Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The sound and look of the recession, told through a traffic report

Minnesota traffic is a bit unique. Well, perhaps not unique, but given our stereotype of niceness, it's a bit surprising. Drivers here are among some of the most passive aggressive drivers in the country. While we feel we are nice and generally rational people, we also don't appreciate that jerk cutting us off at the last second on 394. The response? Obviously it's to tailgate for a mile and then pass the car in the next lane, glaring at the driver the entire time.

In stop-and-go traffic, do not plan on getting into a lane, regardless of where you are merging from, unless you are willing to risk a possible accident. People will not let you in, as they feel that since you have just come into the area, you have no right to just merge in front of them.

Lately, I've been noticing some situations and sounds that are rather new to the Minnesota drive. I feel like it is related to the added stress and pressure of money that has become so apparent in most of our lives. I feel like people are beginning to lose perspective on rational driving and becoming more aggressive as the pressure of money, or lack thereof, rises.

First, the other day while driving into Minneapolis, someone had a flat tire, which they stopped to replace on the freeway. In the Lowry Tunnel. I understand that a flat tire is a big deal. But really? At 8:00 am? In the Lowry Tunnel? I give Minnesotans more credit than this. The Hiawatha, and U of M exits are a 1/2 mile from the tunnel. He couldn't make it that far? I blame a preoccupation with cost and investment on the poor planning and reaction of this driver.

Second, I've been noticing a lot more horns. Minnesota drivers are not typically ones to use their horns a lot. That would constitute aggression. And Minnesotans are certainly not aggressive. They will claim they don't know what passive aggressive means and deny it upon learning the definition. Again, I see the added stress of getting through traffic, wasting gas, wondering how much money you'll have next week, next month, next year. People have become more and more aggressive, which I think is due to the constant economic situation that doesn't seem to bring any good news.

Traffic has become rather unbearable. The thing that was nice about Minnesota drivers was, during the week, everyone was on the same page when it came to reaching their destination: get there as quickly and efficiently as possible. On Saturdays and Sundays, people weren't in such a hurry, but still were more interested in getting to their destination in a timely manner. The treatment of people who were not abiding by these unwritten rules were treated similarly to the cutting-off-on-the-freeway situation noted above.

Now, there seem to be an unruly amount of accidents. And worse yet, every lane on the freeway will be stopped. In the morning it takes me almost a half hour to get to work, and 45 minutes to get home in the afternoons, and I live less than 10 miles away from my job. Sunday driving seems to be a contest to see who can drive the slowest in the left lane. I feel like there is a certain dread to dealing with the destination. Drive slower and it will be longer until you have to face more financial worry, at home or at a restaurant. Any place reminds everyone of the financial shortfall we're experiencing these days.

Yesterday, NPR reported the recession ended. Today it took me an hour to get home and I heard 4 different car horns. I don't think the recession is quite over yet.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Songs any self respecting woman would hate

...but are played at Ann Taylor stores anyway.

"U Started It"- Gwen Stefani
"Rich Girls Poor Girls"- Everybody Else
"One Of The Boys"- Katy Perry
"The Sweet Escape"- Gwen Stefani
"Disturbia"- Rihanna

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Monologue by my yoga mat

Look, I've been sitting here in the corner of the living room for weeks, quite possibly months now. I'm starting to wilt and collect dust. You've left me to sit next to that ball, who I might add thinks we are way better friends than we are just because I've let him use me a few times. I mean, I understand "taking one for the team." But don't you think this is a little ridiculous? I've been taking one for the team for over a month now. I'm just tired of having the ball as my only company. And by the way, pink makes him look fat.

I know you've been sick and haven't had the energy to work out lately. I think it's obvious by how messy it's gotten here. I'm tired of watching you watch movies and falling asleep in the middle of them. Hairspray is not that good. It's disgusting. Have you noticed how flabby your stomach has gotten? I have when you sit down next to me. It's a little sad. I bet you can't even see your muscles in your legs and arms anymore. Doesn't that make you a little depressed? Okay, yes, that was a little harsh, but part of a relationship is being as honest as possible. That jerk who comes around now, bringing you ice cream, claiming to make you "feel better" is just enabling you. Can't you see that?

Don't you remember when you first took me home? You adored the purple and green paisley print. You showed me off and brought me out and we had so many good times together. Okay, the time your dog tried to eat me was not so good, but aside from that.

Don't you remember how comfortable you got with me? You fell asleep feeling my soft foam skin and smelling my sweat and plastic cologne. You looked hot with me, practicing your positions and stretching your body. We really were great together.

I guess I'm just trying to tell you that I miss you and want you back. Please come back. If you don't, I can't promise that I won't become misplaced. I'm not saying. I'm just saying.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Apartment searching

There is a sick addiction in looking for apartments. I like looking at the pictures of apartments and homes. It's like a puzzle trying to find someplace that has everything I want, namely off street parking and AC. It's a game to find the best apartment for the cheapest price. My goal in finding an apartment this time is to get the first month free with a low deposit. I'm successful so far.

I'd like to live in a duplex. However, this is proving to be more difficult. Especially when it comes to finding air conditioning. In a couple weeks I will say AC doesn't matter, but since it's been 90 degrees for the last three days, I'm feeling it's a little critical.

