Corey Hart and “Growing Up”: Being Un-Cool in the Late 80’s

As many junior  high  transplant  non-sports-playing introverts, I was un-cool. Music listening became an obsession  of mine; a way to create my own fantasy  world with my fantasy  boyfriend, Corey Hart. Perhaps it’s  a good thing that the Internet  had not been  invented because  I  probably  would have been  up late at night watching  the videos for “Sunglasses at Night” and “Never Surrender” non-stop  .  Luckily  it was a time when MTV only played music videos and Corey Hart was in heavy  rotation . Also a time of magazines  such as a Teen Beat, Tiger Beat and BOP , which during Hart’s brief popularity  provided fantasy – crush hope as well as poster pull-outs that I plastered  to my wall. Even though the teenage popularity tides changed quickly, and Hart was replaced by the more popular  Coreys – Feldman and Haim – I stayed  true to MY Corey.

First Offense, Boy in a Box, and Fields of Fire were on  constant  cassette  tape rotation, I proudly wore my Corey Hart badge buttons on my bleached jean jacket, and I made a Corey  Hart scrapbook. I had an intense feeling that if Corey Hart and I  did not marry, we would at least become good friends.

However this obsession  was turned into a “secret” upon moving to Minnesota. My first boyfriend  introduced  me to the Replacements, Suburbs  and Husker-Du, and I became a Midwest punk with a secret pop-rock love raised on Rock-n-Roll. The first boyfriend and I broke up after a few months, not because  of  Corey but I think partly  to due with the boss;my most treasured Xmas gift that year was the cassette  box set of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street  Band/1975-85. “Growing  Up” was my secret  anthem  while I  publicly wore all black, had a punk haircut  of many colors, and slam-danced to the Violent Femmes.

But I  really  never gave up on Corey. When I  was 21 and working in New Mexico  for the summer one of my best college  friends won tickets from  a local radio station in Minnesota  for a private party with Corey
Hart; I  am  still jealous  to this day. And if you are ever out in public with me and “Sunglasses  at Night” is played on the radio, expect an excited spaz dance reaction combined with the “shush” signal of my pointer finger to my lips.


A Beautiful Mind with Tits: In Memoriam, Jennifer Ellen Devich

  This is something I wrote four years ago in response to the death of my best friend. We had been friends off-and-on for 10 years. We both battled our mental health and addiction demons, and became incredibly close when we went through treatment together five years ago. I want to turn this into a personal essay but I can’t: it’s a time capsule of love and loss in early sobriety. She died on my old sobriety date, and although I wish I had not relapsed for four months two years ago, I am glad I have a new sobriety date. If I had not relapsed, I would be celebrating 5 years of sobriety today, and grieving her death four years ago. I try to keep in touch with her daughter, who now has a daughter of her own, but I am terribly human at it. But having a selfish day of suffering from the should-of, would-of, could-of’s will not bring JED back, however I can try to stay better connected with her daughter in the future.

A Beautiful Mind with Tits

I’m so sad and still wrapping my head around your loss. I am so blessed to have had you in my life. You were my closest friend this year. I hope you knew that. I got a year Jed! You should be fucking celebrating with me ~ with a Diet Coke. I have a roll of quarters; we could be at “The Big L” right now, raiding the pop machine, ensuring that there are no Diet Cokes left for the rest of the residents. And clear out the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups as well. I hope you know how much you meant to me. I wish you had called me one last time. You would not have been a burden. Here are some random memories of you from the past year:

  • When you arrived at “The Big L”: I looked up from my lunch and said “Jenn?” You were so happy to see me. I was hesitant about seeing you. You said “You know me as Jed, PURPLE!” Then would get pissed at anyone who did not call you Jed: “It’s Jennifer Ellen Devich ~ JED!!”
  • We talked about this so I have no problem posting it, but you had scared me for years prior to our time together in rehab. I was so afraid of being friends with you. Even though we hung-out off & on for the past ten years, I had always kept you at a distance. So I didn’t want you in my group, on my floor, or eating meals with me at my table.
  • But JED, you were a force that pulled me in. I am so glad we were in my group, on my floor, and followed me around like a puppy. And I got to know YOU; you let down all those walls you’d been hiding behind for so long!
  • Remember when we ordered out of The Victoria Secret’s catalog in rehab? Remember how scarred I was because I was sure it was against the rules? BTW, you never gave me my underwear.
  •  You’re constant, questioning, “Who DOES that?” Especially when I told you I was moving to Rochester.
  • After wanting to keep you at a distance, you and I manipulated our way into being roommates.
  • We both had chicks at “The Big L” that threatened to beat us up
  • You helped me when I entered that horrible halfway house. When I told you they took my crayons away you said “Why? Are they the new gateway drug?”
  • I helped you when you needed to flee your horrible halfway house.
  • Going to see The Flaming Lips together last September. You laughed when I gave “bubble Wayne” a kiss through the plastic.
  • One of our last conversations, you were so proud because you had an IQ test taken, which of course proved your brilliance. You proclaimed, “Who knew! I’m a “Beautiful Mind with Tits!”
  • It was you who I had present me with my graduation certificate. You gave the most wonderful, heartfelt speech. No one had (or will) said (say) such wonderful things about me. We cried in each others’ arms. I will always have this memory. I know how much you loved me.

