Friday, October 29, 2004

Just 5 Days...

and I'm voting Republican. Wait! Wait. Before you snort in disgust and click 'next blog' so violently that your mouse breaks, let me reassure you that I'm not exactly voting for Dubya. Just let me tell you why my black graphite bands will help tie it up for the GOP, and you have my leave to disagree, and to tell me so. I am not anti-Democrat, anti-Kerry, or anti-Liberal, except in some instances. But who the hell said politics is black and white? How can it be, when it's a reflection of society's imbalance? How can a government of the United States be expected to perfectly serve every citizen in it, when our needs are so different?

I won't profess to be extremely politically savvy. I don't take or have the time to research the issues. I know enough to know I don't agree with Bush on some things, like abortion. I'm pro-choice, because I'm all about control. I think he's kindof absorbed in some notions about religion and morality that I'd probably find extreme, but that's ok. Whatever gets him through the day. He's just a man. I am pro-war, because I've travelled a bit and read a ton, and cultural richness aside, I think our quality of life here in the US is generally better than a lot of places, and we're willing to stick our necks out and look bad trying to make it good for others, too. Some far-off day it will be obvious whether our actions in Iraq were justified, but rest assured, you and I will not live to see that day. We look too close to us; we look within our lifetimes and try to discern instant results, and folks, they just aren't there. Of course not. But even if just one inhabitant of Iraq sleeps better tonight, and he or she is a good person who deserved better than what he or she had before we went, well then I'm glad we've done what we've done. I can't help it. I'm all about the small things.

I'm voting Republican for many reasons, but mostly because somebody told me to. There! I said it. It's not that I can't decide for myself, and it isn't that I don't care, or that somebody's forcing me. I am not one of the uninformed contingency, the undecideds that people have been ranting about, despite that confession. It's just that I trust a few people so much that I'm certain, on pain of death, that they know what's good for me. Dad and I don't always agree, but I know that he knows what's best for now. Even though the government's let him down- a pending Parkinson's diagnosis and the possibility of three years without health coverage of any kind- he still cares and hopes enough to look at the parties, look at their issues, look at the candidates, and think about what he'd like the world to be like for me when he's gone. There are other people, too, whose opinions I treasure and trust, and I just feel comfortable with their abilities to reason and the amount of research that led to their conclusions. Kerry's pro-stem cell research, which might be Dad's only chance at a normal life again, and he's still looking unselfishly at the big picture. It's got to be hard.

Voting for the President of the United States shouldn't be an easy choice. Anyone who tells you "the choice is clear" is an idiot. It's not. But it is your choice, ours, each, and I've made mine. Maybe it'll cancel yours out, and we'll sit together and be friends while the rest of the nation decides. Either way I'd still rather be here than in Cambodia, where a new president was just elected, a former ballet dancer, according to Paul Harvey. Snicker. Sorry. I'm sure he'll do great.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Animal Instinct

I've always mentally personified cats as dignified creatures with very human propriety out the wazoo. However, when Special K came zipping into the kitchen tonight with her mottled ginger-and-black long hair sticking out in all directions, her pupils dilated to the size of quarters, and a couple of particularly hairy spider legs poking out of her little pink mouth, all I could think was "whoa. Yuck, you animal." She then proceeded to dramatically spit the rest of the atrocious body out at my feet, her psychotic feline expression plainly stating "here, I'll share. There's plenty." In the morning, she'll look up at me, irritated, groggy, ridiculous because one side of her diamond-shaped face will be pressed flat from her pillow, and I'll be forced to remember that helpless little insect being eaten alive... so I'll give her extra kibble and let her chew on a houseplant or two, because I hate spiders. Good Kitty.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Dr. Finkelstein

Excuse me, your brain is showing.

Flair for Scare

I can't imagine being more proud of my handiwork that when someone puts on a costume I've created and it's so freaky I don't want to stand next to them. And I admit to having way too much fun pretending to be somebody else, especially someone who doesn't actually exist. The photo is, of course, not frightening. Being in the same room with Oogie and not knowing who's under there is.


