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Kitty Alarm

Cat walks across human's face.
Human pushes cat away.
Cat puts cold nose on human's forehead.
Human pushes cat away (tiny expletive sneaks out).
Cat starts knocking anything not nailed down off of dressers onto floor.
Human turns on light and gives evil glare.
Cat responds with profound purring all over human's face.
Human gets up, pours fresh food and water for cat.
Cat ignores both.
Human puts hand on bed to crawl back in and feels ickiness.
Cat had puked in human's warm bed spot.
Human strips bed, gives pukey cat plenty of attention, and tries to go back to sleep.
Cat walks across human's face.
Human pushes cat away...
...and so it goes, until human's actual alarm goes off at 6:30.

This comic, courtesy of Mentor Pam, gives you a visual, in case you were having a hard time picturing these early morning happenings at The Stanford House.


Surprise! It's me!

I pulled into the driveway at 355 The Drive just as Dad and Christina came walking up over the crest of the hill from the cabin. My entrance couldn't have been more perfect if I had planned it. Rolling down the window I yelled out, "Surprise! It's me!"
Dad laughed, shook his head and said, "You just couldn't help yourself, could you?"
"Nope. I mean, really. Did you expect me to stay at home knowing you guys were all up here without me?" After hugs, they rattled off the dinner menu: ribeyes, scallops, squash, garlic toast, salad, blueberries with cantalope for dessert. Standard fare for a grilled fall meal at the cabin and I was just in time.
Fall is a few weeks ahead that far north and the colors were spectacular. The sunshine that had accompanied me on my 2.5 hour drive disappeared as we drank wine on the deck, looking at the lake. Later as everyone climbed under wool blankets a storm blew in, bringing rain just in time to lull us all to sleep. A perfect evening.

(Sidenote: Pictures taken on my cell, again. Sorry for the quality! My camera battery is finally charged and ready to go for better pics in the future.)


Non-traditional Retreats

There are certain places I go when I just need a little pick-me-up. Last night when I told my sister I was feeling a little lonely she said, "Maybe you should go to Walgreens and wander the aisles." Either I've gotten really predictable or she knows me way to well.
A round up of my random retreat places:
Retreat #1: Half Price Books. I love the smell of books that have already been read and when I am surrounded by words it feels ok to just be silent.
Retreat #2: Hardware stores with paint sections. Ok this might sound shady, but flipping through the little tabs of color chips always calms me down. I love the almost chalky texture of the paper they use and reading the names, "Tuscan beige, Suede, Poolside Blue, Cotton bloom."
Retreat #3: Walgreens. The current favorite.
First I browse the beauty section. Something about the rows of nailpolish always makes me want to sit down on the ground to scan the reds, yellows, purples. I pick up random glass bottles to test tiny little blips on my thumbs.
Next comes hair products. I think I have smelled almost every shampoo and conditioner that Walgreens carries. Just be careful because if you squeeze the bottles too hard to get the smell out, you might get a little of it on your nose. Not like I've ever done that.
After that: the empty travel bottles. Opaque sherbert colored bottles just waiting to be filled up with anything you want. The possibilities!
Then I loop around the back of the store, ending up in first aid section. I stop to play with Nexacare products, the superheroes of the bandaid section (not to be confused with bandaids that actually have superheroes on them). Heating packs are always a good time--some of them even have cool patterned covers.
Heading back to the front, I swing through office supplies to drool over multicolor packs of Sharpies and fresh packs of paper. Then it's time to slip into the candy aisle for a pack of mint Ghiradelli squares.
The check-out area is also a trove of goodies; last minute magazines, sweet droopy roses (Only $3.99 a stem!), and ever shrinking mints in fancy tins.
I don't even need to buy anything. Just being there under the flourescent lights, exploring the aisles, makes me feel a little better. I have no idea why.


Mangled feet

Eight blisters. Band aids on every toe but the big guys. How does this happen to an experienced high heel-er? Two hours spent traipsing around medical buildings on tours, that's how. On my way back to the office I took the back route around the Radisson and slipped my shoes off for a few blissful minutes of walking. The cool cement felt like a glorious icepack on my bright red toes. Putting my sling-backs on again was excruciating but I was convinced if I left them off much longer some VP would pass me on the way to a VIP meeting, notice me all BIP (barefoot in public) and put me on the "Dufus going nowhere" list. So, back on the weapons of torture went and I hobbled the rest of the way. Moral of the story? Not sure yet, perhaps that I should keep a pair of flats in my purse or that heels over 2" should come with some lidocaine. Either way, ouch.


