Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Names for a Girl

We took dinner to some old friends who are expecting their second child any day now. They had some baby name books. The first child took their girl's name, so they need a replacement. These are not the sort of people to find out the sex of their child until the doctor holds it up and shouts, "It's a _____!" Nor, it turns out, are they the sort of people with any time before 9 months of gestation to decide on a name. Oh, well, we all know how long it took Beau to get a name (and only by the skin of his teeth did he avoid being called Ivan).

And so, here are my favorite girls' names, since I spent the evening looking through them.
  1. Clara. It's just simple and clean. It reminds me of Claire my old baby-sitter, but it's a wee bit more elegant. I'm probably just thinking of the Nutcracker, and extrapolating that any girl named Clara knows ballet.
  2. Asdis. This one is definitely because I had a girl-crush on the girl named Asdis at my high school. It's Icelandic. I don't think it works with my last name, but if I mother a child with an Icelandic type we can give her his name, just so her first name can be Asdis.
  3. Isabel. I know it's trendy. I just like it. I can't help being a herd follower.
  4. Molly. It just strikes me as a solid, friendly name. Could you imagine someone named Molly embezzling money from retirees? Are you going to cry because you got stuck sitting next to Molly on the seating chart? No, you're going to be glad to be so lucky. You could be sitting next to Brittani, and then you'd have to defend yourself against tattling all day long.
  5. Nora. I seem to like surprisingly girlish names for girls. Girlish and elegant, like Nora. I liked being an Alex, but I'm drawn to names with a clear femininity to them.
OK, so those are the names. We'll see if the pregnant friends go and steal one of them from me.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Quiet Morning in Bed

We awoke this morning to the sounds of a domestic disturbance in the ol' neighborhood. Fern woke up earlier from upstairs and heard more than I did. She also saw one of the participants of the disturbance standing around in our (fenced-in) back yard. I woke up at 5:00 when the woman two doors down joined in the yelling. It was lots of "f*** this sh**" and "f*** you" with a little bit of "b****" mixed in, not to mention the "get these n*****s out of my house". We also both heard the dude admit that he had pushed the woman ("Only one time, and you act like this."), and we also heard him threaten another resident of the house ("F*** Richard. I'll f***ing kill Richard.") So my question is, at what point do we break down and call the cops?

For me, I considered calling to the point of wondering whether it constituted a 911 call, or whether I'd have to get out of bed to find a phone book so I could call the actual police number. I was deep in a sleep when it started, and I remained half-asleep throughout the argument. My overriding thought was that calling the cops didn't seem like it would improve the situation any more quickly. The man (the threatening, pushing man) was already leaving the house, which is why they were outside yelling, and the woman sounded fully able to tell him to "f*** off" (in fact, I think she did, at 5:10 and maybe also 5:12). I didn't really believe the threat on Richard's life. Of course, I'm not a highly trained police officer, but here was my fear: the cops come, the woman defends the man, they make up, and then we're back to having an on-going abusive relationship, instead of the man leaving the house, maybe never to return...

However, if I had seen the guy standing in our back yard, I might have done it then. I'm not sure what Fern's tipping point was. It was obviously past having a yelling man in our yard. Mostly, I'm just shocked that Bev didn't call. She seems to have no trouble telling the city when our weeds get too big.

Meanwhile, Buddy slept through the entire incident. Some watch dog he turned out to be.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Volunteering with Singles

So I joined the Single Volunteers Twin Cities, and yesterday I attended my first event. I wore a tight shirt and everything, even though we were packing boxes of food donations and I was bound to get sweaty. It turned out to be a bit of a waste of a tight shirt, because I was by far the youngest person there, and I'm not into old guys.

My job was to go through bags of food donated during the mail carrier food drive. I checked expiration dates and put the good stuff in boxes. It turns out a surprising number of people donate really old food to food shelves. It's kind of silly, since food shelves toss it out, but I tried to give the anonymous donors the benefit of the doubt, picturing really old people on social security desperately trying to find something in the back of their cupboard to share with poor folks. I don't know how accurate my picture was, but I didn't give anything (not even expired food) when the mailman asked me for my donations. So there you go.

Anyway with another attempt to find them under my belt, the mystery of the missing single men my age continues to this day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Excuse Me, Were You Raised in a Barn?

