I really wouldn’t mind being just a little more buzzed as I write this because, you see, I have been prompted to ponder that thing that happened in high school that changed my life forever. I could pinpoint a few incidents* that more directly concern school time itself and the people I knew. But if it is to be boiled down to a basic essence, the only correct response is The Move.


From the time I was one and a half until I turned fifteen (or, more precisely, until two days before I turned fifteen), I lived in a small town in northwestern Ohio. We all were friends to one degree or another, and the way the nucleus divided into various functions as we grew up seemed only natural. I can’t say they’re all completely fond memories, but I remember a lot of things very vividly. (1)

If you actually scrolled down to read the list, you can see it didn’t take long to get to boys. That’s probably because I hadn’t been long into puberty when we moved to Wisconsin.


On the surface it seemed like The Move would be a good thing. I was well-familiar with the (larger) town because one set of grandparents lived there and every summer we’d visit for two weeks. A girl my age lived next door to my grandparents and we had become friends over the years, so I wasn’t starting from scratch. To this day I’m up for a good adventure and at first, then, that’s what it was.

It was a familiar, yet still new, place. I had the summer to hang out with my friend. We could spend more time together doing the things we liked—listening to music, walking to a nearby stream, teasing the boy on the other side of her house.

My sophomore year, my first school year there was a gas. I went from a class of 80 to a class of 750. It was all big and different and exciting. I made some friends and had decent kids in my classes. It was alright and I even ended up with a boyfriend by the end of the year. He had an old red Ford pickup truck. That’s not particularly important but I remember it. Well, okay, I lost my virginity in it.

The aftermath

During my junior year things went to pot. The big, different, exciting just seemed big and different. I began to resent having been yanked away from my childhood and friends and possibilities. I always refer to it as yanked away, even thinking about it thirty-five years later. I acted out in the typical ways. My circle of friends changed to parentally-perceived less desirable kids, including my second boyfriend, mainly because they weren’t that first boyfriend whom I had broken up with but whom my mom couldn’t let go of. I dared to stay out all night. I got drunk with friends who were in college (drinking age was 18 at the time). I smoked pot with a boy two years younger (a lifetime of difference in high school!). My grades dropped.

The other best friend of my original girlfriend got together with my first boyfriend, and my own new (post-move) best friend got together with my second boyfriend before we were out of school. As far as I know, both couples are still together. My mom is still friends with the first-boyfriend-circle of my former friends.

Meanwhile, I maintained a healthy correspondence with my Ohio friends, not only with my two best girlfriends BG and DH (sorry, gals, I’m going with maiden names) but with RB as well. (2) So I got all the lowdown on who was getting together with whom and how I was missing out on it all, which only cause me to feel that it should have been me but that never could be. It poured gasoline on the fire of my feelings of separation. I was sad and resentful and behaved like it.

My best friend BG in Ohio got me a senior yearbook and, bless her heart, took it around for everyone to sign. And bless their hearts, even former adversaries obliged. Of course, all the boys I had had crushes on were long gone (they had all been one and two years older than me), but everyone else was very nice about it. It should be telling that the only class reunions I’ve ever gone to (or attempted to go to—one year I drove all the way from Wisconsin to Ohio but chickened out once I got to the supper club parking lot)—were the Ohio ones. I haven’t kept in touch with anybody from Wisconsin (though I do occasionally “research” people online).


I was able to let go of a lot of it after I attended the fifteen-year class reunion of my Ohio school. Those were the people I still cared about the most and seeing many of them finally put to rest some unresolved feelings about the whole moving situation. There’s no going back (well, there was a little bit of going back with SB, that first kiss in fifth grade), but I was thrilled that they remembered me and seemed to still like me—even my adversaries who, it turns out, claimed not to remember most of my evil, song lyric-leaving deeds. It was the same sort of experience at the twenty-fifth-year reunion. And by then I had taken up golf, so once again it was easy to hang out with the boys.

There are many more related stories I could add to this on both sides of The Move but I think you get the idea. Does anybody know anything about RB?


Fingerpainting in nursery school in the Methodist Church.

LG encouraging me to drop my shorts and pee in the bushes alongside the Methodist Church. I wouldn’t pull my pants down but I peed anyway.

