Sunday, May 15, 2011

Grandma in the flower bed

As I was walking back to my house after taking my last final on Friday morning I saw something that made me smile. On the St.Paul campus of the University of Minnesota there is beautiful landscaping. Every day I walk down concrete steps from the street and into a perfectly design green space with trees, lush grass, and blooming flowers in the warm months. Friday morning when I walked my usual route I noticed an elderly lady, dressed in a crisp camel colored pantsuit, crawling in the flower beds. Her tan sweater lay across her arm as she held up her camera lens, crouching low with her knees in the dirt to capture the beauty of that day in white tulip petals. I didn't want to stop and stare at her, but as I was walking by I slowed my pace just so I could observe her. Slowly moving from one spot to the next, she calculated the exact shot she wanted.  As I continued walking past I kept glancing back to see her make her way through the flowers. Maybe her hobby is flower photography, maybe she will put the pictures in wooden frames to remember the late spring day, or she will add them to her bathroom decor.

Like a child in a candy store admiring the vibrant sugary delights, her tender gaze caressed the tulips. Even though she was old in years she still hadn't lost that fresh fascination with the world, when everything is new, waiting to be discovered, when you still have the humility to admit that this world is so wonderful and you're only a small part of it. 

A few times this semester my roommates and I have run about the house yelling "Ice cream! Ice cream!" usually late in the evening, and on a Friday. (Well by late I mean 9:45pm) Our ice cream run consist of driving to Cub foods where we all select our flavor we are craving at the moment. Deciding on an ice cream flavor is a complicated process, chunks of stuff? no chunks? chocolate? strawberry? caramel swirls? One particular evening I was thoroughly involved in the ice cream selection process and reading about what wonders the ice cream containers held. It was not until I said, quietly to myself, "double fudge" that I realized my face was only an inch away from glass door that separated me from the creamy delights. Both my hands were also pressed onto the cold door, like how a small child looks at the monkey in the zoo behind the glass. I glanced to my right and noticed my roommates looking at me and laughing at my child-like behavior. Ice cream flavors fascinate me, the colors, the chunks of stuff they add like cookie dough and sprinkles, and the end result when you finally get to open and taste your perfectly selected treat. In that moments when I was totally engrossed in my ice cream selection I begin to act like that small unashamedly fascinated kid in the candy store without even noticing. I never want to lose that amazement for even the small things in life. 

I hope to grow up and be a grandma who crawls in the flower beds in my camel colored pantsuit.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I check my stats here on my blog, my small corner of the internet, often….maybe so often it’s probably vain… but anyway. It’s awesome to see that people from all around the world visit my blog randomly. I receive hits from Google searches actually, mostly attributed to the fact that I wrote about Stoney Tangewizi and a Cabinet of Curiosities. You can even Google search ‘stoney tangewizi’ and in the 2nd page of the image search you can see a picture of me with a can of the pop! *sigh*  I can now die happy because I have received my 15 milliseconds of fame…
But this brings me to an interesting point, one that I’ve wanted to expound on for awhile…
I happen to be a dabbler, which happens to mean I feed on shallow-water vegetation with rapid,splashing movements of the bill…er wait, wrong definition. Here’s the right one:  to play and splash in or as if in water, especially with the hands; to work at anything in an irregular or superficial manner: to dabble in literature. That lovely definition comes from (One of my favorite websites, I have it bookmarked.)
Obscure and random things generally happen to be my favorite things or things that I’m interested in at least.  When I was a kid, I would go to the library, find a section and a topic and pick out all the books I could find on it, ones that mostly had lots of photos. I went through comic books, cooking, baking, architecture, sculpting, art history, interior design, rock gardens, Japanese gardens, bonsai trees, archery, cake decorating, crocheting, poetry, geography, travel, and whatever else you can imagine. I would get interested in a subject obsessively for a short period of time and read as much about the subject as I could. 
I think there should be a name for that, like, a SuperLearner or something. I would completely immerse myself into the subject and exhaust all the resources I had to learn about it. I would not only read about it, but I would actually participate some as well. I took an archery class one summer, I went to the bonsai show at the Como Conservatory, I visited all the Japanese gardens around the city of Minneapolis, I painted, crocheted, and made small rock gardens.
Ignore the 3inch tall sandals, I thought they were cool 
I know all of those things aren’t necessarily obscure and unknown, but I don’t think a normal person researches everything they can possibly find out about it. It still continues to this day, I’ve tried skydiving, kayaking, karate, step aerobics, cake decorating, speaking Spanish, surfing, fishing, traveling, sewing, bicycling, hiking, swimming, camping, writing, bowling, horseback riding, kite making, collecting, ocarina playing, bird watching, paintball, rock climbing, and so much more. If you haven’t noticed by now, I also like to write lists.
So the point to all this…It’s not to brag about how awesome I am because I like to try so many things, or to let everyone know I’m famous in my own small world because of liking a certain carbonated beverage… no the moral of the story is, I’m obsessively curious about random things, and it seems awkward and strange sometimes. Yet, variety is absolutely necessary, it’s not that I just like to explore other things, it’s that I MUST. Curiosity is necessary food to me.

That's one reason why I write this blog, because somehow there's tens and tens of you who read what I write, no matter what it's about. I can slip into looking at other people's lives and thinking they are so much more exciting than me because they do x, y, and z. So I just need to embrace who I am and my strange interests. So who knows? Maybe that person from Denmark will check my blog again and read about national kumquat appreciation day, or that stranger from Uganda will read my praises of yogurt cups.

We live in a massively large and strange, beautiful, amazing world, and I’m just contributing to the weirdness of it all.