Friday, April 29, 2005


Work is my sanctuary. I love the two plants, old and new, stoically side by side on the hill. After the weekend’s rain the puffy spring clouds are doing that weird time-lapse thing they do, hustling overhead as their shadows scud along the soft gray-green hills like insubstantial juggernauts. I can stand up here on the hill, “E Hill,” watching trains snake through the valley on their tracks, which bisect the city along the banks of the sinuous Bear River. I can watch the truck traffic on I-80, rushing east across the state to the Midwest or west to Salt Lake City and past the broad, stinking, salty lake, across the Bonneville Salt Flats, through Wendover, on across the great flat empty west to Reno and the coast. Or maybe in Salt Lake City they’ll hang a left on I-15 to Vegas, Bakersfield, on to San Diego and the border. I want to run to catch a train. I want to get on the highway and go. This month they found a dismembered body just past the Wyoming/Utah line in Summit County. I want to drive until I find a place that doesn’t have any death.

A week ago last Monday, two firefighters died fighting a house fire here in town. The funeral was Saturday, same as Dad’s, only instead of old cars, A.J. and Robert had 50 fire trucks from all over the country winding up County Road to the cemetery, completely stopping traffic for two hours. They had to turn away many more trucks from communities all over the west. Robert Henderson left a wife and kids and 23-year-old A.J. (Jacob) Cook left his bride of about a month. I’m wondering what it’s like to be her; I can’t imagine. I took a picture of their trucks parked next to the Post Office, across from the Fire Hall, laden with their uniforms, flowers, posters and photographs, and I felt the hollow spots on the earth. Otherwise I’m not very affected. I’m numb from my own grief over Dad, who I’m starting to miss to an alarming degree, and Gram, who I’m terrified to lose but can’t bear to see live if she doesn’t really want to.

I am limping through the days, apprehension folded in my pocket like a passport. Morgan whispers in her sleeping ear “you’ve been such a good Grandma” and she nods, slowly, childlike. She may take a few bites of canned fruit, sip brandy diluted in 7-Up. We don’t make her put the oxygen back on. We tell her she can go whenever she’s ready. Sometimes I don’t know her, can’t see the woman I spent fifteen years in close proximity to. In the last ten she has simply become someone else. I didn’t know her for the first seventy years of her life; what makes me think she should always be the same? I know she’ll handle it, because she’s pure iron under that soft maternal lining, but I can’t help but worry about Mom, sure to lose her husband and her mother in the same year. It isn’t fair.

Something else.

I’m considering getting Cable TV. (I already have the digital box and 12 uninteresting channels, which are free with my DSL). This may alarm people who know me and know that I very rarely watch television (like once every two months I’ll halfheartedly tune into Antiques Roadshow or a rerun of The Simpsons), but lately I’ve been craving the History channel and Travel channel, and TLC only because I enjoy watching Clinton and Stacy gag over the general lack of fashion sense in the world on What Not to Wear. I despise Trading Spaces. Also there are times when, even though I probably wouldn’t sit and actually watch it, the background buzz of Nascar would be incredibly soothing. Maybe I don’t need the added distraction though, the potential to have more precious time flushed down the toilet. And then too there would be the increased risk of Katie Couric appearing on my screen. I cannot stand the perky little insect and her nauseatingly relentless flirting. It makes me want to sick Ann Coulter on her.

I feel like I’ve been asking too much. And somewhere deep in the bowels of this house the pump that moves the hot water through the pipes that heat our rooms is beginning to grind and moan. It’s probably cavitation. Or maybe the motor’s shot. Anyhow I plan to move. And I’d like to move up.

