journal

Submitting My Friendship Resume

To Whom it May Concern,

Seeing as we are in a strange time, one that encourages not only kindness and politeness, but undeniable kinship and unity, I have come to the conclusion that we should be friends—from afar obviously, because, well, YOU KNOW.

That being said, I’ve attached my resume for your review. If the contents appear up to par, I’d like us electronically agree, from our own homes, that we are in this thing together, and will at no point physically or emotionally harm one another in order to get the last package of toilet paper or container of oatmeal.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Attachment: KimK_ResumeforFriendship

 

Kimberlee K.

kimberleek.com

Education:

Hiking Trails in Southern California

May 2014 – Present

Various Locations

Major: Keeping a Steady Pace

Minor: Heavy Breathing

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Facts No One Should Know

August 2006 – Present

News Articles, Assorted Googling, Neighboring Conversations, Etc.

Major: “Did You Know?” anecdotes

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Limited Slang

One day in Middle school – Present

Peers, Urban Dictionary, “Kids these days”

Major: Stealth Research

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Work Experience:

Adult

Legally 2008 – Present

Various Locations

Concrete Identity Pending

  • Dresses self for a variety of formal and informal occasions.
  • Feeds self a variety of meals, both in controlled and uncontrolled portions, in order to sustain life.
  • Attempts to take on and maintain responsibilities
  • Cries periodically
  • Often says, “Thanks, I got it at Target.”

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DIY

September 1995 – Present

Usually the Floor

Project Creator & Artist (of sorts)

  • Formulates a wide variety of projects capable of being made on one’s own
  • Fails miserably during the first attempt and throws it on the ground/in trash
  • Completes second (or third or fourth) try and shrugs at result, calling it “good enough”
  • Learns to love project with whole heart
  • Creates new project and starts the cycle over again.

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Watching Movies

September 1990 – Present

Various Locations

Memorizer of Noteworthy Comedic Quotes

  • Watches a variety of movies both in theaters and on VHS/DVD/Blu-ray/Streaming services
  • Enjoys nearly all movies thoroughly
  • Chooses a number of anecdotes from the films to quote numerous times a day.

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Other Work Experience:

Instagram Stalking

July 2012-Present

Hidden on the Internet

Creep

  • Follows curious thoughts into the depths of social media, often losing one’s mind in the process.
  • Becomes extremely knowledgeable in persons and events that bear no relation to me.
  • Audibly gasps often.

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Introverting

February 2002 – Present

Various Locations, Primarily Home

People Avoider

  • Often enters state of desire to be completely and utterly alone
  • Cancels all plans and stays indoors, making little contact with the outside world
  • Has minor moments of clarity regarding the benefits of creating and maintaining meaningful friendships, then makes a meal, turns off the lights and continues to introvert.

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Awards/Achievements:

Summited Mt. Whitney

Has not broken a bone

Once made a triple decker bologna sandwich

Has vomited due to motion sickness in various major cities

Once hooked a mudsucker by the tail while fishing in the Owens River

Member of 2016 Winter League Championship bowling team: Beer & Waffles.

Has twice defeated The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Hasn’t died yet*

*Note: void when dead.

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Strengths:

Sarcasm

Smiling politely

Requesting Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” at weddings

Making excel spreadsheets for every occasion

Committing to puzzles

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Weaknesses:

Mini golf

Making omelets

Overcommitting to puzzles

Forgetting to bring toothpaste on vacation

Often drops phone for no apparent reason

5 Things I’d Do if I Were Rich

When you have a lot of time to yourself, especially a lot of uninterrupted time that you might otherwise be spending out and about, or procrastinating because you have the option to be out and about, you have a lot of time to think. And one thing that tends to happen to me when I have time to think is a lot of daydreaming.

I put myself in different scenarios and live out different lives, all from the comfort of my favorite chair. It’s magical really. Especially when it’s no longer considered detrimental procrastination, but instead successful social distancing.

One thing that I’ve found myself thinking about recently is what I would do if I were rich.

Now, for the sake of a carefree exploration, I’m taking out the option to donate to charity/start a foundation/do anything good and helpful for other people/causes. I’m talking about 100% selfish things I would do if I were rich, had already made successful allocations to worthy causes, and still had boatloads of money left.

This is what I came up with:

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1) Adopt a highway (or 5)

Ever since I was little I loved the idea of having a concrete child made of miles and miles of well maintained, trash free glory. I also like the idea of just writing “Kim” underneath “This highway was adopted by:” because I like to imagine that people driving by would ask, “Who is Kim?” It’s just so vague and mysterious, and I think it would cause the Googling statistics of me and my Kim counterparts to spike.

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2) Become a member

These days it seems like there are so many things to join, so many things to try, so many things to spend money on, but I pass on most all of them because, who has money for that? But if I were rich, I’d just join everything. I like to think it would make me very cultured and inevitably secure me an invite to be a board member of something, making my title upon death be something out of Game of Thrones.

Kim of the house Koehn, blogger under her name, friend to everyone, club member of everywhere, a trier of most everything, she was rich, damnit. May she rest in peace.

