First Snow

First snow today.  Or so I am told.  Facebook friends told me, either by way of whining post or exalting post.  The mobile Weather Channel told me, with a background like cotton balls falling behind a pane of glass.  It still looked like sleet to me, but we ran out just in case.

Ruby wasn’t sure why I had pulled her into the cold and wet; she turned in circles upon the grass before stopping to cock her head at me.

I looked to the arms of my jacket, now spotted with dark beads.  Each one shone and hung heavily for a moment before disappearing against the fabric, as if I were stuck all over with melting candy buttons.

The grass and the trees were merely dripping; no dusting of white betrayed snow.  Even the roof, surely cold enough to hold flakes, was merely a soggy brown.

We went inside, Ruby running ahead so that she could turn in the living room to look back at me wryly.  Is all the fuss over, then?  She asked, before moving to make sure her stuffed skunk was just where she had left it.

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Inaugural Friday Favorites

When I’m not writing blog posts–that is, when I’m not slaving away in a garret with only a stubby candle to light my laptop and a small mouse for company (A Little Princess style)–I am often reading other blogs.  And what I have noticed over the past few months is that many “other blogs” have a feature called “Friday Favorites.”  Friday Favorites is typically a pictorial-with-captions list of some of the blogger’s favorite products, techniques, memes, recipes, etc. from the week.

I’ve explained before how much I love information in blurb form when it comes to the internet and magazines (funnily enough, since I am a rather long-winded blogger myself), so needless to say, I am a fan of Friday Favorites.  I am also a fan of having a weekly tradition.

Therefore, I have decided to start a kind of Friday Favorites of my own.  I can’t promise anything cute or crafty or delicious, but I can promise you a pictorial representation of my week.

Here goes:

This book

Unknown

I’ve been eyeing The Pillars of the Earth for years.  Every time I passed it on the shelf in library or bookstore, I would pause briefly, sometimes pick it up, but always eventually put it back.  For some reason, it never seemed the right time to dive into such a massive volume.  But last week I was finally finally in the mood for a real story.  A story that wouldn’t be over quickly.  Now I’m almost 300 pages in and entirely hooked.  I plan to write a real review once I’ve finished the thing, but if you’re another TPOTE (pronounced tee-p-oh-t) stalker, I advise you to give it a chance now.

This song

Can I like Taylor Swift now?  Now that she’s pop and punk and all grown up?  Because I’ve been listening to this song all week.  What can I say?  I swoon for acoustic duets.

Writing at a desk

Hemingway_at_his_writing_desk.

Yeah yeah, it’s a little presumptuous to choose a picture of That Crazy Genius Bastard Hemingway* to accompany this post.  But to get back to my point, I have only recently begun to write at a desk.  Before, I was in the camp that believes that in order to truly focus on creating, one can’t be distracted with the discomfort a desk chair often provides.  Now, I’m in the camp that believes that in order to truly focus on creating, one needs to get their rear out of bed and into the kind of chair that screams NOW WE’RE GOING TO WORK.  And you know what?  I’ve never been so productive.

This Brand

imagesLike most high quality outdoor outfitting brands, Patagonia is ridiculously expensive.  But they also make the kind of comfy, fleecy, that-girl-could-climb-a-mountain gear that I could quite easily live in.  In fact, Patagonia fits perfectly into this daydream I have about living in the North Woods of Wisconsin and rolling out of bed each morning for flannel, coffee, and writing.

This child

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There were some fiery Facebook posts this week concerning young George Alexander Louis.  Apparently, it’s a terrible sin for people to stop and pay attention to the birth of a baby when there are so many “more important”–and much more sober–things happening in the world.  I say, the world would be a terrible, terrible place if we couldn’t take a break from tracking violence and death and injustice to celebrate something joyful.  I certainly admit that I will likely never actually meet George.  Nor do I live in the country which he will someday preside over as king.  But I think it’s silly to pretend that the small family in the country above doesn’t impact the world at all, or to pretend that the way they live and dress and speak to the public doesn’t say a great deal about the modern times and the modern monarchy.  This is culture happening, and I think it is deserving of our attention.

