25 by 25: Completion

Today is my 25th birthday. I would like to report that I completed by 25 by 25 list.  Here is a post giving evidence to that fact.

A few reminders about this: not everything happened in the last year.  This list is half a bucket list for my 24th year, half a bucket list for my first quarter-century of life.  Additionally, the list changed a little throughout the year, especially in the last six months as it became apparent that some things would be impossible.  I never replaced a task with something I had already done, so I think that’s legal.

1. Go streaking

This happened senior year of high school.  We were having a senior marching band girls sleepover.  We may or may not have wound up naked on the marching band field, performing our show (singing, no instruments).

The singular almost-proof picture

The singular almost-proof picture


2. Go skinny dipping

Eh, this one is almost a freebie.  This has happened a couple of times.  I’m convinced it’s inevitable when you spend large amounts of time next to and on a lake.


3. See Pacific ocean

When I wrote this list, I was in a job I didn’t like and I intended to stay in that job until the summer, quit, take a month long road trip that would involve a train to Seattle, a leg down the coast, and coming back up Route 66.  That was how I was going to see the Pacific ocean.  Instead, in October, I quit my job.  A week or two into unemployment, I had a new offer, so I took an impulse trip to visit my friend Gwen in Vancouver in my remaining unemployed time.  Vancouver happens to be on the West coast.

Not the ocean, but from the same trip

Not the ocean, but from the same trip

Recently, my dad informed me that I had already seen the Pacific ocean on a vacation we took when I was in 4th grade.


4. Take a road trip

In a desperate attempt to cram everything in prior to today given a lack of time off, I decided to make Labor Day weekend a Road Trip weekend.  My dad came with me, and it was awesome.  We went out to the Badlands and Rushmore and the Black Hills.

In the Badlands

In the Badlands


5. Get a cat

I guess I had two cats when I wrote this list, but one of them was very new to me.  And the other one is my heart cat.

Seriously, how can you resist?

Seriously, how can you resist?


6. Lose the v card

Check! (2010, for those who question whether it was a this-year goal.)


7. Learn to wakeboard

Wakeboarding is my absolute favorite thing to do in the world.  There is no way it could not be on this list.

Tearing it up

Tearing it up


8. Learn to drive

Yeah, I did that.  I just remember the whole process being painful.  Explicitly, I remember driving to the lake with the whole family in the car one night in the pouring rain and having a stubborn match with the parental whose side of the family is known for stubbornness.  First, I wanted to quit and the parental wanted me to keep going.  Then eventually with much yelling and crying and stuff, the parental wanted me to quit and I wanted to keep going.  I don’t really remember the details.  I just remember being relieved when I was switched out of the driver’s seat.  Plus, like, I learned to drive, so water under the bridge, you know?

Me and Ted, my car

Me and Ted, my car


9. Go to casino

I went to the casino in like late winter/early spring, and I came back with a return of 110%.  How?  I played a slot machine until I won, no matter how small, and quit.  It was great.  I won like a buck on the ten I put in.

Winnings voucher!

Winnings voucher!


10. Go to valley fair

Valley Fair is the Six Flags of Minnesota, since apparently it is not cool enough to have its own Six Flags like every other part of the country.  I went with my friend Emily this summer.  It was fine and stuff.  Average theme park.

Cats should be allowed at theme parks.


11. Go to concert

Prior to this year, I had never been to a non-classical concert.  My friend Jen and I went to see The Backstreet Boys.  Which always should have been my first concert.  Just maybe 12-14 years ago.

We were instructed to "Scream like you're 15 again!"

We were instructed to “Scream like you’re 15 again!”


12. Make french silk pie

My friend Brian and I made a french silk pie when I visited him in March(?).  It was disgusting.  I will never be using that recipe ever again.

All pie except that pie. That pie we made was gross.


13. Go berry picking, make jam

This was a thing I did right before my 24th birthday, so it practically counted, right?

Yummy yummy

Yummy yummy


14. Buzz head

Again, technically I did this just before my 24th birthday, but my 24th year involved actually living with that buzzed head and all the growing out phases following that.

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15. Go to (college) homecoming

My first year out of undergrad, I missed it so badly that it was too painful to go back to campus until the spring, and even then, the few times I did go down there, I mostly met up with friends in town rather than actually hang around campus.  So for my 25 by 25, I made it a goal to go to the formal Homecoming Weekend.  It was a lot of fun.  I enjoyed being on campus in a new, graduated adult role.

Um Ya Ya!

Um Ya Ya!


16. Go to Mount Rushmore

This happened on my road trip with my dad.  Admittedly, it determined the location goal of said road trip.  Anyway, Rushmore’s pretty cool.

