Monday, May 30, 2011

Dressing the part.

Dear 28,
I'm already crossing bits off the list. (And have already found several things that should/could/probably will be added). I'm so happy to see the silly little list become part of the lives of the people I spend time with. It's a collective effort- not just mine anymore. I love it.
Chelsea and I stopped by the Art Center for the unveiling of this year's Des Moines Arts Festival commemorative poster, which features the super talented (and modest) Michael Kuseske. I'm not sure how my name got on the invite list, but it was one of those nights where I was reminded how special this city is, how beautiful the Art Center is and how cool my friends are. 

My dear friend Laura got married this weekend at a wedding that felt so personal and original. The kind of wedding where you felt so lucky to witness the way these two people love each other. We rode a boat down the mighty Mississippi, I wore a bolo tie and we got to hear Joey sing to his bride. (Yes, like in the most perfect movie wedding moment.)
My birthday continued in Muscatine with a Denny Palmer rice krispie treat.
Finally, I keep watching this over and over. I'm sure you've seen it, but JR + Art + TED continues to inspire me. It makes me want to send postcards to everyone with a mailbox or at least everyone in my address book. I should get back to drawing, and sending thank you notes, and enjoying a perfect Monday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Dear 28,
When I started writing out my 27 things back in May of 2010, I knew that I wanted to challenge myself, do some silly things I hadn't done before ("see a movie alone" was far less awesome and intimidating than I thought), further explore (and eventually fall in love with) my city and basically go on many adventures. (Which I did. Here. Here and Here.)
I think the most exciting part about the 27 list was the other stuff I did- the things I learned, the being more spontaneous, the soaking in everything while it was happening. I felt ultra-aware of what I was doing, how much fun it was, what was thrilling, who was there, what they said, what I saw. All because I wanted to write about it (some great posts. other mediocre.)

That kind of living is addicting.

When putting together the list for 28, I started with a big, big list of random (and some slightly ridiculous) items and had some loyal readers and friends weigh in with suggestions. After listening to the super cool kids from Make\Break talk about Rejection in their podcast, I felt inspired to hold onto some of my less loved list items. Here's a few of the rejects:
- See the Bridges of Madison County
I couldn't bring myself to read the book-which should come as no surprise-so I'm not sure seeing the actual Bridges sounds as exciting as something far more vague. Like see a monument. Although it does look charming. Maybe I'll see the movie instead.
- Buy cowboy boots
This guy (see photo) wears cowboy boots all the time. And does it well. I really just wanted to be more like him. And then realized that I probably couldn't wear pencil skirts with honkeytonk boots. Rejected.
- Play Laser Tag
I'm sure at least one of you will read this and feel disappointed that it's not on the official list...that doesn't mean it can't happen. But I think I'd end up getting hurt somehow. And writing about laser tag makes me want to watch How I Met Your Mother.
- Get a pet
It goes without saying that this is a terrible idea. I'm just now starting to like animals (sorry Jen and Kate) and I am never home. A fish has potential. We might get along swimmingly. But that didn't stop me from desperately wanting to take this dog home with me back in March. Shared custody puppy raising seemed brilliant while drinking vanilla-greyhounds out of a mason jar.
- Flip. A. Table.
I am not a New Jersey Housewife. I am not even that aggressive of a person (I don't even make a fuss when someone budges in front of me at Dahls. And really I should.) Sorry Adrienne. I think I'll leave this one to you. And will gladly film it.
- Go fishing
Going camping sounds scary enough.

Thanks for all the notes and excitement surrounding the list of 28. I've already started working on some!
(I ran this morning. When I say "run" I mean I'm thankful for Emily who didn't mock me at all during the brutal 1.5 miles.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dear 28,

Dear 28,
The wrap up post has been written. The header has been changed. (What do you think?) The new list has been posted, facebooked and approved by my sister. The love letter is officially being written to a new year. GO.
I celebrated a bigtime birthday weekend that spanned 3 days and included time with Kate (her hair is indeed naturally blond and she is indeed awesome) and her first Fongs experience. There was a man dressed as a hot dog. Who fell on the floor.
Then there was the super terrific backyard bbq (where the gifts, the people and the words were so thoughtful I'm still floating around town on a high). Thanks so much Sara and Beka for being the kindest hostesses. Seriously. There was a book signed (for real) by the Rob Sheffield. That was written to me. (I still don't know how you Paluchs pulled that one off.) At one point I had to stand back and admire all the remarkable people in my life. It was perfect. (And then there were finale drinks at my favorite happy hour spot, Django, last night. 3 birthday parties isn't too much is it?)

