One More Time

I have been blogging for five years now.

In September of 2008, when I was a high school senior who fancied myself enough of a writer that I thought I should do it publicly (still not sure if that was a good idea), I started my first blog.  It was drama-laden and iffy at best in the adjectives department and still exists if you really want to go there.  But don’t think I’ll be providing the URL.

Actual picture of high school me in an actual marching band uniform.  I look like such a baby.  I wish I could go back in time and warn myself not to take Intro to Statistics.

Actual picture of high school me in an actual marching band uniform (I’m on the left). I look like such a baby.  So naive about the ways of the world.  I wish I could go back in time and warn myself not to take Intro to Statistics in college.

In September of 2011, I began my second blog upon departing for a semester in Salzburg, Austria.  I only posted about a dozen times on that one, since I was, you know, living my grandest Sound of Music daydreams.

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In December of 2011, back from my travels, I decided that I didn’t want to return to the high school Blogger blog, and anyway, I had a new goal in mind: I was resolved to blog once a day, every day for the entire new year.  Thus Eight Days a Week was born on WordPress.  When that year ended I stuck around for another year, blogging about whatever struck my fancy.

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In September of 2013, I decided to start yet another blog.  My last, I fervently hope.  I have long wanted my blog to be its own website, to have a higher level of creative control, to have a chance to join blogging communities, and to interact with blog readers on a larger scale.  Additionally, while the name suited my original project well, Eight Days a Week no longer describes what I’m trying to do as a blogger and writer.

So, I’ve moved.  One more time.

Don’t think for a moment that this changes much.  Goodness knows I’ll be writing the same goofy sagas and literary rants as always.  Also, as I mentioned before, my posts from Eight Days a Week have transferred over to the new blog, so the gang’s truly all there.

Although it’s not really goodbye, I want to take what feels like a solemn moment to thank all of you for reading, for following, for liking, for commenting.  Thanks for not rolling your eyes when eye rolling was more than justified.  At least, thanks for not rolling your eyes where I could see you.  It has meant a great deal to have the support of fine folks such as yourselves.

I hope that you’ll follow the link below to the new blog**, where an introduction is waiting:

http://www.hollyinspec.com

**Please note that if you’d like to continue to receive my posts in your email, you’ll have to resubscribe at my new blog (link above).  I will no longer be posting on Eight Days a Week.  

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Adventure Day in St. Paul

It was adventure day in St. Paul for Holly and the Gentleman Caller.

Cossetta’s for pizza and antipasto salad (I ate the cheese, he ate the jalapenos and tomatoes.  I think I got the better deal):

IMG_0538Grand Ole Creamery for ice cream (it tasted a lot better than this young man betrays):

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The historic (think Gilded Age) James J. Hill House for a tour:

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The laundry situation was a downside.  All the way in the basement, and must be done by hand.

IMG_0628The place is move-in ready, which is a perk:
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And has lovely outdoor verandas:

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And my goodness, we could attend Mass right across the street!

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In the end, the house was a little out of our price range; so, we ditched the realtor and walked over to the cathedral:

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Not conducive to good photography, but very beautiful regardless.

Then, filled with good food, stuffed with culture, and sighing at the sunset glowing orange in the rearview, we drove home in the Subaru.

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Trekking

Snowpocalypse 2013 has come and gone, and while the plows have been out at all hours (I heard them at 2:30 this morning) clearing the streets, the sidewalks are another story entirely.

My walks to campus have now been enhanced with Everest-like snowbanks which must be scaled.

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Typically, more often than not, my leg will get stuck or slide out from under me, and I’ll tumble down the slope in front of God and country.  So it goes.

The Hazards of Crafting

We didn’t go Black Friday shopping, per se.  Mom and I patrolled Grand Avenue in St. Paul, where we did some (utterly justifiable, I tell you!) damage at Pottery Barn, Patina, and at Garrison Keillor’s Common Good Books (new location).  We may have also made an unrecorded Caribou Coffee stop, and we may have had to return ten minutes after leaving to retrieve mom’s sunglasses.

We swung home in the late afternoon to pick up my sister, who was back from her Target shift.  She’s currently taking an introductory clothing design/construction class at UW Madison, and needed to go to the fabric warehouse to pick up supplies for her final project.

I am not a crafty person, my friends.  There was an embroidery phase in middle school, and a knitting phase in high school, but both were short-lived, and neither produced particularly exemplary results.  To me, then, this scene looked rather bleak, and bordered on terrifying:

 

The labyrinth of fleece.

Tassels the likes of which I’ve never seen. If Quasimodo ever decides to do some remodeling in the belfry, I think these would serve him well.

Taken before being nudged out of the way by a woman who clearly respected the subtle distinction between cotton 111 and cotton 112 (a magnifying glass was produced for color confirmation).

“Why so cheap?” Holly wondered, peering dubiously over the rim of the barrel. The plastic circles glinted ominously, and Holly quickly decided that there must be something buried beneath, something that fed on the fingers of unsuspecting crafters. Just then, her sister Amy thrust her hand into the barrel. “Noooooooooo!” Holly screamed, not pausing even as two women in green smocks dragged her toward the exit.

