Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The end of a beginning

This time last year I was gearing up for expecting 2009 to be my best year yet. And now with it coming to a close, I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

MY 2009 IN REVIEW - in no particular order

I have come leaps and bounds in my position at work and can only hope to keep going. I wouldn't wish anyone to come into a retail management position at the start of the holidays. SUCKS. But I made it through last holiday by the skin of my teeth, and this holiday season was a cakewalk. Partly due to my awesome crew, but also because I understand my business. I am quite proud of myself, work-wise. And hope to keep it up.

I moved into my first place that is all mine. No roommates, no boyfriend, no mom, just me. And it's wonderful. My first night in my apartment, my mom went back to her house when I couldn't find anything for her to put away or unpack. And I panicked. I left the place and walked outside, just to take a look around. I discovered my neighborhood liquor store, bought a 12 pack of Premium, came back home, put on some Dave Matthews and then I felt at home. With all the pissing and moaning I do about my crazy neighbors, I really do love my place.

I reconnected with wonderful old friends and made some great new ones. Friendship is so crucial in a well-lived life. Some times it's hard to find the words to voice how much my memories and the connection I share with others means to me. It just does. When you can call up someone in tears because boys suck or you can share a laugh over a fall in a bar and your friends still love you, that is priceless.

My mom has been such a solid stable rock in this year of transition for me. I really can not thank her enough. She got me home in more ways than one, the gave me so many gifts literally and figuratively over the last year. I value her and her heart so much. Once again, words some times just can't express the amount of gratefulness inside.

I dated. I had forgotten how fun it was to go out on dates. If I can ignore the fact that the few boys that I felt I had a connection with dropped me like moldy cheese, I have had a grand time. Being taken out to dinner, laughing over beer, being told I'm cute and amazing has been great. Even though my friends have surly heard me toot my "boys are dumb" horn plenty of times over the last 12 months, the good out weighs the bad.

I think I've really found my writing nitch. I think my voice on paper is pretty close to my actual voice. I tend to write the way I talk. I have made it nearly all the way through this writing class (one assignment left,) which I started all on my own. I have sent out one piece and gotten a rejection letter. Someone read my stuff. I think I can call myself a writer. Among other things.

I think I've grown more into myself in the last 12 months than I have in the last 2-3 years. Breaking up, moving home, getting my own place, and taking total charge of me and my wants, needs and desires has been the best thing I could have ever done for myself. Thanks Me. I highly recommend this to anyone.

Stay tuned for my goals for 2010!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thank you Lady, for THAT.

So I took my mother into the hospital today for a partial knee replacement. All is well. Everything went according to plan and she is resting at the hospital tonight. I have been up since 5, I closed my store, it's after 11pm, I'm tired and I'm still up. If tomorrow sucks I have only myself to blame. And for not doing much until 3 today, I'm exhausted. It amazes me how tired one gets when you do nothing.

In the case of loved ones being in a hospital, no news is good news. So this post is not about my mother's stay. She is hunky-dory. (What exactly does that phrase mean, anyway? Well, I googled it.)

This post is about an encounter I had with a woman in the waiting area. It was after 9, I had gone to McDonald's for some greasy breakfast after mom had gone into the OR. And I was back in the family waiting room. The woman across from me was on her phone. And not just one her phone, ON HER PHONE! And she was COMPLAINING ABOUT EVERYTHING WHILE ON HER PHONE! Sheesh, Lady, you're at a 12. Can you keep your negativity at a 2? Thanks.

So I moved. And happened to sit in the same cluster of chairs as two older women. From listening to their chatter, they were both old enough to be my mother, had kids and grandkids, but I never caught who they were in there waiting for.

I didn't say much. I just wanted to read my book. Like really wanted to read it. Really really. But I did have two mini conversations with the older of the two women. This is what was said.

Her: Are you here waiting for your husband?
Me: No, no husband. I'm waiting for my mother.

And after her and the the other woman were discussing their children and grandchildren I was asked this gem...

Her: Do you have children?
Me: No, no children.
Her: Oh. Are you waiting then?
Me: No, not waiting.
Her: Well then (and some sputtering as to how to phrase the question "why am I not a mother?")
Me: Well you need a man to have children and that I don't have.

And she proceeded to get awkward and uncomfortable and turn her back to me. Literally turned her back. Well at least then I could read my book.

I was there for about 4 more hours, and that woman never looked in my direction again. I did get up and move seats for the 3rd time that day and even asked the man I sat down next to "Are you going to make small talk with me? Because I just want to read my book." He replied, "No. No, I'll just read as well." Good. He was my perfect waiting room partner.

What just got my goat was this woman assuming I was married and then wondering why I had no children. I'm sure she didn't mean to be offensive and I didn't mean to make her uncomfortable. But COME ON! So many people just don't get married, have kids, and settle down right away these days. I almost wanted to tell her that I had that married/child dream and someone broke it a while back. So forgive me for being a little sensitive to the topic.

I am so much more than who I am dating or not dating and why I do or don't have kids. And it's so damn irritating when those are the first questions some one asks you. Even family members you don't see often. "So, are you seeing anyone?" Same answer as last time, "No. Going on dates but nothing is sticking." Ask me about my interests, my job, the book I'm reading, where I got my shoes, what I thought about the dumb Vikings game last night. Anything other than why I am not with husband/child.

It irked me all day. And I'm hoping this post will have gotten that irk out of my system.

I pick up my mom tomorrow. She and I will spend the evening in front of the TV. Which sounds wonderful.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crazy neighbor venting

It's 9:23pm according to the clock in the upper right hand corner of my computer. I just did some yoga, am having some peach tea and listening to Mozart. All is quiet in my house. For now.

The girl above me, (I believe I mentioned her in a post about this time last year), is the epitome of inconsiderate apartment living. But that old post was more about Nutty across the hall.

Lately, The Stripper in comparison to Nutty, is so much worse! Girl walks around in high heels at 3:30 in the morning. Who does that?! I know that this summer she had problems with her achilles (by the way, my dictionary does not have the word "achilles" in it. What the f?) heel, she was taken to the hospital for it, among other reasons. Perhaps your heels and ankles wouldn't hurt so bad if you didn't walk around in 6 inch heels all the time. You freak!

What The Stripper does that bugs
1. Walks around in heels at all hours. And not just walks around. We both live in a studio, there isn't much space to walk around in. Where is she going? I just hear her from the front door, to the bathroom, the kitchen, to the corner above my bed, to the front door again. All. Day. Long. And into the night.
2. When she is mad, watch out. I can't understand what she is saying, but I can hear the volume and tone at which she is speaking. She's like ultra-sonic when she's mad. One night I heard her yelling at someone for over an hour. She would walk to the kitchen (not in heels this time. She is surprisingly heavy footed for being less than 90 lbs.), she'd yell something, then she'd walk away. A minute or so later she'd walk back, as if to say "OH AND ANOTHER THING!" (An hour or so later, I did hear someone leave her place, walk down the stairs and out the building. I'm totally Rear Window and I peeked out to see who it was. It was a boy, walking with a determination to get away. Interesting.) I can also hear her talking to her cats. In a high-pitched-sick-I'm-going-to-puke-on-my-own-shoes-if-you-speak-to-me-in-that-voice voice.
3. She plays music so loud that I can hear every note, word, key change, harmony. A few Sundays ago I was woken by the Bee Gees at 6am. "STAYING ALIVE! STAYING ALIVE! AH AH AH AH STAYING ALIIIIIIIII-HIIIIIIIII-IVE!" It was like it was in my house. She plays music so loud and so often that I don't even bother being polite anymore. I just walk up there, bang on her door and go back down to bed. Mind you, I just said go back to bed. She's waking me up. Every time. With loud music. If this were 2 in the afternoon, I wouldn't mind so much. In fact last week she was playing some old school Michael Jackson, and I quietly sang along.
4. Her latest thing has been what sounds like exercise. It's a constant squeak/thump that is right above my bed. At first I thought it was something else that neighbors can sometimes hear. (Sex. In case you didn't get my lame attempt at being sly. And I have heard that from above too. And not the action. Her.) But this new squeak/thump sounds like one of those 3 feet in diameter trampolines from the Jane Fonda workout videos days. Just a constant squeak/thump squeak/thump squeak/thump. It's too steady and too long for it to be sex. But really?! At 1 in the morning?! Your body, I'm sure, would like you to be sleeping, Crazy!
5. I don't think she has any respect or regard for the people living around her. Her neighbor can hear her heels click clacking away. Her music can be heard outside her apartment, in the stairwell on every floor, and my place of course. Most people think come 10pm, I'll tone down my life. But she has no job and from what I've gathered from chatting with her out on the stoop this summer, very little friends.

And in my defense, last winter I did go up and tell her that I only ask her to turn it down when it wakes me up, or is so loud that I can't think. I even offered for her to turn it back on at the volume it was at and come down to my place and see how loud it was. "Oh no. I'll turn it down." was all she said. I feel like I did my part in voicing my concern. And last night I finally voiced my concern to the building management.

All I want her to do is to be quiet. We love in an old building, I don't mind hearing people just living their lives. But can you take off your shoes? Your feet and my ears would be very grateful. Can you get some headphones or an Ipod if you want the music THAT LOUD? I listen to music, but I go out my door, close it, and it's silent. I just want to us to live our lives and not be bothered by the other. I told the same things to Nutty this summer when she yelled at me for disturbing her sleep after coming in from outside at 6:30 in the morning. She's nuts. But The Stripper is just inconsiderate. And perhaps a bit crazy too.

