What I’m Into: September 2014

After months of just thinking about writing a post to link up with Leigh Kramer‘s What I’m Into series, it’s finally September and I think I’m finally going to manage it on time.  While I’m still dealing with my kidney problems, life finally feels like it’s settling into a normal rhythm.  Thank you September, for calming down a little.

Spanish School Friends

One of the greatest parts of Spanish School was making new friends: Mexican, American, and Canadian. I miss most of these friends as they’re flung out all over the world, but fortunately two of these friends only live a few hours away!  They made the trip to Tulsa in the beginning of September to visit Emily and me before Emily returned to Mexico for the fall.  Natasha and Levi’s visit was one of the best parts of September: there’s nothing quite like being able to spend time with friends who have shared a very important and specific life experience like attending language school in a foreign country.

Emily, Me, Natasha, and Levi
Emily, Me, Natasha, and Levi


Did you know I knit?  I took a bit of a hiatus from knitting in the past couple years, and in September I pulled out my yarn and needles again.  I had some half-finished projects that took some time to figure out where I had left off, and I also started some new projects. Necks will be warmed this fall and winter! If it ever gets cold.  Note: knitting is fun, but it’s time-consuming and not cheap if you like nice yarn and needles.  If you receive something handknitted, know that person loves you an awful lot. Second note: I don’t give many knitted items. My mom is still waiting on a cowl I started two years ago (maybe it will be done this Christmas…..)

You mean everyone doesn't have a yarn bowl?
You mean everyone doesn’t have a yarn bowl?


As of the end of September, I have finished 66 books this year.  I’m still hopeful to meet my goal of 100 read by December 31, but I’m pleased with my progress so far.  These favorites from this month were all very good, especially My Salinger Year and Dear Committee Members–I basically devoured both of them and would recommend them highly.

My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff (memoir)

The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance–What Women Should Know by Kay Katty and Claire Shipman (nonfiction, self-help)

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher (epistolary fiction, hilarious)

Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World by Nish Weiseth (Christian storytelling)

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman (memoir)

Inspired by this post on Book Riot, I’ve started a spreadsheet to even further analyze what I’m reading (I KNOW and I don’t care. I’m a nerd). Goodreads is awesome for overall tracking of books, but I’m interested in information that Goodreads doesn’t really track, like gender or country of origin of the author.  I’m working towards expanding and diversifying my reading habits, and I want to quantify what I’m lacking.  I also just want to make a spreadsheet of my books.


Ah, fall, the time of new television. Some of my favorite shows have started their new seasons in September, including Bones, Once Upon a Time, Big Bang Theory, and Castle. All of these shows (ok, except for BBT), started off their seasons with a lot of drama and excitement, and I’m looking forward to how these shows will play out their current storylines.  The new season of Doctor Who has also started, but they’re stacking up on the DVR, as yet unwatched because I’m just not that into the new doctor yet.

Another show I’ve been enjoying the last couple months has been Project Runway. I loved the first few seasons, then fell away as a viewer when they switched to Lifetime. I came back this season because of how much I love Tim Gunn, and I have not been disappointed. It’s been an interesting show, especially the episode featuring American Girl dolls (which led me to searching eBay for American Girl doll accessories, so if you’re looking for the spinster nerd club, it’s meeting over here at my house).

Another September TV highlight was the Roosevelts on PBS.  I love history, I love the Roosevelts, I love PBS.  My dad and I have finished 8 of the 14 hours so far and will be finishing the remaining 6 hours soon.  It’s an amazing documentary, and if you can set aside 14 hours of your life to watch it, you should. It will make you smarter.


At the end of September, I spent the weekend in Arkansas–even though it’s not that far from Tulsa, going somewhere different just for a couple days is so refreshing.  My college roommate and I made a point of visiting Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, an art museum built and sponsored by Wal-Mart, to see their current special exhibition called State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now.  It is an excellent exhibit with many different creative pieces and you should go see it. Also, it’s free, which is even more reason to go see it.  Go get cultured!

Crystal Bridges
Crystal Bridges


Around the internet, I found this challenge called #31daysofwriting for the month of October.  Starting tomorrow, I’ll be doing #31daysofreading for my #31daysofwriting.  In theory, I will be writing reviews and thoughts on all these books I’ve been reading this year. In practice, I’m not entirely sure what I will be writing. Stay tuned.


