – like I did in high school and thank God I threw those away…

Anyways. This is the end of the first of what I hope is many, many more years of writing. And hopefully, learning how to do some cool Web design stuff, because this page is not gonna look this way forever. Which reminds me, what do you all think? Should the header change? Should the layout/theme change? Should I make up my own mind already and stop asking you guys?

I won’t be celebrating with cake and ice cream or anything like that, but I did coincidentally watch a movie based on a blog last night – Julie and Julia. Makes me want to learn how to cook, which is on my big ol’ to-do list that will hopefully be getting shorter and shorter as this second year goes by.

Ideas, comments, things you love, hate, want to see, bring ’em on. And check back later for my top 10 favorite posts from the past year. Thanks for reading.

Why I Won’t Shop At Meijer/Grammar Ninja

I have a bumper sticker on my car my roommate got me one year that says “Grammar Ninja: Ruthless, Deadly, Articulate.” It’s true. I am a Grammar Ninja of some sort, if such a thing exists. I don’t think I’m really deadly though.

As a journalism major, fan of the English language and supporter of saying things the right way, I am a bit of a stickler for good grammar and spelling. Also, I hate using exclamation points unless I really need to and refuse to use LOL in any online conversation, because, lets face it, it’s ridiculous. Yes, you do “laugh out loud” but it sounds more like, “haha,” so write that instead, thanks.

Writing your when you mean you’re or there when you mean they’re – and vice versa – drives me nuts. And I don’t understand why people use seen when they mean saw. Run on sentences – of the no-punctuation or all lowercase letters variety – make me cringe.

In a college editing class I had a professor who pointed out that there’s no such thing as first annual and from then on I couldn’t, and still can’t, read a sign, paper, brochure, etc. that uses that as the description for an event. Unnecessary apostrophes make my head hurt and unnecessary quotation marks are worse.

I try not to correct people, and believe me, sometimes with Facebook statuses it’s really hard not to comment on how many things are wrong with what is written. It’s annoying of me, I know. And like I said, I try not to correct people on their grammar or their spelling. I try really hard.

The biggest pet peeve of mine though – and if you’re my friend or you’ve seen my Facebook profile you know what it is – is the consistent confusion, for reasons I don’t understand, of the words idea and ideal.

Definitions:
IDEAL* – a conception of something in its absolute perfection; one that is regarded as a standard or model of perfection or excellence; an ultimate object of endeavor; a goal; an honorable or worthy principle or aim.

IDEA* – any conception existing in the mind as a result of mental understanding, awareness, or activity; a thought, conception, or notion; an impression; an opinion, view, or belief.

Not synonyms, yet someone supplying notebooks to Meijer seems to think so.

What, exactly, is this book ideal for? Because I know it’s not a book to write ideas in…

And of course I took a picture, so I could show the ridiculousness that is bad grammar, like on things sold in a store, that people see nothing wrong with.

Told you. Grammar Ninja.