…  I am stealing this from Spring. I’m too tired and busy to write anything worthwhile.

A: Attached or Single? I have a boyfriend. His name is D.

B. Best Friend? Her name is L, and I am going to visit her in San Francisco this weekend! Yipee!

C: Cake or pie? Definitely pie.

D: Day of choice? Saturday. Hoorah, beach!

E: Essential Item? House keys

F: Favorite color? Brown. And blue.

G: Gummy bears or worms? worms

H: Hometown? St. James, Minnesota

I: Favorite indulgence? Currently it’s McDonald’s chocolate chip cookies and milk

J: January or July? I love the promise of starting a new year, but I love the freedom of summer. I can’t decide.

K: Kids? I would love to have kids someday.

L: Life isn’t complete without? Family and real friends

M: Marriage date? Preferably my husband-to-be would be my date at my marriage.

N: Number of brothers and sisters? one brother, older

O: Oranges or apples? Oranges. Can I tell you how amazing the fruit is in California? I will never get used to it’s deliciousness!

P: Phobias? virgin pregnancy

Q: Quotes? Oh, I don’t know.

T: Tag 5 People: I refuse.

U: Unknown fact? Last night I had a dream about Edict, this computer program we use at work. Boring, I know. My life is really, really boring right now, other than the fact that I’m going to San Francisco tomorrow!

V: Vegetable? Sweet corn

W: Worst habit? Chewing my nails, worrying

X: X-ray or Ultrasound? I don’t know.

Y: Your favorite food? Chocolate chip cookies

Z: Zodiac Sign? Virgo, but I really don’t fit the Virgo description. I’m too messy.

LOL DOGS?!?!

August 26, 2008

Yes. I was so enthralled with LOL Cats that I didn’t realize that they make LOL Dogs too. And even though all these amazing people called, wrote, and loved on me because of my birthday, I have to say that the following also succeeded in warming this girl’s toes:

Neglect.

August 25, 2008

It’s bed time. But here are a few bullet points of stuff because I don’t have time to write a real post:

– D’s sister E left yesterday morning to head back to college to complete her senior year. I miss her already.

– I bought a plane ticket to go home for Christmas (!!!!). Guys, if you want to go home for Christmas and need to purchase a flight, start looking now. A lot of flights for me were already over $600. Comparatively, I got a good deal on mine, but I still needed help from Dad’s credit card.

– I’m going to San Francisco this weekend to celebrate my birthday with best friend L. Her birthday was Thursday, and…

– My birthday is today. 26. Sheesh. I’ve been celebrating since about 2 weeks ago when D threw a surprise party for me (early because he wanted to be able to surprise me), then my co-workers threw a little party for me on Thursday (2 of them will be gone tomorrow), and next weekend I’ll be doing more celebrating with L. I told D the other day that this birthday has been like what I imagine Hanukkah is like, and then I called the month of August “Ann-ukkah.”

– Lately I’ve been thinking that if I were a cat, I would have already used up 5 of my 9 lives. Good thing I’m not a cat. The lives: Homeschool, High School, College, After College, L.A.

– I’ve been watching My So-Called Life this past weekend and have a crush on Jordan Catalano. I have a degree in English. I could teach him to read! I’m reminded of my huge Devon Sawa crush in 6th grade.

– I went to the beach on Saturday. Be proud of me for taking advantage of it.

– Good night.

Apparently today was a pretty big day within the Bigfoot subculture, and thanks to gainful employment, I had no idea until I opened my computer after work and found that about 400 more people than usual hit up this blog looking for dishy gossip on the last surviving famous man who does not wax his chest. And along those lines, behold the latest drama in cyberspace, Bigfoot In a Chest.

I really need to get this Bigfoot novel written because it seems lately that we’re embarking into another phase of Bigfoot Fascination, a phenomenon that comes and goes in a fashion not unlike Alien Fascination, Vampire Fascination, or Shows With Sexy Doctors Fascination.

BTW, the latest Bigfoot drama is a hoax. I mean, you can pretty much tell from the photograph. Some good ol’ boys in Georgia apparently spent $500 on an immaculate costume, poured some entrails from the local buchery onto it, and stuffed it in a freezer. In case you doubted that it’s a hoax, those guys at BFRO, the most legitimate Bigfoot curiosity site on the web, have got our backs on this one.

And dude, if I had $300 to spare, I would totally be here at the Bigfoot Expedition in the Redwoods and drag Best Friend L along with me. My favorite part of the advertisement?:

“Every expedition to this area has resulted in at least some Class B activity, reported by multiple participants. There have also been rock throwing encounters and samurai chatter at night.” I didn’t know Bigfeet were samurai.

Perhaps I will email them and see if I can get a scholarship.

