I brought a boy home for Christmas this year. I told Ben that it was a gift for him, and so he took advantage of that and had the boy playing all sorts of wrestling and blorg battles and such, so i didn't get all that much time with the boy as I would've liked. But I still thought it was pretty exciting.
I'm in the library, good ol' Bobst, and yes, i am supposed to be writing a paper. Two of them in fact. On actually interesting topics at that-- one for my Transforming the Urban Economy class on food access initiatives and whether they work or not and another on domestic violence programs in refugee camps for my Managing Humanitarian Crisis class. I know, you are all jealous. See, i told you, interesting topics.
However, sometimes I just get a little bit lost. Lost in my head while I should be thinking about something else, lost on my computer when I should be writing something else, lost with emotions when I should be feeling something else, and lost in conversations when I should be saying something else. I think it is just this time of year too-- so easy to get lost. I was feeling this was last year as well. I was reading some old blog posts (go back to last May when i started, wow, I was actually not a bad writer!) and remembering some things. I was thinking about Ira Glass boy-- remember him from the Hanukkah party and how he ended up finding the blog and we ended up dating (see December 2007 and January 2008)? It started off as such a funny story and ended so sadly. I never posted about the ending because it was too personal, but the censored version is that we got along beautifully and liked each other immensely, probably because it was a spiritually doomed relationship. I heard from him again a few months ago, and tucked that communication away because it opened up places I didn't want to go, but today, for some reason, I could remember what he said again. And could finally be glad that someone had liked me, and I had liked him, and it could go in it's proper place in the box marked "Good things that happened in my life for a season from which I learned Great Lessons". Maybe that is what I mean by lost-- remembering things that have gotten misplaced and lost in this head of mine that come swimming forward when I'm trying especially hard to think.
Now, where was I with this paper?.. ah yes, analyzing some GIS data on store location and demographics. So hot.
I know that Thanksgiving isn't for another week, but my little heart is just overflowing. I woke up this morning blue. A gray day, a little bit of sadness, a lot to do, and some frustration over school-- I just wasn't sure how I was going to make it through the day. But rather than stay in bed, I headed off to school, because I had to go to the gym (my triathlon is this Friday and I can't miss a day of swimming). I'm so grateful for my ipod, because this morning I turned on a talk by one Brent L. Top called "Look up, reach out, hold on"-- a little spiritual pick me up. He gave a beautiful talk on the Savior and gratitude, and a little voice whispered to me, hey, that's what you need to get a little bit closer to God today.
so all day I've done a little experiment-- when I start having a sad or negative thought, I've supplanted it with "I am grateful for..." and just listed things. a hat, warm subway cars, my ipod, people singing in the subway, crunchy dry leaves, friends who say nice things over gchat, words of wisdom, disarmament, NYTimes online, cell phone, family, the Atonement, that I can go to school, learning things I didn't know, fingers that can feel the pull of water, eyes that work pretty well, pants, cute mexican man with an accordian, my spearmint lotion I keep at the gym, wood floors, a capstone team that works well together, communication, memories of touch, lights that aren't too bright...
It's a random assortment of things, and I actually made a list on an index card. Silly perhaps, but it was just what I needed today, to feel a little grateful, to start noticing the great things around me again. I've forgotten some of my wonder at the city as winter comes and the semester gets so busy. I'm feeling more connected, a little bit closer to important things. I think this was a blessing, because I just found out that my roommates father died. She has a brother who lives really close by, which is wonderful because they can spend this sad time together. My heart goes out to them, but it is amazing to hear how positive and at peace they are right now. Gratitude for family, gratitude for friends, gratitude for life, each of these special days we have.
Tomorrow is Election Day. I've been talking to people today, and everyone seems to feel it in the air. Do you feel it? There is an excitement, energy, fear, anxiety-- a thrill that something BIG is going to happen tomorrow, and our world will change. It'll change no matter who you vote for. It's exciting for so many reasons-- we will finally be done with President Bush, we've had an exciting campaign, I've been reading about this every day since last September... Oh, and I'm now an AMERICAN CITIZEN, so I care more. Of course, my interview occurred two weeks after the New York voter registration deadline, so I can't vote, but I still care, and I've tried to do my civic duty by campaigning for my candidate of choice (I'm sure you can't guess who it is). I still have my swearing in to go to sometime in December, and I'll keep you posted on my citizenshipness.
So, my plug for you. Please, please, please don't forget to vote. This is an exciting day and an exciting time. Go to the polls, take a book and a snack and get ready to stand in line with your fellow Americans. If you are still on the fence, let me just put a little plug in for Obama.
About two years ago, I read Obama's book The Audacity of Hope. I hadn't heard much about him except that this junior senator from Illinois was planning on running for president. I knew nothing about him, and I was so disillusioned by the current administration that I was planning on waiting until after this election before applying for my U.S. citizenship. Yeah, it was a book by a politician, but it was surprisingly beautiful and optimistic. I found myself really wishing that this man with his ideas could be president, while at the same time scolding myself for getting so inspired by idealism, which we all know doesn't work in Washington. Fast forward to last fall, one evening in Washington Square Park. Obama came to speak to the students. It was a typical stump speech about the things he planned to do as president, but something about it wasn't so typical. I can't remember what exactly he said, but the feeling there was pure energy, positive energy, that ALL OF US were involved in this. It was exciting and he was inspiring. That was when I really decided that I wanted to become a citizen. I love this country, I love living here, and there are so many great things about it. But in the last few years it was a struggle for me to want to identify with it. Hearing Obama speak triggered something in me-- something that made me really proud to be here, made me believe that being American is what I want it to be, it doesn't have to be George W. Bush's America. It can be Barack Obama's America, it can be any America and as a citizen I would have the opportunity to help make it the America that I want it to be. And he continues to trigger that same thing every time I hear him speak.
I wasn't planning on getting so sentimental, and I planned on writing about Obama's policies and why I agree with them more than John McCain's. But it's getting late, and I really AM feeling emotional about it, and I still have reading to do and tomorrow is a big day, and you've all had the opportunity to read/listen/watch to your heart's content. I will just leave you with the headlines: The most important role of the president of the United States is as its representative. The job of the president is to represent this country in the international arena, to make wise, well-thought out decisions, to be a real leader at home and abroad. When it comes to creating policies, Congress has more power there. I think that Obama will represent this country well. He'll surround himself with wise advisers, and make informed decisions. That's not to say he won't make mistakes because I'm sure that he will, but I think that he will be a smart president, and heaven knows, we need a smart president who is willing to deal with the tough times ahead for this country. YES WE CAN.
