Archive for the ‘i struggle’ Category

Please Don’t Say That


One more DC story.

A nice man asked me, “So, where do you teach now?”

“Minnesota,” I replied.

“Oh, Minnesota! That’s nice.”

“Mmhmm,” I continue.

“So, are you originally from Minnesota? Were you born in Canada?


Please tell me I don’t sound like a Canadian. I beg of you.


Chunks in My Milk


I have a thing about expiration dates.

I bought yogurt last Saturday.

Today, I threw it out.

Why? Well, while giving breakfast the old college try this morning, the yogurt sort of… tasted funny. I can’t put my finger on what it was exactly.

Au revoir, mes Yoplait amis.

I blame this entire neurosis on my sweet Grandma Julie. She never really had much and so what she did have – food – she kept around. Past expiration. Always the mother hen, she’d offer me food from the second I walked in the door to the second I left. It didn’t matter how much I tried to turn the poor woman down (“It’s okay, grandma. We ALREADY ate dinner.”) she’d keep asking.

Of course, I’d give in eventually. Who can say no to grandma? Most of the time, I’d be treated to a fudgsicle – totally safe.

Once, I ventured in the Iffy Zone -the refrigerator- and we can refer to that as mistake #1.

While adding the milk (mistake #2) to a bowl of just-poured cereal, the milk did not flow.

It plopped.



And now you understand my problem with perishables.

Well, friends, that’s all the time we have today for “Shrink Your Brain” with Sarah. Join us next time when we analyze her Catholic guilt!

Letter to my Younger Self


Dear Younger Me,

What you thought you’d be as you waded into your late twenties? Forget about it.

You are not that perfectly-planned established self. You’re living in an apartment, but not feeling the need to make moves any more permanent than that. You aren’t married or on the verge of starting a family. You look around and see others who have taken that path and feel respect, but not jealousy. You’ve learned not to compare, though you still may be guilty of it every now and then.

You’ve loosened your grip on the black-and-white world you once craved. You don’t automatically choose judgment – not because you’ve suddenly become enlightened, but because you’ve been there. And it sucked.

You’ve started to shed the layers of illusion that surrounded adulthood. They had stopped being protective and started becoming restrictive.

Relationships are no longer put into boxes and you don’t get angry when yours has strayed too far from the status quo. You’ve started to grapple with people you love finding that love isn’t enough. You accept the fact that your mother was right when she told you that your mouth would get you into trouble someday.

You were right about your friendships, for the most part. You knew that when your cousins told you that “ten years from now, you won’t be as close with your high school friends” that they’d be wrong. Friends are friends and close is a relative term.

You did grow apart from your oldest, closest friend and, along with it, you felt the heaviness of your first big regret. Now that it’s impossible for you to pick up where you left off the way you’d always assumed, you miss her more. You rest on a hope that your memories are tucked safely inside her head and that she didn’t lose the feeling that was “us.”

But regrets aren’t your thing, so you consider yourself lucky that after 27 years, you have just one.

You’ve experienced the elation of a country coming together. You feel all World-War-II as you watch your fellow countrymen promise to do and be better because they feel that – finally – their values are being represented instead of minimized.  You sense that you’ve stood witness to something bigger than yourself and you close your eyes and vow to remember what this is like.

You’re realizing that you aren’t yet satisfied enough with where you’ve been and what you’ve done in your life to come within a 50-foot radius of the word “settle.” If you are to live your life like Anthony Hopkins in Meet Joe Black the way you promised, you’ve got a lot of work to do.  Uncomfortable though it may be, you get that it is something valuable to wake up one morning and say “I don’t want anything more.”

So, appreciate the shades of gray. Find out new things about yourself and have some confidence. Outwardly love others in an unconditional way. Save and spend wisely. Don’t let fear hold you back. Let your disappointments in all their varying degrees make you strong and thicken your skin. Don’t expect it to get easier, but enjoy it when it does. There may come a point where you have it all figured out, but it will likely be fleeting.

In the words of the Emily Saliers, “there’s more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line/the less I seek my source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine.”

As you write this, you won’t know any more about what lies ahead than you did before, but you’ll savor the uncertainty.

Love always,

Your 27-year old self

You know what I think is a bad idea?


Hot dentists.