Four heads?  I think it needs a fifth.

Four heads? I think it needs a fifth.


17. Get published

I have been published twice.

Once, in middle school, I submitted an article about a friend of mine for New Moon magazine’s (link: https://www.newmoon.com/magazine/) Beautiful Girls issue.  It was selected.  This has been a huge embarrassment both then and ever since because 1) they did not keep a single word of what I actually wrote and 2) I was soooo crushing on this friend and had no idea, but I knew then that it wasn’t normal, so it was weird then, and it’s weird now because it’s one of my cringe-worthy early gayball stories.

The second time I was published was in the Electronic Journal of Linear Algebra.  You can read (or try to, anyway) that article here:


 So FYI, I am a published mathematician.  For now and forever.


18. Finish quilt

I finished my t-shirt quilt in junior(?) year of college.  It was a huge endeavor.  It took me many years.  I am very proud of it.  Somehow, despite the 42 squares on this quilt, I still have too many t-shirts.

No bed has these proportions

No bed has these proportions


19. Play ukelele

I bought a ukelele this year and learned to play it.  I love it.  I have tried to have skype jam sessions with two people now.  Those are less successful than the ukelele in general.

Ukelele involves singing. Cats are not invited.


20. Wildcard – anything you’ve never done before

I have no idea what I intended for this.  Here are some things I did for the first time this year: go to a Dakota, take ownership for a database, join Instagram, tweet, run a 5K without walking, buy a bridesmaid’s dress, use a 3D printer, hire a house-sitter, and break a bone.

Radial neck fracture.  And a busted up face.

Radial neck fracture. And a busted up face.


21. Visit Megan

I visited Megan on a whim in April and then again this summer after her surgery.  Both times we got Brahm’s.  I have concluded that the presence of Brahm’s is Texas’s greatest redeeming factor.

Brahm's, bitches

Brahm’s, bitches


22. Go to Europe

Did this prior to this year.  I went to London in high school with band, and then studied abroad in Budapest in college.  I also visited Prague and Amsterdam on the study abroad trip.

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23. Do a shot

I had never done a shot prior to this year.  DO NOT MOCK ME.  There is nothing wrong with not being stupid.  Anyway, I had some purple thing the same night I went to the casino with Jen.  It was fine.  Nobody died.  I see no reason to avoid or repeat the experience.

This is what I drank.

This is what I drank.


24. Make a real live used webpage

I think this was a late addition, because that job I started in November was doing web development.  And I wanted to be useful enough on the team that I was actually developing web stuff.  My first application got released sometime this spring.  Unfortunately, it is behind a login that y’all don’t have access to, so I can’t show it off.

Workin’ hard. Look at that 25-year-old maturity.


25. Ride a motorcycle

My friend Jen (boy, she was quite the accomplice for this list) said she would take me on her motorcycle.  It was terrifying.  And exciting.  Mostly terrifying.  I think I prefer jet skis — same effect, lower risks.

Riding into year 25!

Riding into year 25!


All the Feels

This is the song stuck in my head today:



It has been a very melancholy day.  Which is odd, because mostly today I read, snuggled some cats, and cleaned.  But I mean, this song kind of demands that you adopt a little-bit-depressed demeanure.  WordPress is trying to tell me that’s not a word.  But I googled it, and various dictionaries say it is.  They also say it’s obsolete.  This confuses me.  I know lots of people that say demeanure.  Unless I’m thinking of a different word.





Being One of a Kind

Today, walking back from the bathroom at work, some guy started talking to me about an email I had sent twenty minutes earlier, and I was mentally like, “How the hell do you know me?” I knew the email he was talking about, and I quickly figured out who he probably was. But this happens to me all the time — there are a thousand guys all named Brian or John or Mike that all wear basically the same thing that are very easy to confuse. But if you’re talking to a girl under 35 from my department, it’s Kelsey. Because I’m the only girl under 35 from our support team, on a whole half of this floor.

(Also, for the record, if you’re talking to a girl from my department in general, and you have three guesses, you’ll likely get it right. If you have five guesses, you’ll definitely get it right.)

I hate being singled out for being different. And I’m trying to learn from this.

My class this summer centers around social justice. I have white privilege. And actual like monetary class-oriented privilege. And I’m able-bodied, cis-gendered, and in my twenties.

And I’m grateful for these things, except when I resent them. Because the invisible nature of privilege and the reluctance power-holders have towards giving up some of their power make privilege such a pervasive aspect of our lives, no matter which side of the fence we’re on.

I hate, like anybody, being on the oppressed, kept-out side of the fence. And as an increasingly conscientious person, I resent being on the side with the power. But nothing changes until that fence is torn down.