What I’m Into: August 2013

Tomorrow I’m moving to Mexico, so my review of August needs to be posted early. I liked things, so here is What I’m Into, modeled off of HopefulLeigh’s What I’m Into” series.  (I’ve never been good at introductions.)


My main TV conundrum here at the end of August has been what seasons to take with me to Mexico.  While I mainly rely on my best friend Netflix in America, I’m cancelling it for the months I’m away in Mexico.  I’ve accumulated a slight TV DVD collection over the last few years of my favorites, particularly Chuck and Bones.  I also found Season 2 of Project Runway at Half Price Books in Dallas, so that’s making the trip. TIM GUNN EVERYBODY. What makes the cut depends on the size of DVD case I can find and how much I end up deciding I actually “need.” Let’s face it, Chuck, I need. Yes, I have a problem and no, I don’t care.

I began Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I liked it, but I quickly realized how much crossover there was with the “new” series Angel (and when I say new, I mean new when season 4 of BTVS started, not new as in it premiered last week).  And I didn’t have the time or the inclination to try to watch both shows at once and figure out the overlaps and crossovers, so Buffy/Angel is going on hold until after my Mexican adventure.

I forgot how much I loved Battlestar Galactica.  While debating with myself on deciding a new show to watch next, I watched the first episode of Season 1, “33,” and now all of a sudden I’m almost done with season 2, having pressed Next One! Next One! Next One! repeatedly. (That link is to a clip from Portlandia–their over-the-top take on binge-watching Battlestar Galatica is hilarious and also accurate).  I loved Battlestar Galactica the first time I watched it over a year ago, and it is still awesome. I’m pretending the parts in the 4th season where Apollo/Lee/Jamie Bamber has the worst hair in the history of ever just don’t happen.  BSG is bleak and upsetting and I love it. It’s not for everyone, but if you like drama, ethical conundrums, realism in a bleak world, and ridiculousness, BSG is for you. Also, if you like women to be in your shows and to be spectacularly awesome, this show is for you.  PS I want to be Starbuck, but not really, but I do.  Also, CYLONS.


When I get busy, reading slips down my list of priorities.  August has been a flurry of surprise nannying, visiting friends in Arkansas, meeting lots of people for coffee, spending time with my parents, and just getting ready to change my life. So, I’m tired, and when I’m tired books are hard, so I bond with Netflix instead.

Two books, though, did make their way into my hands: Insurgent and Cuckoo’s Calling.  Unfortunately, I only read one, Insurgent.  I felt similarly about Insurgent as I did about Divergent. It was fine, there were parts I didn’t like, but also parts I really enjoyed. While reading Insurgent, the author, Veronica Roth, celebrated her 25th birthday. Upon discovering that fact, I felt a little bit unaccomplished in life, as I am also 25 and feel as though I have yet to have any accomplishments as impressive as publishing three books (or, almost three, Allegiant isn’t published until later this fall). Then I remember that I have played a part in potty-training 3 small children and I feel like my life has more meaning.

Sorry, Cuckoo’s Calling, I wanted to read you, but Insurgent was easier and you had to go back to the library for someone else to read.

I’ve discovered a number of new books that I’m interested in reading, including March by John Lewis. When I discovered the existence of March last night after watching a special on the March on Washington in 1963, I immediately wanted to buy the book for my trip. Alas, at both Barnes and Nobles it is out of stock. I also discovered that Cory Doctorow wrote a sequel to his awesome and publicly/freely available Little Brother at some point, and I never knew. The sequel is called Homeland, and it continues the story of kids trying to survive what the blurb on Goodreads describes as a “tyrranical security state.” Both books deal with hacking, security, rights, and America–I highly recommend Little Brother and can’t wait to read Homeland.  These are just two examples of books on my to-read list, but alas they will probably have to remain unread until my return from Mexico.

Packing for three months with a 50 pound limit makes one appreciate ebooks. While I did remove two pairs of shoes to make room for a book, not many physical books will be making the journey to Mexico. This pains me, but I need clothes and tea bags and kleenexes. And somehow they add up to 50 pounds even before I pack books? Alas. Thank goodness for ebooks. 

