Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Most Political Thing I'll Ever Post

Good thing Truman wasn't playing, because his "victory" fist waving in the air might have been mistaken for a rock.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sweet, sweet vanity

I was just reading through a National Geographic Travel magazine and I saw this quote, "Shoes are trophies of the trails, streets, and floors where [you've] left [your] footprints."

Well, I got my trophies this past week. I'm posting two pictures of them because I can't quit looking at them, and I'm sure you'll feel the same. I'm posting a mirror picture because I too keep looking at them in the mirror; every time I pass it, in fact. I'm also posting a picture from my view. I've almost walked into a wall and a parked car because I was too busy looking down and admiring my shoes.

They had their maiden voyage this past weekend in Seattle.

I know this is vanity in its vilest form; so busy staring you almost walk into a wall. However, as justification, I only get it with shoes. I tried very hard to obliterate it. Couldn't do it. I've been working on hiding it, but my shoes are ALWAYS in plain sight. ALWAYS there tempting me to look at them... again.

Feel welcome to come back again, again and again to have another look too.

Friday, January 25, 2008

One of Many Perks

I saw this sitting outside the hospital yesterday morning when I left work. Suddenly, I wished I wasn't a nurse, but instead a cop. I too want a car running, waiting for me, with the heaters on high and no ice to scrape off. Because if I get lazy and just scrape a peep hole out on the windshield, his coworker is just down the street waiting to nail anyone that doesn't have ALL their windows scraped. Where is the Justice?

I apologize for the bad picture. It's a hip shot taken in a hurry. Take special note of the evidence: a small puff of exhaust at the rear, no driver in the seat, no cop in the fore or background, no ice on the windows. Take note of the not seen: a heater on so high I could hear it as I walked by, a second car in the exact same scenario right in front of it, parked on the curb not 20 feet from the entrance.

These perks came with a price, though. They were addressing an issue in the Emergency Room that I was happily walking away from. Walking away from... towards a cold, iced-over car.

Monday, January 21, 2008

DON'T WORRY! There is a plan

This blog goes out to you: my 5 loyal readers (or atleast loyal enough to comment) and my 2 closet readers (Dad and Abe, I know you're lurking). I just want all 7 of you to know there is a plan for how often I'll write. Know this about me, I ALWAYS have a plan. Since I work three days a week and only get off in time to fall asleep, wake up, and get back to work again... I'll only be writing four days a week. I like to think I'm giving you three days to build up anticipation.

Along with ALWAYS having a plan, I'd like to share the other three shining qualities I possess. These are the talents I think about in church when they remind us we ALL have some sort of talents or gifts. I just remember these little pearls I possess. It also eases the guilt of quiting the piano, being forced to sing the melody to every song one octave lower than intended (dangerously close to a base), and only having one play to my portfolio (8th Grade English Class and everyone got a part). Here they are and in no particular order.

1. I am an excellent laundress. In Hawaii, all my neighbors came to me for laundry questions, and while living there I only lost 3 articles to rust. That, believe it or not, is a miracle. My one weakness is that I love Clorox. That has caused a few accidents. That’s all, but I’m pretty proud of this gift. I’m not sure how long I’ll have this talent though, because a long time ago when I shared my secret talent with my mom, she said, “Everyone is a great laundress until they have families and have to do laundry for 6 instead of 1.” Luckily, I didn’t let her pessimism ruin my self-esteem.

2. I am very good at cutting bread straight. This picture is an optical illusion, but I swear if you saw this adequately you would see it is perfectly straight. This does cause a few problems though, because some people aren’t as talented. I am then forced to straighten out theirs before I can cut mine.

3. I keep a clean and organized bathroom. Not really a talent, but it makes me feel good about myself.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dear Ande & Abe & Ty,

Dear Ande & Abe & Ty,

I know you guys are already jealous you can’t drive home on your long breaks, like me. But beware; it may eventually cost you your life. Last night Dad got really excited. I mean REALLY excited. He made mom and me get together in the living room, then said he had some serious stuff to talk about. I started laughing because I saw he had the “Field & Stream” magazine in his hand. While he was flipping to the page, I was scanning the cover to see if I could guess the serious stuff. There it was, “20 Rules of Winter Survival.” In the article it had real scenarios and at the end we were supposed to critique how the people acted, reacted and coped. Then after those, there were little scenarios with multiple choice answers for what you would do. On this multiple choice part, I got a 100%. The answer key said I missed one, but they were wrong. My answer was smarter than theirs. The question was:

Your truck has run out of gas. It is raining and cold. You have no matches, but these items are all in the truck. Which is the quickest fire starting option?
A) Duct tape
B) Aluminum foil
C) High-carbon steel hatchet and a file.

I said “D) Use your cigarette lighter. But if I have to chose A, B or C, then I choose B. On Prison Break they make a lighter out of tin foil, a battery and toilet paper.” The “correct” answer was, “Twist some duct tape into a long match. Ignite a scrap of paper with your truck’s cigarette lighter, then light the duct tape, which burns like crazy.”

