slubs in the city

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


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wherefore art thou, summer?

Yesterday’s Daily Prompt was all about never — things you won’t ever write about, or forbidden places you’re not allowed to go. I’d like to think I’m an open book, or at the very least that I could be, if prompted. The only concept that ‘never’ brings to current mind, then, is a general sense of lacking. And in this Minneapolis moment, what I am lacking is sunshine.

Minnesota has been mired in chill for too long and the winter stretches on. It makes me feel like summer will never come.

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even the elephant candle holder is unamused.

con amor,

shan

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dear internets: which state should i live in?

I was born in Texas and resided there until I was 8, at which point my family moved to Minnesota. I’ve lived in the same state ever since.

In certain respects, I’m an obsessive planner. My very detailed life agenda doesn’t see me expiring until I’m around 90, so I figure I have a solid 55 years left to discover the rest of America. Eventually I’d like to move to a different state. The only question is: where?

Obviously this is something that I have a lot of control over and need to figure out IMMEDIATELY, so I decided to use my finely tuned, college-level critical thinking skills to coordinate my future life in a new and exciting state.

I printed off a map of the United States. I used colors to distinguish between the options: green for Let’s Do It!, yellow for Maybe If I Have To, and red for No Way In Hell. Having lived in Minneapolis for the past year – and having grown rather partial to the size and feel of this city, too – I decided to use its population as a yard stick by which to judge all other states. If the total population in the city proper of the largest city in a state fell below this marker, it was crossed off my list. Is this an arbitrary tactic? Very likely, yes. But you’ve got to draw a line in the sand somewhere when you’re sorting through 50 potential living situations.

minneapolis — largest city in minnesota! [image credit: here.]

Shockingly enough, there are only 28 states in the Union that passed my residency test. The total population of the largest city in a full 22 states is under 380,000. I was born in Houston (with a population of 2,099,451 in 2010) and grew up in Eagan (a suburb with a similar or bigger population than the largest cities in Delaware, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming). I am not a small town girl. Not that I have a single thing against small towns, or the great people that live in and love them – it’s just not really my scene.

burlington, largest city in vermont…it does look adorable… [image credit: here.]

In case you’re inexhaustibly curious like me and get off on reading random statistics, here are the numbers for the 28 states that rose above my cut-off line, from least to most populous (according to my lifelong friend Wikipedia) –

CITY STATE POPULATION
Wichita Kansas 382,368
Minneapolis Minnesota 382,578
Omaha Nebraska 408,958
Atlanta Georgia 420,003
Virginia Beach Virginia 437,994
Kansas City Missouri 459,787
Albuquerque New Mexico 545,852
Oklahoma City Oklahoma 579,999
Las Vegas Nevada 583,756
Portland Oregon 583,776
Milwaukee Wisconsin 594,833
Louisville Kentucky 597,337
Denver Colorado 600,158
Seattle Washington 608,660
Boston Massachusetts 617,594
Baltimore Maryland 620,961
Memphis Tennessee 646,889
Detroit Michigan 713,777
Charlotte North Carolina 731,424
Columbus Ohio 787,033
Indianapolis Indiana 820,445
Jacksonville Florida 821,784
Phoenix Arizona 1,445,632
Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1,526,006
Houston Texas 2,099,451
Chicago Illinois 2,695,598
Los Angeles California 3,792,621
New York City New York 8,175,133

New York City. Holy shit guys.

BUILD ALL THE SKYSCRAPERS. [image credit: here.]

Narrowing down my search from 50 to 28 states is a good start, but that’s still a lot of options. My next tactic was to eliminate possibilities based on personal, flagrantly biased opinions and stereotypes, many of which are probably untrue. But my relative inability to make decisions of any sort kept me from eliminating more than 5 states.

i mean…nebraska is probably not going to happen for me…[image credit: here.]

There are a whole host of completely pointless quizzes on the internet, so my next thought was to ask the interwebs for some guidance. I appreciate thorough research, so instead of taking one quiz to determine conclusively where I should live, I rationalized that 4 would give me a relatively decent variety of insights. To add a couple of variables to my complicated research question and undoubtedly improve the quality of my answers, I decided to take two state-specific quizzes and two city-specific quizzes.

After answering a slew of nonsensical and irrelevant questions (Who is/are your favorite Greek god(s)? How would you describe your weight?), I received the following results:

TEST #1: You should live in Kentucky.

TEST #2: New England – You should live in Main, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Connecticut.

TEST #3: You should live in New York City. America’s largest city will ensure that you will blend into the crowd. You are the brooding type – introspective, creative, and eccentric – and NYC’s cutting-edge, individualistic culture and ambience will appeal to you.

TEST #4: San Diego would make me 100% happy. According to this quiz, Minneapolis would only make me 31% happy.

You may notice, as I did, that none of these quizzes agree about where I should live.

This is probably my cue to move to Italy.

that’s it. done and done. [image credit: here.]

con amor,

shan

dear post-graduate: welcome to the real world.

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Today I am officially 61.25% of the way through my year-long fellowship with Thrivent. In honor of this totally arbitrary event I’ve decided to list the top 6 things that I’ve learned during these past 226 days.

