Thursday, August 7, 2014


It's real. It's so undeniably real. So real in fact, that I spoke for a total of about 3 hours to Vanessa and Karin today about normal things so that it felt more reality than fiction. The bad news is that my plan backfired a little bit as far as letting that sink in- but I'm actually moved in to my apartment in Manhattan!! Couch, bed, chairs, kitchen- for Pete's sake I have a dishwasher. I made cookies today just so I could use the kitchen. 

I even, wait for it, got a library card. (Insert gasps of awe and oos of amazement) They were a little impressed that the girl who had been there for 26 hours was getting a library card, but I figured that I could check out some movies and chill. As it turns out, the manhattan public library has quite the stash. But nothing on the hordes of books at ksu. Holy shmokes. I just wandered for about an hour. In and out of the stacks, pulling out shelves, taking mysterious stairs, wandering. Mega impressed. Put it this way, from an architectural perspective, the main floor ceilings are high enough that in the center of the floor they devised a split-level style that allows for double the shelf space on one floor. Then the parts of the floor plan that aren't the stationary stacks have to be moveable to maximize space. What is this land. That's all in excess of the "great room" which looks like Hogwarts except without the floating candles. And I'm all about wizards.  I have a feeling that the very empty great room is less empty in the regular school year. 

Stay tuned for the portion of this chaper book that explains how I found the wizards of Kansas. "You can still be with the wizard, what you've worked an waited for..." 

Monday, August 4, 2014

The new routines... Maybe

With new adventures come new tasks and challenges. I issued a challenge to a fellow adventure, miss Shelby, who is taking bold steps teaching in Japan, to blog regularly. I figured that if I could challenge Shelby to do it, then I must be gutsy enough to do the same. As my friendship with muDD as I like to call her might detail, we work best when pushing each other. So as she is my guide to this new season of fun things, I will attempt to keep up. Thus it begins. 

You should know two things about this post: 1) I'm writing it on my phone because the internet is out. And 2) I have no idea what I'm going to type next. 

I have not yet moved out to my new Kansan abode, but I keep thinking about new routines. I was really big on the routine kick as a kid (this should not surprise many of you). For instance, for about 2-3 years I would do 100 sit ups a night. Why? No real reason, thought it would be good for me. Consequently, I could beast the sit-up challenge during my gym class days. Mom used to read to me before bed every night. I used to write a poem (usually not very good) every night. Routines like that made me get from cover to cover in my Bible twice in high school. In college, routine has been harder to follow- that's true. Something about late study nights and roommates. But this grad school gig holds endless possibilities. Mayhaps blogging or memoir-ing or Shakespeare is the new one. I suppose I have to actually get to that new abode to see what it will be. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Whoops--also grad-crowd-sourcing?

Ok. So I'm bad at the blog thing. I understand that you are mad. I'm going to pretend to hold out my wrist and you can chastise me as would stereotypical nuns in an elementary Catholic school.

Here's the question though:
Is there something (if anything) that you would like to hear in a commencement speech?

This can be a reflection of what you do or do not remember about the speeches you witnessed or gave. It can be a "I wish he talked about that" moment. Or a "She didn't talk about my class at all. That sucked." I'm curious. Commencement season is fast approaching and with it comes the panic of writing, rewriting, or wishing you would have applied to write in the first place, and I'm looking for a little crowd sourcing.  Motivational? Nostalgic? Funny? Serious? Informational? Metaphysical?

Maybe I'll just write a series of haiku.... This is really dependent on your reactions.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Reentry Soliloquy

Here's the dealio. I'm doing a little semester project in my lovely Interpersonal Communication course, and I picked Reentry from Study Abroad.

Surprised? No you're not.

Truth Zone:
I still have dreams about walked around Rome.
I have yet to find a pasta dish that meets my standards.
I am perpetually disappointed in wine.
I miss the ability to be aloof when going for a walk, and smiling at people when I pass feels like a mask that doesn't quite fit.

These are all things that have to do with my time two years ago in Italy.
(Dear God has it been that long?)