You can eat your candy corn if you want. I'm showing the nephew how it's done.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Divining Honesty

I want very much to separate the mental from the physical. I would like to pluck the emotion out like the inconvenient splinter it is and put it in an air-tight container, to be taken out, inspected, and borne much later, when I am strong enough. Who knew you could get growing pains from speedy emotional growth.

Incidentally, whether whatever attacked last night (see previous post) was the whatifs or not, I am still thinking about Shel Silverstein. How can it be possible that the same man who gave us I Love My Left Hand also gave us The Giving Tree? How is that psychologically plausible at all? It just goes to demonstrate the very vast reaches of the human range of emotion, and that is why I have missed him every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of the years since his heart failed him, too.

I'm looking forward to blogging my novel in November. (I'll create a new blog just for the event and link to it from here.) I am totally clueless as to its plot and players, but I'm no longer worried about blowing my one great story. That was so silly; there's no such thing. Didn't Anne Rice teach us that? You see, as much as I admired Louis as he poetically spilled his guts to that hapless journalist, as much as I loved his morals and his pain, I loved Lestat's vitally skewed point of view still more. I loved the vibrant fictional enfant terrible, especially his taste for subjecting those near and dear to him to his constant, thoughtless emotional experimentation. That's always been my weakness, and that's what gets me into trouble in the first place. I'm learning to like being the victim less and less. I shouldn't allow people to treat me that way. Someday I'll swear it off altogether, but there are just a few more things I have to know.

The Pitfalls of Deep Thinking

I spent a miserable night last night. Something heinous replaced sleep for me, an awful state of unconquerable anxiety. Only a little over half the population of the world would understand the depth of what I mean when I say this, but it's amazing the emotional miles a girl can go in the dark of night, in her own bed. Oddly enough, it's the one place that really should be a refuge and isn't. It's the one place I can't hide from reality, and night is the time, for some bizarre reason, that I allot to face all the things I skim over lightly the rest of the time. Put aside to cope with privately, mentally snarling "I'll deal with you later." I must have postponed dealing with quite a lot lately, because I am very rarely hopeless. I'm too optimistic. But last night it was all I could do not to cry for help.

I work best at night. Nine comes and I suddenly want to start something grandiose: organize the closet, paint a masterpiece, analyze my priorities. My thought process usually achieves new heights at ten, which occasionally produces an epiphany. Sometimes it's not a good thing to have a momentous idea pop into your head when you should be winding down. If it's a positive discovery, I usually drift off peacefully without a fight. If it's not, the result is something like last night, to various degrees. You may deduce that I received an unexpected emotional revelation last night that kicked off the evening's fun. I'm not going to dispute that, but I'm not going to tell you what it is, either. You'll find out soon enough.

My heart as an organ feels exposed today, like it's either far more shallow in my chest that I once assumed, or altogether external, with just a layer of scratchy black wool to keep it from view. As an emotional tool, however, it's practically nonexistent, used up, defunct. The residue of last night's misery is like a teflon Rhino brand bedliner over that much-abused muscle. Good luck getting through to me today, and don't take it personally. I'll bounce back, I always do.

I hate it when people state the obvious. And I really hate it when my body thwarts my mind's attempts at denial. It's one of the really unfair injustices of life.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Dazed and Confused

I'm always glad to admit when I'm wrong, declare my mistakes. I've discovered it's the real easy way out, and I'm admittedly lazy. Besides, begging pardon isn't nearly as uncomfortably humbling as getting caught. That said, I admit I'll still cover up certain errors if I'm sure it's a foolproof blind. That's just human nature.

I called in sick to City Hall Monday and luckily got Jo, who called me a chickenshit and told me to go back to bed. I just couldn't bear going out in the snow with my cold. I slept most of the day and thought about Halloween. I made orange Jell-o I probably won't consume, but it absorbs unidentified and unpleasant fridge odors amazingly well as it slowly morphs into a new substance, something about the consistency of steel but with all the wonderful 'give' of rubber. I've considered dropping it off the roof sometime to see if it shatters or bounces.

