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This weekend includes Christmas parties, festive brunches, last-minute shopping, holiday baking, and a partridge in a pear tree. I’m mostly excited to drink egg nog and wear my new “Dachshund Through The Snow” shirt. (It’s worth noting that literally none of these things have anything to do with the actual meaning of Christmas. Which really leads me to think that it should just be socially acceptable to drink egg nog and wear that shirt year-round. )

 

Random Musings

Try Harder, Hackers

The other day I got a message via Pinterest (Strike One. No one should message on Pinterest. It’s not 2011.) from someone named Jessica asking if I’d loan her money to replace her lost headphones (Strike Two. That’s ridiculous. I wouldn’t loan my grandma money to replace lost headphones.). Then she asked if I’d provide said loan via Bitcoin (Strike Three. I’m not a kidnapper or financier. I don’t know how to use Bitcoin.)

You know, Jessica, your hacker forefathers sent me emails that looked like they came from friends asking me to wire money because they’d lost their wallet overseas. Don’t disgrace their creative [and almost definitely Turkish] names with this millennial-esque “send me Bitcoin to buy new headphones” thing.

What’s In A Name?

The other day I was texting with three different people whose first name is Katie. At any given moment, there was about a 70% chance I was going to text the wrong one the wrong thing. Later that night I went to a class in which three of us were named Sarah and three were named Katie. This is basically a perfect reflection of my life.

Do you ever think about what name you wish your parents had given you? When I was a kid, my “play name” was always Montana. I don’t know why. I guess because Wisconsin and Utah don’t exactly roll off the tongue.

Currently, I think I’d make a really good Chloe. But I’m assuming it’s probably too late for this change. So, we’re sticking with Sarah for now.

Senior Citizen Life Hack 

Last spring I caught the flu. I don’t know what it was about that particular bout of illness, but it made me want to change my entire self-care at bedtime routine. I now put myself to bed like I’m a 95-year-old—and it’s the greatest thing ever.

I have a humidifier with rosemary mint aromatherapy. I have a heating pad. And hot tea designed to promote restful sleep. And a bedtime meditation podcast. It’s out of control. But my newest discovery is that while I’m getting ready for bed I can wrap my therapeutic aloe socks in my heating pad. Then, when it comes time to put them on they’re all toasty warm on my toes.

Living the dream, people. Living the dream.

 

 

 

 

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I’m drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows and peppermint as I type. It’s supposed to snow on Friday night. My weekend plans include holiday shopping, an ugly sweater party, and a carol service—and watching cheesy Christmas romantic comedies on Netflix in between.

On a scale of Grinch to Santa, I’m Will Ferrell in Elf.

“It never ceases to amaze me the precious time we spend chasing the squirrels around our brains, playing out our dramas, worrying about unwanted facial hair, seeking adoration, justifying our actions, complaining about slow Internet connections, dissecting the lives of idiots, when we are sitting in the middle of a full-blown miracle that is happening right here, right now.” Jen Sincere, “You Are a Badass”

I’m reading this book right now and seriously loving it. I needed some inspiration and it’s funny, honest, and makes me feel (slightly more) brave about change.

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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As with anything in my house, my primary focus with my Christmas decorating is “Will this make my canine roommates behave any crazier than usual?” And, as is typically the case, the answer is a resounding “Yes, of course.”

Rosie has taken to gnawing on the bottom branches of the tree. Honestly, I wouldn’t care because she’s so low that no one is even looking at those branches. But I don’t want her to actually pull the tree over on herself. She’s surprisingly strong for a dog of her dimensions.

Pawley treats the tree skirt as if it is the most plush silk pillow the world has ever seen. Because Pawley can be a jerk when she’s tired, she has access to sleep basically anywhere in the house. The guest bed is considered her bed, I literally bought the couch with her needs in mind, and, of course, she has an actual dog bed. But she’s not interested in any of those. She wants to curl herself around the Christmas tree to ensure all 85 pounds of her are touching as much of the skirt as possible.