What are we all going to do once this campaign is over? What will we read? What will the journalists report on? Will productivity suddenly increase in the workplace? Will people start talking to each other across party lines again? Thank heavens for YouTube so we can watch Tina Fey's Sarah Palin on SNL over and over and over again.
For some pictures of other Obama supporters (much cuter than I), go here.
Say what you will about her, but Angelina is one cool lady. I really like her, and one day we will be friends. And she likes her kids! They eat dinner together as a family-- so take that all of you judging her for having so many of them. That's more than most families can say.
Check out this NY Times article about her. P.S. My roommate Maren just met her-- she went into the store where maren works and was totally great.
sometimes, you just realize that you like your life exactly the way it is. nothing less (because obviously that would be worse) and nothing more (because that would be change and that is scary). I have a very, very good life. I am very content, and could this could be very fulfilling for a very long time.
one day, you look around and realize the reason you've been building this very happy, content life is to leave it behind.
this is a thought that can lead to many sleepless hours and entirely too much introspective analysis way too late at night.
Michael Pollan wrote an amazing piece on food policy in the NY Times magazine as an open letter to the next president. I would recommend everyone to read it. He brings up so many good reasons why we should change the way that we make food in this counrty, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and turning back to the sun as the main source of energy to producing our food. Love it. it's a little long, but totally worth it. Eat Local!
I was reminded about how pleasant it is to eat close to the source this weekend when i made it to the farmers market on a beautiful indian summer saturday here. Nothing quite like it. and the food tastes so much better when made with my hands from local produce.
I read a great Nicholas Kristof op-ed today in the New York Times about the U.S. cutting birth control supplies to Marie Stopes International clinics in Africa. Not only is this a terrible, poorly thought out policy, it is takes the family planning movement back decades and increases illegal abortions. I've been to Africa, I've been to clinics, and I've talked to women about family planning and their access to birth control. And I can tell you, it isn't all that accessible, but it is oh so necessary for women's health.
I don't have time to get into it much more than that, but read the article. And take a look at the policies of the presidential candidates when it comes to women's health and empowerment. I'm not saying advocate abortions for everyone or anything like that, just that we NEED sex education, access to contraceptives, and good policies and leadership if we really want to reduce unwanted pregnancies.
You know what makes any frown turn upside down? Great friends coming to visit from other parts of the country, all in the same weekend! And fabulous, fun things to do together.
Welcome Sarah Monson, Elliott, and Ben!!
Because our dear friend Elliott was coming to New York City for a little visit, Sarah M (of Dating Girl fame) made her way up to the Big Apple for a visit. What more could a girl ask for than spending to quality time with these two fabulous, fun loving kids on adventures. We joined in an epic battle and a giant game of human twister and a boat full of people cheering and applauding every few minutes when we participated in the Improv Everywhere MP3 Experiment. It really was an amazing adventure, and I'll pot a link and pictures and more details about all this hullabaloo once those go up onto the website. Rest assured, it was amazing fun. We then made our way over to Ground Zero which Sarah had never seen and stared at the construction. At this point, we were all pretty wet, tired and famished, so we made our way back to my 'hood and got a ridiculous amount of food over at Zaytoons down the street from me. I don't think I've ever been that full of good food and conversation. You know, it is great to make new friends and I wouldn't trade them in for anything, but there is nothing quite like just kicking it with some good old friends. We rolled ourselves home, and settled on the futon to watch the Relief Society Conference online, which was really great and I'm proud to say that Sarah and I did not fall asleep at all. Elliott did a little bit, but that's okay because he is a boy. I sure do enjoy what these female church leaders have to say. After that, we had to kick it into high gear watching ridiculous videos on YouTube before heading out to party the night away at BAM with my friend Jamie from school. Brooklyn Academy of Music = fun times!! We saw beautiful, eclectic music and SUFJAN STEVENS (I didn't realize how cute he was!) even made an appearance! In addition to the music, we danced a bit (though our full bellies weren't quite in agreement with that) and watched a rather sinister Danish movie called the Kingdom all about a haunted hospital. We rolled home around 3 am (yes, we know how to party) and crashed, with morning coming all too quickly to this tired bunch. It was so nice to go to church with these kids and then spend some good girl talk time with Sarah before she had to go catch a bus. Sometimes, you just need a good girlfriend who has known you for a while through various relationships to help you with some confusing patches.
To top off the amazingness of friends, my friend genocide Ben also came to town from D.C. for a visit to do some fire dancing and I had the opportunity to go talk with him for a little while. We solved all the world's problems in the two hours we were together, because that is just the kind of friends that we are.
So thank you old friends, come again any time! You are great human beings.
I just gave my friend Chris an earful about the possible bailout of Wall Street and my desire to see some heads roll. Poor guy, I was just supposed to go over there to bring him some soft foods because he got his wisdom teeth out, so the last thing he probably wanted was my very amatuer, very opinionated viewpoint about the whole thing. I thought about posting it all here, since this is my own personal soap box, but really, i don't have the time or the energy to get into all the details and fact check, so instead, i'm just going to send you to my favorite blog/podcast about this whole thing: Planet Money on NPR. They say it way better than i do and they probably understand it better than i. Seriously, if you are wondering what this whole thing is about and indignent and confused, they will help you be less confused but slightly more indignent that these bankers are trying to get a $700 billion handout (same people who are against welfare because it's a handout to people who aren't working... that 3% of the national budget that goes towards that is huge compared to this...) and they are the same people who put us in this mess in the first place. Anyway, I'm not going to rant and rave about it.
In other news, I'm taking a triathlon class! Yes! I am going to have an AMAZING body. As long as i can keep up with these workouts. The only thing is, that after i go to class, I always want a huge omlete or something equivelent with loads and loads of calories. Maybe I should just go to Burger King for their Baconator (that's for the benefit of those hwo know about the calorie labeling project I was working on).
and it is now 10:55. School has started. I've slacked on blogging because the summer has been so much fun and who has time to write when you are up until all hours of the night hanging out with a cute boy. not me, that is sure. But, now summer is over, school has begun, and i'll be back at blogging because I need to procrastinate homework and sleep somehow and I've banned myself from reading any more opinion pieces about Sarah Palin (that was last week. I'm totally grounded from politics until something actually happens).
we went to hangout with my friend Meghan on Martha's Vineyard Labor day weekend, and it was amazing and such a good time. And meghan is growing a human! Congrats!
Here are a few pictures, more to come once I can get them from Kristian.
