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My Google Search History (Part 2)

Hello and welcome back to another episode of why does Kim never close any Internet windows?

In this post a little while back, I talked about my tendency to max out the number of search windows open on my phone. And now, almost six months later, to absolutely no one’s surprise, I’ve once again reached the cusp of capacity, even though after that first post I closed every single window.

So, since this habit shows no signs of slowing down, I thought it was about time I took another dive into the mind of past Kim. What has she been Googling lately?

Let’s find out:

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1) USA vs. Russia: Miracle on Ice/2024 Olympics/Daily Curling Schedule

My best guess why: These were three different searches but I grouped them together because they were all on the same topic: The Olympics! As I’ve mentioned before, I am essentially an Olympics addict. I even make a spreadsheet every year where I keep track of medals and make notes on athletes that were especially inspiring/cute/etc.

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2) Sister Jean

My best guess why: I don’t consider myself much of a basketball fan, but during March Madness this year I was totally roped into the magic that was Sister Jean and the Loyola Chicago Ramblers. I’m still a little bummed they weren’t able to take home the championship, but there’s always next year. #TeamSisterJean4Ever

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3) Gregory Peck

My best guess why: I was recently asked who my celebrity crush was and I mentioned this guy and needed some photographic support. This window staying open is the least surprising, as I’ve caught myself on more than one occasion scrolling through and glancing at this picture. I mean…

Gregory Peck

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4) Washtucna, WA

My best guess why: Whilst on our spring break vacation in Seattle this past March, my friends and I spent a wonderful afternoon at the park, laying in the grass and watching planes fly by. At one point this teeny tiny city worked its way into the conversation and I wanted to see what it was all about. Spoiler alert: not much.

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5) Banana Bread Recipe

My best guess why: As I mentioned in this post, I’ve recently been trying to do better at not letting leftover food go to waste. So once I saw my bananas starting to turn a little more brown than I was comfortable with, I did some research on how to put them to use.

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6) Where to find mascarpone cheese in the grocery store?

My best guess why: My mom’s birthday was in April and I had one of those “I can do anything!” moments while researching recipes for birthday cakes. Little did I know, I was in WAY over my head, starting with the trip to the grocery store for the ingredients. I wandered up and down the aisles, slowly gathering what I needed, but mascarpone cheese had me totally stumped. FYI: depending on the store it’s either by the specialty cheese in the deli or by the cream cheese!

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7) Stagecoach FAQ

My best guess why: Leading up to my first ever Stagecoach Country Music Festival, I was avidly reading any and all information provided. There were definitely some good tips and tricks I found, and when I got back from the festival, I wrote my own.

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8) When was happy birthday written?

My best guess why: I mean, haven’t ever wondered? It was in 1893, by the way.

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9) Rose Bowl Parking

My best guess why: Another example of pre-event anxiety, I was desperately looking for the best way to get to and from the Rose Bowl for the Taylor Swift concert in May. If you ever find yourself in the area, park in the Parsons parking lot and take the shuttle, it’s the only way to go!

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10) What are hushpuppies?

My best guess why: Since I’m a giant baby when it comes to spicy foods, whenever I see something on a menu that I don’t recognize, I’m always quick to Google it in order to avoid profusely sweating at the table. In this case, I had absolutely nothing to worry about as a hushpuppy is just deep fried cornmeal dough.

Hushpuppies

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11) What’s the difference between forest and woods?

My best guess why: Again, have you ever really stopped to wonder? Consider me your one stop shop for fun facts you never needed to know. A wood is an area covered in trees, while a forest is a much larger area of trees, that often also includes shrubs, underbrush, etc.

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12) Where to buy Bluebell Ice Cream?

My best guess why: Little known fact (at least to me until a couple years ago): Bluebell ice cream is THE BEST ice cream. Another little known, much more heartbreaking fact: they don’t sell Bluebell in California. So after finding my mom’s dream flavor (Banana Pudding) on our recent trip to Arkansas, we were heartbroken to know we wouldn’t find it in the freezer section back home. (If you’re curious where you can find it near you, look here!)