My mom picking some purple lilacs from the back yard and all the little white bugs that scattered out of them when she put them in water.

Being still required to take a nap and when I got up, discovering that all the neighborhood kids were playing on my swing set and my mom yelling at them.

Being told by TM while running a race in our late-gradeschool “Olympics” that I ran fast for someone with short legs.

SA mistaking my art class collage for his, and wrecking my neatly painted black border. LEM chiding me for retying my pigtails myself.

Being kept in from recess in fourth grade to be admonished by my teacher to play with girls more, looking at her with great earnestness, and declaring, “But Mrs Kelsey, I don’t like girls!”

Following that incident up with drawing a diagram of the playground and mapping out in different magic marker colors the different routes that my boy friends and I would take to our secret meeting behind the baseball field backstop.

Receiving my first boy-kiss ever from SB just beyond that backstop while wearing a dress with a gold top and turquoise plaid skirt.

Having to ride with LK to bowling on Saturday mornings, only he always drifted toward the center line and scared the wits out of me.

Playing the Eagles’ “New Kid in Town” on the bowling alley jukebox and wanting to be a bass player more than anything.

Having my sixth grade teacher set me up with RB who had been in her class the year before, for the start of what would be an ongoing, very adversarial, love-hate friendship.

Going out for track in 8th grade only because I had a raging crush on BW, a sophomore, which became awkward because he and RB were good enough friends and RB was also a (legitimate) runner.

Hours spent bike riding around town with RB.

Leaving song lyrics in the lockers of crushes and adversaries in order to convey my feelings, I’m sure not as anonymously as I thought.

In junior high having my best friend push me into boys I liked, such as BW.

Endless summer days spent at the pool with my friends, always with CKLW AM radio on the PA to entertain us.

(2) I suppose it’s telling that I gave you initials of the people in Ohio but not of the Wisconsinites.

*I’ve touched on related subjects to varying degrees previously in this blog, and if I hadn’t had to migrate services it would be a lot easier to find those references and link to them (though I did find this one and this one). On the other hand it’s been a couple years since I wrote regularly, so I guess I won’t beat myself up for repeating some things, and it will come out differently second time around anyway.


I’ve been in a lather lately about how much that I want to see, Facebook fails to actually show me. This afternoon that morphed into a nostalgic lament about the way social media used to be back in the good old days. I was going to write about both aspects tonight, but the lament has taken longer than I planned, and it’s really the more important part anyway.

The Lament

Twitter. In January 2007, California Rob invited me to sign up on a new website called Twitter. I had no idea what it was but I always enjoyed learning about the new internet stuff sooner than most, thanks to him and his circle of Silicon Valley friends. At first I had no idea what to do with it (just as the entire world didn’t) and didn’t see what the big deal was about writing periodic statements about what I was doing or feeling. But because the cool kids (Rob and his friends) were doing it, I hung in there and contributed my apprisals of the situation.

And then a funny thing began to happen. I got to know these people in California (and one in Philadelphia). Through our unfocused updates about meals and bedtime and clock-watching at work, we who had never met in person were nevertheless able to develop a picture of each other. And then another funny new thing happened. I got to know more people in California because they were friends with the first bunch of people.

This was back before the term “tweet” had been coined or @ mentions had been coded. This was when you saw all the updates posted by all of your friends, regardless of whether they were directed @ you or not. This was when Twitter was like a cocktail party where you could drift in and out of conversations with people you did and didn’t know all around the room and, like after any good mixer, you’d come away with a few new people who you wanted to hang out with. 

Twitter was this way for a two or three years (I’m not researching exactly how long), which gave me the time to make two tiers of new friends. Then the powers that be decided that your side of the room didn’t need to know what the other side was talking about, even if you were with someone who knew people on both sides.

Facebook. I held out on joining Facebook for a long time. Five years ago, it seemed redundant to belong to two social networks, and at that time anyway, almost all of my online friends still focused their attention on Twitter (and if I think about it, most of those original people still do, even though there is a lot of pushing of identical updates from one service to the other).

