Sunday, October 14, 2012


It has been a whirlwind weekend of travel and fighting infection in pursuit of a good time. 

If you did not read my last entry, I have a cold.  At least I am now on what is hopefully the tail-end of said illness, so I can survive without drugs.  This does not mean that my life is mucus and phlegm-free.  Au contraire, mes cheris!  

I shall spare you the play-by-play of my various bodily fluid issues of the weekend, for which I expect your gratitude.  But after several weeks of staying home with the dogs while my parents work at the farm or play in Grand Marais, I decided to venture out.  I thought of it as a practice run for next weekend, but more on that later.

This weekend was the fundraiser/fall dance at the Brooten Pavilion.  Many people showed up and a good time was had by all.  I did partake in a small amount of alcohol, but it was all in moderation and I had no ill after effects.  Actually, it was a very brief trip.  Due to this cold along with another complicating female issue, I opted to drive out solo with Lena on Saturday afternoon.  This kept my total trip time to approximately 24 hours. 

While the dance was certainly the highlight of the visit, I was also able to enjoy one of the great benefits that come with autumn in Minnesota.  You see, in summer, the woods become quite overgrown with plant life, and venturing out can be hazardous at best.  Once fall arrives and undergrowth begins to die off, woodland walking becomes far more feasible.

As a child growing up in the more rural areas of the state, I was given a lot of free range to wander in fields and forests as a child.  Normally I did this with friends or siblings, but I did enjoy a peaceful exploration on my own every once in a while.  So today I revisited that experience.

While my parents were in town having breakfast with friends, I left the dogs in the house, donned my work books and hoodie before setting forth into the woods.  In a moment of caution, I left a note for my parents indicating my intention in case they returned before I did.

I started off going straight into the woods, but eventually found myself on the edge of one of the corn fields.  My uncle has not yet combined all of his corn, so there is still quite a bit of tall, golden and dry stalks surrounding the woods.  I followed the edge of the corn until I reached the edge of the pasture as marked by the electric fence. 

No cattle were waiting for me, but I did not feel like risking their hasty arrival seeking food if they were nearby and took notice of me.  I am not an idiot; I know the aggression level of cattle when they expect to be fed.  So I waited a moment and headed back to find my parents arriving home. 

Next weekend I am returning to the farm with the three dogs, but without my parents.  There is a church auction to attend and a friend and her new baby daughter to meet.  Hopefully I will be able to see my grandfather and properly water the lawn for my father.   Maybe I will take another solo trip into the woods.  Who knows, maybe I will find something more interesting than dead trees and giant Labrador retriever droppings. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Boogers and mucus and phlegm, oh MY!

If I make any errors in this entry, I cannot be held accountable.  15 minutes ago, I took an adult dose of Tylenol Cold night edition.  As you can infer, I have a cold.  In terms of nastiness, I do not think it is any better or any worse than any other cold I or anyone else may have had in my life.  But when I cannot remember the date of my last official head cold, I fear that it could lead to misguided expectations.

If I had to estimate, I would say that my last official cold took place in 2008, at least judging by the expiration dates on my old medicines.  Thankfully, my mother preceding me in this present ailment, so a new and unexpired batch was purchased and was used tonight.  The effects are already apparent in my sinuses and should shortly be felt in my alertness level.

Unfortunately, when one has a head cold, one must deal with a good deal of phlegm and mucus.  It is just part of the process.  This is not such a problem when one can hide in the safety of a house or bedroom, but when one should be strolling the aisles of an office building and sitting in an open cubicle surrounded by other humans, it is a bit more disturbing. 

What is also disturbing is being told by two of one's coworkers that one should go home because one "looks awful."  So after three hours of constant nose blowing, hand washing and mind clouding, I gave in and went home.  I feel like a bit of a wimp using valuable sick time on something as trivial as a cold, but when I consider that a full day of exposure could render some of my coworkers vulnerable, I am happy to be relieved of their potential blame. 