Oh and another thing. The top of my broom handle is all bent and disformed from me banging it into my ceiling in an attempt to shut her up. Sometimes I just don't want to leave my apartment, so my broom banging is my next best option. I think this is funny.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Passion, dreams, life lists

So last night I watched a movie called Every Little Step. It was a documentary about the making of the musical A Chorus Line. How the show came to be in the first place, and then the casting of the revival which went up some time in the last few years. If you love theatre especially musical theatre, it's a great documentary to watch.

The people auditioning for the cast of the revival had something that I don't know if I've ever had inside me. A passion for something so deep that they were willing to risk it all for this one dream. I was impressed with their determination. And the ones with the gumption and the talent made it into the show on Broadway.

I remember being little and being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a nurse like my mom and my grandma. But one day when I was about 10 or 12 I went to work briefly with my mom and it occurred to me what she actually did, and I quickly changed my mind. Then some time between 5th grade when I played the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz and high school when I got really bitten by the "theatre bug", I decided I wanted to be an actress. Then in college that dream then morphed into a lighting designer for a small theatre company.

And I haven't done any of that. I did tour with a theatre company but have grown tired of the bitter business that is theatre. It is like constantly being in junior high, with complaints and drama and gossip and not taking responsibility for what is yours. Plus it's hard to have a stable life while looking for a job every few months.

And if I could create a theatre company with the people I know who have the same desire to put on shows like I do, then I'd be set. (A few friends and I started talking about it a few years ago. If it ever happens, we will be Third Star Productions.)

I am in a job that I enjoy and am quite happy in my life. But that passion that was in these determined actors was something that I'm not sure exists in me. Do I want anything enough to risk all that I have to get it? Or are my dreams not as big as theirs?

I wrote out a Bucket List once. And just pulled it up on my computer. Nothing on that list involves giving up something to achieve that one dream. I wanted to work for a theatre company. Check. I wanted to live in another state. Check. I want to drive all of Route 66. I want to go to Italy. I want to publish a book. I want go to the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Louve. Go to Machu Pichu. See a game at Wrigle Field.

Perhaps I just have many little dreams, rather than just one big dream. I guess that is better because once you've achieved that one big dream, then what? I have a bunch of things to attain in my life.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Body Image

I follow a blog entitled Ex-hot Girl and she is witty, honest and puts out all the things that we as women go through. She usually has lots of links to other blogs, and I will occasionally click on one to see what that person has to say.

Now I mean this next statement in the most non-offensive way possible, but I am a bit stunned by the body issues that reside in our half of the species. And so many of their blogs are about facing their bodies and learning to love themselves. Which I think is great. One good way to come to terms with issues is to write about it.

But there is a new movement that has become very powerful and seems to be sweeping women's blogs. It seems to have taken on a title called "Exposed."

In fact, check out this blog it's a good link to many others.

It's amazing because these women are brave enough to put up pictures of themselves exposed. And amazing that there are people who don't love themselves for who they are. I don't get it. How can one have a happy daily life, if they don't appreciate the body that carries them through it all?

Not loving your body, having a need to destroy it with eating disorders, not being able to look at your naked self in a mirror, it's all so foreign to me. I guess I should consider myself lucky. I'm sure I had body image problems when I was younger when everything about me was changing, but I think that is part of being a teenager. When all your stuff is growing and hair is in new places. And suddenly you are very aware of the opposite sex and they are very aware of you. But I do remember going to my first formal in high school and I needed a dress with long sleeves, a high neck and covering my back. I was very self-conscious, with teenage acne and all and for some reasons I didn't like my armpits. But who the hell looks at peoples armpits, anyway?

But now as a grown woman I feel like people should be at an accepting stage in their life. After a certain age, you learn there are some things you can't change. You can control how strong you are, you can control what you put into your body, what you allow yourself to be capable of. But I think I left my body image issues in college, or somewhere after. Sure I have fat days, everyone does, men too actually (I have just discovered), bad hair days but I don't dwell on this stuff. I couldn't tell you the turning point in accepting ME, but I can tell you that today, right now, the body that carries me through my fabulous life is a great one. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I would like to end this with the fact that I'm proud of the women who have put themselves up/out there like that. Continue to grow ladies, grow and accept. Once you love you, it's awesome.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The first snow of the season

It's snowing! I love the snow! (I will however surly be singing a different tune come March, but whatevs.)

Another reasons I am glad I don't drive. Winter is so much more enjoyable when you don't have to drive in the snow. There is no waiting for the car to warm up, no scraping the ice from the windshield, no hoping you don't slide into the car in front of you at the stop light. It's great.

Being a bus rider in the winter is a very good lesson in patience. And in dressing in layers. And funny enough, I think the two go hand in hand. You need patience in waiting for the bus, as well as the layers when it gets cold. Staying warm helps with the staying patient. So does a book for that matter. Buses always run late during the first snow. As does everyone. So the best thing to do is remember that yes, we all have to get some where. But you're not going to get there any faster, but being impatient.

On a sort-of different note, I walked to and from yoga tonight, it was lovely! the snow is that light sparkly stuff that just shimmers under the glow of the street lamps. And the world just seems more quiet, tucked in for the evening when it snows. When I walk around my neighborhood, I look in peoples windows. Not in a gross way, or a peeping Tom way, just a curious as to how other people live. And tonight I saw a Christmas tree decorated in only pink lights! I loved it! Made me gasp in awe and adoration! And then it made the walk home that much prettier!

I have tomorrow off, and I'm going to be cozy in my new sweater, old wool socks, a book and some warm beverage. With the shades open to watch the snow continue to fall.

Sounds wonderful, huh?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Human Connection

So originally this post was about how my phone hasn't rung in over a week except for work and my mom. And how my life is bla, Holidazzle has kicked my but tonight, and that in essence, I'm bored.

But then I went on a favorite site of mine postsecert serisouly, click here and check it out, my whole attitude changed.

I discovered another website thanks to postsecret, and again, seriously click here and check it out. Do it! There is so much more than just my life.

It isn't about just me, just you. We all have so much more in common than we ever could think. We all want to be loved, be happy, be successful in our own terms. We all have dreams and goals, ambitions and ideas.

The videos/questions on fiftypeopleonequestion, are good ones. I love it when you catch people vulnerable and open. Honest and bare.

The question that brought my to that site was one that asked "What's your secret?" And in the video people actually answered. Could you answer, just off the cuff, if a stranger asked you what you're secret was? I got all teary watching that video.

See? Again, we all have so much in common. We all have secrets that when asked, are scary to share. But sometimes, it just takes some gumption to say the words and suddenly relief will fill your body. And soul.

I love exploring human connection. Knowing we all can connect on many different levels. I think we could all use more reminders of that in our daily lives.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just writing today

So NaNoWriMo is done. National Novel Writing Month ended on November 30th, and I didn't write a lick of fiction. Ahhh well. I wrote, just not fiction. But today my only goal was to go to a coffee shop for a bit and write. Write anything. So I did. Pulled out some books with writing ideas in them and got the creative juices flowing.

And then I went through my writings file on my computer and found a piece of fiction I started a while back. I read it, fixed some spelling errors and concluded that it isn't nearly as bad I thought.

I think I'll keep going on it. Yeah me. It all seemed to flow, and was going somewhere, had a good main character with some obstacles to overcome. I'm a bit excited.

I'm now home. Letting everything I wrote to roll around in my head for a minute, and I'll start up on it again. It's a bit refreshing to re-read something your wrote that you thought sucked, and realized it actually has potential.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

'Tis the season of giving...

...but only when it's convenient for you.

I guess perhaps I should start off with the good things from today. At work today my fellow cafe severs and I got 51 books purchased/donated to our holiday book drive! Every year Barnes and Noble picks a charity to donate books to. While I was in Las Cruces we did Big Brothers Big Sisters, last year at my store was The United Way. And this year we are giving books to People Serving People (a family shelter) and the pediatrics ward of HCMC.

I had given up a while back because people just seemed annoyed with what I said, or thought they had to bring in a book rather than just buy the one I was showing them, didn't comprehend the idea of the donation and thought I was offering them a book for their own child. One lady even said "I hate kids." But one of my managers brought it up today and reminded me not to get discouraged by a few "nos" So I tried again. And got almost all of my regulars to buy a book a donate it! It was great. And we had books that were $4 or less, so after spending $3-5 on a daily coffee, $4 for a book was nothing.

But I do have to document some of the ridiculous excuses I heard today. Keep in mind these books are going to kids who are spending Christmas in a shelter or the hospital and these people wouldn't purchase a $3.99 book to donate.

Customer "I don't have time."
Me "Don't have time? All you have to do is buy it like you are buying your drink right now."

Customer "It's a sad world we are living in, parents need to take better care of their children."
What I wanted to say "It's a sad world that you won't give a child in a shelter a book." I, however said nothing.

Customer "I'm unemployed."
What I wanted to say "Yet you have the money for a coffee cake and a large coffee. Interesting." Again, kept my mouth shut.

I took my tips from today and bought a book to donate. And I do have to say that more people were saying yes than were saying no which was great. But I found it interesting that customers would say "I can't" when I can see them digging through their numerous 20's in their wallet for a few 1's. A regular of mine who I am not sure if he has a job or not, bought a $4 book and donated it. And then after him 3 Suits came in and ordered coffee, wouldn't give me and yes or a no to purchasing a book and donating it, just rolled their eyes (yep, seriously) and said "What's the damage?" The damage Sir, is you. You are the damage for not helping out the kids that may be taking care of your stingy ass one day. But again I said nothing.

