Of Note — February 16

It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday.

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Currently reading
Still going on This Lullaby, but I'm fairly certain that my Kindle library loan may expire before I finish it. I'm not sure I like it? The beginning of the book is very frustrating; Remy, time and again, tells Dexter that she is not interested in him and he should leave her alone. I know it was written several years ago, but I'm reading it in 2018, and I can't separate/have no tolerance for stories about men who don't understand that no means no. When the book is returned, I'll actually shift my attention to To All the Boys I've Loved Before.

Currently watching
Okay, two things to cover here (maybe this section being so long is reflective of why I haven't finished my book yet...)
1.  Paddington 2 is a perfect movie. I cannot stop talking about it. It is hilarious and charming and full of joy. I saw it with my dad on Saturday night, and while he was very hesitant to go, he was laughing throughout the whole movie and was crying along with me at the end.
2.  On TV, I'm basically only watching the Olympics, and it is magical. I cry all the time when I watch the Olympics, particularly at golds/significant achievements for Team Canada. The teariest moment this week was when Wojtek Wolski scored in the first men's hockey game. He plays in the KHL and in October 2016 (less than a year and a half ago) broke his neck and thought he would never play hockey again. Now he's an Olympian and scored two goals for Team Canada. I have a lot of thoughts/feelings about the NHL not allowing its players to compete this year, but watching these guys play — who probably dreamed of wearing the maple leaf growing up but gave that dream up in a bout of realism years ago — is incredible. 

Currently listening
Every week, I tell myself I need to stop listening to Gilmore Guys so that I have something new to write in this section. Some weeks, I am successful in adding something new (but never at taking out GG); some weeks, I am not. This week I've at least been listening to new Gilmore Guys episodes, going back to the episodes I never listened to that they recorded talking to cast/crew of the show or of answering emails and voicemails. I also have been listening to lots of girl power music in order to come up with the playlist for the Galentine's Day spin class I taught on Wednesday morning. It was on awesome ride, and the playlist was stellar (if I do say so myself).

Currently eating
Almost every year for Lent, I give up sweets, soda, and french fries. I take the 6.5 weeks to focus on being healthier — in body, mind, and spirit — and that's how I approach the body part. What it means, though, is in the couple of days leading up to Lent, I go a little nuts. I bought an ice cream cake that my roommate and I devoured, snacked on Valentine's candy all day on Tuesday, and visited Al's Burger Shack (best burgers and fries in Chapel Hill, hands down) for rosemary sea salt crinkle fries and a Dr. Pepper before going to church for Ash Wednesday. See you in April, sugar.

Currently raging
I want these little "of note" posts to be capsules in time, so I can know what I was doing/how I was feeling/what was happening throughout the year. I cannot talk about this week without talking about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Right now, 17 people are dead and 14 are injured, students and adults among them. I remember exactly where I when I learned about a lot of the most recent mass shootings — there are too many to name them all. And that, of course, is the problem. I'm devastated by the shooting, but more than anything I am enraged by it. That it could happen, that these kids and their parents have to suffer through it, and that spineless politicians won't do a single thing to try and stop it from happening again. They are sending their "thoughts and prayers" or it is "too soon to politicize it" or some other horrible excuse — it's all crap, and it makes me so mad. I made a donation to Everytown for Gun Safety to try to feel like I was doing anything to help.

Currently loving
Trying to end on a positive note — this week was a lot of spending time with all the strong women in my life, which is my favorite thing to do. I got to teach 2 spin classes, and we had a 75-degree day to enjoy. 

Of Note — February 9

We did it!

And by we did it, I guess I mean they did it? Erin and Corey are officially married! Last Saturday on a chilly but beautiful day, my dear sister and now-brother-in-law tied the knot in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I spent the weekend celebrating, the beginning of the week recovering, and the end of the week catching up in all other aspects of my life. The weekend went by WAY too fast, and I wish we could go back in time to do it all over again (especially my speech, which I feel went REALLY well but could be even better the second time around). It was so much fun, and I am so happy for my sister.

Photo by Amber Hatley

Photo by Amber Hatley

Currently reading
I am finally (finally!) reading again. My Kindle library loan ended for The Dazzling Heights, and now there's a waitlist for the book. So I've put a hold on it once again and, in the mean time, checked out This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen and To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. It's supposed to rain all weekend, so I'm planning on lots of reading (and LOTS of Olympics-watching!).

