slubs in the city

Slub (adj): Maverick; unorthodox; independent in behavior or thought.


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Brain Quest

Data. Information. Facts. Trivia. Learning. I love them all.

I was the child who read the encyclopedia. Played trivia games. Watched Jeopardy. Read every book I could get my hands on. Once, I wrote a report on the Bubonic Plague in 4th grade. For fun.

This, in part, was due to my parents. When all of the other children my age went to amusement parks for vacation, we went to museums. This is probably because of my mom’s fear of rides and my dad’s hatred of crowds, but also because of their passion to make sure that Chris (my younger brother) and I loved to learn. They definitely succeeded. (Especially with Chris. He is a music and math major, who is going pre-med. Yes. Figure that one out)

My favorite places to go when I was little: Living History Farms and the Iowa Historical Society. When we would go on vacation, I would read all the guide books, learn how geographical features were formed, research all of the animals we would see (remember those books that you could fill with animal fact sheets? Chris and I were obsessed.) I also loved going to the zoo and learning about the animals. My parents scoffed at the families calling the lions, tigers, etc. “big kitties”; that wasn’t allowed in our house. They were Bengal tigers or snow leopards.

In the car we did not watch movies. We read books (or listened to books on tape like Matilda and Harry Potter). Played the “alphabet game” (First you choose a category:animals; The first person says the name of an animal: Jaguar; the second person must then come up with an animal whose name begins with the last letter of the previous word: Rhodesian Ridgeback, then Kangaroo, then Orangutan, etc….endlessly entertaining!). Played Brain Quest, which is possibly the greatest children’s game ever! Just tons of random facts. Questions were on the front, answers on the back. YES.

Now, from all this intentional learning I have gained two very important things. Number one: a lot of useless, although intriguing, information (I know more about the Battle of Little Round Top than strictly necessary). Number two: an obsession for gathering facts.

At work, we keep track of our “strengths.” My top strength is “input.” Now to be honest, before taking the strengths finder, I was a bit skeptical. I mean, one of those “career-path-finder-what-should-I-do-with-my-life” tests told me that I should be a plumber. Not something I would excel at; once my dad drove over an hour to fix my toilet (in two minutes. Thanks, Daddy!). However, I was surprised at how well my strengths described me.

This is how input is described: “People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. They like to collect and archive all kinds of information.” Truth. I collect data like its my job (it’s not). As a point of clarification however: Data entry=awful. Hours on wikipedia=awesome.

Now, what was the point of this entry?…Oh! Yes. Transitioning into a work atmosphere from an academic atmosphere has been an interesting journey for me. In school, spending hours researching in the good old reference room was useful. Even if I didn’t include every bit of information that I found, I always thought that the background information informed my paper. But work. I don’t work in a job where research is a primary focus (although I do get to do some and our organization is always doing cutting edge research on volunteerism!). I don’t spend all day collecting information; I spend a lot more time talking to people, thinking about ways to expand membership, marketing on social media sites, advertising for volunteer positions, etc. I do like people, too :).

But, somehow, I always find ways to collect data. I wrote an article for our newsletter. It was one page long and included interviews with six people. I had to do research for it. I did more than necessary. 4 hours of unnecessary. Well, I did end up using three very great pieces of data and finding out some fantastic things about AmeriCorps.

Also, Twitter. Have you ever been on Twitter? It is like a goldmine of interesting articles and facts and names and dates. I have to update our Twitter page and look for “retweets.” Woof. This is just a productivity stopper… but has lead to some great and informative finds!

I do want to say a few things. First of all, I LOVE my job. This is not an exaggeration. I mean, I get to spend all day focusing on volunteerism. I LOVE volunteerism. I love the work we do. I believe in the mission of our organization and the innovative knowledge we produce. And the other part of my job? I get to work with kids. YES. Secondly, I do get things done at work, mostly because I am pretty darn good at multitasking. Why yes, I can write a report on my research findings, reply to emails from volunteers, brainstorm ideas for fundraising, and listen to Ira Glass at the same time.