I just don't get it. I don't have money coming out my ears. I have to make a budget every week for where my money goes. Yet every time I walk by a Salvation Army bucket I drop in change, I donated a book today rather than buying myself a treat after work. Is it just me or is it the fact that the more money you have the less likely you are to be willing to give it away? Maybe it's because the people with less money can relate to the ones receiving the donation.

But in general I think it's good karma to help out one another. Every little bit helps, and if we all do a little bit, think how much we can change.

Good grief, listen to me. Bleeding heart liberal to the core. But it's true. And I can't help myself. My mama raised me right. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


What am I thankful for on the one day designated to give thanks? Which, by the way, seems a bit silly to me. Why can't we be thankful every day?


I have so much to be thankful for, I'm thankful for my friends and family and good health, but I think all of that is a given. If you aren't thankful for your family and friends, something ain't right.

In nearly no particular order...
1. My mom. I wouldn't be able to get through anything without her. She was literally the driving force that got me back to Minneapolis to start fresh in my life and she has supported me every step of the way. She is my rock, my heart, my friend. Everyone should be so lucky to have a mom like mine. Thanks Mom! I love you!
2. My yoga class. It is the best thing I do for myself every week.
3. The fact that I have chosen to take public transportation. I am less stressed, more active, and get to engage with strangers in little tid bits of their life every day.
4. My girlfriend Kerstin. She is the girlfriend I have been looking for for years. I seemed to get dropped by fair-weather friends and Kerstin is a friend to the end. I can call her up when I'm bored or in tears and she will chat with me. And she is game for anything!
5. A job that I enjoy and that I can leave at work. I know so many people who take work home with them and I am so glad I don't have to do that.
6. My apartment. It's mine, all mine.
7. My writing class. I didn't think I had the ability to express myself with words as well as I have found I can through this class.
8. Water. Man, is that stuff good.
9. Laughter. "I love to laugh. Loud and long and clear." (from Mary Poppins)
10. Sleep. Warm and cozy under the covers. Napping with the sun coming through the windows. Cuddling. Ahhh sleep.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The feel of completion

I think I really do work well under pressure. I used to say that in college while I was procrastinating writing a paper, I was really "giving myself the chance to work well under pressure." What a load of crap it was back then. I was just lazy and didn't want to put in the effort. Oddly enough though, on papers I really cared about I still got a B or better.

But now, I do think I work well under pressure. I just finished my latest writing assignment, and just in time too. I've been rewriting for the last 10 days or so and not really feeling it. I sent it to my mom for her view on things and she helped a lot. Thanks Mom!

In theatre I was great under pressure. Most of the time. I used to tell fellow crew members and cast mates "The show is going to open whether we are ready or not. So lets stop freaking out and just do our job." And sure enough, we were ready opening night because we had to be.

And my assignments due date was creeping up on me whether my piece was done or not. So I HAD to finish it.

I really am my own worst critic. When I think it sucks, I let fresh eyes read it and I suddenly have a new view. With a few tweaks here and many punctuation fixes there, I had a completed article.

And man, does that feel good. It always feels nice to finish something that you've started. But when it's something creative and to know that the finished piece is your thoughts, emotions, heart is even better.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Riding the bus for research

I really do like people. Even though I piss and moan about dumb customers, don't do well with others who have no common sense, but mostly I tend to enjoy being around others. I think everyone has a story to tell, and each story is just as important as the next.

My latest piece for my writing class is due in a week and a I took today to do some hands-on research. I rode several different bus lines and asked fellow bus riders their thoughts about riding the bus. I met one woman who definitely does not like riding the bus, but her car is in storage and has been for several years thanks to drinking and driving. So riding the bus is all she's got. I met another woman who said she has never had a drivers license and would "rather feed her child than feed a car." Just about everyone I talked to said they mostly enjoy using public transportation and their main complaint had nothing to do with the bus system itself. It had to do with every other rider. Someone voiced it perfectly when she said "I don't like the people who didn't learn anything from their mamas." Manners and poor self-awareness were the biggest complaints.

Out of all the people I spoke to, only 2 of them had a car. But neither of them drove it for one reasons or another. And they both did say that Minneapolis does have one of the best public transportation systems in the country. Three cheers for us!

This piece became an idea for me from a conversation I had with a man from the suburbs. I wanted to uncover stereotypes and how we judge others. But it has since turned into a piece about how we all have more in common in than we thought. Everyone wants to get from point A to point B without too much hassle. In both the literal sense and the figurative sense. We all want to get from work to home, or from a doctor's appointment to a friends. But we all also want to get achieve one goal and then the next. Go from one life dream to the next. Achieving the best life we can.

Now I just need to sit down and out these ideas into a structured format, an article with a beginning, middle and end.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crazy Happy

The sunlight is peeking through
baby, can't you see the way the water stains have left my face?

So drop a line or two on occasion
just let me know how you've been
know that I am thinking of you
and I know you're doing all that you can

So don't fear that I'm lonely
don't dear I'm just wasting away
I hope you're as happy as I am
in that we're both better off this way

The sunlight is peeking through
baby, can't you see the way the water stains have left my face?

In the morning I awaken
I pull the covers up tight
in the morning I discover
I fell crazy happy overnight

Thank you Brenda Weiler. Check her out here I discovered her folksy, rock acoustic sound in college when she came down to play. I only own one of her albums but this song is surely in my top 15. It's off the album Crazy Happy (hence the title of this post) and the song is called In The Morning. Every time I hear it I sing it with a huge smile on my face, and it reminds me that I am happy. I am right where I should be.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's a bit calm 'round here

It's Friday night and I'm doing laundry, making yummy spaghetti and garlic bread for dinner, drinking Cheap White Wine (seriously all caps, cause that's what it's called), listening to music with candles burning. And I couldn't be more content.

I plan on reading later with some lyric-less jazz playing in the background.

Contentedness is in the eye of the beholder. And tonight is exactly what I wanted.

On other notes, I've been fairly bla lately. No exciting dates in the last month, no celebrities in my store for me to yap my mouth to, no crazy nights out on the town. Except Halloween although it wasn't that crazy. I didn't fall in the bar, no one took my number, had just the right amount of beers, but I did see some awesome costumes.

I'm kind of hoping for something exciting. Something fantastic and new in my personal life would be preferred. Like oh I dunno, say a cute boy to think I'm fabulous and I think the same and we laugh and enjoy the here and now together. But offered a large sum of money or a book deal would be nice too.

A week or so ago I went and got Lee-Ann Chin take out (all you food critics, don't judge me. I love that stuff.) And I got two fortunes in one cookie! That was the extent of exciting for me. It did make my day. And they were both fortunes, not facts, like "You are surrounded by friends." That is a big ol' duh. But these were actual fortunes. I framed them. I've framed many uplifting quotes. It's nice to look over and see words that make you smile.

Seeing as how I want something exciting to happen I find it ironic that I choose to sit in on a Friday night and enjoy some genuine ME time. Ahhhh well. To each his own.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


So November is National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo to the folks that speak the lingo. There is a website, a contest, all sorts of stuff that go along with this. I signed up on the website before I realized that it is really official. You get a profile, a place to sum up your novel, your word count, your title.

And I have to say I haven't written squat.

For a few reasons. One, I'm trying to finish up my next, and might I add, second to last assignment for my class. (I'm ready to be done with this class. I just want to write and send out my stuff.) And two, I have the hardest time with fiction. So much so that I don't even want to attempt it.

I get great ideas, cool snipets of a scene, a few fantastic lines of dialogue but I can never get them to go anywhere.

Perhaps this is why I took the class, you ask??? Well, yes and no. I find I am very good and enjoy writing personal essays and don't think I have enough gumption to stick with fiction.

Or I'm just lazy.

The one story that has been roaming in my head for several years I started as a play. But I found after the first 2 scenes it was all stage direction and not dialogue. And talking between characters is what keeps a play afloat. So I shelved the play idea. And a few years later I picked it up again to turn it into a story. I have an idea of who the main character is, and why she has done what she has done, but I am unsure of the rest, or how she gets back to where she needs to be.

All very fuzzy and unclear, I know.

Hence why I haven't written anything. Nada. Zilch.

I did try writing about the story. Sort of talking it out to myself on paper/micorsoft word. Basically writing about what I want to happen and why. Just to see if that got any creative something flowing. And perhaps a trickle started. I'm not sure.

Needless to say I am not fully participating in NaNoWriMo. But I started on something in a way that maybe worked for me.

My next assignment, however I think is going to be a good one. Bus riding, stereotypes, human interaction, the nature of judgment. I might even interview some fellow bus riders. Which could turn into a story all it's own.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I like to read but this...

So I've been reading Fahrenheit 451 and am thoroughly confused and not at all enjoying the book. I've tried it before and couldn't get into it. But I gave it another whirl. And got over half way and finally said "Not into it. And don't care." And put it down.

There is not enough time in the world to waste on books that I'm not enjoying.

I've found that with many books written during the Cold War. Animal Farm, 1984, Catch 22, this Fahrenheit book, I just don't care. And I feel like I should. Kids read them in high school, they were supposed to be very socially forward, and yet I couldn't care less.

There are no interesting characters, the plot doesn't really seem to go anywhere except to Crazyville, the descriptions are flat and dull. And Ray Bradbury could really use a class called "Sentence Structure 101." He had the most run-on sentences, a 3/4 page paragraph with 2 sentences. So annoying!

