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Kansas City barbecue. The fry seasoning at
Joe’s KC. The jar of pickle slices next to the cash register at Arthur Bryant’s. Wet-Naps and standing in line and burnt ends and Boulevard Wheat on draft. Taking my mom for deep-fried pickles at Char Bar every time she visits. Catching lightning bugs in a mason jar with my sisters on the art museum lawn.
Pop-up yoga in the park. Classes at
Karma Tribe Yoga on Broadway. Volunteering at
Heartland Therapeutic Riding. Seeing kids and adults communicate with horses and blossoming for it. Long walks in
Loose Park. The coconut milk-based chocolate ice cream at
Betty Rae’s. Sometimes with a scoop of peanut butter on top. The pilot episode of
Broad City, featuring a terrifyingly infantile Fred Armisen. And then every other episode of Broad City. Media featuring strong female friendships:
. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend . Call Your Girlfriend . Girls . A Few Things with Claire and Erica Renting 530 square feet of my own. Two nearly-full bookcases. A dishwasher. Houseplants and a ninth-floor view.
Walking a block to work.
Spending my weekdays with coworkers who are intelligent and social justice-oriented and clever and kind and engaged.
Michael Chabon on
taking his son Abe to Fashion Week in Paris. Janet Cardiff’s
. Forty-Part Motet Brisk, biting winter days with blue skies and sunshine.
The Cranberries’ Tiny Desk Concert whenever I needed a pick-me-up. Late-night swimming with friends in Phoenix in February.
Fates and Furies.
The World’s Easiest Cookies from Nom Nom Paleo. Concerts at Crossroads KC:
Brandi and the twins putting on another amazing show on a week when we were all feeling fearful. Shakey Graves singing about haunted houses. Sylvan Esso bouncing around on a hot, heavy night. Seeing movies at the blast-from-the-past Rio and Glenwood Arts theaters.
. Captain Fantastic
Chelsea Fagan and her team at keeping finances and money talk real and approachable for millennials. The Financial Diet Obama and Biden’s
bromance. Joe Biden finding two quarters. Leslie Jones
lovin’ on Colin Jost. Leslie Jones covering the Summer Olympics. Justice for Leslie Jones. Playing the most brilliant April Fools’ prank on my baby sister by using her cell phone number for an amateur Chewbacca impression contest.
Practicing my Spanish with other eager
hispanohablantes in the ¡ClaroKC! club. Gentle, welcome Twitter
morning greetings and evening sign-offs from Esme Weijun Wang and Lin-Manuel Miranda. KonMari-ing my phone thanks to
an episode of WNYC’s Note to Self. Feeling more zen every time I look at my nearly-empty home screen. Great journalism: Ta-Nehisi Coates on
his black president. Taffy Brodesser-Akner asking what Cool Jesus would do. A massive Mother Jones investigation that led to the DOJ ceasing the practice of contracting with private prisons. Making up stories about other people’s pets and restaurant servers.
Authentic Mexican food in the Midwest. Strong margaritas at
Ponak’s. Mexican beer and carne asada on the patio at Los Tules. Tacos al pastor in a backyard. Catching
Hammerhedd, Kansas City’s kid metal band, playing on a front porch during Porchfest. Watching classic movies for the first time.
The Truman Show. American Beauty. . Boogie Nights Maria Bamford being her wacky, wonderful self in
Lady Dynamite. Drinking grapefruit La Croix. Sitting at the office conference table comparing flavors with my coworkers. Bon Appetit’s
rejected flavors. “ Sippin’ on La Croix.” Laura Turner’s brave writing on
anxiety and deciding to stay on her meds while trying to conceive and miscarriage. Escaping into a funnier political reality by binge-watching
. Veep My sister’s
curiosity about my toiletries. Going to the mountains with the family. Playing card games late into the night. Driving home packed like sardines, all six of us in one SUV. Skiing for an afternoon and not falling once.
Laughing at the ludicrous conceits behind
Anthropologie furniture catalogs. Thinking about social class and being “basic.” Reassuring myself about renting for now by thinking about keeping a low overhead. Learning to embrace the outdoors in the Midwest. Hiking on the plains. Swinging through the trees at
Go Ape. Going outside at dusk to walk around the neighborhood.
Standing in the produce cooler at Costco on hot July days. Campari and soda with a generous wedge of lime.
six tips for making it small in Hollywood. Or anywhere. Mike Birbiglia’s five reasons to support independent films. Turning on the TV during a bout of insomnia and coming across
Jacques Pepin cooking with his granddaughter Shorey. The way he calls Cornish hens “ze tiny chickens.” Reliving my fourth-grade Oregon state history education at the
Frontier Trails Museum.