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13) “Hoofs”

My best guess why: This one made me laugh out loud because I have absolutely no idea why I Googled it. Was I checking my spelling—which was wrong, by the way. Did I need a quick reminder what hooves looked like? Was this a typo that I got too distracted to correct? I guess we’ll never know.

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14) Badass names for plants

My best guess why: A couple months ago me, my sister and my dad spent a whole afternoon planting sunflowers, tomatoes, and peppers in our backyard. Since then, my sister has taken incredible care of them, making sure to water them every morning. I however, haven’t done much. Aside from one fateful afternoon where I was in charge of watering, and decided to take that opportunity to name all of the plants. There was one plant in particular that I thought had this buff, hardcore quality about it, and I wanted a name that would really do it justice. Unfortunately, Google didn’t really come through for me here, so I ended up naming it Denzel. IMG_4293

(In case you’re wondering, Denzel is thriving.)

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Well, that’s all for now. I’m again going to close all the windows (except Gregory Peck) and see how long it takes me to max out again. Which to be honest, shouldn’t be too long…

I’ll Always Remember the Good Parts

A couple weeks ago my mom, sister and I took a trip to Arkansas to visit both my cousin Brittney and her family, as well as my great great Aunt Evelyn who just recently turned 97 years old.

Usually when I go on a trip, I like to blog about it (check out some examples here and here) but when it comes to Arkansas, I tend to just let it lie. Not because the trip is boring or not worth sharing, but because it always seems to feel different than any other trip, making it hard—if not impossible—to find a way to write about it. In a way it feels like it’s not so much a trip as it is a step into another world, one that I couldn’t explain to someone as well as I could show them.

Our past couple trips to Arkansas, while fun and the exact breath of fresh air I needed, have had a bit of sadness attached to them. With my Aunt Evelyn’s health declining first slowly, and then quicker than we could keep up with, we saw our trips change from spending afternoons reading on her porch, to sitting at her bedside in a nursing home. For these trips, rather than staying at my Aunt Evelyn’s house, we’ve stayed with June, a childhood friend of my mom’s mom, and her husband, Jim. This alone has balanced the scales of the trips, filling them with as much laughter as they had gloom.

This past trip, after being warned by June that Aunt Evelyn had fallen not once, but twice in the last few days, and that her cancer had spread to nearly every part of her body, we took a few extra breaths on our drive from Brittney’s to June and Jim’s, knowing that this trip would be somewhat of a goodbye.

Upon arriving at June and Jim’s, we all exhaled, because at least for the moment, we were home. In an instant we were laughing, almost too hard to walk. They greeted us at the door and we dropped our things, unable to peel the smiles off our faces. It was almost 6 o’clock when we got there, so it wasn’t long before we were back on the road, headed out to dinner at one of June and Jim’s favorite restaurants. June sat next to me in the backseat, cracking jokes and nudging my elbow whenever she made a snarky comment just out of Jim’s earshot.

At dinner, we talked about our trip to Brittney’s. About her husband Scott, their five year old son, Landon, and their two and a half year old daughter, Nora. We talked about the three days we spent with them; about the slow mornings filled with Nora’s singing and Landon’s giggling and dancing and soccer ball dribbling; we talked about the day at the waterpark and the evening at the comedy club; and we talked about the afternoons on the couch talking or napping or laughing or just simply being.

The next morning, as we slowly got ourselves out of bed to the breakfast table and then out of our pajamas and into real clothes, we took another collective breath. My mom, my sister, June and I loaded up in the car to go see Aunt Evelyn, all of us the slightest bit nervous, even if we didn’t say so. When we got there, we found Aunt Evelyn asleep in her bed, so asleep it took two nurses to finally coax her awake to eat, even though she didn’t want to. I sat in a chair in the corner of the room, watching her slowly bring the world into focus, my mind flickering from the woman I saw in front of me, to the woman I’d sat beside in her living room watching reruns of Judge Judy.

