Saturday, May 19, 2018

6 Before 27



On every birthday since 2012, I've made a list of goals I want to accomplish before my next birthday, starting with 20 Before 21 and going up each year. But I've always been really bad at completing these lists. It's not only because there were so many goals to begin with, but I had to come up with more every year and ended up filling lists with goals that were either unrealistic or not that important to me.

I wasn't going to make a list this year, but then I realized that, well, I really wanted to, but also there's not a rule that says I have to set 26 goals. I'm going to cut down the number so I can focus on a few things I really want to do. So, without further ado and even though my birthday was over a month ago, here are six goals I hope to accomplish before my 27th birthday.

01. READ 30 NEW BOOKS.
I got so close this past year! So close! I always set my goal for thirty and can never seem to crack it, but this year it's going to happen.

02. MAKE IT TO 100 CHECK-INS AT CAMP GLADIATOR.
Last year, I set a goal to go to Camp Gladiator twice a week, which was optimistic, to say the least. I thought it might be easier to set a goal I could actively work towards, so I'm shooting for 100 check-ins. With where I'm at now, that averages out to just one workout a week, which is totally doable!

03. PAY OFF MY CAR.
I was hoping to pay off my car last year, but soon after I set the goal I ended up having to pay for $1500 worth of work–so let's hope that doesn't happen again! If I'm able to put a little extra towards the principal each month, I should be able to pay it off by next April!

04. OPEN A ROTH IRA.
I contribute to my 401k through my job at the credit union (and just increased my contribution from 6% to 8%–you should do this too! You won't even notice the difference in your paycheck!), but I want to start contributing to a Roth IRA as well.

05. TAKE A TRIP SOMEWHERE NEW.
This past week I devised a plan to maybe hopefully visit Washington D.C. and Philadelphia in September! It's still very tentative, but I'm already planning all the museums and bookstores I want to go to, so cross your fingers for me.

06. GET ANOTHER TATTOO.
I've known for awhile now that I want to get a floral tattoo inspired by a needlepoint my grandmother made, but I've had trouble finding an artist whose style I liked (who wasn't in Australia). I think I've finally found the right person, but if you have any recommendations for Texas tattoo artists specializing in florals, let me know!

-Maggie

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2017

True to form, I'm more than two weeks late with my yearly recap post (take comfort in the fact that some things never really change), but I was bound and determined to finish this damn post, so let's get to it.

The year before last was a really tough year for me personally, so I went into 2017 with a "something's gotta give" sort of mentality and, well, it was... something. Somehow, things in 2017 were both better and worse than 2016. I'm not going to expound on the worse things because, honestly, I'm tired of thinking about them (and I'm sure you're tired of hearing about them, too).

So here are the better things, the bright spots from my 2017, in no particular order and in bullet points and pictures because you deserve a break.


• I marched for equality with some of my best friends and thousands of other people in Austin and millions more across the world.

• I caught a couple of plays at the Austin Playhouse and saw four musicals—Mamma Mia!, Kinky Boots (on Broadway with Brendon Urie!), Fun Home, and Rent. All of them made me want to cry.

• My roommates and I moved out of our apartment and into a very cute house.

• I finally watched Parks & Rec and discovered I am the worst combination of Leslie Knope and Chris Traeger. (Melany, my faithful friend: "I wouldn't say the worst combination... Both of them are passionate people and can be... a lot sometimes, but Leslie went on to be president!")


• Natalie, Dillon, and I spent a super fun week in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. (#ohsayVANyouSEA), which was my first time outside of the U.S. I loved Vancouver and hope to go back sooner rather than later.

• My book club moved to BookPeople, read eleven new books, and consumed a lot of cheese and wine.

• There were a ton of great BookPeople events that I either worked and attended, including but not limited to Zadie Smith, Joy Wilson (a.k.a. Joy the Baker), Lemony Snicket, Samantha Irby, John Darnielle, and Chelsea Clinton (again).

• My friend Rachel invited me to see John Mulaney in San Antonio, and I laughed so hard my head hurt.

• I hung out with Tom Hanks while he signed 1100 books at the Texas Book Festival. He was absolutely lovely and exactly what you imagine him to be. We share an inside joke about tacos and he called me "Mags," so we're best friends now.


• After years of putting it off, I took the GRE (twice) and applied for graduate school. It's still a work in progress, but dammit at least I finally started.

• For my birthday, my best friends and I spent a weekend exploring New Orleans. I'm hoping to go back at some point this year because we barely scratched the surface of that super cool city.

• In October, I watched the Astros win the World Series with my BFF and ultimate Astros' fan Christina and dressed up as Lizzie McGuire for Halloween.

• I stood next to Hillary Clinton for three and a half hours while she signed books and gave people high fives. At one point, someone said the words "Maggie, we have to go upstairs to get briefed by Secret Service" to me. It was a weird day.