Sadly, this illness also led to my absence from Norwegian class last night and the cancellation of pedicures with my friend tonight.  I should probably add that the Norwegian class meets in close quarters and my friend is 8 months pregnant.  It makes my lack of attendance seem a bit noble.  Or so I will tell myself.

Before I succumb to the drugs, I would like to take a moment to issue a drug-related warning.  Back in the day when I had colds on a yearly basis, I developed a "go-to" cadre of medications.  First there was Nyquil and Sudafed.  Which led to night hallucinations and racing heartbeats, so I moved on to Tylenol Cold in both day and night formulas.  Eventually I discovered Theraflu, a powdered mix that one heats with water and drinks before bed.  It was highly effective most of the time.

So when I discovered that I still had some packets, I eagerly prepared a cup for myself last night at bedtime.  My normal time frame for effectiveness ran about 30 minutes from ingestion.  Imagine my dismay to find that 90 minutes later my sinuses were completely closed and I could not breathe.  Always one to take drug warnings seriously, I lamented that I could not avail myself of any other medications due to acetaminophen overdose possibilities.  Yikes, right?

But late at night when one is getting up for work in the morning, one gets a bit frantic.  Desperate, even.  So I arose and made a bold decision to take Sinex, a sinus medication around midnight.  It was effective in clearing my nasal passages to allow breathing to occur and sleep to arrive.  Unfortunately, around the 4 hour expiration time, I awoke with frenetic thoughts and crazy dreams.  I was able to finally fall back to sleep until my alarm went off, but it was not a restful sleep.

So tonight it is my hope that my lack of mixing will lead to a better and more solid sleep.  I really need my rest for work in the morning and I also need to build up my stamina for the Brooten Pavilion Fundraiser Dance on Saturday night.  One can simply not attend with wads of tissue up one's nose.  It is just not done.

Now that 28 minutes have elapsed sine I took my nightly meds, I think it is safe to attempt bedtime.  Thank you for reading through my drug induced ramblings, and I hope that you all have a safe and healthy Friday. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Day of Columbus

If you were wondering, I survived my trip to the Edina Super Target on Saturday, but barely.  Seriously, it was tense from the beginning.  Some guy rushed in ahead of me and took the cart I was heading for without so much as a backwards glance. 

From there it was all downhill.  Seriously, at one point I had to wait for several minutes while some guy carried out a phone conversation parked in front of the very item I was waiting to grab.  A pushier person would have walked up, said a pointed "Excuse me," and moved on.  But I am not such a person, so I waited.  Meanwhile, his wife/girlfriend/mistress stood in front of the cart, watching him talk and clearly seeing me behind him with my cart while taking no action.

It was all a mess of inconsiderate stopping, blocking and cutting off from there on in.  At one point, I paused to check if it was safe to head out into the main aisle when some douche-bag swerved around me and headed into the next aisle over which happened to be where I was heading as well.  I followed him into the aisle where he promptly stopped and I passed around him.  It reminded me of driving on a highway when someone passes you only to pull back in front of you and slow down to turn five seconds later.

The grand finale was the discovery that someone had been injured in the produce section.  I do not know the specifics of the circumstances that led to someone laying on the floor in front of the bell peppers surrounded by concerned Target workers, but the amount of walk-by gawking was equal to what one sees upon passing a car pulled over on the highway.  No one looks where they are going as they stare at the injured party.  Ambulances came before I left, so I assume that there was a medical emergency.  Thankfully, I did not see any blood.

You may have noticed by now that this entry is dated for Monday.  Do not worry, I am not writing from work; it is Columbus Day.  I realize that this is not a widely recognized holiday, but my employer treats it as such and I applaud them for it.  Truthfully, I have enjoyed this holiday every October for the past 11 years.  When my last employer was taken over by a new company, we quickly learned that this company would not be recognizing this holiday which was a complete bummer to me.  I am not saying that this was the main reason I left, but it certainly made for a pleasant surprise when I learned that I would receive holiday pay.