'ickity split interview

No, I didn't forget the "L," I meant to say 'ickity. Last night on my way home from work the cold that is going around hit me so hard that I ended up going through an entire box of kleenex in one night. I got the 'ick. Of course, this was right after a reporter from MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) called and asked if he could interview me about my poem and the Everyday Sidewalk project. OF course. It's hard to say which was greater: my excitement or my fear of sounding like my nose had been cut off on national radio. Yes, you heard me right, national. The story is for a show called "Weekend America" which is nationally syndicated and runs throughout the country. Right now it looks like it will be aired on Saturday, October 4th to coincide with the release party for the book.
Turns out my fears were unfounded and the reporter said my voice sounded great. We did the interview standing over one of the stampings of my poem, which happens to be almost within walking distance of my house, in front of the St. Mark's parking lot. (Sidenote: Yes, MJI, the St. Mark's behind your apartment where you go to church every Sunday. Let me know when you go check it out.)
Overall it was a very overwhelming experience and totally tuckered me out. Or maybe that's the combination of the 'ick and my anti-'ick medicines. Either way, I'm going back to bed.


"Don't leave me!"

Pretty sure that's what Ebbie was trying to say here.

Sidenote: Sorry for 1) the awful quality...the picture is from my cell since my camera battery died and I can't find the charger at the moment and 2) the brevity of the post...I woke up feeling a bit 'ick and am saving my words for the paper I have to write tonight (turns out I am as much of a procrastinator in grad school as I was in undergrad)


Everyday Sidewalk

A few months ago Mom found a poetry contest going on in St. Paul and encouraged me to enter. The day before the deadline. After scrounging through some of my writing I pulled together three poems that met the strict guidelines on length: no more than 300 characters including spaces. Winners' poems would be stamped in sidewalks around the city, trying to bring intentional, artful words into our communities where we are constantly bombarded with language through the media. All summer I've been trying to find out where my poem was printed but the project only has one worker, the St. Paul artist in residence, and until today I had no idea if and where in the city people were walking over my poem. Waiting at my desk was an article from a co-worker who recognized my words in Sunday's Minneapolis Star Tribune. My name isn't mentioned, but I don't even care--I know it is me and now, so do you! I was going to wait until after making a trip to the sidewalk and taking pictures but now is as good a time as any to show you my work

Picture by David Brewster, Star Tribune
Stumbling across poetry in St. Paul
Available at:
Last update: September 19, 2008 - 2:21 PM

By Laurie Hertzel

Walking my dog through my St. Paul neighborhood on a rainy Sunday, I looked down and saw a poem. Right there in the sidewalk, at the corner of Grotto and Ivy.

A whimsical, unsigned poem embedded in the concrete. This hadn't been scrawled by a vandal with a stick; this was professionally done, nicely lettered, carefully pressed into wet cement.

Bad day

The red lid unscrewed

from the jar of extra crunchy

almost empty

and the full, mounded spoon

half shoved in my mouth

says it all --

I don't want to talk.

The poem is one of 20 that have started appearing in sidewalks since July. The project is the brainchild of Marcus Young, St. Paul's artist in residence, who was looking for ways to incorporate art into everyday projects.

And what could be more everyday than a sidewalk? He got together a group, held a competition, chose 20 poets, and teamed up with the Department of Public Works.

Already these 20 poems have shown up in about 50 places all over town, with a goal of 100 by the time sidewalk repair season ends.

The poems have also been published in a book, with a release party to be at 1 p.m. Oct. 4 at St. Stephanus Church, 739 Lafond Av., St. Paul. The project is funded by the nonprofit group Public Art St. Paul and a STAR grant.

Of course, I didn't know any of this as I stood in the drizzle, Riley snuffling at the wet leaves. I just read the poem and walked on, smiling at what felt like a secret gift, an unexpected and delightful surprise.


Gettin the heck outta Dodge

Ok, so I'm getting the heck out of St. Paul anyway. Off to visit the BFF in Iowa and I'm on the road for most of the day, hence the cop-out quotes post. I do want to say that these aren't just random quotes that I find floating around and decide to throw on here. The ones I post struck me in one way or another, as meaningful, insightful, or just plan ole funny. Some are from conversations with friends, others from books, famous people, etc etc etc.
Enjoy! I know I did.
(sidenote: if you have any quotes to share, send them my way, I love getting good ones!)

