Friday, August 31, 2007

The Basics

I'm here. I'm in Maine. I'm officially living in Maine.

When I move to a new place, I like to start a new blog. I start a new blog mainly because I think the way my life is going to be and things I am going to talk about are going to be radically different than what they were before, and I like to have a fresh place to put those things on display.

When I was in grad school my blog was mostly about boys, food, and strange Midwestern things (see also: lutefisk, the Jolly Green Giant, bagged milk, and the smell of soybeans). When I moved back home after a year-long (and unsuccessful) job hunt, the focus shifted to my family (mostly my brother, who is a strange, strange duck) and old friends and memories. Now that I've moved to Maine, I'm sure there will be other things for me to obsess about.

Which is why we're here, at the new blog, my first blog whose name has nothing to do with sponge candy, which is my favorite food in the entire world. I don't know why, but I don't feel as alienated from the sponge as I did when I was in Minnesota. The night before I moved to Mankato, I was seized with the cold chill that I would never again be able to drive to the grocery store after a really bad day and sink a ladel into a giant bulk bin of sponge candy. Maybe it's because I'm not as far away as I was before (here I'm 9 1/2 hours from home; in Minnesota I was 15-18, depending on traffic in my least favorite state of Illinois), but whatever the reason, I wasn't compelled to name this blog Where's My Sponge Candy 2 or anything like that. I did, however, consider The Bog Blog, which I enjoyed only for the images it conjured--you know, those goofy Ocean Spray commercials with the two guys standing in a flooded bog and talking with New England accents (which, it should be noted, sound like a cross between stupid and the Kennedys).

Anyway, I thought briefly about doing another informational post like I did after I returned to Buffalo and started my second blog, but that seemed slightly redundant. Most of the stuff in that informational post still holds true, except a few things--the most important being I now whine less about not having a boy because I actually managed to snag one and have since stopped complaining about ex-boyfriends. Unless one of them calls me up and says something irritating--and here I'm thinking mostly of the Wily Republican, who is King of Irritating, what with his squad car and guns and general dislike for anyone who doesn't agree with him--but I'm often in good humor even about that these days.

What I will give for information is the basic story of how I got here. It starts in October of 1999.

This was my freshman year at college and I was floaty with all my new freedoms. My boyfriend, the man we now know as Ex-Keith, could spend the night and we could go off and do things without asking permission of my parents. I was so floored by this that I didn't even bat an eye when he asked me if I wanted to drive up to his family's place in Vermont with him for a weekend vacation. I said yes, I said sure, I said great. I asked my father as a sort of courteousy (after all, what could he say--no?) and he wanted to know if Keith's mother would be involved in this vacation. He wanted to know if she'd be there to make sure Keith and I didn't have the opportunity to exist in the same room in some state of nudity and if she would be there at night to monitor the sleeping arrangements, which he hoped were Keith on some sort of couch and his daughter on some sort of very small twin mattress. I lied and said yes, even though Keith's mother would be driving up later in the weekend to visit the family, which meant Keith and I would have several nights where we could exist contentedly in sin.

We went on that trip and spent several days touring the beauty that is New England in the fall. And on one of the last days, Keith's whole family organized a trip up to Maine so we could go visit York Beach and the Nubble Lighthouse. I distinctly remember sitting in the back of some uncle's giant van and watching the looming pines swing by outside the window as we rushed up the Maine Turnpike. The windows were open and the air smelled different than anything I'd smelled before: it was clean, it was crisp, it was salty.

Keith told me he loved Maine, that he wanted to move to Maine eventually, that he wanted to get married and raise his kids in Maine. I thought to myself, Yes, I want that, too. We will do those things. And then he walked me out to the lighthouse and we sat on some craggy ocean rock and got our picture taken with the water crashing behind us. I figured maybe someday we could put that picture in our wedding slideshow.

But now I figure I might just tack that picture up at home or in my new office at school because that day is worth remembering. It was on that day that Maine snared me, got me for good. I wouldn't stop talking about it afterward, even years after Keith and I broke up. And last year, as I sat and wrote the introduction to my new blog while feeling very sorry for myself because I hadn't gotten the job of my dreams, I wrote this:

Hopefully twelve months from now I will be putting the finishing touches on the syllabi for my comfortable load of English classes at a folksy New England university. We'll see. We'll see.

And I wasn't too far off.


Jason said...

I'm glad everything has worked out so well for you. Now you can get to work shaping up those Maine chilluns--Paul Bunyan is clearly a Minnesotan. The lakes are his footprints, you see. He had funny-shaped feet. That changed shape. And size.

See? Proof positive.

Diana said...

Hellllllllllooooooooo, Mainer.


mainetoboston said...

From one Mainiac to another... Welcome. I was actually googling the Lowest of the Low and your blog came up.

I am originally from Maine but live in Boston. Good luck in your new job and home.

The blog name is great. As a kid growing up in Maine, I never understood why we had "Vacationland" on our license plates. We were never on vacation.


Jess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jess said...

Jason: Your new picture is frightening me. I agree with you about PB. I was watching a show about PB on Maine Public Broadcasting the other night, and the evidence they presented to support that PB is from Maine was paltry. I chuckled to myself and said, "Oh, please. They clearly need to study up on Brainerd and Bemidji, etc." (**See below)

Diana: Hellloooo, Minnesota-er. If I start a reading series, want to come read at it? ** That goes for you, too, Jason.

Mike: Thanks for the welcome. :) don't you just LOVE the Lowest of the Low? How did you come across them out in this part of the country?

Diana said...



I would come in a heartbeat.

mainetoboston said...

I used to live in Toronto. Ron Hawkins' lyrics bring back those memories. I've spent many a night on Bathhurst St. at 2.

Jason said...

I want to come to Maine to read. I've never been to Maine for any reason at all, and reading would be a good reason.

All I'd need to do is find some money for a plane ticket and lose this recent lack of confidence in everything I write.

Then I'm golden.