As an adult, I’d never seen Aunt Evelyn without pain. She was always moving slow, her back keeping her slightly hunched and most content in her chair in the living room. But there were moments when it seemed to dull. Like when my sister made her favorite cookies in the kitchen and she giggled in her chair, excited to have three too many. Or when a story we told reminded her of a memory she carried. The three of us could never get enough of her stories. Both the good ones and the bad, the happy and the sad. Aunt Evelyn had lived a long, oftentimes hard life, and had spent many years living on her own, ruminating, reminiscing, and understandably burying a lot of memories.

As I sat in the corner chair, watching my Aunt Evelyn’s eyes squint and her brow furrow, I saw fear and confusion, pain and exhaustion. Then, for a moment, it passed. June cooed at her and Aunt Evelyn smiled in recognition, saying, “Hello June,” almost sarcastically, before softening her eyes and smiling at the sight of my mother, “Gina.”

But just as soon as peace settled in her eyes, the pain was back. The nurse sitting at her side offered her a bite of each helping of food on her tray, and Aunt Evelyn begged her to stop, hating every bit of it. Then, her eyes shifted again, this time into anger. She looked up at June and my mom, perhaps embarrassed, perhaps ashamed, perhaps longing for that woman I pictured sitting by my side in the living room watching reruns of Judge Judy.

“Get out,” she said. It was stern, but calm.

At first.

Then it was meaner. Louder. Fiercer.

“Get out of here!”

On the drive back to June’s we were all quiet, all bearing wounds that we didn’t want to talk about. Knowing what we knew about her health, we knew that could very well be the last time we would see her, and it was hard to swallow that as the last time. But just as I was able to picture her how I knew her, how I’ve known her, not in that bed but in her chair, in her house, in the hundreds of old pictures—some from stories I knew, others from those I might never know—I made a promise to remember her that way too.

On our flight home, my mind flashed with memories of trips we taken to see her. And even though there were hard parts, sad parts, bad parts strewn in, I clutched desperately to the good. To the funny and beautiful and indescribable. I hoped she knew I’d remember those parts most. And I’d visit them as easy as we did our weekend at Brittney’s as we sat across the dinner table from Jim and June. No matter what, I would always hold on to the good parts. Both today, tomorrow, and (if I’m lucky enough) seventy years from now, when I have my own chair in my own living room with a pair of great great nieces sitting by my side watching reruns and making me cookies.

A Quick (Life) Driving Lesson

Hello and welcome to your driving lesson. Please take a seat and buckle up.

There is a lot to learn, but don’t be afraid. Like anything else, driving just takes practice and patience.

Firstly, let’s start the car.

Excellent. How did that feel? I really want you to soak it in because while it’s a simple skill, it’s also very important. On any drive you might make, it is both your responsibility and your freedom to start the car. Sometimes it may be difficult. Some days, perhaps due to factors out of your control, it might even seem impossible. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is always a friendly face close by that can give you a jump-start, should you ever need one.

Now, with the car still in park, I want you to lightly step on the gas. Do you hear that? The rev of the engine? That is a reminder that you are in control of your own speed. You determine how fast or slow you go. You.

You see the brake pedal along side it? That is also at your disposal. Learning to take control of and responsibility for these two pedals is one of the most important parts of both becoming a good driver and enjoying your drive.

Good. Now, let’s put our foot on the brake and put the car in drive. Good. Now let’s ease on the gas pedal. Excellent.

On any given day, when and if you should you choose to start the car, you are in charge of your own destination. Granted, there are times when there are going to be specific places you have to be and specific times you have to be there. However, you should never forget that the way to get there has always and will always be up to you.

On days when you do not have a required destination on your agenda, know that the roads, no matter how open or congested they may be, have a place for you. If you want to get somewhere, you can, it might just take some patience. It may even take so much patience that you’ll try a few alternate routes along the way, just for a change of pace. You might even like one of those alternate routes so much you’ll change your destination all together! And that’s okay! Like I said, it’s up to you. You are the driver, don’t forget that.