I gave in in June 2008 (based on my registration email), but it wasn’t until almost a year later that I began using it with gusto (three and a half years ago, as of this post). And I can tell you exactly why I started. At the time, posting photos to Twitter wasn’t as easy as it is now. I found Facebook to be a convenient one-stop shop for posting status updates, photos, and links to important pages I thought you should visit. There wasn’t yet the raft of third-party services that make such things a breeze nowadays. And Facebook held the allure of allowing more than 140 characters (though I admit to feeling a great deal of satisfaction in adhering artfully to the 140-character rule, and I hope Twitter never changes it).

It didn’t take long before I thought of Facebook as my primary outlet. Almost all of my Twitter friends were also on Facebook so I didn’t feel like anybody was missing out on any of my Very Important Posts (in the beginning I was a purist in that I made a conscious effort to not post the same content to both services. Now, not so much so, though, unlike a lot of people, when I post the same content in both places, I manually do the posting rather than have some script or app push it to both places. So I’m still a purist in that small way. But I digress). I also imagine that, indirectly, I have my iPhone to thank as well, with its always present camera and on-board apps for ease of posting. I got in the habit of using Facebook for photos and thus has it remained.

The actual lament. Oh, how times have changed for both services. These days, Facebook and Twitter seem to have evolved into vehicles for promotion. And I don’t have a problem with that. Heaven knows, I follow a bazillion beer breweries and local bars and liquor stores, and TV shows, and news outlets. Who doesn’t like to be informed? 

What’s gone is the personal feel. My friends no longer share the mundane things about their lives. I like it when you say what you ate for breakfast, or that you’d really like a cup of coffee now, or any of ten thousand other trivial things. I miss seeing photos of your mismatched striped socks. There can never be too many photos of your furry sweeties. Are you enjoying a nice meal? Great! Let’s see it and hear about whether the service was great or crappy. Foursquare posts are a pale imitation of the first-person thing, but at least they’re something.

It has probably been three years since I came home with somebody’s phone number from the Twitter cocktail party. That makes me sad. As we have become more focused on the public entities we follow, we have forgotten about the personal connections.


Maybe we’re just too busy keeping up with all the third-party information that we let gush into our eyeballs to curate and maintain the personal connections. Maybe we’re too busy trying to project a clever, ironic public persona to actually be genuine anymore. My friend Tori said, “As it gets noisier, people get fewer responses to the things they post in their own voice, so there is a lot less return on the investment of putting yourself out there.” 

Would my life be radically different, or even different, if I didn’t let those third parties clog up my feed? Would yours? Not really. (Well, yes, actually it would be. I’d have more time.) Is my life enhanced, even slightly and therefore quite importantly, by you putting yourself out there? Absolutely. 

I’m afraid this is going to end rather abruptly, because all of sudden I’m very tired. But I’ll leave you with this request: start telling the world about your lunch again, friends!

Going to bed.

Travelogue: I go out walking

September 19, 2012


I spent an extra long weekend in the San Francisco area because my friend finally went and got married up. That leads me to believe that there might be hope for me yet. But already I digress.


The wedding on Saturday was a beautiful beach ceremony near Half Moon Bay and much fun was had by all. I got some ocean time as I arrived at the venue two hours early so as not to be late. The next day my ankles were sore from and hour and a half of walking in the sand. The ever-present waiting bank of fog-clouds obscured the sun for the most part, but that made for some beautiful colors—tan sand to ocean green to cool grey. The wedding party was accented in tealish-blue and it was all just lovely.


I spent Friday in San Francisco just walking around, from the Caltrain station to Union Square, through Chinatown to the Red Jack Saloon near Coit Tower, then along the Embarcadero back down to the Caltrain.


I had tried to find a few beer destinations such as brewpubs to visit, but that didn’t work out like I hoped. Why the Red Jack Saloon, you may wonder. Well, the last time I visited, that is where the groom and I ended up for a tasty adult beverage after an afternoon of wandering around. It was there that I had Lagunitas Maximus IPA, and it was the beer that set me on my craft beer journey. I wanted to go back and pay my respects. No Maximus this time, “only” the regular Lagunitas IPA, but it was fun and the bartender got a kick out of my story.


I got some food recommendations from a local for my walk back and indeed had a nice dinner at a place called the Delancey. Its story, apparently, is that it is staffed by people getting a second chance. The food is good and inexpensive. My food and beer came to about $15.


