I only sign in to Facebook on Mondays, and when I do, it's a very focused mission with three critical items on the agenda. 1) Look at all the tiger photos that Suzi tagged and curated for me. It's a special treat, and it never fails to warm my heart. I don't need extra reasons to love tigers or Suzi, but she gives them to me anyway because she is incredibly generous. 2) Tell the Internet how many loads of laundry I've completed. This started as a joke because I didn't have anything else to share on Facebook, so I decided to transform my profile into a #laundrybook record. No one shot me for this dumb idea, and thus, it lives on. 3) Lead the sock monkey troops to victory in the few remaining "poke wars" that just won't die out.

One of those wars escalated a month or two ago when a friend sent me a handcrafted poke in the mail. I just put a stamp on my return poke tonight (shh, don't tell him it's coming), and I couldn't help but smile. We know each other through his sister, and I know his sister through the blog of a brilliant woman known as Golfwidow. It's one of those friendships that is incredibly difficult to explain to people who haven't experienced a true Internet community. And heaven knows the struggles involved with convincing people that there is any merit to be found in the Facebook poke feature.

But here we are—weird stories, silly games, postage, and all—and I realize for the second time today how much I like my friends and how much I like my life.

As I Was Saying

"Next time someone interrupts, fake-sneeze in his face and use that moment to casually resume your sentence."

I jotted that down on an index card the other night and left it on my bedside table, nestled among other treasured memorabilia like an expired coupon and a gigantic water bottle (half-empty or half-full, your choice) that my dad bought for me when we saw Frozen at the theater three weeks ago.

One of the appeals of blogging for me is that I can write down and convey a thought in its entirety. Something about my natural speaking voice invites people to tune out mid-sentence, at which point they either interrupt or just walk away. This happens at home, at work, in public, with friends, with strangers, and with family. I regularly have to convince my own mother that I'm worth a five-minute break from her jigsaw puzzle. (I know I'm not the world's best story-teller, but I like to think I have a smidgen bit more personality than a 1000-piece Thomas Kinkade cottage.)

For twenty-something years, I've been dealing with this by 1) allowing my frustration to simmer silently while the other person talks over me or 2) reclaiming the conversation through arm-flailing and foot-stomping. Either way, I exert so much energy that I then lose interest in continuing my train of thought, thus validating the other person's decision to cut me off in the first place.

It's a bona fide conundrum.

I'm sick of it.

So that is why I just sneezed in your face.

Bye Forever, February

February is, and always has been, my least favorite month. It is far enough into winter that I am tired of being cold, and it is far enough from spring that the miserable grey skies start to gnaw away at my happiness. I enjoy the Valentine's Day chocolates and celebrating my mom's birthday, but the rest of the month is a minefield of bad memories. I'm still reeling with hurt and regret about a myriad of horrible things that happened last February, and my only distractions this past month have been almost as horrible—friends disappearing, an unusual number of funerals at my church, etc.

That said, I am thrilled to have survived to see the beginning of spring (even if it is snowing right now) and the beginning of eleven beautiful, not-at-all-crummy months.

P.S. This coming Monday is National Reading Day (how cool is that?), and I am forever looking for new book recommendations. If we aren't already friends on Goodreads, let's remedy that!