Monday, November 26, 2007

Alfred Hitchcat Presents

Saturday, November 17, 2007

When God Created Wyoming

On the way home from work one evening I found myself on Harrison Drive following a big white Ford Superduty duallie with a coffin-sized diamond plate toolbox, Polaris window stickers, and those ubiquitous "BIG WONDERFUL WYOMING" mudflaps. I've always loved them, impressively broad and matte black, the mutinous bronc on the trademarked Wyoming rodeo logo bucking violently as they flare out behind the tires, as proud and functional an automotive accessory as ever there was. Parked behind the Ford at the stoplight at Main, I watched the exhaust from that cavernous tailpipe rising in the cold, curling hypnotically up and over the hood of my car, and ruminated on that phrase: Big, Wonderful Wyoming.

I've started several times to try to describe this place, this state I was born and grew up in, and left and returned to. There is no place like it, and there is no way to describe it, not really. Nothing I write for you could ever hope to invoke the way I feel about these
97,818 square miles (although that won't stop me from trying when I get a chance). But tonight I got an e-mail from Bekah (alas, as with most things included in e-mails, there's no way to credit the original author) that made me smile and think, not many people can say these things about their state. And this is my state. Enjoy.

Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Heaven, God was missing for
six days. Eventually, Michael the Archangel found Him, resting on
the seventh day. He inquired of God, "Where have You been?" God
sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downwards
through the clouds, "Look Michael, look what I've made!" Archangel
Michael looked puzzled and said, "What is it?" "It's a planet,"
replied God, and I've put life on it. I'm going to call it Earth, and it's
going to be a great place of balance."

"Balance?" inquired Michael, still confused. God explained, pointing
to different parts of Earth. "For example, northern Europe will be a
place of great opportunity and wealth, while southern Europe is
going to be poor; the Middle East over there will be a hot spot. And
over there I've placed a continent of white people, while over here
is a continent of black people."

God continued, pointing to different countries. "This one will be
extremely hot and arid while this one will be very cold and covered
in ice." The Archangel, impressed by God's work, then pointed to a
large land mass and said, "What's that one?"

"Ah," said God. "That's Wyoming, the most glorious place on earth.
There are beautiful lakes, rivers, sunrises, sunsets, rolling hills, high
mountains with snow covered peaks, open prairie, geysers, hot
springs, water falls, monumental rock formations, abundant wildlife,
excellent fly-fishing streams, pure white snow in the winter, white
fluffy clouds, blue skies year-round, and a place where a person can
see millions of stars in the sky at night." God continued, "The people
from Wyoming are going to be modest, intelligent and humorous
and they are going to be found traveling the world. They will be
extremely sociable, hard working and high achieving, and they will
be known throughout the world as diplomats and carriers of peace."

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration but then exclaimed,
"What about balance, God? You said there would be balance!" God
replied wisely, "Wait until you see the idiots I'm putting around
them in Idaho, Colorado, South Dakota, Utah, Nebraska, and

*Luckily, those idiots are generally good sports.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Heart Happy Endings

Mom's driving Henry's truck and I'm enjoying the rural scenery on the outskirts of tiny La Barge, Wyoming, where they live, exactly 99 miles from here. Just before we turn off the highway, which runs right through the middle of town, I spot something that looks so incredibly out of place that I do a double take. "What is that thing, that metal square?" And she says, "Remember me telling you about the Moondance Diner?" Oh, yeah. How could I forget?

Welcome to Wyoming, you historical and iconic little shoe box of a restaurant, you. Nice to have you. Your new clientèle might come as a surprise, but I guarantee you they'll lavish you with as much affection and warmth as those fashionable New Yorkers you used to entertain. We do that in Wyoming.

Mom (whose particular occupation makes her the region's favorite information hot line, and I'm surprised she's not quoted in the article, since everyone else in the area is) is already getting calls from people who want to drive a few hundred miles just for dinner at the Moondance. She's getting tired of repeating, "You'll just have to wait until spring." Right now the diner really looks like it just traveled a couple thousand miles, a little disheveled and weary, but I'm sure it won't be long before it sparkles, square and straight, lighting up the desert night with New York neon.

La Barge, of all places. Really.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tailor Made

The official status of my Caliber is the production stage known as "D," which sounds awfully cryptic but simply means that the next update Dave receives (which could come any time in the next two weeks since Monday was 30 days) will be a shipping notice.

The suspense is killing me, but I've resisted calling the dealership every afternoon because I know my cellphone will ring as soon as it arrives. However, Bud has no compunction whatsoever about asking Dave for updates whenever he sees him, whether it's at the grocery store, the dealership, or Kate's.