Sunday morning, there was a post-wedding brunch for us out-of-towners, which was a nice opportunity to chit chat with the newlyweds. Janeen and Rob, I knew I wouldn’t actually see much of you this weekend so I really thank you for doing that!

That left Sunday afternoon free, so continuing on the beer theme, since I did have a car (please see the other Travelogue entry), I decided to head north to Petaluma to visit the actual Lagunitas brewery. I wasn’t looking forward to traversing San Francisco in a car—there is no freeway through it, it’s all local streets, local streets with narrow lanes, jam-packed with traffic—but I knew I’d regret being so close and not making the effort. I suppose it could have been worse and I did get to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge.


Have you ever driven across the Golden Gate Bridge? I tell you, photos can’t prepare you for just how magnificent it is. Not awe-inspiring and breathtaking the way photos don’t prepare you for the Grand Canyon, but pretty damned splendid. I wonder how many accidents there are because drivers are gawking out the windshield instead of watching the traffic in front of them.


Anyway, it was a straight shot up to Lagunitas. They have a nice taproom and patio, decent food if my delicious salad was any indication, and live music. I couldn’t get too crazy because of the long drive, but it was still fun and I can say I did it!

Monday was another day in San Francisco. I got off the Caltrain at the 22nd Street Station and walked west to the Mission District.

San Francisco is a beautiful, interesting city, but what the heck were they thinking building it on all those hills?! My walking route took me up Potrero Hill, then down it, and then up and down a few other lesser—but still formidable—hills. I saw a some mail carriers out on the job—they must just be in fantastic shape. The vistas were beautiful.


A friend of a friend who also came for the wedding told her to track down Rosamunde Sausage Grill. She was unable to, so I went in her stead and did indeed have a delicious, say sausage. But the best part was that the place also had an excellent craft beer lineup. I dutifully enjoyed a Russian River Blind Pig IPA (Russian River is somewhat of a holy grail for us Minnesotans because they don’t distribute to our market).


I also was directed to visit Delores Park by my friend in London who feels about San Francisco the way I do about London.


From Delores Park, I headed back toward downtown. Along the way, I found the small Southern Pacific Brewing Company, one of my intended stops. The beer was okay and the bartender a little surly, but it was nice to sit for a while. I was also able to avail my iPhone of an outlet for a little charge-up.


It was about two miles or so back to my evening’s destinations, 21st Amendment Brewing and the San Francisco Giants baseball game. Before my trip I was advised that 21st Amendment beer is actually contract brewed elsewhere and shipped to the ”brewery” but I didn’t care. It was only a couple of blocks from the baseball stadium. The Giants’ ballpark is a nice, intimate one. I was completely neutral about the teams, other than the fact that one of the Minnesota Twins’ most beloved players now plays for the opposition, but he wasn’t in the lineup so, oh well.


According to Google maps, I walked about six miles on Friday (blue) and seven and a half miles on Monday (purple). Plus an extra mile walking back and forth twice from my hotel in San Carlos to its Caltrain station.

It was an easy train ride back to San Carlos and my hotel, and now here I am in the airplane on the way home, beginning our descent for landing.


Judge me as you must, but I am glad my parents are gone. I am not a people person, and having two extra bodies in my space for the equivalent of four days (three extra bodies, if you count their rabbit, but she was really mellow this visit) just about did me in, especially with the frequent butting of heads in which my mom and I engage.

This morning I was really glad to go to work—not because I love my coworkers, though they’re mostly fine—but because I was thrilled to get back to a normal situation. Tonight, I came home and have just sat and watched TV. I caught up with Downton Abbey, then got depressed as I knew I would by the documentary Food, Inc., then watched a couple of hours of Anthony Bourdain as an antidote. All accompanied by beer. Now it is approaching midnight and I really wish I had about six more hours and six more beers, because among other things (I don’t know what), I’d like to watch the Hitchhiker’s Guide movie. 

I cope by overreacting.

In a weird way the unexpected holiday greeting that I found in the mail tonight when I picked it up for the first time since Thursday was very comforting, reassuring me that my own life still exists, post-parental visit. Thanks, Meghan 🙂

Best day ever? Maybe?