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3) Have someone sort my puzzle pieces

My absolute least favorite part of doing puzzles is the initial separating of the pieces. If that isn’t the biggest buzz kill when you are pumped up to PUZZLE. I hate flipping each individual piece over. I hate when you find two pieces that are not quiet separated. I hate when you are setting aside the edge pieces and you come across a few that, even when you hold them up to the light, you can’t tell if they have an edge or not. I just want to get to the good stuff, you know? And by the good stuff I mean the mostly calming though occasionally rage-inducing activity that is puzzle-ing—the verb, not to be confused with the adjective, puzzling. So, if I were rich, I would have someone (who was very well treated and accommodated and loved endlessly) who would separate the pieces for me, and then maybe ring a dainty bell that would suggest, your puzzle is ready, girl. To which, I would come running.

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4) Have someone buy/pick out my clothes

I hate shopping, and if there is anything I hate more than shopping, it’s reviewing my past purchases every morning when I get dressed. It is amazing how excited you can get about something when you try it on in a store, only to find yourself wanting to light it on fire when you pull it out of your closet to wear later. I would love to find myself in a position where I could have a stylist who not only dressed me in cute, comfortable outfits every day, but who knew me so well that they could do all the shopping for me as well. And I don’t just mean with fancy clothes. If they could come home with a very stylish pair of pants and a big cozy hoodie that I could blob out on the couch with, I would give them all my money.

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5) Take a down day

It’s no question that I would travel like mad if money wasn’t a concern. I would double the size of my bucket list and start crossing things off left and right. On top of that, I would make my trips a little longer. Oftentimes I find myself looking for just the right window to travel. When the flight are the cheapest, the hotels are the cheapest and the overall rates are, well, the cheapest. Then, when I get wherever I’m going, I always feel that pressure to go go go immediately upon landing/arriving, because I only have so much time there and I have to make the most of it. If I was rich, I’d always allow myself to have the first day/night, especially after a long day of travel, to just hang out. Maybe order room service at the hotel and go to bed early, or take a long shower, binge eat everything I could find in the vending machine and then go to bed early. Then the next day I could wake up feeling refreshed and actually, truly, ready to go go go.

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What would you do if you were rich?

Note: if you are already wealthy, please consider donating to my “puzzle piece separator fund” it’s a worthy cause.

 

An (Understandably) Interrupted Weekend at Spring Training

Last year my family and I took our first trip to Spring Training in Arizona. Almost immediately upon arriving home, we started researching details for our second (and hopefully yearly) trip. By July, we had our Airbnb booked, by January we had all of our game tickets purchased, and by February I had a countdown written on the refrigerator.

39 days to go!

And for 39 looong days, I counted down, one by one, erasing and rewriting until we were finally walking out the door to make our Wednesday night flight.

In our Uber ride to the airport, the conversation centered heavily on COVID-19, and the toll it was taking on both the health and sanity of the world at large. We told our driver we were happy to be getting away from the hysteria for a little while, and he nodded enthusiastically, saying that focusing on the people you love is important in times like these.

When we landed in Phoenix a few hours later, my sister, Natalee, and I could hardly contain our excitement. We walked into the doors of our AirBnb and hugged our parents, and our friends Darryl, DeeDee and Cody, each of us buzzing about finally making it back here, together, a year later.

The next morning, we all walked out in our gear—my family repping the Dodgers, and the Beliel’s repping the Mariners. Our initial fears were that it might rain, but when notifications started to come in about the NBA pausing their season, and then the NHL, there was an entirely new concern hovering over us.

Still, we piled into the car and drove to Surprise Stadium to watch the Mariners play the Royals. We arrived about a half hour early, which gave us some time to pace, and play a few rounds of Heads Up! before hearing the rumblings that the game was going to be cancelled. But then, at 11:30 a.m. the gates opened, we walked inside and immediately shifted our thoughts to lunch. Before we could all decide on anything however, an announcement came over the loud speaker to inform us that the game had been cancelled—along with the remainder of all Spring Training games.

Not fully accepting what that meant for us, we got back in the car and went to Top Golf to try and make something of the day. When we got there, it appeared that everyone in a 20-mile radius (and baseball gear) had had the same thought, making the wait time over two hours. So, we put our name in and went out to lunch, where we all took tequila shots, watched a basketball game from the 1996 March Madness tournament (because all current sports were cancelled) and I spilled most of my drink on me, Cody and our booth bench, making our day (which had started out as hopeful and exciting) go from sad to sticky (and cold).

Sorry.

Around 3 o’clock, our bay at Top Golf was ready, so we headed back to golf for a few hours, which was both fun and difficult, especially when we decided to each try and hit a few balls wearing my sister’s glasses, which could make anyone dizzy. For me personally, they made my left eye feel like it was in the center of my forehead, which made the waiting golf ball split into two. Miraculously, I still hit it, where it landed however, I couldn’t tell you.

On our way back to the Airbnb, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up some supplies for dinner, and then settled in for the night. Aside from dinner, my sister had put together plans to celebrate the 30th wedding anniversary of both our parents and Darryl and DeeDee—we had even stopped at the airport gift shop to find the strangest most wonderful trinkets that could act as prizes for the winners.