So. Surviving in the real world. Away from text books and lectures, late night studying and academic discussion, I find myself a little lost. A little lonely for my data. But I’m learning to adapt. I am learning to apply my data mining techniques at work, as I sift through resumes of potential interns, finish up research that I conducted, and continue to learn more each day about volunteerism. I am learning to take advantage of educational opportunities within my job and outside of work (I went to two trainings last week!). I will forever be a data forager and hoarder. I like that.

My ultimate brain quest: collect as much data, information, and ideas as possible and use my archived facts to create lasting, effectual, and just social change. Probably through volunteerism.

Much slub love,

Kat


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our first drive is the drive to actually belong.

For a bit of a pick-me-up after the Republican nominee debate this past Monday, Kat showed us this youtube video:

There are so many cool things about this guy.

  1. He can draw mega fast and his pictures of people and animals are positively adorable. Especially the drawing of the elephant, dolphin and dog. Gaaaah.
  2. He uses the word “shibboleth”. I had no idea what the heck that meant, but now I’m going to use it every single day for the rest of my life. And look how convenient! Miriam Webster provided me with a list of words that rhyme with shibboleth: Crystal meth. Isopleth. Megadeath. Morning breath. Oh, the ways in which my vernacular is expanding…
  3. THIS: Thought bubble at 1:13 – The scientist who wanders into the Italian lab says, “I’m hungry. Mmm…nuts.” After he breaks the nut open, the confused monkey says, “What’s he doing? Eating the hard things!” Finally, the baffled scientist says to the MRI, “Stupid machine. Are you sick?” and the MRI responds, “It’s not me, although the monkey doesn’t taste that nice!”
  4. ALSO: 4:51 – the first angel says, “Have you seen death? Big fella, skull, wears a lot of black…” and the other angel responds, “Mmm…can’t say I have. His name doesn’t ring any bells!”
  5. I think Jeremy Rifkin draws himself in some of the scenes, and if his caricature is true to life, then he looks just like my study abroad leader Bruce Nordstrom-Loeb. So cute. So wonderful.
  6. He speaks complete truth: “It’s very tough being alive on this planet, whether you’re a human being or a fox navigating the forest.”
  7. He brings up some incredibly interesting points about human nature and our capacity to interact with and understand each other on a basic, empathic level. Some of my personal favorite quotes:

“We are actually softwired not for aggression, and violence, and self-interest, and utilitarianism – we are actually softwired for sociability, attachment…affection, companionship…the first drive is the drive to actually belong. It’s an empathic drive.”

“Empathy is grounded in the acknowledgment of death and the celebration of life, and rooting for each other to flourish and be. It’s based on our frailties and our imperfections.”

Every day, we reveal our empathy for one another. Story: Thrivent’s Minneapolis headquarters is on the corner of 4th Ave and 7th St in downtown, right across the street from the Hennepin County Government Center. The Occupy MN movement has been stationed right in front of the Government Center, and hence right across the street from Thrivent, for the past two weeks. Though I see occupiers rustle in their sleeping bags and tout signs around the Plaza every day, I know little more about the actual movement than what I’ve been reading on their blog. Still, the messages they post echo enough universal philosophy that I can understand the spirit of the protest, if not the exact mission. At its foundation, the Occupation is about rejecting the secondary drives that Rifkin speaks of in his video: narcissism, aggression, selfishness. Nora, Laura, Kat, Anna and I resonate with those concepts; you need only look at the work each of us is completing during this year for proof. The five of us believe that it is much easier to feel another’s joy and share another’s sorrow than to assume you are unconnected to the lives of others.

On October 17th, one of the Minnesota occupiers posted the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City on their blog. The first sentence of that declaration is:

“As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together.”

I think Jeremy Rifkin would approve of that statement.