Sometimes it's better to stay curious and not know. Like the time in high school I wondered: if I gain weight, will I catch up to my embarassingly disproportionate DD's and not look like such a freak? Later, after college, I did gain, but I did not catch up. They just became embarassingly disproportionate DDD's, which is a pain in the ass. And the back. And the neck and shoulders. I've lost a little, though, and they're going back, so I've stopped considering the reduction, even though it's the #1 rated cosmetic surgery as far as customer satisfaction. Too many people objected. They're all male.

Today in this town is drab and drippy, disappointingly post-autumn-glow and pre-holiday-glow. I'm having guilt over a lack of grief and relief over a lack of guilt. Toss that in an emotional salad, if you can.

Monday, October 18, 2004


My sister's father-in-law passed away Friday at 3am. I followed her over Saturday in my own car, not in a mood to be left behind, but not in a mood to be stuck there, either, should she end up spending the night. I expected the house in which somebody recently died to have a different feel to it. It didn't feel any different than any time I entered it in the past twenty-two years, except perhaps a little more welcoming. Certainly, I thought, the room in which he died will feel different, haunted. It didn't, not really. If anything, there was a relieved air soaking into the fuscia shag carpet along with the sunlight it hadn't properly seen in years. The house was quiet without the constant hum of the oxygen machines, but louder with barking and children shouting than it was ever allowed to be. The phone kept ringing and the chimes on the door kept clanging, announcing friends that hadn't felt comfortable visiting in a long time, and there was the sound of the frying pan cooking onions, something else he had forbidden.

We went down to the nursing home to tell Grandma he was gone, someone she had once known well and, I think, liked quite a bit. She didn't seem to feel loss. She may not remember today that he is gone. A boon of old age. Despite being in a clear mood, she kept doggedly circling, returning to his age, only fifty-eight. (She remembered the woman who is now his widow visiting with one of her small dogs on Thursday, the day before he died.) Fifty-eight. "That's the same age as your mother," she'd say, her oldest child. (The younger son is already gone, buried in Rock Springs between Grandma's husband, dead over forty years, and the place where her matching headstone already rests, with an empty space for the date of death.) Later, in the bathroom, she made me promise not to include her age in her obituary. Like hearing his age suddenly made her realize her own, something she isn't often exposed to.

Inconsiderate relatives were already requesting items they felt entitled to. I am confident his widow and two children and their spouses will distribute his belongings in a thoughtful and decent manner, the way he would have directed. The kids and grandkids were allowed to each pick their favorite thing from a collection of valuable items of his, because they were things he treasured and may best represent his memory, and the rest of that group will be sold so the widow can keep her home. I was asked if I wanted to choose something to remember him by, though I am not directly related, because I was there and because I have been since I was three. I hastily picked the first thing to catch my eye, a small old-style die-cast yellow JC Penney delivery truck, and discovered later it's a bank, with a clever little key to open a panel in the bottom to get at the change. He was consumed by all things historical and the first JC Penney ever to open its doors was in that town almost a hundred years ago, and Penney's house is a wonderful museum there, something he was involved in bringing about. Even so, the charming little truck somehow reminds me less of him than the occasional tiny twinge in my ankle, remnant of an injury I sustained falling stupidly down the two steps at the back door of his home, on the Fourth of July three years ago. He was uncharacteristically tender but characteristically authoritative (read: delightfully know-it-all) dispensing advice to heal it.

It's hard to find truly glowing things to say about him, because I remember recent times when he hurt me and hurt someone I love, and it's hard to get past that, even when you know why it was done. We've been saying recently that we wish he'd gone before the littlest kids got old enough to remember him this way, before he had to suffer the indignity of becoming this way: weak, intolerant and spiteful due to the discomfort and frustration of being very, very ill. Most likely that will fade, though, and they'll remember that he was indeed a remarkable person in many, many ways. Who isn't? As for me, I will remember that he once took me to one of my favorite local historical events, on which he was quite an authority, and on the drive back told me that as a child he had dreamed about jumping from cloud to cloud (Wyoming often has spectacular puffy white clouds) or curling up on one, cottony soft and billowing like down. I like to think of him there now.