This is why people end up with goldfish, isn’t it?

What’s In A Name?

In 1740 Edward and Ann Snead Crosland moved from Yorkshire, England to South Carolina. The pair had 14 children. I am a descendant of their 14th child. A man named John Crosland, who was one of Charlotte’s most prominent 20th-century builders, was a descendant of their first child. And thus began the story of me in the perpetual shadow of Mr. Crosland.

To be fair, it’s a pretty great shadow in which to stand. If you’re going to share an uncommon last name with a locally semi-famous person, he’s a good one. People often tell me how much they liked and respected him. He was charitable and kind, and a great businessman who literally built much of the city where I live.

For me, it’s uncommon for a week to go by without someone asking if we’re related. (In case you’re wondering, I just say “no”—not the whole Edward and Ann story.) A lot of people just assume we’re related. The place where I get my nails done frequently said they’d give me free manicures if I could “get my dad to lower their rent.” One woman once told me she assumed I’d gotten my (former) job at the Charlotte Observer because of my family’s connections with the publisher. I just laughed—because slapping people is considered inappropriate.

Last week though, I had a first. I was checking out at a hardware store here in town and they asked for my phone number for their rewards program. When my name popped up on the screen the woman smiled. “I love reading your articles and books,” she said. Very flattered (this never happens), I responded, “Thank you so much.”

Then she continued, “And I used to live in one of your dad’s neighborhoods. I always really respected him.” And for some reason I just didn’t have the heart to tell her that her version of me wasn’t correct. So I nodded and just said, “Thank you.”

I told my actual father this story and he said that was fine—then he said he would be changing his will to disown me as well. So, the point is that I probably won’t do that again. Or, if I do, it’s definitely going to be for something way more useful—like those free manicures.

John Mayer and Germans

Tonight I’m going to a concert that includes John Mayer. This will be the second time I’ve seen John Mayer perform in person. Let me tell you the story of the first.

The year was 2002. I was studying in London. For fall break I’d bought a EuroRail pass and was hopping between European cities with my friends Ethan and Grant. We began in Berlin, where we stayed with a bunch of Dutch guys in a hostel called “The Clubhouse” because it was actually inside a nightclub. (Why? Why would anyone ever do that?)

Our next stop was Munich, and Ethan was more excited about this destination than any other. Not for its historical and cultural value. But because there was an American singer who would be playing in a bar there, and he was dying to see him.

I’d never heard of John Mayer. Room for Squares had been released just a few weeks earlier. But this was before things instantly went global, and since I hadn’t listened to American radio in months, I didn’t yet understand the magic of “Your Body Is a Wonderland.”

Tonight’s concert will be in Spectrum Arena, which holds 20,000 people. That night, there were about 40 of us in the room. We were in a grungy bar on a quiet street far away from Munich’s bustling tourist area. The “stage” was about a foot off the floor and we squeezed right in front of it. Mayer chatted with the crowd between songs, and when Germans would yell out songs for him to play, he obliged. (Mostly, I think, because when someone yells something at you in a German accent, it’s scary and you say yes.)

After the show, Mayer came out for a drink and we chatted with him and took photos with him. My photo with him was blurry—something I blamed on Ethan for some reason. And so that Christmas Ethan gave me a photoshopped non-blurry image of myself with John Mayer. I kept that framed photo on a shelf in my bedroom for years—as if we were so close that my pal Johnny might drop by for a cup of coffee any time.

After the show, on our way back to our hostel, we snuck onto the metro without paying the fare and ended up literally running away from a German guy in a uniform who was yelling “Halt!” and was definitely angry. Which is forever seared in my mind because it felt a little too close to something I’d seen in a WWII movie. Anyway, that’s a story for another day.

Tonight, I’m excited to see John Mayer again. This time, I’ll take an Uber—and pay for it. And I’ll sit in a company suite. And I’ll go home to room I’m not sharing with a bunch of people I don’t know. Which will all be great. But I’m betting that first show will still be my favorite.