May's Top Ten

Friend S. continued this wonderful tradition (started by her Friend J.) of writing a periodic Top Ten (maybe monthly) to share noteworthy things that have happened in a short period of time. Events and feelings--when separated--may seem rather inconsequential but when cataloged can make one cognizant of patterns.

Here is my list for May.
(Unnumbered and in completely random order)

Dancing with a group of amazing women, finding that we are closer than we realized, learning so much from each of them.

The summer Ultimate Frisbee season: Go Team Bart.

The glow of yellow cork on my old ten speed’s handlebars (and the empowered feeling I had after realizing that I could put it there by myself after being told that “You know…it’s pretty hard to do that well. You should maybe have me do it—or get it done at a bike shop”…and I guess there is more empowerment here to speak of…the realization that sometimes people tell you some really mean things and sometimes you should just not invest so much in those people.)

Reprise with Joan, the wooden doll: My friend, C., made this doll to dance with while living in a village in the Czech Republic. We danced with Joan in Milwaukee about six years ago, and we danced with Joan this spring in Minneapolis. A symbolic note: Joan was indestructible when we worked with her in Milwaukee; she was also simply the color of natural wood. During the course of rehearsals, Joan lost nearly all of her limbs at one point or another and cracked her head. Joan is still around: she has been repaired with an assortment of household materials, she has been painted by children…Still Joan, still Joan, but with color and strength.

Joan’s Best Balm: A homemade gift from C. It heals things that hurt.

J.'s open mic, J.'s beautiful music, J.'s big heart.

The porch, the porch, the porch.

Hearing my Grandma tell me how she used to dance the Tango at a ballroom on Nicollet.

The return of Mr. N.—back from the world of academia.

The Sap Rising performance: two local choreographers celebrating spring naked one Saturday night in the Merriam Park neighborhood of St. Paul.


Sometimes I just want to write, “This is what I did today; this is what I felt, noticed, heard”—just to tell you.

Sometimes I am torn by the conflict between public and private writing, a conflict that, to me, seems exacerbated by the very idea of a blog…and I stop.


Yikes. What a week. A list of sorts: I spent a day at a symposium, learning about digital repositories; this made me eager to advocate for this topic within my own place of employment. I started the summer Ultimate season. I got lost on the way to work. Yes, this is true. I went to drop off a key for J. and found myself completely guessing as to how to get onto the freeway in order to drive in the correct direction. I thought I might save time and search ahead (i.e. east) for an entrance ramp instead of backtracking west. Unfortunately, I only found 55E—and was stuck on this road in traffictraffic (I love this doubling effect with words—some local choreographers’ rented studio space is called SpaceSpace. My little brother, upon receiving a baby Pound Puppy for his first (Is this right? Can babies speak when they are just a year old?) birthday and being asked what its name was, replied, “Name” with great confidence in his tone of voice.). I then made a u-turn and tried, without success, to get back on 94E. Instead I found myself entering the U of M area. Then I simultaneously thought, “Go to the West Bank and turn around” but took the East Bank exit. I was quite late for work—and quite embarrassed to actually have to say that yes, I did get lost on my way to a job I have had for over two years. Rehearsal on Wednesday found us finding comfort in letting this work-in-progress piece rest (it will be performed as a work-in-progress) and discussing scary things dancers sometimes find/develop on their feet. (I used to be into feet. Someone once commented that much of my writing features prominently placed pedi-prose (although not in those words...I just made those up.)) On Wednesday night, I had to return to work to finish some last minute details before our Thursday-Friday faculty workshop. I ended up locking myself in the library’s basement until 12:30 in the morning, constantly looking over my shoulder because the elevator was running even though the library was closed. Being that on-edge makes it, um, difficult to get work done quickly. Thursday and Friday were long days. I ran into a bit of ageism—but in reverse. I need to further process the things that happened, the things that were said, to fully address the situation, but I found it rather ironic that in a two-day discussion about how to better educate a college population of traditional and non-traditional students, there was still a vague sense of some wanting only to further stress their elitist mindsets. I’ll have to elaborate on this later. We did make some headway though, and it looks like librarians and faculty will be able to successfully collaborate much more in the coming years, with hopes of graduating more information-literate students. By lunchtime today, I was squirming in my seat like a little kid. I was fantasizing about jumping up and just taking a run around campus—just over and over again until I was completely worn out. This reminded me of something we used to do with my dad. On long road trips (after our coveted (long story, maybe some other time) bathroom breaks, we would take a run around the gas station, around the rest stop, around the fast food restaurant. We would run around and around and around together until we had purged ourselves of excess energy. I remember watching my dad’s feet when he ran; I remember my mom waiting patiently in the van for her family.

And still, at twenty-seven, I will take a run around the gas station, the rest stop, the fast food restaurant on my own road trip breaks. I will make a point to visit Waffle Houses whenever I see them. I will look for out-of-the-way places and consider even non-adventures adventures. I will remind myself of my dad, my kind of traveler.

a number/a point

How many chances is too many chances?


