There was something odd, and nice, about waking up this morning at about
11 and realizing that this wasn't just the luxury of a Saturday, but
that I won't have to get get up early in the morning again for a very
long time. I'm not quite as thrilled as I expected, though. Although
certainly I woke up most mornings groaning and wishing there was some
way I could sleep another hour, there's a feeling of discipline and
accomplishment somehow in getting yourself up routinely at such an early
least I'll have a job to take up some of my time, so I'll feel somewhat
purposeful for the next couple of weeks instead of lying aimlessly around
the house, although it looks like I'll have plenty of time to do that
too. I'm scheduled for all of 13 hours this week at the chocolate store.
But my hope is that these few weeks will pay off at winter break, when
I can log many hours as a manager with the accompanying hourly pay.
it won't be all bad to have a preponderance of free time in the last
weeks before school starts. Beyond the extra sleep, maybe now I'll finally
be able to get all those things done that I planned to accomplish this
is my last day of work.
is doing a debate today, and it's on MPR. Everyone in the office is
listening over the internet. Matt, upstairs, can't get it to work on
his computer, so I give him the play-by-play over IM. Paul sounds good;
he is a fighter for Minnesota and for workers, and he is an accomplished
Senator who gets things done. Coleman says that Paul never gets anything
done, because he is an extremist where bipartisanship is needed. Moore
and McGaa similarly denounce partisanship, but they otherwise agree
with Paul and generally make Coleman look bad. When it's over, we all
recap our favorite parts and smile.
a few surprise press releases to write, and I try to come up with convincing
things for Paul to say about higher education on Native American reservations.
I send out faxes. I correct e-mail addresses on our mailing lists. I
clean out my work area for the last time. I put about five envelopes
of newspaper clippings back on the shelf for whoever comes after me.
4:30, I have finished all the projects that must be done today. I look
at the tall stack of pasted newspaper clippings that I really ought
to get photocopied before I leave. I carry the pile over to the copy
room, thinking that I should've brought only half as many, that I'll
be lucky to get through a third of of them in the half-hour I have before
the room gets locked up. I start out leisurely placing the pages on
the glass, but then I begin pressing my limits, and suddenly I am making
copies as fast as I possibly can, with the crazy idea, "I'm going
to get all of these copied today!" The second I see the flash of
the page being copied, I have lifted the top and replaced it with a
new sheet. My arms are constantly in motion, moving through the patterns
until they start to ache. And when it's all over, at 4:57, I have made
copies faster than I have any right to, and I breathlessly carry them
back and file them to no fanfare whatsoever.
5:45, I am still in the office, which is becoming progressively emptier.
No one in their right mind would be at work this late, not on Friday,
not the Friday before Labor Day weekend, not the last Friday of recess.
Not unless it's the last day, and there are loose ends to tie up, and
goodbyes to say. But eventually even I leave the Hart building this
Friday, leaving an office that may disappear forever within the space
of a few months or may be there to return to for years to come.
August-- Have I ever mentioned how much I like Donahue?
not how much I like Phil Donahue, but how much I like Donahue.
The man himself is okay; there are some things I like about him and
others I don't. But it's just really refreshing to turn my TV on at
8 and see people who I'm not used to seeing on TV discussing things,
at least not very often. And topics you don't usually see discussed
either. There's something so tiresome about the talking heads that always
show up on these shows, and this is such a breath of fresh air. I'm
not being very coherent-- it's late-- but it's just good, okay?
no, I haven't gotten a call from the chocolate store yet. Let's not
talk about it.
August-- I was not contacted by the chocolate store tonight. I am
keeping in mind that Elizabet said she'd try to talk to
the district manager and would probably give me a call this
evening, and am making an admirable attempt not to come to any conclusion.
It's not a big deal. It's only six weeks worth of paychecks at a really
good job, complete with management experience, right? Who cares?
was such a wet and soggy day. I got drenched on my way in this morning,
dried off in the cold air conditioning all day, and then got soaked
again after work. Some days I can enjoy the rain, hearing it pound against
the window or even getting delightfully drenched and jumping in puddles.
