Monday, March 26, 2007


(oops, sorry its been a week. I have no good excuse.)

Maybe I am jumping the gun, but it feels like spring is here to stay. Though I wouldn't mind a sudden drop in temperature because I am feeling all grossed out.

There are all these BUGS hanging out on the southside of my house. That is the front of my house, so its all over the front door, all over my car and all over my porch steps! I don't know what they are, hopefully someone can enlighten me, but they look like they might be larvae or baby bugs of some sort? They are really tiny black bugs with wings that are longer than them.

I hope this doesn't mean I will have lots of these bugs, but grown up, hanging around my house this summer.

Also: Where can I move to escape mosquitoes? I appear to always move to places that consider the insects their "state bird."

I guess I could move someplace that doesn't have much water, but then there are probably other things I would miss out on, like trees and canoing and swimming and stuff.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Taking responsibility

I'm sort of obsessed with the road. It makes sense, since I drive usually a minimum of 200 miles per week. Not as obsessed, perhaps, as Roadguy or Froggie but I do read those blogs because of my interest in the byways and highways. I mean, in some of my profiles, it lists my biggest pet peeve as people who don't signal their turns or lane changes. In the words of the great Stephanie Tanner: "How Rude!"

Anyway, its no big secret that drivers on the East Coast are aggressive and perhaps ruder than others. I'm definitely NOT saying that midwest drivers are better, just different. I think I've figured out my new biggest pet peeve: a lack of taking responsibility.

Like the guy who wouldn't let me merge despite me having a signal on for over half a mile and my exit coming up. There was a two car size space I wanted to merge into, but the second I put on my signal in preparation to move, he sped up, closing the gap! So when there was enough of a space to squeeze my car in (my exit was REALLY coming up) I did it and he honked and flicked me off. Not my problem buddy. I tried to slow down to go behind you and I tried to go before you closed the gap. Your problem.

Or the girl who totally ignored the yield sign and got angry and (again) flicked me off because I "cut her off." No, you ignored a yield sign and were in my blind spot (hence the reason YOU have an yield sign? maybe?)

Those are just two examples. I am willing to take responsibility for my transgressions, like when I creep up to try and make a right turn and miss seeing a pedestrian trying to cross. Oops, sorry ped!

Just needed to vent my spleen!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Some strange weather lately. First it was warm enough to ditch the coats and today is a sloppy, slushy mess.

BUT on my island it just rained. And rained and rained and rained. I was really confused last night when I went to visit my friend in Toms River because he said "maybe its better for you to drive up (to visit him rather than visa versa) because you're better in the snow." I just let it slide because I figured it had something to do with me being better at snowdriving = me being better at raindriving.

I should've worn my snow boots because the parking lot was SUCH a mess. It was like being back in MN!

Today I thought maybe the snow had melted everywhere because it was really warm on my island, but as I drove westward I saw more snow, like about 14 miles inland. It slowly got more and more, until at around 50 miles (Cherry Hill/Camden) it was pretty messy and slowed-down traffic (plus there was a state trooper driving in our little group of cars.)

But at 21 miles (just before the New Lisbon Developmental Center) I saw the most beautiful and unusual things. The trees lining the road ahead of me were green, lit nicely by the rising sun coming from behind us. It looked nice and fresh, clean and spring-like. But through my rearview mirror was the exact opposite look--the trees looked like they were coated with icicles, glittering and silvery-white.

I was so startled. I kept looking ahead and back. Ahead, spring. Behind, winter. Ahead, green. Behind, silver.

I wish I could've captured it somehow.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

More serious stuff

This doesn't quite relate to my experiences on the Jersey Shore, but it does have to do a lot with me.

News has come out about which Star Tribune staffers accepted a buyout. This is the paper I used to work at, I also interned there and grew up reading it, so its part of home to me.