So for those of you reading this who have studied abroad, or spent any time in a totally different culture than the one you call "home," know this: it's normal to have those feelings of displacement. Like you don't quite belong where you are, and you just want to combine pieces of both of your experienced cultures because they have become you. It's normal to want to share those experiences and feel isolated when people don't quite get it. There's plenty of research to back you up, and no, it does not go away.

Truth is you've been changed by your experiences and it's not always going to be easy for you to change your surroundings to match. I encourage you to find someone who has been "there" (and by there I don't mean to the place you studied, but experiencing somewhere else) and talk about it. If you can't find anyone, write about it. There are others like you out there feeling the same stuff.

For those of you who don't quite identify with this topic, I encourage you to listen to those who are dealing with this. Let them talk to you, it's not about you or how they should or should not meet your expectations of discussion. They don't really want to talk about how great the food was (although it's often interesting), or if they knew the language. They remember the little things like, what the streets look like when it rains, or the woman who always leaned against the wall of that church, or the sound of police sirens. They are the things that the tourists don't remember, or don't care to, and the things the study abroad kid holds on to with everything they have.

Just a thought for your Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Slamily Second Generation-Get on my level

Once upon a time, I posted this beauty of a blog: and sure that was fun. Hell, it was a lot of fun, like pandas and balloons popsicles and slinkys kind of fun. If you didn't have one of those panda-balloon-slinky kinds of days, I'm sorry but we are both missing out on key parts of our child hood. Drat. 

But here's the second chapter


Yes, it's better than One Direction covered in sprinkles. This time 14 kids traveled the long distances (we're talking out of the 14, 12 of them were from somewhere other than MN--that means hella far) to come to our humble town of St. Peter to have their lives rerouted and nurtured from the ground like little baby acorns learning how to become oaks with a purpose. It's actually that amazing to watch these students come together under the direction of the three fantastic poets that are so dedicated to teaching and bringing in the next generation of phenomenal poets. I walk in to take pictures and casually creep on their writing/slamming, and I am propelled out of the water like cannonball from the high dive played in rewind. These kids are going to make a splash.

In case you missed something from last year's post around this time, I will help you feed your poetry addiction by posting some videos here that unashamedly praise the people who make this camp possible.
(I was there when this was filmed... because that's not creepy)

(I was not there when this was filmed... because that's not creepy)

(And now for something different-But isn't he a cool dude?)

Ok, so we've learned a little bit about Sierra DeMulder, Adam Henze, and Khary Jackson, now we shall continue with our story. 

The first night the whimsical three arrived, Karin and I took them out to a local joint fondly called, "Patty's". Now for any poet nerd (cough, me, and phlegmy-cough Karin) this is more than just a magical moment. This is going to dinner with some of the most well respected poets in the land. Super, we're having a wonderful time, everything is dandy. 

Kids arrive, all is well, fast forward to Thursday. This is where things get good. On Wednesday, a Mr. Quentin Q Talley joined us for a little showcase. This is prime. 

Then on Thursday, Karin had the distinct pleasure of going to pick up the St. Paul Slam Team consisting of the following magnificent individuals who are masters of their craft:
Kait Rokowski

Sam Cook
Shane Hawley
Hieu Nguyen

Cris Gibson

Love them all. Just do it. 

Study Guide for the GRE: Gaudy Rhinoceros Exam

Sometimes I read other people's blogs and think.... oh yeah, I suppose I have one of those too don't I..... Maybe I should write something on it...

Well, wish granted, self.  I suppose this is what I've got.

Tomorrow marks the first step in things I should be doing after that fateful day that happens in late May: post grad. For better or for worse, I'm going to spend 4 hours of my life frittering away at a meaningless test that receives it's authority from the people who created it. ETS, you're a scam and you know it. After the SAT way back when I was pretty convinced that I would not succumb to the pressures of yet another standardized test, but alas, consider me sans moral compass. To be clear, I still do not believe in any bubble answer configuration determining someone's ability to problem solve and write, but humans are pretty slow at figuring out better ways. So cheers to those who find better ways to do that.

For those of you taking the GRE, here is my pre test advice to you:

1) Answer the questions. What are they going to do? Hunt you down if you get them all wrong? Nah, they already got their $160 so they'll leave you alone to cry in peace. No matter the question, there's some chance that your random guess will get you a point. So have at it.

