Spring is . . .

• Spencer and I making up random “field trips” as the cool, damp winter blossoms into spring.

• Going to see the cherry blossoms in D.C. with Mom, a tradition now in its fourth year. (And this year is the trees’ centennial anniversary!)

• Getting Rita’s, a popular Italian ice chain ’round these parts, with my sister. It closes for the cold weather months and emerges when the sun returns, bringing with it delicious custard to help expand my waistline. (And I love every minute of it.) We zip over there when we’re feeling bored and looking for “adventure,” which translates to a 10-minute drive to an outdoor stand at 8 p.m. It’s usually us and 10,000 high schoolers with nothing else to do. Ah, yes — Friday nights.

• Baseball games with Dad. Whether we’re rootin’ for the Nats or the Blue Crabs, Southern Maryland’s own team, nothing beats watching a game with a giant funnel cake in my lap.

(Why are many of my spring memories related to food?)

• Easter and chocolate bunnies and dying colorful, sparkly eggs.

• Planning the year’s vacations. (Spencer and I have selected our big trip — full details coming tomorrow!)

• Coke Slurpees. Nothing beats the heat better on a 90-degree day.

• Feeling sublimely grateful for blue skies and the ability to break out my flip-flops.

. . . And feeling sublimely grateful to be here, enjoying these tender moments.

How ‘let’s play it by ear’ stopped striking fear in my little heart

Weeks after returning from the beach, it’s hard to conjure up those warm, the-sun-is-on-my-face and I-have-a-book-in-my-lap feelings. Work is busy. Birthdays are coming. Each weekend in the summer seems scheduled, arranged and preordained, each moment maximized for our enjoyment.


I’m a busy person, and I do that deliberately. When I’m in a “slow” period without many plans, social or otherwise, I tend to start thinking too much, worrying and becoming obsessive — especially about things beyond my control. As we grow up, we learn so much about ourselves — and what we need to be happy, fulfilled people. For me? It’s scheduling. Organization. Basically, I need to get on my feet and stay on my feet, running to the beat of a well-executed plan.

Lately, though, this tiny voice has been piping up from somewhere deep in my chest cavity — the same chest usually swelling and pounding with anxiety as I try to accomplish all this stuff on my ridiculous to-do lists. It’s weak, but it sounds like me — and I know it’s me. It’s whispering, “Let’s play it by ear.”

The idea of looking at wide-open Saturday, all fresh and shiny, and telling Spencer or my family that we can “wing it,” “see what happens” or “see how we feel” regarding the day’s plans is basically crazy. This is me we’re talking about: the Queen of OCD Organization. I make lists for everything. I make lists of my lists. I consult my Google Calendar as one would a religious text, searching for answers to any question. I like color-coding things so my eye can scan them quickly, taking in an entire month’s worth of business at a glance. I’ve got scheduled book reviews, dentist appointments, barbeque, bridal showers, day trips and concerts all mashed together in one colorful grid, blinking up at me like a promise of good things to come.

But lately, something’s begun to happen. On the days Spencer and I meet up early to have breakfast, go to yard sales (yard sales!), attend photography club meetings with Mom or other random activities, a strange sense of excitement comes over me. And looking back through the months, those days hold some of my favorite memories. Spencer and I eat when we want to eat; we go where we want to go. Holding hands in a hot car, we turn to each other and say, “What do you want to do now?” Sometimes we go for drives. Sometimes we stay home and watch TV, eating ice cream on the couch. Sometimes we run to Target or go take pictures. And sometimes? We do nothing at all.

Regardless, it’s delicious. And feels . . . almost rebellious.

I’m not saying I’m completely changing my ways. I still firmly believe that planning is necessary to avoid boredom — my boredom, at least. I know I thrive when busy and making plans. I’m not one to wander or loaf around, and I hate the absent looks that come from a group of people turning to each other and muttering, “OK, but what do you want to do?” I take charge. I plan stuff. But this whole getting out of the house without a major plan? Well, it’s exciting.

And I just might get used to it.

Things on my mind as I prepare for New York City

I’m just three days away from making the trip to New York City for the Book Blogger Convention, and do you think I’ve even started to think about the journey, my clothes or — more importantly — what books I’m bringing?!