I’ll leave you with one last parting quote from the video:

“6.8 billion people at various stages of consciousness – theological, ideological, psychological, dramaturgical – we’re all fighting with each other with different ideas about the world. And, well, guess what? We all came from two people…we could have come from many. But the point is, we have to begin thinking as an extended family. We have to broaden our sense of identity. We don’t lose the old identities of nationhood, and our religious identities, and even our blood ties. But we extend our identities so we can think of the human race as our fellow sojourners.”

con amor,

shan


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afortunadamente, hablo español

First off, I’d like to give a huge shout out to you readers – Kat’s post last Wednesday has received over 100 views. That is absolutely phenomenal. Thank you all so much for tuning in and keeping in touch with the slubs!

And now, to explain the delay in updating: I’ve been sitting on this post for a few days, trying to think of something to share with you all that could ride well on the coattails of Kat’s beautifully written piece about volunteerism. This is what I’ve come up with…

As many of you know, the slubs graduated from St. Olaf College brandishing sharp minds and hard-won liberal arts degrees. No doubt this is the result of our extremely impressive education as well as tirelessly engaging professors. But the influence of many nights spent lounging in uncomfortable dorm chairs in our Ytterboe pod, discussing our thoughts on the work of this cultural ethnographer or that political theorist, cannot be underestimated. In the slub house, as much as we enjoy spending hours on pointless youtube videos, there is always time for an intellectually stimulating conversation.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to read much of anything intellectual lately. Humanities courses at St. Olaf are known for dutifully cramming nonfiction into parts of your brain you didn’t even realize were dormant. I’ve been struck down with an academic sickness: I haven’t been able to finish one book that I’ve cracked this entire summer. So I’ve given up the good fight – for now – and taken to reading the New York Times instead.

Last week, I stumbled across this article.

I know some of you are lazy like me, so I’ll provide you with the summary (although the piece is definitely worth the read and not at all as long as an entire novel): while research in the area is still relatively underdeveloped, scientists are now beginning to unveil the benefits of growing up bilingual.

This is how much cooler bilingual babies are than you and me:

  • Bilingual infants aged 10 to 12 months can discriminate between words uttered in distinct languages. Monolingual babies are stuck muddling through sounds in just the one.
  • Bilingual babies are trained to be more open to neurological experiences, and aren’t as quickly prone to perceptual narrowing as monolingual babies. It’s all peace, love and sunshine for the bilingual babies. Perhaps this means they would make good hippies.
  • Bilingual infants who are 8 months old are able to remain engaged with a silent film in which an actor switches from one language to the next, while same-aged monolingual infants don’t respond to the difference in language. According to Doctor Werker, professor of psychology at the University of British Colombia, “for a baby who’s growing up bilingual, it’s like, ‘Hey, this is important information’”. What’s it like, Dr. Werker? Oh. Bilingual babies are observant and adorable. That’s what it’s like.
  • Due to their bilingualism, babies who learn two languages simultaneously pick up different ways to solve logic problems or to handle multitasking. I will freely admit, as a monolingual child, that I absolutely suck at multitasking. Kathryn, however, is a chronic multitasker and she does it admirably well. Hmmm.
  • Bilingual babies are “more cognitively flexible” and have “precocious development of executive function”. I totally want somebody to describe my baby as cognitively flexibly and precociously developed. There would be no higher honor.

So basically, the argument of the article is: you should probably raise your child bilingual.

Obviously this isn’t the simplest thing to do if you yourself are monolingual and marry someone who is equally as language handicapped. It is my deepest darkest dream to get hitched to a Spaniard, but let’s face it, reality is working against me on that one.

Here’s the sticking point: babies are like sponges. They have to start from scratch with the whole ‘becoming a functional member of society’ routine, so naturally they absorb anything and everything thrown at them. Ideally, this would include communication skills. And research is showing that you won’t permanently screw your baby up if you teach the little one how to speak two languages within the home. Huzzah! My baby will be proficient in Spanish by the time he’s 3.

