Monday, December 31, 2007

More of the Niece and the Dog

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Unpacking Begins


We arose bright and early this morning to pick up our u-haul van and spend most of the day moving our many things to our respective dwellings. It was a lot of work and we're both very tired. Eikon came back with me to St. Closet. Tonight we unpacked and put together furniture at my place. Tomorrow we will clean up the old apartment, and then go to Minneapolis (where Eikon moved to), go to Ikea, and do some unpacking (ikea reassembledge). On Monday our junk will be hauled to the dump.

On another note, I received medical clearance for the peace corps this morning. It's starting to seem like my Africa adventure really is going to happen! Rock on! :-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas


I'm still recovering from Christmas Masses. To top it all off, I drove home in three hours of snow, and then hit a deer two miles from home. Anyway, It's been nice. Home is crazy! Being in Iowa, we got to see Hillary tonight. It was kind of exciting. More blogging later.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cheers to you, Grandpa

My grandfather has been dead since 1997. He was a good guy - cantankerous, with a strong spirit. Luckily, that has been passed down through my father to myself. When he was only about 10 his mother and baby sibling died in what Grandpa proudly claimed to be "The first car accident in Minnesoata" - this would have been around 1920.

After the death of his mother, his father, Frank, took my grandpa (little Ed) and his brother (little Alex) and moved to Iowa to be with his family. From that you age, Ed was used as cheap labor on the farm. This included not just menial farm tasks, but also making illegal booze to be sold for steep profit to mobsters.

That booze, Templeton Rye, is now immortalized by a group, including relatives of my father, who have started a very successful distillery, using that prohibition era recipe.

Some people in my family think this is really cool. I have a cousin who harassed my mother about getting bottles of it. My mom, too, is excited about the company.

I'm not too sure what I think.

Grandpa was a life long alcoholic. Did I mention that? I can't help but think - but know - that it all started there in Templeton, Iowa. I can imagine him, an adolescent, doing hard labor all day, and drinking away the sorrow - the death of his mother. This is all speculation, of course, but I think research will show you that alcoholism starts long before the legal drinking age.

He was a functioning alcoholic, like many from that era. He was a successful business man, and made his living owning and running two stores in Guthrie Center, Iowa. In his later years, he drank less, and presumed the role of eccentric old man - driving his 1980's furniture moving van around the city wrecklessly - heckling the neighbor kids as the played basketball - walking around with his cane, talking to strangers.

Then he died.

His liver got the best of him. His past got the best of him. Templeton rye got the best of him.

I'm torn between celebrating the success of this new company and thinking that some parts of the past are better left undisturbed. Alcoholism was rampant among the Iowa Germans of the prohibition era and the great depression. Alcohol killed both of my Grandfathers. That's nothing to celebrate.

That said, when I'm home with my family this Christmas, I'll probably have a drink for Grandpa - just one. Maybe a sip will bring me Grandpa back, maybe I'll be able to better understand his life- A taste of an orphaned boy with no future.

Cheers to you, Ed.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Snow Cometh

Greetings from the frigid upper midwest. We're bracing ourselves for the first groundcover of the year:
BY SATURDAY NIGHT...SNOW ACCUMULATIONS EXCEEDING SIX INCHES APPEAR POSSIBLE ACROSS MUCH OF CENTRAL AND SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA AND WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN...INCLUDING IN THE ALEXANDRIA...ST CLOUD...MANKATO...TWIN CITIES...AND EAU CLAIRE COMMUNITIES.


Dare I admit, since a few Minnesotans read my blog, that I'm a wee bit excited? It's always like this. . . The first snow fall is exciting, by the end of winter, we're ready for it to be over with.

Fortunately, there is one creature who always enjoys the snow. Gratuitous Eli pictures? You betcha!




Now I'm excited. And so is Eli! He woke me up multiple times last night, begging to join me in bed. I'm not sure he stopped staring at me in the eyes the whole night - until I let him in this morning. Silly puppy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Both Eikon and I couldn't resist purchasing this priceless Threadless t-shirt.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 25, 2007

To the Mouse Pooping under My Sink

Were I alone,
without dog or friend,
i might let you stay,
nibbling your way through
rice and grains,
dancing through sticky honey and crumbs.

I would wisp up your droppings, giggling,
what a mess,
throw them in the trash
and pat you on the head,
and tell you how much you mean to me.

But I am not alone yet,
so you must die.

Never mind karma or curses -
I wait for you to walk
into my spring loaded guillotine,
where you will meet your lord.
I hope you suffer much pain.

