Category Archives: Lists

Presidents Day Again: Four More Years!


Yes, citizens. 2015 is the fourth year for my Presidents Day Twitter extravaganza. I hope you’ll consider electing me for a second term. If you haven’t been paying attention for the last three, you can grab up the memories from 2012 and 2013– collect them all! Below are the highlights from last year, you little President junkie, you.


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Filed under America, Lists, Politics on the Brain

Presidents Day- The Twitter Adventure Continues

FDR Monaco Stamo

It started in 2012 with a paid day off work and nothing else to do. For the third year, I’m back in the saddle with everyone’s favorite fellas- America’s presidents and the more interesting aspects of their lives and presidencies.

(ADDED) I also spoke with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about my favorite holiday this year. You can see their post here.

If you can’t get enough today on Twitter, here’s a recap of 2013’s fun facts and tawdry tidbits about the Commanders in Chief:

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Filed under Links, Lists, Politics on the Brain

Presidents Day: My Twitter Guide to US Presidents

Thanks to good ol’ George Washington’s birth, I had a day on the couch yesterday, and a new Presidents Day tradition was born.

Below, your guide to US Presidents:













































Thanks to my mom for being a US history teacher and dragging me to every presidential historical site in America. Extra thanks to James Foreman for creating my lovely campaign poster, to Mark Stratton for suggesting that I compile them all into a blog post, and to Anthony Closkey who suggested future fun afoot….


Filed under Lists

Wake Up and Fight

Today, I made a poem. This making things business is going well. I also invented something that I call Hot & Cold Dip (take about 1/2 cup of low-fat sour cream and stir in 3 or 4 tsp. of Frank’s Red Hot sauce, or more if you’re me and like it spicy). I used it to dip some grilled chicken tenders and sweet potato fries. The Lady and I have teamed up to try Weight Watchers online this year, to keep from buying two new wardrobes full of muumuus in 2012. We each dropped over 3 pounds the first week, but then Christmas happened and well….. let’s just say that we needed to start over.

I love the New Year, a new opportunity to pretend that just once, we’ll actually get it right this time around. A time to make lists, which is one of my favorite things.

A friend of mine posted this Woody Guthrie list of resolutions from 1942 to Facebook.

I could stand to keep these in mind myself. Tomorrow, I’m clinging to #19 “Keep Hoping Machine Running” when I go to drop off a writing sample for a fellowship that I’d really like to have. And since it’s back to work after a 10 day vacation and the first day for that early alarm, I’d better hop on #33 and “wake up and fight.”

Hope your 2012 is full of new beginnings and unbroken resolutions thus far!

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Filed under Building a Better Me, Lists, Photos, Writing

Wishes Are Not Goals

I have no goals.

This time of year, full of gift lists, and resolutions, and year-in-review pieces, and making a list and checking it twice, makes it all the more clear to me. I’d noticed a slight slip in my constant drive to add one more bullet-point to the resume. I haven’t sent anything out to be considered for publication in months. I’m not scrimping and saving for any major trip or project. I’m not editing a manuscript, shooting for a promotion, trying to take up a new hobby, or signed up for Weight Watchers.


In some ways, it’s a relief. Nothing nagging in the back of my head that absolutely must be done before I can be content. But, the other side of that coin is a fear. A worry that without anything I’m desperately scraping after, that I may just stagnate, lose all momentum, stop finding adventures altogether.

Instead, I have wishes. I wish I had a washer and dryer in my apartment. I wish I could afford a new laptop. I wish I had a full book manuscript, ready to be sent out to agents and editors. I wish I could drop those ten (ok, fifteen) pounds that come with being in a happy relationship and big home-cooked meals every night. I wish I didn’t smoke as much. I wish I was outside more often.

The thing about wishes is that they come with no plan. I haven’t called anyone about the washer/ dryer hook-ups. I haven’t saved a penny or made a budget for the laptop. I haven’t been writing a few hours every day to get a manuscript together. I don’t work out or eat more vegetables. I’m smoking more. I stay on the couch.

