Friday, February 26, 2010

Oh, Canada Part 2 (Part Deux, for those French Canadiens out there).


Mon Dieu! What the what? It turns out that I may actually BE a Canadian citizen. Really? I don't know. There's all sorts of complexities and intricacies and nuances to determining citizenship. But people have been whispering that maybe I am, in fact, Canadian! I've got two Canadian grandparents, who had a daughter while living in Massachusetts: she's a Canadian citizen, but born in the US, ergo, also American. Then, she marries some American (lame) (just kidding) in Portland, and gives birth to a dark-haired daughter at a Portland hospital in 1982. Is that daughter a dual citizen? A part-time Canuck?

Who am I? Where do I come from? As a child, when I memorized the song "Fifty Nifty United States," should I also have memorized "Thirteen Nifty Canadian Territories and Provinces"? What are the provinces? Manitoba. That's one. Quebec. That's another. Prince Edward Island. British Columbia. Instead of having my bedroom in college bedecked floor-to-ceiling in American flags (anyone remember that masterpiece?) should it have been covered instead with maple leafs and hockey pucks? Saskatchewan! That's another province.

This possibility of citizenship is blowing my mind, obviously. I need to focus my energies on something less baffling. And we might as well just pick up where we left off, because some astute readers, and my own brains, have come up with a few more absolutely essential Gifts-From-Canada.

11. Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch in real-life). All I can say is that I'm sorry for leaving this one off the list. I hope you can forgive me, but mostly, I hope Riggs can forgive me. Go Panthers! Texas forever.

12. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Mounties). Which, apparently, inspired a TV show called Due South. Which, apparently, features someone named Paul Gross, who is NOT gross. Apparently, I'm going to need to do a little more research.

13. Friends. Reader SB is Canadian, and I had no idea! Also, my friend Lib is a gift from Canada on account of her father being Canadian, which I knew but also forgot. (Lib, are you a Canadian citizen? Should we take a voyage to the Motherland together?)

14. Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables (which is so good), and EMILY OF NEW MOON (which is brilliant and melancholy and changed my life for-e-ver).

15-28. All these celebs: Jim Carrey, Ellen Page, Nelly Furtado, Celine Dion, Mike Meyers, Michael J. Fox, Jay Manuel (from ANTM), Sarah McLachlan, Eric McCormack, Kim Cattrall, Neil Young, Feist, and Ryan Gosling.

29. Bilingual peanut butter. One thing I remember very clearly from visiting my grandparents in British Columbia is the fact that their peanut butter (Adams), already very different from the Skippy on which I was raised, was made all the more exotic by the French writing on the label. I remember eating breakfast with my grandfather, looking at the French words on that peanut butter label (cremeux, non sale), and thinking, "Wow. I'm really in a foreign country."

30. Roots poster, featuring one Matt Damon. (Really sorry I don't have a visual on this one.) Two blog VIPs reminded me that I'd left this off the list. When I was sixteen, I went to Canada, as per usual. My mother and I hit up a shopping mall, where there was a store called Roots (all the Olympic gear you've seen this year is made by Roots). I probably would not have gone in--it was too sporty--except that there was a huge, smiley poster of Matt Damon, wearing a Roots sweatshirt, shining down on me from the display window. I pretended to shop, but really just wanted to keep one keen eye on my future-life-partner and toothy-dreamboat-forever. Then...

The salesperson: "Is there anything I can help you with today?"
Me (young, awkward, bad haircut): "No, I'm just looking."
Mom (where'd she come from?): "Actually, she'd really love that poster of Matt Damon."
Me (horrified): "Mom."
Mom (feigning innocence like moms do after they've embarrassed you): "What? You love Matt Damon."
Salesperson: "Actually, we were going to take that down today, so if you want it, you can have it."

At which point, the salesperson took Matt Damon out of the display window, rolled him up, and handed him to me. That is how MD came to live in my bedroom for the next four years, and how I decided that Canadians are the nicest people ever.

Sincerely hoping I'm part Canuck,


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oh, Canada.

I love a world in which curling exists. Talk about a ridiculous, and ridiculous looking sport. A sport that has existed since the 1500s! That is old. And it is still very, very popular in Canada--land of my ancestors. Now, can you imagine my surprise, as I was watching the curling semi-finals of the Olympics, to encounter one John Morris, Curler:

That's him, second from left. Cute. John Morris. What? You're not convinced?