As for school, I'm glad to be back, and I think i'm ready to put my brain back to good use. I'm taking Managing Humanitarian Crises, Transforming the Urban Economy, Estimating Impacts, and capstone. Only four classes, you may say. Four classes with hundreds of pages of reading. Gotta love grad school. Seriously, though, I do love it and i think my classes will be super interesting. Wish me luck on this whole studying thing. So far, I've realized that my couch, late at night, is NOT the most effective place to study. Especially with the internet readily accessible.
The New York Times had an article about Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin and the issues her nomination has raised about motherhood and work.
When I first heard of her canidecy, it made me kind of angry, that McCain would pick someone quite inexperienced in an apparent attempt to pander to the female vote, and for no other reason. But then again, that's what politicians do. This whole debate that she has opened is really fascinating-- conservative values, pro-family working mom with a 4 month old baby, abstinence-only advocate with a pregnant teenager... she is a series of contradictions, but maybe she isn't really. I need to sort out what I think about her. And all of the other political candidates too.
P.S. Kind of thought that Obama's convention speech was amazing. but then again, most convention speeches in the past also made grand promises for change.
Some of you are out there thinking, oh, poor Suvi, she does so like to go hiking in the summer while she was living in utah, how on earth is she surviving living in a huge city? Well, you can set aside those concerns, because I am spending more time outdoor now than ever before. And, I would actually argue that new Yorkers are more in touch with nature and their communities than people living elsewhere. You may disagree with me, but you can’t argue that at least I feel that way.
1) No cars. Since this city is ridiculous to drive in, I don’t have a car, and neither do most people that I know. We ride the subway and buses, and with the beautiful weather, people are known to walk dozens of blocks to their destination and just enjoy the sunshine and scenery. People walk everywhere, and people ride bikes everywhere. Even I have a little bike that goes just fast enough for me that I zip around Brooklyn on (no way am I near brave enough to take it to Manhattan yet. But maybe one day). We are constantly outside, and never, ever in parking lots. While in Utah I had the mountains and great hiking close by, it was by no means a daily occurrence and my universe would consist of the inside of my car from my home to work to the grocery store. I’d be outside for the 48 seconds it took to walk from the car to inside. Now, to get anywhere, I usually need to at least walk a few blocks from my apartment to the subway and then from the subway again to my destination. No cars = more time on feet = enjoy the summertime.
2) Parks. New Yorkers have a love affair with parks. Seriously, there is an obsession with green spaces. Maybe because we are so aware of the massive monoliths of concrete that surround us, that we find ourselves craving and cultivating the little patches of life that pop up in between structures. Everywhere you go there are tiny neighborhood gardens and mowed squares in the streets. There are neighborhood parks surrounded by iron wrought gates with keys only for the residents. There are patches of park, with some grass, but mostly sidewalks and trees and benches and pigeons and musicians playing guitar for dollars and men challenging you to chess in every area of the city. Washington Square park right across from NYU, Madison Square Park… all littered with lunch eaters and sunbathers and dog walkers and children in strollers. And of course then we have our massive green spaces like central Park and Prospect Park, where you forget that the city exists except for the fact that you share nature with a million other people and hot dog vendors. But they don’t really matter at all. They are just there, and they add to the beauty of the parks, the feeling that here we are, escaping the city in some small way, all of us together. Plus, there are ALWAYS amazing fun things to do in the parks—movies, picnics, concerts, plays, amazing people watching, and of course, simply walking around holding hands. Watch out for the squirrels and very brave rats, especially at night!
3) Water, water everywhere. Manhattan is an island, just in case you didn’t know. And so, we have these amazing places to wander along the rivers and over the rivers and on the rivers, staring at the view especially at night time. Some favorite places to walk along the water are the promenade in Brooklyn Heights, the Southstreet seaport, and the Hudson River walkway. And no trip to NYC would be complete without a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, which means I’ve walked it probably 10 times this summer (and it never, ever gets old. I could walk across every day and be happy as a clam). Of course, one of the coolest things about the water these days are waterfalls created by the Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. Sure, they are most definitely man made, but who can resist giant waterfalls under the bridge and randomly placed in the river around the city? Mmm, I could stare for hours, and I do. Of course, waster must be appreciated while on it as well, such as on a ferry taking you to one of the islands like Roosevelt Island, Governors Island, and Staten Island. Ask yourself, when was the last time you got to take a ferry to an island? Probably not three times in the last two weeks. Ah, boats. Ah, the salty smell of the sea breeze. Speaking of...
4) Beaches. Oh, so you think that since we are a city, we have no beaches? Think again! What better way to appreciate nature in the summertime than on a beach. Can I just say tell you, that when i discovered that Brighton Beach is a mere 20 minutes from my door, my life got about 10 times better than it already was (which is a lot, since my life is already amazing). But seriously, I adore swimming in the ocean and napping in the sunshine, so this has been ideal for me. And it is so convenient that I can even take a quick dip in the middle of the night if I were to chose to do so... But if hanging out with old Russian men and women lathered in tanning oil isn't your thing, there are countless beautiful, secluded options on Long Island. Ahhh, maybe i'll make my way over there tomorrow...
5) People. People are all over the place, people are happier since the sun is shining, people love being together, especially at farmers markets and concerts and outdoor movies and listening to music in parks and watching fireworks and eating picnics and playing Frisbee and walking and talking and laughing and swimming... My favorite conversations this summer have taken place outdoors by the water. My favorite meals in Prospect Park having a Sunday potluck. The best background music was listening to Bob Dylan playing live while enjoying the company of friends. Favorite commute has been riding my bicycle. Every restaurant and bar in this city has outdoor seating.
So, while it is a different outdoors than maybe you have, I think I've presented a strong argument that whatever you think of New York, this is a place where people love the great outdoors. Perhaps not in a traditional sense, but by gum, we love being outside in the summertime and it shows. Wanna join us next year?
This is a first. I hope it works out. She seems pretty nice. I was going to respond to the guy seeking a sublet, who has been traveling in Europe and claims to be a clean-cut guy, and offer him a place to stay. But I paused for a moment after composing the email and in that moment had a clear realization that I would surely be raped and murdered in my own bed. Because you can never tell from the internet. So I didn't email him.
Disclaimer: yes, there are bad people on the internet. But probably not this poor guy just looking for a place to live in the city. My imagination sometimes runs away with me. And I've been through rape crisis training.
On to other news... I'm so far behind on things to post that I'm just going to focus on little things to write about from here on out. rest assured, my summer has been lovely. I'm now on a slight hiatus from working. I have an a/c and spend a lot of time in front of it.