I'm so unbelievably excited for 28.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dear 27.

Dear 27,
We made it. The world didn't end. Don't worry, but this 27th year ends tonight.
I'm having a hard time writing. And truthfully I'm not sure I have the right words for it. I've been typing and retyping this final post of 27 for hours. I keep getting caught up in photos and archives and stories.
This year has been magical.

I learned a whole bunch of new things. Like how to make Southern style creamed corn. Or that I can make the post office funny. Or that New York City will overwhelm and thrill you simultaneously. Or that a little mixtape swap can be a big hit.
I laughed so damn much. And mostly at myself. Like the time when I wore that weird (and inappropriate) tank top. Or the time where I did open mic night. Or when "Wildcat Den" took over Tampa. Or when I told Britt Daniel his song was just ok.
I'm not sure what I expected this blog to be. I started writing because I wanted a way to hold myself accountable (and I knew that at least my sister Jen would read it.) And that if I had a public list of to dos, I'd have to at least try to achieve most of them. It has become a place to document my life in it's exquisite detail. And here I am, a year and 141 posts later, a braver, calmer and livelier person than I was before.

I couldn't be more grateful. I feel overwhelmed by the kindness and the brilliance of all of these wonderful people in my world, especially after the big celebration last night. You've made my life so much brighter. And I mean this in a true and profound way. I feel more alive than ever.
Onto 28. I think it'll be great.
(And I'll be toasting to you with my Templeton at midnight.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Being Reflective.

Dear 27,
I adore birthdays. I love that we each get a day that's all about us. That there's one day where shameless, joyful celebration is not simply allowed, but encouraged. (I usually push the limits and give myself 3 days of birthdayness. It's that much fun.)

Palmers at birthday #27.

But I have to be honest, the week leading up to my own birthday is usually messy. I think too much (I realize I do this all the time, but pre-birthday-thinking is heightened analyzation) I have started my usual questioning of if where I am this year is better than where (and who) I was on the cusp of 27.

Did I grow enough? Am I proud of my actions and reactions? Am I stronger and wiser? Have I learned new things? Have I been a better citizen, a kinder friend, a more conscientious sister? Have I smiled more, complained less, loved a whole bunch and celebrated wild adventures?
(You'll have to excuse me for being overly reflective.)
In this 27th year of life, rather than just obsess over my (somewhat insane) questioning, I can look through archives, review a list, dig through thousands of photos (yes. all data recovered. I love you Apple people). So much has inspired me, challenged me, surprised me, frustrated me, impressed me, and educated me.
And it's all here. I can read it, notice how in 2010 I was a funnier writer, realize that most of the photos I've taken of myself are ridiculous (many examples provided for you in this post) and marvel at just how much fun this year has been. 

In the next 4 days I'll highlight some of my favorite parts of year 27, reveal the big list of 28 (hotly anticipated I'm sure) and probably write more overly personal and terribly grateful sentences.
I just hope I write like it's 2010 again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Backup Memory.

Dear 27,
A moment of silence for my MacBook. A clumsy spill left it covered in electrolyted water and potentially left me without any photographic evidence of the last two years of life. I now understand why people talk about "backing things up." (Damn you Mr. Harmon. You taught me how to type and play Jezzball, but not the importance of external hard drives.)
Before making my biggest blunder of year 27, I did attend the 3rd meeting of the Robert Burns Society and found that I very much enjoy the Dalmore Gran Reserva. The weekend, while I pouted about the possible loss of thousands of photos, did turn out to be a lovely one that included a tour of the Body Worlds: VITAL exhibit with the Governor, an epic Asian BBQ celebrating our Tone and an evening around the new fire pit.
With the birthday only 7 days away, I'm hustling to put together the SuperBirthdayBackyardBBQ and planning for the 28th year. So much to do in May...

And one more thing: If you've ever been the recipient of an original LP postcard-- help me build my "portfolio." Snap a photo of your postcard and upload it here. You'd be helping me out bigtime.

Friday, May 13, 2011

You're so Vein.

Dear 27,
I did it. In less than 9 minutes (and after a near, but not complete pass out) I saved 3 lives.