• My high school friend Mary visited from Portland with her two little girls, Whimsy and Glory. We babysat one afternoon and took them for their first ever sno cones. They were big fans.

• We hosted the third annual Friendsgiving and everyone really liked my mashed potatoes.

• My roommates and I went to a trampoline park for Kyle's 30th birthday where I hurt my knee and almost drowned in a foam pit.

• Melany and I met a few of my favorite bloggers in New York City (#bfgtnyc) where we explored, ate a ton of good food, got very little sleep, and walked so many miles.

• I got to see a few of my favorite bands again, including Quiet Company (of course), Two Door Cinema Club, and Les Hay Babies. I wore my red cowboy boots for the first time (thanks, Emmy) to the Les Hay Babies show and three different people asked if I was in the band.


• I downloaded Tinder only to almost immediately delete it again, like, five different times—but the sixth time I downloaded it, I met a very surprising boy. (Hi, Dylan.) He's so sweet, thoughtful, and silly, and has me feeling both terrified and excited... but definitely more excited.

• I drank some bourbon and sang karaoke for the first time by myself at the BookPeople holiday party. ("Aaron's Party (Come Get It)" by Aaron Carter, in case you were wondering.)

• Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent with my mom and siblings (and Uncle Kim for Thanksgiving) in Albany where I watched a lot of movies and pretty much didn't ever leave my house or change out of my pajamas.

• Also, it SNOWED TWICE in AUSTIN a few weeks ago. SNOW! IN AUSTIN! (Also, Austin was cancelled today due to an ice storm (which is why I'm home now and able to finally finish this post), so this winter has been a little crazy as a whole.)


I know I said this last year, but I'm hopeful for 2018. Yes, in ways 2017 was both better and worse than 2016, but I think it was mostly better. For me, at least. The first few weeks of the new year have been really good to me, and I'm hopeful the trend will continue.

-Maggie

Monday, December 25, 2017

My Favorite Reads of 2017



I love being home for the holidays for the obvious reasons, but also because my family and I never have any plans. We stay home and in our pajamas, watching movies, eating food, and taking naps. It's a few days of much needed rest, and it gives me a little time to read as well.

I'm sadly not going to finish my Goodreads reading challenge, but I did better this year than last and I read a lot of great books. I'm still trying to finish a couple more before the new year, but I wanted to go ahead and share a few of my favorites from 2017 (in no particular order).

Shrill by Lindy West
This memoir made me laugh and cry, which is the best kind of memoir, in my opinion. Lindy West writes about growing to accept herself and her body and fighting to be heard and respected both as a woman and a fat person, and she does it so well.

Us by David Nicholls
I read One Day a few years ago and it quickly became one of my all-time favorite books, so I was a little nervous to read another of David Nicholls's novels, but Us did not disappoint. It has the same heart and wit as One Day, but it's a totally different book with strong and endearing characters that stand on their own.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. by Samantha Irby
You know the phrase "bust a gut"? Pretty sure it was coined in reference to this book. I had to stop, like, every other page to read sections (or entire chapters) to Melany because it was just too good to keep to myself.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
I'm so proud of John Green, guys. This is his first novel in six years, and it's far and away his best. It's a bestseller and has made all of the end-of-year lists and, dammit, it really does deserve it. Please read it so we can talk about it.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Technically, I didn't read this book as I borrowed the audiobook from Melany, but I maintain that that's the only way to take in Yes Please. Amy Poehler (as well her friends and family who "guest star" on the audiobook) is hilarious and a really wonderful writer. This one is really fun, guys.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This gorgeous novel starts with two half-sisters in 18th century Ghana and follows, not two storylines, but two bloodlines throughout the years. Even though you really only get to know each character for one chapter, Gyasi manages to flesh them out and bring each of them to life.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson*
Aside from the few authors I already know I love (like John Green), I don't really read a lot of YA anymore, but I'd heard a ton (a literal ton) of great things about this book—and everyone was right. It follows a set of twins at different times in their lives, each with half of the story, and it's passionate and beautiful and so filling.

Have you read any of these? If you have, hit me up so we can talk about them, please. Otherwise, let me know what your favorite reads of the year are!

-Maggie

* Not pictured because I borrowed it from the library. (Support your local library and your local independent bookstore!)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Me Too.

When I lived in Lubbock, I worked at a grocery store and part of my job was running the service desk. This mostly consisted of cashing payroll checks, selling money orders, processing bill payments, and answering the phone, which rang at least once every fifteen minutes or so.

When I picked up the phone, my greeting was always the same, slightly harried and all in one breath. ThankyouforcallingUnitedthisisMaggiehowcanIhelpyou? Most of the time, people called to check that we had a certain brand of beer or to order a birthday cake or something forgettable like that, and I would quickly transfer them to the appropriate department and move on to another task.