Bam! (Notice: his dumbbell is actually two curling stones. And, NB: good curling stones cost about $1500 per stone, because the granite they use is so rare). Curling is not just for your Canadian grandparents anymore, kids.

This got me thinking. What else has Canada given the world? I've constructed a partial list.

1. Me. If my grandparents had not both been in Canada to meet one another (and in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan no less), there would be no Rhonda (perish the thought), and therefore, no me. So, Canada, the world thanks you. My blog thanks you.

2. John Morris. We've covered that.

3. Macintosh toffee. (It comes in the loveliest plaid box, and when you purchase it, you have to SLAM it against something, to break it into bite-sized pieces. Words cannot express the satisfaction of hammering your candy against a counter top in order to eat it.)

4. Alice Munro. One of my very favorite short story writers. In fact, I've been reading her stories all day. (Prove it.) Okay, I will.

5. Bryan Adams. Four words: Waking. Up. The. Neighbors. Oh, sorry, Neighbours.

6. Best Accent Ever. Don't get me started. That Canadian accent turns me to a puddle of mush in about four seconds. I'm not kidding. It makes me swoon.

7. DeGrassi High. Before there was "My So-Called Life," or "Gossip Girl," there was DeGrassi.

8. Alanis Morisette. I got Jagged Little Pill as a Christmas gift in the 8th grade. I listened to it continuously for about six months, and found out that I was really, really pissed off about a lot of things. Without her album, I might never have known. I certainly wouldn't be a writer.

9. White Spot. They serve their kids' meals in a PIRATE PACK. And, they don't look down on you if the only condiment you want for your fries is mayonnaise. In Canada, at White Spot, mayonnaise as condiment is totally acceptable.

10. Ryan Reynolds. As far as I can tell, my readership is about 99.9% female. But that male .1% out there, even you can appreciate that Mr. Reynolds is not too hard on the eyes.

In conclusion: THANK YOU, CANADA.

(What am I forgetting?)


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Greetings, Humans.

(Two dog pictures in two days. Suddenly, this Slog is a Dog-Blog.)

Humans. Hello. It is I, Lucy. The world's prettiest dog. Kendall's in the other room, watching some episode of Oprah about John Edwards and the man who lied and said Edwards' baby was his. (And, may I ask that the next time you call a fellow human being a "dog," you consider for a moment just how disrespectful you're being to dogs? Thank you.)

Now, Kendall is operating under the serious misapprehension that she is in charge of me for the next few days. She is my alleged "dog-sitter." To which I say, ha. Ha ha. She's not in charge of anything. And I'm finding all sorts of insidious ways to let her know that the one who makes the decisions in this house has got four legs.

1. Whenever Kendall settles in on the couch, or at her computer, I give her a few minutes to start watching a show or writing an email, and then I decide that is the EXACT moment to have a sudden, undeniable BURST OF ENERGY that she must deal with IMMEDIATELY.

2. During one of these aforementioned bursts of energy, I'll act all excited about her finding a toy, and throwing it for me, and then I won't retrieve it. Ever. I'll just bark at her until she retrieves it. Again, and again.

3. When we're on walks, I'll be perfectly well-behaved and happy smelling stuff and looking around, until there are witnesses. As soon as someone is watching, I totally LOSE MY MIND. Thus, making her look the fool in front of one of her fellow two-leggers.

4. At night, when she is ready to go to sleep, I am...not ready to sleep. To let her know, I jump on the bed, circle around, jump back down, go downstairs, come upstairs, jump on the bed, circle round, jump down, downstairs, upstairs, etc.

5. When I am ready to go to sleep, I make sure to lay on her in the boniest way imaginable: my front legs across her shins. She whines about bruises. I'm like, "oh, grow a pair."

6. (The one I'm most proud of.) Whenever Kendall goes to the bathroom, I barge in. And, when she's about to shoo me out, I give her a doleful look--the very look I give her whenever I have to go to the bathroom in the front yard, under her hawkish supervision--that says, "Hey, girlie, fair is fair." And she loses the nerve to shut me out.