Also, did I mention I'm excited to be moving back to Minneapolis? I am.

I am a bit bewildered by some apartment advertisements. Many advertise things that really should come with any apartment. For example:

Our apartment features:

Really? Are there apartments in which I would need to provide my own fridge? This concerns me a little.

One landlord seemed apparently irritated to be leasing out the property. His ad went as follows:

Here are the answers to the top stupid questions:

Do you have pictures? No, if I had pictures, I would have posted them.
What is the deposit? One month rent.
What utilities are included? None. Get a job and pay for them yourself.

There was also a phone number to call him for a showing. Needless to say, I didn't write it down. Something tells me he's not going to get choice tenants.

Google has really been helpful though. All I need to do is search for the apartment complex, and a map pops up telling me where it is and it has a link with reviews of it. One apartment I was interested in had 29 (29!) bad reviews. And when I say bad, I mean embarrassingly terrible. It didn't get more than two stars on any review. I felt bad for the place. Five reviews stated they had both mice and bed bugs. Seriously, bed bugs? I wasn't aware those things even existed in the 21st century. What do they have, hay for carpet? It's Minneapolis, not a barn.

I'm concerned for my future living conditions.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

On what planet is this okay?

I was so uneasy with this news article. A deputy who not only tasered a woman in front of her children, forced her out of her car by grabbing her arm and pulling her out, and then pulled her out into the street. He then arrested her and left her two children in her car.

Her charge initially was talking on her phone, which she could prove wasn't true. He then told her she was going five miles (FIVE MILES) over the speed limit. These charges were dropped after she started a lawsuit.

The deputy's punishment? He's being reassigned. It's a good thing he wasn't fired for his behavior.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top ways not to write a paper, or how I became an expert in procrastination

I have been assigned a 10 page paper on gender construction in children's and adolescent literature. Believe me: it's as exciting as it sounds. The class ended last Friday, so you can imagine how checked out I am in regards to this paper. So here are some ways I attempted to avoid writing. Tonight:

1. Facebook: the god of all methods of procrastination. There is a reason this was only open to college students initially; Facebook's only purpose is procrastination from studying for exams and writing papers. I swear, in the last hour I've logged on three times. In a day, I may generally log in three times (if I'm especially popular).
2. Make a pizza. Nom nom nom.
3. Bitch to your roommate about everything you hate in alphabetical order, and then listen her list.
4. Bake cookies. Do not forget them though.
5. Three hole punch every sheet of paper in you backpack and put them neatly, in order, into a three ring binder (something to consider before the class ends).
6. Look up APA citation even though you already know how to do it.
7. Ask to borrow select cds from your roommate.
8. Pandora. Assume that all the music they play is terrible and create an entirely new playlist. Preferrably one that makes you so happy you dance away from the computer, or makes you so sad you sit and cry for a while.
9. Complain that it's too cloudy to go for a long walk.
10. Sit by a window and wish you were healthy enough to go for a long walk.
11. Plan the route of said long walk.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


So apparently I went almost a week with mono without knowing it. Here's why:

Since last August, I kid you not, I have been sick seven times. SEVEN. My seventh graders, upon the third cold in December, smiled sweetly, telling me whatever I got was from them. Last Wednesday night, I started getting the sore throat I generally do when I get sick. I have this thing down to a system. I mean, my now-boyfriend came down with it in April or May, and I was able to give him an accurate hour by hour play of what to expect. Anyway. Wednesday night. Thursday I woke up feeling like I was hit by a truck. Seriously, I questioned what went on over the last eight hours of sleep that would make me feel the way I did. I live on the fourth floor and my walls were intact, so I'm assuming it wasn't the truck scenario.

But something strange happened Thursday, which I did my best to ignore. While my face was swollen to the point of wanting it to explode and not being able to open my eyes even half way, this was not the part that alarmed me. At dinner, with friends and their family, I got so warm, I thought I was going to pass out. Now I am never hot. Anyone who knows me, can attest to this. I. Am. Never. Hot. 90 degrees? I'm still cold, with my cardigan. I have more cardigans than I have pants, that's how cold I am. Seriously. Then when we went back to my friends' place for cake. I got so tired that when I sat down, I nearly had chocolate cake all over my face from falling asleep in it.

Since I don't listen to warning signs as it is, I still went out Friday for a bit and woke up early Saturday morning so dehydrated, death seemed like a reasonable option. Saturday and Sunday the pain in my throat and ears became unbearable. I broke down and went into a clinic on Sunday afternoon. Now, I don't have insurance, so if I go in to see a doctor, I expect to leave with a prescription that will literally save my life. I left, instead, with a box of Claritin. Claritin. I have never felt pain in my face like I have on Sunday, and the doctor had the nerve to give me allergy medication.

Monday, at six in the morning, I decided to go to a different clinic. I realize I should go to a regular doctor, but when you don't have insurance, it seems a bit ridiculous to have a "regular" doctor in the first place. Oddly enough, the new doctor found out within 30 seconds that I had mono. He then scolded me for waiting for it to get out of control before coming in. I'd direct him to the "no insurance" bit of this blog, but then I'd just feel redundant.