During the three rounds of the game, Natalee acted as host, and Cody and I acted as her judges and color commentators. And though it wasn’t necessary,  we went by aliases—Laura, Lisa & Lance—which we decided on solely because we saw this Dick’s Sporting Goods commercial, and then took a hard tangent into researching the inventors of the first sports bra. (Fun fact: it was invented in 1977 by Lisa Lindahl—hence our “L” named alter egos—Polly Smith, and Hinda Miller, by sewing two jock straps together, and was initially called the “jogbra.”) It should also be noted that my parents won the game, though not before one question revealed that my mother would be the first to eat my dad in order to survive on a desert island. So there’s that.

On Friday, the group of us woke up with a noticeable weight on our shoulders. While it was clear we were all trying to make the best of the weekend, the widespread panic regarding COVID-19, and our mostly unspoken worries of what the situation would be like back home, were heavy in the air. Conversation was quiet at lunch, even as we sat in a BBQ restaurant that had a 60,000 gallon aquarium inside—though I did take a few moments to name one of the sharks “Luke.” To top it all off, it was a very rainy, dreary day, so after leaving the restaurant, we nixed our plans of visiting the zoo next door and instead went back home. After that, the day mostly consisted of lounging, napping, and quiet conversations. And while I think it made us all a little sad, frustrated even that the weekend wasn’t turning out quite how we hoped it would, I also think we knew were lucky to have each other.

This only became more apparent when we went back to the grocery store that night. We went thinking we could grab some wine and a few ingredients to make cookies for dessert, only to find that, on top of the now infamously empty toilet paper shelves, there was also no flour, and only a couple cartons of eggs—one of which we ended up taking, but only after discarding the broken eggs inside. In fact, many aisles lay bare, some hard to make sense of. Walking through the grocery store, it was obvious that the panic we had previously only heard about on the news, was now right in front of us, slowly surrounding us everywhere we went. I started to think about the supplies I had back home, and whether they would suffice for the coming weeks. I started texting friends, asking how they were, trying to squash the anxiety that started to flutter at the bottom of my stomach. We still had a couple days left in Arizona, but the discomfort that had dawned with the morning had only multiplied as the day went on.

As we stood in line at the grocery store, I noticed how everyone still remained in somewhat organized lines, no matter how long, and that we were still, for the most part, kind and polite. I hoped that we’d all remain aware and respectful of our fellow man in the weeks to come, and that we wouldn’t let this panic turn into chaos. Then, in the cart in front of us, a baby smiled at me and my mom, and for a moment I forgot about absolutely everything.

The next day, we got up bright and early to head back to the zoo. And while the grounds were still a little muddy from the day before, we got to take our time walking from exhibit to exhibit, soaking in some Vitamin D, and learning about the surprisingly diverse animal population at Litchfield Park’s Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium.

Afterward, we headed to lunch at the Arrogant Butcher, which would serve as our last sit down meal as a group. Later that afternoon, Cody would fly home, and the next morning, after dropping Darryl and DeeDee off at the airport to do the same, my family and I would make the six hour drive back to California in my dad’s truck.

By the time we all arrived home, it was obvious that the weekend was not quite what we had hoped. While there were some great parts, overall, we lacked the magic (and Mel) that had made the previous year so perfect. Going into it, we’d hoped to put the troubles of the world aside, but it quickly became clear that we couldn’t do that. Unlike most vacations, where the responsibilities of the world can fade into the background, this trip was riddled with calls (and texts and emails and news reports) from the real world, demanding we hear them no matter where we were. So as we all went our separate ways and tried prepare for the week ahead, we agreed that we would try again next year.

As I sit here, writing about the weekend, I have no idea what to expect going into this workweek. I don’t know what the state of the world will look like in a month, let alone next March when, if we’re lucky, we might find ourselves counting down for another trip to Spring Training. What I do know is that I am very fortunate.  Times like these make you realize how much you take for granted, and how much you already have, regardless of your dwindling supply of toilet paper. So let’s not lose sight of that as we step into these unknown few months.

Let us remember how lucky we are to have people who love us. Let us hold tight to the world we know, and fight not with each other but for each other, to get back to that world. Let us take it one day at a time, never allowing the fear to overshadow our innate human goodness.

We can get through this together if we go through it together. So let’s take a deep breath, take the necessary cautionary steps, help each other where we can, and get through it.

10 Things I Love About Baseball

We are about two weeks into Spring Training, and about two weeks away from the start of the regular season, which has my baseball loving heart soaring. I am once again approaching my happy place: when the notifications on my phone are primarily game scores and player updates, when evening plans can easily be made when my team has a home game, and when frustration with work, life, etc. can be expressed through angrily shouting at poor decisions made by a manager, and terrible calls made by an umpire.

Baseball is BACK, my friends, and since I wrote this post a couple years ago listing my favorite things about football, I thought it was about time I did the same for my favorite sport.