The point, dear homo sapiens, is that there's a new boss in town. A new world order is on the horizon, and if you're all as easily manipulated as Kendall, the human race doesn't stand a chance. You've been warned.

Oh, got to jet. She's coming back into the kitchen for more snacks. Will she never stop eating??

In Dog We Trust,


Monday, February 22, 2010

Good writers borrow, great writers steal.

I have been accused, lately, of being a blogger-slacker. But I think I might be more of a slacker-blogger. I'm a bit of a slogger. Honestly. Welcome to my slog.

And in my defense, well, I don't have a defense. Does a blogger need a defense for slacking? I hope not. My brain has just been elsewhere: TV writing, killing spiders, trying to save my suicidal plants, eating chips on the futon, cleaning up the crumbs from eating chips on the futon, watching Friday Night Lights, etc. It's a busy life. Mondays, in particular, are busy. So, I feel compelled to slack again, because I can't think of anything new to say.

That's not entirely accurate. More accurately, I don't have anything appropriate to say. I've got something kind of inappropriate I want to say. But one of the greatest challenges in my life is determining what is appropriate and what is inappropriate, and more difficult even, is deciding how inappropriate it is acceptable to be. So I think I'm just going to put a pipe in it. This time.

IN THE MEANTIME, I encourage you wholeheartedly to visit this blog to see pictures of more cute hipster puppies like Chuleta above: (I was trying to describe "hipsters" to some Idaho friends, because hipsters abound in my hometown, and I mostly just kept saying they were "ironic." Not in word, but more in deed. As in, "They drink PBR, but ironically. They wear vintage Nikes, but ironically." I think hipster puppies are so funny because dogs can be many, many wonderful things but they are entirely incapable of irony. God bless them.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How does your foot taste?

(If you don't like feet--sorry! I can assure you these ones are very clean. And, have you noticed, crossed feet are heart-shaped? Awwww.)

I have an outspoken student who occasionally says things he doesn't really mean to verbalize, and usually some other student will say, "Hey, how does your foot taste?"

I could tell you how feet taste. I still remember, from my early (early) childhood when I went through a minor (minor) toe-sucking phase. It was mostly just a celebration of the discovery that I could get my foot so near my face. But that isn't what the expression means. It means, how does it feel to say something stupid?

I could tell you that, too. To me, saying something stupid feels: right. It feels like coming home after a long trip, and settling into your slouchy futon. Real familiar and comfortable.

From Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, I talked to one person and one person only: the woman who works at the video store (she's essentially my drug dealer, and FNL is the drug). Today, it occurred to me that I hadn't spoken to anyone I knew in days, and I was craving social interaction. So, I marched right out into the world, and I said some dumb things. Not majorly dumb, just foot-in-mouth dumb. What surprised me is that, as soon as I felt the familiar flush of confusion and embarrassment about minor, awkward miscommunication, I realized that that was the very feeling I had been missing. I was home! My foot was back in my mouth, where it belonged. I was out in the mix, and making a bit of a mess of it.

Sure, there are people who always say the right thing at the right time, but they're not very interesting. And I bet they can't get their feet anywhere near their faces.

Friday, February 19, 2010

"Whatever you feel, just DANCE it."

For reasons I cannot remember now, I once saw the movie "Center Stage." Okay, twice. Twice! And, as a total non-dancer, it's an entirely forgettable movie. Except for two things: Peter Gallagher's eyebrows, and the Most Meaningful Movie Quote Ever:

"Whatever you feel, just dance it."

See, that's what I've been trying to do in my life. Not dancing, necessarily (though I have been making it a point to dance a little bit every day, when no one is watching), but more just embracing and expressing whatever mood I'm in. And this week I've had a particular mood: a non-blogging mood. A mood that makes it impossible to do dishes, or take out the garbage, or eat fruits and vegetables. A mood that makes it impossible to return phone calls or emails. A mood that allows for one thing, and one thing only: DVDs of Friday Night Lights.

I've been in the mood to carry on an unhealthy relationship with my DVD player, and by extension, the entire Dillon Panthers football team. I've been in a mood to wear pajamas all day, and say, "Bleh," a lot. And I've enjoyed it. I've totally danced it.