Now, you might be thinking about passengers. While driving, it is crucial to surround yourself with beneficial passengers. People who will help make your drive more pleasant. Whether that be by giving advice when you come to a crossroads, enduring bumpy roads with you, or discovering new places neither of you ever expected.

Some passengers, even though they seem valuable based on their knowledge of certain terrain or experience in different traffic jams, will not provide you the assistance you need, and can often lead you down the wrong path. Understand that you do not have to keep anyone in your car that makes you feel uncomfortable or underappreciated. Simply pull over and let them out, you can continue your drive without them.

Okay, go ahead and move into the left lane here. Good.

While driving, you will consistently be given options as to which lane you’d like to drive in. You may start in one lane, find yourself unsatisfied, and then try another. This is totally normal. It is also possible that while you are perfectly comfortable in one lane, another driver will abruptly enter that lane, almost without warning. This may interrupt plans you had regarding speed, destination, timing, etc., and at times may even result in a harmful collision. Understand that surrounding drivers all have their own trips in progress, and while it may seem as though they intentionally throw off yours, that is not always the case. Sometimes your sudden presence is just as surprising to them as they are to you. Other times however, it does appear as though surrounding drivers control their cars recklessly and often leave a trail of destruction, be it actual, physical collisions, or residual emotional distress, in their wake. It is crucial to your driving experience that you absorb these experiences, allow them to teach you something, and then move on. Do not let the driving habits of others prevent you from continuing your drive all together.

Alright, pull over up here. Excellent. I believe that is all the time we have for today, but know that there are many lessons to be learned behind the wheel. And just when you think you’ve learned them all, you’ll make a turn down a road you’ve never been down before and find it has something entirely new to teach you. Don’t get discouraged. Embrace every turn and every lesson. For there is always something incredible just over the next hill or right behind the next building. There are always new tricks and new treats. You simply must be patient and keep driving.

Does Someone Have A Second to Invent These Things?

When I was younger I thought it would be cool to be an inventor. I pictured myself creating the next big thing the world never knew it needed, becoming a millionaire and living in a mansion with my family and a pet elephant. The only thing that stood in the way of that dream was actually having the idea for the next big thing in the first place.

These days, while I still don’t necessarily have the idea, I like to think I have some pretty good ones, though I’m still nowhere close to having the skills to turn them into anything tangible. That being said, if there are any inventors out there with some extra time, do you mind spending a little on these guys? They would make my life better, which has to mean they would provide a similar benefit to someone else’s.

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1) A blinker that indicates U-turns

You know when you’re in the left hand turn lane and the person in front of you is blinking their blinker and you think you’re on the same page and are ready to follow the leader across the intersection, only to have them flip a U and turn your whole world upside down? Okay, maybe not you’re whole world. But it’s definitely a I took a sip of a drink I expected to be soda but it was milk and now my life is a mess type of moments, you know? I just think there should be some kind of secondary blinker that says, “Hey, I’m not doing what you think I’m doing and I just wanted you to know.”

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2) To-go/delivery services for breakfast foods

You can get pizza delivered to your door in twenty minutes, you can get McDonald’s delivered to your door at 1 o’clock in the morning, heck, you can even get more wine delivered to your door before an episode of The Bachelor is over. If we’ve come this far, why can’t I order a waffle yet? It’s 2018, people, the world needs a pancake delivery service.

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3) Solar powered lane markers

The other day I was driving on the freeway at night and having trouble seeing the lane dividers. It had just stopped raining so the cement was wet, and the brake lights of my neighboring cars were making the reflectors on the lane dividers almost a non-factor. This got me thinking, if someone like me, who has 20/20 vision is having trouble seeing these markers, how would my sister, who requires a special prescription and especially struggles with night driving, have faired? So my thought here is, let’s Disneyland Electric Light Parade those bad boys! Stick some solar panels on the tops of them so they charge all day and glow all night. Not only would they make our freeways more exciting, they’d undoubtedly cut down on late night collisions.

