1. Early walks to and from yoga class. The mystery nest of twigs that someone built around a sycamore tree. The grouchy little brindle dog in the neighbor’s yard. The sun glowing on the buildings across Broadway.
2. A hungry rush of consuming Oscar-nominated movies: The Shape of Water; I, Tonya; Call Me By Your Name; Phantom Thread; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
3. Green tea with almond milk and honey.
5. Painting murals for an MLK Day of Service at Northeast High School.
6. Lurking around the edges of the experience of motherhood. Lydia Kiesling’s essay on yelling at her children. Laura Turner’s beautiful birth story. Angela Garbes on claiming space (and science!) as a mom of color.
7. Watching Planet Earth on my new 4K TV.
8. A front-row spot at a morning yoga class three times a week. Finding community on the mat. Smelling sage and palo santo on my clothes hours later.
9. Launching a membership program at NCR in the hopes that we can sustain our mission of delivering independent Catholic journalism.
10. Discovering the group Choir! Choir! Choir! and their lovely project of teaching an audience popular songs in harmony.
11. Quinoa bowls.
12. Walking through Roanoke Park and playing on the adult-sized jungle gym.
13. A February visit from my youngest sister. Eating a lot of barbecued meat. Donning Gonzaga gear to create an impromptu Kansas City fan club. Making cookies and drinking Disaronno. Underground beers at O’Malley’s in Weston. Dancing at The Ship. Screaming at each other in an escape room: “That’s not what you do with binoculars!”
14. Watching the Winter Olympics and becoming an instant expert on snowboarding and every other obscure alpine sport. Stealing the phrase “nimble little sucker” from a commentator for perpetual inside joke use.
15. The first breaths of cool, thick air when landing back at PDX.
16. Eating dinner at Thames Street Oyster House in Baltimore. Walking the snowy streets in shoes with leather soles. Escaping into a bookstore for warmth and finding some hidden gems. Watching the Olympics in a Mediterranean restaurant.
17. Welcoming my sister and her friend as our first weekend guests in the new place. A lineup of LC’s barbecue takeout on the kitchen island. Getting dressed up for a Sam Smith show. Riding Bird scooters in the rain. Having a tour guide and the beer taps to ourselves on a Boulevard Brewery tour.
18. A recipe for stir fry sauce from Michelle Tam.
19. Brandi Carlile’s By The Way, I Forgive You.
20. Jackson’s Honest apple cider vinegar potato chips.
22. Watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor in the theater on the Fourth of July.
23. My boyfriend’s dad making smoked ribs when my parents visited in September.
24. A crunchy hike at Wyandotte County Lake in late January. Taking photos from the dock of the icy lake.
25. Grappling with how to be a better podcast host. Terry Gross on the art of the Q&A.
26. Using the Marinara extension to stay focused with the pomodoro technique.
27. This staggering, brilliantly reported longread about America’s richest farmer. You may not have heard of his name, but you’ve eaten his pomegranates or lemons or pistachios.
28. Catching the biannual misprint sale at Hammerpress.
29. Melissa Clark’s hot honey shrimp.
31. Boulevard Brewing’s tequila lime gose.
32. Original glazed donuts from Lamar’s.
33. Changing my phone display to grayscale, thanks to a little nudge from Vox.
34. Winning “Best Podcast” from the Catholic Press Association.
35. Buying two new bras.
37. “Through the Eyes of Picasso” at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.
38. Reflecting on the Catholic Church in a messy, heartbreaking, awful year.
39. Sea Fare Pacific soup pouches.
40. Anne Helen Petersen on gentrification, experience-driven millennial tourism, and what that very specifically looks like in the trend of bachelorette parties taking over Nashville.
41. Making a Spotify playlist based on Kurt Harden’s “Essential Mixes.”
42. Soft Sounds from Another Planet by Japanese Breakfast.
43. My sister Erika and Jonathan’s wedding. My parents’ yard filled with 450 happy guests. Doing my own updo and liking it, for once. Erika’s shoulder shimmying during their first dance. Eating quesadillas in the kitchen late in the night.
44. Going to a podcast listening party featuring an episode of Ear Hustle and then listening to a panel of local speakers on the societal and emotional effects of longterm incarceration.
46. Observing candle hour.
47. The Obama presidential portraits.
48. Snapping up boxes of Traditional Medicinals Healthy Cycle whenever I can get them. When cramps strike, it’s better than Advil.
49. Watching Making Movies perform at the mayor’s State of the City address.
50. Hanging out in an infrared sauna on a cool spring day.
52. Women standing in their own power. Ellen Pompeo and Aminatou Sow being unafraid to demand their professional worth. Lauren Groff’s By the Book column, shot through with searing poise and brilliant recommendations. Women!
53. Volunteering for KC Scholars and helping lots of striving youth and adults continue their higher education.
54. Lunch with my writing group at The Sundry.
55. Hosting friends for paella and tinto de verano. Feeling my heart swell at finally having a place suited to entertaining.