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1) The Season(s)

Since baseball starts in the spring and ends in the fall, the weather is usually pretty glorious, no matter where you might be watching. Sure, it rains sometimes and occasionally gets cold when the sun goes down, but for the better part of the season, baseball gives you the best weather, and calls for the most casual, comfortable clothes in your closet.

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2) The Environment

On average, a baseball game is a minimum of three hours. For some people, this is too long, but for me, it is perfect. Baseball gives you time to relax. To both watch and chat with friends. To eat and drink and laugh and sit in complete, unawkward silence as you listen the sounds of the game, as well as contribute a few of your own. Depending on your home stadium (and how often you go) you are likely to learn a series of “clapping cheers” that the sound booth will cue multiple times throughout the game. Having gone to games since I was little, I was unaware how brainwashed trained I was until I brought a friend to a game who was unfamiliar with baseball, and she asked how she was supposed to know when to clap. I looked at her, bewildered, unaware that it was something I had learned rather than something I was born knowing.

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3) The Food

Again, the specifics on what you will find depends on where you are and what stadium you are visiting, but no matter what, baseball brings out some of the best food in the world.

*pauses for backlash*

*pauses again to signify that I have no interest in arguing this point*

If you don’t believe me, believe Humphrey.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 6.58.52 PM

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4) Collective Cheering & Booing

One thing I think we can all agree on is that we, as a world, need to be more united. On grand scale issues, yes, on humanitarian issues, of course, but it can start with the small things. That being said, if you are looking for unity, you’d be hard pressed to find a greater display than that from passionate baseball fans disagreeing with a call that could cost their team the game, or rising to their feet in an effort to cheer their team to victory.

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5) Web Gems

During the season, many sports news outlets create weekly top 10 countdowns of amazing plays, called “web gems.” This is where you see the best of the best in catches, throws, and plays—where fans can agree that this is why they are paying them the big bucks. Do we drastically underestimate how hard the rest of the game is, and thus how impossible these web gems actually are? 100%. But do we give ourselves a break because we have high expectations and can barely afford to buy a second beer? Also, 100%.

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6) Bloopers

On the other side of things, there are also roundups of goofy mistakes made by the players, be it a fall, a drastic miscommunication, or a ball lost in the sun. Personally, I think these demonstrate what most of the population would look like if we tried to play baseball at a professional level, which is why we find these bloopers funny and even endearing, because it’s a reminder that these elite athletes are still human.

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7) Bottom of the 9th, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of thing

In the classic 1995 Olsen twin film, It Takes Two, this statement is used to describe the feeling of true love. While I adore and respect that usage, I also love its roots. Every baseball player dreams of the once in a lifetime opportunity to become a hero in the 9th inning of a World Series game. Whether that be hitting a home run, making a game winning catch/play, or striking out the last batter of the game. I love that baseball is a game that allows anyone on the team be a hero. Take Kirk Gibson in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, who hobbled to the plate—with two injured legs—to pinch hit, and ended up hitting the game winning home run.

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8) The Nicknames

Like any sport, when a player you like steps into the game, you want to cheer for them, and in cheering for them, you end up coming up with nicknames—sometimes multiple for each player. I would say, at minimum, my family and I have about three nicknames per player, which is useful, because it’s a long season, and sometimes you need to mix it up.

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9) Social Media

A newer addition to this list is the social media presence of teams—especially my team, but I realize I’m biased. I love getting a behind the scenes look at the team. It allows me to better get to know the players and borderline consider them my friends and/or family members. This does make my cheering for them and the outcome of their games much more influential on my overall happiness than it should be, but it’s fine. It’s fun. I love it. And it is glaringly obvious how attached I am to this content when the off-season comes around and my Instagram feed is a barren wasteland.

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10) Dodger Stadium

joel-muniz-ljyr7oGZo4I-unsplash

Last and the furthest thing from least, Dodger Stadium. This is not only the home of my favorite team, but truly one of my favorite places in the world. I can’t definitively say that it is the best stadium in the world, because I haven’t been to all 30, but even if had/when I do, I know that Dodger Stadium will forever be my favorite because it is where I grew up and where my team plays.

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Go Dodgers!

My Quest to Find a Morning Routine (Part 1)

I am not a morning person.

Well, I shouldn’t say that. I am not a weekday morning person. I am a weekend morning person—but that’s only because I often get to wake up without an alarm and do anything I want with my day.

Those weekdays though. They are brutal.

Even when I put in the effort to get a good night’s sleep beforehand, when my work alarm goes off, I feel like death—often provoking me to press snooze. And while yes, I know it’s been scientifically proven that pressing snooze is not good for you and ultimately makes you feel more tired, I do it anyway. And when I wake up 15 minutes later feeling 100% more tired than I did before, I press snooze again, and again, until I have left exactly enough time (as long as there are no missteps or tangents) for me to get ready, make my lunch and get to work on time.

It’s a viscous cycle, my friends. One that I’ve been wanting to break for a long time now.

And so, finally, that is what I am setting out to do.

For the month of March, I’ve decided that I am going to try to find a morning routine that will encourage me to break my snoozing habit and start each morning on a better note. I want to find the energy for weekdays that I have on weekends when I wake up with the sun and blast old Marah Carey songs on Spotify. I want Saturday morning Kim to become every day Kim. It is a lofty goal, but I am willing to try.