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4) Something that can control CAPS LOCK

Have you ever been typing something and accidentally hit the caps lock when you didn’t intend to and then you typed an entire sentence in the wrong format and the only way to correct it was to delete the entire thing and start over? This happens to me more than I’d like to admit and it is endlessly frustrating. I just wish there was a way to highlight and either apply or remove caps lock in one fell swoop.

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5) An app that actually calculates the odds when you say, “what are the odds of that?”

Can you imagine having this power? Would it be too much? Would it be useful at all? It’s hard to say. But you can’t deny the fact that it would be fun to be able to pull out your phone while you are walking down the aisle of a grocery store in a city you are only in because you are on vacation, and yet you somehow find yourself running into an old high school acquaintance you never thought you’d have to see again and they say, “it’s so great to see you!” and the only non-controversial thing you can think to say is, “yeah, WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF THAT?” and your phone would say “approximately 1 in 1,000,000,000” and you would feel validated in how utterly ridiculous the whole thing is. You know that, and other, less complicated curiosities.

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All I ask in your quest to bring these ideas to life is to give me a shout out. I have no idea how patents work, but if there is a section where you provide influences, inspirations, muses, etc., just leave a link to this blog. I suppose a cut of the profit also might be nice. Just include a check with a doorstep waffle. Thanks in advance!

If You’re Going to Post, Post What’s True

As a creature of habit, my routine in the morning is almost identical every single day of the workweek. Among pressing snooze a few times, listening to a podcast, and making a (usually empty) promise to myself that we’ll nap later, checking Timehop—an app that connects to your social media accounts and shows you posts you made on that day in years past—is a staple.

Even though the Facebook posts, Instagram pictures and tweets can sometimes be unbearably cringy, I like to check in on the person I was however many years ago, and observe how much I’ve grown since then.

But among the goofy, the melodramatic, and the sometimes indecipherable posts, I sometimes find ones that make me downright frown. Because even now, after all these years, I can still feel the inauthenticity. It only takes a second to read the words or scan the picture to remember that the only reason I posted that was to impress/amuse/appease someone else.

On the one hand, I don’t want to be too hard on myself. We all go through periods of growth. Seasons when we’re trying on different versions of ourselves to see which one fits. Thus, reading those posts that definitely aren’t me could be viewed as little more than skimming digital records of that growing process. But it also makes me sad to see how much I valued the opinions and acceptance of others over presenting a truthful version of myself.

These days, I do my best to present nothing but the truth. Not only for the benefit of my present self (and anyone who might view what I post) but also for my future self, who, upon skimming Timehop one or two or five years from now can look back and be proud that I was confident enough to be my true self. After all, as much fun as it is to receive love and praise and “likes” for something we post, none of that will mean much if you know that what you posted is an ingenuine representation of who you are and what you’re feeling.

Think of social media like a scrapbook or a journal, minus the fear of it getting lost or worn with time. Once you put something on the Internet, it’s there forever. Which is kind of scary, but also kind of cool if you use it to your advantage. Technology is scrapbooking our memories for us, storing them for future “awww’s” and “eww’s” and “OH MY GOSH’s.”

Don’t get me wrong; posting to social media is a choice. The world will only see what you want it to see, but with that being said, why choose to only show the world a lie? What good does that do anyone, especially your future self who might want to look back and connect.

At the end of the day, I’m not here to judge you or anything you do or do not want to post to social media, and I expect you’d give me the same courtesy. But over the years, I’ve found that if you are going to post something, it’s always better to post what’s true. It’s better for you, it’s better for those around you, and it’s better for the world as a whole. We don’t get anywhere when we lie to each other, and we only go backwards when we lie to ourselves.

30 Good Things that Happened in April

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in!