2) Smile. It'll confuse the shit out of the people around you and the proctor. And you, smiling, and watching their reactions will be the only entertainment you get for 4 hours. Enjoy the little things.

3) If you need a motivational boost, write yourself a little note on your scratch paper. And draw a smilie face. It might be the only friendly face in the whole building.

4) Hydrate and look smart. Sometimes looking smart is the best you can do. Pull out that monocle from storage and the spats and dust off that British accent. The educated must look educated.

5) Once the test is over, have a dance party. You've earned it and there's nothing they can do about suppressing your happiness now!  Blow 'em a raspberry and a choice finger and turn up the beats.

Keep in mind that none of this is intended to boost your score or your likely hood of being accepted and/or liked by your choice program. It might make you feel better.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fanciest College Kids You've Ever Met.

What is this!?!?! Blog overload!!! RUN AWAY
No don't. Seriously. Read this. It's full of cheese, danger, and vampires.
Only 2 of those things are true. You have to read to figure out which ones.

The day started out as any normal Saturday would for a summer-existing college student. Except Karin and I have no real concept of what regular college students do on Saturdays.... So we sat in the living room verbalizing our confusion and discontent with phrases like, "But what do we DO?!" and "IS THIS REAL LIFE?" Regardless that we had not had a tooth recently removed, or that neither one of us was named David, this seemed like the only appropriate phrase to use on such a Saturday.

So we formed a plan.

That plan was to craft a remarkably elaborate three-course meal. Why? Just because we had the time. Nothing more. There was nothing confining our afternoon except the limits of our imaginations. Thus it was time to craft a menu, and explore Mankato.

Mankato. What a place. Full of people that we didn't see all the time (and yet we saw the ones we do see all the time anyway). Stop 1: Goodwill. Here we sought a blender for our festive evening planned. And found Ava and Eric... They are not a type of blender, they are a type of person we see a lot. Those are different. We did not find a blender, but we did find a bird clock, an ice cube tray, and some lizard glasses. Those things are important but not to this story.

Stop 2: Thrift Store.  Here we again, sought a blender. But did not find a blender, we found Nick, Carl, and Zach. Again, those are not blenders, they are the kind of people we see a lot.  It also marks the second Cronin we had seen within the hour. Again, not relevant to the story.  But we found hot pads that look like watermelons and a bath mat. So those things are good. But no blender.

Stop 3: Target. Pronounced, Tar-gé. There have always been too many hard consonants in store names.   There we found a blender! A successful trip indeed! Also a cutting board. Those things are important to the story.

Stop 4: Hy-vee. For those of you reading this from the middle of the midwest, this is familiar. MN-ers? Less so. But judging by the number of people milling about, they like what they found. It's a carnival-esq place. There we found supplies.

Then onward home! Where we immediately began preparing our feast of sorts. Feast menu? Let me enlighten you.

Appetizer: Extra-cheesey Spinach and Artichoke dip.
Dinner: Chicken breast with white wine mushroom and mozzarella sauce. With a side of parmesan green beans.
Dessert: Grapefruit and Mint Sorbet.

Go ahead, be impressed. It's pretty normal.

We began with our preparations, chopping, squeezing, dicing, and stirring. All in good time, all in slight chaos. Let me explain. The kitchen in the apartment is not really meant for more than 75% of one person. Therefore it feels crowded with one person and overwhelming with 2. But Karin and I managed to make it work. All the while keeping things a secret from our friend Brittany who joined us for such an occasion.

With the sorbet in the freezer, the dip on the chips, I began working on the main course. This is the part of the story with danger. Heat the skillet, put on the butter, put in some olive oil, salt and pepper chicken. Toss! And scald. Zoinks!  My still red-forearms attest to this lack of judgement. But hungry friends take precedent over very hot substances, and I continued to cook. Stir, flip, stir, put in oven, make sauce, add mozzarella (because the recipe was wrong, it needed mozzarella), and all done!

It may not have been my best move, but it was one of the best dinners.

And of course there are things I would do to change it. Like less mint, more grapefruit. But over all, I would declare it a successful evening. Let the cooking continue.