First, let me apologize for two things: 1) Not posting last week. It may make more sense at the end of this post. And 2) posting a draft of this post earlier today. I try to schedule my posts to publish, so I can be sure to have one out each week, but I’ve been busy and I didn’t get a chance to finish this one before it published this morning. If you follow me via email, you probably read the draft. Sorry.
As I mentioned, it’s been a busy week and a half. I went to a wedding a week and a half ago, which was an all-around great experience. The bride was stunning, the groom was goofy, and the food/drinks/dancing/general merriment were awesome. And, for those of you who are dying to know, I did wear the green dress. It was pretty much perfect (the wedding, not my dress…well, maybe my dress). The weekend of the wedding, my sister and her husband moved to MN from Seattle, so there was much celebration. I performed on Wednesday and finished teaching last Thursday, which I’ll tell you about later in this post. I went to a bachelorette party this past weekend, which involved wine-tasting, hot-tubbing, and lots of new friends. I’m graduating (officially) on Saturday, so there have been things going on with that, I’ve had a couple of free-lance gigs, I’m working on some projects, and Minnesota just became the 12th state to allow same-sex marriage.* But, I know you’re all dying to hear about my improv experience so here is a brief recap:
Well, I did it. I got on stage and actually performed improv. It was amazing. Our group was on, the crowd was warmed up and ready to laugh, and (most of) the scenes were met with loud laughter. I had so much fun–I can’t wait for July and the next performance. I don’t think I could have done it without my fellow teammates (yes, we’re now a team–our stage name is “One Man Show” **) SO thank you, Julie S., Julie V., Ingrid, Shane, Alli, Sammy, and our two absentees, Katherine and Ashley. Thank you, also, to the 18 (!) friends and family members of mine who came to see me perform. It felt so great to have such a strong following and I promise to let you know as soon as possible when the next show is scheduled. And special thanks to Chris, our teacher/coach. We would still be asking questions and saying “no” if it weren’t for you.***
I’m kind of addicted now, so you’ll probably hear more about this as I make my way through the program. **** If I could somehow make money off of this, I’d be a very happy woman. But even just having the opportunity to make people laugh while I’m having fun is pretty amazing.
Teaching my last class (for now) was a bittersweet experience. I care about each and every one of the students I taught, and I’m so proud of the effort they put in to their writing and of the work they produced. I hope they had a good experience and that they continue writing, no matter what their vocation ends up being. And, while I still have a stack of portfolios to grade and return, I feel like my work was a success. I’m not going to lie, though, it felt good to be done. *****
Token joke: I misread a pop-up ad that said “Lower My Bills” as “Lower My Balls.” I have no idea what that would entail but I was ready to report it as inappropriate content.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll try to be better about posting on time each week, but it’s summer and my schedule fills up quickly. SO if I don’t post as regularly, please don’t drop me. I appreciate your readership.
*I have more to say about this, but I want to collect my thoughts. Check back next week!
**…’cause there’s only one dude. Yes, I thought of it.
***We may or may not still do this anyway.
****Because, let’s face it, I plan on taking classes in something for the rest of my life.
*****Well, aside from those portfolios. And final grades. But, you know, done with lesson plans.
Remember the time it snowed the first three days of May? Oh, wait, that was this year.
I got it, guys: Mother Nature is having a May/December romance…with herself.
If you see me today and I seem downtrodden, I am. I made it all winter without so much as a sniffle* and this morning I woke up achy and sore-throaty and gross. I’m feeling much better physically, but my spirit is still a little under the weather. (Sorry, I had to.) But seriously, I am more actively considering moving somewhere south because my hands and feet are so cold it isn’t funny. They’ve basically been partially frozen since late October, and I don’t know how many more winters like this last one I can endure, physically or emotionally. I’m sorry, I hate complaining about this. For some reason, they’re especially cold today.
This morning when I was riding the bus, the following songs came on my playlist:
“Island in the Sun,” “Suddenly Last Summer,” “Misery,” “Angeles,” “Hot in the City,” and “Holiday.” Well played, iPod. Well played.**
So, I’m heading to a wedding tomorrow.*** When I initially got the invite back in March, I dreamed of wearing a nice spring green ensemble that’s very flirty and flowy. I imagined that maybe I would need to bring a wrap–for the evening, you know, when the sun goes down and it’s cooler. I bought the gift in late March, and when it snowed in April, I thought it would be funny to ironically wrap it in Christmas**** paper. The irony of that is not lost on me now. I’m so sorry, Andrew and Sherene. But, I’m excited to dance my (frozen) tootsies off!
