Monday, July 31, 2006

Velvet Elvis

Friday, July 28, 2006

Weekend in Gillette

That is a great. Big. Rock. I wanna see more.

World Piñata Championship

Hanging around

Monday, July 24, 2006

Cartoons are Fun

My vacation in South Park.

Stone and Parkerize yourself. (Via Lenny. And I guess I should warn you that you won't find bass clef tattoos, a Sony Vaio, or your beauty mark on the site. Those are 'Shopped. Still, you can have fun. And sure, that's rootbeer.)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Just Add Water

I am basking in relative solitude at the laundromat. There's a family of laughing Mexicans that appears mercifully childless and a beautiful deaf boy, polite as a Sunday afternoon, who I know but don't know. (Michael and I have exchanged friendly smiles and concerned glances- over an unsupervised baby girl reaching for one of the manager's abandoned power tools- and occasional brief exchanges scribbled on napkins or perforated, barcoded subscription cards.) Otherwise it's just me and the Vaio and this mysterious, unexpected WiFi connection, and that is a beautiful thing.

Blogging is a creative outlet (one of many) for me, and a therapy when necessary. Lately it has either been unnecessary or ineffective, but I am reluctant to subscribe to either since I certainly have frequent impulses to write- and plenty of inspiration- and because writing always makes me feel serene, and I miss it dearly when it isn't occurring often enough. But mostly I regret the recent dearth of posts here because I know that a blog neglected by its author will soon be neglected by its readership. Thank you, then, for not giving up on me. (I adore writers that address me as "dear reader," most notably Rudyard Kipling and Louisa May Alcott, but I won't do it here despite the urge.)

Earlier tonight I pulled Dad's Cadillac into Sonny and Broque Fraughton's Auto Spa, which is arguably the greatest do-it-yourself car wash in the universe. The comfort-grip nozzle emits a jet of water so forceful that it effortlessly scoured off kiln-dried ceramic bug guts and pine pitch so tenacious that earlier attempts to remove them with Goo Gone® proved futile. The foam brush generously oozed a thick, pink, bubble gum-scented froth of suds so obscenely, enviably luxurious that I'm certain no girl has ever experienced its equivalent at any human spa.

After a minute and thirty seconds the brush had exuded so much foam that I was ankle-deep in a perfumed pastel mire, but I loved it. I relished every sudsy swipe across the long and glossy hood and every waxy blast of spot-free rinse. Both implements swiveled smoothly on flexible hoses that never kinked, and the user-frienly digital control panel chimed merrily when each coin dropped. The vacuums are so powerful they threaten to wrest the carpet from the floorboards and had no trouble with the rocks and dog hair. Next time I see Sonny at Kate's, remind me to buy him a beer.

Work is a routine daily adventure with my rough-and-tumble companions, their unrelenting teasing and their questionable grammar. This is my first week on a new schedule- Tuesday through Saturday- and I have yet to decide if I like it or not. Bud was quite pleased with himself for arranging the switch so that I got the four-day weekend I requested without using any vacation days. I was pleased with him, too.

I used the free time wisely, visiting the evolving piney haven our Johnsons call the Lazy J. Mom and Morgan and I also took in the pageant at the Green River Rendezvous, which occurs every summer in the shadow of jagged granite teeth, 13,000 feet above sea level, called the Windriver Range. Waiting on the rock-hard wooden bleachers for the show to commence, we watched black clouds roll intermittently overhead and hoped for the rain to lay down the dust kicked up by the players' horses. It rained once before the action began, big, hard, cold drops that dried almost instantly, because when the rain came- and it lasted only a few minutes- the sun was shining. People held grease-stained white paper plates over their heads.

Today Bud was conspicuously absent and the boys decided we should gas our pesky resident rockchucks (a.k.a. yellow-bellied marmots) in their burrows (they tunnel under concrete and cause it to cave, and lately they've taken to using the UV steps as their own public toilet). They (and I say "they" because my heart just wasn't in the activity) didn't read the instructions and inserted the fuse in the first stick without poking an inlet hole for the oxygen necessary for the fuse to burn. Then in a panic they inserted the second smoking stick fuse-up, so when we dropped the burlap sandbags and shoveled dirt on top, we extinguished the fuse.

When we finally got one to stay lit and smoke profusely (trying to stay upwind, choking on the toxic fumes) we watched to see where the smoke would come out (marmots always have a back door), waiting with the shovel to brain any rodent that fled. We never saw an outlet but later Jeff walked several hundred yards downhill and spotted one glaring malevolently from its hole. "The damned thing looked me right in the eye," recounted Jeff. He elbowed Travis, "It's a good thing we don't depend on fur-bearing critters for a living. Some trappers we are."