I woke to a few inches of snow this morning and wanted to break the sky. I’m so tired of winter. The prairie is green but the bitter wind that steals the air right out of your lungs is hanging on. Bud drove me up to the intake on the river Wednesday, into the concrete bunker full of massive valves and screened, yawning open pipes almost four feet wide. The place was full of spider webs, the kind you see on television, cottony and thick and sticky. He says they torch them in the summer. We went to the station at the dam, checked the quality of water at the reservoir, which they’ll probably switch to this weekend since spring runoff makes the river water nearly untreatable. He switched on some lights and opened an unassuming metal door and there was the concrete tunnel that runs all the way under the dam, the huge intake pipe stretching far into the dank subterranean distance. It was like opening the squeaky door of a wardrobe and finding Narnia on the other side. I would so love my own Aslan. I would so love an absolution.

I bet lions really shed something awful.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Without Reprieve

I'm not one to complain, but I'm facing a new and separate anguish. Tomorrow will be two weeks since the 5:45AM phone call from Mom, the one I thought meant Grandma, and found myself repeating, "Dad? Dad? Are you sure? Dad?" I was crumpled on the cold kitchen linoleum, wanting to wake up from a bad, bad dream. And now I'm having to sit and wait for the right call, the one that should have come, because she isn't eating and keeps asking to go back to bed so she can die. At 94 she has the right to do so, but what in the world are we going to do? I think I'm drowning in grief. It seems like everyone in the whole world is dying. That morning the leather and metal of the Pontiac seemed like the blackest thing I'd ever been surrounded by, watching the first sunrise without Dad dawn on the emptiness of the world, the rolling miles of sagebrush and dirt. Kelly got picked up going 86mph by a Lincoln County Sheriff, the coroner who had just left Mom's. He just wanted to get us there, Morgan and I, stock still and silent and stunned, one beside and one behind him. Jerry let us go right away, saying, "slow down. We don't want another tragedy."

Saturday the 23rd was gorgeous, flashbulb-bright and warm. Guy drove us to the memorial service in the ’64 Impala he bought on one of many adventures with Dad. Dad was particularly pleased with that long straight car, glossy black like oil, with a creamy white top and silver upholstery, a smooth rumbling engine, perfect chrome, whitewall tires with rear skirts and two diagonal antennae gracefully flanking the flawless trunk. Bob brought his Thunderbird, lacquered lipstick red, continental kit, and the sparkling new hubcaps Dad never got to see. He parked it in front of the Eagle bar after the ceremony. Eighty people there and more had called to say they wished they could be, Casper and Armand and Luigi, Cotton, Brent and Mike in Sunday best, from Arizona Dad's brother Jay with the same blue eyes and his sister Marlina with her beautiful children; Sue sang My Way with only a little waver when she glanced at Mom, and it couldn’t have been more right. We had two foam-core poster boards covered with chronological photographs of Dad's life, in which he was almost always obviously happy. (I have his strange smile-inflated cheeks. So does Morgan.) Dad at a slot machine, Dad with his blue Kenworth, Dad on the deck of Lil's boat in Santa Monica, Dad on an overburdened mule in Mexico, Dad rolling in grass. Forever after Ken called him Bear. It fit.

I sobbed through the eulogy I wrote and read, echoes of which you might recognize from recent blog posts, before I knew they were going to come in handy:

My dad was never without four things: wheels, friends, a story to tell, and advice to give.

We all saw the automobiles; they came and went, overlapping, spilling out of his garages and driveways and onto the street. He bought them, he repaired them, he painted them, he tinkered with them, he raced them, he sold them, and he drove them in parades and up long desert highways. If it had wheels, Dad could fix it. He knew cars, and he loved them. He loved their power and intricacy and the freedom they provide. He just couldn’t get enough.

There were no strangers to Dad. Something about him brought out a special brand of devotion in others. He expected the best from everyone, but enjoyed the simplest things about them as well. He talked to strangers in line. He called all waitresses “hon” and charmed people with a quick wit and ready smile. It wasn’t hard to entertain him. It wasn’t always easy to please him. But it was always the most natural thing in the world to love him.