Before I dive in, I thought it would be helpful to write out the “routine” I have now, so I can get a realistic idea of if/how much time I have to fit in anything new, or if perhaps my real goal should simply be to figure out how I can do what I already do, without pressing snooze and forcing myself to get ready at a near jogging pace.

So, as of now, this is what my average morning routine looks like:

-6:30 a.m. Work alarm goes off.

-Snooze alarm (twice) until 6:55 a.m. (Oops.)

-Make bed

-Brush teeth.

-Wash Face.

-Apply Moisturizer.

-Turn on a podcast.

-Get dressed (I’m just realizing I always put my socks on first, is that weird?)

-Put on makeup and try my best with my hair

-7:20 a.m. (on a GOOD DAY) Head downstairs to make lunch, fill water bottle, take vitamins and grab a breakfast to go.

-7:30 a.m. Leave for work.

Okay, so it’s clear that I consistently leave myself time to do the necessities and absolutely nothing else. Thus, if I even want to have a chance at adding anything new (or making any corrections) I first need to stop snoozing my alarm. This comes as no real surprise, but I was also secretly hoping I would determine I was perfect and call it a day.

I have often tried to correct my snoozing habit by grabbing my phone to scroll through social media (while still laying down), thinking it will wake me up. But this almost always puts me back to sleep—phone in hand—until my alarm goes off again. For the last few months however, I have been using Downtime on my phone (which I mentioned in this favorites post) and that keeps almost all of my apps locked until 7:20 a.m. As a result, with little ability to check anything except my email and the weather, I just hit snooze and go right back to sleep. Then, when I ultimately wake up late, I feel frustrated with myself, and when I follow that up with 30 minutes of frantically getting ready, I don’t really give myself a fair shot at starting the day off right.

Which brings me to the Internet.

I currently have about 10 windows open, each primed with tips on how to perfect your morning routine. In skimming through them, I’ve found that most recommend a combination of the following:

-Eat a good breakfast

-Exercise

-Meditate

-Recite affirmations and/or set intentions

-Connect to gratitude

-Read and/or journal

Of these, I only consistently (read: ever) do two.

I love this overnight oat recipe and almost always have a few made ahead in my refrigerator—making the “grab breakfast on the go” portion of my morning much easier. I also always turn on a podcast to listen to while I’m getting ready. But while the other suggestions are wonderful, and undoubtedly beneficial to some, to be honest, most of them don’t interest me.

To quickly run through them: I personally prefer to exercise in the afternoon and journal/gratitude check at night, I would 100% fall asleep while meditating and/or reading first thing after I woke up, and though intentions and affirmations are wonderful, my brain (especially my weekday brain) needs time to warm up.

Some other suggestions included having a cup of coffee or tea (neither of which I drink) and talking to a friend or loved one (which I sometimes actively avoid first thing in the morning.) So while I’m looking for some advice, I’m also trying to be realistic about what would benefit me and what wouldn’t.

I’m also trying to avoid giving myself a to-do list. As a lover of lists, I know the pressure I would put on myself to complete one, and the regret and devastation I would feel each morning when I didn’t get it done. So instead of giving myself a list of chores to complete, I am really trying to hone in on the word routine. I want to find a routine that feels natural, that flows, makes me feel good, and doesn’t make me yell threatening things at other morning drivers—or, ideally, makes me do this less.

With that in mind, rather than trying to convert my routine into one that is identical to those that are “scientifically backed” or “used by successful billionaires” I only wrote down ideas (especially from this article) that interested me, and I’m going to see if/how they can fit into my already established “routine”.

Here are a few ideas that I liked:

Dream journal: I am prone to strange and vivid dreams, and I have often wanted to keep better track of them, both because I’m curious and because maybe I should be studied.

Stretch: I often feel stiff once I get to work, and then I spend the day sitting at my computer, making me feel more stiff. So I’m thinking a low-key stretch routine that I can do in my pajamas might help start me the day on the right foot.

Review your schedule/to-do list for the day: For this one, it is recommended to write out a schedule or ideal to-list for your day the night before and then review it when you wake up. I like this idea because it takes a little while for my brain to warm up in the morning, and oftentimes I’ll find myself scrambling through my mind for things I may have forgotten. This could serve as my own personal recap, similar to the way television shows replay scenes from the previous week’s episode. Previously on Kim’s thought process…

Do a crossword puzzle: The New York Times app has a small, daily crossword puzzle that I like but often forget about, and I think it could be a good way to get my brain working—as long as I sit up to do it.

Try SmartWake: I often wear my FitBit Versa to bed, and it has a setting called SmartWake that you can turn on with any alarm. Once set, it will wake you up between sleep cycles within a half hour of your desired wake up time, making it less likely for you to wake up groggy and tired.

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So, this is my jumping off point.

Over the next month, I will try out these ideas/strategies and see if/how they affect my morning routine. I will also continue to do research to see what other ideas are out there.