Zinger tea for colds or sore throats or especially cold nights. Walking blind into seeing
and coming out grateful and sobbing. Lion New-to-me vinyl albums: Bread,
Simon and Garfunkel, Baby I’m A Want You. Michael Jackson, Bridge Over Troubled Water. Billie Holiday, Bad. . Diana Ross and The Supremes, Music for Torching Anthology. Refilling bottles of
Tea-Biotics kombucha at the Overland Park Farmers Market. Revisiting silly, stupid comedies.
. Forgetting Sarah Marshall Just Friends. . I Love You, Man Greasy cheeseburgers and Irish sandwiches with a kind, humble former priest and current cartoonist.
Finding poetry on Twitter. Wendy Cope, “
The Orange.” Nael, “ The Tiger.” Sharon Olds, “ Douche-Bag Ode.” Christian Wiman, “ My quiet.” Texting long-distance friends on a daily or weekly basis.
Visiting friends in Madison. Eating lots of good food. Looking out over the lake in the dark. Playing Mario Kart and Bananagrams and Balderdash.
music video for Adele’s “Send My Love (To Your New Lover).” The
National World War I Museum. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The National Mustard Museum. Aly Raisman’s
double layout during her floor routine. George Saunders on
his next novel and knowing when to dive into a new project. Eating pineapple popsicles and drinking rosé on a bright, wet spring afternoon.
Cozy brunches with visiting family at
Gram & Dun. Patton Oswalt on suddenly
being a single dad. “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.” Cuddling.
and then hearing native Don Cheadle talk about the process, with much of his family in the seats around us. Miles Ahead Flying my
curly hair flag. Applauding those who question why we often don’t. Watching too many YouTube videos of
12-year-old Grace Vanderwaal. Bringing my parents’ smelly black Labrador in their demolished dining room for treats and some Christmas morning hugs.
Good advice the way only Garrison Keillor can give it: “Do the right thing. Travel light. Be sweet.” Lattes and writing at
Quay Coffee. Walking through the City Market on a warm fall morning. Buying myself flowers. Spending an evening at Knuckleheads with
Sara Watkins and her lovely voice and her fiddle skills.
Kate McKinnon. Remembering to appreciate—and hoping to someday emulate—how much the
Obamas love each other. Walking to dinner at
Shio Ramen Shop and breakfast at Krokstrom Klubb and Market. Tilda Swinton’s
incredible Christian Dior wardrobe in . A Bigger Splash Surprising my dear friend Ali by showing up on her doorstep in Spokane for her thirtieth birthday.
Wearing flower crowns and eating shortbread cookies and sipping champagne with her family and friends in her darling little house. Bringing a little of my old home to my new home with a wooden mountain range,
a vintage pennant, and art from friends. Kansas City mayor Sly James
singing “Kansas City.” Scaachi Koul
tweeting about her hilarious, charming immigrant parents. A tour, dinner, drinks, and live music at
Weston Brewing Company. Who knew hanging out in a underground cave could be so festive?! Bon Iver’s
22, A Million. Reading the comments. Thinking about
what a publisher owes its contributors and its audience. Making the conversation more civil. Thinking about an engaged audience as an asset. Tall cups of hot tea and eavesdropping at Westport Coffee House.
Being in the water on hot, humid summer days: the pool at my apartment, a cool shower, the lazy river at
Schlitterbahn Kansas City. Getting sucked into
just like every other American woman. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Revisiting my alma mater’s
basketball superstar of 2005. Receiving a box of
Oregon apples and pears in the mail, thanks to my mom. Beyonce’s
Lemonade. Playing Ms. Pac-Man at
Tapcade and imagining I might be good enough to someday approach the high score. Long phone conversations on Sunday afternoons.
. Amy . Merchants of Doubt . Amanda Knox
Saying goodbye to a dear friend by drinking Bloody Marys and trying to hit targets at TopGolf. Visiting the Oregon coast to listen to and look at the waves. Steamer clams and salmon chowder. Grilled shrimp. Running my fingers over baleen at the whale-watching center in Depoe Bay.
Bite Beauty lip crayons. Being okay with a little
social media fatigue. Marveling at the crazy-huge historic homes along Ward Parkway and in Janssen Place.
on HBO. Gonzaga: The March to Madness Boulevard Brewing’s Ginger-Lemon Radler.
Peppermint oil in a cool bath during the summer.
Supporting KCMO small businesses, especially
Hand & Land. Embarking on the Pulitzer Project, in which I read the
Pulitzer fiction winner for every year of my life.