But when it's pounding and windy and you're on the way somewhere and
you know that you're going to be sitting around in your soggy jeans,
it's just frustrating.
almost September. Can you believe it?
August-- I have decided that I complain about work too much. Thus,
this space will not contain the description of how this morning, I got
called downstairs and . . . .
other news, I had a job interview tonight, trying to secure gainful
employment for the next three weeks as well as for winter break. I think
it went well, but the store manager has to speak to the district manager
about hiring decisions, so I (and you) won't find out the results until
tomorrow night. I'm reluctant to count my chickens before they've hatched,
so we'll just have to wait and see about the chances for Britt's Adventures
did I forget to mention this is a chocolate store? Browsing as I waited
for my interview was wonderful, as I was treated to eye candy in the
most literal sense. And afterwards, I got to try some of their free
samples. All I can say is mmmm . . .
almost, but did not quite, ask what the policy was on employee discounts.
If I am hired, I intend to research this point immediately.)
then today I had to come home. So I said goodbye to Alex and his family
and his delightfully homey home, and boarded my plane and headed back
as I sat here and worked on updating this page, I listened to my sister
talk about how she doesn't want to attend her senior year of high school--
which starts tomorrow!-- and would rather just go to the community college
this year. Notice any family resemblance in the putting things off department?
well. She'll figure something out. As for me, I should get to bed.
August-- The House on the Rock frankly defies description, but I suppose
I should attempt it anyway. Alex, his parents, his sister, and I drove
about an hour from Madison to reach the place built by an eccentric man
named Alex Jordan.
first part of the tour was quite neat, and somewhat normal. We wandered
through the house section of the complex, complete with all sorts of
great architectural features, tons of stained glass, mood music, low
ceilings, soft cushy couches, and an "Infinity Room" stretching
out high above the ground and narrowing to a point.
it was the rest of the place that was truly bizarre. Room after room
after room of wacky collections of dolls or ocean memorabilia or replicas
of crown jewels. Tons of love tester machines, and great mechanized
sections full of moving instruments playing all sorts of music, from
a hearse to an octopus playing "Octopus's Garden" to a full
orchestra. A giant whale, and a huge carousel with blinking lights and
blaring music and hundreds of animals, none of them horses. A vast tiny
miniature circus. You just kept walking for hours, just waiting to encounter
something new and unexpected and random.
was . . . it was . . . it was. That's all I can say.
August-- When Alex and I arrived at Miller Park in Milwaukee, the
sun was shining and the roof was open, quite a contrast to the rainy overcast
day when I went to the ballpark for the first time this spring.
got there early, and headed down to the field to try to get autographs.
But after a quick mental runthrough of the Brewers' and Pirates' lineups,
we quickly realized that the coolest person by far in the stadium was
to be found in the press boxes, and climbed up to the loge level to
see Bob Uecker. After patiently waiting for a while to get a good view
of him, he noticed me and cheerily smiled and waved as I snapped a picture.
game wasn't pretty. The Brewers were down 3-0 after half an inning,
and the exciting parts of the game were when the Brewers pulled within
six runs. The Pirates ended up winning 17-10. But we did get to run
around the bases at the end of the game...
August-- After Alex and I explored the state capitol building in Madison,
we wandered around downtown for the afternoon.
the highlight of the day had to be playing a hilarious game which Alex
found somewhere in his house: "Class Struggle." It's delightfully
propagandist and quite entertaining. Land on "Church attendance
rises"? The workers lose points, because of course religion is
the opiate of the masses. (So is pornography; workers lose points when
porn sales go up, too.) Reach the "Elections" confrontation
point? The capitalists automatically win unless the workers have landed
on the "Workers form a political party" square.
played four times. Three times the workers won and the game ended in
socialist revolution; the fourth time, the world was destroyed by nuclear
war, thanks to the capitalists. Luckily, Alex will be bringing the game
with him to PARC when school starts.
August-- I've walked from the Hart Building to the Union Station Metro
stop so many times this summer that I could do it in my sleep. This is
not a problem unless you need to do things differently from the routine.
