We spent the weekend house & dog-sitting down in South County (for non-STL folks, it's like spending your weekend on another planet...or in Jersey-- & going there is similar to the process I go through when I go to Jersey -- inital dread followed by curiosity and amazement and come-upance).
We always freak out a little bit on our first night down there, when we try to figure out what we can do, other than come back in to the city, or go out to eat at an Applebees.
But we usually end up doing a lot of exploring, and surprise-surprise, tucked in amongst the never-ending sea of subdivisions are some really nice county parks. Who knew?! Each visit we find a few more. This weekend we found two new ones along bluffs on the Mississippi.
Speaking of the suburbs, Timothy Eagan writes in the NYTimes today about the fatal error that the Republican party has made in disparaging cities, touting them as full of high class elites who don't know real Americans or real American issues. As Eagan states, many non-urban parts of our country, as well as the general trend country-wide, is starting to resemble the diversity of our largest cities. In there lies a disconnect -- who is this "Real America"?
I've been wondering about something similar to this lately. I definitely feel that when rural or suburban folks think about liberal city-dwellers, they are thinking about people like me. But living in a city like St. Louis (or in a lot of other cities for that matter), you can look around and realize that there are a hell of a lot of people who are nothing like me. And I like that. That's why I live here, or in cities in general. Because I can find my niche, but I can also challenge my comfort zone-- including taking a surprisingly relaxing weekend in the 'burbs.
You can tell that I am really swamped when I just start posting lots of pictures.
I have been spending many, many hours in front of my computer lately.
Daydreaming about being outdoors.
Here's a few shots from my last fieldwork trip:
P.S. When I have to do work in the evenings I try to boost morale by telling myself that I get to drink wine while working! I have been drinking a lot of wine lately.
Sigh. Yes, Mr. Rockstar-looking Man.
I am buying a Charleston Chew.
It just seemed appropriate in this moment, when I couldn't decide between Spree & Skittles.
Believe me; I imagined that I'd be over this kind of candy by my age as well.
But listen, look at yourself.
You, with your ratty jeans, black glasses, frumpled hair and beat-up van.
You are buying a case of Stag.
We are equally ridiculous in this moment.
Questions Adam asks me:
-Would you cut off your pinkie with a cleaver for $5,000?
-Would you eat that roadkill for $100,000? What if it was baked into a casserole?
-If you had to give up either rice or noodles for the rest of your life, which would you pick?
-What about noodles or coffee?
(! Surprise answer here: coffee! I know. Shocking. I love noodles that much).
-If you took all the wine and beer bottles that we go through in a year, do you think it would fill up this room?
-Could you eat an entire sheetcake for $50?
-How many eggs would you be able to eat before throwing up?
-Do you think Moxie could take down a rabbit? A beaver?
-Would you eat a cupcake with worms in it, if you knew you wouldn't be able to taste them?
(Have you picked up on the themes?)
I put my birthday money from my in-laws toward a new set of panniers. (Thanks D &D!)
I LOVE THEM.
They are amazing. The only time I was ever driving to school was on days when I had too much to carry, and now I can fit it all, plus some extra stuff just for kicks.
Anyway, they are amazing enough just for the fact that they carry so much while still being streamlined and not bulky, and they also load on and off of my rack really easily, but I hadn't tested their supposedly great water-proofness until today.
I snuck out of school early during a break in the torrent, in an attempt to make it home without getting drenched. No such luck. Not sure how well you can see it in this pic:
... but lets just say that my sneakers were making that squish-squish noise with every step.
But my stuff? My precious laptop & papers, without which I would be stranded and alone?
Bone dry. I am not even kidding you. This bag is amazing.
Go. Buy some now. I don't even care that you don't own a bike, these bags will make you want one, just so you can experience the wonder that comes from riding through a downpour for 20 minutes and then taking dry papers out of your bag.
In other exciting bike news, I also recently discovered that my fancy black boots fit perfectly into my toe clips!
Now I can ride to school looking like a bizarre combo between Dorothy & the Wicked Witch.
I was so content on my ride that I wasn't flustered one bit by the jackass in the conversion van honking at me to get off the road. I just caught up to him at the next light, flipped him off and rolled on my way.
Oh, come on. I don't really let her drive unless I've been drinking. Or if I need to send a text message.
Today is one of those days where I am struck by the realization that every person who has known me for any significant amount of time is hundreds of miles and several plane rides away. Sometimes I look around and wonder what the heck we are doing here, stranded so far from those that know us best.
Perhaps it is triggered by the fact that my dear friend Katherine just sent me the new Death Vessel album for my birthday, and I've been playing it over & over until my brain is positively cloaked in bittersweet harmonies and swirling melodies. Or maybe it is the memory of dancing joyfully in circles in a barn in New Hampshire on a crisp late summer night until all that was left to do was leave our clothes on the dock and jump headfirst into the lake with nothing but moonlight to guide us.
We make new friends, new memories, with every place we move & I love the new people in our lives, don't get me wrong. I just wonder sometimes about the sacrifice, and the new memories we could be making with old friends, rather than clinging so strongly to the past experiences to keep them from slipping away.
hey have you seen this site? Project Vote 2008
they have compiled lists of people who tried to register to vote, but there were errors on their forms, etc. and the registration never went through. which means they can't vote in Nov! unless! -- unless the problem is fixed ASAP. The deadline to register in MO is TODAY.
check the list-- look for your neighbors, your friends, but especially yourself!
During tonight's debate I will be:
-wringing my hands
-covering my face
-drinking lots of wine
-trying to calm my rising blood pressure
-become even more convincced Obama is the man
-become even more convinced McCain is built out of popsicle sticks & scupltey clay that is beginning to melt
if you wonder why i am staring at feet
There is someone in my building who wears black Adidas and is on the same bathroom schedule as me. Either that, or she is in there all day, because every time I go in our tiny two-stall bathroom I can see her shoes in the next stall.
the one time sweetness & light seemed like an appropriate name for a sports column
Normally NPR sports-commentator Frank Deford makes me want to never watch sports again, but his tribute to Paul Newman this week was kind-of touching. In a nutshell: he was a gem, and we would all do well to follow his example now & again.
ala elliot smith
Don't get me wrong, I think he's a genius as much as the rest of you, and maybe I have just been traveling too much lately, but every time a forlorn blogger is hang-wringing about the death of David Foster Wallace they short-hand it to DFW and I always think "Dallas-Fort Worth"?
(except for mimi, whom i adore).