And now, I'm passed it. I'm back in real clothes, and eating vegetables, and the garbage has been taken out. I'm blogging! And yesterday, some friends and I took the blog on a road trip to Spokane, and WE SAW AVATAR. Which leads me to my question for the day.

Question: is 3D cinema just a trick where all the leaders of the world were like, "Do you think we can get millions of people to wear really uncomfortable, ridiculous looking plastic glasses? You know, just to sort of test how gullible and foolish they are?"

Because, as a society we've put people in outer space, we've learned how to transplant hearts and faces from one body to another, and we've made robots to vacuum our houses for us. Hell, people figured out how to make a movie like Avatar, but these are what we have to wear to watch it? These are the best we can do?

I find that very hard to believe.

Disbelieving (and dancing that disbelief),


Monday, February 15, 2010

Kendall Writes a Script.

(This is how I'm going to dress to write my TV episodes, too.)

INT. Night. Kendall's apartment (where, yes, ANOTHER hobo spider has recently been discovered in the shower, and murdered). Kendall sits on her futon, her laptop atop her lap, typing, and occasionally looking ponderously at the ceiling. She speaks quietly to herself.

What on earth do I blog about today? My Valentine's Day hangover? The fact that I've still only read 120 pages of Moby Dick? What President's Day means to me? I know, I'll blog about software.

I'm a whole lot closer to recognizing my dream of being a TV writer, because now I have FINAL DRAFT 8. What is Final Draft? It is a program that makes a script out of a word document. It has all the necessary formatting! Apparently. I don't actually know how it works yet. (Also, I don't know how to make a TV episode. I know there's an A story, a B story, and sometimes a C story, and tags and buttons, etc. but, I don't know how you make those things. Yet.)

The point is, I've set a goal for myself that seems hard to attain (writing for TV), especially from my spider house on the Palouse, and it's super easy to get bogged down in the size of a dream that seems far, far away. But I think I'm learning something important, which is that I just need to focus on the step that is right in front of me. It becomes sort of manageable and measurable--two helpful qualities with goal-reaching. Today, I got the necessary software. Victory!

Tomorrow: I'll figure out how it works. I can handle it.

Measured and managed,


Friday, February 12, 2010

Here's Your Misshaped, Lumpy Heart

Two things about me: I don't get too excited about Valentine's Day, and I don't bake. I mean, I've done both before (getting excited about Valentine's Day, and baking), but never together, and either one on its own doesn't bring me all that much joy.

So imagine my surprise today, when I found myself baking cookies for Valentine's Day, with Ciara. She made the dough (thank god, because me and "measuring" are not friends), and then I rolled it out, and helped make heart shapes with the cookie cutters, and drizzled chocolate on the sugar cookies at the very end (Did I drizzle chocolate on some of the cookies in such a way as to suggest a broken heart with a crack down the middle? Why, yes. Yes I did. That's the honest truth about hearts). It was mostly lovely, until the very end, when we were both sweaty, tired, and we made four GIANT cookies just to be done with all the damn dough. Happy frickin' Valentine's Day.

But before that, as I finished rolling out and cutting the sugar-cookie dough, I would collect the scraps and smush them together again and again, making a smaller and smaller ball until it was too little for a cookie cutter. I showed Ciara the tiny remainder of scraps.

"Just make your own heart with it," Ciara said. So I did. I used my fat, flour-covered, non-baking fingers to mold my own little heart, and I put it on the cookie sheet with the rest. Then, I went about my business, trying to make chocolate-chip cookies shaped like hearts (it doesn't really work, FYI, they mostly look like butts).

At one point, Ciara turned to me. "Here's your heart," she said, and held out the sad, misshaped, burnt-to-a-crisp heart I'd made from scraps. I thought to myself, "Yeah, that seems about right." And I ate my heart in a single bite. It was tasty!

Here's the best news of all. When you bake cookies at Ciara's, it starts like this:

(no, the recipe doesn't call for whisky. but the bakers do.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book 'em, Dano. I'm Five-O.

Confetti! Streamers! Strobe lights and slow dances to songs by sweet-voiced R & B groups! My blog is 50 today!

Being fifty, in the blogosphere, is like being thirteen or fourteen in human years. Which is to say, my blog's got a really bad haircut and a totally unrequited crush on someone who sits in front of her during social studies (Brandon Miller.) (He doesn't read this blog.) (Trust me.)