Today a rogue squirrel took up secret residence in my room, peed on my computer while it sat on my bed, and held out for about four hours holed up under the bed until the special forces of the New York City Police department defenestrated him with a noose, hurling him out my fourth floor window to an almost certain death.
I am a peace-loving person. I am not afraid of animals, in fact, quite the opposite, and would never wish them any harm. Those of you whom I'm close with even know that I am something of a lifelong rodent peace activist. How did it come to this?
Let me begin by reassuring you that I do not live in the forest. I love the outdoors, I grew up in a forest, but at the moment I live in a nice apartment in Brooklyn, New York, four stories above the street. We don't have mice. We only sometimes have bugs fly in through the windows, but usually they fly right out again.
I do, however, live a few blocks away from a lovely park, and this evening I had plans to go for a quick run around this park before meeting up with my friend Brian, whom I haven't seen in ages. I feel like our plans have often fallen through because of me, and I was looking forward to not only seeing him, but getting there on time. So I finished up the emailing I had been doing for the past hour or so and put my computer on my bed. "Why do I bother closing my computer?" I remember thinking. "I guess it keeps the dust off the keyboard, saves the screen life, looks nicer flat than upright..." I hypothesized in my head as I closed the computer flat and left for my run.
When I got back, all seemed normal. My roommate Suvi was home from a walk, the house was still. I turned on the shower and on a whim went to fetch a wrinkled shirt so it could steam flat in the bathroom while I showered. My room looked and smelled so peaceful, my newly folded laundry waiting in the corner for me to put it away into drawers, the freshly washed sheets light green in the evening light, my laptop sitting quietly asleep on top of those soft, fresh sheets...with a yellow puddle on top of it.
Yes, a yellow puddle sitting on top of my laptop, the white Apple logo glowing helplessly white up through the amber. "Suvi, the ceiling leaked! Right onto my computer!" I cried, all too quickly realizing that there was no sign of leakage on the ceiling above the laptop. I moved the computer and saw the puddle had seeped to the sheets. It smelled. Something smelled. I remembered in a flash:
Yesterday Suvi had witnessed a squirrel fall off the roof past my bedroom window, slamming hard into the fire escape there with a thump. When we went to go check it out, he had shocked us by leaping up onto the sill of the other window, a wild look in his eyes and a desperate energy in his gait. I had screamed. He had jumped back out the window, slipping and managing to grip onto the sill with his two little front paws. Beneath him it was a shear four story drop to cold hard pavement. He had pulled his head up. I screamed. He had lowered again and then did another desperate pullup. "I don't know how to help you!" I screamed in surprise. The little paws had tried to slide hand over hand back towards the other window, and then suddenly, they were gone. "Nooooo!" I had cried out. I closed the window. I reopened the window and looked to the ground below, terrified of what I might see, terrified of the murderer I might have become. There was nothing but a serene expanse of grey pavement. I felt an unresolved sense of relief, and closed the window again until I went to sleep that night.
This morning, I will admit, I had woken up to the sound of scratching beneath my bed. But it has been a long time since I feared the monsters under there, and my neighbors on the other side of the wall also sometimes make scratching and squeaking noises that really aren't that polite for me to talk about here. So I had fallen back to sleep and woken up and gone about my day, never suspecting that the squirrel had returned...to seek his revenge? to confess his tragic love? to set up a squirrel condominium complex in the suitcases and backpacks under my bed? Only destiny can tell us now.
Only destiny call tell us now because events unfolded as they did. Upon discovering the pee and putting the pieces of the last two days together, Suvi and I opened the windows wide, planning to scare a squirrel back out from whence he had come. We pushed some suitcases under the bed around and heard him scuffle. There was a madness to his scuffle, the kind that I had always imagined a rabid squirrel might have if it ran into my bedroom. I did what any sane person would do. I called home.
"Don't go near it Emily," my mom said. "You haven't seen it and it might not be a squirrel, it might be a raccoon. And it could have rabies." She's a nurse, so I sometimes trust her, but she's also my mom, so I often don't take her advice until it's too late. Still, her doubts in my abilities to save myself from this beast gave me pause, and Suvi and I conferred for a few moments about the costs and benefits of getting bitten by a possibly rabid squirrel on a Sunday night in Brooklyn. We decided to ask the superintendent in our building for help.
Suvi stood guard by the door while I went downstairs to find the super. He opened the door in his pajamas, holding a wooden spoon. "A what?" he said in his characteristically relaxed tone. "Yeah that's crazy, girl. I never heard of that happening before. I got some stuff on the stove so...you be fine." The door closed, and I decided to just call animal control. They would know how to evacuate the squirrel without harming him. "Just do as we say, and nobody gets hurt." Isn't that the animal control mantra? Or at least somebody's mantra?
After speaking with the operator, I discovered that animal control doesn't work weekends in New York, and likely wouldn't be working Monday or Tuesday of this week either. Which brings to mind the story of the tiger that was found in some New Yorker's bathroom, and leaves me less surprised than when I first heard that story. Probably, the guy found the tiger in his bathroom one day, called animal control, and was still waiting for them to arrive the day the tiger finally ate him. But back to the thing that peed on my computer.
The operator told me the only thing to do was to call 9-1-1. For my non USA friends out there, that's the emergencies-only number here in the States. The one you call when your life or someone else's life is in danger. It seemed a bit, well, ostentatious to call them about a loose-bladdered rodent. Nevertheless, I followed the operator's instructions, just hoping to avoid a situation where anybody got hurt.
A few hours later two cops showed up in our apartment, along with one of Suvi's friends who just happened to be walking down the street and decided to stop in. Little did any of them know what they were walking into. "Good God girls, why don't you get an air conditioner?" the guy cop huffed as they reached the fourth floor and thumped into our home. I've never had houseguests wearing bullet proof vests before, so the temperature had never seemed like that much of a problem. Now I know.
Those two went into my bedroom and shut the door, which is a glass door with a shade on it that Suvi and I had raised while on squirrel-watch earlier in the evening. I decided it might be time to call Brian and tell him I would probably be late for our drink. The phone rang, rang, rang as behind the bedroom door the female cop went under the bed with a broomstick and the guy stood outside the door with his arms crossed. Ring, ring, the phone continued as something big happened in my room and the cop ran out, pulling the door closed behind her. "Hello..." Brian's voice sounded in my ear. In the other ear I heard the noise from the apartment: "He's in there," the cop shivered. "And he's a big one. We gotta wait til the guys get here with the loop." "Hello?" Brian waited.