So I'm moving on. I'll try Catch 22 again and 1984 again. Some day. Maybe. But now I'm picking up The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It was on our best-seller list nearly all summer and everyone I know who has read it loved it.

Here's to a new good read!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


"The book is a perfect form, a physical thing that you can carry with you, that survives power outages and doesn't need batteries. It's simple, it's aesthetically pleasing, and you can use it again and again." ----Annie Proulx, author of The Shipping News

How fantastic is that?!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another writing first

There is a lady who comes into my work every now and then. I was talking to her about memoirs a while back. They are my favorite books to read, I think everyone has a story to tell and I like to read other peoples stories. I'm a literary rear window. And on Friday I was walking around work after I had finished my shift, looking for a book to read and she stopped me.

Her name is Mary and she is writing her memoir. She says shes been working on it for years and she thinks it's nearly done. And she asked me to read it and give her my feedback. She knows that I'm writing and that I like to read memoirs, so she says that she thinks I'll have some good insight.

I was honored. One, as an avid reader to have someone want me to read their book before it's even a book, and two, as a fellow writer I think it's a great request to ask of someone.

I told her I would love to. Whenever she is ready, she said she'll bring it to me. I know nothing of her, besides her name and the fact that she is writing. I wonder what kind of story she has to tell...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happiness is....

I spent a few hours today in a coffee shop drinking a fancy coffee with espresso and flavored syrup, writing, interweb surfing, reading other peoples blogs. It was quite nice.

I asked my facebook friends via my status "What makes you happy?" And oh the feedback!!

I learned a few things from this. One, more people comment on anything you have to say if it involves them more than any other time. Which is fine. It's always easiest to talk about yourself. And plus, I asked the question.

And two, it really is the simple things in life that make us happy. There were many comments that had friends and family listed as happiness. I think that is a given. At least with friends, if they don't make you happy, you probably shouldn't be friends with them. And family, well mine make me happy. Others may have another story.

But I love what other people put down. Here are some samples:
me bed and my cats
good smelling candles
a good/new/any book
coffee/wine dates with friends
hot chocolate
dogs napping at your feet
ah-ha moments with students
hazelnut lattes
snuggling under blankets
warm bread
smiles from confident women (this was one of my favs)
laughing children
late breakfasts
clean sheets
mental health
acts of kindness
playing piano
hiking in the fall

Part of what I was writing today was a list that I'd like to turn into a book of things I try to do in my life that makes it so wonderful. And I used my fabulous friends as inspiration via a social networking site.

Thanks Friends! Heres to keeping happy thoughts at the front of your mind!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A literary moment

I am reading a lovely book right now. It's by a woman named Audrey Niffenegger (she wrote The Time Traveler's Wife) and it's called Her Fearful Symmetry. Lovely is a good word to describe this book. It's not a huge page turner like Dan Brown, it hasn't made question my beliefs like Jodi Picoult, and it's not creepy like Stephen King. But it has some wonderful characters in it, and it's written so that I want to keep going. I feel attached to these people and I want to know what happens next in their lives.

I read this excerpt today: "Silence. Robert could hear his nervous system whining in his head."

I don't think I've ever been that quiet. I don't think I've ever been in a room where it has been that quiet so I could be that quiet. It really nailed how silent it was for Robert.

I love books, words, reading, stories.


Friday, October 23, 2009

My writings, my heart

I think I'm good with words. I think I'm witty. I know I can tell a story with such inflection that it makes it much better than what actually happened. But every time I send in my latest assignment to my writing class I think to myself "That sucked. My instructor is going to have all these things for me to fix. Ugh, I'm not looking forward to getting it back." But my last several assignments have come back with good comments and mostly nothing but punctuation to fix. (That I am terrible at.)

I think my writing is my version of having a weight complex. I never think it's good enough (like thinking I'm never skinny enough) and I think of all these things I could have done to improve it. But when someone else looks at it, they see well chosen words, a beginning, middle, end, and all in all, a well written piece.

So perhaps I'm better than I think. We are our own worst critic, especially in something we really are invested in.

I realized I've writen a lot on here about my writings. But have never really given an example of what I'm talking about. Other than the blogs themselves. So I'm going to go out on a limb and put a sample or two on here for all to see.

The first was my first assignment for this class. I had to describe a person. I choose a friend from my old B&N in Las Cruces.


She walks into work and the dirty, dull walls seem to get brighter, full of warmth and energy. She moves fast like a hummingbird, but not nearly as quiet. Her hands constantly flutter to her necklace, hair, to tug on her shirt. “Dude!” she says. The emphasis on the first half of the word, the last half fading into the latest thing she has to tell you. She is well put together, each hair effortlessly curled and lips always glossed. It brightens my day to know she'll be there. As she puts her stuff in her locker, I stand to the side and observe, it's like a one woman show with guest appearances. She has her question for guest number one and without waiting for an answer she is on to guest number two. She changes topics of conversation as fast as she moves. I think she's trying to see who will be the most entertaining. The wheels in her head are spinning, calculating the information. Then the wheels will spit out an answer in big bold letters “YOU! You are the chosen one for today's delight and laughter.” She's a Venus Fly Trap in disguise. She will ask enough questions and say the right quirky comment to keep you around, your eyes and ears begging for more.

I see her and see a beautiful woman with a thick history. Her past sits below the surface, gooey, thick, dormant. If you are willing to sit around long enough, bits of her past pop up like a mouse out of a hole and disappear just as fast. You think “Did she say that?” You hold on to that gift of her soul, hoping for more to piece together the person below the facade. I think she tries to cover up her dense past with a present full of sunshine and joy.

If I close my eyes and say her name, Julianne, the first things that comes to mind are her laugh, and her heart. She doesn't stifle her laughter, she laughs at the most outrageous or mundane things, just the way everyone should. It's boisterous, a big hardy giggle. Laughter enriches the soul, and laughing with her enhances mine. Her heart is guarded. But she wears it on her sleeve. Almost saying “look, touch, but I beg, be kind.” Even after being hurt she doesn't put her heart away and lock it up. She picks it up, blows on it like you would to shine up an apple and puts it back for all to try again.

Every time it is just us, I want to share something new with her, hoping she will do the same. She seems more complex than I. Her fast movement, her well coordinated look, her barely visible history, make me want to dig into what keeps her moving. Is it her love for today, or is it her fear of her past coming up to walk beside her rather than linger behind?


And this second piece I wrote when I came home from NM. I had an assignment due and all I could think about was my break up. So I wrote about it. This was by far the most challenging thing I have ever written, I had to make it an actual article rather than use it for venting about my broken heart. Know that I am not putting this up to be vengeful or spiteful, this was raw emotion from a long time ago, and that I have healed and moved on. Not many people have read this (or know the full story for that matter,) so I ask, please be kind.


Several months ago my heart got thrown a curve ball when my boyfriend of over two years told me that he didn't think I was the one he was supposed to marry. But the kicker was that it came out when we were discussing getting a cat.

I guess to him, a furry four-legged pet is one step below getting engaged. I just wanted a cat, nothing more. I am not one of those girls who says one thing and means another. Like “Honey, let's get a cat,” means “Honey, when are you going to buy me my big rock?” I prefer the direct route.

So at that point, everything that I had counted on as being solid and sure fell apart around me. And I have spent the summer and this fall trying to heal and build something new.

Looking back, there were so many signs that said we didn't fit, and so many times where the opportunity to end it arose. But they say love is blind, and I'll be darned, they were right. I was stuck on the idea of what we as a couple could become rather than noticing how far down a dark hole we were.

Neil Sedaka was right - “Breaking up is hard to do.” If only a break-up and all the emotions lasted as long as that song.

When the words “You're not the one I'm supposed to marry” were thrown out on the table, I had a decision to make. Stay in a relationship that is clearly not going to go where I was hoping, or move forward for no other reason but for myself alone.

I realize moving on and accepting are much easier said than done. But the only way to get through it is just to take the step. Take the first step and sooner or later your other foot will follow.

I went through all the stages of grief. Denial- at the fact that those words weren't said, he really didn't feel that way, and we were going to get through it. Bargaining- I could move past it, I could live with someone who felt that way. Anger. And that emotion was the turning point for me, when I was so angry at the fact that he didn't seem to care if what he was saying hurt me. Then I hit acceptance. I started to accept the fact that “us” and “forever” was no longer a possibility.

I couldn't pin-point the moment when I said to myself, “This is not where I want to be anymore.” But I do know that one day I woke up and thought, “I can
get through this.” Not we can get through this. Because there is no more we. It's all just me now. And that is okay.

“It's like there is rock bottom, 50 feet of crap, then me.” (Rachel on the TV show Friends) Sound familiar? We've all been there. So where did I go from there? Let me tell you, my broken-hearted friend, I got “up every morning, and breathed in and out all day long.” (Sleepless in Seattle) It takes many things to get through a break-up. But don't worry if you find yourself in a pit of self-loathing temporaily.

I've done it. I've asked the questions, “Where did we go wrong? When did he stop caring? What could I have done differently?” And the answer is to stop asking those questions. You'll send yourself to the nut house before you get an answer. Get a hobby, get out of the house, go for a walk, and it's okay that if during all of these activities all you think about is your broken heart. That’s normal.

I sat in the thoughts of my broken relationship for much longer than I would like to admit, but I also found my own resources to get past it. I wrote about it, I talked about it, I cried and cried some more, and then in true girl fashion, I talked about it again.