One slow night, I was sweeping when the phone rang and I answered, same as usual. He asked a question—I don't remember what. Maybe what time we closed or something routine like that, so I gave him a routine answer. He thanked me. I was about to hang up the phone when he started to say something else.

"Oh, and Maggie," he paused, "do you have a tight pussy?"

I slammed the phone down and stared open-mouthed at the receiver, my brain working to process what had just happened. I was in disbelief—for about ten seconds, and then I was livid. I was visibly shaking. The question played over and over in my head and I could hear the smirk in his voice. He thought he was funny.

When I told a few of my supervisors what had happened, they only stifled their laughter once they saw how angry I was.

---

A couple of years before I moved to Austin, I was visiting Melany for the weekend and we decided to go dancing. It was a good night. I was so happy to be in my city and away from the stress of school, drinking and dancing to all of my favorite songs. This was pre-ridesharing, so when we felt too tipsy to drive home, we decided to walk a few blocks to a restaurant to get something to eat.

The restaurant was much farther away than we thought, but it was a nice night and we didn't mind walking. We made friends with drunk strangers and walked and laughed alongside them for a few blocks until they reached their apartment and we waved our goodbyes. Soon after that, a pedicab drove up and asked if we wanted a ride, but we brushed him off. We were nearly there by that point.

One block after the pedicab and about two blocks from the restaurant, I collapsed dramatically on a bench and complained about how long it was taking. Melany sat down next to me and was in the middle of apologizing for the miscalculation when a man walked around the far corner of the building we were sitting in front of.

Without saying anything to each other, we both immediately stood up and started walking again. He was short, probably shorter than Melany, but he was lean and muscular and wasn't wearing a shirt and was walking purposefully towards us. He was mad—mad at women because they wouldn't have sex with him and mad at us because we were women.

"Why can't I get any pussy?" he said, over and over as he followed us. We tried to shake him off and asked him to leave us alone, please just leave us alone, please.

I dialed 911 on my phone, my finger hovering over the call button, but I didn't press it because what if? What if he heard me calling and freaked out? We could have run, but what if he chased us? What if we couldn't make it to the restaurant? What if he did something to Melany?

If he does anything to Melany, I'll kill him, I thought.

It was less than five minutes, but felt like hours before we crossed the last street and reached the restaurant. An employee was sweeping the sidewalk outside and I ran up to him.

"This guy won't leave us alone," I said. Without a word he ushered me inside and Melany followed. Then the employee stood in front of the door and refused to let him in. The employee repeatedly told him to leave, but he stood there, glaring at us through the window. It was a few minutes before he finally walked off.

Melany and I sat down and held hands across the small table while we silently cried into our milkshakes.

---

I was out dancing with my best friends one night when we met a couple of guys at the bar. I started talking with the tall, cute brunette and we had a few drinks before moving to the dance floor where, eventually, we started kissing.

It was crowded that night, a Friday at the end of SXSW, so bodies were pressed against me at all times. I was sweaty and drunk and I'm not going to lie—it was fun. I was having so much fun dancing and singing along to '80s music and kissing a cute boy.

At one point, through the haze, I realized there was one too many hands touching my body. It happened so fast. The extra hand was on my ass and moving down, then up and under my dress and inside my underwear. It registered enough to slap the hand away, but not enough to stop dancing. Not enough to turn around and see who the hell had touched me.

It wasn't until the next day talking with Melany that I remembered. I told her, but laughed it off. I was drunk, I thought. I was drunk and making out with someone in the middle of the dance floor. I shouldn't have done that.

I felt stupid and embarrassed, like I did the night that man followed Melany and me. We shouldn't have been walking downtown alone at night and I shouldn't have been kissing a guy and I shouldn't have gotten so worked up about that guy that called the store and on and on.

But here's something I've learned in the last few years: he shouldn't have done that. He shouldn't have followed us, and he shouldn't have harassed us, and he shouldn't have said that to me, and he shouldn't have touched me.

I didn't do anything wrong.

-Maggie

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Three Years


Three years ago today, my mom, our friend Keren, and I towed a trailer weighted down with all of my furniture (and books) to Austin. After years of waiting, months of planning, and about fifteen nerve-racking minutes maneuvering the trailer in the too-small apartment parking lot, Austin was finally, officially my home.

So much has happened in the last three years. I moved from that first apartment to another apartment to a house. I started two jobs (that I still have). I fell in love for the first time and went through my first real, gut-wrenching heartbreak. I met new people and made new friends. I lost both of my grandparents. I went to about twenty concerts. I traveled so many places, new and familiar—but I always came back home to Austin.

I feel so fortunate to call Austin home, to live in a city that feels like it's mine. There have been ups and downs in my life, but my city and the way it makes me feel has remained constant. I'm so thankful for the life that I've built here, all that I've experienced, and all the people I've met. I can't wait to see what else this beautiful city has for me.

Here's to you, Austin. You're constantly changing, but somehow always stay the same.

I love you so much.

-Maggie

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