Which is a great argument for activism, by the way. We often harp on awareness, because the side with the power can have an awfully hard time seeing the fence. We even try to teach young children that there isn’t a fence — this is a misconstruction of what we need to be teaching, which is that there shouldn’t be a fence. But a substantial part of understanding that there shouldn’t be a fence is understanding that that line definitely exists and has consequences.

So awareness matters.

But seeing the fence is not enough. This is a magical fence that does not deteriorate with age. It has to be actively destroyed; standing by, no matter how much you watch it (ie, are aware of the line), does nothing to change things. Arguably, it actually strengthens the fence. That’s right: knowing that there is a fence actually empowers the fence if all we do is say, “Huh, that’s interesting” and then stand back and ponder without doing anything.

I wish this entitled me to be a jerk to all the people who act like they know me when we’ve never met.
Here is something I was thinking about earlier:

Sara Bareille’s recent single, Brave, has a clear empowering message (one review actually referred to it as a “pep talk”).

The videos for this single are very interesting.

The lyric video features a handful of young girls. I like the notion of empowering young girls, especially to “be brave” and “say what [they] want to say.” But check out the video: They are almost entirely white. They are pretty in a traditionally feminine manner. They have privilege.


The official music video features a larger range of people, including people obviously just on the street and not hand selected to be in a video. There is, visually, obviously more diversity here.


What does it say when we hold our stereotypes so closely and so tightly that we are afraid to associate different and differences with children? How can we teach to change the world if we teach with this fear, which admittedly we often don’t even recognize, held so closely?

P.S. Tonight, I am buying a polo shirt, and tomorrow, I am going to work in the guy uniform: polo (white or gray undershirt), khakis, belt, generic leather shoes. I might even bind. It’s not full out drag, because work would freak out and seriously I love my hair. But even though I haven’t figured out exactly what it is, I feel like I’m doing this to make some kind of statement. At least for myself. I partly want to fit in and I partly want to stir things up and I partly want to mock the notion that the guys wear the same thing every single day and I partly want to go to work in what is the closest to jeans and t-shirt I am allowed to get. ANYWAY — I am psyched!

Why My Ears are Bleeding

You know how when you’re really little, your parents’ music is cool because it’s the only music you know?  And then you start knowing more music (and most of it is silly and very, very happy, for a while there) and you’re like, Why would you listen to that crap?  Everything else is about me, why aren’t we listening to my music?  Then you realize that not only is it not your awesome music, your parents’ music actually sucks.


Then at some point you sort of accept it and then also there is some point where parts of it become cool.  In that sort of “retro” way.


That’s a lot of “then”s.


ANYWAY.  At work, I am slowly listening to all of my iPod on shuffle.  This has proven difficult, as I didn’t really think it out and do it in a way where I could track my progress, so to avoid losing my spot (now several hundred songs in), I can’t listen to anything else on my iPod, and charging it is complicated.  It cannot get reset.  It just cannot.


Listening to my whole iPod on shuffle is pretty interesting.  I have a music collection that usually satisfies and surprises everyone.  This is not to say the music I most enjoy surprises anyone.  I feel pretty stereotypical.  But if you look at everything I have overall, if you are looking for something, I probably have it, and I probably have something that will make you go, “Really?”


I also go, “Really?”


Every once and a while, something comes through on shuffle that is not just weird but very, very close to unbearable.  And Every. Single. Time. it is Pink Floyd.


Thanks a lot, Dad.



How to Save the World

Yesterday I helped put out a fire.

Now before you all raise your eyebrows at me, recalling the sorts of mishaps my trek out into the world has already brought my way, I would just like to say that I did not start the fire.  Just like that song.

Rather, I was waiting for the bus when some guy walked up to the garbage can and started lighting matches and throwing them in.  Man, city life – I tell ya.

Anyway, so now me and a whole bunch of other people that just got out of work and really were anticipating going home not smelling like burning trash were standing there wondering why the hell that guy just lit the garbage can (well, its contents) on fire.  I don’t know about everybody else, but my head was like, “THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT BYSTANDER EFFECT IS!”

Luckily before too long, somebody knew what to do and lacked the social pressure that would have kept him from doing anything (you could tell this from his appearance, which was more disheveled than that of the asshole who lit the fire – but hey, his mind was working.  Better than mine.)  Anyway, this guy remembered that this is Minnesota, so there’s basically always snow around, and snow is basically water.

So he started scooping up the really nasty black snow that accumulates next to roads (remember: bus stop) and dumping in the trash, on top of the nicely smoldering fire.

A little old lady and I helped him, so now I have fulfilled my heroic action tall for this quarter.