This was a death sentence for me. I am the person that does three things at once because I can. I pace during movies and TV shows. I'm that girl you hate to date because I get up to do dishes during romantic moments. I read, play music and fidget at the same time. When my computer is on, I have no less than four programs running. And two of those usually have a chat option.

I've been reading a lot. Music still hurts my head so I sit in my bed. Silent. I watch a lot of movies and stand up. Thank God for Netflix. I have looked out my window hoping to see an explosion, fire, building collapse of some sort that would require me to exert myself. As of now, no such luck. I'm hopeful for tomorrow though.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I went to Sweden for about 10 days in June. It was subtly amazing. It had the appearance of home, yet the attitude of someplace else. Now, the story of Sweden is somewhat of a crazy one. So here it is:

In April, I decided that for several reasons, I was going insane. I couldn't get away from some things and couldn't find others. I felt like I was losing a sense of who I was and where I was going. So one night, around midnight, I got onto a travel website and bought a ticket to Sweden. For no reason whatsoever. I began to hyperventilate because this is not something I would do. Ever.

I had met a family online several months before and spoke over Skype frequently, but we had never formally met. And the next thing I knew, I was asking if I could stay with them when I arrived in June. My friends and family were excited about this. I was doing something truly exciting. Little did they know I was scared out of my mind. What was I thinking going to a foreign country, planning to stay with people I had never met? My only fear that I could process at that point was they weren't going to be at the airport when I landed.

The morning of the flight, I was proud: I only threw up once before getting on. I was nervous and what made it worse was that I sat next to a guy that did not understand the concept of sleeping through the night. Instead he watched comedies all evening, laughing and tapping his foot. When we landed in Sweden, I turned to the other man sitting next to me, relieved, and said "we made it!" He grabbed my hand, smiled and laughed a little. He was going home, but he knew I had never been before. That was my first welcome into Sweden: comforting and promising.

I can't say enough wonderful things about the Lindqvist family. Their friendliness and hospitality goes beyond that of anything I've ever known. Their extended family and friends were even welcoming and accommodating. I could not believe how willing people were to speak English, since I spoke no Swedish. It was like I became part of their family. My--I still have the bracelet you made me, and I get lots of compliments. I have the pictures the kids made me hanging in my room.

Things that stood out/I enjoyed/was amused by:

1. I got to see a Swedish Midsommer. By far the best ever.
This is me dancing around the Midsommer pole:
This is the Midsommer wreath that someone made me. It was BEAUTIFUL:
2. I was excited to go home. Sometimes you miss strange things because that's what you're used to. Upon arriving in the US, I sent a friend a picture of the sign just outside of customs that said "Welcome to New Jersey." Underneath I wrote "it should say: Welcome to New Jersey: Where no one is nice, it's always dirty and it always smells like McDonald's." Their response? "Welcome home :)"

3. I forced myself to be on limited internet and had no phone while I was there. It felt good. Really good.

4. When I got home, I had to remember Americans don't use the centigrade system. I spent 10 days trying to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius. And now, I had to convert Celsius into Fahrenheit. Go figure.

5. The more I talked about Minnesota, the more I didn't understand how I could live there compared to Sweden.

6. The liquor stores are fancy, and Swedish people are amused that American liquor stores are so sketchy.


7. I got to use the macro part of my camera!
8. Everything is cleaner, happier, more open minded, and land is under developed in Sweden.

9. Playing games with a large group of people, even if they're as simple as Uno, really is a lot more fun than most other things. But I don't want to sit next to Sofia again during games.

10. I don't know how those people stay thin; candy was utterly inescapable.

11. In Sweden, it's apparently acceptable for military bands to play Abba songs at a military ceremony.

12. Sweden nice puts Minnesota nice to shame.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dance classes...no, really.

A couple friends invited me to an open house at a dance studio yesterday. I must have been half conscious when I agreed because I quickly realized I had no work out pants except for my pajamas and I don't really dance. At all. I have no training and I really don't even watch other people dance much. I have the dance to "Thriller" down pretty well, but that's as far as I go. So I opted to just wear jeans and watch, but my friends talked me into joining in within five minutes of being there. We went to two classes: ballet and jazz. Ballet was easy enough. I struggled on some of the moves because after years of figure skating, my legs wanted to bend and push sideways. This does nothing productive when you're barefoot except make you look like an idiot.

At lunch we stopped at Target and I got some pants which made the day much better. As we walked through the skyway, my friend asked what I thought. I explained the skating thing and then talked about the similarities and differences I noticed between ballet and yoga.

Now, I'll be honest here: I love yoga. I said it was an interesting contrast because in yoga you are constantly described as plants or the air: "You are a tree growing tall in a field," "Feel the air move through you as your chest opens," "You are a blade of grass growing and swaying in the breeze." But in ballet they compare you to active things and machinery: "Imagine you are a plane, soaring through the air," "Imagine throwing your heavy bag in the air as you jump."

While we were learning the jazz routine, I quickly realized that I focused too much on stationary moves rather than moving from one to the next. After doing the routine in its entirety, I got up walked to the corner and mumbled, "Trees should not be jazz dancers."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Summer! v. IV

I have completed my fourth annual Summer! CD. Although, I haven't posted my previous three playlists on here, so technically, this is Summer! v. I for you all. My favorite still seems to be the Summer! v. II, which had such songs as "Sunshine Of My Life," "Aruarian Dance," and "All Summer Long." And let's not go in to last year's Summer! CD. A total disaster that had quite a bit of potential, but went through so many revisions by July that I simply gave up. I hope this year will be more successful. The thing I like about this year's mix is that it's so happy and warm. I listened to it today driving to my parents'. It was fabulous.