A book available only as an ebook that I’m currently reading is Every Shattered Thing by Elora Ramirez.  I knew her from her blog, and grew to know her brother through participating in her Story 101 Community.  She’s a brilliant writer, and just released Every Shattered Thing within the last week. I have an ARC, but I’m buying it. Come on, it’s $2.99!  You can get it as a Nook edition or a Kindle edition.


I’ve mostly been listening to Vampire Weekend, Ellie Goulding, and the XX. It’s unlikely that I will be discovering any new music in the next few months.


I love my September Vogue. There’s something about such a giant tome of fashion, culture, and sometimes weirdness that is so fascinating.  And you know what’s great? I’ll be in Mexico shortly, and there’s a magazine store that I love that has Mexico Vogue and Spain Vogue AND MAYBE I CAN GET TWO MORE SEPTEMBER ISSUES TO READ IN SPANISH ONCE I LEARN IT. I just hope they’re still in stock when I get there.


This is happening. Bright and too early tomorrow morning, I will be on my way to Mexico with my sister.  I will have internet, but no iPhone (and I just got one!) service.  Fortunately I finally figured out how to suspend service for 3 months without billing, which is fantastic!  So I’m going, no strings attached, to learn Spanish. On Sunday I’m going to be on the beach, drinking a Mexican Coke and eating a shrimp cocktail. On Monday I’ll start language learning.  As Hermione says in the movie version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: “Everything’s going to change now, isn’t it?

Roca Blanca

What I’m Into: July 2013

Well, July happened. I went on a family vacation and then bridesmaided in another wedding.  I just got a short-term 2-3 day a week nanny job to make a little money before I move to Mexico. And I liked things, so here is my What I’m Into, modeled off of HopefulLeigh’s What I’m Into” series.


Because I was traveling a lot in the early parts of July, I really didn’t watch a lot of new TV. I was enjoying my family and doing nothing, and then I was bridesmaiding.  There was a lot of rewatching of my perennial favorites, like 30 Rock and and HIMYM, but for most of early July, I didn’t delve in to new TV. Also, all my traveling caught up with me and I got some kind of allergies/cold/sinus infection combination and I pretty much laid in bed for many days.  Along with continuing rewatches, I picked back up with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I watched the first season sometime last year, but then just dropped it.  It is my new favorite thing, and I’m already almost done with Season 3. It’s crazy and weird, but it’s fascinating.


My family vacation to Lakeside is where I read. A lot. Hours in the car and on the porch of our rental home are spent reading, reading, reading. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you will see many pictures from various family members of this years time at Lakeside, and in nearly every picture, I’m reading a different book.  I finished quite a few books this month, and started/got stuck/abandoned quite a few, too.

I love being able to catalog my reading habits on Goodreads.  It frees up a little space in my brain, so I don’t have to remember every single book on my to-read list (which is ridiculous) or even recently read list. It’s also fun to catalog my thoughts as I read.  See especially my reading updates on Killing Kennedy, in which I quoted it’s ridiculous foreshadowing of Kennedy’s upcoming assassination. Spoiler Alert: Killing Kennedy is about the Kennedy Assassination.

I finished 8 books on my vacation (including the aforementioned Killing Kennedy).  Two favorites were Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm and The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School.  Both of these books are memoirs of women who left their normal life and decided to do something crazy, something that they’ve always wanted to do: working on an oyster farm and going to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, respectively.  I really enjoyed these books, because I love memoir and because I highly identified with stories of crazy life change. Shucked, I happened to find on Anthropologie’s Instagram.  Yes, that’s weird, but it had a pretty cover and hey I judge books by their covers.  Let’s face it, I love memoirs, and I wish I had brought a dozen more.

When I last went to Mexico, I read America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines by Gail Collins, which detailed the history of women in America for its first 400 years, up until about the 60’s. Somehow, I had no idea she had also written a “sequel”about the incredible changes for women since 1960, When Everything Changed The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present.  I highly recommend both of these books if you enjoy history.  Neither are action-packed, but they’re fascinating.