In the last two days, I have sewn the edges of two torn strips of a large, green bedsheet, and I have wanted to hug the woman at the Minnehaha Ave. Sew What shop for sewing the edges of two others. I have doubted every decision that I can reasonably attribute to my current position in life.

I wanted to hate my imperfect sewing machine instead of hating my utter inability to both fix the broken parts and determine which parts are even broken. (I wanted to stop writing metaphorically, stop merely hinting at what I really mean. The best I can do? I’ll just say it again.) I wanted to hate my imperfect sewing machine instead of hating my utter inability to both fix the broken parts and determine which parts are even broken.

I attended one dance rehearsal where the choreographer reworked and reworked and reworked until we found ourselves—when the time was up—at the same point of not knowing--of not having something solid, or stable, or sure. I went to the second dance rehearsal and danced and laughed and secretly chided myself for not being able to successfully lead a turn with my head, for losing my balance, for forgetting.

I almost got a sewing machine needle severely lodged in my fingernail.

I said (with mock seriousness), during a discussion about plants vs. flowers as gifts, that just because I’m wearing ugly pants and messy pigtails doesn’t mean I’m incapable of picking out a nice plant. And then I wanted to hug the women I’ve been dancing with but didn’t; I’ve learned so much from each of them.

I laughed at myself and cried to myself. I drank a beer. I asked for help. I said, “No, I don’t want help.”

I told my mom that I couldn’t hear her, that her phone was breaking up, when she started hinting about the “right person” for me. I really couldn’t hear her every word, but I could hear key phrases. She laughed and said, “You’re doing that because you don’t want to hear this. You don’t want to hear this.”

In the last two days, I’ve heard people use the idiom “trial by fire” at least three times in two different settings. In the last two days, I heard the idiom “trial by fire” for the first time.


...because I can't overtly comment on this in certain places

A very real message:

"Yesterday at the IT staff training meeting for laptop returns, I
mentioned that I would be willing to lead prayer each of the next three
mornings for our staff and the university. This morning three of us
were able to share our thoughts and feeling with God about laptop
returns. We prayed for all of you who are helping with laptop returns.
Anyone is welcome to join us over the next two mornings for prayer. Do
not feel like it is mandatory you attend. Just know that we are praying
for our staff and the university as we look to go through laptop returns
with the strength of God."


So, a library story:

Today a student asked for my help. I came over to where he was sitting. We talked about what kind of information he was looking for on the way over to his computer. This student was a large football player. As we neared the tables, I could see which spot was his, and I remember finding his Diet Coke bottle rather funny. I’m not sure why I found it funny—or if there is something very wrong with my finding that funny—but I was amused. I found it hilarious. I found it rather endearing that he moved his Diet Coke bottle to the floor as we sat down. I assumed that maybe he thought he wasn’t supposed to have beverages in the library, so he wanted to keep it out of my sight. I was pleasantly surprised (although slightly annoyed that he let it ring really loudly) when he answered his cell phone and said “No, just sandwiches,” and then “Love you” to the person on the phone--all in front of the librarian. I was struck by his honesty when he said things like “Research is really stressful,” “This is a lot of work,” and “Thanks for your help.”

Then he leaned to his left, reached down for the Diet Coke bottle, and spit.


I often eat lunch in the break room with a book. (As an aside, sometimes it is a book I am actually reading; sometimes it is a book that I pull randomly off the shelf. Last week, one of these books was Bill Owens’ Suburbia. I’ll let you peruse that one yourself.) Equally as often, I heat my soup in the microwave. Because the breakroom is connected to the I.T. department’s office space (and one poor guy has to sit right next to the door, greeted by everyone’s lunch-y smells…blech I don’t know how he handles it), I try to stop the microwave right before the buzzer starts to go off (dealing with a spectrum of lunch aromas and an incessant microwave buzzer might make one irritable in my opinion). I should point out that I then take my soup to the table—without pressing the microwave’s clear button. I wouldn’t even notice that I don’t press the “clear” button if it weren’t for H. (see below). I just forget, I think. I don’t see the importance of it, and I have so many other things that I am always trying desperately to remember. So after I’ve heated my soup and am eating it, enjoying my random book of the day, I.T. worker H. will walk in and stand in the middle of the room like he is doing something important. (I used to think that he was filling a mug with coffee but have since realized that he enters and leaves the room with an empty mug. Interestingly, he holds this empty mug close to his chest; he never dangles it from a finger.) After spending a few moments moving back and forth in the middle of the breakroom, H. will walk swiftly back to the microwave in order to press the “clear” button. After he presses the “clear” button, he rushes out of the room. After months of this same scenario, I finally said “Oh, I’m sorry” in my sweetest voice and with my sweetest smile, just before he disappeared through the doorway. His response: “No problem. It happens all the time.”

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