"Slackering is what makes us American." -Wade

"If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be too cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down." - Annie Dillard (author)

"I'm not hungry at all but I am I am starving." -Anneabellarina Satterstrom

Chat from Paul:
-So dad wanted to switch cars today. He is not at home. I am. He didn't specify which cars he would like to switch so I'm going to go ahead and take the Porshe
-Dang it
-He just walked in
-No Porshe

Not sure what the point is of having some decorative feathers sticking out of the back of your shoe, other than to make people think you've stood on a bird. - queen michelle's shoe blog

"Its so cold in Target I have to shave my legs everytime I leave." -a co-worker

"Love the moment. Flowers grow out of dark moments. Therefore, each moment is vital. It affects the whole. Life is a succession of such moments and to live each, is to succeed." - Sister Mary Corita Kent (artist and Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary)

"Hey Mom, Kelsey forgot to stop by and pick up and paint."
"How is that possible? I put it right outside the front door in plain view!"
"No, Mom, she forgot to stop by. It doesn't matter where you put it, if she wasn't there she wouldn't have seen it no matter what."
"Oh. Right."

From two emails at work:
"There is an email going around claiming to have something to do with webmail (please see below). It is NOT legitimate and please just delete it (on tipoff is they spell upgrade "Upgarde" in the subject line)."
"Oops. Thanks for catching this, Caley. I thought I had made the change. Always good to have two sets of eyes on these thinks."

"I just bought a state fair coupon book for $4!"
"Cool, Dad. Is that why you called me at work?"
"Lets see whats in here. Handmade llama dolls: $6 coupon. Henna kids: $4 off. bark cider: $1.50 off. OOO Pancake on a stick, $2 discount. Mini donuts: $2 off. Oooo, Crepes, large size $1.50 off.
"Dad, I don't know that I need to hear everything in the book right now, I'm working."
"Well so am I but I'm looking to see if there is anything you like. You like crepes, right?"
"Yes, but cheese curds are my favorite. Any coupons for those?"
"No, but crepes are $2 off."
"Thanks, Dad."

Breakroom Conversation
"Thats a pretty it cold in your office?"
"No, I got dressed in the dark this morning and didn't notice until I just went to the bathroom that my shirt is completely sheer and you can see my entire black bra."
"That's...haha...I'm sorry, I don't mean to laugh."
"Oh its funny. I'm kicking this shirt to the curb. Literally. ARC comes tomorrow for donations."

Katie: joe is going to get me gatorade. what a nice boy
me: i want some too please lemon lime
(20 minutes later)
me: ok SERIOUSLY now i want one. hate you. jealous.
Katie: want one what? a gatorade or a slave?
me: um, for now a gatorate. long term goal--slave.

be of love (a little) more careful
than of everything
guard her perhaps only
A trifle less (merely beyond how very)
closely than nothing
remember love by frequent
anguish (imagine
her least never with most
give entirely each
forever its freedom

(dare until a flower,
understanding ceaselessly sunlight
open what thousandth why and
discover laughing)
- e. e. cummings, be of love (a little)


Cutie pies and sand cakes

Friday night I had a hot date. And by hot date I mean I got to babysit the little ones next door. Mac and cheese with hot dogs was served by request, just like last time, and it was delicious. OK fine, I was the one who requested it, not 'S' and 'F.' 'S', the littler little one, got a second helping of said mac and cheese but after poking a finger in it, she proclaimed "TOOOOOO hot," and refused to eat.
"Sweetie, its not hot. I promise," I said, crossing my heart to show how serious I was. "It has been sitting for over half an hour cooling. Not hot."
"TOOOOOO hot." She repeated, insistently.
"Ok ok, too hot. Go ahead and blow on it, that'll cool it off." She paused for a minute, thinking over my proposition, and firmly face planted into her plate while making raspberries with her mouth. 'F' and I looked at each other, looked at 'S,' looked back at each other and burst out laughing. I thought we were both going to fall out of our chairs onto the linoleum floor. Picking her face up out of her food, 'S' joined in with her contagious giggles making us even more hysterical. After cleaning the cheese off her cheeks, 'F' and I taught her the proper way to blow on food.