Potpourri or tea?

My favorite youngest niece works at Teavana, Starbucks’ tea takeover company. I  love her to death, and her enthusiasm  for  her job, but the curmudgeon in me thinks they’ve  conned her into selling potpourri and calling it tea.



My “Lavender  Dreams” comes with specific instructions: Use 1.5 to 2 tsp., water heated to 175F (NOT boiling) seeped  for 2 min.


It’s so much more complicated than a cup of black tea with milk. However, her gusto for tea brings me  back  to  my job in the early 90s working at the first espresso / fancy  coffeeshop in Duluth, Lakeview  Coffee. I  was so excited about being a Barista  and going to “Coffee College” in the cities. And I was faced with many (much like me now)  who just wanted an uncomplicated cup of black coffee.

SO with a little honey, I  drank my lavender  potpourri. BUT also made a sachet  out of an old, clean worn sock with the used “tea leaves” ( um, their flowers) because  it probably  will make for a relaxing bath.


Bentleyville, USA

One of the mostest bestest things about Duluth during the holidays is Bentleyville, America’s largest free walk-through light display. It is beyond fantastic, melting the hearts of any “green” loving, anti-frivolous-uses-of-electricity grinches. My son and I began going to Bentleyville when it was on the Bentley’s property back in 2004. Ten years later, it is a spectacular tourist attraction in beautiful Bayfront Park.



Minnesota’s superhero, Paul Bunyan, towing the xmas tree with Babe, the blue ox.



My son (right) and his older brother (from another mother).

Perfect Duluth Music Friday

Black  Friday is the Black  Plague of Americans’ souls. WTF, opening stores at 4 p.m. Thanksgiving? I’m afraid to leave the family homestead today, but we have places to go, people to see. But at this moment I shall listen and share the music of this fair city:

Southwire, “God”

Trampled by Turtles on David Letterman

Low, “Just Like Christmas”

Like a Good Neighbor, Violet is here…occasionally

I am unable to connect to the internet in my home on my laptop or my tablet. I am the only one out of five who is having this problem. I turned the Wi-Fi receiver off then on again, but still could not connect. Therefore I am at McDonald’s using their free internet with a cup of coffee I can afford. It’s been a bit startling for this introvert. So if you leave a comment and do not see it on my blog or are worried because I have not “liked” what you’ve said, never fear Neighbor, it’s because my internet is down.

Speaking of neighbors, my assignment for Blogging 101 is to leave comments on at least four blogs I’ve never commented on before. Surprisingly to me, I commented on three blogs I had not been to before. Welcome to my WordPress discoveries:

  1. Still Thinking, “The Season is Upon Us” – I found this blog in the Blogging 101 community. The blogger is a fellow Minnesotan who, in this post, displays pictures of the hockey rink he is building in his backyard. I am not a sports fan, am originally from Arizona, and only learned to ice skate a few years ago. I still am not skilled enough for outdoor rinks. However, the one sport I enjoy watching is hockey; it brings out the inner Violent Violet.
  2. Grady P. Brown, “Superpower: Super Speed”– Grady and I follow each other. Even though I read his blog I have not commented until today. Grady imagines the drawbacks of having super speed in this super post.
  3. Pixie Dust Beach, “You Never Know” – This blog was in my reader, even though I was not a follower until reading this post. Here I actually replied to a comment. PDB discusses her geographical audience in a warm and thoughtful way in “You Never Know”.
  4. Hanje Richards, “The God Stuff” –  This was the “Violet, you are not alone!” read of the day. I found this in the tag I follow, Unitarian Universalist, which is also my spiritual persuasion. This post discusses being an atheist or agnostic in 12 step programs.

I encourage you to check out my eclectic neighbors. And if you don’t hear from me until tomorrow, it’s because my hood link has been hoodwinked.