His stories were a crazy collection of snapshots taken throughout his remarkable life. Dad had a headlong way of tackling things that didn’t always produce the best results but which consistently fostered great stories. Dad had funny stories, and Dad had scary stories, stories about close shaves and high adventures. Dad loved jokes and news and debates and, in a dignified way, gossip. Lately we teased him about being nosy. I think he was just desperately curious about everything. He had a burning desire for learning that is rare, and the more blurred those blue eyes got, the sharper the dazzling mind became.

“I’m gonna tell you something.” He heard that line from his father, and we heard it from him, and when it was spoken you knew he meant business. He was about to dispense something really important, some bit of automotive genius or investment tip or a great political truth. I know from experience his advice was good, even if it sometimes came in a form that was hard to swallow. There was never any doubt that he meant well. My favorite words of advice from Dad to me had to do with driving: “never back up when you can go forward.” He meant it in a purely automotive sense but I couldn’t help seeing how it was the philosophy he lived by, and it somehow sneaks its way into everything I do. He simply did what he thought he should and lived with the consequences. He had strong opinions based on good common sense and he never hesitated to share them. Of course, his best advice probably had to do with cars.

These were only the obvious things about Dad, but then, he was never a person with much to hide. I guess I’m lucky in a way, because his recent decline was probably the only reason his flights of fancy were grounded long enough for me to get to know him better. He bore his captivity with a kind of resignation, but I’m sure he expected to someday be well enough again to do all the things he enjoyed. Ironically, it was sitting down to wait for that day that probably ensured it would never come. There were only rare moments of despair though, and he was spared a great deal of suffering. In the end he died the way I’m so proud he lived: exactly the way he wanted to.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Defining Moments

I didn’t record all the first week’s strange impressions, didn’t document my grief the way I wanted to. I know I slept in one of Dad’s blue t-shirts, big enough to drown me. I know I counted myself lucky to have gotten to know him better these last few years, maybe even to have helped distract him from what must have been a somewhat frustrating existence. To a man with such an active mind and body, limited vision and mobility must have been nearly unbearable, but he bore it the best he knew how, even overcame it. I guess to some extent we had to watch him slowly decline, but not in unendurable ways. He still fixed us with those blue eyes, still argued, advised, still laughed, still went with us on roadtrips until just lately when it got too hard. He could sometimes be incredibly silly. Remember the trick ketchup bottle? He loved that game, loved the look of horror on peoples' faces as the harmless red string shot out onto their clothes. He was still well over 6 feet and 300 lbs. when Mom’s cousin Dale came from Rock Springs in the massive red Suburban to take his body away. (Sobbing, we joked it was a good thing they didn’t come in a Ford Expedition; Dad would have gotten out and walked.)

So we didn’t have to see him waste away, which would have been the worst with such a towering man. Strong, tall, straight Dad, who could lift Caprice Classics, pound hubcaps on with his bare fists, pull dents out of the thick steel of Buick fenders as if he were smoothing fabric. And yet he looked strangely small on the king bed he and mom shared, where he lay down on his back for what he thought would be just a while, small and utterly peaceful. White on blue on white, pale skin and hair, barely blue lips and dark blue clothes on Mom’s white matelassé coverlet. Head tilted just so, ankles crossed, skin-and-bone hand on his belly with Grandpa’s big gold ring on the long ring finger. He didn’t even get to wear it a whole year. We couldn’t take it off, and Dale said he’d keep it for us. His hands were no more stiff and cold than they’d been when he was alive (Parkinson’s), and it wasn’t horrible at all to touch them, or his cool, dry forehead with the soft waves of white hair, or his cheek with the familiar bristly stubble. He was such a big, handsome guy. I wanted to see the sharp blue eyes again, but they were closed forever. I wanted him to wake up and tell me not to buy a Chrysler, but I'll just have to remember the rules. He still smelled faintly of Head and Shoulders shampoo, Vitalis hair oil, cinnamon Close-up toothpaste, but that might have been me imagining. When they got him loaded on the gurney into the back and we’d said a last goodbye and thank you and I love you and they drove away, I wanted to run after the Suburban. I even watched it until it drove out of sight on the highway behind the fire station, but instead of chasing it I stared down through my tears at the tracks its tires left in the brown winter grass. I think I was holding somebody’s hand. I was probably holding it too tightly.