And she dreams that someday they will slow dance to this song:

(It won't happen. He'll date her best friend, she'll date his best friend, everyone with break up with everyone, and isn't that really for the best? It is. Even if she doesn't know it yet. Life.)

In December, I started this blog because, well, the weather was really dark and gloomy, and I was bored, and mostly, I wanted to see if I could do it. It was hard to imagine making it to fifty posts, and I sort of set that number as a mile-marker for myself. Which I have now REACHED. And frankly, I'm not accustomed to reaching my goals. What do I do next?

Do I set my sights on number 100? Is that what goal-reachers do? Just set a new goal that is further out of reach? Sheesh. Exhausting.

(Fifty more posts to go, Blog. Then, a big, big, big party. With candy and slow-dances. We can do it.)



PS: Thank you everyone who offered guesses about the various photos from unpublished posts! Do you want to know the actual reasons for the photos? If not, stop reading! If you do, Okay.

1. Sam Waterson: Marshall and Carmar76, I am obsessed with L&O, and all it's spin-offs, because it is a TV show that is always on. And that's my kind of show. If I ever fought the law, and Jack McCoy came after me, I wouldn't mind it. I think he's cute, and I'm not sorry. The photo, though, was for a post I wrote because I was sure the neighbors on both sides of me were dead. They weren't. One had gone on vacation, and the other had moved his chair back from the window so I couldn't see it when I peered through to check that he was alive, as I do, periodically. I decided that a few less episodes of Law & Order were in order.

2. Lacy Sea Dragon: This one was a misguided attempt to find a picture of my favorite amusement park ride, The Sea Dragon (big viking ship, hurtles your stomach up into your brains as it swings back and forth). The reason why I was looking for a picture of that particular ride was because my blog had just tripled in size in about two days, and that made me feel, also, like my stomach had been hurtled up into my brains. However, this dragon does look like the lettuce in my fridge. (I'm impressed, Ricki!)

3. Just, you know, being embarrassed at security. Which I am. Every. time. I. fly. Twice, in the past month, I've gone through with an attractive boy either in front of or behind me in line, and I hate being barefoot in front of strangers.

4. Both Katie and SB were close on this one. It was just a blog about, um, height (remember, these are posts that were not good). Here are two pictures to illustrate why height is often on my mind.

(This was Jules' beautiful wedding, but some trick of the sand or camera angle made me look, well, Manute Bol-ish. That's me, the giant one on the end.)

(KP's been one of my best friends since we were fourteen--fifty, in the blogosphere--and usually, I forget that we've got a solid 8.5 inches separating us. Her comment on the last post cracked me up, so I had to post this pic.

In high school, our teacher always called us "Mutt and Jeff." I never got the reference. But I just googled them:

KP, thoughts? (I like your top hat.))

PPS: Sorry, my blog is getting loooong and unwieldy in her old-age. Back to brevity tomorrow!

Monday, February 8, 2010

And the worst part about my job IS......

Grading. Papers.

Goodbye world. Hello tension headaches, hand cramps, and indecipherable margin comments. I've got seventy-two students this semester, and I'll be grading until Wednesday. It isn't pretty. In lieu of flowers, please send chocolate bars, or chocolate candy or chocolate ice cream. Chocolate covered grasshoppers? I'll do it. Chocolate.

What I've got for you today is an assortment of the photos I've saved from various blog posts that never made it to publication, never saw the light of day (poor unpublished posts). If you're feeling creative, you can select one of the pictures, and venture a guess as to what the corresponding blog post was about. For extra credit, see what you can do with the final picture in that row.

1. 2. 3. 4.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Big Old Jet Airliner, Don't Carry Me Too Far From Home

Friends, do you like flying? Let me be clearer: do you like flying in airplanes? And most specifically, do you like flying in commercial airplanes that require going through security screenings at airports, listening to safety announcements you've heard millions of times before, and getting your elbows slammed by steely flight attendants wielding beverage carts?