So it was that I made it halfway to the airport after work before realizing
that I had forgotten to get my suitcase from the storage room I'd left
it in before work. After backtracking and picking up the suitcase, I made
it to the airport, where I went through security three times (don't ask!)
and had my bags searched twice before getting on the plane.
as I stepped up to the gate in Detroit to get the boarding pass for
the second leg of my flight, the attendant told me, "We don't have
a seat for you right now, actually." Apparently the previous flight
to Madison had been canceled, and so our flight-- at 11 PM, the last
of the night-- was overbooked. I spent a rather nervous half-hour waiting
and listening as they called out for volunteers to give up their seats.
And then as soon as I had my boarding pass in hand, I of course started
thinking, "Hey, a free night in the hotel, a $300 flight voucher,
and a flight into Madison tomorrow morning isn't a bad deal!"
of course, I boarded the plane, and was soon standing on Wisconsin soil.
spending more than a week working on The Big Press Contacts Book Project,
while what are typically manageable projects like pasting regional clips
and sorting interview transcripts piled up, I finally finished it on
Monday. And after spending several days catching up on the things I
was behind on, I was on the verge today of being on top of everything
I was asked to do. The chance to have things under control and be able
to relax and goof off was tantalizingly near.
that's not quite right. I do get to relax and goof off. I'm just not
supposed to. The proper phrasing should be "the chance to have
things under control and be able to relax and goof off without guilt.")
whatever phrasing you choose, it was cruelly snatched away from me.
During what seemed like a routine 15-minute faxing job, Allison decided
that she couldn't follow the pages when the alignment of the columns
changed from table to table, and told me to redo the whole thing with
all the mini-tables combined into one table to ensure alignment.
so it won't take forever. It's not really a big deal. It's just a hassle,
and destroyed my well-earned sense of closure.
Today I had the hardest time sitting still. I had piles and piles of
articles to paste, but I wanted to walk and run and move. I kept having
these mental images of rolling down a long grassy hill. I was being
slow enough with my work that I couldn't justify taking a break, but
I kept hoping that someone would give me a job that would involve walking
over to the Capitol instead of sitting at the same desk for hours. I
know it's not bad at all to sit in an air-conditioned building, and
it usually doesn't bother me, but today I was jumpy and looking for
some excuse to do something different. Alas, no luck. So I spun my chair
in circles and stood up to bounce up and down intermittently as I worked.
And eventually the afternoon passed, and I got to walk outside to Union
Station and stretch my legs.
the middle of a long afternoon of pasting article after article after
article onto pieces of white paper, I happened across a very welcome distraction.
Okay, so it may not be a big deal to anyone else but me, but as I pored
through the stack of every article mentioning Paul published anywhere
in Minnesota, I came across some words that seemed rather familiar. I
recognized it from a press release I'd written earlier in the summer.
That in and of itself is not remarkable, if you use "written"
very loosely. The vast majority of press releases I write are for transportation
or firefighting or COPS grants, things we announce a dozen times a year,
and so my job is basically to shuffle a few words.
for this particular press release, there was nothing to base it on,
and so I wrote it off the information, and sat around trying to think,
"What would Paul have to say about this community alliance against
drug abuse?" And what do you know, I found those very words as
a quote from him in an article today. It was rather neat. Granted, it
wasn't the world's finest prose. But it was pretty cool.
my family wants to move again. Yes, again. Of course, this time it wouldn't
be several states and four hours away; it'd be less than a five minute
walk from where we are now. But since the rent is cheaper, and since
we've decided we're staying in the area, it looks like we will be packing
up all the things from this apartment and lugging them over to the next
not only that, but the time frame in which we'll be moving coincides
neatly with the time period in September for which I am currently unscheduled.