The biggest thing that I did to move on was to move away. It was just the right thing to do. I had moved to another state full of hope for our relationship. And when that was no more, it was just simple logic that told me to move back to where I came from. That may not be what would work for you, but metaphorically speaking you could “move” to help pick up the pieces. It takes time, patience, and being distracted to move forward.

If you keep your mind on other things, your heart will follow. Trust me. I dove into writing about my broken heart, I dove into watching my favorite movies about love that were guaranteed to make me cry. I picked up book after book to get lost in someone else's story. I went for walks. I've noticed that walking gives me a good, solid time to think, sort things out, get my head to start talking to my heart. And getting my heart to listen.

At the end of all the tears and questions is a new beginning. On my drive back to my home state, I stopped at a quaint little gift shop and bought one tiny thing that I solidly believe started my healing. It was a little metal key that had the words “New Beginnings” engraved on it. At the end of a broken relationship I had found a new place to start fresh for myself. Once I had that key in my hand, I knew I had done what was right.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A good deed turned down

So the last couple of days it's been chilly and rainy here. Which I don't mind. I like the chill, I like scarves and sweaters, and the rain... well, we need it. So the weather doesn't bring me down like it does others.

But today I get off the bus, open my umbrella and notice and man rolling by in his wheelchair. With no protection from the rain whatsoever. It's cold out, and he's drenched. He's got cloves on to protect his hands from all the pushing on the wheels, I'm assuming. And he looks unbelievably down in the dumps. We are standing at the same corner waiting to cross the street and I think to myself, I wonder if he'd like some help. So when the walk sign comes on, I lean down and say "Hey Man, you want me to push you across the street?"

And he responds with a very emphatic "No!" And I was so taken aback that I just said "OK." and continued on my way. I wasn't doing it out of pity or because I felt bad for a guy who couldn't walk. I just wanted to do something nice for someone else. Especially when it's raining and people seem to be a little more down than when the sun is shinning.

I wonder if we as a community were just nicer to each other in general if this man wouldn't have been so hostile to a simple offer. It goes back to what we learned in kindergarten "Treat others the way you would want to be treated" I just don't understand how we can disregard others and what we see them go through every day. I just wanted to help him get across the street a little bit faster, get to a dry spot a bit quicker. But I guess he was determined to do it on his own. Wet and alone.

I kind of hope that where ever he went, he smiled when he got there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All is right in my world

So I've been back in Minneapolis for over a year. Technically it was a year on October 4th. And this past year has been one of the best ones yet!

Moving to the dumb desert, realizing that I don't belong there, and for many other reasons making the commitment to move home, and starting fresh with just me has been the best thing I could do for myself. It was all such a long, self-discovering journey. I learned what I want, what I need, figured out what I surly don't want, realized new things I'm good at, and fell in love with Minneapolis all over again.

In the past year I've become more comfortable with just being. I've become more assertive, grown stronger from within, and I really feel like I've grown into my skin.

It's a great feeling. It's comforting feeling. And it's all sitting happily within my heart.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Last baseball post till next spring

Stupid, overpaid, over-popular, trendy-right-now Yankees ripped it out from under us again!

I hate the Yankees! They are so good and I hate them! It's no fun to root for a team that always wins.


I guess Alex Rodriguez didn't do what I asked and give my Twins a break. Damnit.

Friday, that ball was fair! And yesterday Punto was safe!!

But I will say all three games they both played such good ball. My hometown heroes played their hearts out! And they won the division championship, which was a big feat considering where they where a little over a month ago.

I'm proud of them and can't hardly wait for next season! It will be my first outdoor baseball game and I'm stoked!

And thanks so much to my awesome Mom for getting the tickets to these fantastically played games!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Open mouth insert BOTH feet

So today at work I was hopped up from an uber fun evening the night before and an extra cup of coffee this morning. We were having a good day, steady flow of customers, gossiping and joking with each other. At one point, my co-worker Laura, is helping someone and I look up to take the next order and Kate Hudson is standing in front of me.

Yep. THAT Kate Hudson.

The Yankees are in town to play the Twins tomorrow for the ALDS championship. And according to all the gossip rags I flip through at work, Kate is dating Alex Rodriguez, the 3rd baseman for the Yankees.

I look down and silently scream "Holy crap, that's Kate Hudson!" Look up, and take her order.

She orders a grande, skinny, triple, wet Cappuccino and then says she will be right back. I lean over to Laura and whisper "That's totally Kate Hudson." And at the point we both loose our shit. I'm shaking making her drink, thinking "I'm not going to get enough foam!" And Laura can't count change and completely looses her train of thought.

When Kate came back in her Gucci sunglasses and Louis Vuitton boots, I ring her up, give her my membership discount (yeah, cause she needs to save money), give her the change and say "It was a pleasure to make your drink." She smiles and says thank you and walks away.

Laura and I flip out. We can't even put a sentence together enough to express how shocked we are. We just jump around the cafe with a Did-that-just-happen attitude.

Not too long after I see Alex Rodriguez in magazines. I go over to him and say "So are you going to give my boys a break tomorrow let them win one?" (Keep in mind, the last two games the Twins have been up until the last couple of innings and those damn Yankees just rip it away. I hate the Yankees!) And he says "Your boys don't need a break. They're good." I shake his hand and go back to my cafe.

This is where it gets good.

We are so star struck that we are running on adrenaline and are bumping around the cafe. I am so excited that I start to tell everyone that comes through my line. "How's your day?" they ask. "Well, let me tell you!"

I'm so stoked that I go and tell this story to another Yankee ball player.

Yep. Open mouth insert BOTH feet.

Only I don't find this out until after I have already babbled my stupid celebrity sighting to another celebrity. I didn't recognize him. I only know the big names on the team. And apparently the ones who make the gossip rags.

When another co-worker who witnessed my ridiculous moment told me what I did, I was so sutpidly embarrassed all I could do was laugh. I was totally THAT fan. The one who is so in awe of a celebrity that I have to go and tell everyone else.


Ahhh well. It makes for a good story for me, a good laugh for a lot of others. And I bet for those few celebrities I encountered tonight, I'm just another one in their book of Dumb Things Fans Do and Say.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I love my Twins!!


First off, many many thanks to my awesome mom for getting tickets to the tie breaking game for the division championship! Mom, you're the best!!!

And secondly, what a game! They played so hard, and it was so tense and exciting! (Funny, I just realized that every sentence I have written has ended with an exclamation point. I guess I'm excited!)

I could recount all that happened, but that is done by professional sports writers. I don't think the atmosphere in the Dome tonight could get any more electric. The whole place was alive and buzzing and rooting with all it's heart for our boys to pull through. I don't think I breathed for much of the game. I get so nervous, and find myself sitting with my hands clenched in front of my face. Praying? Perhaps. To the Gods of Baseball.

Bottom of the 12th inning. Yep, 12th! And we win 6-5!

Absolutely amazing!

This is probably my best live sports experience that I've ever had.

I love love love baseball!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Right on, TWINS!!


Well, before Tuesday when the playoffs start. But the last regular season game!


And funny enough, it was all thanks to work. We sold a book out on the plaza before the game called Twins at The Met, so I got in for free. Plus I met Harmon Killebrew, and got his autograph for my mom.

I sat in the very top row. Yep very top in center field, usually were that curtain is hanging, for the first 5 or so innings. Then we wandered from section to section for the remainder of the game. I was down near home plate for a home run or two! Probably the closest I will ever be to home plate.

And we won 13-4! It was so awesome! Over 51,000 people were in attendance. Amazing!

I love love love baseball!

Friday, October 2, 2009

A bit of baseball nostalgia

I'm feeling a little nostalgic right now. The Minnesota Twins are playing their last 3 games at the Dome this weekend and I can't go. They are right now winning against the Royals, have two more games to play and if the stars line up correctly, they will win the pennant and more!

I've never been to an outdoor baseball game. Well, that isn't entirely true. I went to a Saints game once, but we got there in the 3rd inning, left in the 7th or the 8th and I didn't really watch the game for reasons I don't remember. So I'm totally excited for next season to be in an outdoor stadium! Sun, baseball, beer, ahhhh that sounds like a great summer evening.

But I'm still going to miss the Dome. That stinky place holds a very odd spot in my heart. A lot of memories from my childhood, my mom taking me to games, Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek, the whole '87 team. That was the year that I remember falling in love with baseball. It's a childhood dream of mine to catch a fly ball. I'd totally risk a broken hand to take one of those home!!

I heart baseball. It is America's favorite past time. And here I am, sitting in my jammies, keeping tabs on the game on line, and not going to the other two games this weekend. Stupid morals (I should go work the shift I scheduled myself), and prior plans!