When it comes to “beach reads,” I have a very low threshold for inanity. However, after taking The President’s Club to read on the dock, I quickly realized that I needed to bring something a little less educational.  The answer was Divergent.  Once I conquered the slow first few chapters, the book LITERALLY jumped a speeding train and became a fascinating and quick read.  I finished it in about a day, and my cousin and sister were able to finish it by the end of the week. If you like dystopia or young adult lit, give this book a try. I’m on the waiting list for its sequel at the library and I’m just hoping it arrives before I leave. 

My other favorite of books I read on vacation was The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson. I first loved Maureen from her fabulous twitter. She is constantly hilarious about all sorts of random topics.  Now that she has a puppy, she is on fire. I email my best friend tweets from Maureen about 10 times a week.  Madness Underneath, sequel to The Name of the Star, was simultaneously great and horrifying (in the best way), which is exactly how I like my entertainment these days.  I typically don’t enjoy books about supernatural phenomena, but Johnson’s spin on a ghost story is different from any paranormal story I’ve previously encountered.  If you like England and humor, try it.


I’ve been trying out Spotify’s “Discover” feature, whereby it suggests similar music to what you have previously listened to or it reminds you to listen to a song you haven’t heard in awhile. Their suggestions are good, but I’ve rarely ever found music that I fell in love with from an algorithmically chosen suggestion. My enjoyment of music is rooted in what the music is paired with.  For example, was the song in an important scene in a favorite TV show? Which really means, was it in Chuck?  See nearly all of my recently played music for more than the last year on Spotify. Wanting to listen to music from Chuck was 90% of the reason I used Spotify in the first place. Vampire Weekend and the Head and the Heart are examples of bands I have started to enjoy based on liking more of their songs than what appeared in Chuck, etc.   The recommendations and suggestions from a computer program just aren’t the same.


One of my favorite air traveling pastimes is to buy a New York Times or an unexpected magazine while I wait in the airport.  Apparently, Dallas Love Field does not sell the New York Times, or they had just sold out by early afternoon.  In protest, I went the complete opposite direction of the NYTimes and bought a $3 Teen Vogue with Emma Watson on the cover.  It was hilarious and terrible and totally worth $3.

Teen Vogue
Teen Vogue


Next month, I will start posting from Mexico.  I don’t know what media I’ll be consuming once Spanish school starts, but I’m sure I will find a way to stay entertained. It just might be in Spanish.

What I’m Into: June 2013 Edition

It’s time again to talk about What I’m Into, modeled off of HopefulLeigh’s What I’m Into” series. Eventually maybe I will come up with my own creative title to describe a post about things I like. But anyway, here’s June.

I love my new laptop. In January, my previously beloved laptop crashed. It soured me on Macs for the foreseeable future, plus they’re expensive. My parents were gracious enough to buy me a new laptop for me to use on this next adventure in my life. It’s a Dell, a PC, and it’s taken a lot of getting used to. After 7 years of Mac/iPad use, it’s been different. But it’s a thing I can type on, store things, and find and consume media, so it’s awesome.


Apparently I need to move to Bluebell, because it is a magical southern place where all the men are very attractive.  Where is Bluebell you ask? It’s the magical Southern setting of Hart of Dixie.  I don’t know if this show is well reviewed, I don’t care that sometimes a few lines are awkwardly delivered, I don’t mind that the drama is often on par with a soap opera. But I love this show, a lot.

Somewhere towards the end of Season 3 of the West Wing, this show got less interesting. I stopped watching. And then, with extra time on my hands, I decided to at least finish Season 3. IT GOT BETTER. Some shows, you just have to stick it out through the rough patches.  I don’t know if I’ll keep on with it, seeing as I only have a few months left with my friend Netflix now that I’m moving to Mexico. Must prioritize shows!

I finished the existing seasons of Parks and Recreation. As I said in my last “What I’m Into,” I am still part  Leslie Knope. I would say that I’m excited for the next season, but I’ll be in Mexico, so it will be awhile before I get to see it.

I still love Chuck. I will rewatch it forever.


