My Dad’s 25 Random Things: 

(Swiped from a Facebook post in 2009). 

1. Old friends are the best.
2. Getting outside is good for the soul.
3. I’ve been thinking this winter was ‘record-setting’ – and the AA Snooze-paper confirms it tonight.
4. Changing jobs after 23 years in the same place is a bit destablizing and stressful.
5. Change is good.
6. What will we all do now that life is not all about buying stuff that we don’t need and that costs too much?
7. My kids rock.
8. My nieces and nephews are an amazing bunch of people.
9. The lake house addition is still not done – after what, about 10 years? Oh well, maybe this summer.
10. The only thing that sucks about the new job is so little vacation.
11. Those stock options better pay off!
12. I’m not looking forward to doing my taxes after they do. (Maybe then it’ll be time to hire an accountant.)
13. Harold, one of these days I want to actually make it out on the big lake on your boat–not just up the river and back.
14. Laurie(&Joe)-you can invite us up to Plymouth to partake of your cooking as often as you like.
15. I do better (and enjoy more) playing old-fashioned pinball games than Gears of War.
16. Why do some people think cutting taxes is the answer to everything?
17. I’m feeling a need to waterski this summer–just to prove it can still be done by someone over 50.
18. Reading is also good for the soul – real books, that is – not this on-line stuff.
19. Hot showers are about as good as being outside – and definitely better when it’s below zero out.
20. It’s been way too long since we went camping.
21. Answers to the most serious existential questions can only be found around a campfire – with plenty of beer on hand. (Note: The beer serves to obscure the fact that there are no answers to such questions–but also makes this sad fact more tolerable.)
22. Keep moving. Use it or lose it.
23. Sunsets are restful, sunrises challenge you to try again.
24. Shaving is more fun with a good electric razor.
25. Bedtime!


Beer Boot Mugs

I think I first remember big hugs.

Then I remember Toe Jam and Earl on Sega. And a trip to Wendy’s in Ann Arbor when you were babysitting the two of us.

We must have been so annoying to deal with after the cute phase.

But I never ever felt that from you.

I’ve held my “Sporto” award to my chest like it’s sewn on.

Then I remember that you would always keep the fun going. As kids that meant being the longest adult to play the noodle-frisbee game, and as adults that means NO-sleeping, more shots, more euchre. We love it.

And that’s what it’s been as adults. I deeply care about how you find that time sacred, like I do.

But then we all scattered like a bag of marbles, and everything that’s sacred has become more difficult… And weddings and funerals seem to be the only written-in guarantees of what I grew up loving so dearly.

Then I had a unique chance to center life around family… on a different ocean. It was so scary and exciting I almost couldn’t believe it. Of course, it was colored with shock and sadness, but I still knew it would be all those things.

It was within my grasp, but I let it go. Without really even realizing that I did.

But you all realized, and I felt your sadness before I felt my own.

Why does one have to choose? I’m so mad while being so broken and exhausted that I had to choose.

I chose to give a love another chance. And that’s what I’m doing. That’s all I know so far.

But in the downbeats, when I remember the ‘almost’, the ‘what-if’… I can’t keep it together. I can’t bear to think that I let down the ones I love the most.

So I hope I didn’t… Not completely…

I think about you all everyday. I wanted so much to be a part of the everyday activities. Your safety net was going to catch me in my free-fall.

I don’t know much about many things. I don’t know if I made the ‘right’ decision. Just wading through this swamp hoping it feels more like countryside sometime soon.

….But it won’t have mountains and ocean and Beer Boot Mugs.

And I try not to cry knowing that.




Welcome to the Fall

My heart is in a tennis match with my brain.

It’s karma. In some ways I relish it.

How does anyone do that to a good person? He’s done it to me. I did it to someone else.

Here we are – all predators and villains.

The buildup to the inevitable crash. Shouldn’t I have known better? Of course I wouldn’t have.

I need to switch my mind, leave the bind. Go forth and bloom toward something like the Sun.

Shine and be shined on. I let something else determine my dream of future days.

Maybe that’s what caught us in a torrential downpour.

Foundations cracking, tumbling and rolling over like the sea.

Like wringing out a wet wash cloth and embracing the one, last drop… Feeling the exertion overpowering – questioning the bounty’s worth.

Making sense of something and accepting it for its ultimate, ugly, beautiful inevitable.. still leaves you empty handed.

Love — Love.

I don’t remember agreeing to this…

In light of my recent conversation with my beloved college lady sweetheart, we decided to craft an ode to the perpetual hatred of adulthood. Our disdain is surely mirrored by, oh… Everyone in the world.

Reasons I hate being a grown up

1. What did I do on my day off work? I mopped my apartment. More troubling than that is the fact that I got real pleasure out of the floor being clean.

2. Working more days than the weekend. And what do I do on the weekend? I wear pajamas for 24-48 hours straight. I’m not mad about it, but I should just rephrase that to say that there is no weekend.

3. Dating older men now runs the risk of getting involved in complicated, modern family situations.

4. Thinking about how big life and financial decisions will make taxes all the more difficult.

5. Doing taxes…. Okay fine. I’m sending my W2s to my Dad, but it’s still a huge pain.

Generally speaking, the way older people in my life always talked reminiscently about the way they “blinked and all the time has passed”, has come to fruition. It doesn’t exactly seem like just yesterday that I was cramming for a high school algebra test or watching Saturday morning cartoons, but I sure don’t remember electing to not only have a job… but be expected to: do laundry, go grocery shopping, budget… fill up my car with gas, pay for insurance… and LOOK like I’m a self-sustaining participant of adult society. I don’t remember raising my hand for that.