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1) Officer Oliver reported for duty

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2) This Humboldt hockey player showed incredible bravery in the wake of a tragedy

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3) These dog nannies took care of their kids

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4) This 108 year old man met his great-great grandchild and namesake

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5) This incredible joke was made

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6) This girl’s video about bullying received a big response from the Yankees

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7) This boy got the photoshoot of a lifetime

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8) This woman tried to water her plants

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9) This man’s picture ended up being worth more than 1000 words

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10) This photographer went the extra mile to get the perfect shot

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11) The co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge got his voice back

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12) The police identified this missing dog by singing its favorite song

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13) This boy saw color for the first time

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14) Chuck E Cheese made this announcement

Considerate Chuck E. Cheese

A post shared by Tank.Sinatra (@tanksgoodnews) on

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15) This woman made geode art

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16) Google honored Maya Angelou for her 90th birthday

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17) This woman gave us an important reminder

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18) This family found their daughter after a 24-year search

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19) This girl tried her hand at captioning New Yorker cartoons

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20) The Rock surprised this girl over her school’s PA system

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21) This man got a nearly drowned prairie dog back on its feet

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22) Melissa McCarthy gave some inspirational words about finding success

“When you spend 20 years working your butt off, you know yourself better. If you’re handed everything you want at 19 or 20, you may actually believe all of the people who are like, ‘You’re amazing.’ I think I would have been probably cuckoo [if I’d been successful] at 18. I think the best thing I could have done was struggle until I was 30. I always assume every job is my last. Twenty years of desperately trying to get a single job gets deep in your DNA.”

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23) This dog taught his brother how to “sit”

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24) Model Nyles DeMarco politely called out this woman for creeping pictures of him

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25) The royal baby was born

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26) And so were a bunch of others whose parents didn’t expect to find paparazzi waiting for them outside the hospital.

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27) These truck drivers joined together to save a man’s life

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28) This girl surprised her prom date

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29) This woman drank alcohol for the first time since giving birth

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30) This boy ran home

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what May brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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You Keep Following Your Dreams & I’ll Keep Following Mine

In August of 2016, me, my sister, and my best friend Allison (except I spell it Alleeson because of a whole Kimberlee double-e solidarity thing) went to dinner at Islands. As we sat laboring over which hamburger to choose from the menu, Alleeson put her hands on the table and took a deep breath.

“I have news,” she said.

I put my menu down and looked across the table at her, trying to gage whether this was good news or bad news based on the tone of her voice.

“I got a job.”

“That’s great!” I said, relieved.

“It’s for a news station in Oregon.”

Not even a month later, she was moving into a house 12 hours away and I was both heartbroken for me and unfathomably excited for her. She was nervous, I could tell. But she was also excited and curious and determined to give herself the big break she’d been waiting for.

In November of that year, I was able to visit her. She took me on a tour around her studio and showed me where they filmed the show and the things she was in charge of. I even got to watch a live taping of the evening show and witness her talent in action.

Back home, I was trying to catch some of the fire Alleeson had left behind. I was in awe of her bravery and her ability to just go for it. She made it look easy, even though I know almost no part of it was. She made me want to fight the battles that had long been easier to stay out of.

As the months went on, even though we were now hundreds of miles apart, I noticed how we still managed to mirror each other. Since we both come from creative backgrounds, we are constantly looking to do more, make more, be more, and so we both have our ups filled with confidence and our downs filled with doubt.

One night, as we were both lamenting over where we were and where we wanted to be, we made a pact. We decided that since the paths to our ultimate dreams were somewhat blurry, the best first step would be to hone in the destination.

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In the last year, I’ve seen Alleeson dive even deeper into her work. Putting in day after day, constantly pushing herself and trying new things, trying to be more. And yesterday, just as I was getting home from work, I got a message.

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She called me and I screamed into the phone. I tried to tell her how proud I was, how excited I was, how much she deserved it. Because she did. She does. She took that big risk; she’s put in all that work. She’s carving that path towards her dream no matter what anyone has to say about it.

It would be easy to be jealous, but that would be a waste of time. Instead, I’m going to take this as a reminder of what we set out to. What we intend to do, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes.

So as I celebrate this huge step she’s made, I’m going to take a few more of my own. For we started this together and always planned to kick ass side by side from there.

Congratulations Alleeson! (And good luck at the 2018 Regional Emmy’s!) Keep following your dream and I’ll keep following mine, and may we continue to follow each other’s fire.

