Monthly Archives: March 2011

art smarts.

It’s one of those artsy-smartsy days. I love this poem; thanks for sending, pai pai. 


Dorothy Wordsworth


The daffodils can go fuck themselves.
I’m tired of their crowds, yellow ranting  
about the spastic sun that dines and shines
and shines. How are they any different

from me? I, too, have a big messy head
on a fragile stalk. I spin with the wind.
I flower and don’t apologize. There’s nothing
funny about good weather. O, spring again,

The critics nod. They know the old joy,
that wakeful quotidian, the dark plot
of future growing things, each one
labeled Narcissus nobilis or Jennifer Chang.

If I died falling from a helicopter, then
this would be an important poem. Then
the ex-boyfriends would swim to shore
declaiming their knowledge of my bulbous

youth. O, Flower, one said, why aren’t you
meat? But I won’t be another bashful shank.
The tulips have their nervous joie-de-vivre,                
the lilacs their taunt. Fractious petals, stop

interrupting my poem with boring beauty.
All the boys are in the field gnawing raw
bones of ambition and calling it ardor. Who  
the hell are they? This is a poem about war. 


–Jennifer Chang (in The Nation) 


I was so inspired that I tried to do a self-portrait in the oil pastels that I got at Christmas this last year. But I really don’t know how to use them and I’m not sure how to draw from photographs, so my picture turned out looking like an indigenous woman, according to Q. Better luck next time maybe? 

“She’s a native American!” 
Detail on the face.

In the meantime, unless those daffodils decide not to bring with them the arrival of the spring, I am thoroughly looking forward to their visit. But I suppose I can’t complain too much… the sun is out and it’s 45 degrees. Oh, yessss. 


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revelry.

Sometimes the going gets tough, so the tough get… happy! From copiously consuming Portuguese soup and white wine! I had a girls’ night at my place a couple nights ago and it was much needed. We talked about life plans, lack of life plans, and this awesome graduate program we’re all trying to get through. Michelle made a hearty bean Portuguese soup and Serena fried up some tostones. Yum. We also ate a lot of kettle corn and partook in some Turkish apple tea. Mostly we laughed a lot.


And of course we played with Mr. Bennet, too! I’m not sure how much he enjoyed the attention and the loud girlish shrieking, but we got some cute pics in, when he wasn’t running in the opposite direction in fright. Or digging through the carpet looking for misplaced popcorn kernels. 


Check out us good-lookin’ people, laughing most likely about inappropriate topics or our chiquey white socks: 

Hopefully, we can do it again soon!


mass class.

Massachusetts has a lot of class. Kinda. I’ve compiled a short little list of personal observations regarding my time here so far and the peculiarities I’ve come across. Most of these observations came as a semi-shock to the best part of my Midwestern self and of course, are generalizations. What’s their use then? Not sure, but I feel compelled to jot them down. Here we go… 


1) The use of the adjective “wicked.” As in, “I had a wicked time last night” or “She was wicked good at playing those African drums.” My landlord believes my neighborhood is “wicked nice.” When paired with the south-coast/Bostonian accent, it makes for a particular brand of awesome-ness. I’m not sure where this comes from (a bad 80’s movie, maybe?) but I don’t think I’ll ever feel the need to use it. 


2) A general lack of knowledge about the Midwest. “Where’s Minnesota?” or “I bet they don’t have boats there, right?” or “Fargo’s in North Dakota? Where’s North Dakota?” or my favorite “America for me ends in Pennsylvania and starts back up again in Nevada.” I think this last one was a joke… maybe. Also, it’s “Nevah-da.” Of course. 


3) The winters here are brutal. And by brutal, I mean the particular degree of nastiness when my car is covered by a 1/4 centimeter of snow that melts by noon. I will also lift up my windshield wipers, so I can avoid getting them stuck in all the heavy snow that may just accumulate to 1/2 centimeter if Mother Nature is feeling particularly heinous. 

If I sound resentful, that’s because I am.

4) Drivers here are nice! I mean this one. I love when you stop the flow of traffic to allow me to make a left-hand turn onto a 2-way street. I also don’t mind that you allow me to almost sideswipe you as I check for traffic. Or that I just cut you off. Or that as a pedestrian I can put my foot anywhere near the road and you will stop to let me cross. Seriously, have you ever honked your horn? 