Then, we packed up and went on a nature walk which ended in sand cake making at the park. The cakes were quite lovely, despite a few scuffles over who got to use which scooper and our excursion had us just the right amount of tuckered out to curl up on the couch for a movie. During the opening credits of "Old Yeller" I said, "Wow, this movie is older than I remember. Its even older than I am!" 'F' scrunched up her face and said, "That's not even possible! Was Disney even around when you were born?"

(Picture of 'S' making a 2 year old's version of sand cake)


Caution: Falling exclamation points

One rockin thing about the fact that sidenote: really has no specific theme that I have to stick to is the fact I can write blogs about total randomness. Like this.
Leaving the office yesterday I saw a sign. No, not a sign like the Ace of Base song from the early 90's, an actual sign.Pretty sure it means "Beware of falling exclamation points while performing jackknife dives into squiggly lines" but I think "Cation: falling exclamation points" might be a little more succinct.
Today at the office, nestled among artificial sweetener packets, Styrofoam cups and bags of tea in the office break room, I found this little gem: NoSalt.
So obviously, what did I do? I tried a little bit of it.

You see, it poured like salt, felt like salt, so I thought, "Why not?"
Let me tell you why not, my friends. After tasting it immediately running to the sink for water in order to keep the stuff from burning a hole through my tongue I took a closer look at the package. Turns out the packaging wasn't a modern take on an old classic look, as I thought. No no, this thing original. Investigation followed.

Scientific question: How old is the crap I just tasted?
The bottle says, "Write us for a free 21 page COLOR booklet containing recipes and tips on shaking the salt habit. Please include 25¢ for postage and handling. Allow 4 weeks for delivery."
The copyright date is 1984.
Research fact #1: Postage has not been 25¢ since 1991. Awesome.
Research fact #2: It has been a long time since having something in color was a big deal.
Research fact #3: Nothing takes 4 weeks for delivery anymore
Research fact #4: The copyright date on the jar is 1984.
The crap I just tasted is at least 17 years old.
The crap I just tasted might even be 24 years old which would make the crap I just tasted older than I am. The crap I just tasted is going to be thrown away.
Following that office break room discussion, I think it is appropriate to bring up the fact that there is a bag of microwave popcorn in our office freezer. Why, I ask you, WHY is there a bag of microwave popcorn in our office freezer? Does it keep it fresher? Am I missing out on some universal truth about frozen microwave popcorn? This summer I learned from Sal that one can put shoes in the freezer to eliminate stinkiness. Does this somehow relate to popcorn as well? What if I like its smell?
Since Sal seems to know about these things, I told her about the popcorn and that it disturbs me. She didn't have an aswer for me but in her infinite wisdom, she suggested we start putting other weird things in there too. Like pasta. Or a cassette tape. Perhaps we could even find a cassette tape as old as the NoSalt. Hmm.


Response to an article

This morning I had a silly little post all cooked up in my head and was going to write it as soon as I had my tea and checked the news. Instead, there is something not-so-silly that I need to write about, just to get it off my chest.
In the Minneapolis Star Tribune today there is an article called "9/11 wrought violence of another kind." It is about a woman named Valarie Kaur, who at 20 years old took a leave from her studies at Stanford to travel across the country and "gather stories inspired by hate crimes and violence against Sikh Americans following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks" (Collins). Her journey included visiting the site of the murder of a Sikh immigrant named Balbir Singh Sodhi. His murderer acted out of revenge for the September 11Th attacks on the United States. The film has already won many awards and recognition world wide and is being screened tonight at Macalester College in St. Paul. A dean from the college said, "[Kaur's] message is to overcome hate while providing hope." (Collins) From what I have just read about the film, I agree with with the dean.
Then, I scrolled down the page and read the comments left by other readers of the article. All eight of the comments left as of 8:30 this morning were bashing the film, Kaur, and Muslims in general. They spoke of Muslims forcing their beliefs on others and practicing a religion of murder. Others said they believed the Muslim victims of the crimes had gotten what they deserved and even, perhaps, deserved more violence. Continuing on, they lashed out at the filmmaker saying that her opinions were that of an elitist on a privileged mission.
The vengeance and hate in these comments made me dizzy. What is the proper response to a group of people who are that angry? I don't know. I do know that it scares me that there is that much animosity bubbling beneath the surface of our every day lives. How will our country ever heal from the tragedy of September 11Th if we continue fighting against each other? Again, I don't know. If eight years later there is still this much conflict, then time does not seem to be a strong enough salve. I don't know the answer. I don't know how we resolve these issues and I didn't start writing about this to figure it out. I just wrote because I had to, to start sorting out my thoughts and to try to calm myself down after reading about all that anger. It makes me want to give someone a hug, bring flowers to a cemetary, say a prayer; something to counteract all that hate with a little gentleness. So, maybe that is where I will start, somewhere small, because I don't have the big answers. I wish I did.