I've been going to the dog park a couple of times a week since I got Buddy, and for the most part people there are helpful and nice. One woman in particular saw Buddy lurking by the gate when my mom was walking him, and she leashed him and took him back to the park to the sound of my mom's worried voice. Someone else found my car keys and hung them for me on the lost-and-found gate. If you lose anything at the dog park, someone is bound to find it and put it on the fence near the exit to be reclaimed. It's a little bit of humanity in the heart of the city.

On the other hand (you knew there was another hand), almost every time I go to the dog park, I run into a stranger (not the same one), with whom I have an awkward moment. We make eye-contact too soon. We approach each other in silence with that eye-contact/no-eye-contact discomfort, and then when we get close enough for a greeting, I'll say "Hello". To which the stranger says nothing. Not one word. Not a nod of acknowledgment. Nothing. I always wind up walking past a bit miffed, wondering if I was using my too-quiet voice and he didn't hear me. Otherwise, I just can't believe that a civilized person would pass another person deep in the woods and ignore a greeting. Are we so shy in Minnesota that a simple "Hello" is too much to ask?

Damn it, then. I'm definitely moving to Denver. I don't care how many family members I have in this stuck up town.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Buddy

I took the old dog to the vet today, because he was limping. I swear he was limping. This morning he didn't even want to stand up to follow me around the house. How was I supposed to know that it was some sort of quickly passing morning-time arthritis? As soon as we got to the vet, he turned frisky. He looked like a far younger dog. "See, Al, I'm fine. Let's go home now." Perhaps he caught some sort of a whiff of what happened to Stevie when I took her to the vet because she couldn't walk any more.

So anyway, he's not dying, even though I, of course, feel guilty for leaving him alone last weekend (and for the first week in August which he doesn't even know about yet, when he will experience his first time in a kennel.)

As for my other buddy, Mr. Issues, well, he called me today to let me know that he got hit by a car, and could I, please, give him a ride to the hospital to pick up some medical records from the ER docs for his real doctor. My thought, of course, was "What am I? A cab?" This was before I got the full sordid story. It turns out that the accident happened when he was in a real, actual cab, picked a fight with the cabbie about religion, and then got out of the cab and fled while it was stopped behind a turning vehicle. The cab driver then (allegedly by accident) ran him down. He's left with two sprained ankles, a concussion, and an injured back. According to his ambulance-chasing lawyer, he's actually in better shape, financially, if the cab driver did hit him by accident. If the cabbie meant to run him down, then it's no longer an accident and the insurance company washes their hands of the whole thing.

Never mind. It sounds like I'm making this shit up. Long story short, Buddy, the dog, will be fine, and Mr. Issues, well, who knows what is really going on in that world, but I did drive him around to do his errands and I didn't run him down with my car like a professional cab driver would.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Forward my Mail to Denver

I helped my brother find an apartment in Denver this weekend. By the time we found one (a cute one with hardwood floors, walkable to downtown, and an easy run to a couple of different running trails), I was convinced that actually I want to move to Denver. Here's why:
  • Overall fitness of the population. It got so I turned my head to look whenever I saw fat people they were so rare. Granted, I wasn't exactly hanging out a Culvers, but still it seemed like everyone we saw was fit and tan and good looking. I wouldn't mind an occasional walk down the street to see that kind of scenery.
  • Roving single-sex groups of friends or packs of not-paired up people my age. I'm surrounded by married people here in Minneapolis. It also seems like everyone does couple things all of the time here, so now that I'm in a period of not-being in a couple, I can only find situations where I'm some sort of extra wheel.
  • Mixed race couples. Segregation is so complete in Minneapolis, we don't see nearly as many mixed-race couples here as it seemed like I saw in Denver. Of course this is a very non-scientific sampling.
  • Mountains. It was a revelation to me when I first moved to Portland that you didn't have to live in the flat, boring part of the country. I got to see mountains outside every day. They looked mostly fake-y to me over there in Portland, and I can't say that I ever really got used to it, but the Denver ones looked more real. Maybe if I lived in Denver, I'd actually use the mountains to maintain my fit and healthy physique (perhaps going for hikes with my pack of female friends...)
However, if you know me at all, you know that my roots to Minneapolis run pretty deep, and I must say, Minneapolis in the Spring, Summer, and Fall is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Now, if only the people were more friendly and less xenophobic I'd consider it my utopia even with Winter.