There are more, of course, but they’ve all slipped my mind. I feel half-way guilty writing these down, but I hope one day to look back on them and laugh a little. Maybe while I’m on a boat, cruising on one of those ten-thousand lakes MN has. “10,000? Really? No way…”  

spring break.

…in a tundra! Q. and I decided to head up north for our “spring” break, because we figured Lake of the Woods would be pretty this time of the year. The website also made the area look pretty friendly to tourists. And of course, there would be trails to hike because northern MN is full of forests, right? Nuh-uh. We arrived and were greeted by ice fishers, ice houses, and just a whole lot of ice. As well as a very tiny casino and a small Laotion-American museum (who knew?). Also lots of trucks. LOTS. One with a sticker that read “while you’re strokin’ it, I’m rammin’ it.” Lovely. We just about made it into Canada, but didn’t cross the border, unfortunately. 

So, we decided to hike it back home after spending the night in a cheap motel with few accommodations but a lot of red-neck men. We stopped on our way back at the Lake Itasca State Park, which my Momma-dearest has been talking about since I was a wee one. She’s always lamented the fact that she never brought us kidders there to experience the place. So I’m glad Q. and I went! We crossed the headwaters of the Mississippi and both got wet, freezing feet. Luckily, we were also the only ones (pretty much) in the whole park thanks to the winter cold, so there were no lines to contend when crossing the rocks. The park was be-yoooo-tiful compared to the frozen, sparse landscape we were leaving. We ate our awesome sanny-lunch in the park and then hiked a long trail that left our shoes even wetter. 

Muito pretty. 
Trying to cross without water damage.
Only one wet foot! Success!

 
    

Once we got home, we played Settlers of Katan for FIVE AND A HALF HOURS. But it was totally worth it because I won the first three games by sliding in through the back door. Board games are fun, but are extra fun when you’re winning. Especially when you can make everyone else think you’re not winning… Alex was pretty upset.


So after 1000 miles of driving, 2000+ miles of flying, a sad Mr. B (maybe), and an over-heated Contour that is now kaput (thanks, Mom), my spring break is complete! NOW, back to meaningless homework. YAY.

what. a. day.

Yep, that says Minnesota.

Sadly, I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, because mother dearest kept waking me up with this weird wheezing/snoring sound on and off. So, our trip to Providence was already off to a sad start, because I was tired as… a dog? Anyways, before driving the 30 minutes to Prov., Mom decided after her walk through downtown NB this morning that she wanted to move here. Permanently. Because even though the city is full of trash, the homeless people are pretty nice (she spoke with a few of them) Mass only gets 18″ of snow during wintertime (!), and the pace of life is so laid-back. She couldn’t contain her excitement, so our drive eastward primarily consisted of how wonderful life would be if Momma’s were living it up here (while staying with me in my apartment, claro eeeeek). 

Alas, we finally arrive in P-townz and of course, it was time to tell all the residents of Rhode Island her new plans. The guy at the burger stand in the mall agreed that she should move here, the girl in Gap where she bought a pair of green tights confirmed that indeed, it only snows a bit here, and the couple at the Visitor Center also thought the East Coast was a pretty cool place for a Minnesota-er. Needless to say, our trek through the city was slow-moving, as Carla brought along three bags of snacks, water, and an assortment of winter accessories. Also a big water bottle and her giant camera from the 90s. This was all excellent since I was (am) pretty tired. Even though post this is reeking of sarcasm, I did have a good time. Gotta love Moms, right?


Here’s more awesome pics of Carla and me in the big, creative city: 

Happy as can be! 

momma long.

Momma Long came in this morning! She’s been yapping my ear off all day, so it’s been an effort to remind myself that I’ve lived alone for awhile and that’s why I’m unaccustomed. She’s pretty much talked to everyone she met, starting with a good portion of the MSP and BOS airport. She met some businessmen, a traveling family from a Western-Pacific island who didn’t speak much English, and some man who told her she can cure her “German affliction” with some special remedy he knew of (a joke, I think?). Anyways, she also discussed all the new people she met with the man at the NB visitor center. Needless to say, my head hurts from the constant conversation. And even though I’m an adult (maybe?), I still feel lots of child-ish embarrassment over her chattering most of the time. Tomorrow we’re off to Providence, so she can say she made it into Rhode Island. Here’s some highlights from our walk downtown:


      
What a strapping young tourist.
Nomming on a seven-layer bar.