Friday, November 23, 2007

More Thanksgivings

I left work on Thanksgiving morning, picked up my dog, and embarked on a six hour drive to my ancestral home in west-central Iowa. Along the way, I became very tired and wanted to stop somewhere and get something to drink. I took the first exit I came to, and tried to find a fastfood stop to drive through, but all the restaurants were closed. I stopped at a 24hour gas station, grabbed a drink and took off again.

Driving along on Interstate 35, it occurred to me that Thanskgiving was the one of only a few days when those McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Culvers were shut down. Strangely enough, at work (Church) more people show up to Mass on Thanksgiving than appear for most obligatory Holy Day masses throughout the year.

As a church musician, very grateful for the two century old holiday, I can't help but wonder - what does Thanksgiving have that our holy days of obligation do not. Part of feasting is work. Many sociologists will tell you in order to celebrate a festival, you must work. If you don't work, you can't aptly celebrate a feast, because the element of rest is just not present.

In our high-paced world, it's hard to believe that stores might be closed at any time, even on Thanksgiving. Our world doesn't shut off anymore, ever. How lucky those McDonalds workers are, to be home with their families or friends - or even just to have a day of rest.


I remember going to Germany when I was 15. I happened to be there on the Feast of the Assumption, which is also a day off for many Europeans. In Italy, I believe it's called Ferragosto (August Fair). The ornate Bavarian church was full of people and singers. As I left, I was offered, along with all the other attendees, was given small bundles of summer flowers. It was truly a celebration, in a city and country that has lost much of it's Christian Heritage.

I wonder why we can't make all of our Holy Days into Thanksgiving Celebrations. Why can't assumption or ascension or pentecost or all saints bring families together? Why don't we take a bold step, and ask for these days off for religious observances, just like many devout Jews and Muslims do. Our Liturgical year covers much more than Christmas.

We don't need to be given the day off by the Government to celebrate with our families, do we? We have to take control of our own lives -find our rest. We need more Thanksgivings - whatever the religion, whatever the tradition. Once a year is not enough.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

For Elias

Does God love you,
Little beast of my heart?
Your cozy cuddle –
How could he not.

Here we thrive,
Dancing in a pit of disparity.
Anxious and unworthy,
We bathe ourselves in muddy puddles
Of altruistic charism-
with escape as our only motive.

But you, little beast,
Your life will be short,
Because God needs you
(so badly)
At his right hand,
Licking the salt off his skin –
Reminding him
Creation has not gone amuck.

Here on earth,
I give you a place in my kingdom to prepare you,
my dear little beast,
for your place in his.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My River Penthouse

I paid a security deposit for my new apartment (as of January 1st), which will get me through my last 6 months in St. Closet! Want to see pictures? I bet you do!
The living room . . .
The Kitchen
The bedroom. . .

Ok, well it's looking pretty lived in. I assume the women living there will have moved out by January. I'm really looking forward to having my own place, and the coolest part. . . it's on the Mississippi. With a view! It makes me feel rich and famous. No not really.

So I've been scanning through facebook profiles to find out if my friends have blogs. By golly, they do! It seems that most of them are better written then mine, but oh well.

Here, this picture of Eli will make up for it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Next time you're considering domestic nudity. . .


Aparently it is against the law to sleep naked in Minnesota. Who woulda thought? Garrison Keillor explains:
Dear Garrison

Is it true that it is illegal to sleep naked in the state of Minnesota? -- Not that anyone would want to try it at this time of year! Any light that you may shed on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

Thanx
P.J.

Dear P.J., It is illegal to sleep naked and Minnesotans do it all the time, especially at this time of year. The unlawfulness of it only adds to the thrill. It is illegal because we feel that a naked unconscious person is particularly vulnerable, and in our state's great liberal tradition, we protect the vulnerable and unwary. (This is why Minnesota is chockfull of warning signs and guardrails.) One would only be arrested for nude sleeping, of course, if your house caught on fire and authorities had to break in to save you. So you'd probably be grateful for the arrest.

Not having good air conditioning, I claim to have never committed the crime. Now that we've had our first snow flakes, and I'm dealing with 30something degrees, I don't foresee such an egregious violation any time soon!

Friday, November 2, 2007

30 Rock


I'm not a TV fan, but one show has had my attention for a whole year. That's pretty impressive. . . and we're not talking beefcake Rome here, we're talking 30 rock. The comedy is my style. Here's a great example. . . I wish i could embed, but you can click on a link, right?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mandi and Me- We're the coolest


It's Sunday and I should be studying. Oh well. Here I am blogging for my own amusement. This weekend my best friend from home, Mandi, came to visit me. We had a splendid time.