Thus if I fail in my attempts to acquire a job for those weeks, my family
seems to think that a great way for me to spend that time would be doing
this moving. I mean, it's logical, since both my parents would be at
work all day and my sister at school. And I don't mind too much, since
I seem to have developed some sort of aversion, be it temporary or permanent,
to lounging around doing nothing. But I can't help but feel a tiny bit
of resentment at the thought of how many weeks my sister has spent lying
around the apartment doing nothing this summer-- while everyone seems
more than willing to find ways to fill up my free time.
there's anything that can make spending 10 hours in the car on a single
day worthwhile, it's spending the day (okay, the 4 1/2 hours not taken
up by driving) with my cousin Michael. Today was his third birthday party,
so we drove up to New York City to celebrate it with him.
little that's more gratifying than the way his eyes lit up when he saw
me. "Cousin Britt!" he said with this giant grin. "You
have to play with me!" Then he grabbed me by the hand and pulled
me over to a corner of the private room the party was being held in.
"Look at the water over there," he said earnestly, pointing
to an alcove where the floor sloped downwards towards an exit, and promptly
"dove in." Then, all of a sudden, "Oh, no, I can't get
out! I'm stuck! Help me!" I reached out my hand to him and slowly
pulled him back to "the shore," where he gave a little sigh
of relief. "You saved me! Thank you," he said seriously, with
a look of gratitude as if I'd just given him the best present he'd ever
gotten. Then we sat by the fireplace to "dry off." ("Are
you dry yet?" "No, all wet and cold.")
long after a little girl of about four years old joined us, and I ended
up simultaneously facing Michael and trying to play with him ("You
need to sleep in the water with me!" "I am. Look, my eyes
are closed") while keeping my head raised enough so that little
Abby could play with my hair, the present-opening began. By the end
of it, I became convinced that my cousin owns every bit of Thomas the
Tank Engine paraphernelia known to man. I swear, the kid, at his party
with his Thomas tablecloths and Thomas balloons and Thomas cake, received
a good dozen new Thomas-themed toys. It's insane.
the topper was the end of the party, when my aunt and uncle announced
that Michael is going to have a little brother or sister in March. Some
people may take cousins for granted. But up until age 15, I only had
three cousins, and they lived in Oregon and I rarely saw them. Noah,
who's about to be five, and Michael are very special to me. So this
is big news. (And I can't help but hope for a little girl.)
August-- I think I have too much compassion for the wrong people.
I think something is wrong with me.
really upset this evening thinking about Andy Williams, who at age 15
killed two and injured 13 others, and who will now be in jail for 50
years. I listened to a debate about it on TV, looked up information
online about his harassment by his classmates, and thought sadly about
50 years of his life being taken away. It actually shocked me when in
the course of looking this up I was reminded of the actual murders he
this a lot. I have compassion for criminals of all sorts, feeling like
we ought to be working to help them (to become better people, of course).
I have compassion for suicide bombers. I have compassion for people
who supported the Nazis. It's starting to worry me.
always felt like it's extremely important to have understanding for
all people, and to recognize all people as human beings, because allowing
yourself to dehumanize people can have some pretty awful consequences.
And I absolutely hate the way people who talk about holding people accountable
for their crimes, who talk about "evil people" and "justice
being done" and people facing the consequences of their actions,
seem to think and feel. But I'm starting to realize that I dislike that
sort of people more than I dislike the people who have done the horrendous
things they're judging. That can't be right. I really need to think
about this some more.
You know how sometimes you're doing a boring, tedious job, you run into
problems, and you figure you can just cut some corners and no one will
ever know the difference?
I've felt that way a lot lately at work. Except that whenever I think
about shirking, I start wondering about the consequences. "Sure,
I could give up on trying to get this press release faxed to the proper
place. But if they don't get it, they won't write about it in their
paper. If they don't write about it, maybe some people won't realize
what Paul's doing for them, and they won't show up to vote for him.
If not enough people vote for him, he will lose the Senate race. Then
he won't be in office getting good things done, and the Republicans
could have control of the Senate, and all because I was lazy and didn't
want to call the newspaper to figure out why the fax number wasn't working!"
then I sigh, think, "Britt, that's ridiculous!", and try again
to solve whatever annoying problem I'm dealing with.