My beloved Twinkies, know that I'm with you in spirit! Go out of the Dome with a bang!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bus riding etiquette

So there should be a book on bus etiquette. And I'm going to make it happen. To me it's all common sense, stuff you learned in kindergarten. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The Top 10 Bus Riding Etiquette Items (in almost no particular order)
1. Shower. There is nothing worse than sitting next to someone, let alone someone you don't know and having to smell their stank. When it's a friend you have the right to say "Dude, go wash yourself. You're ripe." But with someone you don't know there is no right or not uncomfortable way to tell them so. And if the bus is full, you can't switch seats.
2. When you sit in an empty two-seater, move to the inside. That way you can look out the window and the next person can sit down in the available seat on the aisle. If not you are going to have the awkward question/moment of them saying "Can I sit there?" And then you can't ignore them so you either move over or you stand up to let them on the inside. This isn't junior high, there are no "cool" seats.
3. Turn down your god damn music. We all have our favorite artists but most likely my fav isn't yours and I have no desire to hear your bass. Plus you're going to make yourself go deaf. I SAID, "YOU'RE GOING TO MAKE YOURSELF GO DEAF." Sheesh.
4. If you do talk on the phone, use your really really indoor voice. It's bad enough to have to listen to the "So I was like... and he was all... and then I was like" and the "You know what I'm sayin'. Shit." We don't need to hear your one-sided conversation either. Just put your head into your chest and talk quietly.
5. Please use words and phrases like "Excuse me" "Thank you" "Please." You do it every day at work, what is a few more times on the way home?
6. Don't put your bag in the seat next to you and pretend that it is OK. Because it's just not. I travel by bus more than any other mode of transportation and I carry a lot of crap. Yet I can put it on the floor, under my seat, on my lap and leave the seat next to me available.
7. If you see someone struggling offer your seat, offer to help. 9 times out of 10 they may deny it but it really is the thought that counts.
8. Greet and thank the bus driver. They are driving you around like Miss Daisy and most are very nice people. The will say hello back, and say things like "Have a nice day." when you get off.
9. Know and understand that this is a community and while many like to be left alone, many also like to meet new people. Humor the sweet, be it semi-nutty, old lady and listen to her story. After a while she'll stop. And if not it was just a small part out of your day.
10. And also understand that for some this is their only way of getting around. They understand more than anyone what is proper on a bus and what is not. Treat others like you would want to be treated.

It really is that simple.

This stemmed from my ride home today. I had my bag with my daily stuff in it, water-bottle, wallet, phone, keys, book, yada yada yada. But then I also had a big Target bag with a few things I picked up. I was able to sit down and put BOTH bags in my lap. And still pull out my book and read. But the man across the aisle from me had his legs spread like he was Ron Jeremy and a lap top on one leg, and his bag in the seat next to him. OK. One, you work too much if you are working on the ride home. Let it go for those however many minutes, sit and relax. But what really got my goat is that he refused to move his bag. Granted none of us passive-aggressive Minnesotans said anything, but still. You are one person, you should only take up one seat.

I wrote out an anonymous note saying "As a fellow bus rider I'd like please to remind you that it isn't just you and to put your bag in your lap so that others can sit. Thank you." And I was just going to hand it to him as I got off at my stop. But I chickened out. And I'm slightly pissed at myself for not having the guts to do this, but at the same time, he's a grown man. I shouldn't have to remind him that the bus is a public space and to please share. There were at least 5 people standing because his leather shoulder bag was occupying the seat. Looking back I could have stood up too, but I wanted his stupid bag to move first.

I really should have given him the note. I think the few people sitting around me might have seen me write it too. Perhaps I should print out this list, carry copies with me, and whenever someone is being an uncaring, disrespecting jackass I can hand them a copy as I get off.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

A break from web searching

I am sitting in my apartment, with Beethoven on the stereo, and the rain outside. It's lovely. And I'm trying to navigate the impossible world of magazines/publishing/where to send my pieces. That world is so big and I get lost in it so quickly. It's very disheartening. I wish there was a sarahgohereforallyourwriting/publishingquestions.com website. Everything I and I alone need to know to get my pieces read.


If only all things were that easy.

Life would be boring.

I finished "The Hour I First Believed" by Wally Lamb today. I teared up more times than I can count during the time I took to read that one. He weaves such deep characters and multi-layered stories that it pulls you into the soul of the book. There were several twists I didn't see coming. And it was a very deep story when it came to the history of the characters and where they came from. You go to know generations past of this family. Wally Lamb's second book "She's Come Undone" is in my top 10, and this isn't far behind. I think I should pick up his first one, "I Know This Much Is True".

I'm mostly blogging here to give myself a little break from looking at websites and through a magazine market book I have for places to send my stuff. It is so overwhelming and I don't know where to begin. I wish I had a counselor like in college, telling me that this magazine is a good fit and that one is not. But I'm all grown-up now and need to figure that out on my own. Perhaps I'll just open up this book "Best of the magazines market for writers" book I have and just pick one of the many many places I have post-it noted and say "This is the magazine for this try." Kind of a literary roulet.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Latest piece is running late

So my next writing assignment is late. And it's my fault. Well, isn't it always our fault? The dog never really did eat the homework. And I'm writing it on why I think Minneapolis rocks. I'm giving it my own twist, of course, and making it humorous and such. But I think I really, really love this city because it's twice as long as it should be. And I'm having the hardest time cutting it back. There is just so much that I love and want people to try out and enjoy that I can't shut up about it.

Its very frustrating. Remember those papers in college where you would make the margins just a bit bigger, and change the font from Times New Roman to Courier New all to see if it helped get what little you had written into the required page length? Yeah, well this one is too damn long, too wordy, not funny enough, and not original enough to what makes Minneapolis special for me to be happy with it.

Damnit. I really need to crack down here. Stop adding and start honing in on what is good, what can go, and what needs to be improved.

Basically I need to stop thinking about ways to improve and just do it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rejection 360

Well I just got my first rejection. I'm bummed. But it's the first of many, as sad as that may sound, but it's most likely the truth. I already received the letter saying "Thanks but no thanks" to that piece I submitted within the last month. Their website said they respond within 3 to 6 months. I guess if they really don't like your work, they respond quicker.

I honestly didn't expect to get accepted. That only happens in movies. But I didn't think not getting accepted would make me tear up like I did. I choked it back, thinking "If you're going to react this way, the rest of your submissions and rejection letters aren't going to get any easier." It is just a bit of a downer when you put your heart and soul into something and then someone says "It's not what we are looking for."

However, I was just talking to a fellow writer friend of mine and telling her about this. And she congratulated me. She said "You've graduated. You took a certain step in writing and you are on a whole new level." And she put this rejection into a whole new window for me. I'm going to hold on to that rejection letter as a right of passage. Someone did read my stuff, someone did hear my story, and even though it's not what they are looking for, I still had the gumption to send it out.

And you know what? I'm going to do it again.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Work= a witch and a vow of silence

Some times, well who am I kidding? Many many times I meet such interesting people at my job. Like last night I met a woman who, oddly enough look liked a witch, cursed me. And not like a "Fuck you, coffee lady" curse. More along the lines of "A plague on both your houses" curse. Simply because I wouldn't refill her drink because she didn't originally get it at my store. That didn't make her happy, so she stood in the doorway and cursed me. "I curse you!" she hollered. "And may it follow you everywhere!" Yeah, ummm OK. I have no warts and nothing bad has happened, so I have a hunch that her curse didn't work.

And today I met a guy named Steven. For the past few days he has come in and gotten a tea but hasn't said a word. All his communication is through writing. He simply writes "I can not speak, but may I please have a green tea?" He can hear us so we talk back to him in yes and no questions. And twice he has given us thank you notes for being so kind and patient. "You kindness and small gestures means the world" his notes have said.

Well today he came in a spoke. We were all taken aback, yesterday he was silent and today he is speaking. He explained himself. He had taken a vow of silence for a week. Just because. To clear his mind, to center himself, to take in the world through other senses. And he said it was the coolest thing. After the first few days, your mind actually grows silent and you become inwardly calm. I was extremely impressed and to be honest quite smitten quite quickly with how open and honest he was to complete strangers about what he had just gone through. And then to hear his voice on top of how good looking he was, whoo-wee. He's handsomeness surely matches what I have witnessed of his inner beauty.

I would love to sit and talk with this guy more. He seems so intriguing and aware and willing. I bet he has a lot on his mind and seems like someone who wouldn't mind sharing it with someone else. Plus he said he was going across the country on his bike, which was locked up outside. I bet there are many stories there.

I wonder if i could take a vow of silence? Now, I can just hear all of you, "But you're loud, and you always talk, and you're so opinionated." Bla bla bla. Take all that out. To me a vow of silence is more of will power rather than just not talking. I can not talk, that part seems easy. It's the idea of learning to communicate with others without words, or holding what is dear to you closer in order to understand it rather than just immediately showing someone else. I surly couldn't work during this vow. But I also would have to not lock myself in my apartment. Steven had said that this vow drove his mother crazy. I have a hunch my mom might be relieved. Hell, many people might.

I just love my job. Look at all the people I meet.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bar argument got me thinking

I went out with some girlfriends this past Saturday and my friend Kerstin and I would up at our new favorite people watching bar, Cowboy Slims. This is the bar that I fell in, mentioned in a post not too long ago. Not many people we know think highly of this bar, but we think it's a riot. We always have fun and seem to get some free drinks every time we go.

This last time I got into a heated argument with a boy named Tim. He said that money buys happiness and I disagree. His point was that if someone gave me 1 million dollars right now, that wouldn't make me happy? Well sure it would. But that is then implying that I am unhappy without that money. This guy is working as a mechanical engineer (it "pays the bills" he said) owns 2 properties in Duluth, and is looking to buy another here in some suburb. I told him I can't understand why someone would want to own a house in the burbs. (I love it in the city and no one can give me a reason that satisfies me enough to convince me to move.) And he said that he buys them for the resale value. Well whenever I buy a house, it's not to sell it again. It is to make it my home for as long as I can.

This guy got me so riled up that I was shocked when he said he wanted to see me again. I think our first date would be nothing but us arguing. He even told me to settle. Note to people just meeting me, never tell me to settle, or shush me for that matter. Just makes me that much louder.