On Friday she had the fantastic opportunity to follow me around campus as I picked up various forms from various offices that I will have to eventually send in to the Peace Corps. I figure, at this point, I will have lost a few hundred dollars through the physical, bloodwork, dental, and optical exams. If I don't get invited, I'll be pissed!

Anyway, It was nice for Mandi to get to see my little resort-of-a-university surrounded by likes and trees.

On Saturday we went into Minneapolis and experienced two very interesting historical locations.
First we went to historic Fort Snelling:

It was an interesting place to visit, complete with people in period costume, doing historical interpretation. I find historical interpretation really entertaining, and am very amused by the type of folks who do it.

We then traveled on to the James J. Hill House, James J. Hill was a railroad baron who was responsible for building the Pacific-northwest railway, and eventually partly responsible for uniting most of the major rail roads in the mid-west, rockies, and pacific-northwest.

As you can imagine, it was quite the house:

Five stories and all, this house was lavishly built. Unfortunately the Minnesota Historical Society, opted not to fill the house with period furniture (since they didn't have a lot of the original furniture), so the rooms seemed quite empty, with a table here and a chair there from the original house. That said, it's for sure worth seeing. The house is very impressive and consumes the cliff area, by the cathedral in St. Paul.

A good time was had by all. Mandi left this morning, and now I'm studying for a Liturgical Year test.

Later!

P.S. Did you know that the Bulgarian Orthodox didn't accept the 16th century Gregorian 10 day skip to correct the calendar until the 20th century?

Monday, October 22, 2007

The journey continues. . .

I had this conversation at work today:

Me: Did you hear my news?
Bookkeeper: No?
Me: I've decided to stay (at my job) for the spring semester.
Bookkeeper: Good news! I thought you were going to tell me you're getting married!
Me: Could you imagine me clandestinely having a relationship all year and not saying anything until I'm getting married?

Oh the pained irony!

Well, if you haven't heard yet, I've passed the application steps and have been nominated to an ESL teaching program in French-speaking West Africa. I'm joining the peace corps, that is if my physical, optical, dental, urine, blood, tb, mental health tests turn out alright. I'll be staying in central Minnesota for (ick) 6 more months. Then it's off to africaland.

So . . .
First things first. . .
1. Finish the semester. I received an awful grade on a paper last week that I'm just not over yet. I need to do really well on everything else in this class in order to graduate on time.
2. Learn my recital. March 1st! I need to memorize my rep and put on a good show!
3. Learn French! I'm not sure why they're sending me to a country where French is required, knowing I've had none. The funny thing is that I (using a dictionary) passed my French requirement in undergrad, never having studied the language before. Fortunately, I love languages and still remember much of my 6 semesters of italian. Here's hoping the French comes to me!

I don't know what to expect. I'm worried that something will come up on my medical tests and this wont happen. I think I force myself to think negatively, so I'm not disappointed by failure. What a`nasty way to live.

Anyway, to top off a stressful semester, my computer is in the lenovo shop because the screen isn't working. I'm working on the old laptop which is sort of like squeezing juice out of an orange. Every time I turn it one I get a little bit of computing action before it stalls, but every time it's less time than before. Ick.

That's all I got. Hopefully more about my decision to do 2 years of service is to come!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A poem on faith

It's a rainy, cold day in central Minnesota and I'm about to sit through a day of classes at the school of theology. Here's a little poem I wrote to celebrate:


do i see virgin visions

or bleeding busts

or is the god tumor in my head

infecting my fluidity

do i see silent streets

affecting lovelessness

or do walkers-by

sense too my absence

to be beloved by christ

we must be alone in christ

to gather in christ

to be together again

how sweet is Jesus

like cane or beets or honey

or perhaps like aspartame and sucralose

incubating god-tumors in my head

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Armonica!

When Mandi and I were in Philedelphia, we got to see a real live armonica being played in the Franklin Museum.

In case you're unfamiliar with armonicas - basically Ben Franklin took the idea of sounding wine classes with a wet finger, and applied it to a keyboard like instrument.

Of course, Wikipedia is here for you if you have any questions. . .

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Eikon's Cursed Sweater




As most of you know, Eikon has been working on a sweater for me for over a year. As most of you also know, much has happened since then, and the dreaded sweater curse has gone into effect!

