1. Staring at the moon on walks from the car to the apartment.
2. Seeing Anne Lamott at Unity Temple and hearing her talk so hopefully and genuinely about writing and love and political resistance. And then complimenting me on my outfit.
3. Crispy Thai pork with cucumber salad.
4. Thinking about tree blindness. Being able to name the sycamore trees that line my street thanks to a MLK Day nature walk with a friend.
5. A Harper’s Bazaar article on emotional labor that I couldn’t stop thinking about and sharing with my girlfriends.
6. Welcoming George Goss to National Catholic Reporter for a few months as he helped us launch a podcast and we helped him explore Kansas City though sight and sound.
7. Understanding the appeal of Anthony Bourdain by diving headlong into Parts Unknown—and rejoicing when Netflix didn’t pull it after all. A New Yorker profile on Anthony Bourdain’s movable feast.
8. Frequenting the Stumptown Coffee Roasters cafe when flying in and out of PDX.
9. Hamlet at Shakespeare in the Park.
10. Getting through heartbreak with music. Belting out Charles Bradley’s “Victim of Love” at the top of my lungs while driving down the highway. Finding hope in “The Skies Will Break” by Corinne Bailey Rae. Eventually, bopping along to “Sure Don’t Miss You” by The Dip.
11. A happy hour with coworkers that turned into a night out at a dueling piano bar.
12. Winning a Sodastream at a charity auction. Lemon or lime soda water on the house almost every night.
13. A weekend in Big Sky, Montana with my dearest girlfriends. Elaborate Whole30-friendly meals and lots of dark chocolate. Playing shuffleboard, having a glass of wine, and going to bed by 10:30. Talking about dating and kids and debt. A yoga class overlooking the mountains. Bear hugs and tears and baby spit-up.
14. Buying myself a Kiersten Crowley ring.
15. Getting ready in the morning while listening to The Daily.
16. Saying goodbye to Brian Doyle while continuing to share his beautiful words. Rereading “Joyas Voladoras” and sending it to friends.
17. Austin Kleon’s reminders for sanity, here, here, and here.
18. Participating in a group email conversation courtesy of a dear friend who was spending several weeks in Zambia. Remembering when email was correspondence, not just a compulsory scan of a list of marketing appeals.
19. Staring up at the sky and feeling our country’s collective wonder and awe during the solar eclipse. Putting eclipse glasses on the office’s cardboard cutout of Pope Francis. Eating Milky Ways and Sun Chips and queueing up the David Bowie tunes.
20. Seeing Arcade Fire live, at long last, and finding the term for one of my favorite genres of music: art pop. (Roisin Murphy, Beck, St. Vincent, Kishi Bashi, The Blow)
21. Local articles that start conversations about race and culture in Kansas City.
22. Getting upside down and balancing on my arms and lying in savasana at Karma Tribe Yoga. Doing Yoga with Adriene when I can’t make it to the studio.
23. A day trip to Lawrence, Kansas. Lunch at Merchants. Exploring Wonder Fair, an utterly charming gallery and paper goods shop. Reading in the park.
24. Breakfast potatoes.
25. My dad’s endearing new hobby of capturing sunsets and sunrises.
26. Cover Stories, an album of Brandi Carlile covers.
27. Hot tea before bed, sometimes with honey. Collecting new flavors of Pukka tea like they’re precious treasures.
28. Delancey by Molly Wizenberg. She’s forever my favorite food writer.
29. Seeing The Shins live and feeling all the angst and yearning of my high school days in their lyrics.
30. The very sweet and strange Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories on Netflix.
31. Riding my bike alongside my boyfriend while he trained for a half marathon. Even if he is so fast that he had to come back looking for me once.
32. My funny sister and observant mom.
33. Being completely floored and motivated by Bryan Stevenson’s career in Just Mercy.
34. Dancing to a Lady Gaga/Madonna cover band at the Kansas City Pride Fest.
35. Long Sunday afternoon phone calls with a long-distance friend dissecting the week’s articles and political twists.
36. Gentle reminders that we’re all in this together.
37. Befriending a three-year-old. Crawling around on the floor. Playing UNO.
38. Enjoying pastries from McLain’s Bakery when my coworkers were feeling generous.
39. Documentaries. Life Itself. Icarus. Life, Animated. I Am Not Your Negro.
40. A sweet, beautiful spring wedding with immense pans of paella and crispy churros and open arms from a family I was meeting for the first time.
41. Watching Obama say goodbye to Joe Biden with a surprise Presidential Medal of Freedom.
42. Discovering that Randy Newman wrote “Feels Like Home.” His charming Tiny Desk Concert.
43. Shopping at my friendly neighborhood wine store.
44. Seeing U2 and Beck at Arrowhead Stadium.
45. A literary reader for Lent, from Nick Ripatrazone.
46. Big Little Lies on HBO. Insecure. The Handmaid’s Tale. A late-in-the-year discovery wrapped in perfectly British packaging: Lovesick.
47. Joining a writing group and sitting down at the library most Wednesdays to workshop pieces in progress and talk about nerdy things like grammar and who’s who in the literary world. Moving on after the library closes to Sully’s Pub for a drink in a Mason jar and book list comparisons.
48. The Thrill of It All by Sam Smith. That lovely, lovely falsetto. Taffy Brodesser-Akner on his tear-stained confessions.
