my favorite things: june edition

+ Open windows on rainy days. Let's all pretend it's October!

Too soon? Say no.

+ Piles of afghans. Actual piles I can dive into.

+ Tortoise shell glasses. I feel like a librarian in the fall. Where's my mustard cardigan?

+ Coffee with cocoa powder. It's the glory of God in beverage form.

+ Stacks of library books. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

+ Polka dots.

Just kidding!

Clearly I'm not kidding.

+ Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. In the interest of full disclosure, they're "lactation cookies." While certain ingredients may be beneficial, we all know it's just an excuse to eat cookies. And I'm using these cookies to fill the dairy-shaped hole in my heart and stomach.

That's right. No dairy. I'm not ready to talk about it yet. Just please keep me in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

+ Getting back on Facebook just to unfriend more people. It's cathartic.

+ Homemade sweet potato fries. Slice up a sweet potato, sprinkle some garlic salt on it, throw them in the oven, then eat them and fall to your knees in praise.

+ Frumpy linen shorts. And all post-partum bodies said Amen.

+ A box of yarn to knit with. Because summer is just the season of fall preparation. <---someone put that on a pillow.


taking a baby to work

"Guess how many people I spit up on today!"
Yesterday I took Gracie to work to show her off to my former coworkers. I've been putting this trip off for weeks. I knew I needed to hand in my things in to HR, and officially closing this chapter of my life feels a little bittersweet. I wasn't quite ready. I wouldn't trade being home with Gracie for anything, but I really liked that job (most of the time), and I liked my coworkers (most of the time).

But yesterday, I pulled up my big girl non-maternity (!) jeans, put a bow in Gracie's hair, and I did it. I walked back to my old desk to find that all my things had been cleared off and someone else was sitting there. THE UTTER BETRAYAL. We parted ways mere weeks ago, and yet my swivel chair had already claimed someone else's hips to torture. My friend handed me a folder of my things, including but not limited to: pictures of my cat, a fake autographed picture of Benedict Cumberbatch, and a poem I wrote about goats.

As you can see, I was a very hard-working, dedicated employee, and they are very sad to see me go.

A small crowd started to form once people caught sight of The Hair, and I held Gracie up above the maze of cubes, Simba on Pride Rock style, and introduced her to everyone as the reason I cried and threw up for nine months. Right on cue, Gracie spewed like Old Faithful. She covered herself and my arms in spit up to an audience of 20. She kept the pattern up and only spit up whenever I introduced her to someone, saving the best job for my boss. I took her to James' office last week, and she did the exact same thing. We walked out of both offices reeking of nervous sweat and sour milk.

I walked around the whole building, one arm full of baby and the other full of burp rags and chatted up all my old friends. I fended off several questions of "when do you think you'll have your next baby?" with a swift GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN. I attempted to delicately balance commiserating with other moms on the horrors of birth and recovery while also trying to downplay the dramatics to my very pregnant friends who were hanging on every word. I said a heartfelt goodbye to the floor underneath my desk where I took more than one nausea-induced siesta. I thought about showing Gracie the stall in the bathroom where she forced me to spend many a work day, but I stopped myself. I handed my badge and parking permit to the girl from HR while Gracie did one more puke job on my friend, and then we walked out the doors I hadn't been through since I was 9 months pregnant.

And then I came home, put on my pajamas, ate some cookies, and called it my retirement party.


my secret love

I have a secret obsession. It's scandalous. It's long-lasting. It's steamy...literally.

My name is Michelle, and I'm obsessed with the weather.

My dream job is to be a meteorologist. No really, a meteorologist.

Whenever I watch the news, I start to foam at the mouth during the weather segments. It has nothing to do with being on TV; it's all about THE WEATHERS.

I'm obsessed with the weather.

I have no idea where this obsession came from, but I've had it as long as I can remember. I remember learning about the water cycle and the different types of clouds in elementary school and telling everyone who would listen all I knew about cumulous clouds. I grew up with my dad constantly checking the weather online and measuring rainfall with his rain gauge hanging on the wooden fence in the backyard. Today, he has a fancy weather station that measures everything that can be measured. He could report the weather from his living room with more accuracy than the local meteorologist.