Mom didn’t do so hot. She was somewhere around 50%. Dad was disgusted with her score. Some of her answers were doozies. I told her if I was stranded and I could only take one person, I’m afraid she wouldn't be that person. She'd be what some people call A BURDEN. Dad agreed with “No kidding!” However, Dad then switched and decided to take her instead of me. I argued I was the only one in the family with a 72 hour kit, but he still stuck with Mom. Mom got sentimental until he reasoned, “I’d better take Mom, her prayers get answered.” Hmmm. Good point.

So, if the three of us ever get in a winter survival situation and only two of the three make it… one of the two will definitely be Mom.


p.s. Next time we are talking about the “Grizzly Rampage”

p.p.s. I practiced my winter survival skills today when I was driving down our lane. All the snow has been compacted into ice. Sometimes I have to put my car into 4 wheel drive because 2 wheels can't find enough to grip. Anyway. I like to fishtail and see how well I can recover. Today I ended up in the borrow pit. Dad saw my tracks in and out of the borrow pit on his way by and said (and I quote), "You suck." That makes my stats: 2 times in the borrow pit and 3 times staying in my imaginary lane. FYI

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Before You Die

My aunt gave my family this book for Christmas. I started flipping through hoping I would find I could have written the book instead. Unfortunately, it is organized into regional sections and starts in the East then ends in the Northwest very last. For the first 100 pages, I couldn't find one place I'd been. I think it was organized like this for humility's sake. Turns out if I had written it, it would have still been 1,182 pages long but been titled, "13 Places to See Before You Die, and 987 places that will deserve an honorable mention if you have a good imagination and like to people watch."

As proof those 13 places would have still been in the book...

1. Boston's Freedom Trail, MA. Unfortunately there is no tangible proof I've been here because it was just my dad and me. He doesn't take pictures, and he hates to be in pictures unless he is holding antlers or hides. However, on the plane ride back home, he and I got to laughing pretty hard looking at the Sky Mall magazine. Our favorites and the ones that pulled an audible snort out of me and made him cry were these two impressive products. Maybe they were only funny because neither one of us like house animals, so why would we give them stairs to assist them with getting on the bed. Plus, if they are too weak to jump up, then maybe they need to spend some time outside to "toughen up." Also, our yard is 4 acres. It takes 4+ hours to mow it. Using shoes and yourself to aerate it was... amusing.
2. Princeton, NJ. My whole family went here to watch my brother play Sprint Football (aka little guy football). We walked around the campus on a Saturday in the Fall. Every time my family eats pizza together someone brings up the chicken alfredo pizza we had there. Nothing tangible can every compete with that pizza memory, therefore mention of THAT pizza is banned until everyone has finished eating.3. West Point (The United States Military Academy), NY. Since Abe goes to school here, I've been able to visit a couple of times. The first trip was traumatic. It was Abe's reception day. We stood in line all morning (as my dad says, "God made lines, the army perfected them."), then we all went into a huge auditorium. The officers and cadets there gave everyone a small speech, then told us all, "you have 90 seconds to say your goodbyes." After the 90 seconds all the cadets filed out of the auditorium and as soon as they hit the door, we all heard the yelling. In-processing had begun. All of the trips since have been amazing. Ande and I think it is a modern miracle so many squirrels survive where so many guns are kept. Proof our military is very disciplined.4. The Smithsonians, D.C. This actually takes care of 4 of the 1,000. But, since I only have 13... they are getting lumped together. I just barely saw this for the first time in November. However, ever since I found out that Dorothy's ruby slippers and the stuffed man-eating lions from Africa were kept there, I've known I would eventually make it. It was a perk to find that Mr. Roger's sweater, the Apollo Lunar Module, and VanGogh's self portrait were also there. I didn't spend as much time in the Native American Smithsonian because I live in the West, where a museum is not a museum without Indian bead work and an arrowhead. I thought it was funny they were having troubles with scissors being smuggled into museums.

5. Sandpoint, ID. We are all the way to Idaho, because I've never set foot in Dixie, unfortunately. I found out that Sandpoint's claim to fame, besides being beautiful, is being home to Lighthouse salad dressing and Coldwater Creek clothing. I only spent a day there, and I didn't get to go swimming in the lake, so I'm thinking it shouldn't count. On the other hand, we went over there to attend our neighbor's son's wedding. It was a hippy wedding with peace pipes, incense, a circle of love, and a strange period when most of the friends of the bride and groom disappeared and came back smelling like... pot. So, I'm rethinking that maybe I experienced Sandpoint to a finer degree than the author of the book. Being at the wedding made me strangely nostalgic for Hawaii and all the hippies there.

6. Little Bighorn Battlefield, MT. This was a really haunting place. I thought it was done really well, because I came away feeling sad for both the Calvary men and the Indians and not one more than the other. Luckily, my mom, my sister, and I could answer all my dad's trivia about people, places, and events, because we too had all the Johnny Horton songs memorized.7. Glacier National Park, MT. I was thinking I could mark this one off, but now that I try and remember the trip (I was 8) all I remember was riding in the back of the Baker's orange van, that didn't have seats (just lawn chairs) playing cards and eating Costco poppy seed and chocolate/chocolate chip muffins. That is a GREAT memory, but unfortunately I can't be sure we even did make it to Glacier. We did go on a road with lots of turns, though, because our lawn chairs kept tipping over.