Currently watching
I finally got to sit down and watch the season 2 finale of The Good Place. I love this show so, so much. You think it's just an adorable quirky comedy for most of season 1 and then BAM they hit you with a twist out of nowhere. The twist at the end of season 2 isn't quite as shocking, but it's fantastic just the same. The show is constantly figuring out how to reinvent itself; the cast is sensational; the jokes are hilarious. I'm annoyed that the seasons are so short (only 13 half-hour eps per season), so I'm watching it again.

ALSO THE OLYMPICS! I LOVE THE OLYMPICS!

Currently listening
I keep a Spotify playlist that I add to whenever I hear a song I might want to use in a spin class. I've been diving into that this week, trying to pull some songs from the middle of the playlist for my class this week and trying to organize it all a little better.

Currently eating
Whole30 may have temporarily killed my love of sugar. I guess in the grand scheme of life that would be a good thing, and I'm sure it won't be gone for long, but still...not pleased. This week I made a delicious meal of zoodles, pesto, sundried tomato, and shrimp that I loved and had my first iced chai since before Christmas.

Currently loving
BEATING D00K(!!!!!!!!), spending so much time with extended family from Canada, getting to tell the story of the wedding over and over again, making plans with my incredible friends, the OLYMPICS (seriously, I can never get enough of the Olympics). 

A Toast to the Groom, to the Bride.

It is maybe a little odd to share this with the whole Internet, but I delivered it to 120+ people last weekend. I am really proud of it, and I really love my sister a lot, so I am happy to put it out there. I also could not read enough examples of maid of honor speeches when I was writing mine, so maybe it will be helpful? This is, in obnoxious speechwriting terms, remarks as prepared for delivery. I adlibbed in a couple of places, I'm sure.

Thank you so much for being here tonight. Thank you especially to everyone who traveled to celebrate with us today. And thank you to Erin and Corey for throwing an incredible party. If you check our texts, emails, Slacks, Google Drive, Facebook messages, phone calls — you'll know that I am intimately aware of all the details of the Bobeck wedding. They have done a phenomenal job preparing for today, and it truly lives up to the phrase "best day ever." 
  
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Morgan. I am the maid of honor and Erin's younger sister. For those of you who do know me, you're welcome. 
  
My sister and I share a love of many things, among them our passion for travel, which comes from our mom; our love of trivia, which comes from our dad; and our exuberance for Game of Thrones, which we share with our brother, and might kindly be described as “overzealous.”

But more than anything, we sincerely love being with family and being together, whether it is raucous Boxing Day bowling with the extended Hanley clan or quiet time with just the two of us. One of my favorite things is when I am sitting at home on a weekend afternoon and receive a FaceTime call from Erin. I answer, and we chat for a while. She asks me the question she called about or fills me in on her day or the most recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Eventually, though, we always fall silent. I start cleaning my room or scrolling through Twitter; Erin is distracted by Ellie or turns her attention to the Real Housewives. But we are together. It is enough to be that small part of each other’s day, simply comforted by the other's presence. 
 
We have had our spats as all sisters do — Erin would want you to know that I did not vote for her for high school swim team captain, and she will now expect me to counter with the time that she missed my college graduation. We also will debate certain topics until we are blue in the face — what is the point of the Kardashians? Which of us is Annie and which of us is Hallie in the Parent Trap? Who is Rory Gilmore’s best boyfriend?
 
What isn't up for debate is how much we love each other. Erin has celebrated me through my triumphs and held my hand through heartbreaks. She has been the best person to stand by my side for my whole life. And now she has a pretty great guy standing by her side for the rest of her life. 
  
I met Corey on my twentieth birthday — because what is a middle child's retelling of a story if it doesn't include their moment being stolen? My mom, dad, Erin, and I were upstairs at Topo for dinner. When my dad went to the bathroom, Erin got… really weird. A little nervous. And she told us that we were sitting at our coveted patio table because someone had reserved it for us — technically, that was against the rules. Not to be dramatic, but our server had basically risked life and limb to get us this table. Well, he was trying to make a good impression — Erin was going on a date with our server Corey later that week. Erin turned to my mom and said, "Do not tell Dad. But make sure he tips well."
  