She said this mini-Cooper was “Earth-friendly.”
“It looks like Europe!”
 Our accommodations & the best house on the block.

haircuts and pancakes.

So, generally I wait until my hair looks scraggly or my mom tells me it does to get a haircut. They’re way expensive and I usually don’t care too strongly about what my hair looks like. But it was starting to look really bad, so I coughed up the $30 bucks and got it done. The poor hair stylist was absolutely in shock that I hadn’t had a haircut in 10 months and she gave me some really nasty looks while snipping away. Mas em fim, ficou bom! 

Regarding things that did not turn out so well… yesterday I tried to make pancakes because I had no cereal and wanted some sweet breakfast food. But apparently Q. is the only one who can make pancakes in my life, because look how these beasts turned out. They ended up being burned on both sides, but doughy in the middle. I suppose it doesn’t help my pan was $5 and is a piece of sheeeeet. In my defense, though, they tasted pretty good. Yummm.

trouble.

Mr. Bennet knows he’s not supposed to jump in his hay bag, because 1) he makes a mess; 2) he thinks the hay is his litter box and; 3) I’m scared he’s going to suffocate himself somehow. But any time my closet door happens to be open, he can’t help himself (of course). So I heard him dive in today and even though I generally try to set an example by getting mad at him, pulling him out, and slamming the door on his butt, today…

I took a picture instead because he sure looked happy in there!   
                        
Oh, Geez. I guess he’ll probably never learn with a lenient Momma-Bunny like moi. But then I wonder how awesome it would be to jump into a big, cushy pile of something I love to munch on (Craisins, maybe?) so I pitied him instead and let him nom-nom away for awhile. What’s a rabbit mother to do?! 

sad things.

I’m out of my instant indian nutty-loveliness coffee! Mornings just aren’t the same. Mornings also aren’t the same without the WSJ. But! soon I will be home in MN where Pai can provide me with both (I hope). The world is much sadder without the best coffee ever made.

In other sad news, the crazy landowners behind my house decided to cut down two old, beautiful trees that I looked at every day I woke up. These trees were big and tall, taller than this three-story monster-sized house I live in and covered in lots of pretty ivy. It’s awfully sad. Enough so that I haven’t taken a picture of how dismal it looks outside without their branches blocking my view of the other monster houses in the adjacent lots. Woe sou eu.  

In a happier turn of events, Maria Cecilia, the coolest and smarty-est 6th-grader ever, won the Spartan SuperStar award for the second year in a row. I’m so proud! Yay, Ceciiiii! I hope one day my future nenes can be as awesome and smart. In other happy news, my mother dearest will be visiting in FOUR days. AND I’LL BE HOME IN SIX. Almost makes up for the loss of coffee and trees… almost. 

food and books.

I almost didn’t post anything today, because some little person dear to my heart embarrassed me about my new blogging habits… (PAI).

So, in any event, I sucked it up and am going to write about two non-personal goodies: food and books. Two very yummy things indeed. Yesterday, I mixed a bunch of ingredients together, mostly consisting of sauerkraut and peanut sauce, and although that sounds pretty nasty, it turned dee-leesh-ees over some rice. I even took a picture. I also put sausage in, because I’m a bad vegetarian. 

Now, onto the books! Since the UMD library hasn’t updated their collection since 1973 (I’m pretty sure of this), all the interesting books are owned by other awesome-er libraries. I’m almost positive I’m one of the only ones who uses ILL at this place, because their incoming shelf of books waiting for patrons is only about 30 books and usually at least 5 of those are for me. In any case, they’ve gotten every book I’ve ever asked for, since I’m a grad student and am doing “serious research.” So, now I have 12 new books to read. Most of them Emily recommended!  


Gilberto Freyre, the fish, also approves, because he clearly reads all of these when I’m not looking.