Dad would scoff if we let ourselves be submerged in grief, so none of us have. I dove into work this week, and with customary kindness and purpose the boys kept me busy. I’ve even achieved my patented and trademarked level of extreme exhaustion, which I call “Running on Fumes.” Putting a surprise memorial service on in less than a week is no small task, but even so, I think we’re on the right track. I had fun reading entries on an Internet newsgroup board about what music people want played at their funeral. Pearl Jam’s Off He Goes. Goodbye, Goodbye by Oingo Boingo. I didn’t get the joke behind Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, but I thought Wish You Were Here was a great idea. We settled on Each Life that Touches Ours for Good, What a Wonderful World (I wish, wish, wish Willie Nelson would come sing it for us), and My Way, because even though you may think you’ve seen it performed at a funeral for someone it fit just right, that was Dad’s theme song and nobody else’s. Except Frank’s. Anyway we have a strange batch of family to please, so that’s the mix. We got our way with the “casket” though, because he was cremated and yesterday I went to Cazin's and got a $16.00 plain red metal toolbox to hold the big container of ashes. (He’d haunt me if I spent more than that, I swear. I get my thrift from Dad.) I’m wondering how strange people are going to think that is, but believe me, everybody who knew him thinks Mom’s idea is just grand. It’s not every day you see somebody buried in a toolbox… but it’s not every day you meet a car guy like Dad. I wonder what he would have though of all these proceedings; you just never knew how he was going to react to things. I sleep well at night (when I finally go to bed) knowing, if anything, that he’d be glad to indulge us. He was always that way with his girls.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Hot Rod Heaven

I'm operating on the assumption that you don't already know this, but my father is now God's head mechanic. I sure hope God's a GM guy.

I love you, Dad. Thank you for everything in the world. You sure did it right, just snoozing quietly away at home like it was no big deal. Not for you the ambulance ride, the hospital bed, the tortuous final struggle. You died like you lived: your way, without a second thought, and for once you picked the easy route, for you and us. I miss you like crazy, but I wouldn't have had it any different. I thank God for what you didn't have to live through, and I praise Him for what you did. Morg and I couldn't have asked for a better dad, for better advice, for more laughs, for better lessons. Like Mom says, you sure had a good run, and it must have been one helluva reunion. I had no idea how many utterly devoted friends you had on earth, and I'm sure there are just as many who beat you to that big pit row in the sky. You weren't having much fun here any more, and I know that, wherever you are now, it's incredible. One last checkered flag, and I think you won. I love you.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Memento Meminisse

Southwestern Wyoming still has at least a foot of snow to go, perhaps two all told, but I put away my snow boots today and dug my sandals and mules and slides out of the basket in the back of the closet. I am forcing winter out of my mind, if not out of my world. After all, my mother shovels snow year-round in her flip-flops. The woman is magic.

