Monday, December 18, 2006

best of.

It took me over a year to realize it, but the day my car stereo and many of my cds were stolen was the day the music died. I saw the Decemberists that night. I was planning to see the New Pornographers the next day, but it was canceled. That was the last show I went to. This was in 2005. I bought two cds in 2006 - Andrew Bird and the Blow. I still listen to music at home a lot, but my car remains silent.

But thank god for mp3 blogs and best of lists. I am discovering all sorts of music that I was supposed to be listening to all year! Hey, better late than never. light of all this, I am making a promise to my good old friend, Music: Things are going to change between you and me, I swear! It will be different this time! I'm going to get a fancy stereo even though my car is rusting out! I'm going to buy cds! Maybe even stay out late for a show on a school night!

p.s. My lady Khaela is getting some good press. Check out The Underrated and Pitchfork's Top 100 songs.

Monday, November 13, 2006

good things as of late

fall dinner

A hideously autumnesque dinner
Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup and spinach craisin salad. [Oh, and I hate Rachael Ray and the fact that I can't even buy wheat thins without seeing her face, but I read Shelterrific and I can't help it that they keep linking good looking recipies by RACHEL RAY.]

Paper Television, The Blow
So so good. Pretty soon this blog will become "Reasons why I love the Blow." Best CD I've bought this year! (Ok, there's only two on that list.)

Common Good Books
So, Garrison Keillor himself opened a new bookstore in my neighborhood. Now, I'm not a huge fan of Garrison. But I gotta say, his bookstore is damn cute. Of course it's filled to the brim with Garrison books, a Garrison director's chair, and uh...Praire Home Companion was playing while I happened to be there. But! If we can get past that, I love it. It's bright and airy even though it's in a basement, and it's small enough to actually facilitate browsing. If I go to Barnes and Noble I just become overwhelmed and flustered unless I have a specific goal in mind. But not here, oh no! I could go through the entire store and find goodies I've never heard of! So hooray for an independent bookstore that might actually stand a chance of staying afloat solely due to its connection to Garrison* himself.

*I'm disgusted that I managed to namedrop him so much.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

my lunar love affair.

Every month I fall in love with the moon. At first it's a sliver that doesn't really catch my eye. I shrug my shoulders and look away. As it grows and grows I just go about my normal ways, fairly unenchanted with what's in front of me. And then when I least expect it, it hits me. I see it, full and glorious, and I gasp as if a lover has touched me in just the right spot. And I am entranced, my eyes wide, following whatever path I need to just to have it in my view, staring through my sunroof while I drive, almost wanting to drive off the road so I can gaze with my mouth agape. Sometimes I run to find a camera, to get a picture to remember it by, but it never comes out right. And so my brief tryst remains secret and mysterious, to be forgotten as quickly as the moon wanes.

Monday, August 14, 2006

adventures in atitlan

One of the places I really wanted to see in Guatemala was Lake Atitlan, which is a crater filled lake outlined by volcanoes. Very pretty, there will be pictures soon I promise. The only problem was...I didn't want to go alone, and I was having trouble finding travel companions. Eventually I found Steve from my school...he had a couple of friends coming in this weekend, and they wanted to go too. I met up with Steve around 11:30 on Saturday morning, and we sat around waiting for his friends for about an hour. We got some food, then headed to a travel agency to find a shuttle. They said they had one that left at 4, but they ended up calling about 12 places before they actually found something. Then they asked for our address so they could pick us up, and they said Steve's street did not exist. Right. Somehow Steve convinced them that it did, so we headed back to his house.

We started waiting around 4...and waiting, and waiting. We called the agency, gave better directions, and finally at 4:45 the shuttle came. Only we still had to pick up 8 more people at about 5 more stops, and our driver had only been to Antigua twice. Steve helped navigate through the heavy Saturday afternoon traffic, but we ended up driving around the cobble-stoned streets of Antigua for 45 minutes or so, which gave me a major headache. FINALLY we were on our way to Panajachel, always following cars and buses with noxious fumes.

We got to Pana around 8, and the streets were full of people. It was fun to see, since it's way different than Antigua. We found a place to stay, ate dinner, wandered around some more and then went to sleep.