I like having one mix to carry me through a season, for some reason. Then when I listen to the CD, months and years later, I can go back to that exact moment in time and feel like I was there. For example, v. II reminds me of being with my cousin for her wedding and the night before driving around Minneapolis and having dinner by the Mississippi at St. Anthony Main.

Here is the Rapidshare link so you can download the playlist if you feel like it. The playlist, and videos, are below. What's sad is that I actually want to do the dance that Hall and Oates do in their music video when I hear that song. Oh, to grow up in the 80s.

1. "Say Hey (I Love You)"- Michael Franti and Spearhead (All Rebel Rockers)
2. "Sweet Johnny"- Gorky's Zygotic Mynci (Gorky 5)
3. "My Father's Gun"- Elton John (Elizabethtown Soundtrack)
4. "Anti-Western"- Camera Obscura (Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi)
5. "Cocaine Blues"- Johnny Cash (At Folsom Prison)
6. "Lollipop"- Mika (In Cartoon Motion)
7. "That's Not My Name"- The Ting Tings (We Started Nothing)
8. "My Best Friend's Girl"- The Cars (The Cars)
9. "Baby I Love Your Way"- Big Mountain (Unity)
10. "Only The Good Die Young"- Billy Joel (The Stranger)
11. "You Make My Dreams Come True"- Hall and Oates (Voices)
12. "Funny Looking Angels"- Delta (Hardlight) I couldn't find a video for this one.
13. "I'll Wait For You"- Sherwood (Sing, But Keep Going)
14. "Summer of 69"- Bowling For Soup (Let's Do It For Johnny!!)
15. "Don't Be Shy"- The Libertines (The Libertines)
16. "Bide Your Time (Acoustic)"- The Courteeners (St. Jude)
17. "Blue Eyes"- Cary Brothers (Garden State Soundtrack)
18. "Age Six Racer"- Dashboard Confessional (The Swiss Army Romance)
19. "Sea Of Love"- Cat Power (Juno Soundtrack)
20. "Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World"- Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (Ka'ano'i)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Substitute teachering

I've had a rather diverse teaching experience over the last year. Subbing has been great for several reasons. One is that I get to be someone different everyday. Two is that I get to see a lot of different schools and see how they function. Here are some notable experiences:

1. Of course my seventh graders. I adore them. Cute and friendly and still actually wanting to learn. A couple of them have tried to add me as a friend on Facebook, but I just send them messages back. One boy wrote to inform me that an inside joke that was created between me and a student (and his class) is still going on. It made me smile to think that they still think about me.

2. Of course my 11th graders. A lot of these kids were kids I taught last spring since I was back at the same school. Even though I was only there covering for one teacher for 6 weeks, I got close to a lot of them. Two girls brought me girl scout cookies on my last day. There isn't a better gift than that. The best part about my 11th graders is that I still sub once in a while at that school, and when they see me in the hall they yell my name, invite me to chat with their friends, joke around, and one once nearly tackled me to the ground for a hug. Another good thing about subbing at this school is that I'm familiar with it. I've subbed a few times for one teacher and her kids have taken to saying "hello" to me in the halls and/or making fun of me when I can't remember their names. I'm learning I have the grandma name disorder bad. I mistake kids that have the same hair color, same facial structure or the same color shirt. It's not okay.

Here is a list of teachers I've been (and possible anicdotes) in the last few months:

1. Industrial tech- me and 30 boys. You can only imagine the awkwardness and stares.

2. Dance/Ballet- one student actually asked if I would be teaching them. I nearly cried from laughter.

3. 7th grade science

4. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12th grade math (apparently math teachers get sick a lot)

5. Special education- I got to be good friends with one boy who insisted I return for cooking day.

6. ELL- A boy once tried to talk shit about me in Spanish and I turned to him and said, "Entiendo Espanol." I've never seen eyes get so wide before. O_O

7. PE- I got to do archery. Very fun. I feel hardcore now since the student teacher taught me how to shoot. I'm not bad at it either!

8. Physics- I'm sorry, what do I need to know about centripetal force?

9. Social Studies- basically English without books.

10. Band/music teacher- a boy I had for social studies was in two of my classes that day. I heard him several times tell students, "Hey it's that teacher with the perfect grillz!"

I think that's all. Really, I hate subbing more than anything. But I'm trying to remain positive.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Life from the east side

I seem to complain a lot about St. Paul. I do like it. I found out today that my landlord wants to sell the condo, thus forcing my roommate and I to find a new place to live in October. Sad. I was starting to like it here a lot.

Even though the thought of leaving Summit and Grand in St. Paul makes me sad, as well as the cringe-worthy thought of moving my stuff AGAIN, I'm getting used to the idea of moving back to Minneapolis. That may be where I'm headed. I like St. Paul, but the drive is a little crazy. Also, I seem to like fearing for my life some. I do like the feeling of safety where I'm at now. But sometimes I miss the crudeness of Minneapolis.