A body is always in the midst of a lesson. I learned this month how to bow out gracefully, without self-doubt and the guilt some people can inflict on you when they don’t get what they want; aggressive, confrontational people consistently send me running for the hills, literally. I am getting so tired of required self-justification, and to duck offstage without bothering to give an encore is like having the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. I survive when it’s done to me, so why can’t everybody else? I think I’m finished with the Renewal Ball. I may very well be finished with this town. As state representative Bruce Barnard pointed out to me yesterday during a brief, lovely visit, once I attain my Level III Operator’s certification, I will be in high demand. They may even want me in San Diego. Could I leave this home for that one again? It breaks my heart that I can’t be in both places at once.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I tossed and turned and remembered sleepless nights on Topaz Street when I was about ten years old, watching the red square numbers on Grandma’s digital clock snap from 1:11 to 2:22 to 3:33 to 4:44, listening to the rhythmically pulsing engines of waiting trains on the tracks down by the river. The trains, an owl, a cat or dog, the wind or rain: the sounds of Kemmerer, on a summer night in the late 1980’s. We lived across the street from Archie Neil Park, a great sweep of soft green grass on a vast, steep hill that hit 90° angles in some places. Clumps of lilac and cottonwood and aspen trees dotted the hillside, an outdoor pool and yellow caboose converted to a snack bar rested at the bottom of the hill, near the street. Behind them a playground, skating rink, tennis courts, and fire pit surrounded by iron benches waited through the minimum of seven months of snow for children to come again. I clearly recall church outings at the flooded ice-skating rink after dark, with waiting gallons of hot chocolate and cider (we spit the cloves out on the ice). I remember cool summer evenings spent clustered in the smoke from the fire pit to ward off mosquitoes, hearing about Jim Bridger’s life, or Sublette’s or Fremont’s, or any of the exhalted creatures the counties of our still-wild state are named for. I knew every inch of that grassy park, every exposed root and irregularity in the soil so that when running, I never tripped. Rebekah and her sisters were my constant companions and we started fires, planted seeds, built snow forts, and gathered mystical ingredients for “soups” we stirred for days in Grandma’s old iron kettle behind my house. We flew kites, harvested toadstools, and ceremoniously buried dead animals on an acre that could easily be imagined forest, moor, desert or jungle.

I traded my blue toile flannel sheets yesterday for the pale avocado set, cotton so crisp even after numerous washings that they rival the crackly sheets at Mom’s motel. I took the blue duvet off my down comforter and covered the bare white cotton with a maroon woven throw that just seems to keep expanding. Maybe it was that change that contributed to my insomnia, or maybe it was the Mountain Dew after months of avoiding soft drinks. A little caffeine nowadays can really get me going. Whatever it was, I had to keep picking up my little notebook, the Muse Trap, to capture the thoughts reeling in my head. I kept trying to think of someone to call but the one person who owes me some serious late-night consideration sensibly sleeps through the ring of the phone, so I never bother.

I have a CPR class in the morning and just noticed that Barry is on the roster. This is unfortunate because I will have to tell him I can’t buy his cute little maroon TJ-7, which he wants to keep “in the family.” As severely as I am suffering from Jeep Fever just now, I know it’s just that: an infection. It’ll pass. It’s all Travis’s fault. He keeps bringing clever marketing propaganda to work for me to drool over, pamphlets featuring thin, tan people in artfully casual poses, invariably draped all over their topless yellow Wranglers. Dad would disown me if I financed an $8k Jeep. It’s just cabin fever, that’s all it is. Still, I’ve gotten out the sleek Browning fishing pole I’ve never had a chance to use and Dorothy’s old leather camp hat, and outfitted the delightful travel easel Morgan and Kelly got me for Christmas with all my oil paints and brushes. I don’t need a Jeep. I have a perfectly capable and special little offroad unit already. Now, if the weather would just please, please get above 40°F and stay there.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Rockchuck Update

He was still there Thursday morning. And Thursday afternoon, despite us baiting the Hav-a-hart trap with peanuts. We banged on the pipe, and rolled it and tipped it, considered smoke bombs and Travis's .22, but in the end we tied burlap around the trap and the end of the pipe and left him alone. He was in the trap this morning. He got a free ride out to the Narrows in the back of Mr. Shneider's Animal Control truck, and I sincerely doubt he'll bother to find his way home. Now he can be a nuisance to somebody else.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Advice Column

My father has given me scads of advice in my lifetime. It’s generally not the kind of advice a person can use, though, because it’s the kind that has to be learned the hard way, which I eventually do, and to his credit he never says “I told you so.” Maybe he tells my sister “I told her so,” meaning me, because that’s what he says to me about her, and Mom, and Rose. He says, “I told him so” to me, talking about Decker, and Hofie, and Kelly, and when he was alive, his dad. But he never looked at me and said “I told you so,” even when I would have deserved it, and even if that’s a pretty slim distinction, I love him for it.