49. Nicholas Bate’s Autumn 7. (And the rest of his stripped-down-but-rich-in-ideas blog.)
50. Becoming a podcast host. Producing episodes like Muslim for Christians and the Communion of Saints (and Souls).
51. Laura Turner’s column on anxiety at Catapult.
52. Watching This Is Us and, yeah, tearing up sometimes.
53. Nicole Cliffe’s delightful and hilarious habit of asking her Twitter followers thoughtful questions.
54. A week in Maui with my sisters and mom. Cooking dinner and eating on the lanai. Riding ATVs through the red dirt and green foliage. Jumping off of Black Rock. Zipping through the rainforest. Reading so many books. Playing cards. Watching movies. Sleeping hard on the pullout couch.
55. Leading horses for riders Johnny and Sheila at Heartland Therapeutic Riding on Monday nights. Sheila’s answer when I asked her how her Thanksgiving went: “It was great! I had a Bud Light for you.” Thick winter coats of fur. Picking hooves and stalls. Jogging alongside a horse through deep sand and over poles.
56. Mari Andrew’s brilliant illustrations. Pete Souza’s masterful parallel political posts. Liana Finck’s weird and lovely drawings.
57. Hanging out with my sister’s massive English Mastiff puppy.
58. Spending an hour in the float tanks at Floating KC. And in a dreamy zero-gravity massage chair for 15 minutes before my float.
59. Feeling so much summer love for Julia Fierro’s The Gypsy Moth Summer.
60. Soup and salad for dinner on Sundays and Tuesdays in the fall. Bon Appetit’s simple technique for dressing a salad. This parmesan brodo, which comes together quickly and has unforgettable flavor.
61. Popsicles on the porch at NCR.
62. A monthly meeting with three writers at a kitchen table, where we talk about a chapter of a writing textbook but mostly lament about the difficulty of the writing life that we can’t stop choosing.
63. Maria Bamford’s special Old Baby.
64. Watching the Zags cruise all the way to the NCAA championship game during March Madness. Holding down my bar stool at KC Bier Co. Convincing all my coworkers to come watch the game with me—and to wear my Gonzaga apparel.
65. Ariel Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply.
66. Standing tall on my favorite new soapbox: that Silicon Valley isn’t here to help anyone but themselves. Scott Galloway’s TED talk. Lauren Duca speaking truth to power.
67. Catching the Alvin Ailey Dance Company at Johnson County Community College.
68. Early relationship nerves and self-consciousness blossoming into easy, comfortable intimacy.
69. Discovering more local restaurants that I’m striving to put into (somewhat) regular rotation. Brown & Loe. The Corner. The Rockhill Grille.
70. Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s “You May Want to Marry My Husband.”
71. Ta-Nehisi Coates on the first white president. Some of My Best Friends are Black by Tanner Colby. Yaa Gyasi’s stunning Homegoing.
72. Exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with my very enthusiastic coworker Michele, who happens to be a Catholic sister in her 70s. Drinking frozen butterbeer on the cobblestone steps. Whizzing over Hogwarts on a (virtual) broomstick. Hearing Michele tell a child, “The wand does choose you, you know.”
73. Learning that it’s really not so hard to make chicken wings at home. Baked crispy peppercorn wings. Buffalo sauce.
74. The unabashed joy and tenderness of Greg Boyle’s Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.
75. Laughing way too hard at stupid, silly tweets, especially when they’re about the social media platform itself. Melting down with the rest of the world when Twitter introduced a 280 character limit and then promptly getting over it. But still mostly tweeting under 140 characters.
76. Getting back to the ukulele and realizing I’m actually not horrible at stringing together chords.
77. Making out.
78. A summer morning swim in my parents’ backyard pool.
79. Loving Celine Dion, who loves us all back.
80. Walking to the beautifully designed Monarch Coffee and sipping an americano while reading the Sunday paper or working on an essay.
81. Taking my sister to dinner at Pok Pok.
82. Cecile McLorin Salvant’s Dreams and Daggers.
83. The New York Times Magazine’s Letter of Recommendation series. Propagating pothos plants for many lucky recipients. Giving Kneipp herbal bath oils as a post-race gift.
84. Homemade chia pudding.
85. Giving in to an incessant marketing campaign but still truly enjoying the 21st-century wonder of Thinx.
86. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. The Pacific Northwest. Japan. Loneliness. Journals. Nature. I’m on board.
87. Love letters from a young Barack Obama.
88. Succumbing to peer pressure and watching The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise with coworkers.
89. Seeing Katy Guillen and the Girls play at Knuckleheads Saloon.
90. Baby Driver, before knowing about Kevin Spacey.
91. Finding oases of healthier, tastier food on a business trip to Orlando, like Sofrito Latin Cafe and Tabbouleh.
92. A much-needed February visit from three of my very best friends. Eating brunch on a patio in the winter. Letting my friends backcomb my very curly hair before a night out. Drinking half-caf lattes as though we can handle them. Putting on sheet face masks and almost peeing our pants with laughter. Four of us sleeping and hanging out in my tiny apartment.
93. Happy hours, tours, and trivia night at Boulevard Brewing’s Beer Hall.
94. Watching Emily McDowell burst onto the internet A-list with her much-needed line of empathy cards. Giving and receiving her gifts and cards. Reading There Is No Good Card For This.
95. Splurging on Josh Rosebrook skincare.
96. A flannel duvet cover and a new set of sheets.
97. Silent but keen public observation.
98. Tank and the Bangas bringing so much joy into my year.
99. Taking the occasional break from breaking news in a politically stressful year. “All that’s breaking at this point is you.”
100. Beginning to understand, finally, what Toni Morrison means when she writes about rising in love.