Chelsea and I met for a big pre-blood-giving breakfast at Baby Boomers and then, with my near-nurse there telling me "you're doing great," I started the process. I must admit the actual giving part was far less scary than I'd thought it would be. The questions to answer, the finger prick test (Kate you wouldn't have made it past this part) and the anticipation of it all was far worse than the actual blood giving. Katey, Terri and Denise were kind as could be (and looked at all my postcards while I was eating pretzels and trying to get the color back in my face post-donation). I met a man who has given over 9 gallons of blood (he was oh-so-kind while I asked him a bunch of questions) and learned so much about the effect a once-every-eight-weeks visit to the blood center can have on people's lives. I don't want to promise I'll be back, but after having so many wonderful people help me through the less-than-terrifying process, I think I'll have to try and muster up the strength.
The day of adventure continued with my first ever (I realize to you DSM people this is unbelievable) visit to the lovely Gray's Lake. This city continues to delight me. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Won't you take me to MuskieTown.

Dear 27,
I have a spectacular life. I realize this is a bold statement. I realize it might be hyperbolic. But damn it was a great weekend. I kicked my Friday off early visiting new baby Xavier and then lunching with the ever-lovely Paige.
Then there was the most terrific moment (hours later) when I sold a whole bunch of cards in less than 10 minutes based on the unnecessarily kind words and promotion of my lil postcards by a friend, a iphone viewing of my incomplete postcardfolio and the existence of Dwolla. Saturday turned out to be the busiest most relaxingly fun day ever. There was Ephemera and Hill Vintage and a #spacemexican birthday party. And there was a photo booth and a hat and my DSM family in matching shirts.

I then finally made it back to MuskieTown (I'm sorry fam for not getting back to hometown until now. Christmas was far too long ago). We hit Salvatores, of course and then made a short trip to the Muscatine Art Center. While our tour lasted no more than 20 minutes, it was worth it.
The most splendid weekend in quite some time. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

With only 17 days to go, it's time to be realistic.

Dear 27,
It's almost here. 2-8 is looming. And there is still so much to do. Relays came and went, but not without a super fun out of town visitor, behind the scenes race day tours and blue wall photo shoots.
Car buying, reading more books than there are days left before the birthday and even art class taking (sad) probably are unattainable at this point, but I am formulating a plan to cross off as many of the remaining items as possible. (So this plan isn't exactly written out, nor is it on my calendar, but it'll happen.) I'm so happy to have so many blog-list-encouragers out there. Next week (barring any bigtime loss of courage) I have an appointment to GIVE BLOOD. I'm nervous already, but after all this, I can handle it. Plus Chelsea will be there both for moral support and blog photo purposes.
Last night was not only an unexpectedly wild 5DM (patent pending phrase from the Tom Perry), but an awesome show opened at the DMAC. Be sure, if you're a DSM local, to get over and check it out. I also got to meet the soft-handed artist, James Gobel. His work is texturally brilliant. (How arty) And while it may be cheating the list, I'm counting my awesome evening at the Des Moines Art Center as a visit to a museum. (Go ahead and judge me.)
I must say this first week of May has been full of delights and surprises, including an unexpected thoughtful piece of fragile mail. How wonderfully mysterious. So much to look forward to in the coming weeks, I do believe this month will be the perfect 2-7 finale.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Glitter+Grease= One helluva Night

Dear 27,
I must admit that April was a month I'd like to do-over. It felt like one long, sad week after another. Then Lidgett Liz came to the rescue and the Big Hair Ball served as one of the best nights I've ever had in my six years in Des Moines. With a pre-party in the tiny apartment (yes. that many people in the little living room), we kicked off the night with tons of glitter and sequins and pizza rolls.
The event, held at my favorite place in all of the city, showcased a bigtime hair runway show, costumes, pole dancers (seriously), the Snacks and a gathering of the coolest people in Des Moines.
Ending with a dance party at the Kirkwood and a home full of glitter, this weekend couldn't have been any better. (Thanks for being there everyone!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Birthdays are my favorite.

Dear 27,
With very few days left until this list retires, I find myself cranking out a whole bunch of birthday cards and celebrating a bunch of people I adore here in Des Moines annnnnd planning my own big end-o-blog-27-start-of-28 celebration. We have had many a reason to party in 2011 (despite the fact I've only posted 24 times). 
Many list items still need to be checked off (I know) and there's a few I probably won't accomplish (I know. I'm disappointed too.) But I am taking suggestions, as my own big 2-8 approaches, for the list for my next year. Comment away.