Despite unrealistically demanding that others learn from his mistakes, Dad has certainly handed me some advisory gems that could easily rival in usefulness the whole of Mary Schmich’s Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen (recorded on Baz Luhrman’s lovable Something for Everybody), a poetically preachy missive about everything from accepting advice to accepting yourself. The first of Dad’s admonishments was “watch out for snakes.” He spoke those words as I was carelessly meandering down a slope in the backyard of his rented basement apartment in Chula Vista, California, for I was a Wyoming desert child and perfectly unaware that the luxurious ivy and pachysandra groundcover might conceal poisonous snakes. (Wyoming has only one species of poisonous reptile: the chronically reclusive and commonly reviled genus Crotalus, the humble rattlesnake.) In the nearly ten years I lived in California, I saw a snake only once, and that was the two-headed snake Thelma and Louise at the incomparable San Diego Zoo. Still, I consider this good advice. Now, if only he’d warned me about the inch-long metallic green Cotinus nitida, the massive green june beetles that careen drunkenly around the southern California sky. I quickly learned they were harmless (to humans, not fruit) but my first encounter was quite the scare and I never did get comfortable with them zooming recklessly at my head. We don’t have many bugs in Wyoming, either, compared to southern California; mostly we see ants, flies, mosquitos, moths and spiders, grasshoppers and, if you hunt them, ant lions. No cockroaches, few beetles, rarely termites, the occasional centipede or scorpion or beady-eyed Child-of-the-Earth (Woh-seh-tsinni, Old Man Bald Head, or Jerusalem Cricket). And once, after some bead traders from Africa stayed in a room at the motel, Mom found a huge, orange mantis-like insect and Sharon had to call Shahan Weed and Pest up from Evanston. My personal favorites are the rolly-polly or potato bug, which curls up into an armored ball when you poke it, and the ladybug, but only because there’s that song about Let the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose. This has been sung at me on various occasions by very dear, silly people. Ladybugs, in case you didn’t know, do bite. But I have never been stung by a bee or hornet, wasp or yellow jacket, or bitten by a horsefly or deerfly. Knock. On. Wood.

The second bit of advice Dad summarily dispensed, and which I repeat to myself daily, referred to driving but somehow seems to find its way into every aspect of my life. “Never back up when you can go forward.” He simply meant that you have a lot less chance of striking something with your vehicle if you’re moving forward, where you can see almost all obstacles, as opposed to backward, where things are more readily concealed by the bulk of your vehicle. This phrase applies to life, too, though, and I’m sure you can see how. I recently climbed slowly out of one dangerous relationship with a reckless and irresponsible person, and I’m sure as heck not diving into another (or the same one). I’ll never again rack up debt, perm or dye my hair, subscribe to anything that seems too good to be true, or get anywhere near any organized religion, all in the name of moving forward and not in reverse.

I don’t always follow this advice, though. For example: several years in a row now I have made, to a local fundraising organization, a time-consuming commitment that I bitterly resented in the long run (even though it led to a piece of my artwork selling at auction for just under $4,000.00. The money went to Historic Preservation, a cause I love with all my heart, but still you must agree that it’s an important bullet on my list of marvelousness, thank you B. S., and OMG your initials are B. S.). You’d think I’d learn, but by God this spring I did it again. Now I refuse to answer my landline (J. O’B., thank you so much for the Caller ID) and I’m hiding from half the people I know, which isn’t easy in a town of thirteen thousand. I’m suffering a tremendous amount of guilt about this because after all, I did commit again (recommit?), and a person I adore and respect is involved with the committee and I always seem to flake out on the projects he recruits me for. He is still kind and complementary whenever we meet; that is, when he’s not harassing me for constanly disappearing. He is my Main Street mentor and I will always be glad for his many votes of confidence, but doesn’t it always seem like that sort of thing comes with a price? And why does it have to be my time? I’m spread pretty thin as it is (and yes, blogging is high on my priority list. I need the practice and the therapy). And shouldn’t this time in my life (twenties) be for personal enrichment, anyhow, and later I can donate my time, money, etc., when I have more of everything to offer? Or am I being a selfish cow? I just can’t seem to find a balance.