I explained to Brian that I wasn't making up an excuse, but a squirrel had peed on my computer and the cops were here and we were waiting for a guy with a loop. "Okay..." he said. I think he was trying to be understanding. "I'll call you when I'm leaving the apartment, it'll just be a little later than I thought," I apologized. "You're still coming? You're not bailing?" he said, surprised.
For the next hour or so we waited for the guys with the loop to get here. The cops stood around sweating, making themselves at home, inquiring about our lack of a television and wondering how smart we were, based on the large quantity of books in our apartment. "This one of those movies you gotta read?" the guy asked, picking up a DVD with a foreign-looking title. This is the lull point in the story, so I'll skip ahead to the part where the buzzer rang and two huge guys tromped into our apartment. Big black boots, huge beefy arms, buzz cut hair and the words "emergency special services unit " stamped in white across the scapulae of their black shirts. One carried a black shield with a window, the kind that will protect you from a nuclear blast or worse. The other carried the dreaded loop -- a retractable noose at the end of a long pole.
They stormed into my bedroom, dropping the shade on the door so that we five outside in the living room could barely make out what was going on in there. Furniture screeched across the floor, boots thumped, scratching terror fled around the room. "He's there!" "Get 'im in the bag!" "There went his tail!" was interrupted by surreal giggling as they chased and danced this crazy squirrel around my bedroom. A screech of wood against wood and suddenly we saw him, a flash of black past the door. Another squelch and he appeared for a second between the glass and the shade, scratching at the glass and looking at us frantically. I think I saw him catch my eye. "Why?" he seemed to ask. "I don't know," I mouthed back sadly and suddenly he was gone and the shade slapped back into place. "He's in the bag!" came the shout, and then the sound of a bag being thrown across the room "He got away again!" and then another incredulous laugh, "You can't make this shit up."
As the chase heated up behind the door, I suddenly remembered an antique lamp given to my by my grandmother, who had managed to save this lamp through the depths of World War II as the rest of Germany was being bombed to bits. It was sitting on my bedroom desk, in the very middle of the desperate fray. A new panic set it, amplifying my guilt, my fear, my compassion, my need for one, just one valuable thing to not get broken, peed on, trapped or crushed this week. At this moment a quiet, very pleasant memory of a lovely day at the beach with my family yesterday tapped me on the shoulder but I pushed it away. A squirrel's life was in danger! A piece of history was on the brink! Desperate times called for desperate over-dramatization.
Suddenly squeals pealed from behind the bedroom door, squeals like those of an asthmatic pig with very small vocal cords. "Almost got him!" Through the shade I saw a box go flying across the room.
"The lamp!" I burst through the door. "Got 'im!" "Throw him out!" The man with the loop rushed across the room towards the window, the black squirrel squealing and gripped in his loop. "NO, please no!" I cried. "We won't hurt the lamp, lady," the other guy said. "No not that! Don't throw him just put him on the fire escape!" I cried, but it was too late. The squirrel was gone. The loop was empty but for some wirey squirrel hair.
"Get an air conditioner, you won't have these problems," one said as he pushed out of the room. "Yeah, and screens," the other said over his shoulder on the way out. And with that, like quiet after a raging storm, everyone was gone.
The room was a shambles, covered in flung laundry, black mats of spiney squirrel hair, and my mind spun silently. "Clean up the mess, clean up the mess," it intoned. "Maybe it carried hantavirus, maybe it carried hantavirus," a deeper corner of my psyche said to me. I had recently been taught the protocol for clearing a campsite of hanta virus agents by a 14-year-old boy scout from Chile, where hantavirus actually exists, so I set about cleaning my room according to scout protocol. "Just do as we say, and nobody gets hurt," the thought ran through my head and I felt tears well up. "Baloney," I thought.
We swept away the debris. We sprayed the ground. We hung any food items that might attract hanta mice onto the ceiling (fortunately, I didn't have any food items in my room). I thought about the squirrel, and if I had done something wrong.
Maybe I'm oversensitive. Maybe this is another one of those things that happens to other people all the time and just doesn't happen to me. I couldn't say. I do know that when the door buzzed a few minutes later I joked to Suvi, "It's the squirrel! He left something!" As I pushed the door button I half hoped "It's Brian! Or any of the other people I want to spend time with!" Instead, it was two different young police officers.
"We heard about your crazy squirrel situation and just wanted to come check up on you that all's clear," one said. "It was our call to take but we let the other guys take it because we were busy on the other side of the precinct." "Busy catching squirrels?" Suvi asked in her perfectly mischievous tone. "Nah, we were barbequeing," laughed one of the officers. "You all are okay though?" the other one asked. "Yeah, thanks, that's nice. More okay than the squirrel, for sure," I said. The officers looked at each other and blinked. "You kiddin?" the one said back to me. "He's totally fine. You gotta watch more of your Discovery channel. Those things can fall whole buildings. You seen the thing about the snake that can fall thousands of feet and flatten itself and just slither away? That squirrel is fine."
I haven't checked, and it's not just because it's dark outside.
I was all set to write a nice, long, contemplative post today about freedom and the American way in honor of the 4th of July, but really, who can think of stuff like that at a time like this!
Yes, there was a big puddle on pee on Emily's bed this afternoon when she came home from a run, more specifically, on top of her laptop (closed, luckily). She immediately suspected the roof, but since it wasn't raining... and the water was yellow... and had a strangely familiar ammonia smell... the only solution was pee. animal pee. The windows were open-- a culprit must've snuck in. We suspected the squirrel who had mysteriously fallen from off of our roof to the fire escape yesterday (what makes a squirrel fall? aren't they supposed to have perfect balance?). i saw the dark shape fall by the window and heard a thump and so cautiously motioned for Em to join me at the window... where we saw a sneaky little squirrel trying to get in. We screams. it jumped back. Off of the ledge, but luckily caught onto it just in time with it's little paws. it poked it's head up, and Emily screamed again. Back down. SLAM! went the windows, and Emily lecturing the poor creature on why it wasn't welcome in her room. She made her point pretty clear, because the squirrel seemed to disappear. Seemed is the operative word here.
Then this afternoon. Pee on the computer and the bed, which seemed to indicate an intruder had come through the open window. With broom in hand and shoes covering our delicate, vulnerable toes, we ventured into the room, swatting boxes and gingerly patting suitcases. and then we saw a shadow, heard a rustle, and decided then and there to contact someone with slightly more experience in catching potentially rabid animals. Emily's mom recommended we call the super, the super said 311, 311 said Animal control, but they don't work on weekends, so she put a call into the 911. 911 for a squirrel that we think is under the bed.