But he did get me thinking. Since Saturday I have been thinking of the phrase "money buys happiness." True? False? Somewhere in between? Money buys us items that gives us moments of bliss, but other than that I don't think so. Money can not buy you that feeling and raw emotion from the inside.

I even told him "I work retail and live almost paycheck to paycheck and I am the happiest I have ever been." And that sure isn't because I won the lottery.

Would I be happy if someone gave me millions of dollars? Sure. But show me someone who would deny that money. Everyone would be more content with enough money so they could do anything they choose and wouldn't have to worry. But that isn't how life works. If it takes money for you to be happy, you're going to have a long, irritating and stressful life.

I knew someone who was always focused on not having enough money and it made for some not fun times. Money doesn't make me happy, I make me happy. And the people I love make me happy. Money is a necessity of life but it doesn't have to control it.

Sorry Tim, but you are way wrong.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A very amusing moment

So at work we spend a lot of time people watching. We have a big window that looks out onto Nicolette Mall and in the down time we watch crazy people talk to pigeons, girls walk by with too-short skirts on, fools with a bandanna and a hat on in wearing skinny jeans. It's highly entertaining. And with this comes the regulars. We see people come from across the street and we start making their drink, or in my case, we stare at the cute boy hoping he'll come over and get a coffee so I can ask him out.

I don't know his name. I think its Mike, a friend of mine thinks its Tucker (But I think he says that to mess with me) so we call this guy TuckerMike. And TuckerMike is cute. Another friend I work with suggested that I ask him out. I took his advice and did so. After my first failed attempt.

I thought I'd write it on the cup. "Lets grab a drink. Anything but coffee." with my name and number. So I did. And then TuckerMike comes in and orders a different size and I completely choke. I've never done that before, and looking back I'm still pissed at myself. I couldn't even say "Hows your morning?" I just stood there like a mute fool and filled his large (not medium, like I was hoping) cup and sent him on his way.

The next day, I was ready. No choking for me. I wrote my little message on a piece of paper instead, so I could put it between the sleeve and the cup of any size he ordered. TuckerMike came in after his morning cigarette (see, we really do people watch) and ordered his coffee. As I'm filling it, I'm trying to slide the paper in between the cup and sleeve and it is choosing not to cooperate. I can't chat him up any more, so I hand him the coffee with the note hanging very far out of the sleeve.

Smooth, Riley.

He goes over to our condiment bar for cream and sugar and puts the note in his pocket. On his way out he says "Have a nice day, Ladies." "You too." we all respond in a high, school-girl tone.

And we haven't seen him since.

One of two things were going to happen after he got the note. He was either going to call or he'll never come in for coffee again. And it turns out it's the latter. So I successfully didn't get a date AND lost us a customer in one shot. Awesome.

Now I don't care that he didn't call. I don't even know his name. He could be married, have a girlfriend, be gay (although my gay-dar would have picked up on that), but most likely he's just not interested. Fine. No skin off my back. But I want to go up to him during his smoke breaks and say "I don't care that you didn't call. But come back and get your coffee."

I guess TuckerMike isn't as cool as I thought. His pansy-ass can't even come back for coffee after a cute girl asked him out. In a very original way, I might add. Ahh well, moving on. On to another cute boy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

While walking through my neighborhood

With no TV and no car I tend to walk a lot. Not out of boredom, well maybe a little bit. But it gives me something to do, takes up time, helps me clear my head, it's good for me, and I like it. I have noticed that when walking just for walking's sake I notice more things than when I am walking to a destination. So when I go walking I've started to bring my camera with me to take pictures of all the really cool things I see.

Its found expression, people expressing themselves though few words or a picture. And I get curious about who wrote that or what they were feeling at the time.

Here are some examples of what I've found on my walks.

There is also a "Slut love (said with a heart not the word) you" a few blocks away.

This made me stop mid-step and smile. I also found it on another dumpster on the next block.

I kind of want to find the person who wrote this and give them a hug.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Excerpts from The Reader

"As the days grew longer, I read longer, so that I could be in bed with her in the twilight. When she had fallen asleep lying on me, and the saw in the yard was quiet, and a blackbird was singing as the colors of things in the kitchen dimmed until nothing remained of them but lighter and darker shades of gray, I was completely happy."

"At first glance, one might have taken it for a child's handwriting. But what is clumsy and awkward in children's handwriting was forceful here. You could see the resistance Hanna had had to overcome to make the lines into letters and the letters into words. A child's hand will wander off this way and that, and has to be kept on track. Hanna's hand didn't want to go anywhere and had to be forced. The lines that formed the letters started again each time on the upstroke, the downstroke, and before the curves and loops. And each letter was a victory over a fresh struggle, and had a new slant or slope, and often the wrong height or width."

I just thought that both of these little quotes were so simple yet worded so well. The first one really painted a picture in my mind of the ease he felt lying in bed with her. And I have never thought of handwriting or learning to write period in a way that broke it down like the second quote did.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A contented sigh

I just did some at-home yoga. Man, does that feel good! I was sitting at my desk a while ago, bored and not really knowing what I felt like doing. I was thinking that I can't hardly wait for my yoga class to start up again and then I thought "Why don't I just do some yoga here at home?" So I did. With a few candles, my pretty red star lamp on, and Vivaldi's Four Seasons playing in the background, I got back in touch with my inner-yogi.

At home I don't do yoga for nearly as long as I do it when I'm in class, but that is OK. I was in some serious need of some stretching. I've walked a lot in the last 24 hours. Yesterday I walked to and from work just because it was gorgeous out. And after work I went to a friend's house for some beers via the bus. But I walked home afterward. And then today another friend and I walked around and around my neighborhood and the rest of Uptown for a few hours. My legs got their share of work and then tonight got to relax and stretch.

It is only 9pm, and I am tired. Tomorrow is Labor day and I have the day off. I should be out on the town and enjoying the night life. But simply put, I don't wanna. My stoop with my neighbors or just my chair and a book will do.

I am reading The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. That book that was turned into a movie that won Kate Winslet a Golden Globe and an Oscar. My mom said it was a hard read for her, which usually means it will be really hard for me. But I'm actually finding it a well-flowing book. It was originally written in German (I think) and has been translated. The translator used the simplest terms and for a good chunk of the book, it works. It's told from the boy's point of view, so it's elementary in it's thought process about the love affair he has with Hanna. He was a teenager and his simple mind is very well portrayed in the words. I'm halfway through, in mid-trial and am enjoying it. I just know how it ends thanks to Hollywood.

Summer is coming to an end here. I love fall. I love sweaters and scarves and layers and cool breezes and changing colors. People always ask "Do you prefer summer or winter?" And I prefer Spring and Fall. I like the hibernating and re-birthing of nature. Plus it makes these glorious, warm summer months that much more enjoyable.

I have tomorrow off and nothing on the docket. Funny, after I typed that word I was just wondering what a docket was. According to my big and wonderful Oxford American Dictionary a docket is "a calendar or list of cases for trial or people having cases pending" So I guess I didn't use that word quite right. I am not on trial nor do I have any cases pending. But nonetheless (another funny one, who thought of putting 3 words together to basically mean "that aside"??) Anyway.... I'm rambling. I have nothing planned for tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be outside, it's supposed to be lovely out.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Detective

Not too long ago I wrote a post about a regular customer that we call The Detective. He's old and can't really see or hear so when he talks it echos through the cafe.

Well I finally found out some info about him.

I was quoting Friends for my fellow co-workers and was making big gestures and this guy saw me and said I reminded him of Ceasar Romero. Which I don't fully understand, but that isn't the point. I called him over to the counter and he got up and did a little jig before he walked over to us.

His name is Ferdinand, but people call him Fred. He just started talking and I tried to take in as much as I could. He played guitar since he was 14, his dad was in World War II (but I thing he meant WWI, seeing as how Fred himself is old enough to be in WWII.) Anyway...He said that he used to be much more agile in his younger days, he still gets around pretty well though. Just don't walk behind him, he said. And I think that was his way of saying he's gassy. Which totally made me giggle.

He comes in every day, reads music magazines with his magnifying glass, does his little jig as he gets up to leave, visits with his lady friend. We all hear him one day say in his loud-I-can't-hear-myself voice "I'm going to take you out on a real date. Yes sir-ee." He's just so charming and simple. I kind of wish I could go back in time and see him in his hey day. Bet he was like the un-famous version of the Rat Pack.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Reading + Words = Beauty

I just finished a beautifully written book about books, mystery, love, secrets. It is called The Shadow of the Wind by Carols Ruiz Zafon. Although sometimes long-winded, it was a lovely read. Here are some excerpts that I marked in the book, showing it's wonderfully weaving words.

"This is a place of mystery, Daniel, a sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read and lived and dreamed with it. Every time the book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens."

"I had never known the pleasure of reading, of exploring the recesses of the soul, of letting myself be carried away by imagination, beauty, and the mystery of fiction and language."

"This city is a sorceress, you know, Daniel? It gets under your skin and steals your soul without you knowing it."

"Bea says the art of reading is slowly dying, that it's an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all out heart and mind..."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Some people's children

Working customer service, you'd think that some people were raised in a barn. Their mama was not around and therefore didn't teach them any manners.


Me: "Hi. How are you today?"
Customer: "Yeah, uh, gimme uh, grande coffee."
Me: "OK." and then proceed with the membership deal or offering them a scone or cookie. When what I really want to say is
"Yeah, uh, then gimme, uh $1.94."

