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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Shutdown Back Page... or How to Pick Up the Pieces of My Broken Heart

Perhaps its a memory, perhaps it's a dream. Here goes my MN State Government shutdown... in twenty bullets:

• Spent many hours preparing for the shutdown prior to July 1st including the forced cancellation of three regional, interdisciplinary and interagency ecological forestry field workshops. Dozens of hours wasted preparing for these. Forecast gloomy, overcast. Clenched fist.

• Despite being laid-off, went on planned vacation to Canada. Left during the sweltering evening heat of the Forth of July. Missed the fireworks. Hairball.. are you serious? Even less adventurous at the border crossing much to our surprise. Happy Trails!

• Enjoyed nature/biking, the BEST international music festival in North America, and the wonderful Manitoba culture. Voted best people once again in 2011!

• Ate vegan salads, burgers, and burritos. Lost 5 pounds.

• Witnessed the reunited Jayhawks w/Mark Olson and Karen Grotberg. Lamented the poor sound quality and lack of song selections from the 1997-2003 era. What? I know! Appreciated hearing Wichita (opener), Two Hearts, Red's Song, Black-Eyed Susan, and Lights. Still no Pray for Me however. New album to be released in September.

• Kept BW Trout on his toes most mornings with a bike ride/swim.  Talkin punk rock blues with the kids, goofy nitrous sounds, NOFX? What about Fugazi  ya hammerheads.Where's the official photos?

• Prairie Heat. Mini-Break. Big Rock Beverage.

• Didn't get Kristen's phone number, email, or facebook address. What was I thinking? Did agree to read and watch Guy Maddin's, "My Winnipeg" though.
• Camped and consulted with Red Green. Basking in the glow of the nightly paper birch fire.

• Jeff Tweedy closes with an intimate acoustic set of Wilco and solo selections. Impressive. Many folks missed it.

• Still no budget deal. Questioned at the US Border about my employment. Agents very surprised that MN DNR not working. Huh? Hopeful that agreement will be worked out. It's now ten days. Thinking about the Rut’s and Black Flag. Planning on contributing to the Staging the Future Capital Campaign and to membership with KAXE once again.

• Rear brakes went out on the SUV. Beginning to deplete the savings account. Worried about finances. No job to be found. Bills to pay.

• Had dinner with parents and cousins in Duluth but missed nephew's baseball tournament. Have to conserve on fuel. Applied for un-enjoyment insurance. First time in twenty years.

Blessed Kateri Tekawitha Day. Much needed adoration and prayer time w/Jesus and Mary.

•  Depressed...gained 5 pounds. Haven't sold the cabin yet. Getting desperate. Avoiding foreclosure a must.

• Read several books including the gripping adventure "Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey: The River of Doubt" by Candice Millard. Here’s a sample,

"Compounding the misery wrought by the rain was an overarching sense of isolation and uncertainty, a feeling that was magnified by strange noises that shattered the forest's silence and set the men's nerve on edge. That afternoon, as Roosevelt and the men in dugout paddled quitely down the river, a long, deep shriek suddenly ripped through the jungle. It was the roar of a howler monkey, one of the loudest cries of any animal on earth. The sound, which can be heard from three miles away, is formed when the monkey  forces air through its large, hollow hyoid bone, which sits between its lower jaw and the voice box and anchors the tongue. The result is a deep, resonating howl that vibrates through the forest with strange, inhuman intensity and echoes so pervasively that its location can be nearly impossible to identify.
Worse even than the noises they could recognize were those that none of them could explain. These strange sounds, which disappeared as quickly as they came and were a mystery even to those who knew the rain forest best, had made a strong impression on the British naturalist Henry Walter Bates fifty years earlier. 'Often, even in the still hours of midday, a sudden crash will be heard resounding afar through the wilderness, as some great bough or entire tree falls to the ground,' the naturalist wrote. 'There are, besides many sounds which it is impossible to account for. I found the natives generally as much at a loss in this respect as myself. Sometimes a sound is heard like the clang of an iron bar against a hard, hollow tree, or a piercing cry rends the air; these are not repeated, and the succeeding silence tends to heighten the unpleasant impression which they make on the mind." pgs 156-157.
                                                                           It’s really unfortunate what happened to Kermit.

• Went on a few bike rides along the North Shore. HOT! Parks Closed. Contemplate, reflect. Need a new plan for my life. Resurrect the Backwater-Spotlight?

• Day 18… hints of a “lights-on” budget agreement. I’m skeptical. I tell myself, “avoid Jerry Springer, avoid Jerry Springer”, etc. Worried more about MN families and the poor. My situation pales in comparison to those who really are suffering due to this ungrateful impasse. Quickly remind myself how my local property taxes went from $150 to $590. That’s fair…. right?

• Day 19… Got my work start-up call. How to pick up the pieces? How to salvage a summer field season? Feeling helpless about all aspects of my work.

 • I'll raise you a twenty...

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