The next morning we headed on a boat to San Pedro, which is across the lake from Pana (about a half hour ride). Steve and I were planning to take the 4pm shuttle back, which gave us about 4-5 hours in San Pedro. Steve and his friends were set on doing a hike, and the travel agency we stopped at said the shortest one (up to a peak called Big Nose) was 5 hours, which was cutting it close. But somehow they managed to find a kid on the street who said we could do it in 4 hours. I was skeptical but somehow willing to take a chance (oh, how trusting one becomes when they travel). We walked to the kid's dad's house, where his dad came out with a machete. No worries! He's got a machete! (A lot of the hikes around the area are considered unsafe because of robberies, etc.) So we set off. I immediately thought I wouldn't be able to make it, since I knew there wouldn't be a lunch stop and I had eaten a plaintain and half a baguette for breakfast. But we kept going and it got much better, and as we got higher and higher I really appreciated the views of the lake from above. At one point I stopped to change into my boxer shorts because I was so fricking hot and sweaty.

It got progressively harder along the way, and Steve needed to stop to get some air here and there. We finally made it to the top, took in the views for a few minutes, and then started to book it back down the hill. I almost fell about 7 times, but always managed to stay up. By the time we started getting back to town, it was nearing 3pm and I was starting to freak out since I wasn't keen on spending the night in San Pedro or Pana. We kept walking, and I tried to go faster, but Steve was struggling. At one point we split up so I could find a bathroom to change in (I was feeling a little ridiculous walking around town in my pajamas) and also a place to buy some water. We thought Steve would catch up but he wasn't coming. Eventually his friend showed up, saying he couldn't make it and was going to stay the night. I knew I needed to go fast if I wanted to make it home (which I did), so I got on the boat straight away. It left about a minute later at 3:30. The water was really rocky and every bump in the ride made my head pound. We got to shore a few minutes before 4. I knew we weren't near the main street where most of the travel agencies were, so I started to run but really couldn't get the energy together to do that. I walked briskly and was about the head towards the center of town when I saw it - a travel agency! With shuttles! The man immediately said, Antigua? Si. He only had one space left. At that point I was about ready to collapse, since I was so grateful to have a way home for the night. I grabbed some snacks from a bodega and got on the shuttle.

Today my muscles are very sore and my shoulders are sunburned but all is good. I haven't heard back from Steve, but I trust he's in good care with his med school friends and I should see him tomorrow. Less than 2 days left in Antigua! Ay....

Friday, August 11, 2006

a normal day in antigua

I've realized after talking to friends and family that hardly anyone has any idea what I'm actually doing in Guatemala. So, let's fix that, shall we? Here's a timeline of an average weekday.

6:30 - roll out of bed, take a shower, and get ready.
7:15ish - breakfast is served by Margarita...I eat with my housemates Jake and Beth, except now only Jake since Beth left yesterday. Breakfast is usually eggs or weird oatmeal and cornflakes. And sometimes bananas, which I take para llevar. After breakfast we go to the corner cafe, where the workers have memorized our order. It's kind of funny that the only place I've become a regular is in another country. Oh well.
8ish - We walk to school, and usually get there a little late since we're finally on Guatemalteco time.
8-12 - Spanish classes. The classes are one on one. My teacher is an old man who likes to tell jokes of varying hilarity (they're all funny to him, of course). We usually talk for a while about various subjects including his former alcoholism, movies, the news, health insurance, and drogas! ¡Hay muchas drogas en Antigua! I've been learning a lot, and I will obviously come home fluent and subsequently quit my teaching job to become a diplomat.
12-1 - This is changing now because Beth is gone, but usually Jake and I would wander around until lunch, around 1. We'd either check our email or run errands or whatever.
1ish - lunch. Sometimes good, sometimes...well, food.
Afterwards Beth and I would be free for the afternoon. Jake is taking 7 hours of classes of day because he's crazy. Some days we have excursions with school, and other days we would go to the gym, take naps, or just wander around.
7 - dinner. After dinner we usually go out so Jake can augment his dinner, and I can get my Gallo (cerveza) fix. For a while we would try to tell stories in Spanish but somehow that's fallen to the wayside. Oh well, I guess I can't be a diplomat after all.

