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The Day I Met Rory (and Jenny Lawson)

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I know, I know. You are all insanely jealous that I met Rory. And by “met” I mean struck a pose in the middle of public DC while my husband tried to suppress his mortification. (Mi dispiace, Topino mio. Keep loving me anyway.) The whole meeting was really a debacle and started with a frantic arrangement of work hours, possible transportation alternatives, and ultimately ended up with us standing outside of Politics and Prose in Washington, DC starvinGardettos-2014g because the cafe was sold out of food. (Disclaimer: Grilled cheese was available but it was $6. I could buy a loaf of bread with half a pound of cheese at those prices.) The only other source of nourishment was CVS, which meant our “dinner” consisted of Gardettos. For those of you that don’t know what Gardettos are….this is a bag of the deliciously addictive snack –>

I’m going to apologize in advance because that one small bag is approximately 1,000 calories. I wish I was joking. Those buggers are responsible for an entire pant size.

So, with dinner in hand, we ventured into the extremely crowded bookshop and purchased a copy of Jenny Lawson’s second novel, Furiously Happy. I’ve been to to a number of readings over the last few years, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been to a reading where there was such camaraderie between an author and her readers. There was fangirling and stories shared, but it felt less like a Q&A and far more like an organic conversation amongst friends. I’m going to chalk this up to Lawson’s incredible personality and the relationships she has developed over the years through her blog, The Bloggess. Even though I had never met her, I felt like I’d spoken with her before through her posts and responses. Which is why my husband stood with me (okay, he stood while I sat on the floor) waiting to meet her in person for approximately 3 hours on a work night. We were in line when we’d normally be in bed.

While waiting to get our book signed we observed an incredible feat by a gentleman that we call the Line Ninja. It’s so impressive that I simply have to share it. He arrived during the Q&A and managed to socialize his way to the middle of the room by the end of the session. Please understand how impressive this feat is. People at the front of the room arrived hours before the reading and the entire store was packed all the way to the exit. An hour before the event my husband and I managed to claim a spot in the middle. This lolligagger mingled his way through other eagerly waiting readers armed only with his charm. By the end of the night he was about a dozen people ahead of me. What do you call that? Talent.

Since we had some time on our hands, my husband and I discussed what I might share with the Bloggess. Eventually I decided on humoring her with the fact that my anxiety companion dog, Maverick, has anxiety. Confident with this little anecdote I approached the table only to say “Hi” and smile. Twas not my finest moment, but a firm nudge from Matt pushed me forward and eventually the words came out in some kind of order. I’m pretty sure I called Maverick a “she,” which would have probably made him duck his little furry nose in shame. However, I did manage to take this awesome picture:

20151012_222750On our way out my husband told me that if he had stood around for over 4 hours only to have me stand there and smile he would have lost his mind. And that, my friends, is true love.

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Enjoy what you read? 
Follow me on Twitter @KeepStride

Popular Posts:

Who Am I?– The painful name change experience

Giving a Voice to Invisible Illness– A short poem read by a number of incredible bloggers

If Anything Else Breaks– Some days at the office are super special

Other Sites I Recommend:

Abby Has Issues: I have issues, she has issues, and it’s fantastic.

The Bloggess: Great for a laugh and also thoughtful.

Scary Mommy: I’m not a mom yet but that doesn’t even matter.

Spoon Shares: Sometimes our issues are more serious and impact the way we live day-to-day. Spoon shares is a great place to share, connect, and learn tips and tricks from others with a variety of maladies.

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Reading on the Go!

I started this post a few weeks after my wedding. I thought that I might share a couple of my pre-wedding reads (none of them had anything to do with weddings) and then 4 months passed. Even though that whole concept doesn’t make sense anymore I’m doing it anyway. I’ve also started graduate school (while working full time- my classmate from Germany says I’m crazy), and  I’ve managed to cram a few books in. Basically, everything I read was worth the time. Saying that, I didn’t want to just brush them off and just list them on the 2015 Bookshelf. Here are some short reflections on my reads.

Pre-Wedding Reads:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony DoerrAll the Light

I’m making my husband read it. He’s going to read it and he is going to love it. This book was beautiful to read. I’m a huge fan of World War II novels and Doerr did not disappoint. He crafts his book just as the locksmith crafted the neighborhoods for his daughter, with care and attention. While the novel starts off at a leisurely pace, the lives of these strangers begin to collide and the reader will be completely engrossed until the end. Yes, some parts read slow but push through because it really is worth it.

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Bossypants by Tina Fey

This book really helped me get my head on straight before the big day. Tina made me laugh, cry (from laughing), and think (while laughing). The book isn’t so much a continuous memoir as it is a collection of stories. Tina’s thoughts and experiences presented me with a new lens to view my own accomplishments and goals through. Afterwards, I felt a lot more confident about where I am and where I’m heading. Sometimes, you just have to do it.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy KalingMindy

Mindy is as big of a Tina Fey fan as I am. She hilariously compares the two of them throughout her book, but reading them side by side unveiled how different they truly are. Both women are very humorous, resourceful, and intelligent. Mindy’s memoir, however, has a lot more pause for her analysis of a situation. It’s more organized and thoughtfully conceived. While still funny, Mindy has an undertone that makes you take everything with a grain of, what I call, serious salt.