The list is good. Good in the sense of the people on the list were good. But its sad they are leaving the Strib. There is a lot of great institutional knowledge there plus a lot of great personalities. Some really valuable contributors to the paper, I think.

Over at mnspeak, they keep talking about cutting fat, blah blah blah. Yeah, the Strib newsroom may have some fat, but some of the people on this list is cutting out prime rib. (Note to self: you are terrible at analogies involving meat.) People are going as far as to say who they'd like cut. Well, if you know them enough to want them cut, then they are contributing!

Someone there made a good point though: when corporations cut fat, they replace it with good meat. But in the current industry, when newspapers cut fat, they replace it with nothing. That is sad and a sad fact of life.

I wish my former colleagues at the Strib the best and I have best wishes for those who accepted the buyouts. Whether they are retiring, going back to school, headed to another paper or changing fields, I know they will be great at what they choose to do.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Something in the water...

Is there something in (or maybe not in?) the water down here?

Perhaps the Jersey Shore is not experiencing dumped chemicals in their water like some Minnesota surburbs are concerned about now, but somedays I think the water is a formerly from a toxic waste dump. And by that I mean, it was heavily treated with chlorine so we could drink it.

I like being in a pool, so how bad could it be brushing my teeth with poolwater. Plus, poolwater is great cause you never notice when someone pees in the pool. Of course, there is the problem of too much chlorine and then everyone looks like they are part of Ben Stein's Visine commercials.

The real problem is my face has exploded like a teen working at McDonalds. You know, like the Pimply-faced teenager from The Simpsons? I expect my voice to break soon as I try to ask a guy out on a date or something.

I attacked my face with the usual dermatological gusto: exfoliating with sandpaper, applying harsh chemicals to my face, eating nothing but spinach and moisturizing with lotions enhanced with apparently wonderful organic extracts, like essence of yak fur or something.

All that seemed to keep my teenage shame from growing, but did not improve it.

But I found the fountain of youth! It is the Minnesota water system. In just four days, you too can have clearer skin, just like Jessica Simpson Kelly Clarkson Puff P. Did that rap guy Jesse Ventura and Norm Coleman.

Since no company is bottling this June Water, I guess my only option is to start pretending I'm a celebrity and wash my face with Evian water...or, maybe just Britta filter water.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

home on the prairie

Sorry I've been absent this week. I am at home in Minnesota, enjoying the warm weather, lots of snow, but mostly my family and friends. And food. We went to an amazing wedding last night, had a lovely, lovely time. It was nice because it was back at my alma mater, in fact in the alumni center. It was my first time being an alumni there...though I don't think my college thinks of me as one of the "alumni" in "alumni center"--that is reserved for alumnis with $$, which I don't have.

Anyway, hopefully today I will go play in the snow. But at the very least, I will be enjoying some CHIPOTLE. and then some awesome dessert at 2021. I already had a nice dinner at 112 eatery in Minneapolis and lunch at Noodles.

Okay, now I'm going to go sledding now! And throw snowballs, etc. Watch out!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Surfing, U.S.A.

(I hotlinked that from the cocoa beach club, which is very bad, but I figured that I have low traffic, so it won't use up too much of their bandwidth. I hope. I'm sorry if it does, then take it down.)

Today I went to the original Ron Jon's Surf Shop here on the island. Growing up, whenever I would see the RJ sticker on someone's car, I assumed it was from Florida or California or someplace nice and warm year-round. Not New Jersey! But that goes in line with the fact that I didn't really think of New Jersey as a hot beach spot. I feel that is something that is very prevalent in East Coast/New England thinking, but not anywhere else in the country. You probably don't find too many people from Nebraska (or Minnesota!) on the beaches of NJ. Though, now that I think of it, a guy from my high school used to go to the Jersey Shore...

Anyway, I went and started my research for my new summer hobby: surfing! I surfed for my first time in San Diego summer of 2003 and LOVED it. And, if I may say so, I wasn't too bad at it. I had the distinct honor of being the only person in my class able to consistently get up on the board. On my first time! So, I've decided that, seeing how I seem to have some aptitude for it and I live a few blocks from the beach, I am going to take it up regularly.

