May 2, 2014

Happy May Day

magnolia blooming

The weekend of or just after May 1st was always one of my favorites growing up. April in MN tends to still be pretty chilly, with the occasional snow storm – because it is, after all, “Minnesnowta”. But May, May is when it actually gets warm, when you’re actually safe to tuck your winter clothes away. The sun is gaining strength and the lilacs are about to bloom. And man, walking into a back yard lined with lilac bushes is so sweet in the spring. Intoxicating, almost. I think when you live in a place known for its winter weather, the welcoming of spring is so much sweeter.

And the artsy/hippy/inner-city neighborhood I grew up in celebrates May Day with flair. There’s a puppet theater in the neighborhood that puts on a May Day parade every year on the first Sunday of May. The parade is filled with fantastical creatures, lots of flowing fabric, tons of stilt walkers, and a healthy dose of social and political commentary, as May Day is not only a celebration welcoming spring, but also International Workers Day. When I was little, my dad would paint my face in preparation for the parade – usually my request was Siberian tiger. The parade route passed just a couple blocks away from my house, so we could walk to see it, and usually I could count on watching at least a little bit of the parade from my dad’s shoulders. The parade would lead everyone to the park, where we would watch a play about the earth welcoming the sun back for the spring. The play would culminate in the sun coming out from its hibernation on the island in the pond and sailing across the pond to warm the earth again. And there would be dancing and may pole decorating and good cheer.

I have such sweet memories of May Day as a child. Every year that I’m away I long to be back in Minneapolis for this celebration. It’s certainly one of those traditions that I hope to share often with Husby and Cheeks. These years that we are away we may just have to start making our own traditions, like delivering May baskets to our friends and neighbors!

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April 22, 2014

Some thoughts on Earth Day

Happy 44th Earth Day. And coincidentally, happy anniversary of the birthday of Vladimir Lenin. Did you know that when Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 it was thought that the date was chosen because Earth Day was some part of a communist agenda? Actually, the date was chosen in conjunction with college students school schedules because Earth Day was originally a teach-in day for Earth friendly practices and peace.

When I was seven I won the Earth Day poster making contest that my school put on for my age group.  I can still remember the oversized squirrel I drew in my nature scene. What I really wish I could remember was the poem I wrote on the poster as well.  I’m sure it was a gem.

Today we’ll be celebrating Earth Day by (what else?) taking a trip to the community garden to drop off our compost and give the pile a good turn.  We’ll read Cheeks The Lorax too, for good measure.

planting paw paw seeds

I hope you take some time today to be thankful for this beautiful planet!

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April 15, 2014

moving right along

Now that the loose ends have been tied up, I’m excited to say the macnamania family is moving.  Husby got an excellent resident position match with the University of Wisconsin Madison. And where the match decrees, so shall we go.

So Husby, Cheeks McGee, and I will spend the next month and a half enjoying our time as Detroit residents. And then we head west, with our eyes set on a more rural life in the near future as Husby learns to be a black bag doc.

Cheers to the future!

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March 19, 2014

short break

Please excuse the blog silence for the reason of CHEEKS.


Back in April

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February 28, 2014

It’s Peace Corps Week

Eight years ago I packed up about 50 pounds of my life and got on a plane bound for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Sometimes (frequently) it seems like a dream that I lived 2 years of my life in a farming village in the north eastern mountains of Tanzania.  But seeing as how every morning I wake up next to a man who did the same, I have to believe it was real.

I’m sure I could wax poetically for a couple thousand words about everything that being a Peace Corps Volunteer means to me, and how it continues to shape my life everyday, but right now the thing I want to share the most is that when it comes down to it, we’re really all the same.

Seems cliche. But if I’ve learned anything in the past nearly 30 years of life, it’s that often times things are cliche because they are true.

I started macnamania shortly before I left for my great Peace Corps Adventure. And today, in honor of Peace Corps week, I thought I’d share a handful of the blog posts I wrote from the dusty internet cafe we frequented.  And a few of the pictures I recently discovered were still on my forgotten Flickr stream.

First Words From My New Home – “Life without electricity or running water is going well so far, and I’m finding my way through the maze of tiny roads that connects my mountain with the nearby villages and all the other mountains in the area.

girls playing netball

Every Day Life – “When I don’t have classes I can be found in the teachers’ office planning lessons, helping students with physics or math questions, chatting with the other teachers, or studying up on the physics subjects that didn’t find their way into my college career, but somehow show up in the TZ secondary school exams – like what a transistor is used for, semiconductors, and ray diagrams for every type of lens or mirror imaginable. Oh, and thermodynamics – how is it that I never really had to study thermodynamics? Well I am now.

irente viewpoint
Rules of the (Muddy Mountain) Road – “Every vehicle in TZ lacks all working dials that might tell the driver about what the state of his car is. This includes gas gauge, oil, speed, engine lights. Everything. I think it’s mandatory.

Water Water Water

Packing Up and Coming Home – “It is Tanzanian tradition that during a celebration, the person or people being celebrated feed all of their guests a bite of cake, and we did this at my going away party, which was very nice.

If you’ve ever had the desire to turn your life upside down only to discover that when it comes down to it people are all the same, you can start your application here. It continues to be the greatest thing I’ve ever done.

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