Friday Favorites 5

I think I cheated a little this week.  The posts consist of Friday Favorites, a video about breastfeeding, and Friday Favorites again.  I don’t mean for Friday Favorites to make up the entirety of the blog, but if I can’t think of any one topic that merits its own post, it’s certainly nice to have a place to circle the blurb wagons at the end of the week …

I was just this close to writing an extended Oregon Trail metaphor.  Consider yourselves happily spared.

Here are a few things that made my life better this week:

This poem:

It is possible that things will not get better
than they are now, or have been known to be.
It is possible that we are past the middle now.
It is possible that we have crossed the great water
without knowing it, and stand now on the other side.
Yes: I think that we have crossed it. Now
we are being given tickets, and they are not
tickets to the show we had been thinking of,
but to a different show, clearly inferior.

Check again: it is our own name on the envelope.
The tickets are to that other show.

It is possible that we will walk out of the darkened hall
without waiting for the last act: people do.
Some people do. But it is probable
that we will stay seated in our narrow seats
all through the tedious denouement
to the unsurprising end- riveted, as it were;
spellbound by our own imperfect lives
because they are lives,
and because they are ours.

“Riveted” by Robyn Sarah, from A Day’s Grace. © The Porcupine’s Quill.

Writer’s Almanac.  I’m telling you, kids.

This dish:

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Photo credit: fakeginger.com

A few weeks ago a friend and I had dinner in Uptown Minneapolis.  We chose–fairly randomly, I assure you–a little Thai restaurant on the edge of the nightlife where we could sit outside and not be tripped over by cool cats stumbling in high heels.  As we ate our Pad Thai with tofu, fire alarms began to go off inside a building across the way.  Then a fire truck arrived.  Then a few police cars arrived.  Then a larger fire truck arrived.  The fuss was over rather quickly; perhaps it was a false alarm or merely burned popcorn.  Since no one was hurt, we considered it dinner theatre.

The Pad Thai, though.  We agreed, once we had pushed our plates away and leaned back, full, that it was delicious, but that the flavors were so heavy and distinct that we wouldn’t crave them again for at least a year.

Fat chance.

A week later I woke up craving Pad Thai.  I mentioned making the dish to my parents.  Mom was game, but Dad poorly hid his apprehension.  So I didn’t make it.  Another week went by, and I am now dreaming–day and night–about Pad Thai.  Especially the tofu soaked in sauce and a little crunchy on the outside.

I’ll stop now, because I don’t want to drown Mac in my saliva, but I will likely be making Pad Thai at home (even if just for myself to enjoy) very, very soon.  I will likely use this recipe.

This homecoming game:

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My beloved alma mater is celebrating homecoming this weekend, and I’m not going.  I don’t have a great reason, really, except that I am still jobless and living at home, and I think it would hurt my pride to return to Morris before I’m triumphant and successful.  It’s not that I would be judged there.  It’s just a standard I’m holding for myself.

But I’m cheering for the Cougars from afar, hoping we can overcome last year’s disappointment.

This movie:

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I have a deep, abiding love for The Outsiders.  It began in eighth grade, when we first read the book in Language Arts and our conversations–even outside of class–were peppered with words like “heater,” “rumble,” and “Greasers.”  We even had a day when we were allowed to forgo our uniforms (Catholic school, remember?) and dress as either a Soc or a Greaser.  Which one you chose said a lot about you.  “Typical, typical,” we twittered when so-and-so showed up in a sweater set and angel-white tennis shoes.

Then we discovered the movie.  I can’t remember if we watched it in class or if a select few of us watched it at a sleepover.  But that was it.  It’s impossible to watch Ponyboy recite Robert Frost against a golden sunset, or Dally yell with surprising emotion, “We’ll do it for Johnny, man!  We’ll do it for Johnny!” without being hooked.  Plus, the cast!  The beautiful ensemble cast! Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Diane Lane, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, etc.  Before they were movie stars, they were outsiders.

This book:

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I never expect Margaret Atwood’s books to be as good as they are.  Why is that?  Perhaps it’s because I have this strange desire to shout to the heavens that I DO NOT LIKE SCIENCE FICTION.  When really, I do.  At least a little.  When its sparkling innovation is backed up by human-like frankness and clumsiness and poignancy, as Margaret’s is.

This is the second novel of hers I’ve read (the first was The Handmaid’s Tale), and the second novel of hers that has utterly swept me away.

Maybe someday I’ll learn.

Homecoming

True to form, we lost our homecoming football game. 24-49.  I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but that’s how it usually goes at UMM.  We’re smart people, we’re ambitious people, we’re liberal people, but we’re not necessarily athletic people.

It was a cold day to be sitting on metal bleachers, but thrilling to see the bright maroon and gold against the turf, and to eat walking tacos and caramel corn served by Chemistry Club and Student DFL and InterVarsity.

And of course the wind turbines are always spinning on the horizon.

Distinguished Alumni

Good evening, everyone. I write to you from the pit of despair that is sitting behind a desk on a Friday night.  It’s not the job, really; it’s the fact that I’ve had a startlingly efficient day, and while that was fine and good while it lasted, I’m at the point where I want to leave campus.  I’ve been here since 9 a.m., and I’m officially ready to ship out.  Ship out to a shrimp and white wine birthday party, that is.  My, but college parties are classy these days.  I’m dressing up and everything.

The distinguished alumni banquet is going on across the hall.  I hear clapping, the clink of the fine silverware that the students don’t get to use, and occasionally, the door will open and a mother, dressed to the nines, will walk out, tugging her cranky child behind her.  They walk around the Student Center, mother pointing to a painting, or a room: “I used to study in there all the time.”  “My friend Tony-wonder where he is now?-broke his wrist trying to scale that wall with a bottle of wine and three packs of Twinkies.”

There was an awkward moment a few minutes ago, when two gentlemen came up to the desk.  “Is KUMM still in the basement?” they asked.  And then, after noticing the fancy to-do in Oyate: “What’s going on in there?”

“It’s an alumni banquet,” I said, purposefully leaving off the ‘distinguished.’

“What kind of alumni?”

Darn.  “Um, distinguished alumni, I think it is.”

They looked at each other and laughed.  “No wonder we weren’t invited!”

Generally, I like having all of these alumni around.  It’s Homecoming this week, so naturally they’ve come in droves, driving minivans plastered with UMM stickers, or shiny sports cars that betray nothing but their present success.

I like to watch them walk the campus, exclaiming about one thing or another, and envying (so I imagine) the students, for whom college isn’t over yet.  It’s a little strange, the divide between us and them.  We all went to UMM, we all adore it, but the generational gap still stands.  They protested the Vietnam War, brought their dates back to the dorms before curfew.  We fight against the Marriage Amendment, play Quidditch on the Mall, check Facebook fifty times a day.  Now, they have to ask us where the bathrooms are, have to follow campus maps and tour guides as if they were incoming freshmen again.

It’s funny to think that in a year, I’ll be among them.