Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Back in Business

I have been out of commission the last week because Meghan, Ronnie and I moved to a larger house on the outskirts of town. The people I work for lent me a full bedroom set, including...a king size bed. I have no idea what to do with all of the room. Potential options: 1) rent out the other side, 2)use the other side to store books, shoes, paperwork, Chinese scrolls, drum sticks and all the other stuff that I do not know where to keep, 3) birth a few children, 4) sleep at a diagonal (which is what I have been doing.) I tried sleeping in the middle of the bed, but sort of panicked when I noticed how far away the sides were.

I have been working as a nanny to make money. The two little baby girls are 3 months and 18 months old. The older one is just starting to say words, so I ask her questions like, "Do you think Catholic priests should be allowed to marry?" and she shrieks and pokes me in the eye and says hi, which I find to be a profound answer and commentary on the state of the Catholic church. The younger one cannot talk yet, so we just go out drinking together to avoid awkward pauses, or we ride dirt bikes. Her motor control isn't great, so I worry about her steering and braking abilities, but she has been doing alright so I will probably let her try some jumps soon.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Amtrak, mi amor

I have returned from California. My sister and I took the train there and back, totalling 36 hours of travel. I can safely say that 6 of those hours were very enjoyable, 16 hours were adequately tolerable and 14 hours were mildly nightmarish. As it turns out, trains in the United States are not like trains in Europe. Trains in the US are full of people who can spare the 18 hours needed to get from Santa Fe to Los Angeles, a trip that would take about 2 hours on a plane. We interacted with all sorts of train people, a term that I should clarify as an insult. There were the drunk teenagers who had just gotten kicked out of the navy, the middle aged sexual predator who made loud conversation with anything female that moved in the lounge car, the group of cousins who entertained themselves by listening to the free 30 second song clips on their cell phones, and my favorite, the two slightly-deaf geriatric women sitting behind us on our return trip who fell asleep before 10 PM, woke up at 4AM, tried unsuccessfully to get breakfast at 5 AM, and spent every waking minute having the following sorts of conversations:

"It's white outside; do you think it snowed?"
"It probably snowed; it is white."
"Yes, it looks like snow. It is white out there."
"Kids these days spend too much using their credit cards."

Their extremely high volume and nasally, nonstop chatter left my sister and I confused about when they actually took a break to breathe. Whenever they ran out of pertinent topics such as snow, blankets, pillows, kids these days, or coffee, they reverted to the following conversation:

"Is the train slowing down? It feels like it is slowing down."
"I don't know. We might be slowing down. Where are we right now?"
"I don't know. Does the train feel slower? I think it feels slower."
"There could be snow on the tracks. Is it snowing?"

Needless to say, I learned a lot.

Friday, March 10, 2006

To all my party people...

This afternoon I leave for my home state of California, where I will don my lynx sweatshirt and watch cable television for ten days. Please be good while I am gone.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

I am very picky, too picky, about what I read, and I am hyper picky about what I read before bed. I don't need any stressful or disturbing images entering my head right before I go to sleep, especially when the altitude alone is giving me vivid, bizarre, and intricately detailed dreams. Last night, I dreamt that I was dressed as a geisha and following a group of people up the stairs of a building on the west side of Central Park. However, my face was painted green and I was the only one who knew that I was minutes away from getting in serious trouble for it. It was a doozy, but I digress.

I have been combing Meghan and Ronnie's bookshelves, looking for something that will calm and mildly entertain me. Nothing dense; nothing riveting. So I look shelf by shelf. Long, long, boring, boring, long and boring, educational, poetry, too many characters, read half in high school, etc. I have already finished their two Baby-Sitter's Club books, Stacey's Lie and Stacey's Emergency. (On a sidenote- two Stacey books? What about Claudia or Kristy or Jesse? I don't know, Meghan and Ronnie, your choices seem a little Aryan.)

Tonight I have settled on The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, written, surprisingly, by Benjamin Franklin. I was reading A Million Little Pieces, which has a pretty blue cover with sprinkles on it, but decided that it was a bad idea after staying awake for an hour reading the play-by-play of the narrator's root canal, which was done without anesthesia or painkillers. That is not what I need to be thinking about when I am trying to rest up for a big day of baby-sitting, nor do I want to start recalling my own days of orthodontia (braces in college- another story for another day.)

I am not expecting much out of Franklin's unabridged biography. I just noticed that is cost $1.50; that does not bode well. All I hope is that Ben and his junior high school friends started an after school baby-sitting service in Stoneybrook, Connecticut, where they had adventures with strict parents, crazy kids, and messy art projects.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Daytime Starbucks

I love the Starbuck's day crowd in Santa Fe. There are three cowboys here right now. Three. One is reading the newspaper and two are having a conversation. I imagine their conversation is going like this:

How's your coffee?
Good and strong, like the time my appaloosa kicked me in the ribs.
Mine too.
How are your dogeys?
My dogeys are good. They have been eating a lot of grass on the range.
Mine too.

I will learn to talk like that when I go to the dude ranch.

There are also a proportionately large number of elderly people at this Starbucks, since Santa Fe is basically one large retirement community. They all seem to know each other, and many of them are tech savvy. I appreciate the older people because I feel good about asking them to watch my stuff when I use the restroom. I hear elderly people steal batteries, but I don't carry batteries with me unless I'm roller blading around town with a large, yellow boombox on my shoulder.

I have attached a picture of my brother sitting in the city square in Bordeaux, France. He hates cliches and prejudices, so he has looked past all sterotypes and embraced the French people for who they really are, even to the point of becoming one of them.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Dinner of a Lifetime

For the past week, my brother-in-law has been working on the set of an educational film being shot here in Santa Fe. Last night, for the second time this week, my sister and I joined him and the crew for dinner. We were talking to the person overseeing the shoot, a kind man named Lee, when someone made a comment about him receiving royalties for a Superbowl commercial that featured MacGyver (man, icon, hero to all). It begged the question, "Why do you receive royalties for that commercial?"

Because he created the show.

At that moment, I lost any shred of cool (or social etiquette) that I possessed. What do I say? I tell him about how the show inspired me to wear one pair of shorts for a whole year in elementary school, a pair of blue cordoruy shorts that I nicknamed the survivor shorts after I stuffed the pockets full of anything that MacGyver might need in an emergency, such as gum wrappers, rubber bands, paper clips, a pocket knife, etc. I never actually needed to use anything in the pockets, but at least I was prepared for any office emergency, and at least I was really popular. Oh, wait...

I was overwhelmed at the opportunity to be able to tell someone, to their face, how their work had changed and molded my life. It was like getting to thank a doctor after open heart surgery or playing basketball with the player who inspired you to go pro. I don't know where I would be without your contribution to society, Lee. God bless all things MacGyver-related.