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Life is a Verb – March 2013

March 26, 2013 in recap

First, let me pause so that my dear friends can pick their jaws up off the floor. Yes, your book club black sheep, your predictable slacker, your last-minute, always-forgetful, never-fully-prepared friend has posted her blog post one day after bookclub. Really, the morning after. Like, within 12 hours.

And, I didn’t cheat this time. This is no Mad Libs form-style post; this is me and a cup of coffee, ignoring my screaming to-do list and writing about Saloon before I’ve even made time to put away all the dinner dishes in my kitchen. Okay, that’s not a good measure because who knows when I’ll get around to doing that. Matt will probably do it. BUT THE POINT IS, here I am posting a REAL post, not last minute.

All I have to say: For this, I better get some damn birthday candles.

This month, we read the “soul-help” book (author’s term) Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally. I randomly downloaded this book to my Kindle on one of those overwhelming, rainy days, and read a few pages in bed one night when I couldn’t sleep. But, after the first chapter, I had to stop. The author was spending her prologue poetically waxing on about her book’s colorful pages, wide margins, and artful feel, directing the readers to doodle on the sides and dog ear pages… it was basically porn for book lovers. I immediately stopped reading the Kindle version and bought the paperback on Amazon. (…And then, when I finished that second copy, I got you guys to buy a copy, too. So really, I’ve generated some serious revenue for this woman. I should write her and let her know that she can take her 37 days and use them to be mindful of the commission she owes me.)

I warned my friends that this was a kind of “self help-ish-y book,” is I think how I put it. They agreed to order the paperback version, and it wasn’t long before Des cracked the thing and realized that I wasn’t lying — this was a different book.

Des Tweet

The pictures, however, were not the most striking difference… in fact, they were more like a bribe, a colorful ruse. My poor friends quickly learned that I had lured them into a homework trap. This is not a complacent self help book that describes and asks you to receive; it described, then asked you questions, then told you to WRITE about the questions, and THEN told you to go out and do some stuff! Like, outside. With people.

Luckily, my friends are amazing and they took to the task of getting through this book very well. Did they complete all the writing challenges? No, but neither did I. Did they complete all the life challenges? Of-freaking-course not. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Did they like all of the stories? No, but a lot of them are about kids and about airplanes, and my friends are “eh” on those, so that was okay. They DID read stories that they liked, find tidbits that they planned to take with them, and even have some stories about how the book has come up in conversations, situations, i.e. real life. Which, hey, is a sign of a win.

At the end of our book discussion session, I gave my friends little presents (a fluffy toy for Des and a plant potter shaped like a coffee cup for Jen) because the book talked a lot about thanking the good people in your life, and Des and Jen are the epitome of good people to have in your life. That, and the book talked about celebrating life’s little accomplishments with more birthday candles, and I wanted to bribe them into doing that for me, because that’s awesome. Christmas babies are starved for birthday candle attention, y’all.

Our dinner that evening was make-your-own enchiladas with semi-healthy ground turkey and not-so-healthy accouterment, like sour cream and cheese and mexican rice. We all ate way too much, but after the lengthy book discussion we were ready for dessert. Jen brought over some green apples, peanut butter, and whip cream, which was a really healthy dessert that I managed to sidestep because of the leftover chocolate cake in my fridge. Everyone wins.

While we talked, our CD played on a loop in the background. The theme was “Action songs: Songs as verbs,” which we all agreed was more difficult than originally anticipated. Songs included Jen’s normal throwback band (this time The White Stripes), some book club staples (Barenaked Ladies, Jonathan Colton, and Taylor Swift all made appearances), a few showtunes (The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q, Newsies–is that a show or just a movie?), a few repeats (Des knew that “Purpose” was a do over, but Jen was surprised to learn that “You Run Away” was a repeat from exactly one year ago, 1.9), and some of the traditional controversial people (Jen really likes P!nk, I really like Bruce–because he’s the f’ing BOSS and he is awesome and you guys are crazy, and Des always brings Hanson along to make Jen sigh). Some of the more fun choices were “Make Someone Happy” from the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack,  “Suit & Tie” from JT (we all swooned), and a NEW single from Barenaked Ladies, which Des threw on because she got it for free when she bought tickets.

We turned the music off, though, for our Current Events session. We did a lot here… okay, ready? We started by talking about the weird skinny-minnie pictures; we learned some stuff through the Google Infographic, the new MentalFloss YouTube channel, a vacation tips page, and an AMAZING Life Hack video (CTRL-SHIFT-V for life, seriously); we laughed at princess cartoons, the ridiculous idea that there can be a born-again virgin and the overall incredulousness of reality TV stars, and really stupid people who share their stupidity by posting on the internet; and finally, we seriously discussed changing etiquette roles and the death of voicemail, the roles computers may play in the analysis of our studies and the generation of new theoryhow our society talks about death and whether death should be discussed more, and this weird rat study (but mostly how people didn’t believe the rat study and how people are stupid). I contributed nothing to this section. Seriously, I neglected to share one link all month. I did, however, talk at length about a student who wrote a curse word in my class’s public discussion forum, and shared how I feel about that (TIME AND PLACE, PEOPLE!), which took up a lot of time, so that counts as my current events contribution.

At the beginning of book club, I surprised my friends by having their CDs ready to go. Sure, I forgot to put my own songs in Dropbox, and there may have been some confusion about whether I added March forums to the book club page (or, perhaps more important, whether the timeliness of the forum adding made me a big lame-o), BUT the CD burning was a start, and hopefully this is another step forward. Overall, I am on a MISSION to be a less crappy book club member, so here, to the gods of book clubs everywhere, I offer a sacrifice: a morning when I should have been working, a full coffee session, and a real attempt at a good summary post. This offering is meant to atone for my past sins and represent a serious dedication to personal improvement going forward. Huzzah, and go book club.

Now someone go buy me some birthday candles.

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