Monday, August 07, 2006


This weekend was our trip to Tikal. I went with one of my housemates, Beth, who is only here for a few more days. Which basically means that even though our ride to the airport was coming to our house at 4am, it was absolutely imperitive that we go out on Friday. We went to a couple of dance had a contest to see who is the most sexy. Que sexy! Luckily for us, clubs close at 1 so we got a stellar 2 and a half hours of sleep. Our ride came around 4am, and it was a very bumpy trip to Guatemala city to catch our plane. More waiting in the airport, then an extremely short flight to Flores, which was a tiny airport. The minute we stepped off the plane we felt the oppressive humidty. Then another car ride to Tikal. So, although we tried, napping opportunities did not really exist. We took a tour of the temples, but our group was huge and I have trouble paying attention to tour guides as it is, so I didn't get a ton out of it. It was still fun, though. When we got back we ate lunch and took a really long nap. The hotels only have electricity from 6-10, so we felt gross and sticky pretty much all the time. (There's running water, but it's cold when the electricity isn't on. But actually, that's not so bad.) So anyway, there's not a lot to do in Tikal once the park is closed except eat lazily, so eat we did. And then much needed showers and sleep.

The next morning we woke up around 4:45 to go on a sunrise tour. We got to one of the temples about a half hour before the sunrise, and even though it was too cloudy to see anything it was still very tranquil and relaxing. Then we took another, better, tour. We got to see (and hear) more wildlife. There's the spider monkeys, which look like weird lanky aliens jumping from branch to branch. Then there's the howler monkeys, who can cause quite a commotion. For a while we were right in the middle of the noise...they really sound like monsters that are going to attack you soon.

So after the tour it was about 9:30 or so...we ate breakfast, then took a cold shower, and then wondered what we could do until we left at 2. Basically, not much (since we had to check out of our hotel room). At 2 we went back to Flores, but our flight wasn't until 7, so we decided to kill time in Flores instead of at the airport. Flores is a cute, small island town with tipico shops on every street. A little boring. But oh well, we didn't have the energy to things that might require energy. We finally flew home, got another ride back to Antigua, and rested. Hurrah!

Today I am getting laundry done which is probably the most exciting thing ever. I want to go buy some chocolates.

Oh, also, I decided to start reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because that's a little easier to explain to my teacher in Spanish than the formation of the U.S. government.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


It's hard to write an organized entry when you don't want to hang out in an internet cafe for hours. Yesterday we went on an excursion to an organic macadamia nut farm with our school. The tour was pretty short, and we learned about all the benefits of macadamia nuts. But the best part was the so yummy. I bought a small bag and almost ate them all yesterday.

Speaking of eating....I've been eating meat every day because I decided I don't care enough to turn down my host mother's food or go hungry. But, the meat hasn't been really good, so it doesn't really feel like I'm cheating. We'll see if this endeavor continues when I get back to the states.

I assumed that I was not going to be able to exercise at all, but my housemates and I joined a gym! So I've been using the treadmill, which is good since I won't get completely out of shape during this trip. I'm running the 10 mile race at the Twin Cities Marathon in October.

My classes have been good so far. In 3 days I think I have covered all the verb tenses that took 4 years to learn (and forget) in high school. My teacher is funny, he likes to tell me jokes that aren't always PC. It's all good though.

Okay, I think this is it for now, more later!

Monday, July 31, 2006


I have decided to revive my blog from Guatemala, as a way of keeping a travel journal. My flight from Atlanta to here was over 3 hours late, but my ride from the school was still at the airport waiting for me. During the ride I was pretty quiet and tired and just took in the many mountains and trees. Some funniness...we listened to the musico tipico de Guatemala, with the exception of...¨My heart will go on.¨ Haha. I got into Antigua and met my host family and also my home for the next two weeks..and at first I wondered what I had gotten myself into since I was here alone with really bad Spanish. After I got dinner I met other people staying with my family, and today at school I met many new people who are all very friendly. Classes were good but somewhat difficult...this is good though. I am definitely starting to really understand what many of my students go through every day. Ah, tengo hambre. Adios!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

sugary sweet

Yesterday I was running and two specific things made me smile. One was running by the Governor's mansion, where there were not one but TWO newspapers stuck in the fence at 6pm. It just struck me as funny that they have such an immaculate lawn and yet no one can bring in their papers from the rain when they're not home. Then I ran by a restaurant where there was a large group of adults engrossed in conversation, and one little girl who looked out the window instead. She waved at me as I ran by, and I smiled as I waved back.