Some Thoughts on Hug Protocol

I like hugs, I really do, but I’m also very confused by them.

See, I understand there are times when it’s obvious to hug and times when it’s obvious not to hug. But then there’s all this middle ground that is hard to read and makes my stomach hurt.

Take for example the “to hug” situations:

Hi, hello, it’s nice to meet you, let’s hug.

I’m so sorry your bird died, let’s hug.

I love you! I missed you! I just want an excuse to touch you! Let’s. Freaking. HUG.

Sometimes our bodies have no idea what else to do except hug, and so without even thinking twice we’re walking in for the kill with our arms wide whether the receiving party is ready or not.

Wait, stop right there. This is where a grey area comes in.

See, my sister is a BIG hugger. She’s all about showing love with a body glove. So much so that I sometimes refer to her as an “attack hugger,” which she—unsurprisingly—does not care for. She believes hugs are always important and will benefit all parties involved.

They break the ice. They show affection. They often provide you the opportunity to not-so-casually sniff someone’s hair. I get it. But am I the only one that wakes up on some mornings with zero hug toleration?

As in, Do. Not. Touch. Me.

I mean, is it so much to ask to let me dude it up from time to time and shake your hand or maybe just wave to you from across the room?

I don’t know, maybe this makes me antisocial. Or emotionally distant. Or some other string of big words that a psychologist would use to overanalyze me, relating it all back to the moment I realized my parents put me down and never picked back me up again.

But anyways, back to the grey area.

Say you walk into a room of 20 people you know, 15 of whom you genuinely like, and you start your circuit of “hello hugs” even though you know that your relationship with a few of these people is very “non-huggy”, either because you barely know each other or because you know each other too well and have too much of a wonky past. Do you still hug them?

Or what about when you’re talking to a friend whose kids are standing nearby and even though you know of all of them, you’ve really only gotten to know the oldest one through sports or church or something, so when you are getting ready to leave you only hug your friend and their oldest kid. Should you hug the rest of the children knowing they’d probably feel just as weird as you do about it, making the hug they actually do give you this weird hand pat on the back thing, which tempts you to make some sort of joke about how they should really hug people, even though you don’t want to hug them and they don’t want to hug you and now you’ve made quite a show about what type of hug you expect from them, even though you didn’t want one in the first place? Should you still hug them?

Lastly, say you arrive late to a family dinner so you walk in quickly, waving to everyone and apologizing for your tardiness, anxious to get to your seat so your family can order because they’re already complaining about how hungry they are. But when you get to your seat, you notice that your sister, who walked in behind you, stopped at each individual seat to hug everyone over-the-shoulder style—the act of which you hate because of that one time you accidentally put your hand in someone’s arm pit—and you wonder if you should have done the same thing. But now you’re already sitting down and you’ve taken your jacket off to try and cool yourself off, and you know that if you got up to hug everyone now someone would almost certainly put their hand in your arm pit by accident, which by this point is flooded with stress sweat. Do you still get up and hug them?

Jeopary-style answer: What is, I have absolutely no idea.

Can someone just invent an app I can sync with my Fit Bit that will make it vibrate once whenever I should hug someone and twice whenever I shouldn’t?

Yeah?

Good. Great. I would so appreciate that. Honestly. I mean, if you could really figure that out I’d be so thankful. No, you know what, I’m already thankful just because you’re considering this. Thank you, you are such a gem. Really, you are. Bring it in, let’s hug.

(Your) Kids Say the Darndest Things

I don’t have any kids yet. (Thank goodness.)

I love them, and want them someday, but right now I survive primarily off of pasta and granola bars and I recently lost my favorite pair of pants inside my dresser drawer, so it’s safe to I need some time to, you know, grow.

When the time comes, you can pretty much guarantee I will be one of those people constantly posting about every single thing my kids say and do, because to me it will be HILARIOUS and life changing, where in reality it will just be burping into a spoon. Until that time however, I’ve decided to take note of the hilarious things that other peoples’ kids have said to me. I’ve also thrown in a few of my favorites from when my brother was little, enjoy!