Do you like taking your shoes off in front of strangers, walking around in socks that TSA agents may comment on ("I have those same argyle socks at home!"), and showing the world what travel-sized liquids you deem vital to your existence? Do you like waiting not-so-patiently in your seat for the flight attendant to fling a paltry bag of pretzels at you and ask, "What would you like to drink?" so you can say, meekly, so meekly you might even be whispering, as though you're five all over again and scared to talk to grown-ups, "Um, ginger ale?"

Do you like all that? Because I do! I know everything there is to hate about flying: the way rings (or shoes, for that matter) that fit on the ground suddenly become so frighteningly tight they may never come off your bloated, pressurized body again; the smells of so many strangers sharing tight, tight spaces; those same strangers who sometimes commit the crime of wanting to get to know you; the indignity of ritualized snack time, the anticipation of which overwhelms you and the actuality of which only makes you hungrier than before. I know all of that.

I like flying because of what you see. Today, I had to take two different planes, that made three different stops, and I was about to decide I hate flying (see all the reasons listed above). But then, during a layover in Seattle, I started watching people. Specifically, I started watching one little girl getting walked by her mother on a leash. Have you seen this? Kids on leashes? They make the leash fuzzy, and attach it to a cute animal shaped backpack to say, "Hey, I know we leashed our kid, but we leashed out of love." And this little girl was proud of her leash. She sort of swung it around with her hands, and smiled at passersby as if to say, "Jealous?" As if to say, "Don't you wish you had someone so desperate not to lose you that they attached themselves to you with a furry polyester rope?" As if to say, "Lady, I'm that important."

I'm pretty nostalgic when it comes to kids on leashes, because it reminds me of my childhood. I never had a leash, but my brother spent, oh, years on one. I still remember trips through the supermarket with Taylor straining at the end of his rope. I never needed a leash, for me such a safety measure would've been superfluous, because I was always more terrified of losing my parents than they were of losing me. Taylor, on the other hand, wanted to run free. Very free. And fast and loud. And if that's not a metaphor for our two personalities, well, no--it is most definitely a metaphor for our two personalities.

But thinking of leashes leads to thinking of family (positively, of course), and my very favorite thing about flying: the call. I like that moment when you land at your destination, and the ding! signals that you may remove your seat belt, and the entire plane reaches into backpacks or briefcases or purses and pulls out their phones in order to make the call that announces their safe arrival to the person who is picking them up at the airport, or expecting them home for dinner, or is back in the place they just flew from and needs to know that they're still safe. Isn't it the greatest feeling when you make that phone call? Isn't that the grown-up version of a furry, friendly leash designed to keep you connected to the people who love you?

Do you like flying?

Back on solid ground,


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Night Poetry Corner

Today, I was tooling around on the Huffington Post, because really, "office hours" are nothing more than those hours a week when you're required to sit in your office, waiting for students who don't show up, so instead you end up reading everything you can find on the internet. Among the many items of junk, I found a non-junk story about Ann Bancroft and Mel Brooks. Did you know that they were married to each other for forty-five years, until Ann Bancroft passed away? Did you know that I find their love story pretty inspirational over all?

Somehow, reading about them got me thinking about this poem, by a guy named Mark Halliday, who is funny and smart and looks like Larry David. He writes poems that are sometimes tender, and sometimes bitey. I like this one:

The Beloved
Mark Halliday

I wrote this fine glossy poem
about how the true beloved is always ineffable,
the one at the palace window
when the purple light of storm astounds the forest,
the one whose touch is the breeze of April,
the one with breasts of pearl swaying urgent toward the mouth of dream,
cloud-sister of Grace Kelly,
always finally that one in azure kimono

and never the contingent one who flosses
and collides with you in the kitchen
and wants forever to lose five pounds
and notices the smell of your sneakers
and remembers guys with stronger arms.
I wrote the poem and felt kind of brave
and rather ineffable myself
and I kind of saw Apollo in the mirror

so then I published the poem in a smooth journal
dedicated to the Other World that words can make--
world, or only a superb hotel?--

so then my wife reads the poem
and she looks at me: her gray-green eyes
moving in those subtle motions that eyes make
when they're anxious to see something true.

Looking into her eyes then I feel
not like a bad husband really but like a guy
half an inch shorter than he thought
whose poem didn't have the guts to be complicated.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Yucca Brevifolia. Yeah, I said it.