I got a hula hoop and it's pretty awesome. Today I had some friends over and we made chocolate chip cookies, and then I had to show off my hula skills. It took some time, but I managed to get the hoop going while eating a cookie and drinking milk. And as I swung my hips around I said, "I am so happy right now."

Wow, after writing this all out it kind of makes me want to barf.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Live, little blog! LIVE!

I keep trying to update this but I end up losing my focus, writing entirely too much on things that only interest me and maybe 2.4 other people. So, let's do a whirlwind update of the past month:
  • Almost lost my job, but things are looking pretty safe for next year.
  • Got new fancy bedding for my apartment and also added some wall decorations to my bedroom. Next on the list: curtains.
  • Went to Madison and had a grand old time. Came back with some furniture...the apartment is rounding itself out more and more.
  • Took my first day off all year on Monday, just because I needed a break.
  • Then I ended up taking another day off today, because I was sick. The whole year, I planned NOT to be sick. Funny how these things work.
  • Decided I would sew my first skirt with a zipper, using this pattern. I finished the zipper part and surprisingly, it works. I'll finish the rest soon.
On the horizon: SUMMER. Really, that is all that matters.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

these links are FIERCE

I know I need to tell you about my trip to New York and whatnot, but I'm too tired for that right now. So, links!

Tyra does a show on myspace
Just reading the description is almost enough. "He said he used the site to make friends and make out!" Hahaha. Fabulous.

Grups! The new, hip grown-ups
This is a little long, but I could see myself being a grup in ten years. Of course, in ten years there will be some new name for us and no one will have ipods, but like....I don't know, super computer robot companions that fit in one's pocket? Like I said, I'm tired.

Maybe I'll go to Guatemala instead of Costa Rica or Argentina
This place sounds too good to be true. Learning Spanish on the beach! All-inclusive! If you look under What Makes Studying in Puerto Viejo a little different section, one of the reasons is hammocks. Hammocks, my friends. I am SO THERE.

Pictures from my trip, to tide you over
I finally got a pro flickr account. Whee.

Monday, March 27, 2006

can't stop!

Dear Retail Gods,

In order for me to stop buying stuff, you need to stop putting ridiculously cute stuff on sale. Come on, cupcake notecards? Are you kidding?


*found on shelterrific, good times had there.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

weekend update

Oh, I have a lot of stuff to say. Oh, why do I always start sentences with "oh"? I have no idea.

1) On my neighborhood.
Last Saturday I had a lovely afternoon that included walking to the downtown library. I obviously love libraries, but this one takes the cake...just look at it! It's not like all the smallish community libraries that I've been to....which are fine and get the job done, but pale in comparison to this. This one is old and classic, and has marble staircases. And it's within walking distance. Hooray! So, I got a bunch of travel books and trudged back up the hill (which has this view) and settled down in my neighborhood coffee shop. When I left, I very absent-mindedly left my favorite scarf on my chair as I tried to find to perfect song to walk home to. A very nice woman ran after me across the street (while I was oblivious) to return my scarf. It made my day.

2) On Spring not actually being here.
So after my nice weekend, thinking spring was on the way, it snows nearly a foot on Monday. [pictures] My district of course had the foresight to neither cancel school nor delay it, and I showed up to work to discover our building had no power. It was a long day. But it was pretty when I got home. Now of course the snow looks brown and disgusting.

3) On media
I'm taking a nod from Mike to tell you about my media consumption as of late. Besides a bunch of travel books, I also got Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer from the library. I like it so far, especially how it's written in the voice of a 10 year old in a way that's not realistic but also very believable and honest.