August 13, 2011


It would be hard for me to choose the best ever day of my life. Not because there have been so many, but because I’d probably end up not remembering the one that would qualify as best ever. I can pick out good days here and there, but by and large, none strikes me as the winner. But if I had to say, I’d go with the day last summer when I traveled to and arrived in my beloved London for the first time in six years. I met two friends for the first time and had a week of fun to look forward.

As I was pondering that day in general, I remembered that it was also my birthday. I don’t make a big fuss about birthdays. Maybe that’s because my birthday is smack in the middle of summer and I never had a party in my class at school, so it never got cemented it in my brain as a big deal. 

The celebrations at home were usually pretty low-key. I vaguely remember a couple of little parties. There was the one when Mike C came over and my mom made eierkuchen because that’s what I wanted (recipe, recipe). Then there was the one, um, er … I guess the eierkuchen one is the only one coming back to me at this moment. I’m sure there were other dandy get-togethers with my other friends in other years. Please don’t feel slighted because I don’t remember what happened in the 1970s.

The birthday for which I have the strongest memory for as an “adult” was my twenty-fifth. I was in college and had a part-time job at a service station. One of my part-time coworkers was in a “band.” After work, the lot of us would often go over to his house and drink beer (regular beer, not the fancy kind I like now). One such hanging-out was on my birthday and though I’m sure I didn’t make any prominent references to it, the word got out. I had gone to sit by myself on the front steps for a few minutes and one of the roommate/bandmates came out with his guitar and sang Happy Birthday to me. He didn’t really know me from Adam, but it was very sweet and to this day remains one of my favorite birthday memories. And apparently, also, one of my few concrete birthday memories.

Fast forward to last summer. 

It was intentional on my part that I booked my flight so that I’d arrived on my birthday, once I learned that the discount airfare departed on Thursdays. My birthday seemed like as good a Friday as any to arrive. I knew I’d be wiped out from traveling on the one hand, but that the adrenaline from excitement would keep me going on the other. Dan and Spiros picked me up at Liverpool Street Station and we wandered around on foot from there. I only had a carry-on and my backpack, so I was pretty portable.

I think we ended up in Hodge the cat’s courtyard because Dan’s office is nearby. I was tickled because on my previous trip, I had sought out the statue and now there we were, fairly randomly, at it again. I considered that to be a good omen for a successful upcoming week. We eventually went to Dan’s, where I was staying. I had a shower and we had a snack. Then the three of us went to the Honor Oak to watch the USA World Cup match. 

I fell into bed completely satisfied with the day.


I interrupt my intended topic for this evening (which was to have been a report on my recent side-by-side comparison of my four favorite India Pale Ales) for a different, though still beer-related, narrative—the in-depth explanation of today’s freaky (in a good way) events which came to light due to the purchasing by two involved parties of Odell Brewing’s new special edition Woodcut No. 5 Belgian-Style Quad Ale.

The story begins innocently enough. I realized that I could follow my favorite businesses on social media to get inside scoops. I followed one of my local booze huts, Zipp’s Liquors, on Twitter. At some point, I must have gotten an @ reply to a comment or question about whether they carried something. My beer friendship with Tyler was born, because he’s very responsive with the tweets.

My California friends (you know, Rob and his circle; Rob, who used to go to Saint Sabrina’s to get pierced with Lauren; Lauren who instigated my actual getting of my rabbit tattoo) turned me on to Instagram. This is the part I really don’t remember—who betweeen Tyler and me found the other on Instagram, but we did.

Instagram plays faster and looser with your associations, because you see what your contacts have liked, and then it’s real easy for you to get carried away and start liking some of the same photos, and the next thing you know you’re following people you’ve never heard of. That’s how I connected with Jason. I began to notice that Tyler frequently liked Jason’s photos and that they usually involved beer. As you know, I love beer. So I began liking Jason’s beer photos and the next thing you know, Jason and I were following each other. And Tyler followed Rob, so I guess we’re even!

Then I got bold and followed Jason on Twitter, keeping my remarks by and large beer-related (though he is a creative like me, and I wish I had the time to start the morning with sketching). Today it transpired that Jason asked Odell Brewing when the Woodcut No. 5 was coming to Minnesota. Odell Todd replied that it should be here, then Tyler said he got it in at Zipp’s today. I said I’d be over after work. Jason said he’d be by after work. I was hoping we’d end up there at the same time so that we could introduce ourselves. No such luck.