Ok, so maybe I get it honestly. I live for the day I have my own backyard in which I can measure rainfall and windspeed. The thought alone makes me weak in the knees.

Storms used to terrify me, but now they fill me with boundless joy. The summer we moved to Ohio, I saw my first funnel cloud. I was petrified. Terrified. But somewhere along the road, my fear turned into an undying and deep love. A threat of tornadoes will still paralyze me with fear (I grew up in earthquake country!), but a part of me still feels the tiniest bit jealous of all those who live in tornado alley. SO MUCH DRAMA ALL SUMMER LONG.

I have 6 (SIX!) weather apps on my phone that I check at least once an hour. Nothing brings me greater joy than to know the weather forecast. I was known for it at work. All day long, people would ask me the weather forecast. If there was even a hint of a storm, my dual computer monitors were covered in weather radars, and I would quickly pull up Microsoft Outlook if someone walked by. It was completely acceptable to check the weather, but I figured that something that gave me that much joy at work must surely be wrong. When I finally got a desk by the window, I nearly died from happiness. It wasn't about the sunlight or the people watching; it was about a firsthand view of the weather. If I heard someone question the weather for the weekend, I would pop over my cube and give a thorough hourly forecast. When I left for maternity leave, all those sitting around me could only ask "but how will we know the weather??"

James shares my love of weather. The very first time we hung out together, I went to visit him while he was house-sitting for a friend. We turned on the TV and watched a documentary about tornadoes, each of us completely enthralled. Tornado documentaries are our candlelit dinner. Whenever there's a storm out, we'll turn the local news on and James will hunt for the telltale hook on the radar--the indication that a tornado is forming--and we'll high five when the meteorologist points to it.

We like to think we know everything. Please do not...(wait for it)...rain on our parade.

We text each other about the weather every day. Now that it's summer, my new favorite topic of weather-related conversation is the dew point. I'll text him, aghast at a 70 degree dew point, that we'll probably have pop-up storms this afternoon. And then I look out the window every hour and scour the sky for storm clouds. I already love pointing out a good thunderhead to Gracie. James will walk outside on his breaks and send me pictures of storm clouds. I turn on the local news and watch the meterologists melodramatically describe the clouds and wind gusts while I sit on the edge of the couch like I'm watching an action-thriller.

I tend to hate summer since it includes all my least-favorite things: sweat, shorts, sweat, bathing suits, sweat, humidity, sweat, mosquitos, and sweat. But I love it for the storms. The storms! I like to think my love of storms comes from my penchant for drama. Some women stir up drama in social situations, but I get my fill through the weather. I get high off extreme weather. Whenever a forecasted storms fails to come to fruition, I feel like I've been stood up on a date. Give me rain, give me hail, give me record-breaking blizzards. Just give me something to track on a weather map.

You might be wondering why I didn't go to school for meteorology. Three words: math and physics. My brain does not work that way. I followed my strengths instead and studied English, which means I'm doomed to a life writing about my love of the weather.

I could think of worse things.


currently, vol. 12

Feeling: ALL HOPPED UP ON CAFFEINE. It's 90 degrees today so I'm chugging iced coffee. CAN YOU TELL!?!?!?!?


Craving: a vacation. My parents are in California and I'm not and it feels like a deep, dark betrayal. Except their plane had an electrical fire last night, so maybe it's not such a bad thing to be stuck at home after all.

hold me, sweet Jesus
Watching: Hart of Dixie. It's kind of cheesy but it's so entertaining. There's constantly country music playing in the show which drives me crazy, except for one episode where Achy Breaky Heart started playing. I almost tossed Gracie off my lap to line dance in the living room. 

Listening: I was just breaking it down to Alabama Shakes in the car. Flailing arms and everything. 

Drinking: ICED COFFEE, REMEMBER? Can you get me a refill?

Reading: Amish Confidential. Whatever, I'm owning it.

Planning: Excursions! James is going to watch Gracie and I'm going to take myself on a date this weekend. I need to escape by myself for a little bit before I implode. You feel me, fellow introverts?

Making: I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies the other day, and I think I now have a chemical dependency on them. 