Summer is sneaking lubriciously by and, as is customary, I am obsessed with moisturizers. Lotions, oils, creams, balms, butters, sunscreens, lanolin, petroleum, hydroxy and glycerine, oatmeal, beeswax, soy and aloe- I'm back in the desert and I'm neurotically vigilant for signs of the atopic skin of my parched Wyoming childhood, so I'm slathering on every unctuous substance I can get my hands on. It's a wonder I can function, all my fingers slick with Avon's greasy miracle Moisture Therapy (the solitary Avon product they didn't discontinue the instant I decided I loved it). Luckily, it's appealingly damp at the water plant, what with all that cool H2O evaporating into the air, and also in my dank basement apartment. I know that sounds unpleasant, but you must see how nice it is to descend into this refreshing, cool dimness in the middle of a blazing day. If the current crop of semi-reasonable housemates stays, I may never move. (Evaporation from a body of water is simply evaporation, but moisture evaporated from a leaf or blade of grass is called transpiration. It transpires. Isn't that great?)

And so you see, although it seems that I am AWOL from the blogosphere, I am still the same cheery, benign observer of the world that I have always been, albeit thoroughly, happily distracted and undergoing one profound metamorphosis after another. And just in case you didn't realize it, all I wrote about here tonight was laundry, a car wash, my job (including attempted rodent extermination), home building, historical reenactment, and various forms of hydration. Who says the mundane can't be enthralling? (You're still here.) Blogging has got to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, even if it is infrequent.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Lazy J and Rendezvous

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Redneck Weekend

Bear Lake
Rose lost in the rushes.

Christmas Tree Stand Graveyard



My new Converse steel-toed shoes.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Non Sequiturs are De Rigueur

I watched a filter wash today, leaning on the cold aluminum railing while I hosed the silt-laden meringue off the top as the filter drained. If you don't, it sticks to the walls and congeals, and there's no way to get to it to scrub it off. The new polymer (8185) seems to make more suds than the old.

I have the plant all to myself for three days, all the quiet, cool, damp rooms my own. I sit by Grandpa's date palm in the lobby with the sun on my back in the mornings. The smell of Bud's cigarettes- the spice of burnt paper most noticeably - has permeated every inch of our watery world. The plants seem to like it, and I find I don't mind.

Bud is moving me to the Tuesday through Saturday schedule (and seems quite pleased with himself for arranging me a four-day weekend without using any vacation time at all, since I did ask for the 9th and 10th off). I'll enjoy working with him, but I'm a little nervous. He'll get a very good idea of what I know and what I don't, and I hope I don't disappoint him. But I'll also get to learn from him, which will be rewarding.

Tonetta called this afternoon, so bubbly and serene that the bomb she dropped is just now sinking in. Multiple Sclerosis at 27 years old. I didn't cry, and I think she was glad. I just kept thinking of the way she used to twist the gold ring on one of her long, tapered fingers, of her glossy chocolate skin and the whitest teeth I've ever seen. I wonder at us ten years ago, blissfully ignorant of the hurdles we would face in the next decade, agonizing over things so petty and inconsequential now that I can't remember them. We once ran to the Chula Vista mall together at the latest possible hour to have our upper ears pierced at Claire's, tiny metal rods shattering fragile cartilage, to celebrate some pact or other. Our bodies and their inherent failure were an afterthought in those days. (I have little gray spots where my ears never quite healed, and I can only force an earring through one of them. Our adventure made sleeping painful for a year.)

On a lighter note, I'm going on the record to say I think I've finally made up my mind about the heir to my beloved little SUV. Meet the FJ:

It recently surpassed the Honda Ridgeline and the new four-door Jeep Wrangler as the most covetable new vehicle that meets all of my demands, and there I think it's going to stay. No carpet! Not a scrap! Suicide doors! It's Toyota tough and it's got three windshield wipers. Plus it's cute as a bug's ear and so darn cool. Those of you who have been privy to my indecision and fickle automotive affections these past two years or so, feel free to tease me if I change my mind again. But I'll be surprised if I do.

It's still about a year out, though, even if I order it in December or January- according to one dealer in Salt Lake City, demand is high and supplies are limited. (For the record, this vehicle is not nearly as attractive in banana yellow or electric blue, or even pearly rich dark cherry or black, the only other color options, hence the delay in my surrender to its considerable charms. And sometimes I think it looks like a Mini Cooper on steroids.) Oh, and one more thing- it's bigger than it looks.