I got home with my Woodcut and snapped the requisite self-portrait for proudly posting online—artfully posed in front of my wall of woodcut art that I’ve made myself, but not gotten all framed—though I never got around to uploading it to Facebook because I got distracted by being outside for an hour and a half yardening. At exactly the same time that I tweeted my photo, Jason tweeted that he had arrived home to find that his awesome wife Lisa had a Woodcut waiting for him. I was overcome with excitement for both myself and him, so I tweeted kudos directly to Lisa, who at that point was not a Twitter contact with me in either direction.

That’s when the Beerlight Zone revved up.

Lisa immediately followed me which tickled me because Jason hasn’t yet, which I thought he might by now but which doesn’t bother me that he doesn’t, because I can be stingy about accepting new contacts myself and I totally get it. Nevetheless, it pleased me to reciprocate with Lisa. And then the darnedest thing happened.

When you follow someone new, Twitter helpfully suggests a couple other people who it thinks you might like. Well, damned if one of those people wasn’t Katherine, my former co-worker! I freaked out, in a good way. Katherine left us to move to San Francisco, but we still adore her, and she’s still doing some work for us long-distance.

I immediately got the feeling that I had met Jason and Lisa at a happy hour last summer, in particular, the one that happened after we had an office outing to a Twins game and stopped off afterwards, and Katherine, Karl, and two couples friends of theirs had joined in. But you know what? Anticlimax. In re-envisioning the events just now, I realize that it wasn’t Katherine’s friends but my other co-worker Colleen’s friends and it had nothing to do with a Twins game.

But the freakiness stands. Me -> Tyler -> Jason -> we love beer & Odell -> Lisa -> Katherine -> me.

My parents don’t quite comprehend why I love what they see as impersonally interacting with my online peeps as much as I do. Other people who have rich in-person circles (not all of them, but some of them) don’t quite understand how 92/8 online/IRL (that’s just an estimate) can be just fine by me. Tonight’s occurrence shows part of the reason why. Well, at least it does to me.


Incidentally, I did not pop the cork on my Woodcut No. 5 tonight because it was not chilled when I bought it and also because, after yardening in 85F/30C temperatures, the nice, light Southern Tier Hop Sun was just what the doctor ordered. I’ll probably have the Woodcut on a Saturday night when I can make a nice meal to go with it (though not tomorrow because I’m making a curry and I don’t think it would pair well with that, and not next Saturday because I’ll be at the Twins game). Jason said it’s good. It’s Odell, so I assume that much on faith!


I interrupt my regularly scheduled post (which was to be an account of how I came to love salads so) to gloat. There’s no sugar-coating this—I WON!

I have never been part of any “in” crowd. Every now and then I’ve gotten to the cusp, but I can’t honestly say that I ever completely broke through. That’s not to say I haven’t had my groups of friends. Of course I have. But if you know me away from here (or even, possibly, if you’ve been reading along for any amount of time), you’ll know that I mostly don’t give a flying fuck what other people think, so that’s probably a good indication that I’m not going to shmooze my way into very many cliques.

One time during my senior year in high school, I tried, sort of. The school was large enough to have both cheerleaders and a dance team and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to try out for it. My two or three friends and I worked up our routine and performed it on the day. When we were finished, I took off with some other college friends who had come to watch. I got to school the next day only to be greeted with queries of why I had left early. It seems I had been unaware that there was a second part to the try-outs. I did not rise in social standing, not that I was particularly bothered about it. I went back to band and every thing was as it was before.

For the last four years I have felt vicariously popular. I’ve mentioned on other occasions that my friend Rob left me here in Minneapolis for the sunshine of Silicon Valley. He works at Yahoo! Inc. and has fancy friends who work at other high-faluting companies or invent things or start start-ups. They like me (I think) (I hope)(don’t answer). This makes me feel good, even thought they’re half a continent away.

The context tonight is close to home—bowling. I think one of the reasons why I enjoy my leagues is because the people in them like me. I wouldn’t say people liking me is important to me, but every now and then I ponder why I do enjoy it so much and that’s a large reason I come up with. I do alright with the execution of the sport, which helps, but I’m not an elite bowler (averages over 210 or 220). I’m just good enough (average in the 190s, usually) to hang with the crowd I hang with.

