Get your tickets to our next reading: http://bit.ly/2i39Zl5
1.Oodles more readers. Yes, I’m talking to YOU. In case you missed ‘em, here are five of our most-read posts from 2016:
2. Family adventures. 2016 was an epic travel year. We kayaked with whales. We visited Iceland. We flew over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter I felt certain would kill us all. Most of all, we scampered hither and yon with our kiddos and actually, kind of, enjoyed being together [even though 3/5 of the family yacked all over Frankfurt, Germany . . . ugh, some things you just can’t unsee].
3. We published our first book. Which we have yapped about incessantly and ad nauseum, but which if you have somehow missed all of that you should still totally check out HERE. [Also, if you read it and liked it and have not yet rated it on Goodreads or Amazon, we’d love it if you could do us a solid.]
Here are 5 more awesome books we read this year:
Today Will Be Different, by Maria Semple
Circling the Sun, by Paula McClain
The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
The Somme, by Peter Hart
Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
4. Everybody is finally out of diapers and pull-ups – hooray! And 2016 was the first year when all of the children finally learned to sleep in their own beds and leave Mom and Dad alone – double hooray! For those keeping track at home, it has been 12 years of interrupted sleep. No wonder we look so old. Of course, as soon as everyone here was sleep trained, we decided to adopt a dog who is not. Grrr….
5. 2016 was the year we discovered podcasts – these awesome radio shows you can download and listen to on your phone when you scrub the bathroom or shovel snow. Podcasts take the menial labor of family life and make it transcendent. Do yourself a huge favor and subscribe to a few today. You’ll never look at dirty dishes the same way again.
Reply All – A show about the Internet, trained rats, and so much more. Ever wonder who invented the pop-up ad? Or why some websites make it almost impossible to reach an actual live person? Or what some of those weird Twitter hashtags actually mean? These guys decode the e-world for the rest of us. Try “Exit & Return,” Parts I and II, or “The Writing on the Wall” episode if you are looking for a place to start.
Revisionist History – Malcolm Gladwell looks back at ideas, events, and people in history and reinterprets them. I’m not doing the show justice in this description. The trilogy about higher education in this country is particularly terrific (“Carlos Doesn’t Remember,” “Food Fight,” and “My Little Hundred Million”).
Radiolab – We’ve been listening to Radiolab on NPR because it makes us smarter, but now we can get every episode and revisit them whenever we want. Don’t take our word for it. Go listen to them. “Patient Zero,” “Colors,” “The Cathedral,” “Birthstory,” or any of the dozens of other terrific episodes.
Heavyweight – Jonathon Goldstein takes people back to revisit a moment in their lives when everything went wrong, and whether it was being bullied at school or loaning CDs that you never got back, he tries to help folks fix what is broken, or at least make peace with it. Try episode #2 “Gregor” for a way in.
This American Life – Still going strong. Still the best in the business when it comes to storytelling. They are 600 episodes in. If you have not started listening yet, I am giddy just thinking about all the great stories just waiting for you.
*There are so many more we could have included here: We Turned Out Okay, Invisibilia, First Timers, 10 Minute Writer’s Workshop, The Writer’s Panel, StartUp, More Perfect, Science Vs, and, of course, Serial.
Where did you travel? What did you read? What are you looking forward to in 2017? We love hearing from you. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or on any of our social media platforms.
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I heard from Tori, an old friend of mine, the other day. She was cleaning out her childhood bedroom and stumbled upon a note I had written to her. After all these years, it was still expertly folded. She and I spent a good chunk of junior high perfecting our signature note origami. I liked my correspondence to look like a miniature envelope, while Tori preferred the time-honored football fold.
In case you have not had the opportunity to revisit your 13-year-old self this Valentine’s Day, here are some of my takeaways:
- My handwriting was much better back then.
- My judgment, confidence, time-management, punctuation, and taste in men are all better now.
In the page-long overwrought letter, I blather on about the classic two-guy conundrum: Which fellow would be best for me? I bemoan that Boy #1 is “the only boy I know, who I can really open up to…I’ve told him things that I never told anyone before.” But Boy #2 is “gorgeous” and “popular.” At age 13, I had clearly mastered the plotline of even the most forgettable Rom Com. That Tori did not immediately set this note on fire is a testament both to our junior high school’s anti-smoking crusade AND to the fact that she was a pretty terrific friend. One of my best, in fact. Though you would never have known it from the way I spent so much time trailing around after boys and ignoring her wise counsel.
So, I know you are breathless with anticipation. In the end, who did I choose? The good guy? The hottie? Spoiler alert: Neither. The relationship that lasted was the one with my gal friend, Tori. Though we are separated by time and miles, she is the one who now leaves me breathless. She has traveled extensively, negotiated with foreign dignitaries, and hiked mountain ranges from China to Appalachia. When I see her Facebook updates, I am besotted with the gorgeous photographs of archways and sunsets. Her zest for life makes me want to be more adventurous and outdoorsy. If we lived any less than sixteen states apart, I would meet her more regularly for coffee just to listen to her talk.
It is tempting on Valentine’s Day to be obvious. By all means, celebrate today with flowers and chocolate – Lord knows I have never said no to either. But especially if you are a person who feels a little blue on this day of pinks and reds, I urge you to look up an old friend. Fall back in love with someone who taught you about love along the way. As I was writing this, I thought of more than a dozen other girlfriends with whom I have shared my heart – Stephanie, Rebecca, Michelle, Emily, Christine, Maggie, Beena, Meg, Jenny, Jen, Kim, Irem, Sarah, Abbie, Colleen, Terri, Jessica, Shannon, Sam… and I could go on and on.* All of these fine creatures taught me more about love than Boy 1 or Boy 2 ever did. Ladies: I thank you from the bottom, top, and middle of my nonsensical, note-writing, frequently misguided heart. Everyone: don’t ever underestimate the power of a Galentine to make you feel young, breathless, and 13 again.
*Annette, Melanie, Beth, Tonya, Becky, Gale, Bridget, Christy, Sue, Caroline, Allison, Kelly, Michal, Yasmine, Alana, Jennifer, Debbie, Chantel, Eugénie, Kris, Maria, Erin, Kristy, Angie, Chris, Eraina, Lisa, Angie, Lara, Kim, Ashley, Toni, Leah, Wendy, Breezy, Phet, Melissa, Kelly, Sara, Tracey, Heather, Esosa, Micah, Emily…and I could go on and on. Thank you to all my Galentines. Both listed here and held in the silence of my heart. We are all of us so very blessed.