Old Business and New

Saturday night, I forgot to tell you, I accepted a miniature cupcake from a tray thrust at me by strangers wearing red white and blue and dangling a large American flag out of the window of their minivan.  They had apparently been circling campus for the past hour and a half, because, although we denied them the first time they slid open the door and shouted at us to take a cupcake, the next time they stopped us (we were walking in the opposite direction; Play in a Day was over) we shrugged and chose vanilla cupcakes with globs of orange (or was it red?) icing.

“Are you college students?” I asked them.

“Some of us are,” the boy in the middle seat began, grinning at me from under his spangled hat.  But he was interrupted when another party of walkers was spotted: “Forward!” the driver bellowed, and so forward they went, cheering and letting the flag whip parallel to the speeding van.

The cupcakes, although cold, we delicious, and I think I can safely say that they weren’t poisoned, as I am able to type this post with minimal numbness.

To counteract that potentially poor decision, this morning I woke up at 4:45, struggled into yesterday’s jeans, sweater, coat, mittens, hat, and the longest scarf I could find (for optimum neck wrapping), scooped up backpack and gym bag, and caught a ride to campus.

This week is the first inaugural Mental Health Awareness Week at UMM, and as MCSA is the main planning squad, MCSA (or fifteen of us, at least) met on the Mall at 5:30 to put out the shoes.

It was early, and it was cold, and the sprinklers came on in the middle of the operation.  At one point, Annie held up a pair of women’s shoes: “Look at how huge these are!  Who has feet this big?”

I walked over on my size 10.5 (11 on a poor day) feet.  The shoes were too small for me.

Yep.

Anyway, each pair of shoes we arranged on the Mall (there were 1,100 pairs) represented a college student who committed suicide last year in the United States.

It ended up being a powerful display; the shoes scattered around reminded me of gravestones.  Eerie.  It was fun, however, to watch the sun rise and the students trudge to class and do double takes as they walked past the Mall.  Some decided to cut across as usual, picking their way carefully.  Most chose to circumvent the memorial, instead craning their necks to read the signs we had posted.

Copy Editing

Last night, although it held on until 2 this morning, was glorious.  There’s so much more to copy editing than quiet and the flick of thumb or pen against paper, even more than the good-natured debate about the merits of the Oxford Comma.

Copy editing, at least in the context of the University Register, of the University of Minnesota, Morris, means piles of musty papers leaning against one another in all corners of the office.  It means the smell of stale popcorn and the occasional crunch of the occasional SweeTart underfoot (leftover from the Activities Fair).  Copy editing means an office like a sauna; it means the main office and the smaller one take the fan in shifts, grudgingly lugging it back after two hours have passed.  It means ordering a pizza at 10 pm because we’re hungry and because all of E-Quality’s extra pizza was eaten before we knew it had been offered.  It means trooping to Higbies for coffee, for smoothies, for fresh air.  It means barely stifling moans of anguish at the appearance of another NASCAR article.  It means AP is God.  It means the combination of people’s surnames, scrawled across a whiteboard to uproarious delight.  It means actually finding an earring that, lacking a back, slipped onto the floor of the Student Center without my knowledge.

Eventually, perhaps, if you care to wait up until the tired paperboy walks the campus, depositing a pile of newspapers at every building, copy editing means a publication we can all read without cringing.

Just Around the Riverbend

Yesterday morning, fresh out of Estes Park, Colorado and well fed on a three-bed room with two TVs, we went whitewater rafting.

It was my sister, my Mom, and I in a boat with two elderly women, a little girl, and a guide.

Our guide, to give you a visual, sported the most spectacular neck beard I’ve ever seen.  As if that wasn’t enough, he rafted wearing 70s flared pants, striped in the colors of your grandma’s living room, and laced at the front.  He did manage to guide us successfully through level four rapids and around formidable-looking boulders, however, so perhaps the George Harrison look wasn’t so bad after all.

The rafting itself was fantastic.  While you’re rafting, you feel just as badass as you had hoped to feel.  Your personal flotation device (or PFD, as the lingo goes) is pressing on your ribs and giving your back the appearance of one who’s recently escaped from a certain belfry.  Your helmet is reminiscent of the bowl haircut you sported in third grade.  Your Keens are wedged firmly into what can only be called a ‘toe cup.’  But you are planted proudly on the unpuncturable vinyl of the raft, with two hands on the paddle.  Your abs and shoulders dig into every stroke, and soon, you’re instinctively leaning into every rapid, anticipating the bump from every underwater rock.  You’re clearly queen of the river, even though it’s your first try.  You’re unconquerable.

And when the little girl commences screaming at every slight ripple of water, you seriously consider raising your paddle and whacking her out of the boat.

Being a true river queen, however, connotes a certain amount of mercy.

So you sit tight and hum Pocahontas under your breath.