It took me years – literally, years – to get the courage up to go back to the dentist after too much berating by my former DDS (read: Degrading DentistS) who would NEVER believe me when I innocently insisted that I had GIVEN UP POP so there really was no need to tell me that I drink too much of it.  (I was being honest!) They would give me a smug nod and then proceed to floss me in a passive-aggressive fashion.

Lousy, stinkin’ bastards. They only fueled the fire of my dentist conspiracy theory which we can discuss at a later time.

(On the first date between TBWSRN and I – he told me that he, too, has a dentist conspiracy theory. That’s how you know it’s real, folks.)

I digress.

I finally decided to head back because my lower right molar felt like the side was peeling off like a splintered popsicle stick and I said to myself, “I kind of LIKE my teeth. Perhaps I should take care of this.”

So, I picked the first dentist’s office I could Google that was located in Minneapolis and I totally hit the jackpot. Our first meeting was just to sit and “get to know each other” because they suspected I might feel apprehensive about the initial appointment.

Due to the five years of missing dentist records.

Smart people.

Get this: they even have TVs on the ceiling.

YES. I enjoy watching The View while getting my teeth cleaned. Though my come-backs to Hasselbeck don’t make as much sense when the little mirror is shoved in my mouth.

The point of this is that last week I received an e-mail that told me that all I needed to do was click the “Make an appointment!” button and someone would contact me to set up a cleaning.

But I can’t get myself to click it.

Why? Because of the hot dentist!

The dentist who did the regular old cleaning last time was SUPER SEXY.

My teeth? NOT super sexy.

It was embarrassing.

I don’t know if I can, in good conscience, face that again.

Aesop’s Newest Fable: The Battery That Was Quite Expensive


I was just about to go to bed when…

I hear the remote fall off the couch, knocked off by my aforementioned puppy friend.

Remote falling = batteries falling out of remote which has no back = puppy friend eating batteries

So, puppy friend trots up to me with half of a AAA Energizer sticking out of her mouth (ironic, since it seems puppy friend is also run by a AAA Energizer).

Haha. So humorous at 12:30 in the AM, puppy friend.

She performs her latest trick by dropping the battery on command. I give myself an actual pat on the back for being such a responsible dog owner.

But…where is the other battery? It takes two to make a dream come true, baby. Or to make the remote turn on the DVD player. Whatever.

I look under the couch cushions, on the floor, perhaps it rolled under the bathroom door?

It is nowhere.

I turn my attention to Iris and, with desperation, say aloud, “Did you EAT the battery, Iris?”

I call TBWSRN in the Eastern Time Zone because that’s what I do when I don’t know what else to do. You see, he has this idea that the dog is some sort of actual human being and -let’s be honest- was already secretly concerned that the girl who once ran out of Science Diet and instead supplied the dog with an “All the Gravy Bones You Can Eat” buffet for just a couple of days, really, was being left alone with his “child” for an extended period of time. He promptly got on the internet to Google an answer to this problem. The battery problem, that is. I don’t think there’s a Google entry for “inadequate animal caregiver.”

He comes up with the following: give her milk to neutralize in case she did a chomp-n-swallow and get her an x-ray. Stat.

“Whatever you think is best,” I say – only it comes out, “Do you KNOW how much that will cost?”

The puppy friend and I drive to the Emergency Vet in the Wild West of road conditions. (All lanes were covered with ice, which was covered with snow. Seriously, you couldn’t have waited until daylight to swallow this battery, Iris?) We get put into a waiting room. As we wait, I get on my phone to discover just how much of the internet the Envy2 is capable of letting me see. (Not much.) Iris does the following:

"I must sniff every square inch of this new place."

"I must sniff every square inch of this new place."

"Okay, done. Let's ditch this popsicle stand."

"Okay, done. Let's ditch this popsicle stand."

The vet does an x-ray.

“Good news,” she says.

Folks, there was no battery.

Thank God. I mean, really, thank God.

But, come on!

Moral of the Story:

(This is a fable)

If you are looking for something really expensive that you can love, perhaps you should consider a child instead. And watch that child like a hawk.

Non-compliance. Bitches.


There are a few things in this wild and varied life that I’ve really tried to like because I feel like I should like them. But, I don’t. I just can’t. Things like…


trying on clothes

looking younger than my age


Bon Iver

owning a car


Sheryl Crow

talking on the phone



Okay, let’s talk about that last one.