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Kid: “When I bump my head, my brain gets hypnotized.”

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Kid: At my house, I saw a rainbow with only 2 colors

Me: Well that doesn’t seem right, how many colors should a rainbow have?

Kid: 400 or 10 or 9

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Kid: They’re making a new Star Wars movie!

Me: Cool! When will it be out?

Kid: In about 13 minutes

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Kid: The new me is going to be a Ghostbuster

Me: When is the new you arriving?

Kid: 13 days

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Kid: On Saturdays when I grow up, I’m going to be a dentist

Me: Only on Saturdays?

Kid: Yeah cuz on Sundays I’m going to be a scientist, and I’m going to work with you Monday through Friday

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Kid: Hey can we shoot this pomegranate with a bb gun?

Me: No, I don’t think so.

Kid: hmmm, okay, I think I’ll just throw it across the yard then.

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Me: Hey look, this cheeto looks like the letter “F”

Kid: Yeah! *pulls another cheeto out of bag* hey look, this cheeto looks like my grandpa wearing a hat!

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Kid: “Did you know that when people die they can still fart for a few hours?”

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Kid: Hmmm, that’s funny, this gutter smells like chicken.

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Sometimes I wish my brain still worked like theirs. Though, honestly, sometimes it still does.

You Won’t Win Unless You’re Willing to Lose

In October of 2017, as he was training for the 2018 Winter Olympics, Shaun White had a horrible crash that resulted in 62 stitches in his face. In an interview a few months later, he was asked whether the crash gave him doubts about his ability or willingness to continue, especially in pursuit of a spot on the Olympic team. He nodded his head, saying that while he looked in the mirror at his nearly unrecognizable face, he realized that by agreeing to continue, agreeing to step back out there and try again, he was more or less accepting that this could happen all over again.

At first, this statement seemed obvious to me. Being a complete outsider to the sport, the corresponding danger is constantly at the forefront of my attention. I mean, they are literally throwing themselves through the air, flipping and spinning and twisting at high speeds, all the while hoping they’ll land flat on a thin piece of fiberglass. With that in mind, of course it could happen again, Shaun! Honestly it seems like it should happen more.

But as the weeks went on and the Olympics came and went, the quote sat with me, churning around in my brain the way all lessons waiting to be learned tend to. Eventually I started thinking about the risks I take in my own life. Both small and big. I thought about my writing, both on this blog and outside it in pursuit of other projects, accolades, etc. Every time I write a blog post, I accept the fact that people might not like it, or that it might not do well. Every time I submit a piece to a contest or a magazine or a publisher, I accept the fact that it might lose or get rejected. Every time I try to succeed, I accept the fact I can fail.

After a while, I realized this mindset can apply to almost every aspect of our lives.

In relationships, every time you make yourself vulnerable you accept the fact that you could get hurt.

In finances, every time you make an investment you accept the fact that it could fall through.

Plans can fail. Accidents can happen. Hearts can break.

In this world, there is a lot to be afraid of, there is a lot that can go wrong, and there are a lot of opportunities to fail. But every day we get up, every day we step outside, every time we accept those fears and try again, we give ourselves the change to succeed, to win.

On February 14th, after spending months both recovering from his injury and working his way back into the physical and mental shape needed to make the Olympic team, Shaun White won the gold medal in the Snowboard Halfpipe event, making him the most decorated snowboarder of all time.

In many ways it was expected, hoped for, anticipated, both by Shaun White and the millions of people tuning in to the competition. But the only guarantee would have come from him not trying, not taking that risk, not stepping back into the sport all those months ago. The same goes for anything you hope for, I dream of, we all aim to accomplish. So even though failure is hard, vulnerability is terrifying and losing sucks, it’s worth the risk. Not only because it brings you one step closer to success, but because it makes you stronger, braver and smarter than you were before. And although it might not feel like it, trying and failing will always show more courage than avoiding failure all together. So take the risk, make the try and see where it takes you.