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Monthly Archives: November 2015

Growing Up

I literally wrapped my arms around my fridge the other week after it made a sound I would describe as a “death rattle” and begged it to hold on until I could either save up enough money to fix it, or find a full-time job.

Sweat and Candy Apples

I was a freshman in high school when my mom lost her mind. By that time, my mom and dad no longer called each other “honey.” Due to a shortage of money, we’d downsized to an apartment, meaning my dad no longer smelled of lawn mowing.

Of Lice and Men

I am not thankful for lice. And I never will be. But I am thankful for men. For a certain man in particular. You will see why.

Ancestry

This year’s paprikash dinner was Shakespearean—brutal in its unintentional comedy and not without its tragedy.

Thanksgiving at the Center of the World

It was a most unusual Thanksgiving. En route to the Cape, we received rock-climbing advice from a naked, seventy-year-old fisherman, who helped us navigate the ragged crags leading up to the point.

Life on the Day Before Thanksgiving

But gratitude isn’t meant to be reserved for one day—and certainly not a panic-filled moment after Thanksgiving dinner. Because the day before Thanksgiving is where we spend our lives. Let’s live today with tomorrow in mind.

Spoiler Alert: RE Santa and Absolute Truth

Spoiler Alert: RE Santa and Absolute Truth

by | Nov 24, 2015

This was a truly significant moment in my life, and there is a reason that I still remember Chris’s grinning, red-rouged cheeks and Haley’s big, brown dismayed eyes beneath her adorable nineties bob. It was the first moment in my life where the right thing to do was also wrong.

The First on the Fifth

The First on the Fifth

“You could argue that,” my professor responded, “but where’s the line between saying something hateful, and saying something offensive? I think that line exists, but you have to define it.”

Weep for the World

Weep for the World

Weep for the world. Weep for the broken hearted, the half hearted, the heartless and the two hearted murderers. Weep for liberty. Weep for fraternity. Weep for the encyclopedia of troubled souls.

Phoenix falling: Department of Justice continues cracking down on for-profit educators

Phoenix falling: Department of Justice continues cracking down on for-profit educators

The $95.5 million settlement is the largest ever in a higher education false claims case. EDMC will also forgive a total of $102.8 million in loans to over 80,000 students who attended its schools, which include Argosy University, the Art Institutes, Brown Mackie College, and South University, between 2006 and 2014.

Loosening My Religion

Loosening My Religion

As I opened my mouth, I realized I was about to put words to a trend I’d been observing in my faith life but that until this point had dozed cozily in my subconscious: “I don’t care as much as I used to, and I’m kind of fine with it.”

Happy Birthday, Mom

Happy Birthday, Mom

Now that I’m reasonably adult-ish, I’m not so hard on my mother. She still cries at all movies, and she still sings only harmonies, but I tend to stay in the room for these things now.

Why I’m Quitting Grad School and Majoring in NaNoWriMo

Why I’m Quitting Grad School and Majoring in NaNoWriMo

On bad days, I get worried not when the writing dries up but when it comes too easily, when it tumbles out onto the keyboard with a clatter like a hailstorm. Obviously, in those moments, something went wrong.

A2, Part 2

A2, Part 2

But this town won’t be mine for much longer. Rent payments have nearly wiped out my savings, so in about a month, I’ll be moving into my aunt and uncle’s farmhouse forty-five minutes away.

The Perfect Dinner

The Perfect Dinner

From the empire’s old favorites—Tafelspitz and Kaiserschmarrn—to the Würstlstand, present on every street corner, the sausage-vending culinary bastion of the drinking and working classes, the way to the Austrian identity goes through the taste buds and down into a satisfied, high-caloric stomach.

Against the Wind

Against the Wind

So I scoop the Cherry Pineapple Parfait, listen to Katy Perry, and wonder if any of my effort will ever make any difference or if I’ll always be as powerless and obsolete as a plastic bag drifting through the wind.

Dear One

Dear One

I am speaking of all my relationships, but I’m mostly speaking of love. It’s when I share something with someone I hope to love, or do love, that I’m left wondering if it has always been so dark here.

Kitchen Itch

Kitchen Itch

So how did we get here? The short answer: a bevy of resources and good old-fashioned guilt. We got married, and suddenly there was this room of pots and pans and spatulas and measuring cups and blenders and spice racks.

The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep

And that’s where it all started. Talking to myself, that is. And if you know me well, you might be surprised by this revelation. That’s because I’m sneaky about it.

How to Make Friends

How to Make Friends

It turns out that if friendship is based on common ground, it is literal ground shared that makes more of a difference than shared ideas. Friendship begins and ends with shared space.

Vital Signs

Vital Signs

I don’t know what it means to live a good life, or how I’m measuring it. I didn’t donate blood out of purely altruistic motivations—I’m a sucker for free snacks and affirmation. I have had a good life, an exciting life, and insofar as it depends on me, I’d like to keep that up. So something is enough for today.

Head of the Charles

Head of the Charles

For someone unfamiliar with competitive rowing, it looks like people rowing a boat down a river. For someone familiar with competitive rowing, I have to assume it also looks like people rowing a boat down a river.

Star Wars: The Disappointment Begins

Star Wars: The Disappointment Begins

I sincerely hope I am wrong. I hope this movie is amazing and blows my mind. But anything less than “mind-blowingly fantastic” just isn’t going to cut it for me.

Give

Give

The number one thing I’ve learned is we have to keep giving. Give a freshly sharpened pencil to the same student every damn day. Give another sheet of paper if it means the record and preservation of the original thought of a child.

PunchTrump Love

PunchTrump Love

I don’t know about Saudi Arabia. I’m not rich, either. I don’t lead an empire. I don’t have Kurt Cobain’s talent or Robin Williams’ fame or Donald Trump’s confidence. I’m just another guy. Another unexceptional guy. Every morning I shower with second-guesses. I brush my teeth with self-doubt. Half of my personality comes from insecurity. Maybe more. I’m not sure.

You Can Take the Girl Out of the Midwest, But…

You Can Take the Girl Out of the Midwest, But…

Somehow, though, moving to a place like NYC made me realize, perhaps for the first time, just how much there is to love about Middle America.

Landlubber

Landlubber

Another wave of nausea wrenches my stomach, and I cling to the horizon with my eyes, willing the North Island to come closer. I nervously check the lower deck to see if any hapless soul is below should I release my lunch.

The Real Thing

The Real Thing

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, however, is different. There’s a ritual to entering this cold, dry, protected space. Before going in, you have to lock up your backpack, purse, coat, pens, snacks, water bottle, binders, and folders.

Kindergarten Roundup

Kindergarten Roundup

“Daddy, when you and Mommy go to heaven, who will be our new Mommy and Daddy?” Just another dinner conversation. I stop mid-bite and look up to see him watching me curiously.

Beautiful and Ugly at the Same Time

Beautiful and Ugly at the Same Time

Yet ugliness and beauty frequently hold hands. I think of great literature, art, and music—there is dissonance in the sweetest melodies, conflict in the bravest plots.