56. Florida by Lauren Groff. And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O’Connell. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Mary H.K. Choi’s Emergency Contact. Autumn by Ali Smith.
57. Receiving a creative compliment from my new dentist.
58. Buying garden plants at the City Market and helping Ryan’s dad till his garden beds so we could reap the benefits of fresh peppers, tomatoes, herbs and squash.
59. A weekend in Spokane celebrating my youngest sister’s graduation from college. Showing Ryan the waterfalls and trails and parks of Spokane. Live piano music at a long, loopy dinner. Soaking up the Gonzaga love. Breaking bread with three good friends and their partners. Burgerville milkshakes on the drive back to my parents’ place.
60. Flint Town on Netflix.
61. Finding a kindred spirit who shares my unpopular opinion about Kansas Citians.
62. Sister Jean.
63. Creating a game of “Sex Jeopardy” for my sister’s bachelorette party. Creating the best Bloody Mary bar. Hiking Black Butte even though it felt impossible. Shutting down a karaoke bar in Sisters, Oregon.
64. Seeing The National live at Starlight Theatre in early October, their music pulsing out across the soggy crowd as rain pelted us continually and Matt Berninger waded out into the audience to share the moment.
65. Long walks at Champoeg State Park while visiting my parents.
66. Maggie Rodgers’ singles “Light On” and “Fallingwater.” Her technically and emotionally very good performance on SNL.
67. Taking a dance class from my brother-in-law. My entire family doing the Wobble on a wedding dance floor… and at a suburban TopGolf.
68. Red wine and Cheetos at my grandparents’ house.
69. Witnesses like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in a year that for women felt like a long uphill hike through quicksand.
70. Hating on the big four (Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon) despite using their products every week. Thinking more critically about my consumption of technology.
73. Shrimp tacos for dinner.
74. Dancing all night at a silent disco during a weekend in Des Moines.
75. Trying to keep up with good e-newsletters. The Ann Friedman Weekly. Matthew Ogle’s Pome. Anne Helen Petersen’s The Collected AHP. Katie Hawkins-Gaar’s My Sweet, Dumb Brain. Tributaries by John Graeber and John Hawbaker.
76. The music video for Janelle Monae’s “PYNK.”
77. Wesley Morris, very good as always, on the “anxious confusion of activism and criticism” that “robs us of what is messy and tense and chaotic” about art.
78. Moving into a condo just a few blocks away, but also a flying leap into cohabitation. A wall of west-facing windows. Bright, natural cabinets and hardwood floors. A gas range and a gas fireplace. A soaking tub. Waking up next to my love. Paring down two households into one. Sharing candles and furniture and kitchen counters.
79. Feeling happy and bright on a day trip to Rocheport. Riding bikes under the beautiful fall canopy on the Katy Trail. A delicious lunch at Abigail’s. Hanging out with sweet, sleepy Clydesdales at Warm Springs Ranch. A glass of wine on top of the bluff.
80. Watching Wild Wild Country and squirming with glee at the strange, strange phenomenon that briefly swept through my home state.
81. A week in Florida with the fam. Reuniting Ryan with Gomek, a renowned (and now taxidermied) alligator at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Sticking our toes in the Atlantic Ocean. Iced tea on long afternoons in theme parks. My brother-in-law’s joy at taking the entire family to Waffle House for breakfast. Backyard pools. Celebrating Erika and Jonathan at a reception in Jacksonville.
82. Seeing Spoon and Grizzly Bear at the Middle of the Map Festival on a hot, heavy June day.
84. Frank Ocean’s cover of “Moon River.”
85. A very thoughtful, thorough goodbye to Rookie magazine and to the challenging media landscape, from Tavi Gevinson.
86. Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger.
87. Receiving a total of 34 bath bombs for my birthday and Christmas from family members who know me the best.
89. A long weekend with my college girlfriends. Learning too much about labor and delivery. Making dinner together. Swinging in the living room and on the porch with my honorary nieces. Breakfast at Rockwood Bakery. Craft cocktails. Trying to remember the names of buildings on campus.
90. Having a community of neighbors who know us by name. Greetings in the elevator. A housewarming gift. Closing down the holiday party with the 60-something retirees. Petting neighbor dogs.
92. A summer “progressive tapas” crawl through the Crossroads.
94. Discovering a technique that finally brought life back to my dry ends: heated deep conditioning.
95. Walking through the Water Gardens in Fort Worth.
96. The duet version of “Party of One” with Brandi Carlile and Sam Smith.
97. Frequenting our neighborhood vintage market on First Friday weekends. Finally finding an original, bright piece of art to hang over our bed.
98. Birthday cocktails at Miracle, a pop-up Christmas bar.
99. Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix.
100. Saying yes to spending the rest of my life with Ryan.