Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Few Things



Evening, all. How was your long weekend? Mine was full, but full of really fun and inspiring things. Here are few links I curated for you to peruse on your lunch break (or, more likely, to use as an aid in your procrastination).

→ If you didn't get a chance to on Monday, make sure you make time to read through Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". The part that really stuck with me: "I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice... Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating to me than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

→ Did you catch President Obama's farewell address? What about the surprise ceremony to award Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom? I guess what I'm really asking here is how much did you cry last week?

→ One more: Transcript of an interview with Obama about books, what they mean to him, and why they're important.

→ I've been seeing a therapist since April, but I decided that my session on Friday night would be my last (and wept like a child when we said goodbye). I'm in a good place, but would not be here now had it not been for therapy–and I don't know if I would have found my therapist had it not been for the advice I received from Nicole. If you've ever considered therapy, but have no idea where to start, read her post on how to find a therapist.

One of my favorites heard on Sunday night at Austin Writers Resist at BookPeople.

→ This Saturday I'm participating in the Women's March on Austin in solidarity with the march in Washington and others across the world. I don't know if "excited" is the right word to describe my feelings leading up to Saturday. Perhaps "energized" is more appropriate. Will I see you there?

→ To end on a lighter note: More Reasonable New Year's Resolutions for 2017.

-Maggie

Monday, January 9, 2017

January Goals



The last time I participated in Nicole's link-up was... October. Maybe I should just start doing quarterly goals rather than monthly because that's how good my consistency has been. Nevertheless, I am here to try again! Let's recap October's before we move into what I'm hoping for January.

01. DRINK (AT LEAST) ONE LITER OF WATER EVERY DAY | I did this! In October, at least. After that, I promptly forgot about it, but I know I have been better about drinking water... just maybe not one liter every day. Work in progress!

02. GO TO ONE EARLY MORNING WORKOUT | I did it! It was so hard to drag myself out of bed and I'm definitely thankful it's not something I'll have to do every week, but dammit I did it!

Two for two! I'm looking to push myself a little more in January and set a few more goals. Hopefully I will have the same success!

01. APPLY FOR MY PASSPORT (ASAP!)
I'm hoping to visit Vancouver in March, which would be my first trip out of the country! I know I should've had my passport taken care of a couple of months ago, but I didn't know that I was (possibly, hopefully) going to Vancouver a couple of months ago. I'm probably going to have to pay the extra $60 to expedite the process, but it'll be worth it, right?

02. STUDY FOR THE GRE FOR ONE HOUR, THREE TIMES A WEEK
I signed up to take the GRE on February 18th, which will be here before I know (or am ready for) it. I know if I don't set aside a minimum amount of time that I will either forget completely or put it off and try to cram the night before (which you obviously can't do with the GRE). Wish me luck!

03. FINALLY GET MY BOOTS FIXED
Once upon a time, I found the perfect pair of vintage cognac leather ankle boots at Room Service Vintage that were cheap and in my size, and I promptly scooped them up. Then, only a few days later, I nearly fell to my death when the heel came off the right boot while I was walking down the stairs at my grandparents' house. I've been meaning to get them fixed for awhile now... and a few days ago I realized that "awhile" is actually four years. That's right–that happened four years ago.

04. POWER DOWN BY 10:30 EVERY NIGHT
I'm a notorious night owl, so a few days off with no obligations can easily throw off my sleep schedule. I feel like I'm still catching up from the holidays, and I'm still struggling to get to bed early. I know a large part of the problem is my phone and TV habits, so I'm going to work on "powering down" by 10:30 every night so I can get some sleep.

What are your January goals? Don't forget to link-up over at writes like a girl!

-Maggie 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016

I'm just going to say again what most everyone else has about this year–it [expletive] sucked. Between the election and the horrendous shootings and Aleppo and the beloved celebrity deaths and Brexit and literally everything else, it was just awful. The entire year felt like the flashback portion of some dystopian story–like what George Orwell imagined 1983 to be.

It was a rough year for me personally, too. I went through a really hard break-up, my grandfather passed away and my grandmother's health has been poor, half of my parents' house was destroyed due to negligent contractors, and more that I can't really mention here. I swear I'm not trying to complain (or depress everyone); I'm just trying to be real with you. If I was to average out 2016, it was mostly tough times.

But here I am, on the last day of the year.

This year may have been the hardest of my life, but there were so many good times despite that. I sat down with my journal last night and wrote out every good thing about 2016, and I was so happy (and, frankly, surprised) to find that it took up five whole pages. There is so much good in my life, and that's what this blog is really about. Below is a hodgepodge of the good stuff, so prepare yourself for some serious rambling.



I ventured out of Texas twice this year–once on a road trip to California and then for a weekend in Boise. In state, I vacationed in San Antonio with my family, took a day trip to Houston to see an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts (and drink the best mimosas ever), and visited Lubbock as often as I could. On a couple of those Lubbock trips, I was able to spend time with my best friend Kiera and her new baby, Andrew, who is very cute and squishy.

Natalie and Dillon stayed with me for a week in March, and we ate a ton of tacos, got tattoos, went kayaking, and danced all night at Barbarella. Natalie visited Austin again with her boyfriend Mikey on their epic #nikeygoeswest road trip in the summer, and Kaylie and Ted stopped for a night on their way back to Portland in the fall.