If I learned anything from Glen, it was the pros and cons of extreme pride. I'll remember him in his pale doe-skin mountain man get-up, describing his collection of artifacts and skins, skulls and weapons. He'll be teasing the students in my class, myself in particular (which pleased me), thoroughly enjoying the spotlight, something he must certainly have desperately missed these recent years. Fifty-eight, and not a moment too soon.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Sanity Assessment

Me Jane. Where Tarzan? I've been mood-swinging so extravagantly these past few weeks that I should be wearing a cheetah-fur bikini and sleeping in a hemp-rope hammock. I'm happy to report, however, that after careful charting I've noticed a pattern, and it's not spots or stripes- it's happy. I'm generally happy. How nice, after five years of thinking I was and not really being so. Life is so misleading.

Speaking of which, I saw an ad in Glamour today for some numbered anthology of Rod Stewart's greatest hits that totally made me go "wha...?!" (Grammar-Nazi authorized misuse of punctuation for artistic and expressive purposes.) I, poor unsuspecting viewer, was assaulted by several unappealing visual hints: there's a bare pair of shapely and distinctly female legs sticking out from behind Rod, who is pictured adjusting his tie like he's just put it back on, and one is lead to assume he must have just re-donned his icky 80's-inspired striped suit jacket, also. Adjusting that tie must be hard to do with the strap of a metallic silver pump with a four-inch heel hanging off his bony hand. Why doesn't he put it down? Not only that, but he's wearing such a complacent smirk on his face that some marketing genius's message is apparent: this guy could get any woman he wanted (again, wha?!) just by crooning some nostalgic American classics that Frank Sinatra nailed and rendered unimprovable decades ago. I really don't have anything against Rod Stewart, except that hearing him sing makes me want to clear my throat. (I also secretly enjoy the optimistic, laid-back tune of Rhythm of my Heart, even if I can't understand a word he's growling.) I just really didn't want to see an ad that connotates the guy just got done with whoever's daughter is lounging lewdly behind him. Frank may have been reputed a chauvenist jerk, but at least he had more class than to make an ad like that. (Upon closer inspection of the two previous anthology albums pictured in miniature below the feature, the observer finds that Rod's tie is untied and hangin' in both photos, and both also feature the ever-present smirk. Only on Volume II, he appears to be saluting, and it's more of a grimace. Okay, man. Whatever frosts your Lucky Charms.)

I don't mean to be so critical. It's just a nasty visual. You know, though, I could pick apart album covers all day. I'll get busy one of these days and stage my own imaginary album cover. Rest assured it would involve my truck and tons of secret messages, but nothing would be insinuated at all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Incongruous (Or, Calgon, Take Me Away)

Today was horrible. Work felt like public television's Africa: a jumble of petty dictatorships, lost civilizations, and prehistoric wild animals. I so want out. There are people who, believe it or not, are cut out to do what I do. I, sadly, ain't one of them. I'll never be able to chart the route by which I got here; it's certainly not my dream job. Thank God it's just a stepping stone, because they don't pay me enough to care.

I pay the bills for the City. I cut checks for dump trucks, printer cartridges, and cell phones. I pay an average monthly $7k fuel bill and $60k power bill, and bills for software, uniforms, guns and ammunition, training supplies, and clorox for the water plant. I've never gotten up the courage to ask what they use it for. I buy office supplies, chemicals, "meeting supplies" (translation: donuts), and enough coffee, cream and sugar to supply an army of crabby workmen. I mail money for conference registrations, carpet cleaning, welding, dry cleaning, translations, inspections, certifications and equipment repairs. I even buy golf accessories for the pro shop at the municipal golf course that shouldn't be.