(Well, hello, Joshua tree)

I admit it. I am not one for the out-of-doors. I want to be--it sounds so good on paper to be outdoorsy--but at twenty-seven it is time to give up the ghost. I prefer bathrooms, and constant access to snacks, and television. Still, when I found myself deep in the desert (Joshua Tree National Park), I was able to briefly embrace my inner-outdoorsiness for long enough to pat the trunks of some joshua trees and to scramble up some boulders.

It looked like this:

Jubilant, right? At the Visitor's Center, they said that we were free to "scramble up some boulders," so we made sure to take full advantage. As it turns out, usually you do most of your scrambling on the way down. Like this:

And, as is usually the case with nature, I learned some important things about myself while out in it.

1. Eat before hiking! It is hard to hike hungry. Three of us had only eaten a cookie for breakfast, and that did not sustain. Nor did the Luna bar that Katie generously split four ways. While walking, we encountered a spiky bush called, poetically, "Cheese Bush," and my first thought was, "Can we eat it?" But the bush only smelled like cheese.

2. Leggings are a) extremely comfortable for a hike and b) a little bit dangerous, as there is a lot of climbing, lunging, and occasional hoisting, and ones friends may be unable to resist some pinching or swatting.

3. Even though I don't get vertigo at the top of tall buildings, or while flying, or when climbing a flight of stairs, I definitely do get vertigo when balancing atop rocks and looking down at other, sharp-like rocks upon which I do not wish to dash myself. I learned that here, at the dam:

Vertigo, it turns out, feels like the ground is rushing up to meet you, and nothing is solid beneath your feet, and you can't stay balanced, and you're maybe--just maybe--about to throw up.

4. While we were out walking, boulder-scrambling, and posing for photos to prove that we'd done something so earthy while on vacation, I made a few jokes about getting all "spiritual" because we were out in nature. The truth is, I can see why people do go hyper-spiritual in places like Joshua Tree. For the two hours that we were walking around, I was constantly stunted by the size and scope of all we saw in a landscape that looked nothing like the Pacific Northwest. It is hard not to be reminded of your own stature (tiny, tiny) and permanence (non) in a world that keeps showing you things you've never seen before.

Vertiginously yours,


Monday, February 1, 2010

Like a car, but so much better.

Sometimes, in life, a girl has just got to pack a suitcase and hightail it to the desert with three of her very best friends. Sometimes, it is just necessary. So, this past weekend, I went to the desert. Not the Mojave desert. Not the Gobi desert. It was Palm Desert. California. Home to eight million golf courses, tasty Mexican restaurants, terrible radio stations, and outdoor swimming pools in which you can swim in January. We had a ladies' weekend for grown-up women where we did grown-up things that reflected our maturity and wisdom.

Like golf cart photo shoots!!!

You would not believe the golf carts in Palm Springs. These golf carts are tricked out. And what I find really remarkable is that when I told my friends I wanted photos of them (for the blog, I said, for the blog!), they didn't bat a collective eyelash. Katie identified the most photogenic carts for the photo shoot: she's familiar with this 'taking the blog for a walk' situation, as I've made her do it before, while KW and I just got next to the golf carts of our choosing (I liked the tangerine one--so cheery! Kelsey went with the Royal Ride, the Rolls Royce of golf carts, she's always been drawn to bling), and Lib clicked away with her camera phone. Before I'd even made it back to Idaho, she'd sent the pictures to me in an email that just said, "Blog It Up." Friends, do you know what that is? That is friendship.

We had a golf cart of our own, that came with the condo we rented, but it was a standard issue golf cart. Still, I drove it like I stole it. I'd never driven one before! Even though the condo was about six houses away from the pool, I'd zip up and down the street for any excuse I could think up. I loved driving that zippy little cart. I had to leave a day earlier than the others, and on my last day in the desert, as the sun started to set and we found ourselves more and more in the shade by the side of the pool, Katie handed me the keys to the cart, even though I'd had way more than my fair share of turns behind the wheel, and said, "Here, you better drive us back. You have to leave tomorrow, and this might be your last chance." So I zipped us the hundred yards back to our house, and as I drove I thought, "It doesn't take all that much to make me happy after all. Happiness is just being with my favorite a golf cart."

Tune in tomorrow, when I take you even further into the desert...Blog, we're going to Joshua Tree!