Well, OK, yes — I have thought (a little) about what I’m packing, as evidenced by my most recent short post. Because, you know, I need to look good at this thing. I can’t show up in my typical non-work apparel of University of Maryland T-shirts, scuffed flip-flops and oversized purses carrying everything and everything’s brother. I need to Make An Effort. I need to Be Professional.

You know, I have high standards for my blogging self.

So, yes, I’ve decided to definitely wear my Power Dress to Friday’s BBC in NYC (that’s fun to type!) and I’m feeling pret-ty good about it. Stuff I’m not feeling good about? Figuring what shoes to wear that will simultaneously be fashionable and not kill my feet. Because last year, in London? Your girl Meg decided to wear flip-flops around England. When I was, you know, seeing the entire city on foot. Or what felt like the entire city, anyway. And by the time I made it home to Maryland? I had pinched a nerve. Between my toes. And then I had to try and figure out why I couldn’t feel my toe on my never-ending flight back to the States.

Answer: I was a moron.

There will be no repeat performance this year. As I’ve gotten older and, hopefully, wiser, I’ve finally succumbed to the fact that beauty does occasionally equal pain — but I’m just not all right with that. Nothing kills a great day faster than wanting to chop off your own foot. This vacation? I’m planning accordingly.

Because it is, on top of everything else, a vacation. My sister’s college graduation is all finished — and we had a rip-roarin’ good time! I’m so proud of my baby sister and all her accomplishments, and it’s awesome to welcome another journalist into the family. Well, I’m an editor, technically, but I do work for a newspaper and write a biweekly column. It’s all about me, sure, but it’s writing. In a paper. So = journalism, right? (Not really, but we’ll roll with it.)

Other things on my mind for this upcoming adventure? What books to bring. This is always the trouble for me, see, because I tend to overpack and bring along a million novels. Logically I know I’m not going to have that much time to read and will most likely buy even more books to bring home with me from my travels, but I still have this irrational fear that I will — gasp! — run out of reading material. And let’s be serious: that’s terrifying.

I’m in the middle of two novels right now — Danielle Ganek’s The Summer We Read Gatsby and Chemistry For Beginners by Anthony Strong — and while I’m enjoying both, I still feel like I want a “fresh” book to accompany me on my trip to New York City. The last time I set foot in the Big Apple, I was a tender 12-year-old who spent the entire bus ride up and back staring longingly at the blonde-haired kid named Matt I had a wicked, wicked crush on. The kind of crush that makes your whole body blush when they even hazard a glance in your direction. The sort of crush that makes you feel like you’ve been Tasered if they deign to pick up a pencil you’ve dropped. (Or, you know, thrown. At them. In an adolescent attempt to get their attention. I was really smooth and flirtacious and charming, what can I say.)

So what magical, fresh and fun book will be coming with me to NYC? One I just picked up at Borders the other day: Morgan Matson’s Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. The title alone was intriguing, but once I saw that gorgeous, gorgeous cover? Well, I was already hooked. I saw a tweet about it a few weeks back and started doing some research, and it didn’t take me long to want to get my greedy, book-lovin’ hands all over Matson’s debut novel. So hey there, Amy and Roger — you’re going on an epic detour with me!

And yes, I promise to bring my cheesy sense of humor with me on Friday. Get ready for a good time, y’all, because Meg’s out in full force. And since I’ll be in comfortable shoes, I’ll be ready to chase you down to chat. Don’t think I won’t, either; I’m not subtle.

Six days to London

The countdown is on!


My friend and coworker Sandy made me this awesome sign to hang on my office door. Love the red, white and blue motif, don’t you? Very American in the U.K.! I’m digging it!

Stacy and I have our itinerary mostly ironed out . . . right now, it’s looking like we’re hitting up all the haunts I’ve been reading about for months: Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Kings Cross Station Tower Bridge, Hyde Park, Westminster Abbey (probably just a walk-by!), Harrod’s and, most awesomely, Hampton Court Palace — estate of Henry VIII! We have our tickets and everything!

And, of course, there will be plenty of shopping, wandering by the Thames and pub-visiting in the middle of all of that. I have four days — and I’m going to make them count!