It seems like my diet consists mainly of raisin bran with soymilk, because it’s cheap, refreshing, cold and speedy. I also eat a lot of raw fruit, hard-boiled eggs, nuked red potatoes and string cheese. I’m being harassed (and you know who you are) about the deficit of meat in my diet but I tell you, I just can’t bring myself to handle it raw, which is generally necessary when preparing it. Raw chicken is just the worst. It’s like… yuck. I can’t even think about it without blanching. I will make an attempt to get over this because I think I’d die if anybody ever accused me of vegetarianism, which may be a punishable criminal offense in Wyoming. Besides, I do love meat, as long as I don’t have to prepare it myself. I used to actually cook but it gets tedious to cook for just me alone, and cuisine is really not my focus. Good cooks like Mom and Jo and Morgan are constantly trying to feed me, so I honestly get plenty of variety. Also, Morgan usurped all the domestic genes in the womb and demands recognition for leaving me all the artsy genes. Thanks, M. Now come over and fold my fitted sheets.

Travis cornered the biggest rockchuck either of us has ever seen this afternoon in a pipe behind the second reservoir. One end of the pipe has a hydrant attached and he blocked the other end with some heavy generator parts that were lying around. We have bets on whether the thing will still be there in the morning when Jeff from Animal Control comes to pick it up and relocate it at least ten miles outside City limits. (I suppose my being there is the only reason the guys refrained from turning him into bloody bits of rodent confetti, but I’m not sure how I feel about them killing it so I guess that’s okay.) They’re a horrible nuisance (a whole independent post’s worth) and this one in particular seems to be invincible, so I won’t be sorry to see him go if he’s still there tomorrow. Chuckies, like any other rodent, can squeeze through the most amazingly disproportionate apertures. I say he’ll be out by midnight, but I’m not positive. That is one big chuck.

My violin teacher was manipulating my bow hand as an example for the class, trying to get me to rest the weight of my forearm on a specific finger, and I must have been making the ingratiating squinty face I unintentionally make when I’m embarassed or disturbed because he abruptly asked “does that hurt?” I said, “oh, no, I’m grimacing for effect,” and it took us five minutes to stop laughing and resume the lesson. I don’t think anything is that funny when you’re being honest, but once in a while I’m okay to be the wit in the room, even if people are assuming. I think I was actually making the face because what’s supposed to be happening with the bow hand is such an uncomfortable, unnatural thing to me that I automatically feel I’m being tortured. And to think, this was all my idea.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

No Contest

Then she leaned across the table and hissed, "you'll never be anything if you can't imagine yourself happy." I paid for her drink and went home.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Start Spreading the News

New York City update: unfortunately, it won't be Garrick treading the streets of the Big Apple with me. My disappointment dissolved instantly, however, when the following substitution was made: Morgan. My only sibling, my other half, my good example, my private tutor, my secret-keeper, my scapegoat. My sister. I suppose I'll owe Kelly a lifetime supply of both Oreo pie and beef jerky for letting me have her, but it will be worth it. RaeDell and Angie were thrilled with the solution. The only problem now is that Mom can't go, too. But, like she says, even knowing how much fun we're going to have, NYC wouldn't be her first choice if she were off to some exotic destination. There are lots of other places Mom would much rather be caught, and we'll get around to that when Dad doesn't need quite so much care.

While we're on family updates, Morgan's biopsy went great. Not cancer. Fibro-blah blah blah and then I stopped listening. Funny how, with the human body, what is not can be so much more important than what is or are. I've been playing nurse for two days and loving it, because it means a great excuse to be pretty much inert. We may very well be heading for a Disney overdose, and I've just never, ever in my life seen anybody drink so much water. I've teased you about it before but it's really getting out of hand, Morg. And I'm not just saying that because I'm the one who has to get up every time you need a refill. Also, I'm so sorry you got a surgical procedure for your birthday, but I'm glad it's over and done with.