The other day I was getting gas. I went in to pay and was tempted to get a pop. As I was walking to the back coolers, an old man who seemed hardly capable of walking moved in front of me, saying, "Hey baby, you look damn good!" At first I wanted to hug him for making me feel like I was back in Minneapolis. But I instantly realized that would be gross and he would not think I was hugging him for the same reason I thought.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter to me.

When I was about eight or nine years old, Easter was one of my favorite holidays. My mom always bought me a small toy or gift that was buried in with my candy. A couple years prior to this, my favorite present ever was a pair of slip-on canvas shoes with a blue and pink flower print on them. I'm not joking.

Anyway, ninth Easter. My brother preferred to grow up more quickly when it came to holidays than I did. This was mainly due to the fact that my mom always said when we stopped believing in the Easter bunny or Santa Clause or the tooth fairy, we stopped receiving gifts. I wasn't stupid. My brother, on the other hand, apparently needed more time to process this threat. He was about six this Easter and took to informing me at every possible moment that the Easter bunny did not exist. This usually resulted in minutes of me covering my ears and shouting, "I can't hear you. La la la la la," and he yelling that I was stupid. Outside of this instance, and maybe car rides, we got along fairly well growing up.

My dad went out to get the paper after we found the hard boiled eggs my brother and I refused to eat. A few moments later my dad came back in and told us that my brother and I should take on more responsibility and get the paper for them. You can imagine how well this went over with our baskets of candy already comfortably placed in our laps. But we were weak children and put up very little argument. My dad sat down on the couch waiting for the paper and my brother and I, much slower than usual, put on our shoes and coats.

By this time, I'd worn my brother down and was beginning to convince him that Mom and Dad could not have possibly hid the eggs and filled the baskets. We got to the end of our long driveway and my brother bent over to pick up the newspaper. I froze. Maybe he wouldn't see what was in the road. I looked at my brother, then the road, then back at my brother just in time to see him stand up slowly, eyeing what I saw. My brother hugged the newspaper as we cautiously approached it. Lying in the middle of the road was a large dead rabbit. I cringed, my brother gasped. We ran back to the house where my dad sat rolling on the couch. My brother threw the newspaper to the floor and screamed, "There is no Easter bunny!" He grabbed his basket and went to play in his room. I stood furious at my dad, "You ruined every holiday for me." I meant to follow that up with a promising threat, but my dad was laughing so hard that when he finally was able to speak, he interrupted me only to ask if I saw any surprises getting the paper.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


For the last couple years I've kind of felt like I was wandering a lot. I'm not sure why I didn't feel at home anywhere. And the places that used to feel like home seemed to lose the feeling of calm, comfort and familiarity. I would go to places I used to growing up and try to force myself to feel comfortable there, but I always felt uninvited and out of place. Even in my own apartment now, there are times when I feel like it isn't mine. Sometimes I pull the key from my pocket and I wonder why someone would trust me with their housekey.

This may have stemmed from the house I lived at this summer. But I think it began two falls ago in Minneapolis. I felt more at home house sitting than I did in the house I own in Minneapolis. Things were so ugly there. I have no other way of putting it. And I guess I wasn't even conscious of it at the time. But I remember walking my dog and wondering why everything in north Minneapolis seemed like it was always in this awkward stage of coming out of death, like spring. Spring is good because it means things are going to be warm, fresh and new, but it's neither a graceful transition, nor is it pretty. There were moments when I felt like my eyes were craving something beautiful.

The closest I came to feeling at home was on my drive home from work. There is a section on 694 that is straight and uneventful. Traffic is usually pretty heavy and noisy since I go home around four or five. But just before the freeway splits and I drive into Minneapolis, there is a moment where everything becomes silent. Even my music takes on a new sound. I don't hear the cars around me. I don't even hear my own car. To me this is what home sounds like. Everything is quiet. I don't hear or see the ugly parts of my life.

Last night, as I drove home from my parents', I found home in a shockingly glorious moment. To get to my parents', there is about a ten minute drive along a large lake. On one side, large old homes sit damp and wilted in the spring with the frozen lake on the other side. Yesterday was no different since it was gray and on the verge of raining all day. It's ugly and brown and depressing. But then I saw something I hadn't seen in years: two swans floating along the shoreline of the water. I remember seeing them once in a while on my way into school when I lived at home. And suddenly, I realized how quiet it was with no wind or cars around me. All I saw was the lake almost melted, the calm mirror look of the water and those swans that seemed to just glide on top of it. It was so delicate and beautiful surrounded by the ugliness of dead leaves, frozen lake and gray clouds. The white of their feathers almost hurt my eyes, it was so bright in contrast. It was as though I hadn't seen color so vibrant in years. Then I remembered what home felt like.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Things I'm still finding out

Firstly, I'm finding I'm not capable of managing accordion style Post-It notes. I went to reach for one today on my desk and the entire stack came undone. In front of my entire class.

I'm capable of being sick and having a good day.

I'm capable of spending part of class getting to know my students and allowing them to get to know me.

I'm capable of walking out to my car in a parking lot and forgetting I'm walking to my car in a parking lot while thinking about this blogpost. This resulted in my feet hitting the back curb at Target. Someone once joked that I may be autistic when I said I counted the tiles on the floor as I walked. I'm starting to think it may not be a joke.

