Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Like wine (not that I know from personal experience) I think I am getting better with age. This year I graduated from college (we won't talk about the few W's I took my senior year out of pure exhaustion)!! I left my student job (aka watching Netflix for a few hours each day) and entered the work force (aka watch Netflix occasionally). I'm working from home which means I also clean the house, do the laundry, make bread for the neighbors and practice the guitar (read guilty pleasures, sleep in, practice French, pinterest and call my besties). I've been more patient with my sweet husband (unless he wants J Dawgs rather than El Gallo) and been more selfless with my friends  (unless they don't want to talk about Harry Potter, celeb tweets or how Sean will be the worst Bach ever!). So taking all of this into consideration here are some things I would like this Christmas (by category):

The HP series
The Chronicles of Narnia (as separates)
B&N classics
A Long, Long Time Ago (hardback)
The Book Thief

The Vow
Midnight in Paris
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Avonlea
Gilmore Girls
How to Train Your Dragon

HP mug
HP sweatshirt
nail polish (make it easy on yourself, send Jordyn instead of an elf)
wilton cake decorator
frosting bottles
food processor

several med school acceptances
a trip to France
a gorgeous house
a black Murano

and I wasn't kidding about a baby.

           Yours Truly,


You can see last year's list here for more ideas.


Dear Daniel

Sometimes I imagine the worst things in the world. Like, what if our house burned down? What would I grab? As I cleaned up the house today I picked out the most important items in our house and made a list in my brain....just in case. I won't recreate the entire list here but I realized how important really small things have become to me. D and I don't have much to our name in our young marriage but we have books and letters and his t-shirt I slept in when I was sick and a binder full of silly things like notes from my old boss. And somehow it adds up to a whole lot. 

I wasn't going to pay the extra money for stole's of gratitude but the cap and gown looks better with them.  And what is the point of the cap and gown if not for the pictures? My older brother got one for his graduation and I like the tradition of it. Placing the stole of gratitude around the neck of the person who helped you most on the everlasting journey that is college. It seemed nice. 

After graduation we went out to eat with both our families, we celebrated and I gave my mom my stole of gratitude. Later that night when the celebrations were over D and I sat in the living room and it was just this really incredible feeling. We had done it. We had walked across the big stage together and hand in hand left our college life behind. And then, he gave me one of those items on top of my list. His stole of gratitude. 

Because it was me. And I saw myself through his eyes. Now when I see the white silk hanging in the second bedroom I wonder what the bigger blessing is: that he sees me the way that he does or that he gives me the opportunity to see myself that way.

And the stole becomes one of the most important things in our home. Not because it is about me, but because it reminds me of the goodness of my sweet husband. And I fall in love over and over again.


Diana from Kansas City

Youtube is a wonderful creation. 
Check out this song and how hilarious people are. 

But before the song, came the auto tune.

And before the auto tune just a regular news interview.
You can see the original interview here.


Tim White

3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38,000 miles. Amazing.

I think I will go watch Eat, Pray, Love again.


Gary the Bus Driver

I have been up since 5:00AM. I'm a little traumatized. 
You can read about my hotel stay from Hades and my experience with public transit this morning here.



I have a best friend. I have two in fact, I'm lucky that way. Not a best friend in the husband sort of way, or in the recently acquired variety, not the always-meant-to-be type, or the grown up sibling best friend. But the kind of best friendship that grows out of years and years of work and experience and tears and gets down to the core of who you both are and expresses itself in the most raw and honest ways possible. The kind of best friend you call on those days that only you can understand, and that means she understands too. Because at your cores, you are the same. You met before you knew what that core was and together you found yourselves, though at separate times, then lost that knowledge and helped each other find your way back to it again. 

It was a chilly day for April. The three of us sat in total silence across the bench seat in her dad's big black truck. We were nervous. Nervous because adulthood was thrust upon us, suddenly and we would soon find out cruelly. We pulled up the drive way and parked. Her things were already strewn across the lawn. I saw him throwing a desk chair out the front door. The first time I met him, he had kind eyes. We looked over at her, waiting for instruction but she just gripped the steering wheel and stared at her white knuckles. We left her there and silently the two of us began to gather her life up off the lawn. Pictures frames I recognized from her bedroom at her parents house, wedding gifts that had only been used a few times, textbooks with torn up pages and all her private things out in the open for the world to see. I almost threw up in the gutter. We saw her start to get out of the truck but his sisters started yelling. I pushed her back in the truck then turned to notice all the neighbors watching.

After a while we knew we couldn't fit it all in the bed of the truck. We looked at her broken face through the window, waiting for instructions. We were small children. We were adults. Finally he started loading the left overs into his own truck. When it was finished he followed us back to her parents house. There he quickly threw everything out of his truck and onto the lawn. We waited on the front steps and watched him push her away from him. We sat on the cold cement for a long time as sobs racked her body. Then it was silent again. 

And the girl I knew, was gone forever. Looking back, I guess we all were.