As I’m re-figuring what I’m good at and what I like, I have returned to my first love: books. I’ve nearly hit my limit on items checked out at the local library–spoiler alert, the limit is 50. I have tall stacks of books beside my bed, and I’m in the midst of most of them. I am not a monogamous reader: I read many, many books at a time. So, I have not finished many this month, but I’m working on many.

The best book I’ve read this month? Hands down, Eleanor and Park. It’s the first book in months (since last edition’s favorite, Brain on Fire) that I devoured, that I picked up at any spare moment to try to finish. It’s a young adult novel set in 1986, two teenagers meeting on a bus and falling in love. That sounds lame, but it isn’t.  If you can get your hands on it, read it. It’s awesome.


I like magazines nearly as much as I like books, but for different reasons. Yes, I read magazines, but they’re different generally from books in that I wait for them to come in the mail. I love mail. I didn’t work in my college post office for three years for no reason (ok, working with my best friends and having awesome bosses were other positive factors).  Seeing my favorite magazines in my mailbox is the best. I’m currently subscribed to: Smithsonian, Wired, Interweave Knits, Vogue, Sojourners, and Entertainment Weekly. None of these things are alike. I have a variety of tastes.

Smithsonian I like because through my subscription, I’m a member of the Smithsonian Institution. My backup plan to the current backup plan I’m now using is to live in Washington DC and spend my life at their museums. Valid plan right? Wired I was subscribed to for quite awhile, then last summer it expired without me being notified, and I was annoyed so I didn’t resubscribe and just bought copies at used bookstores. A month or two ago, I won a free subscription, so Wired is back in the mailbox.

Interweave Knits helps me pretend I’m still good at knitting. I haven’t knitted much in the last two years, but I like the inspiration of pretty knitted things. This subscription will probably not be renewed when the incessant renewal requests next come in the mail. Vogue I love because it is beautiful and shallow and deep at the same time.  Where else can I look at pretty clothes and read fluffy articles about actresses and also read insightful interviews of people like Chelsea Clinton?

Sojourners is a magazine dedicated to social justice and Christianity. It’s kind of everything I want to read about at this stage in my faith life.  I enjoy reading about current events and issues with a not-uber-conservative Christian perspective. Entertainment Weekly is a great pool or beach read.  When I’m bumming around the internet, I tend to only look at entertainment that specifically interests me, and a magazine like EW is great for introducing me to books, movies, TV shows, and more that I might not otherwise stumble across.


I’ve really enjoyed Vampire Weekend’s new album, Modern Vampires of the City.  I still don’t know how to talk about music, except to say I like it. I like the way it sounds? Their singing is awesome? Let’s face it, my calling is not going to be a music critic.


One of my main activities in June was learning some Spanish using Duolingo.  I’m currently on a 21 day streak, playing DuoLingo Spanish lessons at least once a day.  It’s a fun and entertaining way to refresh language skills or pick up new simple skills.  In addition to Spanish, they also offer Portuguese, German, French, Italian, and English (if you’re not a native English speaker).


Let’s face it, June 2013 was not great.  And by not great, I mean perhaps one of the worst months of my adult life.  Some of these “things” I was into in June, though, vastly improved this month. Also,the month has ended on a lovely note in which I bridesmaided in my college roommate’s wedding. I’m exhausted now, but it was beautiful.

Blank Pages

Sometimes things fall apart. There’s all sorts of cliches and nice words about how things falling apart can lead to better things and whatever, but those are just words. True words, sure, but seemingly irrelevant ones when pieces of life are crumbling.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to explain the happenings of the last two months. Even if I do figure it out, though, it’s unlikely that those thoughts will make an appearance here.  All that can be said is that I am no longer working at the Little Light House. I am pursuing a different dream, to regain my dormant Spanish skills in Mexico, where my sister lives. In late August, I’m moving to southern Mexico for a couple months. And then? Who knows.  The book is open and the pages are blank–we’ll see what story gets written.

What I’m Into: March, April, May 2013 Edition

This post started out as What I’m Into: March 2013. Well, it’s June now, so whatever. 2013 continues to be an exercise in learning to put up with “things I do not want.”  Stress, disappointment, frustration, you name it, 2013 has brought it.  March has been notorious in my life for being weird and disappointing and great all at the same time. April wasn’t any improvement. May and early June could be classified as some of the worst weeks of my adult life thus far.