Here’s hoping one of them can get me up without hitting snooze and, finally, let me (at least kind of) take my time in the morning.

I’ll keep you posted.

I Can’t Believe You Kept This

I have a scrapbook in my room filled with paper souvenirs that I’ve collected both from vacations, events, and the average, seemingly ordinary days. I have wristbands from concerts and boarding passes from flights. I have a sticker from the first time I gave blood and a parking ticket from the City of Vancouver. I have birthday cards, receipts from fun bars and ticket stubs from nearly every movie I’ve seen in theaters. But my favorite things, and the ones I collect most, are notes.

I don’t just mean the heartfelt, emotional letters, or the funny, memory filled anecdotes— some of my most prized possessions are the simple scribbles, written on post it notes, scraps of paper, or whatever happened to be in reach. I love the way that notes can bring simple moments back to life, and the way someone’s handwriting can give their words a voice, no matter how long it may have been since you’ve heard it.

By all accounts, I am a hoarder of notes. I’ll keep them whether they say “I love you” or “we’re out of milk.” I have notes written on napkins, drawings from hotel notepads, and a birthday message written on the back of an envelope. On one page in my scrapbook, I have a few sheets of paper covered in check marks, hearts, and the letter w, that came from a night when my roommates and I sat at the kitchen table together, fascinated by the different mechanics of our handwriting.

Each of the notes can take me back to when I got it. Sometimes in vivid detail, other times with only blurry recollection. I might not remember what I was wearing or what else might have happened that day, but I can connect to that moment and to the feeling I had when the note was written. And I love being able to share those moments with my friends and family, and watching as their faces light up in recognition.

“I can’t believe you kept this,” they say.

But as we reconnect all the dots surrounding the day and moment in question, and we smile and laugh as we unlock the memories that had long faded into the background, I think we both realize that this is why.

So don’t mind me as I steal this paper menu from your wedding, or this napkin we doodled on at dinner, or this map from the day we spent at the zoo. It just means I found a little goodness here and I want to keep that goodness.

For Laycee

This past weekend my family lost our dog, Laycee, who was a vibrant, beautiful member of our family for nine years. It was a hard day, one that we’d dreaded, but ultimately knew had to come, and we are happy to know that she lived a good life, full of love, both given and received.

When thinking about how I could honor Laycee, and the love that we all receive from pets that come into our lives at just the right time, I knew I had to turn to my sister Natalee. She had such a special relationship with Laycee, that my mom often interchanged their names in conversation. They were destined for each other, and just as any love story changes the world, so too did theirs. And so, as a final goodbye to our pretty girl, I wanted Natalee to tell their story.

This is what she wrote:

 

To My Perfect Angel,

It was a chilly day in early December of 2010. My whole family piled in to the car and set out on what ended up being a long, confusing drive. I don’t even remember the story my parents told us about where we were going, but I do remember feeling slightly concerned that the deserted, off the beaten path location we eventually found ourselves in might be the place of the Koehn family’s demise. I later found out Kim and our brother Troy were feeling the same way. Much to our delight, however, we soon learned that our parents had pulled a fast one on us! We hadn’t driven out there to meet our doom, we had driven out there to get our first family dog!

Soon we were flooded with the exciting and overwhelming scene of dogs barking, tails wagging and eyes begging to be chosen. I remember being in total disbelief. I had wanted and asked for a dog for SO long. I couldn’t believe we were actually getting one! We immediately dispersed and started looking for the one we would take home with us. Troy liked a black lab with giant paws and an even bigger personality. Kim loved all of them. I had no idea how I would ever walk out of there with just one.

 Until you walked over to me.

 With your head slumped down and your whole body shaking, you walked up to me, you let me pet you, and you stole my heart. My whole family saw the instant connection, and not 10 minutes later we were walking back to the car with you in my arms.

I know it sounds cliché, but that day changed my life. It was the beginning of winter break in my senior year of high school, and those days were truly some of my worst. I was in a dark place, and the punches were only just starting to be thrown my way. But you made all the difference. No matter what happened during the day, I had a loyal, loving, anxious little angel waiting for me at home, never questioning my character or making me feel like I wasn’t worth anything. I had a companion. Trust wasn’t an easy thing for either of us, but I had yours, and you had mine.

As it turns out, my parents knew what they were doing all those years they said no to letting me have a dog. They knew the right time, and the right pup, would come along. And for me, that was and will always be you. See you soon my precious angel. I’ll love you forever.

Thank You, Kobe.

This past weekend might have been a lot of things for a lot of people, but there was one collective moment most of us shared.

It was an awful moment. The kind we’ll replay over and over again. The kind that 20, 30 years from now we’ll still swap, “where were you when..” stories about.

For me, I was in North Carolina, visiting my cousins. I was standing in line at an ice cream shop, taking bites of my waffle cone filled with Carolina Crunch as I waited to pay. Then, with a pivot, my cousin Ashlynn turned to me, phone in hand and said, “is this true?”

It was.

Kobe Bryant had been killed in a helicopter crash.

As the day went on, the details came out. We learned that Gianna, Kobe’s 13 year old daughter, as well as seven other passengers—children, mothers, fathers, wives and husbands—had also been killed in the crash.