What curse you ask? Well, for those of you who are not avid knitters, the Wikipedia article on the Sweater Curse is very well written. In fact, it reads like an actual encyclopedia article, which I find immensely amusing.
Knitters use the term Sweater Curse or the Curse of the Love Sweater to describe a situation in which a knitter gives a hand-knit sweater to a significant other, who quickly breaks up with the knitter.[1] In an alternative formulation, the relationship will end before the sweater is even completed
Our situation falls under the second category, because, of course, it has not yet been completed.

The author even goes through the effort of offering proposed mechanisms:
  • Unlucky timing. Knitting a sweater takes a long time, and the relationship dies of natural causes during its making.[10]
  • Rescue mission. The knitter senses subconsciously that the relationship is about to end, and knits a sweater as a dramatic gesture to save it.
  • Catalyst for analyzing the relationship. Giving or receiving a significant gift such as a sweater may cause either the giver or receiver to evaluate the relationship.[5] For example, the gift may seem too intimate, too domestic or too binding to the significant other. It can be seen as a signal that makes them realize that the relationship is not reciprocal, prompting them to end the relationship before it involves obligations.[10][11]
  • Aversion. The significant other may simply not want to wear anything hand-knit.[3] A hand-knit sweater can also subject them to ridicule, either because the sweater looks bad (i.e., poorly made or unfashionable) or conveys overly domestic connotations.[4][10][11]
  • Misdirected attention. The knitter loves their sweater a little too much, and pesters the significant other about the sweater instead of working on their relationship.[10] Alternatively, the knitter loves to knit too much, and spends too much time with their knitting instead of with the significant other.
  • Delusion. The knitter imagines incorrectly that their significant other likes them, and is not disillusioned before knitting the sweater and giving it to them.
Oh dear me! Should we even venture a guess! Of course not! Clearly, despite what this academic says, there is no mechanism. It's simply a curse. An age old curse. . .

Monday, October 1, 2007

And here I am with little to say. . .

I think that I'm getting a little burnt out. I'm ready to be done with my M.A. Had I been as smart as my sisters, I would have taken a year or two break before going back to academia. Oh well, here I am almost done.

The job hunt isn't going very well. New jobs aren't being posted either. I heard back from one church last week in the Milwaukee area. Unfortunately we were having a hard time finding an interview slot. I do hope they'll call me back!

Thinks are fine with Eikon, we are slowly seperating our lives and starting to think about the "big move" in January. It's a little easier for him, because he knows he'll be moving into the Cities. I'm not sure where I'll be moving!

Anyway, a video from our trip out east to share with you. . . this show the infinite coal fire under Jason's hometown.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Going, going. .. still going. . .

This weekend I celebrated 25 pounds. I don't mean to be vain, but I thought I would share the before:

And after


not too bad, I just have to stick with it.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Long time no blog. . .

I was chastized today by Eikon for having asserted my own blog independence and then failing to post for quite some time. So here I am.

I'm taking a full course load, running a music program at a church, and practicing like hell so that I can wrap up my work here in Lake Wobegon and hopefully be-gone in January. . . Here's hoping. I've applied for several jobs and have yet to hear back from any of them. I get a little more hopeless that I wont find a job each day. Sigh. . .

Tonight I finished the second season of Rome.


I love historical fiction of the Roman, toga-wearing sort, and this really fit the bill. Being a victim of basic cable, I used netflix to get both seasons. Yes, I'm way behind, the season ended forever ago. . .

I know that one can expect higher quality production from HBO, Bravo, etc, but this went beyond the standard. Each individual episode seemed like part of a two year long movie. The sets were perfect, the acting was exhilarating, and the plot lines were fantastically twisted, yet to the point.

Anyway, 4 stars for Rome. Check it out if you haven't seen it. Here's a promo:
..
RevMe

Friday, August 31, 2007

Hill's top ten


I thought this was kind of funny. Like a lot of Americans, I'm starting to find her a lot more loveable.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cycle

1.

Could one want more than this?

To celebrate a vision of love

Diluted by the moment?

Fleeting his way by flute-

Searching a world of youth?

And this, there isn’t anything more. . .

Time in wavy curls,

Star speckled skin,

Forested face,

Eerie eyes,

Haunt my hallow shallow soul,

A thousand too many.

Time captures me

And I have no home,

But only a fire exit;

I am afraid to spark the alarm.

2.

Whisp’ring moon breezes

Wash through the night.

Here I am with you,

Mr. Medium,

I hope you’re happy.

3.

I am planted deep, deep down,

In mud without air or water.

Never to be food on table,

Not even relish or fodder.

Here I decay with charmed poise

Fertilizing the fallow clay.

Cozy as is the dark,

I can’t help but long for day.

4.