Every once in awhile***** I come across a joke I wish I had written. I heard recently that a DJ on KFAN has been calling these winter storms “Snow-namis” and I thought, Man, I should have thought of that.
Since the last storm was Achilles,****** we’re up to “B” (again). If the name is still up for grabs, can we go with the obvious but appropriate choice, Bastard? I think I’d feel better if the newscasters were telling me Winter Storm Bastard is about to hit the Midwest.*******
Well, there’s more snow in the forecast. Yep. Can someone draw me a hot bath and find a good movie for me on Netflix?
*Okay, I sniffled now and then. And if you remember my post way back about Christmas, we all got the flu, but my case was pretty mild. So really, I’ve made it all winter in 2013…which has been all of 2013.
**I was waiting for “Save The Best for Last” but that would have been too much…”Sometimes the snow comes down in June…” Man, I hope not.
***It’s at the Swedish Institute, so they should be able to handle snow and cold. Right? Right?
****It’s actually snowflakes, and I wanted both to be funny and to use some of the 400 square feet of winter wrapping paper I have. I could probably wrap my entire apartment in paper. Oh, now I’m really sad.
*****Or all the time. Darn you, Mike Birbiglia and Louis CK.
******Yes, we’ve had 27 winter storms. Ridiculous.
*******Followed, of course, by Winter Storm Crotchety, Winter Storm D-bag, and Winter Storm Eat Me.********
********Sorry, Mom. I’m in a cranky mood because my feet are so cold.
Well, as I write this on Wednesday, May 1, it is currently snowing. AGAIN. And my feet are cold. AGAIN. I remember making May Day baskets in grade school and placing them on the doorknobs of houses near the school. I don’t remember there being snow (or even the threat of snow) ever. But my memory’s a little dusting. I mean dusty. Rusty!*
On the bus ride home, the woman sitting next to me was sucking her thumb. The entire ride. Apparently, she had no other way to cope with the cold and snow. Seriously. The high was at 12:05. AM. I’d have said something to her, but she also had a leather jacket, piercings, and a neck tattoo. My friend said she must be the lead singer of her band, Thumbsuckers, and I said she’s the Joan Jett of self-soothers.**
It’s hard to believe, but my first improv performance is next week. Crazy, I know. So far I’ve been: a dentist (twice), a turtle, a pigeon, a Magic Fingers bed, a twin, a wrestler-in-training, an overly involved parent, a socially awkward overly involved parent, a teenager, a grade-schooler, a vampire, a cowboy, Dolly Parton’s underboob,*** a starving dieter, a bomb squad leader, someone repairing the hull of a ship, a pet owner whose dogs were in therapy, a therapist, someone in dance therapy, a girl getting ready for a dance, a dancing waitress, a dancing cheerleader––can you tell I like dancing?––a drill sergeant, and lots of other characters. It’s so much fun.
Speaking of characters, I came up with a character the other day that I’d like to develop into a sketch: Gingko Balboa,**** Rocky Balboa’s much more chill brother. Gingko does yoga and drinks lots of green tea. He also has a photographic memory, which is good, because after several punches to the head Rocky can’t remember anything.
I was trying to look something else up but Google’s auto-search function led me to “How many women has Wilt Chamberlain slept with”****** and I question the plausibility of his 20,000 women claim. Let’s set aside simple math for a second and the complete grossness-factor of even a tenth of that number, do we really believe the sexual prowess of a man whose name is a synonym for, um, how do I put this…droop? Think about it.
Sorry the post is a little light this week. But I’ll leave you with this video. I dare you to watch it and not laugh. 26 seconds in is where I lose it. And the best part? He’s ripping up a rejection letter. Oh, if only I had an 8-month old for when I start ramping up my journal submissions this summer.
By this time next week, I will be a performer. Whoo hoo!
*Who decided memory rusts? Or does that come from the “mind like a steel trap” phrase? Anyone? Bueller?