Seriously. How about a "Hi." or a "I'm fine." Or even a "Please." I'm not asking much. Just common courtesy. I don't work on commission, I'm not going to pressure you to buy something, (unless I can sense that you are someone to joke around with, and in that case, I'll suggest the large and then say in a "Do it." in a come-on-all-the-big-kids-are-doing-it sort of tone.) But I really am wondering how your day is.

I have 3 minutes at most to make someones day a little better. And when they can't even take the time out to be polite, well then I guess I hand them their coffee and my job is done.

Top 3 Things That Are Big Pet Peeves To People Who Work Customer Service
1. Talking on the phone. I have always wanted to pull out my phone when someone comes up on the phone and make them wait until I am ready. A little taste of their own medicine. Seriously, either hang up, or get out of line.
2. Not please or thank you. Yes we are working, and it is our job to give you what you asked for. But is it to much to ask for the words that mom made you say before you received anything as a child? I don't think so.
3. Not letting us do our job. When they stand at the end of the counter and watch every move we make, it is so annoying. We are trained professionals, and we are just making coffee! Keep in mind we are human and mistakes happen, but we will gladly remake it if you ask nicely. I don't come to your job and stand over your shoulder and watch as you punch numbers into the computer making sure you had enough 0's, do I? So give us the benefit of the doubt, please.

To me this is all common sense. Right?

Nothing bad happened at work today, just enough "yeah, uh, gimme uh's" and rude people on their phone to make me want to rant a bit about it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wish me luck

Whoooo-weeee. I just put in the mail my first ever submission to a magazine! It's a piece I wrote right after I got back from New Mexico. I think it's one of my best, and my instructor said with a few grammatical corrections, it's ready to be sent it. Yea me!! I sent it to a magazine called The Sun that I found searching on line. They say it takes 3 to 6 months for a response, so I'm not holding my breath. And everything I've read about getting published says to have more than one piece out at a time. So I'm preparing some other pieces to be sent out too. But I'm stepping into this unknown world slowly. For no other reasons than I want to.

Keep your fingers crossed, in 3 to 6 months I'll let you know if you should buy the magazine or not and see me in print! Until then, this blog will have to do.

Friday, August 21, 2009


So I saw Julie and Julia with my mom a few nights ago. It was very cute, and Meryl Streep can do anything. And it made me want to read both the books - Julie and Julia and My Life in France.

On the way home I was thinking about this quest that Julie went on for a year. Cooking all these recipes and finding herself. Not to mention finding a whole new career thanks to one article in the New York Times.

I would love it if I became a writer from an article written about me in the New York Times. But who wouldn't?! And lets be serious here... I live in the midwest, and the chances of someone from the Times taking note of me are pretty slim.

But on the drive home I was thinking that perhaps I could do something like what Julie did. She liked to cook and she liked to write. So she combined the two and it changed her life. (While nearly destroying it in the process.) Well, I like to read and I like to write. What could I do?

I thought perhaps I could read the top 100 books according to someone and give my opinion. So I googled top 100 books and came up with a list according to Time Magazine, and the top 100 Editor's picks 2008, Newsweek's top 100 books, the top 100 books according to the Harvard book store, and so on and so on.

So where do I start? Whose list do I pick? Do I give myself a time limit? Do I get to read others in the midst? Does it count if I already read it in high school? What do I want to accomplish with this? Prove that I can read? Well I already know I can do that. Prove that I can write? Done. Prove that I can write about what I read? Check.

The more I think about this as I write about it, I'm starting to like the thought of it. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bad move on their part

My building manager was let go yesterday. And none of us have any idea why. I think this is one of the most ridiculous things they could have done. Mary was so good at her job but mostly she cared about us. I've never lived in a building where the manager cares about her residents, wants them to be happy in their apartment. Mary took time out of her busy day to talk to anyone who needed it. This just sucks. I'm writing a petition to the management saying how we as residents don't agree with this move at all. Just so they know, and we did our part. We voiced our concern.

I have no idea what is going to happen now. But I started looking at new apartments yesterday just in case. But damnit! I don't want to move. I just got settled. I love my apartment. Love! And I love the area. It is so perfect for me not having a car and all. And there are a lot of for rent signs up around the neighborhood, but that involves so much. The deposit, the first and sometimes last months rent, packing, getting a moving truck, unpacking, taking the time off from work to move, getting people to help you. Yuck. Plus this place is mine and I don't want to leave.

From what I've gathered from talking to my neighbors, the management company is going to come in a "clean up the place." And we think that means getting rid of the people who don't pay rent on time, or who are disturbing to other residents. (I like that last one, perhaps then Nutty the Neighbor will leave.) And if that is all they are going to do, I have nothing to worry about. I pay on time, and I don't disturb anyone. At least to my knowledge. But with my lack of visitors, and my only watching movies at a decent volume, I can't imagine what the complaint would be.

I just really feel for Mary. She was the building manager for 15 years. She loved her job, and we loved having her there. She got things done and she cared about everyone living there. So much for having someone in the office you could count on. And that really bums me out.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Everyone has a story to tell

I love reading memoirs. Everyone has a story to tell and I like reading about other peoples lives. One of the perks of my job is that we have advanced readers editions of books not published yet come into our store in hopes that the booksellers will read it and then promote it when it actually is for sale. I love this. I go to this shelf when I need something to read and just can't seem to settle on all the recommendations and books already on my to-read list.

The one I just finished is amazing. It's called Double Take and it's written by a guy named Kevin Connolly. He was born without legs and this is his story. He writes with no pity or any notion that anyone owes him anything because he is different. He just writes about his life. The last third of the book is about his travels around the world, on his skateboard, taking pictures of peoples reactions to him. Looking at the pictures before knowing the idea behind them, you think "So, it's a guy staring at the photographer. Big deal." But when you learn that the man behind the lens has no legs, gets around by pushing himself on an old skateboard, and that he took many many other photographs just like this, it takes the meaning of the picture to a whole new level.

I rarely read a memoir and really want to meet the author afterward. Sure I want to meet them because the are a published author. But I want to meet Kevin because he seems like such a genuine guy. I'm impressed by his ability to adapt. He was never one for a wheelchair, didn't feel right. And he just found he could get around easier on his skateboard. He stated that he never felt handicapped. In fact he had a great whole paragraph on his interpretation of the word "disabled." "You are only disabled if you are incapable of overcoming the challenges presented in any given situation." I think that is brilliant. There are so many, in fact a good chunk of the Earth's population could probably take a life lesson from Kevin.

I went to yoga last night and part way through a very hot and tough class the teacher asked us to give thanks that we could do this hard class in the first place, that we were able-bodied and present. I immediately thought of this book and Kevin. He would push through any obstacle and arrive on the other end. I silently thanked him at that moment. Thanked him for writing his book, for telling his story, and for empowering me to get through this one class. And in the long run, for reminding me that life truly is what you make it. No one can do it for you and you can do anything that you set your mind to.

I encourage everyone to read this book when it comes out this October. Until then, check out his website kevinmichaelconnolly.com and his photos from his round-the-world trip at therollingexhibition.com

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I heart times like these

This is what it's all about. I spent last weekend with some of closest friends, in Decorah, IA where we all met. We rented a cabin just a bit out of town, and had a grand old time. There were no concrete plans, just food we wanted to eat, and a bar or two we wanted to go to. There were originally supposed to be 9 of us, I believe. But after plans fell through, we ended with just 5. Which was fine. We all have the ability to sit around and laugh a lot no matter who is in attendance.

Top 10 things we did, in no particular order other than I numbered them

1. Ate Med Bread from Pizza Ranch. OMG, that is good stuff!! (It's pizza without the sauce and just cheese. But I'm convinced they put some sort of cheesy induced crack on it because you just can't get enough.) And by the way, the only Pizza Ranch that makes it is in Decorah, so it's a must every time!
2. Had ice cream at the Whippy Dip. A little walk up ice cream shop but totally beats out any DQ. Their Ice Cream Sunday comes in a plastic boat, in a cardboard box, it's that big.
3. Went hiking at the Ice Caves and Dunning's Springs. At the Ice Caves we climbed a bunch of rocks and saw Decorah from a good height and distance. And at Dunning's, well I was just in awe of how pretty it is. I'm a bit bummed I didn't go there more often when I was in college.
4. Ate. We snacked all day. I left the cabin more full than I ever remember being. we had lots of cereal. Sugary, really bad cereal too. That is one of the joys of being a grown-up, you can eat like a kid if you want. And we went to some of our favorite restaurants, for old times and good foods sake.
5. Played games. This group of friends has always been big on board games. And we played a new one to me called Pit. It's loud, fast, and easy. Just like me! HA! (Just kidding, Family.)
6. We had a fire almost every night. Much laughter was shared around that fire.
7. we drank. It's not a weekend getaway with these friends unless there is some booze involved.
8. We toured the college campus and were amazed at all the new things they are doing. Renovating and improving. In fact we joked that the college was doing very well without our alumni donations!
9. We watched movies that we all had seen a hundred times before, so it wasn't bothersome when we said all the lines right along with the movie. I don't know about any of you, but I love to recite movie lines when the movie is playing and it drives some people crazy. So when you are with others who do it too, well it's oddly comforting.
10. And I'm going to be corny here, we made new memories. We all were saying that this was something we want to become an annual thing. Same weekend, perhaps in other towns. But it was so great to be with each other again that it needs to happen more often.

And a picture or two from the trip.