Judging by the flabbergasted reactions I've received when I announce that I ordered the car, there must be a common misconception that I'm paying extra for a designer vehicle. Not so, people. I actually saved money by requesting a custom configuration because I avoided paying for options I didn't want, like the leather seats (saved $500), scandalous sound package (saved $800 -- who needs an in-dash 6-CD changer in the age of the mp3?), and the automatic transmission (saved $1,000 and countless nightmares) featured on almost all the models I found on dealers' lots. There is no added fee.

Of course dealers want to get rid of their inventory as quickly as possible, and if you happen to find exactly the model you're looking for, thank your lucky stars and sign on the dotted line. (Just remember that unethical dealers may bloat the price because they've been paying for insurance and security on that vehicle while it waits on the lot.) I wanted an unusual interior/exterior color combination and a manual transmission, so I pretty much had to order it.

The moral of the story: the only drawback to ordering a vehicle is the waiting.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

No Dice

Oogie Boogie makes Cleo beg.
(Halloween at City Hall, A, left, and Carmen, right.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Temporary Insomnia

I have to get up for work in three hours, but at some point it occurred to me that the raucous party going on in Apt. 1 isn't what's keeping me awake. I've slept through worse before, and they did tone it down about 2% when I knocked on the door. No. What's keeping me awake is in my head, a mind rolling over and over like boiling water, a leaping, impish thing I can't control.

Twelve teenagers and one unfortunate dog are hotboxed in a room behind my kitchen wall, any rare streak of common courtesy among them evaporating in a fog of tobacco and pot. Someday the dog, Comet, will die of a secondhand smoke-related disease, but he will die happy. That's what dogs do. They die charming. They die right.

All this behind the wall and my mind keeps drilling for memories, like two years ago when Abbie discovered that a fresh coat of nail polish over any existing lacquer on her nails would re-liquefy the base coat, making it much easier to scrape off. Therefore, she reasoned, nail polish can be used as nail polish remover.

And for some reason tonight -- or this morning -- when I think of color, the color of grilled rabbit meat makes an appearance, pale for a dark meat, stringy and shiny, almost lavender or gray. Rabbit does not taste like chicken. It tastes like nothing but rabbit.

At all the ages of my life, I have rarely been able to tolerate my peers or anyone younger than my age at the time. Younger family members and the children of friends have been the exceptions, naturally. To many complete strangers I respond with a latent violence, politely suppressed, but especially to teenagers. And here I am, living in a veritable frat house and wondering if I'm mentally ill.

Exercise endorphins aren't making me zen, and I have pains that Midol can't assuage. I'm aching, living for holidays and special occasions. Speaking of which, the Halloween party was so casually, warmly fun that I nearly didn't notice how well it was going until the end. This result even without all the work of previous years, which has always made the event a success, but in a different way. The only dark cloud was that Roger and Deb and Amanda, whose house we commandeered, had to make a pilgrimage to Salt Lake for yet another surgery. Here's hoping Amanda gets relief in exchange for missing the bash. Brain surgery seems so routine these days. Brain surgery Saturday morning, instead of a costume party.

If it really was that simple, they could find the tiny little clump in an abundance of gray matter -- probably nearly the same gray as grilled rabbit -- that's causing me so much trouble tonight. And there would be a pill or a shot or a quick slice that would act as a remote control so I could just hit "pause" or "stop" and continue my regularly scheduled programming again in the morning, because unlike someone I love incomparably, I do not enjoy being awake when the clock strikes twelve, or one, or two, or three. And if it were any other day, it would be an hour later, and I wouldn't enjoy four any more than the rest of the wee hours. It turns out that extra hour of sleep I was counting on has eluded me, as have four others.

But I'm going to try again. I don't want the cats to get any ideas. In fact, they seem downright put out. So good night, or, as the case may be, good morning.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Okay, some of these are from September. So sue me.


Front Street in the rain.

"Ooooh... vitamin D." Kitty frolics in a sunbeam.

Cheri, in scandalous costume, hugs Eileen.


I cranked out a couple of darn cute watercolors last night. I wish I could share them with you, but because I'm submitting them to the annual American Diabetes Association Holiday Art Search (for 2008), I can't publish them online. So in lieu I give you my first "real" watercolor from last summer's trip to Adobe Town south of Rock Springs, Wyoming, Ed's very special clay wonderland in the Red Desert.

We came across the skeletal remains of an old homestead by a sour spring miles from anywhere, and one of the buildings just cried out to be painted. I framed it and gave it to Ed but photographed it first. And if I get a notice that says the ADA isn't interested in my cards, I'll post them here. Or maybe I won't and you'll get one in the mail around Christmas next year, hopefully with a postmark from some exotic locale. (Anywhere but here.)