Posts by Mandi Harris

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


It is the most wonderful time of year, and, as Jo March once said, “Christmas just won’t be Christmas without any presents.” I would hate to be the person who ruined Christmas for you, so here is a little present from me to you. This present comes in the form of a tale—a tale of one of the weirdest things anyone has ever said to me. continue reading >>

Mandi’s Reads: A Series of Embarrassing Events

IStock Shoes

This week has been a series of embarrassing events. It all began very innocently. I was eating the most delicious Reuben—thick, homemade bread; juicy corned beef; perfectly pickled sauerkraut—when I decided to take a selfie. I was wearing kitty cat face makeup from the Halloween story time at the library where I work. I thought I looked especially cute and selfie-worthy. (I allow myself four selfies a year, and this was to be one of those occasions.)

I took the selfie and tweeted it. Adorable. If you follow me on Twitter, you know how adorable it was. I then proceeded to devour my Reuben enthusiastically, and it was this enthusiasm that was to be my downfall, continue reading >>

Mandi’s Reads: Creative Constipation

Fall Leaves

I am having the hardest time writing this blog (I almost wrote “damnedest time” but I have been asked not to swear so much). I have blogger’s block, you see, and I know exactly what the problem is: life is too good right now. Just like eating a lot of fiber can make your poop chute all kinds of backed up, so too can living a happy life make your imagination all kinds of constipated.

I don’t know how to handle my life right now. It’s too happy. continue reading >>

Mandi’s Reads: Halloween for Little Monsters

IStock Mandi's Halloween

I was going to start this blog with something banal (Sidenote: Did you know there are people out there who pronounce “banal” so it rhymes with “anal” and they have no idea how ridiculous they sound?) like “I love fall!” But everyone loves fall. And if you don’t love fall, just go ahead and click that little X in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, because I’m afraid that you and I can never be soul mates. I apologize. I thought we were meant to be, but I have thought a great many things in my years on this planet, and I have been wrong about most of them.

So we all can agree that fall is the best blah blah blah it’s magical uh huh uh huh uh huh we are all wishing we were at Hogwarts this year yada yada yada maybe Hogwarts is a grad school because I haven’t received my acceptance letter yet. Autumn is the happiest time of year leading up to the best holiday: Halloween. This year I am dressing up as Kenny Rogers for Halloween, and my dear friend is going as Dolly Parton. I am flying to see her because if I don’t have a Dolly next to me, everyone is going to think I’m Michael McDonald, and if that happens, I will have to burn Halloween to the ground. I hit the Halloween spirit extra early this year. I started planning my costume over Labor Day weekend, and on October 1 I did a Halloween story time for 125 kindergarteners. That’s right: 125 kindergarteners. I know, I know—I am incredibly brave. Take a moment to think of me with awe. continue reading >>

Mandi’s Reads: All Out of Love

Heart in wall

I don’t believe in love anymore.

I don’t believe in love anymore.

I don’t believe in love anymore.

I wish there was a suitably self-indulgent font for those words. I have been wandering around yelling them dramatically over the past few days. Well, that’s a lie. I haven’t been yelling “I DON’T BELIEVE IN LOVE ANYMORE!” melodramatically the whole time; sometimes I whisper it (equally melodramatically) while staring off into the middle-distance with a single tear running down my cheek.

I won’t go into the handsome, bearded straw that broke the camel’s back that is my heart, but yes, he wore plaid, so I was obviously powerless to resist his charms. continue reading >>

Mandi’s Reads: Theories of Poop and Other Magic

IStock Nurse

I have theories about life. Theories, you hear me! My main theory is that deep down everyone wants to talk about their poop. How do I know this? In college I worked for a gastroenterologist. I filed, handled insurance payments and made appointments. In no way was I ever a gastroenterologist. I never went to poop chute medical school. I was not and am not qualified to make diagnoses. However, that has never stopped people from talking to me about their poop. I’m not talking patients either. Strangers in an elevator, new co-workers, dates… continue reading >>

Mandi’s Reads: Pseudo-Victoriana

Steampunk woman

A fun drinking game is to take a shot for all of the things you’ve lived through in your life that would have killed you in the 1800s. I had scarlet fever a few years ago. Shot. I have a chronic illness that is fatal if left untreated. Shot. I’m a woman of childbearing age. Shot. It is a fun game because while you’re sad about your mortality, you’re also drunk. And saddrunk is just as fun as happydrunk.

If on the really off chance I hadn’t died young in the 1800s, I probably would have been married with a bunch of kids. However, maybe, just maybe, my life would have gone like it has in the 21st century: I would be a contented spinster, continue reading >>

Mandi’s Reads: Toddlers and Books

IStock Mandi's Reads

I spend a lot of time around kids. I know, I know… snarky Mandi with kids? But the truth is I adore kids. There’s a silly part of my personality that loves goofy dances and animal jokes and playing pretend. I’ve been working with kids since I was one. When you’re from a large working class family, there’s always a poopy diaper to change or a bottle to make. I changed my first diaper when I was barely out of diapers myself. I got my first paid babysitting job when I was just a month shy of 11. My older sister hired me to babysit my twin niece and nephew. I earned a dollar an hour per kid ($2.00/hour, for those of you who are not mathematically inclined). I was also expected to vacuum and clean the living room and kitchen while the kids were down for naps. My siblings didn’t give a turd about child labor laws.

I’m one of 31 cousins. I have ten nieces and nephews. On more than one occasion, I have scrubbed an unholy blend of diarrhea and vomit out of carpet. I just can’t escape kids. continue reading >>

Mandi’s Reads: Lie to Me

Istock Lies

Lie to me. I like liars. I also like bullshitters, scoundrels, and charmers. (Probably because I am one). I trust liars. If you tell me you’re honest, well then, I’m just not going to trust you. I’ll wonder why you feel the need to state your honesty. Tell me you’re a liar? We’re golden. I know exactly where you stand. (In a pile of bull. You’re standing in a pile of bullcrap, just like me.)

I have the same philosophy when it comes to books. If you write a non-fiction book, I’m going to question everything about it. I’m going to ask you to cite your sources, then I’m going to ask those sources to cite their sources, and for those sources to cite their sources. I’m going to question the motivations of those sources and your motivations right along with them. I’ll want to know your political leanings, your personal history, where you grew up and how this shaped you. I’ll doubt everything you tell me. All because you slapped “non-fiction” on the cover, I’ll assume everything in your book is pure fiction. Swear to me that you’re being honest, and I’ll react the same way I do when a strange man approaches me in a bar: curl my lip and say, “What’s your angle? What’s your endgame here, pal?” continue reading >>

Mandi’s Reads: Beach Reads, Mandi Style

Summer Reading

Summer is a mixed bag for me. I usually hit June filled with regret that I haven’t lost any of the weight I wanted to. (This summer I am feeling pretty hot thanks to a late-May case of the flu and subsequent weight loss). I love to swim and hike, but am constantly worried the rattlesnake whose venom spells my doom loves to swim and hike just as much as I do, and he and I will have an encounter that will lead to the necrotization of the flesh on my calf. I spend all Spring daydreaming about a passionate (and wonderfully brief) summer romance, but these cinematic summer romances rarely materialize. (This summer I do have the beginnings of what may make for a great epistolary romance, which is cool, I guess. Epistolary romances save me money on birth control.) continue reading >>