But what’s the advantage of raising your child bilingual? Well, primarily, you get to be the egomaniacal parent who boasts to the other parents at daycare that your baby is cognitively flexible, and that’s obviously why she’s chewing on two toys at once as opposed to just one. What a proud moment. On top of that, though, there’s this totally random thing called globalization that everyone’s talking about lately. As our world shrinks (what a funny phrase), it’s becoming increasingly important to know more than one language. Many colleges now require students to meet some level of proficiency in a second language before he or she can graduate. Large American corporations have fleets of international business associates who are hired for their dual-language capabilities. Walk down any street in downtown Minneapolis and you’re bound to hear at least four different spoken languages within a five block jaunt. I don’t want to get political here, but it is an inescapable reality of our modern nation that knowing English does not automatically classify an individual as an American citizen. If knowing a second language is such a useful capability, why not teach your child to speak Spanish, or Mandarin, or French, or Swahili, when they’re young and most likely to retain what they learn?

I think I can speak for the rest of the slubs when I assert our house’s solid belief in the beauty of multilingualism. Nora, Kat and I all studied Spanish during parts of high school and college, and are at least conversationally fluent. Anna and Laura have taken French, a seriously undervalued language in our public school system. Anna, Kat, Nora and I all learned a bit of Arabic on our study abroad trip (Anna and Nora more so than the rest of us), and Laura picked up some measure of Italian during her semester in Italy. Think of your own life: how many of you were taught a second language in school? Have you ever been in a situation where you thought, ‘if only I knew another language’? Have you ever traveled abroad and tried to learn the native tongue in order to be more culturally sensitive? How many different languages do you come into contact with on a daily basis?

Like the article argues, bilingualism isn’t a thing to be feared: it should, and must, be embraced.

I’m going to end this on a light note – if you want a more serious and heart-tugging post, you’re going to have to hit Kat up for more of her well-penned prose. Just imagine how cute your child/grandchild/niece/nephew/stolen baby would be if they babbled partly in English and partly in Hindi. I know. It’s almost too much to handle.

con amor (do you see what I did there?!),

shan


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I drive seven minutes.

I drive 7 minutes on Monday nights to a homeless shelter to volunteer. Just 7 minutes.

A delicious co-op in our neighborhood. Appropriately named.

Now, the slubs live in the Wedge, an area in Uptown. We are surrounded by young urban professionals (yuppies), a variety of hipsters, a number of delicious restaurants and bars, and beautiful lakes. Homelessness and poverty have a clever way of disguising themselves in our neighborhood. But it exists. I drive seven minutes and have a concentrated view of how Minneapolis has been affected by homelessness.

This isn’t a post about how privileged I am and how blessed I feel (although I do). This isn’t a post about guilt or feeling bad. Instead, this post is intended for you to think about two topics close to my heart: volunteering and housing. (Also, sorr’ about the length. This is a looong post)

I work at an organization this year whose mission is, “to inspire excellence in the field of volunteerism to impact communities,” especially through the development of volunteer leaders. We truly believe that volunteers have the power to inspire change in their communities and work to foster that in Minnesota.  We are especially encouraged by the fact that the Twin Cities Metro is ranked number one in volunteerism for large metro areas and Minnesota is the third most volunteering state.

When we talk about marketing volunteer roles, we always talk about the benefit to our volunteers. What will they be getting out of volunteering with a certain organization. Is it a resume builder? Does it make them feel good? Are they able to utilize certain skills they have? What impact will they have on clients? I believe all of these reasons are great reasons to volunteer. Personally, I have volunteered for all of those reasons. But the number one reason I believe in volunteerism and reason I volunteer is the ability of volunteerism to foster and build community.

Like most people, I tend to only socially interact with people like me, almost exactly like me. Upper-middle class, usually white, college educated, socially liberal, etc. (oh yeah…and mostly women, but that may be because I work in nonprofits…). Volunteering is a great opportunity to get to know people that are part of my community but that I don’t interact with on a daily basis. It makes me feel connected to my community, and thus responsible for my community.