And, I've been going through season one of Arrested Development thanks to my new dvd player. There is not much to say except that it is hilarious. And that's why you never teach lessons.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

on television

1. Project Runway
I cannot wait for the finale. I am so excited for it I am having dreams about it. No, seriously! In one dream my sister and I had lunch with Heidi Klum. We asked her all about the times. In another dream, I was flirting with all the Project Runway men, which is odd, since they're gay. I'm rooting for Daniel or Chloe. My money is on Daniel.

Fans should really read this interview with Tim Gunn. [Part 1 and 2] I still love him, but I didn't expect him to be talking shit about the contestants! And who hordes muslin? It's MUSLIN. Chiffon, that makes some sense. Muslin does not.

2. New Scandinavian Cooking
This is one of the shows I sometimes watch during my Saturday morning cooking show marathon on Public Television. It fascinates me to no end because this really cute Norweigan guy goes to a middle of a fjord or something, sets up a kitchen (who cares how? It's Norway! It's magical!), cooks a nice meal, and then invites some of his very attractive Norweigan friends to come eat with him. It's the best looking cooking show there is. Anyway, on the show I just watched, he puts on his scuba gear, dives into the sea, and catches a king crab with his bare hands. (Okay, fine, he had gloves.) I don't even like seafood but it was strangely hot...until he smashed the poor thing on the side of the boat and ripped all its legs off. Yeck.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

silicone! it's not just for fake breasts!

So, when I was moving into my apartment and scrambling to get everything I would ever need in my kitchen (which was pretty much everything, since all I had was a bread knife), my mom offered to give me a few things she didn't need from a silicone bakeware set she got. It was probably something like this. And even though I'm not into fancy pants baking technology, I wasn't about to say no to a loaf pan when I had none to call my own.

I finally broke in the sucker tonight. If you don't know, it's this kind of plasticy material that will not melt (!), and you can squish it all about. [Me trying to describe it to my sister when I couldn't remember it was silicone: "Uhhh, it's this stuff you can bake things in, and it's like, you know, floppy?" Her: "Yeah, I have no idea what you're talking about."] I filled it in with banana bread dough, and look at what happened to it!


The amazing pan couldn't take the weight of my awesome banana bread. Lumpy bread, sheesh. But when I took it out of the floppy pan, it did come out beautifully (although still lumpy) with little effort on my part.
football bread

[Yes, tinfoil can be a cooling rack. Another thing I haven't gotten yet.]

For those of you keeping score at home:
-1 for lumpy loaf
+1 for ease of removal
+ a gazillion because my banana bread is awesome even if it looks like a football
+1 for chocolate chips
+ 1 for walnuts
total = a gazillion plus 2. Not bad!

Now some hot steamy action* for you:

*Man, I'm going to get the best search referrals from this post. Fake breasts and hot steamy action, ohhh yeah.
p.s. anonymous comments are back, baby!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

good things

Things that currently make me happy:

1. Longer days. The sun is up when I go to work now! And I can go running past 5pm! Which means...
2. Spring is coming. It is, I can feel it. Which means...
3. Spring break is coming, and I am going to New York. Yippee! I cannot wait to walk all over the city and explore on my own. Not to mention seeing long-lost friends.
4. I am a plant owner and as of yet, nothing has died on me. So of course I am going plant crazy. Only cheap plants for now, 'cause I don't want to get too attached. I haven't always had the best history with plants.

Right now I'm trying to decide if I should glue my new world map to my coffee table or not. It could look awesome, or it could ruin both a nice map and a coffee table. Hmmm.

Monday, February 20, 2006

i need a little reaction

I turned 24 on Friday, and in a stunning display of responsibility and maturity, I forgot to pay my credit card bill. For the first time, ever.

I got some very funny presents from some of my students. They are the sweetest.

Here's a present for you: it's a Mirah song. I was trying to get Dancing in the Dark up, but it didn't work for some reason. So, this one is shorter but fun.