That's the bare bones of my job, which wouldn't be so bad except for bitchy vendors, negligent department heads, and being under the jurisdiction of two different bosses with very different ideas of how my days should be spent. I may have inherited Mom's unsinkable optimism, but today Dad's sarcastic wit held sway. I hope I didn't hurt anybody's feelings. I tried to just mumble. Still, I can't wait for the day I get to stand up and say, to quote my favorite boss, "bu-bye, fatheads..." which is what he said on his way out the door Tuesday, since he'll be off hunting for two weeks, which means I get to do his job and mine. Lovely. Today I got a massive papercut in the crook of my thumb, my glasses have a loose screw, I have a check run in a short week, and I have P(ost)MS. God save the next person who jokes about my attitude.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Sneak Preview

If you promise not to make fun of my tacky kitchen, which doubles as my studio, I'll show you what I spent the evening doing. This is my niece (or more correctly my sister's niece, but we're all family) in oil on canvas board. We all spent my August birthday at a nearby lake and this is pretty much what 'Bit' looked like at the end of the day. I have some detail, shading, and final clean-up to do, but mostly I'm done. I'll post the finished piece when it is.

Friday, October 08, 2004

That 'Death' Thing

It wakes me up from a sound sleep, heart pounding, skin like ice. It hits me out of nowhere, when I'm carrying a load of laundry down the stairs, driving, at work, at dinner, at the movies. For a moment, I'm frozen solid, paralyzed, chilled and terrified. I'm going to die. Not immediately. Probably not soon. But someday.

I'm assuming this is a normal phobia for twenty-somethings who are just realizing they're mortal, or anyone, really; some might go through it a little later, maybe earlier. Maybe some feel it more than others. I hit twenty-five in August, and I'm hoping this prolonged, unreasonable, and I'm pretty sure excessive fear goes away soon. Some days I think I'm cracking up. Maybe I need therapy. Mom says she went through it too, and thinks it was about this age. Hers went away on its own.

It's not a debilitating phobia. I don't avoid certain activities because there's a chance they could kill me; that would mean avoiding everything, really. Driving, eating, sleeping, living in a basement. In fact, I think I'm still downright reckless. I still ride in the beds of trucks on the freeway, still leave candles burning, still go rockhounding during hunting season, without wearing orange. The funny thing about my fear of death is that it's not the blackness, the being buried, the possibility of nothing else, ever, that frightens me. After all, I love to sleep. I've no doubt that someday I'll be so tired I'll yearn for oblivion. What scares me is that I might not live long enough to get everything done. So if anything, it's causing me to hurry up and try to accomplish something before my time's up. But it makes me apprehensive. What if that thing I keep planning on never pans out? What if I wait my whole life for it to happen and by the time I realize it's not going to, it's too late to change course? It's hard to weigh the future consequences of sacrifices we think we're willing to make now.

I'm not worried about achieving fame and fortune. My artistic abilities may evolve into something really significant; they may not. I'm willing to work hard to make something of them, but not to the detriment of enjoying the short time we have. I like the simple aspects of life too much to sacrifice them to ambition. Maybe that's laziness. Maybe it's smarts. I paint, I write, I'm musical- but that's not all I'm good for. The point is, I don't think the quality of my life depends on my accomplishments. I'm helpful (very helpful) and kind (probably too kind) and that's more important than earning pages and pages of returns when I get Googled.

I'm not too concerned about large-scale philanthropy, either. If I ever achieve the resources, then yes, I'll be glad to fight some causes. I'll restore old buildings; I'll provide healthcare for the elderly; I'll fund diabetes research; I'll rescue a greyhound named Boomer. Maybe that's selfish, to not worry about poverty or war or the environment. But I still think I'm worth more to the world as an artist than I would be as an activist. I know half-a-dozen people who will cringe at this, but Ralph Waldo Emerson said: To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. Even as vague and stilted and philosophical as it is, I think there's no better distilled lifetime bill of fare than that.

I may read this twenty years hence and scoff. Life as a person comes with a cerebral disclaimer, though, doesn't it? We may be persecuted for changing our minds, but we still can. We still do. If we're lucky, nobody will remember we ever felt otherwise.

I'm obviously still alive today, and it's far too rare a gem to spend contemplating imminent death. I'll let the shivers pass over and whistle some Purple Carnival while the leaves turn to lemon drops outside on a perfect golden autumn afternoon. It's Friday before a three-day weekend, it's almost quitting time and I'm going to spend the evening with my favorite and only sister, my boisterous brother-in-law, and a little girl who doesn't know life isn't forever. Like all six-almost-seven-year-olds, her potential is astounding, and instead of trying to impress upon her that we only have so much time, I'm going to take a cue from Bitsy and pretend like having fun tonight is all in the world that I have to worry about. Because really, it is.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

For Emphasis!