I drive seven minutes to a shelter in my community to volunteer. The shelter serves mostly men, although there is a small women’s wing, with emergency shelter for up to 28 days (90 days if residents choose to meet regularly with a case worker). It provides rooms for 2-4 men or women, a luxury in the world of homeless shelters, where many times shelter is cots or mats, hundreds at a time, on the floor. Like most emergency shelters, it is only open at night (doors open at 6 p.m. and men leave by 7 a.m.). We provide meals and according to the residents we have the best food in town thanks to some wonderful church and community volunteers, as well as activities, from job club to laughter yoga. We also provide toiletries, medical help, and more.

So you might be thinking, what do the men and women do during the day? Actually, many work during the day. Yes, that’s right, many homeless men and women work (Wilder Foundation reported that in 2009, upwards of 20% had a least a part-time job in Minnesota; with the tough economy this number has fallen a bit, down from 40% in 2000). For those who do not have jobs finding a place to go may be more difficult. During the winter if the temperature drops below 0 degrees or there is a major blizzard the shelter will stay open all day. Catholic Charities, down the street, provides day shelter. Many men actually choose to spend the day in the library as well: warmth, free shelter, and something to do. However, none of these options are open on Sundays…

Why homelessness occurs is a complicated question to answer. It disproportionately affects African-Americans (41 percent of homeless people are African-American; 4 percent of Minnesotans are African-American). 26 percent of homeless adults in 2008 had not completed high school. 65 percent have recently left correctional facilities. 55 percent have been diagnosed with a significant mental health problem. 46 percent have a chronic health condition. 33 percent report staying in an abusive relationship because they had no where else to live. In 2009, 40 percent reported job loss as the reason for loss of housing. 19 percent have served in the U.S. Military. But I want to stress the structural aspect of homelessness. Systems, not people, create and perpetuate homelessness. Epidemics are rarely individuals’ problems.

I volunteer because I believe that everyone deserves a home, a roof over their head, a house, shelter, whatever you want to call it. Safe and stable housing is essential to leading a happy, fulfilling, and dignified life. Volunteering reveals the obligation we have to one another (Appiah, anyone?). I feel connected to the wonderful people I work with in the shelter and I want to work to make sure that no one has to suffer the indignity of not having shelter.

And we should feel connected to the homeless, the marginalized, etc., because our decisions affect their livelihood, and theirs, ours. I don’t want to make this political because I believe that fighting poverty should not be a partisan issue. It should be about fostering relationships with people because they need a little extra help right now, and there is no shame in that. Sadly, however, the government must look to making budget cuts, and often these cuts affect social services and organizations that serve low-income people. Not including these homeless men and women in our economy and society means we are missing out on the talents and skills they have to offer. Your vote matters. It costs us (as individuals) more to have uninsured individuals go into the emergency room, than to provide them with health care (read T.R. Reid’s book, The Healing of America). We should want these people to lead lives that include housing, healthcare, education, and jobs because it will make our community better.

I drive seven minutes to commune and connect with people who deserve more than temporary shelter. And above all, they deserve a home and community that welcomes and supports them. Volunteer. We can make that change.

With hope,

Kat

Check out some great places to volunteer that the slubs have connections with (also Give to the Max Day is coming up November 16 and I am sure any of the organizations would also appreciate financial support!) For more general volunteering information visit handsontwincities.org or volunteermatch.org.

Northside Achievement Zone

Urban Homeworks

360 Journalism

Catholic Charities

Girl Scouts

MAVA (Special Plug: MAVA is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year! Consider giving 10 dollars to support the amazing work MAVA is doing to keep Minnesota on the cutting edge of volunteerism!)

Junior Achievement

Our Saviour’s Housing

The Crisis Nursery

Dakota Woodlands

Ruth’s House


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twofer…kind of like bogo

[Oh man, are you in for a treat: this is a double post! Yeeeees. For more slubby goodness, read the entry after this one as well!]

Dear readers,

First, let us apologize for dropping the update ball. At times, we slubs find that it’s most rejuvenating to be as slubby as possible, which was why this past week was filled with stretchy pants, ice cream and episodes of The Office and Parks and Recreation. No harm in that.

