Wednesday, December 31, 2008



Last year my only publicly-announced New Year's resolution was to be better at Scrabble.  I think I did pretty well at that--I played Scrabbulous on Facebook avidly for awhile, and transitioned from the basic "try to find a place for this cool word" system into the more advanced "look at where the high-letter squares are and see what I can play there" approach.  My passion for the game dwindled a little after a few months, at which time I switched to Scramble (Facebook's version of Boggle), which is less time-consuming because each round only lasts 3 minutes.  I think I'm improving on that, too, and it's a word game so it's close enough.  So, I will check this one off.

I know I made some other resolutions last year, but I recall only vaguely what they were.  Well, one was to be more confident and speak up more at work, and I think I accomplished that in one fell swoop the other week when I quasi-yelled back at the senior partner when he was yelling and swearing at me.  (That is a story for a work-related blog, which this definitely is not.  I don't like my job but I don't want to be one of those lame "I got fired for blogging" news items.) 


So, to introduce a higher level of accountability, this year I will set forth my resolutions so that I remember what they are.  Drum roll...

1.  New job.  Need need need new job.  Must get new job.  New job!! 
2.  More regular exercise.  This may entail joining a gym, I gather.
3.  Clean out my filing cabinets, and the storage areas in the basement.
4.  Get stuff around the house fixed.  (This one is almost done already--we have hired someone to start doing stuff starting possibly Friday.  25% done!) 

Not particularly exciting or original, but whaddareyagonnado.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Why is Bristol Palin, new mama to baby Tripp, sticking with her mom's pattern of naming boy babies one-syllable words starting with "Tr" that are English words but not traditional human-being names?  Unlike Track and Trig, whose meanings (running fast, triangle-related math) are positive, or at least tough, "Tripp" connotes falling down because you forgot to tie your shoelaces.  However, overall I think it's not a bad name--it's unique without being annoying to pronounce, and in a world where Aidan and Jayden are the #1 and #2 baby boy names, that is saying a lot.  Congrats, Bristol.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My hometown, swank-ified

For Christmas I went back to Grinnell, where nothing ever changes that much.

But it had changed! And I'm not talking about the old Wal-Mart closing and a bigger Wal-Mart opening (which also happened). The heart (or maybe the liver, or the appendix) of the town had changed: the bar went upscale. It wasn't actually called The Bar, it was The Pub (The Bar was the old name of the other bar a few blocks away.) The Pub was a basement with a concrete floor, and the bathrooms had plywood doors that didn't really latch. My ex-boyfriend almost got beat up there because he ignored the nuances of the rules about reserving the pool table by putting quarters on the edge. I hadn't been there for awhile, but never considered the possibility that it wasn't still there.

But the last night we were in town, we went out to eat at the fancy new restaurant--a New Orleans-themed one, with attractive lighting and some over-$20-entrees. After dinner we went downstairs to have a drink at the adjunct bar. It had low, leather-esque sofas and a martini menu. I don't think I ever would have realized that it was the former Pub unless someone had told me. In fact, the layout was exactly the same. (More to the point, it was in the same location.) It wasn't just the carpet, the paint, and the non-plywood bathroom doors that threw me--I just would never have considered the possibility that The Pub would have gotten all pimped out.

I'm a little confused as to what this all means. Is it a sign that Grinnell's self-conscious attempt to reposition its downtown as a tourist attraction is going well? An example of the general fancy-fication of the United States? (You can also get stinky cheeses in Grinnell now.) A reminder that nothing stays exactly the same? Has getting rusty at blogging made me start to write like Carrie Bradshaw?