From that very first night, I have had a front seat to their relationship. There are many people here who would vie for the title of "best third wheel" to this couple, but I think as one of the few who knew Erin when she rode a bike with three wheels, I've got a pretty strong case. 
 
If you have been in the same vicinity as Erin and a Netflix account at any point over the past 4 and a half years, there's a good chance she's turned to you and said, "Corey and I are just like Jim and Pam from The Office. Don’t you think?" Or maybe you were near her and a Hulu account, and she said, "Don't you just love Nick and Jess on New Girl? I think Corey and I are like them." Or perhaps you were close to a DVD box set of Friends and Erin pulled out her favorite comparison, "Monica and Chandler are the best couple. Corey and I are totally them.”
 
But here's the thing, Erin, and I hate to break it you — you are not Jim and Pam. You are not Nick and Jess. You are not Monica and Chandler or Lilly and Marshall or Meredith and Derek. 
 
You’re Erin and Corey.
 
You adore corny dad jokes. You joyfully welcome friends into your home and even let them snuggle in your comfortable king bed. And you are as generous with your love as you are with buying drinks when we’re out. 
 
You may not be one of the great television romances of all time, but you are one of the great romances of my lifetime. 
 
Corey, you are a wonderful man. You define perseverance and have a work ethic that is unmatched. You went to the finest university in the world and can come up with a smart joke at the drop of a hat. 
 
But, even with all of that, I can tell you one thing with absolute confidence — Erin is the best thing that ever happened to you. 
 
And Erin, you are my very best friend. You are the smartest person I know, and you inspire me every day to strive for more as a professional woman. You delight in irreverent humor, and your easy smile and ready laugh enchant those around you.
 
But as stellar as you are, dear sister, I can tell you this for sure — Corey is the best thing that ever happened to you. 
 
I cannot wait to watch you grow and learn and love together for the rest of your lives. 
  
If everyone would join me and raise your glass.
 
A toast to the groom. To the bride. From your sister who’s always by your side. May you have a lifetime of happiness together.

Of Note — February 2

ONE DAY MORE!

How ironic that I saw Les Mis this week, and now there's just one day more until the wedding. My sister and her fiancé Corey got engaged in December 2016, and we've been planning this wedding for over a year. Erin has done a phenomenal job getting ready for the day, and I hope (know) that it will be everything she imagined it would be. I'm also over the moon to see so many friends and family in one weekend (including a contingent of 24 that is traveling from Canada!). 

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Currently reading
To do lists on top of to do lists. I have a lot on my plate at work this week and a lot on my plate at home, so I am trying to stay hyper-organized and not drop very many balls. I love a good to-do list, and I'm rolling with ~3/day right now. One on paper that is everything I have to do this week; one on paper that is everything I have to do that day (divided into categories); one on my phone so I can check things off on the go.

Currently watching
I saw Les Mis this week at the Durham Performing Arts Center, and it was sensational. My friend who has seen it on Broadway said it measured up in every way, which is no easy task. I cried twice and wish I could have seen it again (just a little busy this week though...). When wedding week is over, I'm hoping to sit down and watch the movie because I forgot how much I loved it. 

Currently listening
To the song "I Love You Always Forever" by Donna Lewis on repeat. It is one of Erin and Corey's very favorite songs; it was the first song I played in the spin class I taught for Erin this week, and it will be the last song that's played at their wedding reception. It's so fun, and I've got to make sure I'm spot-on with the lyrics (or that I'm extremely loud and confident, accuracy be damned). 

Currently eating
I had two especially excellent meals this week — dinner at a fondue place for a friend's birthday (all the melted cheese and chocolate you can dream of) and the "fajitas" my mom made when we were little. I say "fajitas" because they are, in no way, related to Mexican food. Their foundation is tortillas (maybe that's a little related), and your options for toppings are rotisserie chicken, shredded cheese, sour cream, tomatoes (not pico!), cucumbers, bell peppers, and ranch dressing. We have nachos with them, which are literally just tortilla chips with shredded cheese melted on top. They are as white as you can possibly make fajitas, but they are still SO GOOD. My sister and I requested them this week, and I'm almost certainly going to make them for myself again soon.

Currently loving
Celebrating two friends' birthdays (Mariah and Chelsey), looking at old family photos, buying Paddington Bear books for my boss's baby shower, the fact that Tom Hanks will be playing Mr. Rogers in a movie.