The person! who wrote the jacket summary! for the Gangs of New York! DVD! really! really! really likes! exclamation points! It's exhausting.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Sunset on the Upper Green

Sunset on Fontonelle Reservoir

Hwy 189

CCC Ponds

Business Meeting

The Windrivers

The Green River

A Riddle

What yummy-smelling, miracle-working product comes in a blue and yellow and brushed-aluminum can with a red spray cap and stream-concentrating detachable straw?

Join the fan club.

Stranger Than Fiction

I am one of those naive people who looks for traces of themselves in every fictional 'someone' they encounter. I look for elements of my life in every fabricated situation. Not surprisingly, I've realized that my favorite books each contain a pivotal character that I identify with so strongly, it's almost like reading about another me. I was Scarlett, Jo, Meggie and Justine in other lives. You can call me crazy; If I wasn't such a private person, I'd give you examples of how like me they are. I could point out how certain characters are so realistic and well-developed that they behave with a predictably human unpredictability just like you and I. Which naturally brings me to a conclusion about their authors: they're damned good writers. (Another thing: they're all women. I am no feminist, but I'll tell you something. I've never identified with a female character in a book written by a man. I'm curious to know whether this works both ways; It wouldn't surprise me. I'm also open to reading something that proves otherwise. I so despised the weakness of the female lead in House of Sand and Fog that I wanted to smack her and tell her to buck up. Maybe that comes from descending from women tougher than shoe leather, women who just do what must be done, who roll with the punches. No woman in my family would just roll over like that, lose her head and give up. But then, we as a rule are unbelievably able and sane. And unlike that poor soul, we are our own support group and therapists. We stick together.)

I love books. I love a good epic best. I've already gone through three paperback copies of Colleen McCullough's The Thorn Birds with no signs of slowing. I asked a friend recently if he thought it was a waste of life to read the same book repeatedly. His reply was completely characteristic of his genuine, logical wisdom: No. It's a different book every time. Not surprisingly, that struck a chord with me. It makes it okay to notice some new similarity to my own evolving situation every time I read it. It gives me leave to randomly open the Bible in moments of despair, even though I am not particularly religious (another post altogether), and find the perfectly applicable passage from which to interpret comfort and peace. For reasons similar, I also love Alexandra Ripley's much-debated, debased and scorned sequel to Gone with the Wind, titled Scarlett. I love the girl's grit, her honest biases, the utterly believable emotional transformation she undergoes and the rich tapestry of Irish history woven into the storyline; if I could research like Alexandra must have, I'd already be a celebrated novelist. Anyhow, Scarlett's self-discovery and metamorphosis from impetuous, assumptive, thoughtless child to self-reliant, gracious woman gives me hope for my own future, even if she is just fiction.

Other books I simply cannot live without are Little Women, Paulo Coelho's painfully beautiful and inspiringThe Alchemist, Sydney Sheldon's terrifically twistedThe Other Side of Midnight, Mary Higgins-Clark's great autobiography Kitchen Priveleges, the brilliant The English Patient, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Rain of Gold, Original Sin, everything Jane Austen, anything Shakespeare, Anne Rice's original four Vampire Chronicles... oh Lord, there are too many to name. Someday I'll list them all. I could blog forever about books, but then I'd never write my own.

I'm toying with the horror of my recently formulated theory that everybody's got one great story in them and that's all. Colleen McCullough's subsequent books are all grand, and there's no doubt she's a genius, but Thorn Birds was so superb, and nothing else has been quite as magnificent. Margaret Mitchell tore Gone with the Wind out of the very marrow of her bones, where it had steeped in her family's storytelling all her life, and that was it. One massive, beautiful thing for the world, but only one. Don't J.K. Rowling me, either, because as far as I'm concerned that's one big story. It's all Harry and Hogwarts. No doubt she's one helluva plotter to keep it as raw and pulsing as she has. And think of Tolkein's Rings. One story. Six books, one story. A great story. Janet Evanovich works humorous miracles with each subsequent Stephanie Plum book, but still. One life. And yet, so what? If that is the case, where is the sadness in it? If it's just one, but it's your own and it's great and you leave the world that, isn't it enough?