BloggessLet’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

I’m going to see her and it’s going to be incredible. Jokingly, I refer to Jenny Lawson as my spirit animal. Throughout the novel I’d wake up my husband to read him sections. He would nod, respond with, “She’s you!” and promptly return to dreamland. Her perspective is one of a kind. I particularly recommend this to my friends battling chronic illness. It’s not too hard on the brain but is incredibly inspiring and funny. Lawson is a well-known blogger who has her own health struggles. Her humor inspires me to wake up and start fresh. Her second book, Furiously Happy just hit the shelves, so if you love her there’s more to read.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodHandmaid

This is one of those books that I never had assigned in high school and also never came across in college (but should have read independently at some point). Basically, it needed to be checked off my list. After my reading I can definitely see how this would have caused a stir when it was published, and some parts of the story still call forth foreboding feelings. It’s well written and I don’t think it could have ended any other way. The ending was just right and I do recommend taking this novel for a spin. It wasn’t my favorite but it was valuable.

Everything Else:

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, book 1) by Tana French

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My mind was blown. Not only was the case complex and challenging but the perspective was raw with characters and their relationships evolving radically throughout the novel. Part of the stark perspective stemmed from the personality of the first-person narrator who filters the entire experience. Be warned, this novel is very murky and very realistic. The language is also dense and incredibly well-crafted. French’s style is unable to be replicated. It’s not to be picked up for a bit of light reading.

Would you like a summary of my Macroeconomics textbook? Because it’s ruling my life right now and that’s what else I’ve read.

Okay, I lied, I did manage to get in Bardach’s 8 Steps (which I do highly recommend if you’re interested in public policy).

________________________________________________________________________________

Enjoy what you read? 
Follow me on Twitter @KeepStride

Popular Posts:

Who Am I?– The painful name change experience

Giving a Voice to Invisible Illness– A short poem read by a number of incredible bloggers

If Anything Else Breaks– Some days at the office are super special

Other Sites I Recommend:

Abby Has Issues: I have issues, she has issues, and it’s fantastic.

The Bloggess: Great for a laugh and also thoughtful.

Scary Mommy: I’m not a mom yet but that doesn’t even matter.

Spoon Shares: Sometimes our issues are more serious and impact the way we live day-to-day. Spoon shares is a great place to share, connect, and learn tips and tricks from others with a variety of maladies.

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Giving a Voice to Invisible Illness

I participated in this incredible project where a group of individuals across the United States and Canada read a poem. We tried to shed a little light on the invisible illnesses, diagnosed and undiagnosed, that we deal with every day. You can learn a little more about each of us here. Many thanks to Leah Holstein (who has a second blog about all things Disney because she’s awesome) and Catherine Richardson for crafting the poem and bringing us all together.

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Tips for the Anxious

Nightmares claw at the fringes of daylight and walk alongside me down the street, at the grocery store, while I’m working. Oxygen becomes a precious gift and not an every day commodity. This is what anxiety feels like to me. Just like many other disorders, anxiety is an invisible ailment. While someone may not advertise their daily struggle, it does not make the mental, emotional, and physical side effects any less severe.

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Everyone experiences their anxiety differently. My own experience is personal and I share it to try and convey what anxiety could mean to someone. While I was in college, there was a time when anxiety almost exclusively controlled my life. I was ill, I was undiagnosed, I was scared, and somewhere between midterms and my mother’s heart attack anxiety crept into my life and never left. But over the years I’ve learned a couple of tricks that have helped me cope and maybe, just maybe, they’ll help you too.

1. Lists- If you haven’t noticed from my blog, I have a thing for lists (2014 booklist, Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Bride, etc.) I find that there is something calming about laying everything out there and then slowly checking it off. There are tons of ways to create and organize lists. Find what works for you! As I finish tasks, I feel some control over my world returning. It gives me agency and agency is power.cab

2. Dive into a Good Book- Books are not for everyone but for me they are magical, and if you haven’t tried it I strongly recommend it. I have lived hundreds of lives without ever leaving the comfort of my couch. It’s amazing and incredible. Words paint and build new, strange, and familiar places the reader can touch, smell, and see. While in the middle of an attack it may be hard to focus at first–don’t give up. Breathe in the moment and continue to concentrate on the words. With a bit of time they may come into focus and allow you to escape.

 

3. Friends & Family are Key- Don’t keep it bottled up inside. If you’re scared, angry, depressed, confused tell someone. You don’t need to know the why, where, or what of your emotions. By confiding in someone you trust, you’re giving them insight into the crazy clockwork going on in your head. And they might just have something wise to say that will make you feel better.

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4. Create a Go-To Habit- Sometimes I chew gum, like a cow, really hard. And it really helps. It annoys people around me, but it helps. Now, obviously, I can’t really do that at work. It looks a tad unprofessional, so I substitute by sucking on sunflower seeds. I’ve picked up these habits trying to avoid the more detrimental anxious habits like butchering my cuticles. My poor nails just don’t deserve it. Also, the comfort of a habit helps me to relax and focus on “the moment” that cookie monster mentions. I’d beware of making cookies your go-to, though. In all seriousness, food crutches can be just as destructive for your mental and physical well-being as other anxious habits. While cookies might give you that happy sugar rush in the moment, you might wind up feeling sloth-like later, which probably won’t help your anxiety when you need to get things done.

 

Have your own tips for dealing with anxiety? Share them!