Out of everything on this list, this is one I should probably give another go at. I mean, I can’t just eat take-out the rest of my life, can I? The four recipes I am capable of pulling together to result in what one might call a “meal” might end up seeming monotonous to my future dependents. And – let’s be honest – there’s only really four if you count tacos as a “recipe.”

A tasty dinner, yes. A true recipe? It’s iffy, boys and girls.

Anyway, there’s this class through the city’s Adult Community Ed called “Cooking 101: Basic Techniques.” Aannd, I’m thinking about it. Do you think I’d really get anything out of it?

Okay, perhaps it’s impossible NOT to from where I’m standing, but would I actually be motivated to…cook?… after it’s all said and done? How did you all start cooking?

I’m considering it. Cooking may be one thing I have to just shut-up-and-comply-with because if I were to become a good cook, I would really like that about myself.

Do you see a theme?


This year, I hate Year-End-Reviews. Because if I did one for myself, it might look like this:

2008: The Year of the Almosts

January: The Boyfriend Who Shall Remain Nameless (TBWSRN – long and annoying, no?) begins Elusive Job Hunt- all interviews are out of town.

(And before you get all- it’s just your boyfriend, don’t you have a life, blahblahblahhhhh… YES. I have a very good life, actually. Thank you for asking. BUT when you’ve been together so long you’re practically married and literally EVERY job interview was out of town, YES. My year did kind of sort of revolve around his job search. You spend your year going… are we? aren’t we? And this is meant to be a bitter list. So, bitter it tiz.)

February: TBWSRN has a heavy moot court month – competitions out of town

March: TBWSRN and I plan a trip to London. Which he has to miss because of unanticipated job interview.

April: Um, think he’s in town.

Beginning of May: TBWSRN interviews for more jobs. And gets one! Oh yay!

End of May: Another, better job offer! Takes it!

June: The “better” job (with the G-O-V-T) is moved to a new department. Has to re-interview. Gets it!

Beginning of July: The entire department is cut. No job. Seriously.

Mid-July: People feel bad for him (as they – ahem – should) and help him find a new job. We’re moving and it’s settled. Yaaay.

End of July: New job -fun surprise!- wants him to stay in Minneapolis for first six months. Not moving anymore. At least not for awhile.

August: Month spent in godforsaken hotbox that is apartment that was meant to be temporary because …we’re moving, right?

September: TBWSRN gets an AWESOME opportunity to work with an AWESOME “someone’s” campaign. Does it. Obvs.

October: TBWSRN is still campaigning. Doesn’t make it home.

November: TBWSRN takes a job offer from said AWESOME “someone.” Angels come down from heaven and shake my hand. I Hyperventilate. Break out in metaphorical hives. Annnnnd- he gets to come home for Thanksgiving! Wee! Head spins like the chick in the Exorcism.

December: Able to calm down. The Boy is still working between Chicago and DC. So, no holiday visits. Temporary Sadness.

SO – good year, no? Well, if you want to get all technical on me, there were some incredible parts. My wish for 2009, though, is for a little freakin’ stability.

So let’s get to the many good, incredible things that happened in 2008 that had nothing whatsoever to do with a male, like:

  • my principal having mercy on me and giving me my job back
  • friend’s wedding
  • a trip to fabulous Las Vegas with Bean to visit Amanda (the PCD, remember)
  • getting incredibly acquainted with the girls from SATC during my alone time (that sounds dirty, but isn’t) (but would almost be sort of cool if it was?)
  • experiencing London with Kirsten
  • Rachel’s health getting better and better every single stinkin’ day! Take that, TBI! Take that desensitized and overworked doctors! Lesson learned: you NEVER give up on people.
  • adopting a little doggy friend, Iris
  • going to DC for .5 seconds, walking around all independent-like
  • meeting up with TBWSRN romantic-comedy style in New York City. It’s about the city, not the male.
  • training for and running my very first half marathon
  • OBAAAAMAAAA (okay, this one has to do with a male)
  • encountering Netflix and making it my new boyfriend (not technically a male)

Though it’s been a rough-and-tumble kinda year, it could absolutely be worse. I can still say I’m genuinely happy. AND healthy. I even overcame my fear of the dentist this year. We’ll save that story for another time.