My story hasn't surfaced yet. I like telling you about my life, but that's all it is, is my life. I may have just one chance to create great fiction, to make up a life that will cause a literary eclipse, and then that's it. It hasn't bubbled up yet. Whatever the key to my greatness, it's still buried. And for right now, I like it right where it is.


The longer I live, the more I become convinced that it takes a lot of courage to be happy. It would be so easy to just lay down arms and give in to mediocrity, but I refuse to end there. I can't stand it, and I'm tired of watching people settle. I'm promising you here and now: that will not be me.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Never a Dull Moment

On my way home from a mountain-filled, oxygen-deprived weekend with Mom, I stopped to play styrofoam-bowl-frizbee with my 94-year-old grandmother. She'd had a perm and was feeling particularly peppy. I stayed until the late card games of the Hamsfork Social Club got going, which is how I found myself, again, scanning the inky blackness beyond my headlights for the tawny bodies of antelope. On Hwy 189, again, in the dark, on a Monday night at a quarter to nine. A guy blew my doors off after the construction just before Round Mountain; he must have been going 80. I passed him ten miles later where he was pulled off to the side of the road, one headlight gone and him dragging a speedgoat off the highway into the brush at the edge. Maybe it was a deer- all I saw was guts. I didn't stop to see if he needed assistance. I just assume everyone has a cellphone. After all, this is the Jonah Field.

The construction is a good thing, and it's almost done. It's done by Legrand Johnson out of Salt Lake City, a massive, capable outfit with acres of yellow equipment in a chain-link pen down there, big Cats and graders and shovels as far as the eye can see into the smoggy distance, white company F-150s in rows like an off-duty battalion. Between polite orange signs ('Bump' and 'Your Tax Dollars at Work'), they've widened the two-lane highway, added broad, safe shoulders, and they'll probably put those ruts over there that make a flatulent buzz when you hit them that my nephew calls 'the dinosaur noise.' It's to wake drivers up who've drifted off to sleep and subsequently off the road. It works, whether you're sleeping or not. My mother's Buick's windshield looks like crocheted fishing line after a summer of 189. She refuses to replace it until they finish. Which will be soon. Did I tell you it snowed in September?

I listened to One Night in Bangkok from Chess half the way home. I love how blatantly disco it is and Murray Head's sarcastic and conversational take on Tim Rice's whimsical, innuendo-laden narrative, and that delightful symphonic excerpt at the beginning that they so rarely play on the radio when they play that song. The rush and tumble of violins like a waterfall into the pulse-like pounding of the tympani. Larry would be so proud. She's the one who recorded that whacky birthday cassette for me nigh on ten years ago, after our tour of Europe. My car stereo keeps trying to eat it, that and Paul Simon's Graceland. I simply can't understand why it dislikes those but withstands hours of Cake and Frank Sinatra. There's just no accounting for taste.

Sometime I'll blog about my truck, which is an adventure in itself. I have to take a flattering pic of us together first, something that hides Monty's rust and my thighs. Sometime, too, I'll blog about this weekend and add more photos of this astonishing locale. Tonight it's just nice to be back in my own bed. Saturday morning I woke up in a black, windowless room (I can sleep all day in there, it's my room when I'm at Mom's) and saw the clock with the red digital readout (9:27am) and thought "where the Hell am I?" There isn't a digital clock at my house, see. I love it when you sleep so hard that you're totally lost when you wake up. It means you really slept. Which is what I'm going to do now. It was a bad week maybe to take a Monday off, being 'Celebrate Evanston Week' and City Hall going headless chicken, but it was totally worth it. I've just got to get caught up or I'm going to drown in purchase orders. What a way to go.



(Thanks, Dave)

Atmospheric Perspective

So, mes amies, did you feel the lack of me? What can I say? It was for this that I forsook you.