Saturday, March 28, 2009

What I Love About Minneapolis

Well, one of the things I love anyway: The dog park.

Today, Buddy and I walked for almost two hours, taking the high ground over our flooded paradise. Below us, a boat of fisherpeople floated past the point where we usually walk.

I clutched a rope to drag myself up a muddy hill to the bluff trail, and instead of trying to make our way down to the mucky bottom land where the waterfall falls, we walked above the falls and past them to a part of the park we rarely visit.

I caught proof of the approaching spring on film (or pixels anyway), and despite knowing that Minnesota expects snow on Monday, my soul lifted to see blue, blue skies between branches covered with small buds. Soon, soon, friends, we will be able to say that we have triumphed over another winter here in the great white north. And this year was the first one in a long time whose winter really earned us our spring.

Oh, we also did not molest any government property. Even though that government property was totally asking for it.

Friday, March 06, 2009


If you've ever thought, "You know what I would enjoy watching for two hours? People who are miserable, living out a slow, hateful suburban life."...

If you've ever wished there more movies about being irreconcilably unhappy in love...

If you've ever wondered what to see on a first date with someone you just know you'd wind up hating in the end...

Well, have I got the movie for you: It's Revolutionary Road.

It's full of really pretty people, but they drink and smoke so much (to dull the pain caused by their miserable lives) that you won't even want to sleep with them by the end of the film.

As for me, I'm just hoping the sequel is about root canal or old people undergoing mortgage foreclosure, because anything less would be a deescalation of the anguish of the original.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

They Love Their Hockey

Student, clutching a wad of bills in one hand, having just completed a conversation with his buddy about how to buy tickets for the hockey game: Can I go to the bathroom?

Me: No, because you're not going to the bathroom. You're going to buy hockey tickets.

Student: Damn! How do you know that?

Student: Just let me go. I'll be quiet for the rest of the hour if you let me go.

Me: Why should I have to make that kind of a deal with you?

Later still...
Student: Come on, I really have to go to the bathroom. For real this time.

Me: Don't worry. They'll still be selling hockey tickets when we're done with the notes.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Doin' My Duty

I'm going to my precinct caucus tonight. I know. You didn't even know tonight was the night for precinct caucuses, did you? Well, I wouldn't go either, except that I was guilted into it by Gary Schiff. He not only had his minions call me, he also called me in person to invite me. God, I hope news of how easy I am to convince to do something sort of unpleasant at Gary Schiff's request doesn't get out. Otherwise, Sarah's going to get him to call me to tell me to shovel out the garbage cans. My students will call him to tell me to grade the tests faster (and more gently). Buddy will call him to tell me to step away from the laptop and walk the dog. It's already 5:30. Why am I still typing?

Monday, March 02, 2009

You Would Cry, Too, If It Happened to You

No, no, don't worry. I'm not going to cry. Or make you cry. Or say anything sad.

I just so rarely get songs stuck in my head because of my disability with music that I was thinking recently about things that do get stuck in my head. Some of them are bits of "music"- although I hear them in my head the way that I would sing them, so they are unrecognizable to people who aren't me as music.

Strangely I don't ever get "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee," stuck in my head, even though it was the one song I have ever really, really tried to sing on key, because when I was a senior in high school I tried out for Grease, with disasterous results both in the singing and dancing segments of the audition. I think maybe Jimmy, if he read those words, just got the song stuck in his head. He's the one who sat with me patiently at the piano while I murdered the tune of that song 5000 times.

I do get that line from "It's My Party" stuck in my head: "You would cry, too, if it happened to you. Doo doo do do." In my head it comes complete with an uncertain trailing off of do's, because I'm not sure how many there are. I even had to think for a while to remember the name of the song, because that line is the entirety of what gets stuck in my head, not the chorus, not the title lyric, just that one line.

I know all of the words to "When I'm 64", but the only part that gets stuck in my head is "We shall scrimp and save." Now that I've written it down, well, of course that's what gets stuck in my head. Have you met me? I'm a miser. It's the miser lyric.

Sometimes I can't seem to shake sentences or bits of sentences. For a while, it was "Alex's head." Just the phrase, in the third person. When my mind was at rest or when I was walking the dog, I'd hear it. "Alex's head." And I'd wonder. Does it mean anything? Should I get a brain scan because maybe my brain is telling me that there is something wrong with my head? Is it a different Alex? Should I duck?

OK, carry on. I'll try to pay more attention to the voices in my head and report back tomorrow. Doo doo do do do.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Thank God That's Over

Now, let's see if March can snap me out of the funk that February has wrought.

I will begin the month with some thorns and roses, something that I just heard that the Obama family does every night. Thorns are bad things that happened to you during the day. Roses are good. This of course smacks of bigotry, since thorns are only bad if you're not the rose, but who am I to judge?

A thorn for me today has been a stack of tests. I put them off until the last possible moment, and they are taking a long time, because my progress is hampered by feeling like a bad teacher (and by wasting time on the Internet). We had a bad February, my class and I. I spent too little time on solids. They spent too little time on their homework. And the result is a pile of tests on which I have to stretch to hand out partial credit (and I feel as though I should be stretching because I'm the one who spent so little time on the topic.) Also, why oh why do I always procrastinate?

A rose today came in the form of leaving Buddy home when I ran. Free from the leash, I ran all the way to Nokomis. My plan was to run only around the small part of the lake, but the unshoveled walk forced me to take the whole loop around the lake. Also, since no one else was running in my direction, I felt fleet of foot, faster than the walkers I passed. The six miles cleared my head, which has felt muddled and cloudy all weekend.

And now I'm sitting down to grade. I appologize for the boring post. I'm trying that Nanoblopo thing again. If I'm going to write every day, maybe I should mark the ones that are worth reading with a giant star or a slab of bacon...