August-- What do you do when someone wants you to stop sending them
faxes and you have no record of ever dialing their number?
all started when we got a very angry phone call from City Hall in Peckham,
Minnesota, at about 2 PM. According to them, every few days, our fax
machine called the phones at their front desk, made noise, and generally
annoyed them. When they transferred the calls to a fax machine, they
discovered we were the culprits. So they called and demanded we remove
them. "Sure thing," we said.
one problem-- their number was nowhere in our records! We called them
back: "Are there any other numbers that would reach you?"
"No," they said huffily. So Allison and Sara (my bosses) and
I pored through fax number after fax number after fax number from the
large pool which we'd had the press release sent to, searching for any
numbers that were similar to the phantom. (At a busier time, the job
would be all mine as they focused on Important Press Business, but since
the most important business of the afternoon involved crossword puzzles,
they were willing to pitch in.)
we found one with the same beginning but a different four-digit ending,
and gave it a call. "Hello, City Hall," came the voice. "It's
Britt, from Senator Wellstone's office," I said. "Oh,"
she said, in a nasty tone of voice. And as much as I wanted to say,
"We've decided to send as many faxes to this number as we possibly
can, so take that!" I said instead, "I think we've found the
think we lost their votes," said Allison.
August-- I'm not sure exactly why , but something made a lump form
in my throat and caused my eyes to water a little this morning as I
learned about the flooding in Prague. I just had this visceral feeling
of panic, knowing that the waters were rising higher as I sat reading
about them. The Vltava was flowing through the streets in the worst
flood since at least 1890, and there was nothing I could do. I wanted
to shout, "No, you're not allowed to damage anything before
I get to come and see it! And preferably not afterwards, either."
I had the craziest feeling that I somehow ought to be over there filling
sandbags. But instead, I seached around until I found a Czech newswire
in English and kept the window open behind my work all day, watching
the predictions of the time the water would reach its peak creep up
from mid-afternoon to past midnight.
I know, it's just a city, a far-away city that I've never been to, and
it will still be there when the waters recede. So I'm weird. Shut up!
August-- Sunday was Minnesota Day in Sweden, I learned this afternoon.
"What? Why?" asked Colleen. And quicker than she could say,
"I remember that Kirsten from the American Girls immigrated from
Sweden to Minnesota," I had already opened up the
American Girls website and was browsing through the dolls and books
and accessories myself, and we oohed and ahhed and reminisced and talked
like old women about how there were only three dolls back in our
day. And as I clicked through the pictures trying to remember what outfits
and accessories I used to have (not too many, thanks to the ridiculous
prices), a nine-year-old somewhere inside of me remembered getting catalogs
in the mail and desperately wanting things like this
and suddenly I had the odd desire to dig up my old Molly doll (packed
away somewhere in NJ, most likely) and start dressing her up. But I
never played with Barbies! Really!
August-- Today I stumbled across something eloquently titled NaNoWriMo.
Yes, NaNoWriMo. That's short for "National Novel Writing Month,"
which, apparently, is November. It seems that every November a whole
bunch of people who have always meant to write a novel decide to sit
down and actually do it. In a month! This is actually rather intriguing.
I am, of course, one of those people who has always meant to write a
novel. And the communal nature of the project (writers encourage eachother
through e-mail and chat, and those in geographic proximity work together
in person) sounds rather nice. Plus, having time constraints couldn't
help but be good for me. However, I have the distinct feeling that I'll
be a bit too busy in November to be writing a whole novel. And I guess
I'm still young enough to hope that real novel-writing can be in my
future without gimmicks. Besides, what kind of a name is NaNoWriMo?
August-- And then my family left this morning, and it was good.
Okay, so I have only slightly over 24 hours with the apartment to myself,
but it is decidedly a good thing. I find myself appreciating this time
so much, between the opportunity to be alone and the chance to relax.
I listened to lots of U2 very loudly, wrote a journal
entry, watched Shawshank Redemption on TV, ran the dishwasher, played
Text Twist, did a little writing, and somehow stumbled into Virtual
Hogwarts and got sorted into Hufflepuff and looked around for a
while. Yes, I know this is a rather dull summary of a rather dull (but
wonderful!) day, but I have put off writing this to the point where
my mind stubbornly refuses to compose an enthralling anecdote. Sorry.