Collins, Terry. "9/11 wrought violence of another kind."
Minneapolis Star Tribune. 15 Sept 2008. Available


Famous on purpose

I have a knack for being accidentally famous. It started in second grade when a picture of me at the Easter egg hunt appeared on the front page of the small town Crosby paper. Recent cameos include being pictured twice on the front page of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. First the photogs got me waving from a paddle boat on the Mississippi where I worked during college. Then, about a year later they got me stepping out of a dressing room at Lula's vintage shop. Apparently my shock and confusion at the flash in my face came off as disarming. Don't forget my cameos at the University of St. Thomas in a campaign video, several catalogs and the infamous "Bulletin Today" sidebar picture (sidenote: one week it was my top half and the next week it was just my shoes from the same picture. Weird or awesome? Hard to say.) Let's see, what else? A photo of me at O'Gara's recently made it into the cathedral's newsletter and I was also quoted at the Minneapolis More to Life website.
What do all of these random appearances add up to? Ridiculousness. It isn't like I ever actually DO anything to merit acknowledgment. Until recently.
One of my co-workers, Sally, has a fabulous fashion blog called Already Pretty that I open up and ready every morning when I get to work right after making my oatmeal and checking the weather. Not only does she give great advice, she has an engaging writing style that keeps me going back for more. Guess what the topic was on Saturday? Me. And there are picture. On purpose pictures. The topic was how peoples' styles evolve through life and how amazed she is by people whose style evolves at a younger age. I was the example she used as one such youngin'. She said such nice things about me that I keep going back to the site to make sure I didn't imagine it all. On top of that, her readers heaped on a few more compliments that still have me blushing.
I guess what I really want to say is that I am honored that someone actually picked me on purpose this time. Thank you, Sal. This is the best famous I've ever had.

Sally's blog:
The article: Evolution Speeds Up


On a lighter note...Things I love right NOW

Two heavy posts in a row means it is time for something fun. Like "Things I love right NOW."
Did you know unicorns really do exist? Ok not REALLY really, but the animal researchers think people used to believe was the unicorn has recently been photographed for the first time ever in the wild. Check it out.

Not like I have any reason to be checking photographers (no really, I have no reason, I'm not being coy), this one knocks my socks off. One question though: they do pet photography but I see no photos of cats. Does that qualify as discrimination?

Even if it doesn't, this quote from overheardinminneapolis definitely does. Come on now people, lets try to be a little less ignorant?

Speaking of ridiculous quotes, how about on The Hills when Stephanie and Lauren had a deep discussion about Stephanie's pet hampster. I mean guinea pig. I this:

Sticking with the video theme, this seriously cracks me up.

Two of the funniest things, in my opinion, are the fact that the photog (presumably the kids mom) just laughs while the strange woman at the door helps the kid up. Also, why don't they mention the lion cub floundering around the doorstep? Missed opportunities, AFV.

Back to things I don't really need to be checking out...I heart these pillows. A LOT. Someone (cough Sister cough) take note so that when I actually do need to be checking out things like photographers and ring pillows I can get the one of these, ok?

Happy weekend, folks.