***Yes, you read that right.
****It’s supposed to be gingko biloba. Get it?
*****Sorry, terrible Shakespeare joke.
******Also, James Bond, Don Draper, and Lil’ Wayne. Gross.
That’s all I got. It’s all downhill (skiing) from here.
So, it snowed. AGAIN. It’s days like today that make me wish I had a garage. If you have a garage, I hope you appreciate it fully. Also, if you have a garage, can I park in it?*
My friend Pam Schmid decided to make light of the situation and came up with a list of Dr. Seuss-inspired book titles related to the recent weather**. I’m building off of her Mr. Brown Can Shovel in April, Can You?; Oh the Months it Will Snow!; and One Flake, Two Flakes, White Flake, Boo Flake! to add, Oh the Snow You Will Blow!; And to Think I Saw it Under All That Snow on Mulberry Street; Wonder, Blunder, Thundersnow; Hail in Pails; and Horton Hears a Salt Truck.
If you can forget for a moment that it’s the end of April and last year at this time we had already enjoyed several days of 70/80-degree weather, the snow is really pretty. I mean, it’s a beautiful day in December out there.
So I’ve been doing this “no yeast/no sugar/no dairy” diet for the past week (after a few weeks of false starts), which means a lot of rice, broth, veggies, and water. I’m going to continue with low yeast, low sugar and no dairy for two to three more weeks, or until I can’t stand it anymore and go to Culver’s for a Butterburger with cheese and some frozen custard.*** The good news is, it’s been really good broth weather.
Last week, when it snowed really hard and there were blizzard conditions, and my university closed for the first time in the four years since I started there, the radio played “Let it Snow” and other Christmas songs, and it was kind of funny. And then I worried that we maybe skipped summer and fall and ended up back in winter. Advance Two Seasons, Do Not Pass Snow, Do Not Collect $200.
So, we have snowshoes and rain boots–why not sun sandals? Sundals? Sol soles? Wind wedges?****
Two people, independent of one another, mentioned the movie “Groundhog Day” yesterday in relation to the forecasted storm. As in, they feel like we are living in that movie and just keep waking up to more snow because Bill Murray can’t get his act together and figure out how to not be a jerk. Thanks, Bill Murray. Thanks a lot.
Well, I’d better snow. I mean, go. Let’s all hope this recent accumulation will make like the Wicked Witch of the West***** soon.
*This sounds like either the start of a dirty joke or a really bad pick-up line. I assure you, it’s both.******
**Seuss on Zeus, if you will. HA!
***Darn it. Now I really want that. I guess these almonds make a good substitute. NOT!
****It’s kinda blustery out. Better put on my wind wedges!
*****I’m melting! I’m melting!
******I mean, neither.
…but I’m pretty sure this headline (from weather.com)
has a joke hidden in it. Really? Yogi bears…you couldn’t have said “Yogi blasts” or “Yogi rages”?
Maybe it’s just me, but naming weather events doesn’t make them less annoying. I feel bad for anyone who is named Katrina; the hurricane of the same name will forever be associated with negative feelings. Also, if the calendar says it’s spring, it should be called a spring storm. Even if it’s wintry weather. Just sayin’.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I’d like living in a senior housing center with the word “Ebenezer” in the title. Do we really need something that rhymes with “geezer” in the name? Also, do we really want to think of Scrooge* when we’re visiting Grandpa? How about we return to “
Old Folks Home Retirement Community” and call it a day.
Did you know there is something called a “millwright”? I was all excited when I thought it was similar to a playwright, but instead of being all-knowing about plays,** they’d be all-knowing about mills.*** Turns out it’s someone who deals with the construction and maintenance of machinery. Sad.
Maybe it’s just me, but if someone asks you not to use a word, like, say, Bummer, it’s typically courteous to not use that word. Did you hear that greater Twin Cities metro area? If I never heard that word again I would die a happy woman. I’m totally serious. Please don’t use it around me. Please.
Maybe it’s just me, but the eeriest thing about the thundersnow last week wasn’t that the thunder rumbled for a full 15 seconds. It was the birds chirping afterward.**** Creeeeeepy.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think places like the public library or schools or even my office building should have to put a sign up that says “The Post Office bans guns on these premises.” Can we just assume that guns are banned everywhere unless posted otherwise, instead of the other way around? Because I would like to ban them wherever I go.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think there should be an express elevator for buildings with over ten floors. Where I used to work, there were elevators specifically for floors 11-16 and it made things so much easier for those workers on floors 11-16.***** Regardless, if you are traveling one floor in either direction and you don’t have a medical condition preventing you from walking, take the stairs. Please.