August-- A word to the wise: when you purchase ice cream or frozen
yogurt, it's typically advisable to get a spoon as well. I neglected
this breathtakingly obvious fact today. I have some excuse, considering
that we were in a rush to get upstairs to say goodbye to one of the
several interns leaving today, and that this mission was already delayed
by me needing to borrow some change. (Who'd think that on Tuesday the
cafeteria would charge for frozen yogurt at a flat rate but on Friday
it'd be by weight?) Anyhow, after rushing upstairs and saying goodbyes,
I realized that I was lacking the crucial utensil. I canvassed the upstairs
and downstairs kitchens in the office for plastic spoons, with no avail.
Finally I found a very large black ladle, at least 2" by 2",
and decided this was the best I could do. So I ate my orange creme frozen
yogurt out of a spoon that barely fit in my mouth, and I plugged away
on (or shirked off) the boring work I was asked to do, and I said goodbye
to many of my fellow interns, and I finally made it home for the weekend.
August-- In lieu of a bit of brilliance of my own, I point you to
wherein she discusses a knitting magazine which reveals that no, my
friends are not the only college students weird enough
to knit in their free time, which was my original hypothesis. This intrigued
me enough that I invested a good 15 minutes and registered online at
the Interweave Knits
Magazine homepage, searching in vain for an online version of the
article; it did not, of course, convince me to get up off the couch
and take the approximately three minutes to walk across the street to
Barnes and Noble, where Shannon informed me I could find the aforementioned
magazine, to read the article in full.
August-- Washington DC's Metro system has many failings. The exorbitant
prices, for one. The inconvenience of having to swipe your card both
before and after you ride the Metro. And the strict rules against eating
and drinking on the train or the platform, which prompt complete strangers
to look at me with concern if I transgress, saying "You'd better
put that away!" in attempts to save me from impending fines. One
thing that the Metro system seems to be adequate at, however, is informing
riders of the end of the line, with their blinking lights and repeated
announcements that all riders must leave the train. But today, apparently,
the lights and sounds failed to distract me from German U-boats sinking
Allied ships in the Atlantic, and I didn't notice anything unusual until
the train came to a halt and then switched direction in the middle of
a dark tunnel and I realized that I was the only one in the car. It
was only then that I remembered that I had never actually checked the
signs to make sure that I was onboard a train that went to my stop at
the end of the line, instead of ending only midway at Grosvenor, as
the Metro has an irritating tendency to do. So when the train pulled
back to the Grosvenor platform on its way back into the city, I got
off and waited for the next train that went all the way to my stop.
And it would have been nothing more than an amusing anecdote had this
delay not resulted in me ultimately missing the shuttle to the apartment
by approximately 45 seconds and having to wait a half-hour for the next
one. Perhaps it would be wise to pay attention in the future.
August-- Today I got a chance to play DC tourist, seeing things
that I probably never would've gotten around to if Eileen and her family
weren't in town. This morning Eileen and her parents and sisters came
by the office, and we headed over to the Capitol, looking at places
like the Rotunda, the statue gallery, and the old Supreme Court chamber.
For me, the Capitol building consists of the places I need to go for
work: the Senate floor and the reception room, the press gallery, and
Paul's hideaway; I'd never been to most of the places we went today
before. Of course, this resulted in me being a less than stellar tour
guide, and so my main function was having the staff ID that allowed
us to move about, while asking the people I was supposedly leading,
"If you see any of the arrows for the tour on the wall, let me
know! Hmmm, which way did we come in? I wonder what's down there. Hey,
maybe if we go up these stairs-- I guess not." Anyhow, I met up
with them again for dinner with my family at a restaraunt on top of
a hotel with a great view and overpriced food, where I was somewhat
frightened by the ability of Eileen and her mother to name all the children
of all the presidents from the twentieth century and a fair number from
August-- Recess, time for recess! No, not the time in elementary
school when you get to run around outside and play on the playground,
but the time during the year when the Senate is out of session, Paul
goes back to Minnesota, and those of us in the office get to kick back
and relax a bit. One of the benefits is that I get to sleep a little
later and don't have to get up until about 7:40 AM; another benefit
is that there's more downtime. I took advantage of this time to play
euchre with my friends online, which was pleasurable completely out
of proportion to the experience itself. I just got a huge kick out of
playing cards in Washington DC with my friends despite the fact that
they were in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. It's good that
such a delighful social pastime can be shared despite geographical distance.