Yesterday: Sept. 11th

Grabbing my umbrella in a rush to get to lunch on time I hear whispers coming from a huddle of people: "...pancreatic cancer...terminal...six months." Riding downs in the mirrored elevator I stare at my reflection. The whispers are about a sweet woman I don't know well, but she the first one to welcome me the morning I started my job. I pull my shawl more snugly around my shoulders.
In the turn around in front of my copper paneled building, Shannon's car is already waiting for me. Her hug and John Thomas' happy gurgles from the carseat in back take some of the chill out of me and we chat our way to the resturaunt. As we unload the little one and his diaper bag, Shan describes their trip to Spain. She pauses mid-sentance, "--and you know I'm pregnant again, right?" My eyes get huge and I shake my head with my mouth half open, half smiling. "Oh," she laughs, "I can't even remember who I have told! I'm due in six months."
Trooping through the rain toward the back entrance of the bistro I feel off balance, like when you step off of a moving walkway onto sedentary ground and trip your way forward, trying to adjust from the shift.
Lunch passed uneventfully, with John Thomas throwing napkins, bread and silverwear on the floor while Shannon and I caught up over kebobs and vegetable pie.
Back at my desk, as tears peppered the office, I start thinking; six months. The watch on my wrist feels heavy, like its rotating hands are pushing me through the day but I was the one who wound its movements that morning so who was really pushing whom?
I hit pause on my scattered thoughts to take a breath and dig my nails into my arms, trying to feel like I am really here in this minute, alive. There is no point in dissecting the future. I'll just jump into the moment I have and pray for the rest.

Counting blessings

Lately when I go sleep under my killer organic sheets with my ceiling fan whirring away making white noise and my cat curled up on the top of my head, I find myself thinking, "Does it get any better? I have everything. What more could I ask for?" Then the next day always seems to bring more joy, excitement, and learning. So that night I have to think the same thing again, "No really, does it get any better?"
The fam is in good health and I get to spend lots of time with them in person and online.
My roof hasn't blown off in over a year and my home is often filled with friends. I am getting a new roommate and she seems wonderful! She has even promised not to pilfer my steak knives like the last one did.
Work gets me excited and I actually look forward to going to the office, even on Mondays. Mostly.
Grad school is rockin and the people I've met so far all seem to have life stories that could fill dozens of best-selling novels.
Sometimes I almost feel guilty about how great everything is going for me, as if I should pad the truth when people ask how I'm doing, but I am so happy I don't think I could hide it if I tried.
I am so blessed, in so many ways.


Ebbie does exist

Since there was recently some discussion as to the lack of stories about Ebbie on here, I thought I would post some proof that I do indeed have a cat. I couldn't resist adding pictures of some of my favorites peoples' favorite pets.

Ebony Fifi Manlolo (aka Ebbie) makes me laugh. A lot. Like when she plays on my bed, loses her balance and falls backward. Ok, I know it sounds cruel but I promise it is funny. See?
Plus, after she falls, and yes it happens fairly often, she always pops right back up and tries to act all nonchalant like nothing happened. Almost funnier than the fall.
Another one of her favorite tricks? Turning herself into a cat burrito. Sometimes Sister gets company at work from lady Bella, the french bulldog, who waits very patiently for an opportunity to snatch up her treat. Sister also had the pleasure of bringing Daisy DePierro to work with her when she was a baby. Convenient that she didn't take up much more room than the basic office supplies. One of Daisy's favorite pastimes is cuddling with her big sister, Sashie. Cuddling must be a "Daisy" thing because Mentor Pam's kitten Daisy's favorite thing to do is hang out with her brother, Spike. Daisy is the brains of the operation while Spike is pretty sure his full name is either "Spike NO" or "Spike stop-you'll-hurt-yourself." They (usually) manage to stay out of the way of their chaperone, the grown up cat Monkey.

And finally, one last video. This may explain part of why making the bed is such a challenge for me on a regular basis.

(Ebbie pictures and videos by me...sorry about the quality, they are from my cellphone. Other pictures courtesy of Sister and Mentor Pam)


Crazy dream

Some people don't remember their dreams. I usually do. This is what I was up to last night in a very stream-of-consciousness-exactly-how-I-remember-it kind of way.