Mirah - Dreamboat

Ok, and this has nothing to do with my birthday, but I enjoyed this bit on myspace from the Daily Show. Good lord, is everyone on the Daily Show hot? I really need cable.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

on food and other things

chili salad

This is my new favorite dinner, and it's spectacularly easy, quick, and healthy. I take a can of black beans, a can of diced tomatoes, onion, garlic and other spices, and throw it all in a pot. After it's heated and ready, I pour it into a bowl with spinach leaves in it. The heat wilts the spinach just a little, but not too much. Then throw on some crushed tortilla chips and it's an awesome chili salad.

In other food news, I want to start shopping at my local co-op more often. I also only want to buy organic cheese because it's so damn good, and good cheese is worth the money. Also, I really like these guidelines (not a true recipe, really) for vegetable soup. Good stuff.

This is completely unrelated, but requires mentioning. I've talked about checking my sitemeter and laughing at the weird search terms that lead people here, but this one takes the cake. Someone came across my blog searching for "pictures of young girls putting tampons in." Um, yeah. Here's proof.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

oh stephanie, how could you?

Jodie Sweeten does meth!!

I'm sorry. This is only fascinating to me because I always viewed Stephanie Tanner as my model peer. I often felt a certain kinship with her as I watched Full House back in the day. We were the same age, and we shared the horror of being the unwanted middle child. ["DJ is always going to be the oldest and Michelle is always going to be the youngest and I'm always going to be STUCK IN THE MIDDLE!" And then they explained that good things come in the middle, like the white part of oreo cookies and so forth. God, why do I remember all of this...] So I always based my actions growing up in comparison to her's. When Stephanie danced to Motownphilly, dammit, I wanted to dance too. Why wasn't I taking dancing lessons and wearing hideous outfits? Clearly that's what every girl my age should have been doing. And when Stephanie went to makeout parties at 13, I had to think about how uncool I must be as there were no makeout parties in sight. Sigh.

Anyway, meth? I guess that's a good way to get back into the spotlight. Or maybe it's proof that Full House is bad for everyone.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

a note to many

Definitely does not have an "a" in it.

Ridiculous does not have an "e" in it.

That is all.

Do not fret, I was once like you, confused by the seemingly inexplicable vowel spellings of the English language. But I learned! And I will never forget!

Monday, January 23, 2006

life is good.

I'm sitting in my cozy apartment, listening to Andrew Bird as I write this with my computer on my lap. I just finished off the rest of the wine that was left over from a Saturday evening spent with friends. I ate some lovely cheese and crackers 'cause it just seemed to go with it. I'm looking at my new plant [named Ferny], and I don't have a care in the world. I think I'll go to bed early and read my book and cherish the fact that I bought it with a gift card that I didn't accidentally throw away. You can't win them all.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

a million little cliche headlines

That James Frey sure does take a lot of creative liberty

I read this book a few years ago, when all I could read was memoirs. A friend recommended it, and I tore through it, thinking it was amazing. After a while I realized it's one of those books that drags you in, but then you realize that it wasn't nearly as great as you thought, it's just that you read it super fast. I was way too gullible to ever doubt its validity. Oh well.

The whole thing is interesting, though. Even though I realize memoirists may need to add some spin to keep things interesting, I like the stories better when they seem more real, but just told better than the average person. Everyone has some stories in them, but only a few people here and there are actually writers.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

8th grade reading level

I haven't had a ton of time to read lately, so my solution has been to read more young people's fiction. Young adult fiction? Whatever it's called. Books for middle schoolers, essentially. I started off borrowing Hey Hmong Girl, Whassup? from a colleague. It's not the best written thing ever, but has all the essential teenage fiction elements...romance, fights with friends, family woes and gangs. Then I read Godless, by Pete Hautman. Very interesting. It's one of those books that one could read at 14, then again at 24 and get that much more out of it. Which is why I hold on to my Louis Sachar books so dearly. Anyway, now I'm reading the third Harry Potter in the hopes that by the time the finale hits the shelves I will FINALLY be caught up.

In other news, a new year has begun, my break is over, I moved into my first very own apartment, and I enter my mid-20s in a little over a month. I guess that means I'm reaching adulthood, even if you can't tell by my book choices.