An acquaintance of mine won a fellowship for her poetry and has been assigning herself “homework” of sorts. To read x amount of books. To finish her artist’s statement by x date. To create a spreadsheet, to apply for a fellowship, to write every day.  And in only six months, she has accomplished an amazing amount- given readings in several states, been a finalist in a book contest, and won more fellowships for the future.

As the year wraps up, another birthday approaches (the big 3-5, no less), and winter comes in, driving me housebound, it’s time for me to give myself some homework. Otherwise, I’m just sitting around making wishes.


Filed under Building a Better Me, Lists

The Never-Ending To-Do List

I have always been a list maker. I make lists of books to read and books I have read. I make lists of recipes to try. I make Christmas card lists and shopping lists and fantasy vacation lists and lists of things to write about. But, I never feel like I make any progress. I make a list of ten things to do and finish five. I make a list of great ideas for stories or poems, but never come back to them. And then, I have a great reason to beat myself up about never accomplishing what I set out to do.

If you asked me, in my heart of hearts, for my defining characteristic, I would always reply lazy. I could always do more. I could write more. I could help more. I could call my mother more (oh, the guilt). I could get myself organized and sit down once a week to write dozens of blog posts and tweets in advance so that during the week I can focus on my paying job where I could do more. And then when that miracle happens, I could spend hours each night cleaning my house until it sparkles and is always ready for company. Then I’d cook meals for the week and freeze them so I could serve vegetables and photo ready food every night. I’d lay out my clothes for the week and my outfits would match and never be wrinkled. I’d always have greeting cards and wrapped gifts for every occasion neatly stacked where I could find them. My spare bedroom would not contain multiple bins of papers marked “to be sorted”.

This is how all of you live, right?

Because when I get down to it, my secret fear is that everyone else has the secrets to adult living all locked up. They are perpetually together and caught up on their lists and don’t have anything they’ve let linger for months (years?) waiting to be completed. And that makes me wonder, even now that I’m past thirty, whether I will ever be an adult, the way the adults seemed to be when I was a kid.

So, I try to imagine myself from a child’s perspective. Height-wise, at 5’0″, I’m not passing for grown-up. My work and weekend clothes aren’t kid’s clothes, but the Converse sneakers that go with both might confuse a kid. I live alone- pretty impressive. I can stay out as late as I want and watch as much TV as I want (though I don’t have many channels). There is no food that resembles real food in my fridge now (at which point the imaginary child asks if my mom forgot to buy me some snacks). My clothes are in piles on the couch, in the spare bedroom, and near the hamper (mom is going to be so mad).

I’m not quite there. And maybe I never will be. Are you?



Filed under Building a Better Me, Daily Life, Lists

Oh, The Places I’d Go

Back to that never-ending meme– some spots that I’d like to visit when time and budget allow. Thanks to my job, I’ve gotten to see a lot more of the US than I had just two years ago- Anaheim, San Francisco, LA, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, Tucson, and many more have been stops along the way. But if I could just wing away anywhere?

A summer in Greece (assuming no riots and political unrest), looking out at the blue, blue water and eating olives warm from the trees would do nicely.

An adventure in Thailand has been on my agenda since 2003, when I had the most vivid dream of my life about being there. I have no idea whether Thailand would remotely resemble that dream, but I’m dying to find out.


Every year, I promise myself that I’ll make it to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Every year, some can’t-miss event gets in my way.


I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been to New Orleans, but I keep going back. It’s in my blood. If I won the lottery, I’d own a getaway in New Orleans and head down for the winters to sit on a porch and write while I watched the beautiful world stroll by.

Despite holding dual citizenship, I’ve never made it to England or more specifically to my father’s hometown in Sidmouth, Devon. My mother has been trying to convince my 90-year old grandmother to make a trip to see it again, but she’s accepted that the travel would be too much of a strain. I’d like to go on her behalf.

And finally, because we’re in the realm of fantasy, I’d like to go to the Vatican. But only if I can get the Tom Hanks all-access pass and spend weeks in their archives discovering centuries-old cover-ups and solving cryptic mysteries.


Filed under Lists, Photos, Travel