my mom made me go on this retreat through my elementary school st. joes but i really didn't want to go so she said she would go with me but i had no time to pack so i just threw some stuff in my old purple backpack from high school which actually went to goodwill several years ago and i went to the school to catch the bus but the grounds were being renovated and i didn't recognize anything so i couldn't find my mom or the buses and i kept running in circles trying to get around the giant pits that were being dug for the foundations and eventually i had to ask the construction workers but they didn't speak english but all of a sudden i found the busses on my own so we all got loaded onto them when suddenly i realized i had forgotten to pack any clothes and i was wearing a bright neon green t-shirt and i told my mom i refused to wear it all week because it was so ugly and everyone would notice that i had it on for a week because of the color so she told me to go home and get my clothes but barb who was the dance studio owner from when i was 3 was outside the bus with a megaphone counting down until we had to leave so i left and literally ran all the way to my parents house from st. joes which would normally be a few miles only st. joes wasn't where st. joes actually is it was where emmanual luthern school is and that is only a few blocks from my parents so i could actually run that far and when i got home i packed all of my things and ran back but again i couldn't find my bus because the two busses had split up and they made me to go the one my mom wasn't on and it was hidden and then when i got there the only place there was room was in the very back i got on and opened my bag to get my ipod out and ebbie was in there so i told the bus driver he had to stop and go back to the house so i could drop the cat off but when we got there both garage doors were open which somehow signalled my dad was home but i couldn't find him and every time i put ebbie down she ran back outside to get on the bus because she didn't want to be left behind and eventually i got her in the house and turned on the alarm system and ran back to the bus again and when i got on i was so out of breath and annoyed that i said "holy sh$%" and the bus got really quiet and everyone looked at me because you're not allowed to swear on retreat so i got kicked out and went home and took a nap and i was happy because i didn't want to go in the first place


Old lady moment

"So how was your weekend, Caley?"
"It was great but I'm exhausted. It was my friend's bachelorette party Saturday night and I swear, I'm already getting to old to be going out like that."
"Haha, I know the feeling. It just isn't the same as it was when you were 23 and right out of college."
"Um, well I am 23."
"Oh. [giant pause] So...where did you guys go for the party?"


Things I love right NOW

Surprise fall farmers market flowers

Snuggly cat on a chilly morning

Sidenote: anniversary cupcakes left at my doorstep
When the sky has eyes

A happy engagement ring


Wrong number

Sometimes when I answer the phone and someone says, "Oh I'm sorry, wrong number!" I have the urge to yell back, "FINE! I didn't want to talk to you either."
But I hold back.
At least until after I hang up.
(picture from Google images)

Brain food

When Sister was younger she heard that fish was good for your brain so the night before big tests at school she would ask Mom to fix tuna for dinner.
Today is my first day of grad school.
Last night I ate salmon.
Think it'll work?


When "Once upon a time" came true

Once upon a time I met a boy. He had a serious face but the smile of a giant. When you walked next to him, if you listened very carefully you could almost hear his mind whirring with hypotheses and math equations. But, if you leaned in even closer, you could hear his heart thumping with so much love I sometimes worried it would knock him over. He was the kind of boy who noticed things, everything, from perfect lighting sprinkled on a sidewalk, to the way a girl wore her eyeliner.
Once upon a time, at almost the same time, I also met a girl. She had a spirit that shimmied above a crowd, daring people to take a chance and look up at the sky. Every step by her side led to moments full of adventure and wonder, afternoons that could have inspired children's books. When she laughed, she became a child again, spinning in circles with her head thrown back to let the air cradle her hair. She was the kind of girl who never sat still, and whose eyes were always open in hope, lined in kohl.
One day, the boy imagined a magical owl. He told me the owl would fly through his window to bring him him the answers to his wishes, even the ones he hadn't spoken aloud. He knew that such an imaginary bird could never exist, so he stopped talking about it and went back to studying science.
Even though the boy had stopped talking about his dream, I realized I knew the perfect person to make the boy's owl become real. I told the girl she had to find a bird to give to a boy who needed it, but not just any bird, an owl. The girl didn't understand why, but she trusted me when she heard it had to do with love and faith, and maybe a little bit of magic too.
After searching and searching, the girl found a perfect, little, white owl. She brought it to the boy, even though she had never met him before. He took the owl and named it Genevieve. He kept her in his room even though he was too old for stuffed animals; it was a reminder of the girl with the dark rimmed eyes.
Over time, I watched boy and the girl became a pair, bringing out the best in each other. An anchor and a dancer, they taught each other how to stand in the stillness and to move in the music.
One night, five years after the girl had given the boy an owl, he gave her back a gift that made her cry with happiness: a ring. She took the ring, put it on her finger and said, "Yes." On that day the boy's dream finally became real; a magical owl had made his wishes come true.
The end (and happy beginning).

Alex and Mykala, I still remember the exact moment I thought to myself, "They would be perfect together!" The way you have grown and found strength in each other inspires me and makes me believe that fairy tales really do exist in real life. It is an honor to be friends with both of you and to have been there from the very beginning to see you fall in love. Congratulations on your engagement!
Love you both.

(Can I say "I told you so," now? )
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Sidenote by Sidenote Cal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at