1.  Never go to the grocery store at 8:30 at night with the intention of cooking an elaborate meal for 2.This is especially important if you don’t know how to cook in the first place. Nora and I once had fantasies of making King Ranch Chicken when all the other slubs were gone for the night, and after ambling through the grocery store and googling “How do I cook chicken” we finally ate our meal at 10:30. By that time neither of us was really hungry. Extremely late dinners must be the secret to staying European skinny. Meanwhile, the slubs’ secret is laziness.

it seemed like such a good idea at 8:30…

2.  Do not recycle milk or egg cartons. If you do the City of Minneapolis will get mad at you, leave you a snooty note and refuse to take your recyclables for at least a week. Then everything will pile up and your neighbors will find out just how much you like wine and refried beans.

the city of minneapolis would like to point out that “milk cartons” and “egg cartons” are nowhere on this list.

3.  Spend money on the things you value, and scrimp on the things that aren’t important.

  • Things that I value: meals with friends, date nights, and high-quality jeans.
  • Things the slubs value: good wine, supplies and decorations for themed house parties, an assortment of quality cheeses, bridal magazines, celebratory outings, Netflix, expensive mousetraps.

4.  Speaking of mice, don’t use those crappy spring-loaded traps to catch rodent visitors. I encountered a mouse scrambling off our countertop on my birthday, and our attempt to catch her turned into a completely epic disaster. We used an old-fashioned trap, like the one they have in the Tom and Jerry cartoon, and soon enough the mouse was caught – by the foot. It then tried to escape for its life through a crack between our counter and the wall and got irreversibly stuck, and we couldn’t do anything about it for the next two days. It was gruesome. We have since bought a large and expensive trap, complete with a portico and a dial to tell you if the mouse has been caught. Before poor Michelle Bachman the mouse went to mousey heaven she must have told all her rodent friends to stay the hell away from the animal-haters at the slub house, because we haven’t seen any critters since.

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5.  If you are sad, happy, angry, stressed, loopy, cranky, bored, napping, cooking, doing your makeup, or cleaning, you should be watching one of the following slub-recommended shows:

  • 30 Rock
  • Arrested Development
  • Downton Abbey
  • The Bachelor
  • New Girl
  • Dance Moms

    YES.

MORE YES.

6.  Driving in Minneapolis requires you to be a hypocrite. You will harshly criticize everyone else’s parking job but will leave your own car parked crooked to the curb and call it a day. You’ll shout profanities at everyone that speeds past you in traffic but will cut people off to make it home faster. You will judge people who blow through red lights but have had your own fair share of close calls. You will fear the possibility of other drivers scraping against your stationary car on the street but will show no mercy when you’re squeezing past moving cars in Uptown. You’ll swear you’re a good driver but in reality become more aggressive every time you’re forced to take 94.

What a thrilling 61.25% of the year it has been. Just yesterday I threw my puffy jacket into the dryer with three tennis balls to keep it from looking like a Michelin Man costume when it was dry – I had no idea that was even possible. The slubs are learning new things every day! Just imagine what excitement the remaining 38.75% of the year will bring…

con amor,

shan


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reason #1 i am not suited to living in a metropolitan area.

How can I put this delicately…

There are plenty of unique individuals to be found in every community, regardless of population size or location. Every person is God’s creation, that’s what I believe, but He definitely made some of us a little differently than others. Here’s to the spice of life then.

Walking down the entryway steps a few days ago, I noticed an old lady in a polka dot shirt staring critically at my lovely, slubby abode. She was completely blocking the sidewalk, and while I avoided eye contact I was positive some sort of communication was inevitable. Sure enough – “Is this a duplex?” she questioned me, pointing to my house, to which I responded in the affirmative.

What I didn’t at all expect was the conversation that followed.

After confirming that she had in fact known some of the previous tenants of our house, the old lady launched into a very detailed and explicit history of all the murders and suicides that had ever occurred on our little block of South Dupont. It was the most uncomfortable seven minutes of my life, surpassing even the time I had my hand held by a 16 year old boy on a horse cart in Morocco.

After hearing her recount murder mystery #48 I looked down at the old lady’s dog for help, because I love dogs and I figured it would be a good way to divert the conversation. The dog was blind and stared placidly up at me with unseeing ice blue eyes, which only served to unsettle me further. I tried inching away from the old lady. She would inch closer towards me and point at a different house where another gruesome event had occurred. I didn’t know what to do, so I just nodded in a half-terrified sort of way and sent intense mental supplications to my roommate Kat, who was safely back in the house, for salvation.

The only moments of the entire exchange where I was even slightly amused were when the old lady referred to one of the murderers as a “real hippie type” and to another young woman as a “floozy”. I’m serious.

The problem here was that my intrinsic politeness was inhibiting me from waving off the batty old lady and splitting. Did I inherit this deference from my parents’ good moral teachings? Perhaps. Is it a sign that I’m hypersensitive to the feelings of others? Maybe. But today I’m going to chalk it up to my suburban childhood: I just wasn’t ever exposed to very many crazy, over-sharing strangers in little ole’ Eagan, MN.

So I salute you old lady, although you’re completely bananas, for exposing me to the cultural intricacies of neighborly friendship in an urban setting. When I told you that I hoped our neighborhood saw better days, what I really meant was that I hope our interactions are limited. Although your dog is definitely cute.

People of Minneapolis: learn to censor yourselves a bit and we’ll all get along just fine.

con amor (except for you creepy old lady),

shan