Sometimes terrible things happen. And sometimes we are what is terrible, and sometimes its the actions of others, but the best friends suffer through it all with us. No matter how much you laugh and love and rejoice together, really it is those most painful experiences, the ones that change us forever, that burn on in us. Bind us together. 


Victor E Frankl

I picked up Man's Search for Meaning earlier this week at the library. D and I have been reading it out loud while we drive or reading a few pages before we go to bed. It has been on my "to read" list for ages and finally I remembered to pick it up. 

I'm sure most people have read it but for those of you that haven't, it is written by a concentration camp survivor. Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it and move forward. Frankl holds the conviction that the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of what we find meaningful. 

Man's Search for Meaning is gorgeous and hard and possibly one of the most romantic books I have ever read. The passages that Frankl writes about his wife are absolutely heart wrenching but the most beautiful words I have ever read about the nature of love. Here are just a few passages:

Out at a work site a man walking near Frankl remarked about what their wives would think if they could see them now, hoping the women's condition was better than their own:
"That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind. And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking on his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife's image  imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise."
On reflecting about his wife and whether she was still alive or not:
"My mind still clung to the image of my wife. A thought crossed my mind: I didn't know if she were still alive. I know only one thing - which I have learned well by now: Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance."
In speaking of his "will" to his wife, because these words were all he had left to give her. He made his fried Otto memorize these words, word for word to make sure his wife would know.
"Listen, Otto, if I don't get back home to my wife, and if you should see her again, then tell her that I talked of her daily, hourly. You remember. Secondly, I have loved her more than anyone. Thirdly  the short time I have been married to her outweighs everything, even all we have gone through here."
Those last words, specifically, may be the most romantic words in any novel.

I wept as I read this section about Frankl's wife. Not only are Frankl's experiences unimaginable, in the way that people who did not experience it for themselves can truly never understand what happened. I have felt in the past that the specifics of horror and trials are left to the people that experienced it, but the feelings of despair and suffering are universal. And to a degree that may be true, but as I read these words to D I realized I have never experienced great loss or despair. And while I still feel, these words echo to a deeper sense of feeling than what I am capable of because of what I have yet to experience. Reason would seem to say that the deeper you feel despair the deeper you can experience joy. 



Preston Burke

One of my all time favorite TV couples is Burke and Christina from Grey's. For the most part their relationship is horrible and dramatic and it ends in tragedy, but there are moments like this: 

(don't worry nothing sexy is happening though it looks like it in the first few seconds)

And they get it. The dancing and silly-ness of this is what it is all about. 


Sufjan Stevens

I adore this song. I first heard this version on FNL and while rewatching this particular episode found myself almost in tears listening to it. 

"Come thou fount of every blessingTune my heart to sing Thy graceStreams of mercy never ceasingCall for songs of loudest praise"

Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing by Sufjan Stevens on Grooveshark

Happy Friday.
Or Happy Friday Night Lights.


Pierre Morhange

When I was 7-years-old-ish my Nana taught me how to say, "Comment allez-vous"and respond with "tres bien et vous". I fell in love with the French language immediately. I wanted to take French in high school but they cancelled the program and I ended up in ASL. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVED ASL and took it all through college.) But my obsession with learning French and spending several months in France still remain at the very top of my dream list. If I die before I go to Italy, or read all of my book list, or even write a novel but did spend 2+ months in France speaking the language I will go in peace. 

Anyway, while D is at work I have been watching some of my favorite French movies that speak to my soul and thought I would share with the class. 

1. Les Choristes: (The Chorus). This film may be my very favorite not only in the French category but in every category. I will let the preview speak for itself. 

2. Midnight in Paris: This recent film stole my heart only an eighth of the way through my first viewing. Danny will buy it for me any minute (hint, hint) because we have probably already paid for it in Redbox fees; not because I forget to take it back but because I get it....a lot. The music, the story, the literary references, the music, Rachel McAdams, the music. 

3. Sarah's Key: I only watched this recently on Netflix and I loved it. There are a few hard (sad not violent) scenes because it is based on a Jewish family during war time. I usually can't stomach anything WWII (maybe because I saw Life is Beautiful at much too young of an age when I was home alone) but this is very doable. This movie is so gorgeous, it is largely subtitles but there are English scenes as well. Watch it, watch it, watch it!

4. Sabrina: I still love the Harrison Ford version best. I adore this movie, always have always will. It is probably a huge influence on my love of Paris, and my love of Harrison Ford. 

5. Julie & Julia: Combining my love of France and Meryl Streep. The only thing that could make this movie better is to drop the entire Amy Adams story and leave Meryl Streep to make me fall in love with food, butter and Paris. I have been trying to learn French via computer and I feel like Meryl in the movie. 

6. Ratatouille: Maybe this doesn't really count but it is my list so I am counting it. This is my favorite animation and it captures the magic that I believe is Paris. Paris and all its delicious food. One day when I visit Paris, I'm sure I will only be able to afford bread and cheese but that will entirely alright with me. 

Profitez! au revoir!


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