Saturday, January 10, 2015

2014

A few days ago, I decided that I wouldn't post a recap of 2014, mainly because we are already a week into 2015 and it seemed silly by this point. (2014 was so last year, right?) But after having plans cancelled today on account of freezing rain, I needed a little pick-me-up, and reminiscing on all the good last year brought seemed as good a way as any. Besides, too much happened last year for me to simply let it go without comment. It was a really big year. I think it defies the 365 day boundary that's imposed.

It was a year of change for me–a lot of change. I feel like I should feel a little off-balance, a little dizzy from everything that has happened, but I'm not. I don't know that I've ever felt more here. You know what I mean? I've never felt more aware of my life–everything that has happened, is happening, will happen. There's so much I can do! So many directions my life could take! I'm excited and nervous for all it.

I'm getting ahead of myself though. Let's talk 2014.



In January, I moved into a house with my dear cousin Julia. Our schedules were opposite roughly 92% of the time, but every once in awhile we'd be home at the same time. We'd eat dinner together, vent about our days, or maybe watch a movie. Sometimes we'd make runs to Taco Villa or United in search of the best sugar cookies. It was always fun, and I really wish our time as roommates could have been longer.

The months leading up to my graduation were generally hectic, stressful, and all around exhausting, but it wasn't all bad. I dyed my hair for the first time. On Valentine's Day, Melany, Britny, and I saw Craig Ferguson live and spent the rest of the night dancing at Barbarella. Over spring break, I got to see Mary and meet Whimsy for the first time. Sometime in March, my favorite show ended.

May (finally) rolled around and I graduated with my bachelor's degree. I may have come out bruised and battered (mentally, emotionally, physically) but dammit I did it. It was really difficult for me and I wasn't a star student by any means, but the doing it is reason enough to be proud. I saw it through, toughed it out. I'm very happy I did.

The summer was filled with a lot of trips. Melany and I drove to Arkansas for Shelby and Sam's wedding. After that, I spent a week in Austin as a way to detoxify, to finally rid myself of the stress and anxiety left over from my last few weeks of school. (It was also the week I got my second tattoo.) In July, I drove to Colorado to spend a weekend with Shelby and Dillon, and it was really, really great. In August, I saw Fall Out Boy (again) and Paramore in concert.



All of September and most of October was spent applying for jobs, packing, and saying my goodbyes to Lubbock. (Oh, and I saw Paul freaking McCartney in concert.) Those last two months in Lubbock flew by, and even though I was excited for my move to Austin, everything was going a little too quickly for my liking. It was hard to leave and I miss my friends and family there all the time, but I'm very happy to be in Austin. I love this city, and I have hoped and wished to live here since my eighteenth birthday. Getting to share an apartment with my best friend makes it even better.

After the move, Melany and I went as Wayne and Garth for Halloween. I started my first full-time job, and (thankfully) have really been enjoying it and the people I work with. I was fortunate enough to go home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and both were wonderful. Then on New Year's Eve I rang in 2015 at 9:00 PM with KaCee and Kyle since they had to work early the next morning, and afterwards Melany and I went to Barbarella for the real thing.

So that's 2014 is a nutshell (a very large nutshell). Overall, it was a great year, and I hope that 2015 follows its lead. Over 300 days of the unknown lay before us. It's pretty daunting, right? We've just got to keep moving forward though. It's not like we really have a choice, but don't be scared! We did the same thing last year.

-Maggie

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy Monday

There are some songs that just make you smile, some that make you dance, and some that you can't help but scream along to. Here are examples of each.







I hope these help to shake off your Monday blues. You may not feel like it when you wake up in the morning, but dancing is allowed on Mondays (and Tuesdays! All the days, actually). It's not regulated. We're not living in that town from Footloose.

-Maggie

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time


How was everyone's Christmas? Mine was really, really great. Maybe one of the best Christmases ever. I was able to go home for a few days to spend time with my family. Despite my parents still having some shopping to do on Christmas Eve, everything was very relaxed. Everyone was in a good mood (very little squabbling, which is a Christmas miracle all its own) and we spent the days watching our favorite Christmas movies, exchanging gifts, and taking naps.

