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."