As the weeks go on, we’ll likely learn more. But for now, we’re just left with what we know, and what we feel.

And we all feel it.

Over the last two days, social media has been flooded with condolences, prayers and heartbreak, but more than anything, it has been filled with stories. Moments. Thank you’s.

Kobe Bryant will undoubtedly be one of the greatest, if not the greatest basketball player to ever play the game. But he was also, incredibly, so much more than that. He had only just begun to start his life and his movement after basketball, and it is clear in the heartbreak of everyone in and outside the NBA that they—we—are not only mourning a legend on the court, but an all around hero.

For me personally, growing up in Los Angeles, I grew up watching Kobe. And even though I haven’t always known basketball, I’ve always known Kobe, and thus, in many ways, to me, Kobe was basketball. His God given talent and his out of this world work ethic—he was a superhuman, destined, determined and demanding of greatness. This was clear to the die hard fan and the naked eye.

This is why, I think, this loss is so widespread and deep. Because suddenly there is a sense of hopelessness, a fear of emptiness, a question of: who now do we have to look up to the way we did Kobe?

I have read so many stories and been incredibly moved by the impact one man can have on an entire world. But while this loss is one we will always feel, I hope that all of that inspiration, that hope, that wonder that he brought to basketball, to fans, to friends, family, acquaintances, and everyone and everything in between, that those lessons will not only live on in his memory, but they will ripple outward, creating even more stories, more wonder, more inspiration, more love, not because he died, but because he lived.

So thank you, Kobe. There may never be another one like you, but there are so many who are better because of you.

May you, your daughter, and everyone else lost rest in peace. You will all be greatly missed.

For My Fellow Worms

While going through some of the old documents on my computer, I came across this little story. I think it was my hope that one day it would become a children’s book, but that never transpired, and now it’s just been sitting in folder oblivion for a few years, so I thought I would share it here.

I think we can all relate to Wally in one way or another heavy-black-heart_2764

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Wally the worm woke up with the squirm and wiggled his way down the road

He passed the tall flowers and birds taking showers, to find his friend Marvin the toad.

“Oh Marvin,” said Wally, “What a glum day this is.

I’d hoped that last night, the stars heard my wish.

I wanted to wake up a big hungry bear,

or maybe a lion with long fluffy hair.

Perhaps a green crocodile with big shiny teeth,

or even a monkey that climbs trees with his feet.

But this morning I found I was still just me,

I guess a little brown worm is all I’ve ever be.”

 

“What’s wrong with that?” said Marvin with a “RIBBIT.”

Wally sighed and said, “You just don’t get it.

Toads like you can catch flies on their tongue,

and hop high between lily pads for just a bit of fun.

But all I’ll ever do is wiggle and squirm,

digging in the dirt, just a tiny little worm.”

 

Then Marvin and Wally went down to the river,

to see their friend Sammy, a bushy tailed beaver.

“Good Morning!” said Sammy with a big toothy smile.

“Hello!” said Marvin, “Haven’t seen you in a while.”

“I’ve been working so hard on my dam made of wood,

it’s almost finished now, do you think it looks good?”

With one look at the dam, Wally said “Wow.

I wish I could do that, but I don’t know how.

Maybe tonight I’ll wish to be a beaver too,

so I can build something beautiful, and do things like you.”

Sammy smiled, but then shook her head,

“Don’t wish to be me, be you instead!”

 

Wally sighed and Marvin said, “RIBBIT”.

“Oh Sammy,” said Wally, “You just don’t get it.

Beavers like you can build things brand new,

and birds in the trees sing beautiful tunes.  

Peacocks have feathers prettier than gold,

and tigers have stripes and a roar oh so bold.  

You all have something that makes me say ‘wow’

and all I can do is squirm on the ground.  

Maybe tonight I’ll wish I was a giraffe standing tall,

or an ocean blue whale, the biggest beast of them all.

And then tomorrow I’ll wake up something better than me,

so you’ll finally say ‘wow’ when it’s me that you see.”

 

Then Wally and Marvin wished Sammy farewell

and walked down the road ‘til they saw an anthill. 

Next to it they saw a long line of ants,

marching and carrying heavy packs on their backs.

Led by Sgt. Pepper, carrying a load thrice her size,

Marvin and Wally watched the ants in surprise.

They marched and they marched and Wally said, “Wow.

So small and so strong, but I wonder, how?

If I were an ant, I too could be strong.

I could be part of their team and march all night long.

No one would see me as just a lousy worm,

but a hard-working insect, with respect that I’d earned.”

 

Suddenly Marvin and Wally heard a voice from up high,

and a tall beautiful sunflower looked down with brown eyes.

“Oh Wally,” said the flower, “Don’t you know what you are?”

“Yes,” Wally answered, “A tiny worm, nothing more.”

 

The sunflower sighed and Marvin said, “RIBBIT”

“Oh Wally,” she said, “You just don’t get it.

You watch us flowers grow tall in the spring,

and you see our colors blossom as the birds in trees sing.

It’s because of you this forest is so green and lush.