I think that after we graduate from college, we should pick a time and
meet online every week to play euchre and talk, no matter where we may
be. In the meantime, I'll just play on the computers at work and hope
to convince friends to join me.
August-- Today my family and I got together with a lot of relatives
from my mom's side of the family, which is always an experience. Although
it would have been a good time to reflect on age, considering that it
was my great-uncle's 90th birthday. Instead, I reflected on youth, and
specifically marriage. While I have been confronted, this summer in
particular, with the abundance of young twenty-somethings getting married,
today was my first chance to see the specimen in the flesh-- specifically,
my second cousin's 25-year-old wife, and her 24-year-old engaged sister.
I must admit I stared a bit, although I hope I wasn't too rude. This
girl looked about 21, like any college student you've ever seen, and
she was married! I'm a "twenty-something" myself now, after
all, although there isn't much of a "something" yet. Despite
the fact that there are parts of me that love the idea of marriage,
it's also a very frightening thought that kids around my age are getting
married. I don't feel that old!
August-- In some ways, I'm amazed at how content I am with life
right now. It's good to have a few months of summer, and although I
miss school and my friends, I feel like there's a lot that's good about
right now, and I'm not nearly as impatient to get the summer over with
as I used to be. It's good to work instead of have classes, and have
the nights and weekends without feeling like there's schoolwork that
needs to be done. It's good to have the free time to do the leisure
reading that never ever seems to happen during the school year. It's
good to have different experiences from the routine of school, despite
how much I enjoy the bulk of that routine. And although I miss my friends,
I think in a lot of ways it's healthy and good for me to have this sort
of distance from everybody, some time for me to spend with myself. I'm
not counting down the days until 19 September anymore; I'm just taking
each day as it comes, and generally keeping my mind free of any sort
of heavy thoughts.
August-- I've spent much of today, or at least the latter part of
it, wrapped up in poetry, which is far from a bad way to spend an evening.
This all began a few days ago, when I randomly stumbled upon Langston
Hughes' poem Let America be America again.
I'd read excerpts from it in the past, but it was only when I read the
whole poem this week that I realized and appreciated how beautiful and
powerful it is, and it really amazed me. I'm currently trying to learn
the whole thing by heart, but in the meantime I was trying to think
of some way I could put it up on this site, to share it with everyone,
and I ended up deciding I should create a whole section
full of poems. One of the biggest benefits of starting to compile
my favorite poems has been the opportunity to explore more of Pablo
Neruda's poetry, which is so stunning that I constantly regret that
I'm not fluent enough to truly appreciate it in the original Spanish.
I plan to spend more time on this very enjoyable pastime in the future,
and I must admit that all of this has inspired me to try to capture
on paper the poem-fragments that have been floating through my own mind
August-- Well, I've had my compliment of the week, seeing my site
mentioned in the same sentence as Newtonline,
that late great home of Internet wit and wisdom. (Thanks,
Shannon!) A smile like that was needed, especially in the wake of
the news that PARC's been charged for $1300 worth of spring damages,
which will deplete our damage account, maintenance account, and take
a nice large chunk out of social money. Unless we can find which individuals
did the damage and charge them (highly unlikely) or talk the powers-that-be
out of the exorbitant repair prices (even more unlikely), money that
PARCers could be having fun with this fall will be going towards fixing
holes, screens, and the table in the basement. It's so frustrating to
have to pay for the actions of the destructive people who just happened
to have lived in our building.