I'm capable of moving on while still being stuck in one place.

I'm capable of looking forward to what's ahead and missing what I had. I just played a song that I listened to nonstop walking to and from class in June and July. For a moment I thought I'd have to make a mad dash across University Ave. and 4th St. and walk quietly through Marcy Holmes with my iPod (thanks, brother).

I'm capable of fixing two burnt out light bulbs in the kitchen that are slightly too high for me to reach, even on a chair. I nearly fell off the chair at one point and, like an idiot, grabbed the chandelier. I'm still alive, the ceiling is still intact and the fixture is still connected to the ceiling.

I'm capable of trusting my friends to be my friends. Thanks Chuck, Amanda and Perry.

Tonight I watched Where The Heart Is. It's not the greatest movie made, but I do like it a lot. I still cry at the following line (and I'm capable of accepting that I'm too sensitive sometimes):

"Our lives can change with every breath we take. Let go of what's gone. Hold on to what you've got. We've all got meanness in us, but we've got goodness too. And the only thing worth living for is the good. And that's what we've got to pass on."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Happiness is...

1. Talking to Per, Sofia and Rickard on Skype this morning.
2. Hearing Rickard play his cello.
3. Having my entire week planned out for work.
4. Finding out Gap sells the exact same sandals they did last summer.
5. Eating thin mints. Seriously, thank God for Girl Scout cookies.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

In the words of Marcus...

"I was having a shit time at home and a shit time at school."

Life does not seem to be doing what I want it to right now. If there's one thing you should know about me it's that I've always wanted things to turn out the way I think they should. Case in point: when my mom was pregnant, I was so sure I'd have a sister that when my brother was born I announced that this was the wrong baby; I had a sister. I didn't have a problem with the fact that I had a brother, I was more frustrated that life wasn't cooperating. Not much has changed. I still get frustrated. Why does life need to be so uncooperative? I feel like I have no escape from this either. I don't like school much right now, I don't like being home alone right now, and I don't like being with people right now mainly because I feel like an awkward jerk no matter where I am.

This morning seemed to be a little better though. After a month of feeling like someone was about to hit me with their SUV (sometimes I'd look up expecting to see the headlights), the sun was out for the first time in a week and it felt warmer. I made myself a mix of self pity music. I share it with you today because I like it, also because I'd like your opinion on one of the songs ("Let's Go Bowling") that I've been obsessed with since last summer but haven't sat down to think about what it actually means. Do the work for me, please.

1. "Simple As It Should Be"- Tristan Prettyman (I don't know who the people are in the video)
2. "Car Crash"- Cloud Cult
3. "Walking By"- Something Corporate
4. "Let's Go Bowling"- Camera Obscura (This video kind of sucks, but this is the song)
5. "Lazy Eye"- Silversun Pickups
6. "Whistle For The Choir"- The Fratellis (I fell in love instantly with this song)
7. "Anecdote"- Ambulance Ltd.
8. "Books Written For Girls"- Camera Obscura (I have a slight obsession with this song too)
9. "Viva La Vida"- Coldplay (Yeah, yeah, I know I'll get crap for this. I think this is what the Les Miserables should sound like)
10. "Freakish"- Saves The Day (I think this video ruins the song)
11. "Sad Eyes"- Josh Rouse (I couldn't find a better clip-it's an adorable song though)
12. "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight"- The Postal Service (I find it difficult to listen to this song during the day)
13. "Pretty Voice"- Cloud Cult
14. "No Other Way"- Jack Johnson
15. "So Here We Are"- Bloc Party
16. "Fake Plastic Trees"- Radiohead
17. "The Best Offence"- Pony Up! (I couldn't find a video for this)
18. "Fade Into You"- Mazzy Star
19. "You Were Right"- Badly Drawn Boy

Now, what do you think "Let's Go Bowling" is about?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Maggie "Still Prefers Minneapolis" Q. on Yelp!

In another desperate and shallow attempt to try new technology and forms of communication, or more realistically, to make myself feel important enough that other people would want to listen to the crap that voluntarily, or involuntarily, comes out of my mouth, I have joined Yelp!.

My mom is probably wondering why I've joined a website for dogs. It's a website where you can rate venues, restaurants, etc. across the country. My profile/site/whatever is http://maggiemae.yelp.com/. Second Life BFFs will be slightly amused and feel somewhat special knowing that reference. Also, Philip, you should join and we should be friends. You'd be into this. And you'll gain a better understanding of Minnesota, since I told you that Grain Belt was actually a decent beer here. Oh lolz.

I've made my first mistake already, and that was to list my present zip code in St. Paul, rather than my previous zip code in Minneapolis. I realize this is not critical, as the cities are so close I could probably shoot my friend Meaghan in south Minneapolis with a BB gun from my apartment in St. Paul. But I still have a stigma against St. Paul. I prefer to be associated with the urban, edgy and trendier part of Minnesota. I know most of you are laughing at the idea that any part of Minnesota could be one of those three things, but Minneapolis is that. Minneapolis has a lot to offer in terms of the arts, theaters, food, culture, and, if you piss them off, they may shoot you at the end of the night. And, while St. Paul is a big city with stuff in it, it seems to lack the excitement of crime, mysteriousness, rows upon rows of bars, restaurants and night clubs. A conversation I had with my roommate not too long ago, sums up St. Paul:

Me: St. Paul seems to be a very pretty city, but they don't have much here.
Jessie: Yeah, they have some stuff, especially over by the colleges.
Me: Do they have any night clubs?
Jessie: Not that I'm aware....
Me: Do they have any good restaurants?
Jessie: Izzy's is a good ice cream shop.
Me: Uh-huh...