8. Yellowstone & the Bill Cody Museum, WY. This trip taught me two BIG life lessons. While in Yellowstone my family met Martin and Isolwe from Germany. They had locked their keys out of their rental car, and were totally confused on how Americans solved this problem. We stayed and helped them. Unfortunately my dad's hanger trick didn't work on their new car, as it always did on our old Suburban. So, my Dad took Martin back to the nearest town while we all sat in the dark with Isolwe and ate our Doritos. Life Lesson: help people. The second Life Lesson: Do not take your dad to a museum that specializes in their gun collection... unless you KNOW you will spend all day looking at guns.

9. Pike's Peak, CO. I still haven't done this, but the plan is fully developed. The year Ty graduates from school there in Colorado Springs, we will climb Pike's Peak. We planned to do it this last May, but it snowed the day before I flew in, so instead we just rock climbed all over. I found out that when we climb Pike's Peak, I will have to be the person in charge, because Ty is desensitized to the importance of me staying alive. When we were rock climbing, I had to remind him that when he belays ME... he WILL NOT eat his lunch or cookies at the same time. I want BOTH of his hands on the rope. I only made this point mean something by swearing (while hugging the cliff face for dear life) that as soon as I got back down on the ground, he better run because I MEAN IT!

10. Hoover Dam, NV. I remember when we went down into the dam on the tour and being perplexed on how putting water through a turban created electricity. I thought the guide was, for sure, tricking me. I still don't understand how it really works, so maybe I need to go back. I do remember my Grandpa swearing to me that there were thousands of people and horses buried in the cement from when they poured it. Now that I think about it, he was probably the one tricking.

11. Temple Square, UT. Phewwww, I know I've done that one to the FULL extent. The book calls it the "Mormon Mecca." One pillar down four more to go.

12. Disneyland, CA. My mom really does think this is the happiest place on Earth. I mean she REALLY believes it. Nothing beats the trip where I got to see their Tarzan. Luckily my Aunt Rachel had warned me, "no body suit, his muscles are real and remember he only wears a loin cloth." That was also the trip that Splash Mountain was closed for remodeling. However, they opened it early our last night there and didn't inform anyone. So, instead of going to the parade, we just rode it over and over and over with no lines. For protocol's sake, they made us get out of our log at the end, jump the rope barrier, then get back in our same log. Since "Song of the South" was never released onto video/DVD, that ride made it possible for me to answer a whole section of questions on Jeopardy (to myself).

13. Pike's Place Market, WA. I've been there a couple of times, but this last time we went, it was in the Spring... when the tulips were still blooming. Nothing beats the market when it is full of tulips. NOTHING! I also got to see the penny loafer man. He sang me "The Milk Cow Blues," and he really was singing it to me... and my sister Ande... and my niece Nikki, but that was it. He was doing it all to entertain us.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Three Good & Respectable Reasons

There are 3 basic reasons why this blog has remained securely hidden in my head for the past 24 years.

1. Joseph Conrad put it best, "The horror! The horror!" I feel panic turning to hysteria just glancing at the orange PUBLISH POST button below. Publishing thoughts, that probably weren't well thought out to begin with, seems like madness. I'm just banking on my internal sensor being more honed than it was in the 3rd grade. I've reread those 3rd grade journals. Although they were funny, they were totally inappropriate and embarrassing. I'm hoping my sensor had not yet been created.

2. In those 3rd grade journals mentioned before, there are multiple typos. Multiple meaning 98% of all words written were misspelled. My 7th grade teacher assured our whole class that it wasn't our fault. We were the product of what the education department in Southern Idaho had labeled "the phonetic generation." She assured us that our elementary teachers had been instructed not to correct our spelling, but rather, to let us spell things as we thought they should be spelled. They forgot to inform us that the whole world wasn't participating in this new, free-spirited form of education. It was a rude awakening to find out that most words only had one way of spelling them. Phonics couldn't also be spelled foniks. Even though they have spell check, just knowing I would have to attempt to write words the "right" way wore me out.

3. I've never been a trend-setter. In fact, I usually hop on at the tail end, then wonder why everyone else is already getting off. I read this quote by Jon Stewart a few years ago.
"You have to remember one thing about the will of the people.
It wasn't that long ago that we were swept away by the Macarena."

For the last few years, I've been a lot more cautious about even hopping on the trend at all. I haven't owned a pair of skinny jeans since 1991, and even that pair had zippers on the ankles so I didn't need my mom's help to get them off. I wrote my first text message six months and 13 days ago. And... I don't admit to listening to a song on repeat until I'm sure it isn't going to end up being a "Mambo #5" or "Who Let the Dogs Out?" type of song. In short, nothing will ever posses me to do the Macarena again. So please, please don't let this be the Macarena.