Sometimes in joy, love withers,

Sometimes in ecstasy, intimacy dries up. . .

A fine powder of heart and blood,

Red flour.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Trip Home






It was a really great roadtrip - despite the hours of driving - and I'm especially hoping now, that I will end up back in D.C.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Road Trip!

Mandi, Jason and I have been on a road trip since Thursday. Check out the pictures.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I imagine that before this picture is posted i will have eaten all of my freshly picked favorite

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blessed Virgin Who?


I worked on this painting today. I'm not pleased.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cool summer mornings

Well - I'm pulling off Goal #1 pretty well. Here's a cheese ball romantic poem I whipped up this morning.

Cool summer mornings remind me of fall
and I wonder -
"Will there be one at all?"

(Forest greens turned orange and red
fallen on ground-
mother earth's frozen winter bed)

Let's put off the eschaton a year or two
so as we wait
I can search for you.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Genesis - A cycle

I've decided to start using the bible as my muse for a bit. Here's the first piece.

Genesis - I. The Mess

Once upon a time, an old man
with flaming white beard and shiny forehead
was unsatisfied with his divinity.

He threw down his newspaper,
With an extra thrust
to emphasize
his lonely despair,
"bang,"
knocking his coffee into his
├ęclair.

He said, "Well that's alright."

Breathing life into the mess,
he cultivated a mold of
trees and bushes and brush.

He said, "not too bad."

Thinking himself silly,
and not wanting No one to see,
he covered the mess up with
the newspaper.
He took a few deep breaths,
and began to wonder,
what exactly was that that he saw.
he lifted the newspaper.
light spilled onto the mess.
Dark.
Light.
"Peak a boo," he said, "pretty nice, pretty nice."


Beginning to enjoy himself,
he grabbed some crackers
and crumbled them into
the recipe.
The creatures grew and multiplied
like the mold.

"That'll do."

What else, what else, he thought.
he knew he must finish his little project.
He looked over his shoulder to make sure
No one wasn’t watching.
He nibbled on his fingernail,
ripping off a piece and dispatching it
into the tiramisu.
The clippings danced and kissed
And loved.


"Even better."

Refilling his coffee cup,
the Man sat back and watched,
giggling at his art.
(perhaps they could put it in the Louvre
by the suitcase filled with feces)

Fruit was eaten that shouldn't be eaten
and sin was born,
"are clothes that bad?"
after generations of belly crawling
and dirt eating
and brother killing
and blood soaked soil,
the man looked quizzically at the
the disaster and laughed.

It was filled and subdued,
spilling over, weighed down.
Creatures were killed and resources
were depleted.

The tribes of Ishmael and Cain
flourished and so did haters
and prophets were born and so were
homos and buddahs and mohameds and jesuses.

Crusades and jihads and
slaves were taken.
A wild world grew rampant with
philosophy and math and rabbis and preachers.

"This is Good."

II. Noah
He baptized the world with watery death
uniting the faithful as one wet, grumpy clan.
700 tired years he had, need he 700 more
to accomplish his dreams?
Were not 30 or 50 or 200 enough?
His sacrifice was not in burnt offerings
but in shoveling dung on that stinky ship.

III. Sarah
Sarah,
why'd you do it
with so many men?
Was it for prosperity
or for kicks?

Was it your body
or his?

"Blessed be the God of Abraham"
or "blessed be you
who made the man rich in gold
and offspring"
(like the stars)?

Yes Sarah!
Blessed
are
you,
a simple woman
who birthed a nation.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Virgin Bag Lady


An Old Lady at my chuch apparently left the virgin mare and a few bags of flowers by the door to the library and ran off to catch daily Mass. They'll catch up later.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

the new me

I imagine most of our friends by know that Eikon and I are in the breakup process. This has been very hard for both of us. It's much of my own doing - I've been meeting with a counselor lately and thinking a lot about my future. My intuition tells me that I've made the right decision. Time will tell. After 3.5 years, it was a hard decision to make.

Anyway. I guess by starting the blog, it seems that I'm going to change myself drastically. That's not what I'm trying to do. I just want to evolve into a better, more creative, happier person.

This is still a blog and will include my regular thoughts, findings, art, oddities, and experiences. At the same time, I want to talk a lot about my goals and plans. I submit them to you for ideas and advice on the long road ahead.

Goal #1
To rediscover my inner-artist. I feel like I've lost a part of me over the last 4 years. I want to write more poetry, music, paint and draw. I've never been a fantastic craftsman, but I've always felt that my body is a host to a very fluid creative spirit. Wish me luck!