Enough about bitter disappointment, that’s a story for another day.  There have been things I’ve liked these past months that have brought some happiness into some of the blergh and awful that seems to be 2013’s watchword.


I fell in love with Parks and Recreation. Leslie Knope/Amy Poehler? I am her, people. I am her. Ok, not all of her, I like to think I’m a bit more self-aware and I don’t really care about parks. But the episode where she visits her manfriend in Washington DC? And she has detailed plans of everything she wants to see and do in DC? That is exactly me. I share her unbridled passion museums and history and other random things. And Ron Swanson? He is literally the best.


I haven’t finished a book in quite awhile. In March, I read a few comic books, Plain Janes and Friends with Boys. They’re so short, but I really enjoy a graphic novel now every once in a while. The best book I read in March, though, was Brain on Fire. It’s the horrifying true story of a 24-year-old woman’s descent into madness because of a rare autoimmune disease, a diagnosis that took time and $1 million of tests.  As I was still 24 when I read this book, all I could think was: This could have been me. Some true stories never hit close to home because they could never possibly happen to me–but what happened to her is not that impossible. This woman’s story is powerful and fascinating: read it.


I saw Muse in concert. It was absolutely magical. The concert was truly an amazing multimedia experience. I had never been to the BOK Center in Tulsa before, and I was amazed at all they could pull off  in one concert. A mountain of video screens coming down from the ceiling. Live video of Muse performing on those screens that looked so polished that it took quite awhile for me to figure out it was live. It was so good, it ruined me for listening to their music on just a plain old laptop.


I saw one movie in March. Admission, with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. And it was AWFUL.  Let’s never speak of this again.


I don’t know how I neglected The Lizzie Bennet Diaries last month, but I did. Let’s be honest, the LBD was one of my favorite media experiences of late 2012 and early 2013. This retelling of Pride and Prejudice in modern-day America was spectacular.  It ended in late March, 100 episodes of hilarity, happiness, tears, and magic. Watch it. Seriously.

Here’s to the rest of June bringing better things.


Today, I am 25. 

I got to spend my birthday in my favorite place, the Little Light House.  Some days, I can’t believe how blessed I am to work at such an amazing place, where miracles happen every day, where I am loved, where I am doing a job God made for me.  I mean, kids like Colton bring me birthday signs–how much better does it get? 

Colton brought a Happy Birthday sign for me for the day!
Colton brought a Happy Birthday sign for me for the day!


My life is incredibly different than it was a year ago. Last year, I was working in the classroom, doing a job I loved. I was an Associate, the assistant teacher in a classroom with 8 children with special needs and one staff kid. I was exhausted, and I loved it. But God opened the door for me to work in a new department, where I’m in charge of getting the word out about the Little Light House. And now I have even more responsibility: part of my duties now include grantwriting, helping to make sure we have enough money to keep providing services to these amazing students. It’s a little terrifying and overwhelming–but I think this is going to be a great year.

Four months ago, my computer crashed and I lost 2.5 years of my life, in a way. All the pictures of my two years of teaching are gone. I’ve found a few here and there, and I have at least one of every student. I worked on no major creative projects in my life post-college, so I didn’t lose anything creative. But that’s not that great, because that’s just sad. I didn’t write much about my students, my life, because I was exhausted and because I couldn’t figure out how to navigate that line of telling my story and their stories without telling too much. And when I say I couldn’t figure it out, I really mean that the thought just overwhelmed me so I didn’t really try.

So, I don’t know what I’m doing creatively this year, but may God bring back the stories I’ve lost. I always thought I’d have pictures of my students and my time in the classroom to jog my memories, but since they’re gone, I’ll just have to remember. I don’t have any master plan–I’m just going to see what happens and what stories God brings back. Here’s to remembering, and to investing in multiple backups so this never happens to me again. 

Enough about my computer and lost things. This is going to be a good year. I have stories I’m telling, work projects I’m launching, grants I’m writing, and life I’m living. 

And even though I don’t teach any more, I still get to spend time with kids like Calex.  Life is good.

Calex and me on my birthday.
Calex and me on my birthday.