Why not …

collect the jokers out of every deck that you come across?

rock this little sequined number under your work blazer? Business on the outside, party on the inside! You can be all coyly buttoned up from 9-5 and then de-blazer once after-work drinks roll around and wow that hottie from marketing.
embrace the ‘no hair’ shower? Now that it’s getting colder and dryer, I am sporting some deeply sexy straw-like hair. Thus! I am huge fan of the ‘no hair’ shower. It takes all of three minutes, wakes me up, allows me an opportunity to use my sandalwood soap and doesn’t dry my hair out. If I’m really ambitious, I rub some gel through my hair, put it into buns and let the steam work its magic. By the time I’m ready for work, I take the buns out and have sexy, messy, wavy hair. With almost no effort! Which, coincidentally, is my favorite amount of effort!
patent your own dinner-party conversation starter? Blah blah “What do you do?” “How do you know _____?” “Have you seen any good movies lately?’ blah. How’s about “If you could have the power of flight or invisibility which would you choose?” or “What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleeping?” or “What’s your least favorite word?” or “What’s the best costume you’ve ever worn?” And look at that! You clever minx, you! You’re the life of the party!
send a real, actual piece of mail to someone you love? We’re talking about the real thing, now. Proper stationary (maybe even scented?!), hand-written and bonus points for including something silly and sparkly that falls out when they open the envelope.

In which the existence of beavers is doubted

art by falldowntree

Yesterday I brought my Burmese ESL student on a field trip to Fort Snelling State Park to learn about the niceties of hunting licenses, poison sumac and why we probably don’t want to eat snapping turtles. Our guide talked about all of these things while walking us through the park, pausing to point out things of interest.About half an hour into our walk, we happened upon a tree that had been gnawed down by a beaver. In rather complex and fast English, he explained the tree-felling/dam-building process. I turned to my students and attempted to “translate.”

Me: “One animal bites this tree and then makes a house with the tree.”

Skeptical Student: “A big animal, teacher? Elephant like tree.”

Me: “Oh no. This animal is a brother to rabbit, squirrel. Like this:” I make the universal sign for rodent, hands tucked under my chin and making clicking noises, exposing my front teeth

Student: “Ummm, no, teacher. A rabbit cannot eat a tree and make a house.”

Me: “It’s like a rabbit. It lives in the water. It takes the tree in the water and then makes a house.”

Student: “Ummm, teacher. No. A rabbit cannot swim.”

Me: “It is like a rabbit. It has a big tail (universal sign for beaver tail here) and it swims and then makes a house from the tree it bites.”

Student. “Sooooo, it is a fish rabbit that can bite a tree and make a house?” (totally incredulous)

Me: “Yes. Yes. It is a fish rabbit. It is a fish rabbit that bites trees.”

Student: “Oh yes. Okay. I know.”

He nods as if this now makes perfect sense and heads off to impart this knowledge to his classmates.

God help them if kangaroos ever come up.

The Parenting Tactics of Mom Von

photo by hownowdesign

My dear wee mom is exactly what you imagine when you imagine a Midwestern grade school teacher. Are you imagining red elastic-waisted pants? And appliqued sweaters? And holiday-themed jewelry? Now imagine all that plus a steely will, a dark sense of humor and a button nose. This is the recipe for Mom Von.Growing up with two teachers as parents means that you can pull approximately nothing over on them because a) they have spies everywhere b) they have heard it all before. One of my mother’s favored response to any Kid Von whining was “Oh, you’re fine. I think you’ll live.” Oh really, Mom?! I’m fairly sure my life will actually end if my nightly phone call allotment isn’t extended to 3 hours!!!

Her other top five:

5) “Well, whose fault is that?”
Seriously, Mom. This is gold. I fight the urge to say this every blessed day to people in my life. The Lean-Cuisine stealing co-worker for one.4) “We’ll see, depending on your behavior.”
Ahhhh! You slay me! The perfect catch 22! A ‘yes’ is not certain and I have to be good until you decide! That’s a long time to be good.

3) “You think so, huh?”
Usually said in response to any bossy or slightly inflammatory remarks uttered by wound-up Kid Vons. For example “I’m going to stay over at Kristin’s on Sunday, I don’t care what you say!” “You think so, huh?” or “I’m going to move in with that questionable boyfriend and spend the summer waitressing at Rick’s Cabaret!” “You think so, huh?”

2) “It’s not necessary”
Ooooh, Mom! Always with the airtight argument! Sure, it’s not strictly necessary that you drive me to Duluth so I can buy over-priced incense at the Electric Fetus. But bathing isn’t necessary either.

1) “We don’t (verb) in this house.”
We don’t hit in this house. We don’t talk like that in this house. We don’t eat cheesy poofs in our underwear for the entirity of Summer vacation in this house. Jeez, Mom, you’re no fun.

And, yes. I now use nearly all of the above phrases in my daily life. What were your parents’ favorite lines when you were a kid?

For the love of Argyle

“Hmmm, where shall I scoot to today? Perhaps a golf course or a British pub where my Argyle will be truly appreciated? Yes, I think I could go for a cuppa and some biscuits, followed quickly by several pints of cider. Indeed.”As previously noted, I’m going to refrain from regaling y’all with the fact that nearly everything I own is from Target. Because that’s just embarrassing.

However! The jeans you see here? All dark and slim and slightly hipster-y? You will not believe what brand they are:


Did you, like I, secretly covet this brand in 8th grade? While I was relegated to Lees, all the cool kids were rocking their Girbauds, complete with that weird button loop. So finding these for $15 at TJ Maxx was something of a teen dream come true.

Now, if I can just get my hands on a 26 Red t-shirt my life will have come full circle.

Character Sketches: The passengers of Bus 94B

photo by publicenergy

For the entirety of September, I was sans car and spent an hour every day bussing it to St. Paul and back. And despite my sulking, it was been an excellent opportunity to engage in minor anthropological studies. A look at my favorite bus characters …
  • The Tiny Italian. His bus-riding paraphernalia includes: a tiny water bottle, a walker, and a hugely overloaded backpack. His preternaturally black hair in complimented by a rosary tattooed around his right wrist and a bowling shirt with gold embroidery, boasting the name “Tony.”
  • The Petite Sophisticate. She possesses The World’s Greatest Bob and somehow manages to look pulled together standing at the bus stop everyday at 6:45 a.m. Despite being at least 55, her knowledge of Ipod navigation far exceeds mine.
  • The Whisper Singer. The Whisper Singer totes around a Discman and a leather cd-case that houses at least 25 cds at any given time. Judging by the songs he’s whispered in my vicinity, I’d judge his musical taste falls under the heading of ‘hair metal.’ There is something to be said for having ‘November Rain’ being whispered in your ear after a long day at the office.
  • The Sass. The Sass apparently reserves all of her phone conversations for the bus. I personally enjoy this, as eavesdropping is probably my third favorite pastime. Thus far I’ve discovered that 1) her parenting M.O. is “as much work as I have to do and no more, mmm’kay?” 2) Her romantic partner is both “fiiine” and “good at what he do” 3) Her job is making her “lose her damn mind.”
  • The Kenyan Lawyer. I’m not sure that he is actually either Kenyan or a lawyer, but he look delicious enough to be both. Yummmm.

Who are your favorite public transportation characters?