Road trip planning

National-Lampoons-Vacation-e1362095010677

I will not at this time disclose the destination of the road trip, nor the date of departure.  But you’d better believe I’ll document every sweaty, touristy, awe-inspiring bit of it.  For if any family can match the Griswolds, it is surely mine.

*A literature professor called Hemingway this when I was a sophomore.  Since then, I haven’t been able to shake it.

Last Week of Classes

You know it’s that time of year again when…

1. You spot a student toting around a liter bottle of Mountain Dew and a styrofoam cup.

2.  There are suddenly no open seats in the library.

3.  Facebook whining abounds.

4.  Pajama pants are the new jeans.

5.  Procrastinating on one paper consists of working on another.

6.  You cannot talk about everything you still have to do without the seven people nearest to you jumping down your throat, bewailing seminars and presentations and cumulative exams.

7.  The line at the coffee shop is a mile long, especially after 9 p.m.

8.  The library begins to offer free five minutes massages, and turns the poetry room into a sanctuary of meditation and smelly oils.

9.  The expressions on people’s faces, once you get past the red eyes and pale cheeks, are identical: a healthy combo platter of frenzied, weary, and grimly resigned.

Also:

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Everybody pray.

Tonight, I am Forever Proud of my Country

Yesterday, this happened on campus:

This happened on Facebook:

Seventeen-year-old that I’m Facebook friends with for some unknown reason: I hope you like your sister cus in about 4 years you will be able to marry her, because if it’s true love then who should be able to stop it… Americas logic.

Holly: This post makes me sick. You’re entitled to your opinion and your vote, of course, but the comparison you’re making is a terrible one. Same sex marriage has no connection with incestuous marriage.  They are NOT the same and it is NOT accurate to claim that allowing one will lead to allowing another. Maybe this is your idea of a joke, but even if that’s what it is, it’s these kinds of jokes that lead to ignorance and hatred.

I know, I know; I shouldn’t have let my anger get the best of me.  I should have been mature and realized that it’s the Internet, and that people say stupid things, and that it’s best not to get into an argument when you’re not face-to-face with someone.  But holy cow that kid made me mad.  And I couldn’t let it slide, not when he was so very out of line.  The conversation continued for several more posts, with him atrociously insulting LGBTQ, and me trying desperately (and sometimes failing) to keep my replies civil.

But everything was all right in the end, because then this happened:

(Obama won)

And this:

(The Voter ID Amendment failed)

And this:

(The MN Marriage Amendment failed)

I have never been prouder to be a Minnesotan, and to be an American.

The Wi-Fi Void

The internet is back on, after an admittedly stark weekend without it.  I tried not to mind too much, fancying myself beyond such petty interests.  But I missed my daily sweep of Itunes Movie Trailers, various blogs, HuffPost, and yes, Facebook.

Successfully relieving my woe, several events filled the wi-fi void:

1.  I discovered the power of bribery when interacting with small children.  Don’t get me wrong; this was an accidental discovery, and one I certainly don’t plan to often utilize (it doesn’t exactly encourage a solid moral foundation).  But it was nice at the time.

We had been at the botanical gardens for a few hours.  It was in the high 80s, and the paths were long, so I think the kids were a little sluggish (I was too).  They perked right up, however, when they saw the fish pond.  Ponyboy (names have been changed, obviously) enlisted my help searching for frogs in the weeds.  Once I spotted one, he would crouch at the edge of the water and reach for the half-submerged amphibian.  He wasn’t deterred by the frogs’ constant ability to hop away just before his fingers could clasp their slimy bodies.  Cherry, on the other hand, amused herself by hiding among the exotic flowers, sniffing them exultantly and plucking their velvety petals when I wasn’t looking.

We might have stayed for another two hours, but I noticed that the kids’ faces were growing a bit pink.  I could feel my own nose beginning to crisp, and I shuddered at the prospect of bringing sunburnt toddlers back to their parents.  There was no sunscreen in the diaper bag, and none in the car either.  Ponyboy, I could tell, as I asked him to climb up into his seat so we could head back to home and shade, was on the verge of a breakdown.  There were still frogs to catch, after all.  That’s when Cherry, who was peeking into the center console, noticed a pack of bright orange Tic Tacs.