Another bonus of the holiday?  A four day work week.  It is one of my favorite things.  True, it does throw off my sense of time a wee bit, but I can handle it.  My parents have also come home, which means that I only have to share my bed with one dog instead of three.  I can handle that as well.

For those of you who cannot spend this fine holiday ruminating on the person of Christopher Columbus, I hope that your Monday was not too rough and I apologize for bragging.  May you have a day full of discovery.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Of to the market I go!

It is a little chilly here today in Minnesota, dontcha know?  We are surviving as best we can, but truth be told, I am not too upset about it.  If you know me, you know that I actually somewhat enjoy it.

Yet again, I am facing a weekend of home and dog watching, although I do have some human company in the form of my uncle who is here from Europe and is going to see the visiting King and Queen of Sweden this afternoon.  Quite exciting.

Meanwhile, I must mentally prepare myself to do some errands.  As I am able to do this without the accompaniment of children or other distractions, it might appear to be a simple task.  In most other areas of the metro it probably would be no more onerous than making the right selections and staying in budget.  Unfortunately, my "local" area is full of crazy people.

Some might point out that this is due to the fact that I now live in Edina, MN.  For those not familiar with the Twin Cities and its suburbs, Edina is what you might call "old money."  It is home to the infamous "cake eaters" of hockey lore and often is called by its affectionate acronym, "Every Day I Need Attention."

Not that I can generalize in total, because I know that not everyone fits this mold.  However, it does lend some explanation to why I hate shopping at the local Super Target.  Again, this is not a generalization about Super Target; EVERY shopping venue in this radius has this problem.  It is just that Super Target is my intended destination today.

From the start, this sort of escapade has the ability to enrage.  The parking lot itself is a fender bender waiting to happen.  Or perhaps a sign of the apocalypse.  No one yields, stops or uses their eyes to spot potential danger.  You can fully expect to be cut off, run over or made to wait for the car in front of you who is blocking the lane while they wait for the spot they want to open up.  Never mind that there are eight more openings just two spots down.

Once safely inside, it is still best to be on one's guard.  The manner in which most patrons operate their automobiles in the parking lot is almost identical to the way they maneuver their shopping carts in the aisles of the store. 

I am of the school of shopping that proceeds with caution when emerging from aisles into crosswalk sections.  I try to keep my cart to the side or out of the path of traffic when picking up my items.  In most places I have been, this is how everyone behaves.  Not so in Edina.  People come charging out of aisles without a sideways glance.  They come to a halt in the middle of sections to stare at what they might want to buy without leaving room for anyone to get around them.  They let their children ride bicycles from the sporting goods section around the store.

This is all one hundred percent true.  Do you understand why I need to build up my defenses before heading out?  It is best to be mentally prepared to avoid bouts of unmitigated rage or under-breath swearing.  If I could avoid it for another day, I would.  But I am out of so many items and I felt a little bad when my uncle could not find anything of substance to eat in the house last night other than Girl Scout Cookies and Lean Cuisine entrees. 

Unfortunately, my parents have been gone so much in the past few weeks, my shopping habits have not been robust enough to feed more than me.  Normally, my parents have their staples that are purchased throughout the week, but without them to pick up things that normal people eat, the house is full of the oddball stuff that I get for myself.  So today, I am going to attempt to pick up "real" food along with other toiletries that I am sadly in need of at the moment.

So wish me luck, but do not be surprised if you read about a nuclear breakdown in the Edina area today.  If you keep your distance, you should survive.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hvordan har du det i kveld?

Tonight the first Presidential debate is on television and I am choosing not to watch.  I am of the opinion that it serves nothing more than entertainment value in that we get to see the top candidates together in the same room for the first time.  Because really, does anything of substance or even truth come up?  No.  It is just another opportunity to shout out buzz words and avoid addressing the questions that everyone would really like answered.  Honestly.