We had the evidence, but the police who came by still seemed skeptical. Strapping n gloves (bullet proof vest isn't so useful in this situation) and taking the broom, they march in. and then quickly back out, because Roger, there has been a sighting. Copy that. A sighting of the squirrel, and now the big guns have to be called in.
And so we wait for about an hour with Ray and his partner, sweating in our living room (Em's door is closed to contain the squirrel abut also, unfortunately, the cross breeze). They recommend window screens. Or better yet, an AC. The landlord now had no excuse to not give us window screens. They also made us feel good about our apartment by saying that usually, when there is a squirrel (they do this often?!?!?), the apartment is a dump and so they can never find it. Nice cops, although they wouldn't accept the freshly baked carrot cake cupcakes I had made.
At last, special forces arrive (they may or may not really be called that). The big guns, the tall dudes not afraid of anything, carrying the foolproof leash on astick that they planned to use to round up the little scoundrel. They enter the room, shut the doors, and go at it-- pushing aside furniture, looking inside everything, hunting for the... oh, and there he is. The hunt was on, and the squirrel took the better of these two big men by simply running laps around the room. When it would pass by the windowed doors, there was a look of sheer terror in its eyes. Poor dear... but I didn't feel too sorry for him until he started crying. Probably from all the tail fur the cops removed. It was a mad chase, but at last, corned, caught on the leash, the cop dropped the critter out our open 4th floor window.
And then they were gone, leaving us with a disaster in Emily's room as the only sign of the struggle that had only so recently occurred. We found gratuitous amounts of squirrel hair, and possibly more squirrel pee around the room. It's been cleaned, don't worry.
I thought animals sneaking into your house was a country thing where you actually have trees and grass around your home! In the words of the cops chasing the squirrel "You can't make this s*** up.
Kristian and I have this terrible curse that whenever we hang out it seems to rain, and Saturday was no exception. We went to Governor's Island for the Figment Festival, and were caught in a delightful storm on raining rose petals.
Kristian wondered what on earth why there were so many people painted different colors but went with it anyway.
My toes got to walk on the grass which made them awfully happy. They were a little bit jealous of the hula hooping waist however (no pictures of that, sadly).
Us on the boat ride over, before it started to rain bucketfuls of water. Hooray for a beautiful new york saturday!
One of the main attractions touted by the Figment Festival was this bicycle powered ice cream maker. We watched it for a while, but alas, no ice cream was ever successfully made by it. Better luck next year.
Kristian attempted to look deviant in front of this "moral problems" office.
This I gotta blog about, since it has everything to do with my blog.
So, back in January I went for a walk with April and found this picture frame with an article "the white priestess, art and mysticism". This was part of a delightful day and so I blogged about it here. And then I forgot all about it.
Fast forward to Friday. One of the women here at the UN Hospitality Committee called, and rather mysteriously said that she had someone she wanted me to meet. I thought to myself that it must be someone Finnish, or maybe someone she wanted to set me up with, and didn't think much more about it. But then she came into the office around noon, in the rain, and requested that I go out to the front gates of the UN to meet this mysterious person. Puzzled, i went with her, and found a little woman with glasses waiting for us at the front gates. I looked at her-- something was vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place it. An old friend of my mother's? No... and the name, Caro Heller, so familiar, but... she pulled out a blue folder and from that extracted an article, old, from 1982, as she said, I've been wondering who found this article about me... I gasped. It was the woman from the article I had found in a picture frame months ago! But how? Had she seem me somehow carrying that around? but then how did she find my name and where I worked and...?
It is a small, small world, and the Internet makes it just that much smaller. You see, I blogged about that day, and included the name of the artist from that article in my blog. That artist is still alive and living well and creating in Brooklyn heights, and happens to have a computer. And, late one night (I imagine) she decided to google her own name, as we all do on occasion. In the list of pages about her, she came upon "Tales of the Summer Child" and read about a girl, on a warm January day, walking and finding a picture frame with an article about her from the 80s. Intrigued by the writings, curious about this person writing about her that she does not know, she continues to read. An interesting character, this Summer Child. Writing here about an Ambassador's Ball for the UN... and she puts together that this girl who wrote about her now works for a UN committee, the same one that a friend of hers works for! Excited, too big of a coincidence, she calls her friend, who knows about the blond girl who recently started working in the office. And thus, we come to this place, a rainy Friday in front of the UN Delegates entrance, me in shock and awed, and dear Caro with an impish grin on her face. This is too much fun.
We chatted for a few moments, and I have an invitation to go visit her on of these days. And oh, i will.
And to you, Caro, if you are reading this post of mine, meeting you made my day. It is rare that something quite this exciting happens to me. It was a pleasure and I look forward to chatting with yo again and seeing your work. And April and Emily are equally tickled.
Vilja Hynynen and Jordan Johnson, Friday, June 20th, 2008, Boutiful Utah Temple.
The first I heard about Jordan was that Vilja had gone on this big group date and was paired off with this kid named Jordan who didn't mind pretending to kiss in a dumpster for a photos scavenger hunt. Pretending because my sister isn't that type of girl, but she didn't seem like she would really have minded... I next heard of Jordan when they had started dating, and Vilja proudly showed off a video of Jordan fitting into a refrigerator. Who wouldn't love that? And then he helped with the fort building, and drove her to Salt Lake to hear a talk of mine, and somehow managed to just weasel himself as a permanent institution into Vilja's life, so much so that she couldn't picture life without him. And we are all glad for that.
So wedding day. We all made it to the temple on time for the wedding, dressed prettily and with fancy shoes. Meri looked gorgeous in her bright green dress and gold shoes, of course. She was not going to sit around looking like a frumpy old maid at her little sisters wedding, that is for sure. I, on Th other hand, just attempted to forget all about the cold sore and live it up. After all, as Jackie and i always said, while Vilja and Peggy (Vilja's best friend and my friend Jackie's little sister) got the looks, at least we had personality. They also have personality, but that is beside the point. We traipsed into the temple for the ceremony, which was absolutely beautiful and the sealer gave them really beautiful advice on marriage. Nothing quite like being in the temple for a wedding to remind you that that is the right place to start a marriage. They kept looking at each other and wiggling because they were so excited. Who couldn't be happy about that?
I'll post some photos when my camera will connect to my computer again....