A few weeks ago the league secretary asked if I’d be interested in filling the vacant vice presidency for next year. That’s not as important as it sounds. The secretary does all the heavy lifting and if he happens to be absent the president fills in. The vice president is actually only third in line. Also, because it is a mixed league at least one officer must be a woman, and since I am one of only a handful of women in the league, I am an instant forerunner by default.

My gut response was to laugh in his face because I shirk responsibility, however slight, whenever possible (even though I’m good at being in charge). But after a while I realized that I was flattered that he had asked me, so I said sure, I’d do it. Tonight at the banquet, when it came time to (re-)elect officers, my and two other names were put forward. Two others? So much for feeling hand-picked. But I immediately understood that it was a good thing after all—because it would be a popularity contest! And I felt a high degree of confidence that I would prevail.

The nomination was opened and from all around the room I heard “Kelly,” “Kelly,” “Kelly.” I didn’t hear one “Julie” or one “Ann.” I felt smug. And popular. And good.

So I can’t actually lay claim to any special amount of social apathy, loath as I am to admit it, and I probably sound rather shallow at the moment. The affirmation of my peers is important to me after all. 

I just won’t go around admitting it in public.


I’m not entirely sure I have a conscience, at least not the kind that makes me want to sponsor starving children in Africa or hang out at the local retirement home. My conscience goes as far as it’s convenient, and that’s roughly it.

I have friends who do far better than me. They volunteer at hospitals, they walk and run for all sorts of causes, they organize benefits for earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. I merely have three receptacles to separate trash, paper, and glass and plastic. Even my recent donations to Minnesota Public Radio and Twin Cities Public Television were spurred as much by the thank you gift as anything. Nobody’s life is being saved.

Not that the measure of conscience has to be as dramatic as saving a life. I do feel pretty good about my recycling habits. I was aghast recently when I was at a neighbor’s place for our condominium board meeting and he said, upon the other three of us immediately chiming in about his cavalier tossing of a piece of paper into the trash rather than recycling, “You mean I should have an additional garbage can for saving paper?” We all chirped the indignant “yes!” He just didn’t get it. Occasions like that are when I feel so frustrated when I imagine how much landfill volume would be saved if each person recycled just one more [fill in the blank].

So I recycle well and I drive a little gnat of an economy car and I do anything except drive my little gnat of an economy car for my less than two-mile commute to work. But I still feel inadequate on the life-saving, life-changing scale. It’s not that I don’t care, exactly, but my selfishness holds the trump card.

I do think about it. As my child-bearing years draw to a conclusion and I wonder how I will ever (because I sure don’t currently) feel fulfilled in my life since I didn’t procreate, it seems pretty obvious that one way to compensate would be by volunteering with some organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters, through which I could have a long-term, hands-on, influential relationship with a youngster. But even that I don’t think about foremost because I want to be a positive force in some kid’s life. I think about it in terms of how I can still eke out some measure of life-worth for my own puny existence.

But if I get to that place in the end, does it matter so much why? I don’t know.

Predicting the future

January 5, 2011


Today I will ponder the other subject that people do around the turn of the year, the future. I will travel to the future and imagine what might be going on.

Fantasy future

Anyone who’s been reading along knows that my ideal future would be the one in which I’m living happily in London. I’d find an affordable flat somewhere in central London. I liked the Camden area a lot, a neighborhood that has diversity and all types. Maybe I’d find a place above a neighborhood pub like the Spread Eagle. I’d tappy-tap-tap on my MacBook, writing all day and earning enough to keep it going. Or maybe I’d have to go to my office job in central London, walking a few blocks to the nearest Underground station for my ride. If I did go to an office, there’d be a nice little pub like the Cheshire Cheese at which to stop for a pint with my mates after work. It would be a Bridget Jones existance, minus the halfwits, fuckwits, perverts, alcoholics, workaholics, etc. 


I guess this has already gone from prediction to fantasy. Oh well, I’ll run with it.