Plus, I have already voted.  Absentee, if you must know, which really was the only thing I could do given the fact that a visit to the polls on election day in my precinct would involve taking a good chunk of time away from work and a LOT more time in the car than I care to do on a week day.

I have to tell you, it feels good to be part of the electoral process.  I really cannot understand why anyone would forgo the privilege. 

But onwards and upwards.

I have been doing a lot of pondering in recent days.  This is largely due to some slower work day schedules that involve a lot of waiting for things to happen and/or work properly, but it has also been brought forth by some correspondence and reading I have done.

As my mind swirls with the supposedly endless array of future endeavors in my life, I find myself seriously considering the option of not going into the library field.  Before you start freaking out, hear me out.  I now work for a fairly large company.  Large as in 65,000+ coworkers across the country.  This company is very devoted to employee engagement and provides numerous benefits and opportunities for life enrichment.  I have already started to entrench myself into some of these activities through volunteer work and seminars.

I am not an idiot.  I do realize that many of these engagement activities are specifically designed to make it hard for people to contemplate leaving the company.  That is no great secret. 

But it truly is the first time that I have been part of such a plan.  And you know what?  It's nice.  Really, really nice. 

So when I start to consider the library option, I have to pause and think long and hard about it.  Sure, I spent time and money on graduate school.  But I have the degree.  It isn't going anywhere.  I learned a lot from my training and there is no reason I cannot apply the principles of librarianship to another field.  It makes me unique. 

One of the very unfortunate side effects of the underfunding of libraries is that they can not afford to pay out much or many salaried positions.  This makes the potential job pool much smaller and much more competitive.  It is really hard to consider jumping out of the comfort and potential of my current company to leap into a lower paying, higher stress and very uncertain field.

It appears that I am not alone in this feeling. 

Last week, I noticed a former library school friend of mine post a cryptic status wondering about how to make the decision between stability in a job that is perhaps not as thrilling and a part time/short term "dream" opportunity.  I inquired further and received a private response.

My fellow library school grad has been working on contract with another large MN-based company.  Said company is poised to offer her permanent employment, but she is slightly uncomfortable in the corporate environment (as are many who are attracted to librarianship).  There is a grant-funded short-term part-time archival position open at the largest library in Minneapolis, and while she has not technically been offered the job, it sounds extremely appealing to her. 

If she gives up on the corporate job, she knows that the library work will end in six months, leaving her with only the experience on her resume to show for it.  If she stays at the corporate job, she could make more money and potentially find something within the company that suits her better in the future.

Do you see the similarities?  So I am not alone.  I will need to decide what I want to do and where I want to try to be.

But now to switch gears, I want to publicly mull over an article that I read recently.  It was a dating themed article, written by a man and it related to his own personal philosophy of how to have a fulfilling love life.  Not a how-to on finding a boyfriend or husband.  Just some ideas based on his own experiences.

One of the interesting points he made centered around the idea of having value.  Bringing something useful to a relationship.  Not dating to seek validation.  Making it a fair trade.

While it is not likely that reading this will drastically alter my dating status, it does have some helpful components that could relate to other areas of life.  In my case, it helped me to shift my focus in my internal discussion about my career options.  Time will tell if this paradigm can help me make any meaningful decisions.

In other news, I am four weeks into my Norwegian language class, and I love it.  It is definitely worth the money, the drive and the voyage into one of the sketchier areas of town.  Let me demonstrate some mad skills.

Hei!  Jeg heter Megan.  Jeg studerer Norsk.  Jeg kommer fra Minnesota.  Hvor kommer du fra?

OK, so most of these phrases I already knew from Norwegian camp 20 years ago, but if I get into the fancy stuff, I will need to figure out how to change the keyboard to include the extra Norwegian letters.  And it is too late on a Wednesday night to mess with that.  I have three sleepy puppies who I need to tuck into bed, so with that, God Natt!