On Finding a Setting

August 13, 2008

This evening D and I had a conversation on the phone that lasted more than our typical phone conversations now-a-days. Actually, we had an argument, but that’s not what this post is about. In the midst of all of it, during the resolution of the whole thing — the time when we are done with the heightened feelings and adamantly trying to prove a point, when we both re-cap what we need and try to find some sort of compromise — I closed my eyes for a moment and could picture my apartment back in Arkansas so clearly, right down to the feel of my bed and the cat’s tail ticking against my leg and the way my bed creaked when I moved. We spent a lot of time talking on the phone in those days, back when he was the California branch of our relationship.

It’s funny that the very thing the argument began with (our arguments rarely end with what they began with) was the very thing I was picturing: Setting. This post is not about the argument, so I’m not going to go into the details of what transpired. For the past few days, however, I’ve been attempting to put into words a discovery I made on the beach Saturday. But I’ve also been trying to challenge myself to improve my writing style so it’s slightly less amateur and emotive. Today I tried writing a post entirely devoid of “I” as a subject. It just doesn’t work in blogging. This is what I came up with:

“One of the major components that separates a seasoned writer from an amateur is the emphasis on setting. The category of seasoned writers is by no means this girl’s dwelling place, but freshman year fiction writing left me with a better understanding of setting in writing. Heck, this blog nearly tripled in its readership once it took on the personal of a Midwestern transplant living in Los Angeles. Or maybe it was the advertising to friends on Facebook that did that.” Can you say boring textbook? I just need to stop trying to justify blogging with failed attempts to turn this entirely narcissistic thing into something literary. It’s a blog. Of course it’s going to have a high degree of gush.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say is that often amateur writers neglect setting in their work, and they leave their poor characters floating around in a readers’ mind in banal, shadowy places like generic bedrooms, rather than putting them someplace specific. In real life, we live in specific places: not just any room, but my room with the pile of laundry on the bathroom floor and the broken blinds and the stale scent of herbal shampoo. Not just any old park, but the park with the statue of the man who invented the chocolate bar. J.R.R. Tolkien is so fantastic with his settings that I am having such a terrible time getting through The Lord of the Rings. Any time Frodo or the other hobbits think of the shire and how they long for their home, I start crying. Homesickness…meh.

Saturday, le roommates and I went to the beach, and the fact confronted me that I’ve only been to the beach three times in the last seven months even though is less than five miles from my apartment. And by going to the beach, I mean donning a bathing suit with at least a slight intention of getting wet. Saturday was the first day since I moved here that I actually immersed myself in the Pacific. And then I realized that part of the reason that I have been homesick to some degree since I left for college back in 2001, moving away from Minnesota for the very first time, is because I have never given myself a chance to get to know the land in any other place.

If you were to ask me about Minnesota, I wouldn’t just say that I lived in a house there or went to high school there. I would tell you about the countless snow structures we built and how we would hang our mittens and hats and scarves over the radiator in our first house to let them get warm before we put them on. I would tell you about the mulberry bushes in the backyard and how they would become so ripe and juicy that you could bump the branches and they’d fall to the ground, washing it in purple, and how the birds would poop mulberry seeds all over the patio. I would tell you how our family built that patio with bricks and sand and cement blocks, and it all went quite well until the ice that winter built up under the bricks made them explode. Every winter the fire department would flood the park for ice skating, and Jack Frost would paint our windows. I remember how it feels to lie in my bedroom, the exact way the bed fits my body, and how it is to wake up there to the sounds and smells of absolute comfort — to knowing the people you love most in the world are only a wall away. When I was a little girl, in our first house, I could always tell who was coming up stairs by the rhythm of their steps. Mom would always stop at the bottom to pick up toys and bring them up. There were twelve steps at my first house. Sixteen at my second.

I never gave myself the chance to know Arkansas that well. There was the damp and musty feeling of our house on Maple Street, where I lived with 3 other girls, and the sounds of the frogs outside my window in that studio above a professor’s garage. There was the feeling of desperation and sadness when I finished college, broke up with my boyfriend, and moved out of that apartment all in a few days. But the same elements and concretes are not there. I was so busy being productive that I didn’t take the time to memorize the number of steps from the ground to my door. These were merely places, apartments for a temporary life. It’s no wonder they never felt like home.

Sometimes I think that I will never feel at home again unless I get married, have kids, and settle down somewhere. Nothing reminds me of home more than watching my niece and nephew play and seeing again the things that are important to children. For my niece, it is wearing pink, putting on chapstick, and reading books. My nephew just wants to run everywhere with his binky in his mouth. They want other kids to play with, adults to entertain them, and lots and lots of cookies. They remind me of what it was like to grow up with an older brother and what it was like to have such a big living room… what it was like to have a house not just cover you, but protect you. There were all the alcoves and crannies to that place… the towel cupboard you could climb inside and close the door, the secret storage closet in my brother’s room, the turning cupboard in the kitchen corner where breakfast cereal was kept.

At the same time, I know that my life is here in L.A. now, at least for the next few years, and I need to be investing myself here. I need to pursue the land with the same intention that I pursue the friends I am making here. I need to count the steps from my carport to my apartment. I need to go to the beach every weekend and find a spot to memorize. I need to stop floating around in this generic place and make it specific. I need to find my setting.