Cooking: I was going to make soup today, but then it hit 90 degrees. I think I'll just stick a straw in a watermelon instead. Summer soup!

Thinking: That there are too many books I want to read and NOT ENOUGH TIME. This feels like an actual crisis.

Loving: Visiting James at work. Gracie and got ourselves all gussied up and got the heck out of those house. We showed her off to his coworkers where she spit up (spat up?) on everything and everyone. I sucked it up and nursed her in his office, and we SURVIVED. People kept knocking on his office door and I had to swivel the chair around to hide the show. It was an adventure. Everything with a baby is an adventure.

But really, will you get me an iced coffee refill? 


reading rainbow

Book reviews! Book reviews! Calling all bookworms! Let's hug!

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: This is one of those books I love to hate. I despised nearly every character, but at the same time I couldn't put the darn book down because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. Yes, a little Gone Girl-ish, but less creepy. Still dark. The fact that it's set in England was my favorite part. Worth the read if you want to get sucked into a book. Just know that you might wish you could crawl inside the book to smack a few characters around.

Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls: I adored this book. It's the precursor to The Glass Castle, which I actually haven't read yet but is sitting on my coffee table right now and is next on my list to read. It's a true story about growing up in a wild-west-meets-Great-Depression-era. I found the whole story enchanting and fascinating. This book will make you want to hop on a horse and ride it to the nearest one-room schoolhouse.

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes: UGH. I liked the story until the end. I had no idea what this book was about, so I threw it in my bag as we were leaving for the hospital when I was in labor, and I'm so glad I didn't read it while I was there. The story plus my post-partum hormones and lack of sleep would've sent me to the depths of despair. It's essentially the whole Brittany Maynard saga in a book, which I did not realize until I started reading it. Everyone else loved this book, but given my contrarian nature, I am doomed to hate it.

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan: This book came out when I was newly pregnant, and I had to unfollow Jim on twitter and instagram because the pictures of the book along with various food items made me heave more than once. I had to wait until after I gave birth to read this book due to my 9 months of morning sickness, and it was worth the wait. It's hysterical. It made me crave hot dogs like I've never craved anything in my life. My only issue is that a lot of the book came straight out of his stand-up routines, which I'm quite familiar with, so it seemed a bit recycled. If you're not as familiar with his routines, read this immediately. Just don't read it while hungry. Trust me.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: If you've been around here for more than two seconds then you know I have an unnatural love of WWII. This book follows a blind French girl and a German boy through the war. The years and points-of-view bounce around which can be confusing at times, but it's such a good story that sticks with you. The writing is very poetic, and I wish I could've basked in it a little longer, but I had four days to read this to get it back to the library on time, and this book is a beast. 

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill: My aunt came to visit after Gracie was born, and she told me about this book. Jenna is the niece of the head of Scientology, David Miscavige. I knew Scientology was a weird religion, but I had no idea how bizarre it actually is. She wrote about her experience growing up in it and how she eventually escaped. It is a SAGA. I was seriously stunned at the things they teach people and what they force them to endure. If you're curious about Scientology or what it's about, it's worth the read. It's very detailed and wordy and could've used a little more editing, but it's crazy. It's insane. You'll never look at Tom Cruise the same way again.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler: Do I even need to write this review? Hasn't everyone already read this by now? I love Amy Poehler to pieces. I think she's one of the most talented performers/actors/comedians of our day. But I didn't love this book. There were parts that were great, but I thought she came off a little obnoxious at times. The chapters on Parks and Rec and her friendship with Tina made it all worth it.

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan: I remember when Marina died right after her Yale graduation. I remember reading her essay as it went viral. I loved it. It resonated with me as I was only one year out of college at the time. She reminds me of a real-life Rory Gilmore. She was from New England, went to Yale, and majored in English. Her writing could put many famous authors to shame. However, I didn't love all the essays and stories in this book. Some of her fiction was just weird and left me feeling like she just really likes smoking pot. Some of her non-fiction essays felt more like research papers and assignments her former professors handed over to the publisher. But overall, it's good.

What have you been reading? What should I read? Tell me everything. I'm definitely not reading a book on the Amish right now. Nope, not at all.