The reception was everything that vilja wanted-- friends, family, and dancing. I haven't seen a bride dance that much at her own wedding... well, ever. It was a blast, and it was such a delight to see so many wonderful friends, from all parts of our family history, there. I perhaps wasn't as social as I could've been, but I had a special request from he bride that I had to dance, so who was I to say no? Of course, anyone who knows me also knows that while i have zero rhythm, I am also impossible to keep off he dance floor. I even got little Hannele out there, and she loved it. Sweet little baby!
What a trip. What a wonderful way to spend time-- with the family, celebrating the creation of a new one. Congrats Twiga and Jordan! I love you guys!
I've heard that chickens don't have lips. or maybe that they do have lips, just very thin ones. Although, lips would look really awkward on a beak. I'm going to go with chickens not having lips. Poor chickens. Lips are rather useful.
It's a day before Vilja's wedding and I have a cold sore. Two days ago, i started feeling the prickling and I started putting stuff on my lips. but to no avail. Yesterday, i had numerous breakdowns because I'd look in a mirror and realize how massively swollen my lips were and that I look like a monster. Luckily, an in-law who is an orthodontist living in Georgia was able to call in a prescription for me, and the swelling has subsided somewhat today. I'm staying out of the sunlight, avoiding people and conversations, and anxiously awaiting to see what state I'll be in tomorrow. I'm prayign for a miracle, but this is mostly a selfish miracle so i don't know if God will go for it. Good thing we have a large family so the family pictures will be taken from far away.
Since my lips have become incapacitated, i've been thinking a lot about how much healthy lips mean to me. Lips are amazingly useful. I've been thinking of how this can be an object lesson of some sort one day, and was thinking this morning about whether or not I treat my lips right. Yes, i always use chapstick, but that's not what I mean. i mean the function of lips. Lips are used as a symbol for communication-- whether it be kissing or talking, communication of some form. I was thinking about the scripture in Isaiah 6:5 this morning where Isaiah says "... Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips..." What doe sit mean to have unclean lips? Perhaps it is to lie, to be dishonest, to gossip, speak negatively... letting words pass your lips that tear down and pollute rather than build people up. I certainly could be more positive in my speech, especially when it comes to talking about boys with my other unmarried sister (hey, we're bonding over this).
i could use my lips to communicate better with people. I've been very good at using my lips to express my attraction and interest in people, but lately i've gotten to the point where i've realized that I've been perhaps imprudent at times, and should use my lips more for expressing things with words rather than kisses (i simply said more words, not giving up on the kisses entirely. i think still think that those are a very important form of communication).
And then of course there are the things that go through the lips into the body. I was talking to a woman yesterday who was telling me that the cold sore was my body's way of telling me that there is something wrong with it. Perhaps the things I put into my body are harming it. Cut out some of the processed things and sugars and put in more natural, less toxic items. I suppose I should put away this box of graham crackers. Sigh. but there is a lot of sense to targeting the problems of my body by fixing what I put into my body through my lips.
Dear lips, i am so thankful for you. You make cleaning a fork much easier, and talking, and i would look so funny if I didn't have you. I know I've complained about having thin lips, but I promise, if you heal quickly, i will treat you so well. i'll buy you a nice lip gloss and use you only for good things. Sincerely, your person, Suvi.
I got a bad hair cut today. All I wanted was to look hot for my little sister's wedding next week. Instead, I now feel like I look like a suburban Mormon mom. Awesome. This is totally what I get for taking the cheap way out of a haircut and going to a student who is training at a good salon. Now I'll get to go to the wedding and have all of the married folk feel sorry for me and try to set me up with their single, not terrible looking, really nice-I-don't-know-why-no-one's-snatched-him-up-yet nephews/cousins/neighbor's sons/etc. I got a facial last week and a pretty new dress because I just wanted to look good, you know? Is it too much to ask to look attractive/confident/accomplished/self-assured/non-socially-awkward for the wedding? Evidently, yes it is. Sigh. Oh, vanity. Why even try. seriously.
Can I just brag about my roommate Emily for a moment here? She is amazing. Not only does she sing show tunes late at night with me and shamelessly facebook stalk friends and read me bedtime stories of her own creation and take out the trash because she knows I don't like to, but she also co-produced a documentary! There are many, many other wonderful things about Emily, but today I'm going to focus on the film she was part of creating.
So I've watched "Crawford" quite a few times now, and it never gets old. It just showed at the Brooklyn International Film Festival (also premiered at SXSW!) and so a few of us headed down the street to watch it and support Em. It is about what happens to a small town in Texas when the President decides to call it home. Man, I learned so much. It's a documentary shot over a number of years interviewing the residents of Crawford Texas about how they feel about their most famous resident, President George W. Bush. It is really fascinating to watch the characters and the diverging opinions, and how they react to the spotlight on their tiny town, especially as the war grows more unpopular.
There is a lot that I like about this documentary. For one, we get a really pretty intimate look at the lives of these people in Crawford. It could be a political film about George W. pretending to be from this town when he really moved there just a year before his election, or about the protesters who set up shop there when the president is in town. instead, we get to know people, some supporters of President Bush (such as Ricky Smith, a horse trainer and avid follower of Fox News) and one of the few opponents (such as Tom Warlick, a teenager who played in the band for Bush's inaugriation but then marched to the beat of another drum major by wearing a shirt to school on 9/11 pointing out the number of civilian casualties in U.S. wars). Another thing that I like is that this film is really funny. Not a cruel, mocking funny of this small town, but a thoughtful, people-sure-are-different funny.
One of my favorite parts is in this souvenir shop where Norma, the proprietor, showed us all of the George Bush memorabilia she had there. Christmas tree ornaments, mugs, baseball caps, t-shirts, talking bobble head dolls... anything and everything George W. The talking doll though, wow. The town of Crawford was completely revitalized by the moving of the president, but it hasn't ended up as well as they hoped. It makes me wonder-- what would've happened if it had been a popular president?
So, right now Crawford is doign the festival circut-- become friends with it on facebook and you'll find out when it is in a city near you. And if you aren't a film festival buff, I'm sure it'll be only a matte rof time before it makes it to a theater near you. Seriously, it is that good (and honestly, probably better than most things out there). Or, come visit me and we'll have a special screening just for you on my little computer.
Two thumbs up, 5 stars, 100% awesome. That goes for "Crawford" and for Em.
Hanging out before the show, Melinda and Kathleen got to feel jared's enormous rickshaw driving muscles.
After the show, lovely ladies in brooklyn-- Rachel, me, melinda, kathleen. Merch girl Rachel. No, she didn't get to sleep with the band.