For my birthday in April, Melany decorated the apartment (complete with Tim Lincecum napkins), and my roommates gave me the only thing I really wanted for my birthday: Drunk Kyle. As a late birthday treat to myself, I got my pictures taken by Chelsea who is as talented as she is sweet. I also started going to therapy in April, and it was the best decision I've ever made. (Shoutout to Alicia, the real MVP of 2016.)

I registered to vote for the first time and was so proud to cast my ballots in the primary and general elections. I celebrated all of my LGBTQIA friends at my first pride parade. I volunteered at the Texas Book Festival, and it was such a cool experience. I can't wait to do it again next year.

I dressed up as super-'90s-civil-rights-activist Hermione for the midnight release of The Cursed Child at BookPeople and handed books out to hundreds of excited kids and adults. (Even though I only get to work at BookPeople one night a week, it's still the coolest thing I get to do.) My book club continued, and we've grown so close over the year. I'm so happy to call them my friends.

I went to a ton of concerts–Vance Joy, The Front Bottoms, The Temper Trap (so good), Mat Kearney, Quiet Company (twice), and The Lumineers (transcendent) to name a few. I caught a few old movies at the Paramount during their Summer Classic Film Series, and saw A Little Night Music and Baskerville at the Austin Playhouse. I also read a lot, of course, and my favorites of the year include Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, Big Girl by Kelsey Miller, and Lust & Wonder by Augusten Burroughs.

My roommates and I dressed up as the Spice Girls for Halloween and hosted the 2nd Annual Friendsgiving at our apartment. Melany, KaCee, and Kyle (and Gretel) make everyday life so ridiculous and fun, and living with them is my most favorite thing. When I was home for Christmas, I spent some quality time with my little brother, marathoned Christmas episodes of The Simpsons with my dad, and talked with my mom over coffee and pie.



I'm hopeful for 2017. I already have so many plans. Melany, Britny, and I are going to see Mamma Mia! at the end of January, and I already know what my first concert of the year is going to be (hint: it's Quiet Company). I signed up to (finally) take the GRE in February and will be applying to graduate schools in the next few months. I already have three trips planned and will hopefully be traveling out of the U.S. for the first time (hey, Canada!) come March.

Most importantly, I still have my people, my city, and too many books to read. Happy New Year, everyone.

-Maggie

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

D-Dad Extraordinaire


Today would have been my dear D-Dad's 85th birthday, so in light of that I wanted to share what I wrote for his service at the beginning of October.
If you are here today, you probably knew my grandfather and therefore already know the many wonderful qualities he possessed. I could list them out again–because it could never be said enough what a great man he was–but in lieu of repetition, I would like to share a few fond memories of my D-Dad.

I live in Austin now, but I was lucky enough to live with my grandparents while I attended Texas Tech, and they were the best roommates I've ever had. They helped me through a rough time in my life and loved me when I was particularly unloveable. There was one night (of many nights) that I was up late working on a paper at the kitchen table when D-Dad walked in. It was around 3:30 AM, but rather than scold me for being up so late, he immediately went about making each of us a cup of hot chocolate and sat and talked with me for a little while.

We spent many evenings eating Dairy Queen burgers and watching Wheel of Fortune and seeing who could win between the two of us. I would be ahead throughout the entire game, but on the last puzzle–that would be, like, ten letters long and somehow only have one vowel in it–D-Dad would immediately guess it and he would win. Every single stinking time.

There was another night that we accidentally stayed up until 2 AM watching The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, his favorite movie, and yet another night sitting at the kitchen table talking about what all his kids and grandkids were like when they were younger. It was at the end of that conversation that he said, "You kids don't realize it, but the biggest blessing of all is your grandmother. She is a marvelous woman. I thank God every day for her."

He's not wrong. "Marvelous" is the best word to describe our Denny. But I don't think that D-Dad realized that he was just as wonderful as Denny. You and Denny both are the biggest and best blessings we have ever received. We were so fortunate to love and be loved by you.

I love you, I miss you, and I promise to be careful driving back to Austin.
I wrote that quickly, late the night before the service. I wish that I would've had more time to make it perfect, to list off all of the wonderful and funny things he said and did, but I'd probably still be writing if I'd tried that.

During the service, a pastor at his church spoke about the last time he'd visited D-Dad before he passed. "You would go there to be a blessing and he'd out-bless you," he said, which is my favorite description of D-Dad to date. He was a good man and a great D-Dad.

-Maggie

Monday, December 26, 2016

Boise Baes



Hey, guys! How was your Christmas? I've been off work and home for a few days, so the break has been nice. I've had a little bit of time to finish a few things I've been working on like revamping my blog (let me know what you think!) and writing this post that I've been meaning to get to for over a month.

At the beginning of November, I traveled to Boise, Idaho, to spend a long weekend with a few of my blogger buds. The trip fell two days after the election, and I was so thankful to get away from real life after such a stressful and upsetting few months.

Boise was so fun to explore–and it was Really Fall there (unlike Fake Fall in Austin), so I was loving the cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, and the fact that I could comfortably wear my peacoat for once. We rented a cute little Airbnb, which Maggie almost immediately lost the keys to, and ate a lot of really good food and had so many cheap drinks (so cheap!). One day we hiked to a waterfall, and the next day three-fourths of us got a tattoo. We went dancing twice, temporarily lost Dillon, and found out that Shelby is a great wingman. Best of all, we had a lot of great conversations and laughed loudly.

I'm incredibly fortunate for a slew of reasons that I hope I never take for granted. The fact that I'm not only able travel, but travel with and to some of my best friends is one of the best parts of my life. My weekend in Boise was so fun, and I can't wait for the next adventure.

-Maggie

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