If I had to live a slightly further out, maybe I’d live in a terraced house like the one my friend Dan lives in. No, that probably wouldn’t be the case because I’m sure that the only way I’d afford a place like that would be to have roommates, which will never happen. Well, whatever it ended up being, I’d love it because I’d be in London and that would be good enough for me, because for ten years I’ve been convinced that my life’s happiness is dependent upon my being in London, however it happens.

Realistic future

Now we shall return to reality. I probably won’t make it out in time. 

My rabbit will live just a little too long (I’ve noted before that he’s getting a little older, and although he’s in good health, I wouldn’t want to subject him to trans-continental stress), and I’ll spend a year or two too many waiting for the housing market to recover before I try to sell my place for only a moderate loss rather than the large loss I’d take today. That will give one or both of my parents just enough time to have some fluke deterioration in their health (they, too, are getting a little older and are in quite good shape), and then I, as their only child, will be wracked with guilt at the notion of leaving them, country, and continent behind in order to pursue my own selfish happiness and fulfillment. In fact, I will probably have to move back to their small city in Wisconsin to be closer to them. (That’s how we ended up there thirty years ago–for one set of grandparents.) If it ended up being the case that I had to look after them, maybe, just maybe, I could get them to come here to Minneapolis instead. They like it here and there’s a lot more going on, though as small towns go, theirs (ours) really is quite nice.


Well, it is the new year. If ever there were a time to pretend to be motivated about making my London future happen, now would be it. Stay tuned.





Inertia, part 3

September 16, 2010


Well, it’s been a little over ten months since I berated myself and bemoaned my apparent lack of motivation to accomplish my life’s big goal, moving to London, England. The Shubert Theater managed to get off its ass and begin restoration. Let’s take a look at how I’m doing.

As a result of making new friends in the Tweak Today community, some of whom live in London, I resolved during the winter that after I got my (U.S.) income tax refund in February or March, one of the things I’d do with the cash was book a trip across the pond. 

Although I have previously lamented that in this down market, my mortgage traps me unless I want to take quite a hit in selling price, one positive is that the mortgage interest credit on my tax return provides for a sizable refund. Once a year, I clear up all my outstanding financial obligations (including paying my friend who floats me for Minnesota Twins baseball season tickets for the previous summer) and take my three pets in for checkups.

This year, I took care of myself first. I spent a lovely nine days in London the end of June beginning of July and hung out with my new friends. It was a good trip.They both live “in town” and I got a lot of time walking around on my own during the work day and going about the business of locals in the evenings. It gave me a good opportunity for a better-informed evaluation of how I might actually like living there. I was not dissuaded from my desires.

I figure it would still be at least a couple of years before I could make anything happen. The notion that I’ve had in my head since London won the 2012 Summer Olympics is that if I planned my arrival for soon thereafter, there might be ample more-reasonably priced living accommodations. On the other hand, if I somehow got myself there, you know, soon, maybe it would be easier for me to find a graphic design job or otherwise in the run-up.

It’s me. It will be later rather than sooner. And so far this entry is idle chat about my vacation, not a change in behavior.

What I have started doing is going through stuff around the house with an eye to downsizing before a cross-ocean move. Or because I simply have too much crap and I had houseguests. The casual observer would be hard-pressed to notice any difference, but I know the progress I made. A couple of my neighbors have much less stuff than I and have brought out the potential in their units. I want mine to be like that when I sell.

I did pass my 15-year anniversary at work and have no doubt that I’ll make it to 16 and beyond. Changing jobs wasn’t really the point of any of this, at least not until I’m looking for a job in London.

For a while I had been watching less television and doing more writing, reading, anything, but that bloom mostly faded. I still haven’t finished The Stuff of Thought, but I did manage to breeze through a romance novel in less than 24 hours this past weekend.

I don’t think there are obvious outward signs that my state of being is any different. About the best I can say is that I am quite certain that I’ll book another jaunt to London this winter when airfare is at its cheapest and I could accomplish the trip from a couple of paychecks rather than shooting my wad on high-season summer prices. I don’t need warm weather to have a good time.

On the indisputably positive side, a year and a half later I am still working out at Curves regularly. And, after the aforementioned ten months, still writing this blog.


The links, except the one about the Shubert, are all to previous blog entries which are related to one degree or another.