Anyway, back to Yelp!. Once I'm signed up and filled out their little profile thing, I have to choose a place to review. Friends will attest to my indecision when it comes to deciding on a locale for the evening, not because I'm indifferent to where we go, but because there are so many places (in Minneapolis) I really, really, like going to. So I thought about this for a while. I could do Psycho Suzi's. Of course, everyone and their brother would have guessed that's the place I'd choose. I wanted to be a little surprising. Then I thought I could do the place where you'd find me every Wednesday night: Downtime. I opted for someplace I haven't been to in a long time. What is it? You'll just have to go see.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


In the last year, I keep having this dream:

My parents own a home with around 100 bedrooms on a nature reserve-type setting. I know it's mid spring because there aren't quite leaves on the trees yet and the grass is still brown, but I'm happy it's getting warm. They are having a family reunion or large party of some kind and I want to get a good room for my boyfriend and I (although I have yet to formally meet said boyfriend in my dream). But, by the time I finish helping my parents set up and cook and clean, there are only a few rooms left, and as I search for a room, I keep running into, and trying to avoid, family I know. It's not determinant on how I feel about my relatives in reality, I'm just on a mission to find a kick-ass room.

I walk through several bedrooms. Here is where I'm impressed at my imagination's creativity, because I remember in great detail what all the rooms look like. They are all different colors and each has a different ambiance and lighting. My mom will be happy to know that even in my dream, her house is spotless. Some rooms are oddly shaped. Some rooms have very large windows with views of the woods outside, but these rooms also have no door or wall separating them from an adjacent room. Some rooms have no windows at all. There are a couple bedrooms I check out that have very large bathtubs in them. I seem especially excited about this. They are not like normal bathtubs and are also oddly shaped. Some are really shallow.

Ultimately, I never actually get a room because of two things: First, I can't decide if I want a room with an oddly shaped tub, or a room with large windows. Second, the mission is totally side-tracked when I run into my four younger cousins who have been frozen at age 10. They want to explore the upstairs, and we find a room that looks old and abandoned with a huge door. We open the door to find a ladder (of course we climb it). There is a large red and gold jewelry box that I open and a phantom or demon is released. It causes a panic between the five of us and we race down the ladder. Later, I returned to the room with the door and climbed the ladder. When I opened the box again, the spirit goes back in the box and then I wake up.

What is striking about this dream, beyond the fact that I seem to have issues with personal hygene, finding a place to sleep, and ghosts, is that I do way more thinking than speaking. It really isn't until the end, when I meet my cousins, that I speak. Most of my dream is me walking from room to room, thinking about each room.

Another weird part about this dream is that I have it so infrequently, that when I wake up, I don't initially remember having it before. I have it just often enough for me to make a blog post about it so everyone can question my sanity.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

With love, Maggie

Dear St. Paul,

It has come to my attention that you are unaware of how to handle yourself when it snows. Last night I had the misfortune of needing to go to the Mall of America (as it is the closest place that has a Baby Gap). Normally this drive would be about 15 minutes. However, given the light snow, since it is Minnesota and February, it took me nearly an entire hour. While I do understand it was snowing rather heavily for a moment, I feel that I need to remind you that it is Minnesota and February. Given the unseasonably warm weather we've been having, I'm a little forgiving of your surprise and unpreparedness for the storm (I can't bring myself to call it a blizzard since it was under six inches) Friday evening.

However, when I attempted to drive across the metro Saturday morning, I found it practically a miracle to get out of St. Paul alive. Don't get me wrong, you do an excellent job at plowing the freeways compared to Minneapolis. Even as I was driving through north Minneapolis on 94, I saw one of the poorest moments of snow plow planning at 10:30 am: five snow plows driving all in a row blocking every lane on the freeway. Cars were literally stopped from Dowling Ave. all the way to the 94/694 junction. As I drove up 94 towards Maple Grove, I couldn't help but laugh at the unsuspecting drivers heading into Minneapolis.

Regardless of what Minneapolis' actions may be after snowfall, I feel that your inability to plow the side streets and main roads after such a trivial accumulation is inexcusable. Also, I would like to know why you decided to neatly plow out every sidewalk before taking on main roads where heavy, large and fast moving objects slide all over the place. While I do find that sliding and losing moderate control over my vehicle can be fun at times within reason, I don't think it's safe when there are several cars in close proximity and when I need to be someplace in one piece. I would like to know what your proposed solution for this is. My suggestion is that, since it is Minnesota and February, you choose to plow out the streets before you let the sun do the work for you. Or, if the snow is becoming too tiresome, might I suggest moving to a warmer location such as Florida?

Best wishes,


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The most cringe-worthy thing ever

When I was teaching 7th graders, I once handed out a worksheet identifying direct and indirect objects in sentences as part of a grammar unit.