However, those of you who know Anna, Kat, Laura, Nora and me personally can attest to the wild and crazy nature of our weekends. In Uptown, we slubs do it right. So here’s the rundown before we get to the real good stuff:

  • Kathryn flew to Colorado on Thursday to visit her boyfriend. I have received one text from her since then – “There is an Amish woman in security. Is that allowed??”, implying that she was unaware persons of Amish background could avail themselves of that level of machinery – and then, silence. I can only assume that she’s had the time of her slubby life and was too busy experiencing the delights of Fort Collins to text. The slubs heartily wished no less for her.
  • Shannon enjoyed an eventful weekend as well, making her first appearance at an Uptown bar for late night drinks. The Cafeteria is a wonderful place with a vintage feel, and there are cafeteria trays lining the wall. Classy. I wonder how that would look in our dining room? She also freaked out like a true history nerd at Fort Snelling, and dreamt the next night that she was a pioneer woman. Additionally, she went to Moose Mountain at the Mall of America and failed spectacularly at mini golf, so to make up for it she went to the Frozen Yogurt shop next door and bought over $7 worth of cold deliciousness. The slubs are proud.
  • Like Kat, Anna enjoyed a weekend with loved ones, spending time with her parents and with some wonderful friends from Olaf. She also cut her hair into the cutest damn bob the slubs have ever seen. Short hair is becoming a trend in the slub house, and Anna’s hair cut looks FIERCE. If you know this slub well, please – ask to see her in person for the full effect, and then tell her how amazing she looks.

It’s pretty clear that 3 of 5 slubs had a great weekend. But the last two slubs were gifted to have enjoyed the best event any of us girls could possibly ask for: Nora and Laura got to go to a wedding.

WARNING: the following post will be dedicated to vaguely coherent ranting about our slub love for The Big Day. If weddings aren’t your thing: thank you for sticking with our blog, and come back soon for other entertaining musings on more thrilling topics (also, check out the sweet locations linked throughout this post). For those of you who are as obsessed as we are: OMG WEDDINGS.


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i graduated from college, there’s no way liking weddings makes me dumb.

Where to start? Before being united in the same pod our senior year of college, the slubs’ mutual appreciation for matrimonial bliss was more or less an undercover character quirk. No doubt Nora had heard her fair share of wedding talk before then, seeing as Laura was her roommate and friend from the beginning, but once the five of us realized just how crazed we are for weddings all bets were off. Laura began by showing us her towering stack of wedding magazines (which has now relocated to our bookshelf in the Uptown house), but once she became more comfortable with us as cherished friends, her deeply complex and entirely thoughtful plot to become a wedding planner was revealed. If the rest of us slubs have a say in it, this will be her future career – the girl has genuine talent.

From there, we allowed ourselves to flip out whenever we felt like indulging in a fantasy of white dresses, colored flowers and sparkling diamonds (which was pretty much all the time). Say Yes to the Dress episodes played semi-constantly in the pod. We assaulted our podmate Elaine almost daily for the latest information on the Ole wedding in which she was to play bridesmaid. We talked about our ideal day, arguing the relative virtues of a spring vs. summer vs. fall vs. winter wedding, of cake types and bouquet styles, of long vs. tea-length bridesmaids’ dresses. When we needed a good cry, we would watch wedding videos like these and sob hysterically into kleenexes about how beautiful true love is.

Our deep appreciation for weddings was incited to a fever pitch when the greatest thing ever happened on April 29th, 2011: Prince William and Kate Middleton were married. I’m going to say this with pride: in order to witness the event live we got up at 4 am and drove to The Cow (a pub in Northfield owned by an ex-pat). We wore casual dresses and beaded headbands (in place of a fascinator), and ate a breakfast of scones and hot tea. We were delighted when Kate stepped out of her car in the perfect dress, and we cheered when they were finally pronounced husband and wife. Out of genuine emotion (but probably due more to sleep deprivation), we cried a little over their kisses on the balcony. Anna immediately purchased the soundtrack to their wedding (which was available on iTunes approximately .3948 seconds after the event ended), and we smiled wistfully after listening to I Was Glad for the next few weeks. Our magazine rack in the slub house has a permanent copy of the TIME magazine dedicated to the royal wedding. The Duchess of Cambridge is our hero.

