Monday, June 28, 2010

This past weekend, during a long, much-needed excursion to the lake, I finished I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley. Although I was initially skeptical about the reviews for this book (can anyone be "as funny as David Sedaris" or have the endearing nerd humor of Sarah Vowell?), I couldn't put it down. A large part of my attraction to these essays was how familiar they seemed. A disastrous maid of honor escapade? Been there. A terrible job in a small office that made you question your college degree and self worth? Done that. Being an awkward, too-skinny, frizzy-haired mess of a kid? Take a look at my 3rd grade class photo.

That being said, I kind of hate Sloane Crosley. I don't genuinely hate her, but I dislike her in the way that women abhor Christina Hendricks for being naturally gorgeous or Tina Fey for making binge eating seem cute and normal. I hate her because she's managed to take all of the unfortunate, albiet funny, things that have happened to her and make them entertaining. Basically she's lived my life and produced a wonderful piece of creative non-fiction, whereas I've struggled to keep up a blog and wonder when I'll get the inspiration to write something worth reading.

When I write, I'm always frustrated that I don't have some great experience to chronicle, and yet, Crosley wrote a whole book about losing her wallet, getting locked out of her apartment, and other mishaps and minutiae. This book was inspirational in that it made me realize how much essay fodder I've acquired in 26 years. I don't have to wait to backpack across Europe or have kids or change the world; I just need to elaborate on my own life.

Sure, I'm a little surprised that this realization came from a book that used the word "Turdgate" more than once (I guess you'll have to read it for this reference to make sense), but I'm glad I was able to get more than a laugh from I Was Told There'd Be Cake. I recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys the hilarity of everyday events, baking (specifically chocolate and pear tarts or sugar cookies), and witty prose.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

After almost two and half years of neglecting to post to this blog, I've decided to start contributing again. A lot has changed in my life since 2007, and I think new news warrants new posts. Unfortunately, it's not the same "I'm married!" or "I'm pregnant!" news that's congesting my Facebook feed, but it's exciting for me.

The biggest change is my life right now is that I'm "back in school," a la Jerri Blank. Although I didn't exchange sex for money or steal televisions in the interim, I did miss going to class. When I was hired at SLU, I planned to take advantage of the amazing tuition remission benefit and work towards my teacher certification. My first class started last week, and I'm already on my way to becoming the overachiever everyone hates. (I kid, of course!) Actually, most of the people I've talked to seem really nice and mature, unlike the juniors from last semester. No one tries to text during lecture or complains about reading a 1-page short story (seriously, how can you be so lazy that you can't even read flash fiction?), and they all wear the tired look of someone who's been at work all day. I love it.

Another significant change is that I'm no longer the selfish, dog-less girl I once was! Andy and I have Bollo, a 10 month old bloodhound, and he's a slobbery, affectionate, and all around awesome dog. The puppy phase was terrible (besides the inherent cuteness of a small dog with huge ears), but now that Bollo's almost a year old, our house is in better shape and the smell of Febreeze is mostly absent.

We also moved from the shady loft apartment in Tower Grove to a cute gingerbread-style house in St. Louis Hills. Thanks to my craigslist stalking, we found an adorable place with a cool landlord and we can walk to Ted Drewes! I love having a yard, and more importantly, being able to walk through my neighborhood without the fear of getting mugged.

Some less significant things have changed (my hair color, the amount of money I owe on my car), but overall I'm really happy with my life in St. Louis. I never thought I would say (or type) that, but in the words of Liz Lemon, "things are looking up for ol' Kelly Powers!" As a result, I'm hoping that this blog will include less lengthy complaints and more funny stories, observations, baking successes (or failures), and book reviews. Here's to the new blog, (sort of) the same as the old blog!