Without little worms like you, we’d be nothing but mush.

When you dig in the dirt, it helps our seeds grow,

you make the dirt healthy for us, didn’t you know?

We all have a “wow” and they don’t look the same,

but they all have an important place and a name.

So don’t wish on stars for sharp teeth or long hair.

Don’t hope for long legs or the strength of a bear.

Everyone has a wow that is theirs alone,

so please take the time to appreciate your own.

 

Wally was speechless and Marvin said, “RIBBIT”,

then Wally squirmed and said, “Now I get it.

It doesn’t matter the size or shape I am,

it doesn’t matter I can’t hop high or build a dam.

I have my own wow in my tiny little me,

and that is all I’ll ever need to be.

So when the stars come out and the sun goes home,

I’ll be grateful for the wows I have of my own.

I’ll go to sleep with a yawn, a wiggle, and a squirm,

hoping tomorrow I wake up me, a perfect little worm.”

I Got My Wisdom Teeth Out (Again)

Fun fact about me: I have wonky teeth.

I wore braces throughout most of high school, and then after getting them off, I had one tooth go so rogue that I had to put them back on for a year in college.

When I was about 15 years old, I went in to get my wisdom teeth removed. While I had four, the dentist decided it was best to only remove the bottom two, because they were drilling a hole in the roof of my mouth to pull one of my teeth down from somewhere I can only describe as oblivion. (That’s another story.)

At the time, I can imagine they thought they were saving me from total mouth trauma, but I kind of wish they would have just gone for it. If they had, maybe I wouldn’t have found myself back at the dentist, almost 15 years later, hearing that my top two wisdom teeth were coming in (sideways, I might add) and that I needed to get them removed as soon as possible.

Sitting in the chair before the surgery this past Tuesday, I was nervous, but trying my best to look calm. I clutched onto my sweatshirt, which I’d been required to take off so they could put a blood pressure monitor on one arm and an IV in the other. The nurse told me I could keep the sweatshirt on my lap, so that after I woke up I could slip it right back on.

“Okay,” I said, trying my best to sound nonchalant. She seemed convinced, that is until she put a heart rate monitor on my pointer finger and it alerted the entire room that my pulse was over 100. Still, I took some deep breaths and tried to smile.

WHAT IF I DIE IN THIS CHAIR? my darkest fears wondered.

“Yes, I had a good holiday,” I said aloud to the nurse.

The doctor then told me he was going to give me the medicine that would put me to sleep, and that I would probably feel lightheaded and a little groggy. I nodded, blinked a few times at the bright light above me, and then looked down at my watch, curious how close we were to the 1:30 p.m. start time, so I could see how long the surgery took to finish. My fingers fumbled with my watch a few times, but when I was finally able to read it, I saw the time said 2:20 p.m.

I also noticed I was now in a wheelchair.

And my sweatshirt was back on.

And my mom was there.

Oh, so…I guess we’re done?

Speaking to her the day after my appointment, my mom said I looked calm, peaceful even. She said I wasn’t pale, and aside from the swollen cheeks and mounds of gauze in my mouth, my coloring and overall demeanor suggested that I was doing remarkably well.

On the drive home, we stopped at McDonald’s to get me a vanilla shake (and a spoon) so I could put something in my stomach before I started taking my medication. Going through the drive thru, I widely praised my mother’s sense of direction for choosing a McDonald’s so close to the pharmacy. I also gave her a recap of what had happened, most of which surrounded the mystery of how my sweatshirt was put back on without my noticing.

“Also,” I said, disappointed and full of sass, “I can’t believe the nurse didn’t go over the post-op instructions with me.” Because even high on laughing gas and pain medication, my priorities were rules.

“She did,” my mom said, “I think you were just distracted and you didn’t hear her.”

When we pulled into the parking lot at the pharmacy, I was holding my vanilla shake.

“I’ll be right back,” my mom said, and then I nodded, watched her walk inside, and then sat there, staring forward for about 10 minutes.

Now, I don’t remember seeing anyone else in that parking lot, but I can tell you that if someone saw me, sitting stiffly and staring unflinchingly, all while holding a vanilla shake in her left hand like a prisoner, I can imagine they probably kept walking, quickly.

While sitting there, I texted my sister: “I am out and alive and everything is moving in slow motion. Also I have a vanilla shake.” 

A summary in its purest form.

Shortly after, I arrived home, where my sister was waiting with ice packs, water, and Top Ramen. After a few hours, I asked if I looked swollen.

“Only a little,” she said, maybe truthfully, maybe kindly, but then she added, “When you first got home you were very swollen.” Which only brought new life to my vanilla clad serial killer persona in the pharmacy parking lot.

As of now, I am still a little swollen, and still eat a little bit like the squirrel I appear to be, but I am on the mend. I am spending my days mostly on the couch, watching murder documentaries and a series on YouTube where celebrities get interviewed while eating hot wings, and I spend my nights dreaming about crunchy foods and the ability to open my mouth past the halfway point. By this time next week, I imagine I will be back to nearly tip top shape, though I can’t say if I’ll ever figure out who put my sweatshirt back on.