And then after we graduated, our world exploded with weddings. People our age were getting engaged left and right. The slubs went to many weddings over the summer, and always came back to Uptown with pictures and a thorough debriefing to share. For better or for worse (…Kat got a bright orange coozie as a party favor…) we evaluated everything with unfailing interest. We honestly love talking about weddings.

Where does our obsession stem from? Certainly, the stigma that ‘every girl dreams of her wedding from the time she can walk until The Big Day’ seems to hold true, in our case. But surely our feelings go beyond simply confirming a stereotype. If the slubs are anything, it’s feminist-leaning; we have been blessed with the type of education that lets us continually question traditional roles and boundaries, and to redefine our notion of the world as women of the 21st century. In that case, is it wrong to fantasize? Are we taking a giant step backwards in appreciating the royal wedding like we do? (No.) Are we just frivolous girls with silly notions about love and commitment?

I’d like to think not.

In their purest form, weddings are occasions for joy. They are a celebration of the affection between two individuals who love each other. They are a gathering for friends and family, who share in this love and freely give of their own. In a fickle and ever-changing world, weddings represent a declaration of commitment to another individual. I know many marriages don’t last, and commitment can be difficult – if not impossible – to maintain. But the hype surrounding those few beautiful hours of the wedding day does, I believe, convey sentiments of steadfast love and friendship. Look at the faces of the bride and groom on the day, radiant with delight (ideally, at least). Listen to the laughter of friends and family as they share stories about the couple and reminisce about their own relationships. Watch as tears of happiness come from nearly every wedding-goer as the newlyweds embrace for their first dance.

There’s enough pain in the world that we shouldn’t dare belittle those occasions that bring us true joy. The royal wedding did this for millions of women and men around the world. And local weddings bring those feelings to my roommates and me whenever we think about, discuss, or attend a wedding ourselves. It isn’t silly to love weddings – it’s a direct response to our natural human tendency to gravitate towards beauty.

So the wedding fantasy will continue to live on in the slub house. Laura and Nora got a much needed dose this weekend, and Shannon will be engrossed in the processional a little over a year from now as the co-maid of honor for her best friend (shout out to the soon-to-be Mrs. Caitlin Lyon). Until the next wedding, we will discuss, debate, and plan the best possible wedding for ourselves – and continue to sloppy cry at the happiness of the newly wed couples in our lives.

con amor,

shan


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the picture of the dinosaur refuses to center itself.

Nearly every day for the past few months, the slubs have been fielding the same question: where do you live?

Let’s get the record straight. The slubs live in a neighborhood of Minneapolis called Lowry Hill East, also known as The Wedge. How in the world did “The Wedge”, a nickname disturbingly close to the word wedgie, come to be synonymous with “Lowry Hill East”? The official answer is because the northern border of the community is actually the point created by the intersection of Hennepin and Lyndale; the neighborhood sprawls south from that point in a triangular shape, hence: The Wedge.

Duh, it’s a triangle.

But the slubs’ choice to move to this particular location wasn’t accidental and had nothing to do with the geometrical shape of the area. Many things associated with the word ‘wedge’ are actually quite slubby:

  • A wedge is a special type of golf club used at short-range. Slubs tend to dominate in the field of make-believe sports (ahem marching band), and as such use a form of the wedge club when owning at mini golf.
  • I’m not sure if any of the slubs own wedge heels, but you can be sure that if they did, they would wear them better than anyone else. Wedge shoes are slubby because they are more casual and safer than stilettos, and Lord knows slubs have a hard enough time walking as it is. They need the help of a broad sole for support.
  • Apparently, wedge is a name for a sub sandwich in certain parts of New England. Slubs love sandwiches. And New England.
  • Wedge is the name of an Autobot in Transformers. Sam, Kat’s boyfriend, once had aspirations of naming his firstborn child Megatron. Optimus Prime, another Transformer, was a close second in the name game. (That’s one of the more solid connections between slubs and wedge.)
  • Wedge is a type of tornado formation. Freshmen year of college, Kat and Shannon adopted the much-loved slubby phrase “[insert noun here] is like a tornado wrapped up in a hurricane.” Classic.
  • A wedge issue in politics is a divisive issue used to split the support base of an opposing group. Slubs have had one main political battle in the house, which was resolved quickly and painlessly: whether or not to place a giant, pink, painted picture of kittens above our fireplace. (No.)
  • Wedge fries. Enough said.