For these, I can be grateful.

Sidenote: I figure that, for those of you who don’t know me personally  and who don’t *get* to hear the day-to-day details of the litany above, I should clarify that the bitterness is directed towards Lady Luck – who I will not adjectify because it wouldn’t be ladylike – and not toward TBWSRN, who has been thoughtfully maintaining our relationship through all of the crap.

It’s 2 am and I’m awake.


Fun Facts

1. I just watched The Namesake. It was alright. “Aight”

2. You know what is good, though? Weeds. Totally flew through two seasons on Netflix.

3. I have absolutely been sleeping on the couch ever since break started. I’m depressed that TBWSRN is still out of town working. The bed feels a little too yes-he’s-really-gone-over-the-holidays. Don’t feel bad. It’ll be alright. “Aight” We’re rollin’ with it.

4. As a result of the aforementioned, my dog got confused and marched her little self right into the bedroom and piddled on the bed the other day.

5. Which is another reason I’m still sleeping on the couch.

6. And it still doesn’t make total sense because it’s not like she piddles on the couch. Get your head straight, dog.

7. I have to start getting my bad self together for the spelling bee. Ugh.

8. You know, there is a Drunken Spelling Bee at a bar in Minneapolis each January. Takers?

9. The candidate for RNC chair sent around a racist e-mail about my hero (Barack Obama) and called it “political satire.” Whaaa? No, I don’t think so. Nobody puts Barack in a corner.

10. I am going to go to Macy’s tomorrow and use a gift certificate to purchase a new pair of black shoes.

Okay, I finally feel the sleep coming on. Thanks, folks.

How’s YOUR day going?


Imagine you wake up with that “Geez, it feels so late” feeling. You look at your cell phone alarm, which you will NEVER USE AGAIN. It has mysteriously frozen at midnight. You click until it comes back to life.

It reads 7:30.

But, but…you have to report to work at 7:40 and, on days with good weather, it takes you about 40 minutes to get to said work. Adding salt to your  barely awakened wound, you knew today was not one of those days. It had rained all day on Sunday, the temperature had dropped – creating a virtual ice rink – and then it had snowed. The windchill was 27 below zero so when you leave in your heels – instead of wearing your warm boots – the little cracks of your exposed upper toe area become crinkly and painful. You wonder aloud, “Why the F*** am I living in this godforsaken hell hole?”

Just kidding. You loooove it here.

Anyway, needless to say, the highways aren’t exactly “free-flowing” and as you give your secretary a panicky phone call, you realize it may take well over your typical 40 minutes to arrive at school. You say a quick prayer that your 8th graders will behave themselves in the dangerously unstructured time before Homeroom begins at 8:30.

You walk in the front doors at – miraculously – 8:30. On the dot. Your 8th graders have morphed into little angels and all are seated, being quiet enough. You stroll in nonchalantly. Everything is cool. “I was just at a meeting,” you say. Nevermind that you actually did miss your ILA Department meeting earlier in the morning.

Now, let’s say you arrive home to a stomach-churning smell. Why? Because you have a little doggy whom you carelessly tossed into her kennel this morning while you were running around half-dressed, trying to prioritize (AKA: Do I have time to make coffee?). The poor dear left a vengeful mess and continues to bark punitively the remainder of the evening. “Is glaring an effective training method?” you wonder – again, out loud.

You pour another glass of wine and remind yourself to pull out the faux-wood-paneled alarm clock you hate to look at, but love to hear in the morning. Okay, maybe “love” is a strong word.

Day over.

You may or may not have noticed.


I changed the name of this blog yet again.

“iris* in dc” didn’t work because the move to DC was temporarily put on hold. “iris in minnie” didn’t quite have the same ring to it.

“iris punkinbabycheeks” was SO annoying. Sorry if you liked it. It was supposed to be temporary until I could think of something better. But- baby talk, come on.

“iris independent” retains my favorite part of the title, but makes a bit more sense with the header and I would like to think it is more in sync with my personality.  And it sort of sounds like a newspaper. Fun!

Sorry for the inconvenience! I hope this one will stick.

: \ (Errrrrr-faced man)

*Iris is the name of my dog, in case you felt left out. Pathetic, I know. But I love her!