lists

25 Random Things About Me

1. The smell of coffee is like perfume to me. I love walking down the coffee aisle in grocery stores that have the grinders where you can ground your own beans. I love writing in coffee shops all day and the way my bag smells afterwards.

2. When I was around 8 years old I used to record myself reading pieces of the newspaper, and as part of it I’d give movie reviews though I hadn’t actually seen the movies. So I would give suggestions based on who was in it and what I thought the plot was from the trailers I’d seen. I was into recording everything, snippets of conversations, commercials on TV, the radio. I’d walk around with a bulky tape recorder my grandparents gave me just recording life as it happened. I still have a few of these tapes.

3. I love going to the movies. There’s something about sitting in the dark with a bunch of people, experiencing the escape of a film together that I love. I’ve only walked out of a few movies even though I saw some terrible films. One of them I can’t remember the name of but it was a werewolf movie that was just awful. In college, I had a friend who worked at a movie theater and used to give me passes for movies. I saw some of the best and worst films of the 90’s and early 2000’s thanks to him.

4. I'm not really a morning person, but scheduling has required me to attempt to do better at mornings. As a lifelong night owl, I have trouble with mornings. I need time to lay in bed, possibly go back to sleep for 10 minutes, complain, stare at the ceiling, whatever. Then I need coffee. About 20 minutes after coffee, I can manage full sentences.

5. I think octopi are both creepy and cool creatures. They seem almost weirdly pre-historic to me and there's something about them that I'm drawn to. I learned recently that the plural of octopus is actually octopods from the original Greek root of the word.

6. I have no interest in sky-diving. Ever. Or bungee jumping or doing anything where I have to jump from any kind of height. At all. I have a slight fear of heights.

7. Every time I lock the door, I do a silly dance or some weird movement so that when I am anxious, later, about whether I locked the door, I can say to myself, “Remember, you did that silly dance?”  (I read about the benefits of doing these kinds of things to stave off anxiety, but can’t remember where).

8. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a race-car driver, and then a sportswriter. For a long time I wanted to be a sportswriter, but somewhere along the way I decided I didn't want to limit myself to journalistic-style writing or to sports. Still, I was a huge fan of Robin Roberts and Linda Cohn who were the women of ESPN, during my girlhood. Now, there are many women who report on sports and I think it's amazing that there is a new generation of women voices in sports. Not nearly enough, of course, but still some progress is being made.

9. I most admire kindness, intelligence, a sense of humor in other people. I despise lack of self-awareness, ego, and pretentiousness.

10. A line from one of my favorite poems and that I use as a kind of mantra: Bukowski's The Laughing Heart: “your life is your life. know it while you have it. you are marvelous the gods wait to delight in you”.
It's also the only poem I still have memorized.

11. I have a signed copy of To Kill a Mockingbird that my father gave me. It's one of my favorite things I own.

12. My favorite food involves feta or goat cheese. I love mediterranean flavors and I really love cheese.

13. I lived with my grandmother and great-grandmother throughout parts of my life, most significantly in college and my Master’s program. It remains one of the most formative and singularly defining experiences of my life. Gran died 2 years ago and I feel the grief so acutely some days that it takes my breath away.

14. Something I wish I learned sooner:  What others think is not nearly half as important as what you think of yourself. Also: Kindness is better than whatever not being kind gets you.

15. I love watching hairstyle tutorials even though I can rarely recreate the look in the video.

16. When I am at my most stressed, I involve myself with redesigning my blog. Also, I bake, usually for other people.

17. Food is one my love languages. There is nothing more rewarding to me than cooking food that others enjoy.

18. I am an ENFP and 7 on the Enneagram.

19. I quit drinking soda/pop over 10 years ago. But I love coffee, ridiculously so. My favorite drink is Starbucks flat white or Nitro Cold Brew with Almond Milk. I want to experiment cooking with coffee.

20. I love soft t-shirts. I cannot buy or wear a t-shirt that is rough in any way.

21. I like dresses but I rarely wear them, anymore.

22. I have been making monthly playlists on Spotify since 2011. Each year I pull together and end of year playlist based on each month’s songs. As a kid of the 80’s I find such joy in playlist-making without having to wait to hear a song on the radio and record it. I loved making mixtapes but playlists are so much easier. I enjoy cultivating soundtracks for my days, for my life, really.

23. I’m an Aquarius, which if you spend more that 12 minutes with me you’ll likely figure out or I will tell you or you will ask. :)

24. I worked at Disneyworld in college.

25. Though I feel the need for roots, I also need to be able to travel, to see new places and experience something new.

What's Making You Happy?

Happiness is contagious.

I listen to quite a few podcasts, though some more regularly than others. The Pop Culture Happy Hour Podcast has a regular feature called "What's Making You Happy" where the panelists talk about what in pop culture (typically, sometimes it's personal) is making them happy during a given week. I was thinking about that today when a link to a blog post I wrote on happiness last year popped up in my TimeHop App. (Timehop is an app that reminds what you said on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and can also comb your past photos for photos you posted on social media sites.) Here's an excerpt of what I said then: WE OFTEN THINK ABOUT HAPPINESS AS A KIND OF GOAL, SOMETHING TO ATTAIN IF WE DO ENOUGH X OR Y OR Z AND THAT ONCE WE ACHIEVE IT, THAT’S SOMEHOW ENOUGH. BUT HAPPINESS IS A STATE OF BEING, A FEELING, AN ENERGY, ONE YOU CAN PROJECT OUT INTO THE WORLD. I OFTEN WEAR A BRACELET THAT HAS “HAPPINESS IS CONTAGIOUS” STAMPED ON IT AS A REMINDER THAT IT MATTERS HOW I BEGIN MY DAY. IT MATTERS THAT I WANT TO BE KIND, THAT I TREAT PEOPLE I MEET WITH POSITIVE ENERGY.

These weeks have been challenging as I readjust to the hectic pace of a new semester, as I try to get to know my students and let them know me. Today was humid. I was sticky with sweat from walking across campus. I gulped water like I was desperate for it. And even with that discomfort, I loved being in the classroom, loved offering students a piece of what I know, loved asking them to challenge their notions of what it means to compose. Not for the first time, I felt so incredibly lucky for the work I do.

Here are some other things making me happy lately:

Zumba. I am awkward. I sweat profusely, embarrassingly so. I have no rhythm to speak of and yet I'm drawn to the energy of Zumba classes. I  try to take a class at least 3 times a week if I can. It doesn't bother me that I don't always get the steps right, or that things move quickly and sometimes it takes me a few beats to catch on. I still love it.

My August Playlist. I keep wondering if I'm going to get tired of the same songs but instead they've become this great soundtrack to my days.

Trail Mix. I'm a little crazy over Salted Caramel Craze Trail Mix from Kroger right now. It's the perfect amount of sweetness when I'm craving it. Also, more than a handful or two and I feel a bit overwhelmed so it helps me from overindulging.

It's September!  I love Fall as a season, the crispness of the air, the way the leaves change around here. I have some awesome plans this month to hang out with friends. Also, it's football season! Finally. (Poor M, she doesn't enjoy football or the fact that I play fantasy so she has to watch more than one game). But I also love September because my shows come back on in a few weeks. I'm mostly excited for Elementary, despite the way last season's finale broke my heart. I want to know what's going to happen. I want to meet Sherlock's dad. I need things to get better.

My students asked me about my favorite books and then took notes as I talked about them. I hope some of them end up reading some of the work I mentioned.

Tejava. I just discovered this micro-brewed tea and it's incredible. I may have to go get a few more bottles while they are on sale.

What's making YOU happy this week?