We love Em and Crawford! Kristian, Rachel, me, Em, Melinda Kathleen, Jared.
What a historical moment. It has been so inspiring to see this race. yes, i have gotten frustrated by some of the meanness, but mostly inspired by Obama and Hillary hashing it out over policies. And now, to the presidential race... I suddenly had this sinking feeling that what if people vote for McCain? shudder. Please don't. I'll write a long essay sometime about that. But for the time being, just listen to the latest speech by Obama.
Speaking of America, I got my fingerprints taken yesterday for my citizenship application! I expected to have a nice photo of inky fingertips, but they do it all electronically these days with a fingerprint scanner. Not much else to say about it, except that there was a lot of waiting around, so if you are planning on going, take a book.
I posted that video of Elna Baker, the single LDS comic, on my blog a while ago. It was a clip of her talking about going to an LDS singles Halloween Dance, and I posted it because not only was it funny, but I could also identify with it so, so much. I go, the activities end up being lame, I have a bad attitude, and I end up complaining about it a lot (although, it may not always occur in that order. the complaining usually starts before the going). But, this summer I've decided to be all about trying new things and having a good attitude, and so I signed up for the New York Harbor LDS Singles Cruise. Three hours, on a boat with music and a lot of awkward (desperate?) singles of varying ages hitting on each other. All the makings of my worst nightmare. But I got the announcement email, and in a fit of seizing the moment, I registered and paid my $19 to attend. I of course immediately regretted my decision and begged Aaron to go (which he flatly refused to do), and spent the remaining weeks prior to the cruise attempting to convince everyone else that I know to go with me. Heaven knows, I didn't want to go alone because I might actually have to meet people and talk to them! I am normally totally friendly person, but for some reason, at LDS singles activities my social awkwardness comes full force. Maybe it is because the whole "your soul mate might be there doing the funky chicken" idea.
I had three options: 1) I could bail and lose my $19 (as a poor grad student, this is a large investment, and so I decided that this wasn't an option-- I would at least have a cruise in the harbor). 2) I could go and sit in a corner watching the city pass by and count the seconds until the torturous event was over while making small talk with other awkward people (also, not a fun sounding option). or 3) I could swallow my pride, and determine beforehand that this was going to be a good time with a good view and a chance to do some dancing. I chose option 3, but you must understand, there is something in me that really enjoys mocking these activities, and so to have a good attitude meant I would be swallowing a lot of pride. But, I determined that if I could give up chocolate for a month and a half (yes! I really did it! Chocolate no longer controls my life!), then I could have fun on this cruise. And so I went.
Luckily, I had managed to beg enough of my friends from the ward to come along too, so I wasn't left to my own devices, and I ran into Kristian on the way over so we walked over together and i didn't have an opportunity to look at all the people and turn and run away. And you know what? I had fun. I actually had a lot of fun. the view was beautiful, the music was awesome (a dj named Justin Dean Thomas who played stuff that I can actually dance to and not just a night full of Rihanna and latin music, which of course led to an uproar but I enjoyed), and good company. Nothing to fear. So the lesson learned? Friends are awesome, good music solves all problems and eases social awkwardness, Mormon singles activities aren't all that bad, and any evening where you can convince someone to do a pretend model shoot on a boat while circling Manhattan is a winner.
And now, for your viewing pleasure, may I present the 2008 Nautica catalog models, Kristian, Greg, and yours truly. (you guys are such, such good sports)
Ah, prom. After high school, I liked to think that I always was too cool for prom, that I knew better than to get caught up in the excitement of it, like the cool artsy kids in the movies. But, if I'm totally honest with myself, I kinda really enjoyed it. The dresses, the photos, the dancing, feeling a bond of unity or something with all of my classmates. It really did feel like a night to remember, and I'm sure in some high school journal I spilled my feelings of the night with some lines like "I love my friends SO MUCH! They are the best, and I am going to miss them TONS when we are all at college. I'm SO GLAD that we had prom, because it seriously felt like the best night of my life. I LOVE dancing and especially with my best friends."
I went to seven proms in high school. Before you go thinking that I was cool or popular or possibly even slutty, let me assure you that I was none of those things. I just happened to go to a really small high school and have friends from church in other really small high schools in surrounding towns. I was a fan of dances, I was friendly and could get along in groups of strangers, and I cleaned up fairly well when I got out of the field hockey pads and put on a fancy dress. It was fun. However, after high school, I started to feel ashamed of going to so many proms. I was in college and prom was a high school, immature thing. All of the friends I made really had been the too cool for school artsy types who had shunned this torturous rite of passage. And so, I stuffed the pictures into boxes, wrapped up my tiara in a scarf, and audibly mocked the teenage drama of going to prom. One day soon, those excited seniors in high school would also realize how pathetic their expectations for prom really were.
It's been 10 years since my last prom, 10 years since I was a fresh faced senior, anxious to move on, yet melancholy over leaving behind all these people I'd known for year (and suddenly became friends with only at the very end). Proms have become a blip on the radar for me, when a younger sibling is preparing for their turn to pass through this gateway.
And then grad school happened and it is prom season all over again.
We had Wagner Prom a few weeks ago, right in the midst of all the papers that were due. And just a few nights ago, i went to BAM prom (Brooklyn Academy of Music), which was the opening event for their Sundance Institute at BAM. They showed this documentary called American Teen, which, unsurprisingly, is about 4 teens growing up in suburban Indiana. When it makes it to the indie theaters, i recommend that you go see it. It was hard to think of the kids as real people, because they were such stereotypical teen characters: the mean popular girl, the jock, the arty creative type, and the geek. I had to keep reminding myself that these kids were real, and when I remembered that, I kind of choked up also remembering the awkwardness of that age and how my life seemed so important and my thoughts so unique and grand. I went with a bunch of Wagner kids (Melissa, Melinda, Kathleen, Alexis, Rachel, Andrew, Sindri, and some other friends) and we all kind of sheepishly admitted to tearing up. We made our way to the prom upstairs, decorated exactly like any other school dance would be. My 10 years of self-trained prom-mocking kicked in, and with the cheesy music playing I was ready to make a quick exit. But it was BAM, and it was ironic. And because it was ironic, and because we were all dressed up, and because people were actually of legal drinking age, and because we'd all just been reminded of the awkwardness of prom, and because we were there together as good friends from school, and the music wasn't that bad, and there were some cute boys to hit on, and the dance floor cleared up, and Melinda has some moves, and we had to ham it up for the cameras, and and and and and it was a night to remember. i love you guys and don't ever change.