It's going to require a bit of investment on my part. A basic foam board is going to cost me around $70-$100 where as a starter fiberglass board will run me around twice that. The fiberglass boards are hard to come by used because people tend to keep them for fun, but they also have higher trade-in value if you buy. If I want to start mid-May and get a jump on the season, I will have to invest in a wetsuit, a 3.5mm one. That will also run me around $70-$100. But it will also extend the season to about 6 months and make sure I stay warm, which is nice. The water in May is around 50-60 degrees, even though the air temp is higher. The ocean really doesn't get warm until August/September and then September and October are the best surfing months because its hurricane season!

It's all a lot to think about, but I am glad I went now so I can start setting aside money for this purchase. Also, I can start looking for deals in the local sandpaper and surf shops now. I have to also set aside money to buy a bike or two: I want a tourist no-gear, wheel-around-town bike, which could cost me around or below $100 and I also want a road bike, which could be double or triple or even quintuple (is that a word?) that. Maybe I'll go with a not so fancy road bike!

Question: Anyone know of a good place to scout out boards? Or, maybe, possibly, even have one to give or sell??

Sunday, March 4, 2007

washing away

waves, originally uploaded by seat_5a.

I had a really wonderful day on Saturday. The weather was amazing--something like 50 degrees or more, I can't remember. Anyway, it was warm enough for me not to need a jacket, so I wore a tank top with a sweatshirt--and felt warm at times!

I rollerbladed to the library, but decided not to rollerblade back because my skates need some serious tune-up. Plus, the road was sort of rocky. So I hooked them up to my backpack and walked home via the beach.

Lots of families had the same idea. Families walking their dogs, including an adorable puggle named Roxy, who was fetching a baseball for her owners. Another family brought out their kites, and there was enough wind for them to soar high into the sky.

I can't believe how close I am to an ocean! The waves were soothing and I wanted to run into them...but I knew that might be chilly.

I am feeling much better than I was on my last entry, where I was partially feeling bad because I had news of a relative's death earlier that day. I went out with some co-workers Friday night and we had a really nice time.

So maybe I won't give up on making friends. =)

Thursday, March 1, 2007

(not really) Giving up

I feel like giving up on meeting people. I had an incident the other night that sort of scared me off of making friends, despite all my efforts. Just some viewpoints and people basically invalidating my personal feelings and telling me I was wrong, I won't get into details because it wasn't worth fighting about then and not worth revealing now, because it was just sort of a personal realization that I am trying to make something out of nothing.

I have enough good friends in Philly and NYC and I'm too old to make friends "just to have someone to spend time with." Who wants to make half-hearted friends? It always ends up bothering me more because I feel terribly guilty that I am only friends with someone to hang out with them.

In a few more months, this island will be CRAWLING with people. I'll maybe be able to meet more people then. It's like one of those reasons I chose a larger college. I figured, larger college, more people, more chances of finding people I can really click with. (excuse the ending with a participle.) Right now there is a small population, period, down here, and when you think about the 20 to 30 population, its even less.

I should say I have made two friends that I enjoy. One is moving away, so that is unforunate, and one lives about 30 minutes away and works in the city, so he is generally busy, but I like getting together with him.

I'm not generally unhappy, so why push things? It's like a good relationship--you'll find it when you're not looking. So, I'm gonna stop seeing a friend in every person I meet and just let things happen. I feel comfortable with this decision, not like I am giving up on meeting people and shutting them out, but not forcing it to happen either. A good happy medium.

I am going to a card stamping class on Friday, that should be fun! This is a stay-at-home and nest and clean and catch up on things. It is much-needed...and next weekend? I will be HOME for four glorious days of family, friends and food! Oh and tons of snow, apparently.