Today, while subbing at a school a few blocks from the house I own in Minneapolis, a 12th grade student was working on the exact same worksheet (except it was printed on white paper instead of orange) and was complaining about how he didn't understand it when I sat down next to him.

My 7th graders made fun of me and that worksheet for being so easy.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oh Burn, Dad

Monday, January 26, 2009

I just can't get enough of myself, really

I had to, well not had to, but a friend tagged me in a note on Facebook and so I had to respond. Feel free to list your 25 as well. I like hearing about my friends and family as much as I like hearing about myself (although you'd never guess that from this blog. IT'S ALL ABOUT MEEE!!). Anyway...

25 Facts, Goals, Habits about myself:

1. I like to smile.
2. I like to laugh.
3. I'm good with money.
4. I would like to have a real job.
5. I'm good at making friends and meeting people.
6. I trust these four people fully: Heather, Hayley, Toni and Chuck.
7. I wish I was more patient and understanding.
8. I wish I knew how to be selfish enough to take care of myself.
9. As much as it may not seem like it, it's hard for me to be around large groups of people.
10. I can't see myself doing anything other than what I went to school for. Ever.
11. I am comfortable making fun of myself and letting myself get made fun of.
12. I sucked my thumb until I was 13 (which is a large reason why I got braces when I was 18).
13. I still bite my nails.
14. I like eating when I'm with friends.
15. I get irritated when people thank God instead of giving credit to the people that actually did something in any given situation.
16. I think everyone, and their beliefs, deserves to be treated with respect.
17. I wish I was more religious, but know I probably never will be.
18. I have a difficult time reading or watching movies just for entertainment value.
19. I search for meaning and value in everything.
20. I hate the insane amount of involuntary personal growth I've gone through over the last couple years.
21. I've always been told I look young for my age.
22. I've always been told I act old for my age.
23. Almost everything is a painful reminder of something.
24. I think there are very very very few people that mean or intend to do harm to other people.
25. I try to see the good in everyone and everything.


I found this in my favorites the other day. A friend and I used to play this game a lot. We also used to incorporate the word roflcopter into our everyday speech. While chatting with a friend a couple days ago, it slipped out. For a second, I had to think about what it even meant because I hadn't used the phrase for so long. Then I remembered that I was a nerd and had nothing better to do in college except play silly flash internet games made out of l33t sp34k. Maybe I'll try to work it back into my vocabulary. I already present myself as somewhat mediocre by using the phrases "jk" and "lol" in my conversations. I can't seem to get the stink of nerd off of me.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Italian Soda

I just went to make dinner and found out I was slightly short on the amount of milk I needed. Luckily, upon opening the fridge again, I found some. Not so luckily, I shut the door and a bottle of my roommate's Italian soda fell from the top of the fridge to the floor, putting a hole in the cap. The problem was that I didn't realize what was happening until pink liquid began furiously spraying my face.

I didn't know what to do, I just stared at the bottle as it lay on the floor, spraying every square inch of myself and the kitchen. I was a little inclined to laugh. The bottle was huge, and apparently had been shaken violently or the tumble to the floor angered it quite a bit because it seemed like a river busting down an old dam at sunset.

For a moment, I thought I could leave it to spraying my kitchen. It would become somewhat of a tourist oddity and I could make money showing people the strawberry geyser of St. Paul. Come one, come all! Only $5/person to see the amazing pink spray that has mysteriously taken up residence in an apartment kitchen!

But then I came to my senses. The bottle, as mentioned before, was ginormous. It looked as though it could continue to puke its contents all over my kitchen, much like a scene from Ghostbusters, for days, possibly weeks, maybe even months.

I quickly picked it up, causing myself to get sprayed in the face even harder, and shoved the hole in the cap down the sink drain. I looked around the kitchen. An entire wall, the fridge, stove, dishwasher and most of the counters and cabinets were victims of the massacre, not to mention myself. I went to shower. When I looked in the mirror, I had pink highlights in my hair.

I dedicate this blog post to my mom, who once, moments before a party she was hosting, opened a bottle of carbonated water, only to have it explode in her face, hair and on her clothes. I can no longer tease her about that day.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Year in Review. My Year in the future.

Here are some choice moments from this last year:

1. My ex-husband shot himself with a nail gun.
2. I went to an Obama rally, and froze my ass off.
3. I came to fully realize my mad love for Rick Beach, which I confessed in an assignment for class.
4. Lisa and I made a touching video.
5. I gave my dog up for adoption.
6. I got naked in the front seat of a car.
7. I played kickball and made a video.
8. I had a wild obsession with LOL Cats.
9. I went to Utah, where I relearned how to drive, grew to dislike airports more, and discovered I have a Minnesota accent.
10. In July, I had an awesome holiday and brought up critical issues about the university.
11. I got a job and reflected on Christmas.

This year, I would like to:

1. not get divorced while student teaching and going to grad school.
2. not get into four car accidents.
3. become a more patient and understanding person.
4. get a job.
5. find $1,000,000 in my mail box in an envelop addressed to me.
6. get closer to people I've missed during the last year.
7. visit Sweden.
8. go to lunch with my parents more often.
9. receive payment for my good looks, charm and incredibly amusing jokes.