Christmas is far and away my favorite holiday. Really, it's one of my top five favorite things in life (below Harry Potter, above pajamas). There's just something about it, you know? The music, the twinkling lights, a buzz of anticipation everywhere you go. There's a camaraderie of sorts among strangers. Sure, gift-shopping can get a little hairy, but in general people are good to each other at Christmastime. Everyone shares in the joy and excitement. It's the closest we get to real magic, if you ask me.


At Austin's Trail of Lights in Zilker Park, there is a giant Christmas tree made of lights strung from the top of a moon tower. For some reason, when standing beneath this tree, everyone has a sudden urge to spin around–literally everyone. There were children on their parents' shoulders, elderly couples laughing, middle-aged men spinning as fast as they could. Each person anchored themselves to another, threw their heads back, and spun until they became too dizzy (or fell), cheered on by strangers and friends.

Moments like these–these "love actually is all around" kind of moments–are what help me to remember that, despite how bad things can seem, people are mostly good. Life is mostly good.

I hope you had a very merry Christmas. Here's to the new year!

-Maggie

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lately


I've lived in Austin for over a month now. There are still empty boxes stacked on our balcony and Melany still hasn't unpacked her room, but our Christmas tree has been up since the third week of November. That's all that really matters anyway.

I started my new job as a teller at a credit union right after I got to Austin, and when I say "right after," I mean I moved on a Friday and started training Monday. So yeah, there wasn't a lot of time for settling in, but it's turned out all right so far. At times I get very frustrated with the learning curve, but this would be the case at any new job. Luckily, my coworkers have been nothing but helpful and patient. Also, we have trivia every Friday morning, and I totally kicked ass last time. (That's what they get for having Harry Potter trivia.)

Lately, I have become very aware of how I spend my time. This probably has something to do with having a full-time job for the first time, which means a set schedule and less free time. In the short time that Melany and I have lived together, we have already managed to fall into a weekday routine. After work, we make dinner, sit in our pink chairs, and watch a few episodes of whatever show we're watching (right now, it's Psych). Sometimes we play cards or work on our computers, but that's usually about it.

There's not anything particularly wrong with this. In fact, I really enjoy it and could happily continue with this routine. It's such a nice way to wind down after work. But the thing is I don't want to wait for Fridays. I don't want to be someone who is living for the weekend, you know? It's so easy to get stuck, and I don't want to get too comfortable. I don't want to become content.

So I'm doing my best to live deliberately and all that. There are so many things I want to do and so many things before me. I'm living in a wonderful city with my wonderful friends, and I hope I never get used to that.

-Maggie

Friday, November 28, 2014

Read These


Dry by Augusten Burroughs
Augusten Burroughs has been one of my favorite authors for years. I was first introduced to his work through the film adaption of his memoir Running With Scissors, which I saw in theaters my freshman year of high school. Since then, I have collected and read most of his books, but I only just recently finished reading his second memoir Dry.

Dry details Burroughs's struggle with alcoholism. His coworkers' "request" that he seek help, his stint in rehab in Minnesota, and afterwards when he returns to live his old life in Manhattan–only this time, without alcohol. The writing is, as always, brutal and hilarious. It's a story of trial and error, of struggle and growth, but also of love. I'd say this is less a novel and more a very long, convoluted love letter to his friend Pighead (as he's affectionately known). It has taken a place among my very favorite books.


Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
If you're like me, Target is a very dangerous place. I always end up leaving with an armful of things I don't really need, but did really want. Tell the Wolves I'm Home was one of those things I didn't need, but I am so glad I picked it up. The story is deeply moving, about love, loss, and the need for understanding.

June Elbus is a fourteen-year-old girl growing up in the late 1980's, obsessed with the Middle Ages, and understood by no one except for her beloved Uncle Finn who is sick with a disease no one likes to talk about. When Finn dies, she can't imagine that anyone misses him as much as she does. That is until she meets Toby, a man her parents blame for Finn's death.


You might have noticed a common theme here (and with two of the last books I blogged about as well). Whenever I'm choosing what book I'm going to read next, the choice is almost always influenced by what I've just finished reading. Sometimes this leads me to read several funny, love stories in a row or a couple of fantasy novels. Or, you know, five books that deal heavily with death and coping with loss (specifically AIDS in three of the five).

I don't ever do this on purpose. It just happens sometimes, but it's always nice when it does. I love to see how different authors handle the same themes, and the differences between memoirs and novels. If this isn't something that you do (knowingly or not), you should give it a try.

-Maggie
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