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like April 18 is way too late to have a snow day. My college announced yesterday the first snow day in my memory. On April 18. Seriously? And I heard that Duluth schools are cancelled today. I really hope this is the last of it. Maybe it’s just me, but I think we’re all ready for spring.
*Although, with a name like that you’d expect it to be cheap.
** ‘Cause that’s what a playwright is, right Rob?
***Look out Don Quixote!
****They were totally tweeting. “Did you hear that? #thundersnow” “I know, that was totally #thundersnow.”
*****Unfortunately, we couldn’t take the stairs, and I worked on the second floor, so I’m hypocrtical. But in my current building, you can take the stairs, and there is also an escalator specifically for floor 2, AND there are three additional 1-10 elevators (but no elevators that skip ahead to floors 11-16).
Well, I had quite the experience Thursday morning. I woke up, for the second day in a row, to find the ground covered with heavy, wet snow. Wednesday, a radio DJ described it as shoveling mashed potatoes, and I’d have to say Thursday was worse. I had to double-check the calendar to make sure that yes, we are almost two full weeks into April.* When they said April showers bring May flowers, I guess I’d always assumed they meant rain showers, but I guess snow counts, too. While I was waiting for the bus, I saw lightning and heard thunder that rumbled for a good fifteen seconds straight. Thundersnow.** Not a good omen.
When I sat down in my usual seat, I realized just how hard it was still snowing. I was like the abominable snowman having a meltdown. The seat next to me was covered in large chunks of snow that I hurriedly brushed off, both off the seat and myself, and I suddenly understood how a puddle feels. After I did what I could to manage the flakes, I leaned back in the cushion for my usual morning commute nap when the woman behind me said, “Uh-oh.”
I started out writing fiction as an undergraduate, and I thought for sure that was what I would write forever. But, lately, I haven’t written much fiction. That’s not true. I don’t normally write fiction, but I create fiction in my head all the time: practicing for conversations I imagine might happen, recreating conversations that did happen but in a way they should have gone, feigning interest in something, pretending I’m winning an Oscar. You know, the usual. But this week I’ve been thinking a lot about fiction, both as a student and as a teacher.
My friend CH commented on a previous post about how I’m coming over to the dark side [switching from CNF to fiction] by taking an improv class, and at first I thought, They’re not the same. But they totally are. They’re both about getting into someone else’s mind and embodying a character that might not be very much like you in a way that is believable and relatable. [It all comes back to empathy...] I’d argue that any good writing should do that. I have to get into the heads of real people–including myself–and write them effectively in CNF, which is hard to have distance and clarity about. But improv and fiction are also both about getting the reader/audience to also relate to and empathize with a character you conjured out of, well, the air, essentially. On the page, it’s about writing a character into being through action, dialogue, conflict, reactions, setting, etc. In improv, it’s about showing a character through voice, physical movement, body language, expression, dialogue, etc.
Our improv instructor has asked us “What’s here?” pointing to the stage area. The answer? Anything you need. What is great about fiction, like improv, is that everything is there for you to use. If you need a rocket ship or a paper towel or an ax, they’re all there. You’re only limited by your imagination. I’m trying to adopt that philosophy in my life. I’m only limited by myself. Obviously, I will never be a man* or an astronaut or play for the NHL, but if there’s something I want to do or see, I am only limited by my own effort to make it happen,** which is why I’m taking this improv class (and, really, teaching a class). I guess “Explore the Possibilities” turned out to be a good mantra for the year after all.
I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to post next week, since I’ve got some readings I’m involved in, but if anyone wants to guest post, shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will set you up. Remember, you’re only limited by yourself and your imagination.
*I guess I could someday decide to become a man. But, probably not.
**And as someone who played for the NHL*** once said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Take the shot.
***Wayne Gretsky. Or the answer to pretty much every hockey-related question in Trivial Pursuit. Second: Mario Lemieux. Those Candians**** sure do love their hockey (players).
****Fun fact: Trivial Pursuit was invented by Canadians.