I’ll always dance in my underwear, damnit.


Read JoJo’s middle finger to maturity here. 

I sell tile. Stuggle = real.

It seems I’ve been on a mission in the past six months to a year.

A mission to uproot everything that I know to be familiar and routine.

Left the beloved midwest. Ended a 6-year relationship. Started a job in journalism. Quit. Started a job in… selling tile?

Sometimes I think I’m a wrecking ball hurdling myself toward something unknown in order to get jarred awake.

I think kindred spirits around my age can relate. In fact, I think there will be psychology chapters written about us late-80s and 90s babies – (I dare not utter the ‘M’ word).

Everything was put into our ungrateful hands in the spirit of individualism… and in return – we flit from one thing to the next… hunting for a stimulus and can’t be quenched.

I’m convinced my pals with plans are full of BS. I’ve probably convinced myself of that because that’s easier than stomaching the fact that I can’t figure out exactly what will make me happy and not full of self-doubt.

As we get older (just pretend I’m full of Yoda wisdom for a second), people say you give up on things… And we chalk it up to not dreaming anymore and accepting reality.

But I do think the complex, at times mundane, mushy and messy reality is beautiful. And I’m glad I came to that conclusion… Or else I’d probably be penniless scouting around another country at the moment… Instead of sitting in a beautiful showroom plunking away on my work-issued laptop drinking a $4 coffee.

I’m hoping that there is no right way to do it.

…What am I really trying to say?

Just that I like myself. And everything is cool. And I love everyone in the world. I don’t love everything in the world. I’m not completely satisfied with my situation.

I’m not sick or homeless or bogged down in a shit bureaucracy.

My struggle today is finding my sense of dignity and gumption in the odd but amusing life I waltzed myself into.

You’re great, you, reading this.

To Whoever Got Stuck Sifting Through Resumes

Oh, hi! Is someone actually reading this? I thought cover letters were just a torture device designed by hiring managers to weed out casual job seekers from the truly desperate.

I’m writing because I saw that your company has an open position that is vaguely related to my experience and interests. Honestly, it’s not exactly my dream job but I’m getting pretty sick of ramen noodles so I thought I’d give it a shot.

I’m a college graduate, and I would tell you which college I graduated from except it wasn’t an ivy so you probably don’t care. I have held a respectable number of internships and other career-related positions, and I have undertaken soul-enriching travel to foreign countries that I occasionally bring up to help me make a point, but not in an obnoxious way. I also have real, paid work experience in a position that taught me important skills about professionalism and how to laugh when your boss tells the same stupid joke for the fifth time. I eventually quit (that’s why I’m writing to you!) when it became clear that I was never going to get a promotion no matter how well I did my job. You may see this as a sign of flakiness or disloyalty, but I’d prefer it if you thought of me as someone who is willing to take risks to get what she wants.

Oh, yeah, she. Did I mention I’m a woman? But before you write me off, know that I am reasonably attractive, sometimes bring delicious baked goods to the office, and I will play along with your awkward flirting as long as you don’t actually touch me. Also, I like beer and fast cars so I can totally be “one of the guys” if that’s the type of female employee you are looking for.

I have all the fake skills you say I need for this entry-level job (seriously, I can’t believe you listed Power Point as a required skill. It’s 2014; eight-year-olds know how to use Power Point). I can speak French, which is completely irrelevant but might impress you, and perhaps more to the point, I am capable of writing business e-mails without any embarrassing typos or inappropriate emoticons.

Let’s be honest. It doesn’t really matter who you hire for this position. A poorly trained monkey could do it. I know you want someone who has always been passionate about writing the monthly financial reports for a paperclip company, and you may even find an applicant who can convince you that they are that person. But as far as I’m concerned, a passion for being able to pay the rent is at least as motivating, and I’ve got that in spades.

Call me when your first choice declines,


Annie is a guest contributor who enjoys baking at four in the morning, eating foods without enough iron and making irrational decisions after drinking tequila (hence, our bond as cousins). She lives in Brooklyn, New York at present with her two roommates: a successful, super cute shoe addict, and a determined mouse who resides in the shower drain. 

The Long Bus Ride

I stand in line for the Megabus… I’ve done this too many times. Not even splurging for the train. Headed to the city of cities for a very chilly New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

I stand with my friends. Or, what I’ve conjectured in my head as my friends. A family originating from some Spanish-speaking country that asks me if they’re in the right line. Everyone has the same question. The older son has a Targus backpack just like mine, and I desperately want to ask where he bought his. Then I think to myself that maybe Targus is the JanSport of South America and that would sound so naive to ask him just so I could say that I bought mine in Miraflores.

On the bus there’s an extraordinarily pretty girl that allows me to try out her above-the-seat outlet only to find that they ALL DON’T WORK. Her wild curly hair and young-Eartha Kitt face makes me think that all people in New York City must be effortlessly beautiful and impossibly trendy.

There’s a group of friends communicating through sign language, which leads me to a train of thought about what interrupting someone looks like in sign language.

Everyone is going somewhere. Doing something – just by being on this bus and en route.

What does being en route mean? Is it just anticipating the next thing…

I think it’s the slightly reckless feeling of not knowing exactly what’s going to happen next.

I always want to know where people are going. What they’re doing. Who’s important to them? Do they try as hard to please their parents, to live up to what they’re supposed to amount to?

I am en route. We are all en route.