“Can I have one?”  Ponyboy asked, looking longingly at the garish candy.

I thought for a minute.

“If both of you get into your seats and let me buckle you in, you can each have a candy.”

Without a second’s pause, they both scrambled up, slipping their arms into their straps.

I put a Tic Tac into each outstretched hand, and that was that.

2.  A friend of mine, knowing all too well my fascination with F. Scott Fitzgerald and with anything relating to that era of romanticised writing (i.e. one hand around a sweating glass of scotch, one hand clacking away at typewriter keys), brought over his own circa 1930 typewriter for me to use for the summer.

It’s a beautiful machine, too heavy to sit on my flimsy rubbermaid container “nightstand.”  I have it on the floor, where I sit with crooked knees and punch the keys, stopping to listen for the ‘ding’ at the end of each line.  I’ve written two letters on the dear thing so far, taking care to do so before 11 pm.  No complaints from the roommates as of yet, but they have to be able to hear it; I’ve never lived in such an echoey house.

3.  I worked my first solo ticket selling shift at the Morris Theatre.  It’s a fairly straightforward job: count the money and tickets before and after each shift, make change when necessary, dispense tickets to waiting guests, generally look pleasant.  I was only worried about making change (my mental math is laughably sub-par, especially when I’m under pressure), but even that went fine.

At one point a young father came in holding his three-year-old daughter by the hand.

“Do you take card?”  He asked me.

“No, I’m sorry, we don’t.  Just cash and checks.”

He looked anxiously at the clock behind my head (it was ten minutes until the show started), and then went back out.

I hated the idea of him having to explain to his little girl why they couldn’t see Madagascar 3 after all.

Just as the trailers were rolling, however, they came back in with recently-ATM-ed cash, and all was right in the world.

 

 

 

People Who Should Not Be Drawing Giraffes

While I appreciate life blogs, food blogs, fashion blogs (sort of), and news blogs, I think the blogs I enjoy reading the most are the uncategorized blogs.  The blogs that exist, seemingly, to bring random topics to the internet, but that really exist to remind us all that no matter how bad things get, no matter how many GOPs pull out, or how many unsuspecting teenagers are forced over to Facebook Timeline, there will always be minor (and major) celebrities willing to draw giraffes on cocktail napkins.

And there will always be people willing to blog about it.

Joshua Preston, cofounder of G.D.B.P.W.S.N.B.D.G., is a friend of mine, but that’s not why I’m plugging his blog.  I’m plugging it because we need more poorly drawn giraffes in the world.

And fewer GOP candidates (my feelings, not his).

Here’s the link.  Check it out:

Giraffes Drawn By People Who Should Not Be Drawing Giraffes

 

Stress-Relieving Chocolate Hamsters

Here’s what we do in M6 when the Mondays get us down:

1.  We hold Feezap, the tumor-afflicted hamster who still manages at least 1,000 wheel reps a night.  Feezap is small, grey, and unassuming.  I try to give him a smile and an affectionate “Bye Feez” when I pass his cage on my way to class, but sometimes I forget.  Tonight, Feez, after crawling around my hand for a while, gave my finger a sniff and then gnawed on it for a few seconds, until he was satisfied that all of the blueberry lemon hand soap had dissolved between his tiny teeth.

2.  We make devil’s food instant pudding, and do our best to ignore the powdery taste that inevitably lingers in instant puddings.   It is chocolate, after all.

3.  Finally, we go into our rooms, shut the door, and sit down at our desks.  We stare at our bulletin boards for a few minutes, blankly taking in the Obama Inaugural, the Beatles Rubber Soul, the Support the U buttons that we pinned up on earlier, more earnest days.  Our readings have been printed.  There is no excuse for Twitter, for Facebook, for IMDB (me), for CollegeHumor (Maddie).  Taking a few cleansing breaths, we set off into Studying, into the land where nobody dies except for Richard the Lionheart and historical figures like that.  It’s bright in Studying, and not unpleasant in the least.  We’re enlightened here, we’re intelligent and brave.  If only it wasn’t such a struggle to get through.