So there you have it: the slubs belong in The Wedge.

Our neighborhood is awesome and vintage (how very hipster of us), and even has its own site. Here’s the official description of The Wedge: “Lowry Hill East began its life as a community in the 1880s with the arrival of Thomas Lowry’s public transportation system, the horse-drawn streetcar line. Lowry Hill East has a diversity of housing ranging from elegant turn-of-the-century residences to large, modern apartment buildings. Many of the larger homes have become converted to multiple-unit housing. Amenities in and near the neighborhood include proximity to downtown and a variety of shops, restaurants, food markets, service businesses and nearby cultural attractions.”

Having lived in the slub house for almost three months now, I’d say that’s a fairly accurate if not flowery description. Here’s what it’s like to actually live in Lowry Hill East, however:

  • The streets are definitely wide and grand, which I’m sure was impressive in the late 19th century when people promenaded around in their horse-drawn carriages because they didn’t have much else to do. Now, however, wide avenues are just an excuse to park on both side of the road – which causes a problem when the street is two-way and moving cars can just barely squeeze between one another and the stationary vehicles parked “near” the curb. The slubs tend to park so close they’re almost on top of the curb because they’re terrified someone will hit their cars, but most people park somewhere within a 2 ft. distance of the edge and call it a day. Sometimes people try to parallel park, fail massively, and leave their car’s ass sticking out into the road. There are enough vehicles on the streets with massive war wounds to know that driving in the street of Lowry Hill East is a daily risk.
  • There are definitely some gorgeous, turn-of-the-century houses in the neighborhood. I pass them on my bus ride every day and drool, which of course endears me to the other riders. There are even some incredibly beautiful and modern apartment buildings scattered between the Victorians. The website for The Wedge did note, however, that a lot of the homes (which were once single family, can you even imagine) were vacated after World War II when citizens moved out of the city and left to deteriorate. This makes the slubs sad in an emo sort of romantic way. Had some of these homes had better stewards, which they deserve, they would have been preserved in a way that would be a fitting reflection of Minneapolis’ charms.

    For example…WANT

  • On a good day, without traffic or construction and with few stops, you can take the bus from 25th and Hennepin to 11th and Nicollet Mall in under 20 minutes flat. That is completely awesome and the slubs love being so close to downtown.
  • The slubs love good food, and there are plenty of places to get it in Lowry Hill East. Coffee shops, Indian, Italian, Thai…lots of Thai, actually. And what’s better, we’re closely situated to the cultural phenomenon called Eat Street. While the slubs have yet to check this area out, now that it’s on their radar, a blog post dedicated entirely and solely to gluttony will surely follow.
  • We went to a street art festival this summer on Hennepin called the Uptown Art Fair. It was filled to the brim with color and unchecked imagination, and absolutely everything was 100% outside of our price range. In particular, the slubs were captivated by the photography – everything from captured moments on the North Shore to classic frames of Venice and Rome. The sounds that emanated from the slubs when they saw these pictures were borderline inappropriate. One day…

    A piece by Shawn Malone. Simply stunning.

  • Two words: French Meadow.
  • Two more words: Sebastian Joe’s.
  • While it’s not specifically in Lowry Hill East, the closest lake to our neighborhood is the extremely pleasant Lake of the Isles. Recently, Kat witnessed the arrival of a giant dinosaur in the lake named Minnie. Minnie is now an official slub.
Aw, look at how cute and slubby she is…

So basically, what we’re trying to say is this: we love our slubby home!

con amor,

shan