Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Leighton McHelpless

I took advantage of my Memorial Day Weekend by taking advantage of other peoples' kindness and accompanying two married couples on a camping trip. Our trip took us through most of the state of New Mexico. I have attached photos.

The view from the rest stop where we ate lunch. The plain is covered in lava rock, although I have no clue where the lava came from, as I did not see a volcano around, or when it arrived, as it could have occurred last year for all I know. I, along with the rest of the United States, do not follow New Mexico news. My friend calls NM a parking lot state, meaning that it should just provide parking for the two important states of New York and California. An interesting fact about this rest stop: a man walked out of the public restroom eating a burrito.

As a break from driving, we stopped to shoot cans and smoke cigarettes on a deserted road. No, not the classiest thing I've ever done, but it was fun. How dare you accuse me.

The canyon where we camped. I call it the canyon of self-discovery, because I discovered something about myself there. (Are you following the connection?) I have gotten used to having my brother-in-law around, and I ask him to do things that I could easily do if I exerted the three minutes of effort to figure it out myself. I gave myself the new nickname Leighton McHelpless after I couldn't get my sleeping bag zipped and asked Ronnie to do it. Sure, I can move myself around New York City three times, but I can't close a sleeping bag. Is it laziness? Well, I know it is not that. I ran half a mile yesterday. Maybe I just have an innate knack for delegation. That has to be it.

White Sands, New Mexico. This is where the magic happens. I don't know what it means for your life, but I'm pretty sure it's a Narnia portal.

An unfortunate detour to Elephant Butte, the only lake capable of sending five people spiraling into depression.

Friday, May 26, 2006

We'll Open Up a Restaurant in Santa Fe

I realized last week how little Santa Fe affects my life. The city is merely a backdrop for this unexciting yet totally necessary portion of my life, the one where I plow through past issues, such as self-pity and unforgiveness, that will really mess up my life and future relationships if not dealth with immediately. I have learned how to decently navigate myself from home to work to the grocery store, and other than that I do not even see my surroundings. I think that is probably because I know, and have known, that this is a temporary move. Or it could be chemical.

In other unimportant news, all the mutants of Santa Fe descended Thursday night for the 12:01am premier of X-Men III. As my brother-in-law put it, the theater smelled strongly of feet, pot and computers.

For even less important, yet wonderful, news, my friend Carrie bought me a large body pillow for my birthday after I told her how large my bed is. I named him Toddie Willow, and he is suede. Hey, get your own!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's A Family Affair, Part 2

Here is something to think about. Suppose we were all born married, and we spent our lives looking for our brothers and sisters. I tend to think I would have an advantage, since I would be looking for people who look just like me. However, no one would know how long to keep looking. Only children wouldn't know not to look, and I think people with more than five siblings would think, "really? another?" after meeting numbers five and up.
Instead of getting to know people and wondering if you were compatible with them, you would have to ask yourself questions such as, "Does this person drive me crazy? Could I see them reading my diary? Would it be unfair for us to be on the same charades team since we obviously have a similar way of thinking? Could I borrow this person's clothing?"
What ifs- they're a dangerous game.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Today I turn 24. There is something different about this age. I think that this year, I should fix my posture and invest in the stock market. I should increase the frequency that I eat dark, leafy-green vegetables, along with the frequency that I floss. (Truly these are linked; it would be unwise to increase the former without increasing the latter.) I should begin using eye cream, and care less about strangers' opinions of me. I should invest in a good couch and a good dictionary, and perhaps decide which coffee mug is my favorite. Then, I should get my pilot's license, a mode of transportation that will generally save me from having to reverse, and decide whether putting a bay leaf in soups and spaghetti sauces actually serves a purpose, or whether it is just an extremely inexpensive scam. I like to think there is a woman somewhere who lives a modest life funded exclusively by her bay leaf racket, which was accomplished by grass roots rumors about the flavor-enhancing powers of the lone bay leaf. She drives a '97 Camry and eats out only on occasions, but, by God, her bay leaf commission keeps her from having to take a 9 to 5 job. May we all be so enterprising.

Monday, May 15, 2006

There Are No Cats in America

My sister adopted a cat about a year and a half ago named Gypsy, the geriatric one-toothed wonder. Meghan and Ronnie had a beloved cat years ago that ran away, so Meghan decided that it would be safer to get an old cat that, as she put it, couldn't run away and break her heart. The problem with getting a really old cat, besides the possibility of it dying and breaking your heart, is that most old cats have expensive medical problems. Sure enough, Gypsy's previous owner had neglected Gypsy's teeth, and Meghan and Ronnie had to spend nearly a thousand dollars getting all but one of her rotted teeth pulled.

Gypsy's one tooth has made mousing a bit difficult. She caught a mouse last year, but as she was unable to eat it, she tried to lick it to death. Ronnie found her and the mouse an hour later, both exhausted and taking naps next to each other. The mouse was soaking wet. Instead of giving the mouse back to Gypsy, Ronnie dropped it off outside of town.

Last night, while supposedly napping on the back of the couch, Gypsy lept onto the ground and caught another mouse. Both animals were put in the laundry room, where Gypsy could lick the mouse to her heart's content. Unfortunately, the mouse got away and is loose in the house again, albeit much cleaner than it was yesterday.

The irony about the clean mouse situation is that Gypsy no longer cleans herself; I don't think she possesses the energy or flexibility required for the task. Her new nickname is Dusty- you can guess where it came from. Since she tends to get upset when we brush her or cut off clumps of matted fur, we tried lint rolling her filth off yesterday, with disappointing results.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

And Now You're a Lizard

Last week, I went with the two little girls that I baby-sit and their mom to a family dance class for children ages one to three. We sat in a circle with ten other moms and their toddlers in a dirty dance studio lit only by the outside sun. The little baby sat in her car seat, and the older baby sat in her mom's lap, so for the first fifteen minutes of the class, I was the dipshit in the circle without a kid who was playing the wire and bell tambourine all by herself. She moved into my lap when the little baby needed to be fed, and I suddenly felt justified for being there.

The class was led by a new age couple in their sixties. The man played the guitar and had a gray braid on the back of his head, and the woman wore large sweats and spoke with a Kiwi accent. We were supposed to act like animals for the second song, and the lizard impressions meant that we had to lay on our stomachs and flicker our tongues. I watched the other moms- were we really going to do this? I was not going to get dirty and look stupid if no one else was going to. As it turned out, no one else wanted to do it, so we just let sweat suit act like a lizard.

At one point, a three year old boy had a melt down and started hitting his mom. It was embarrassing for everyone to watch.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's Such a Clever Innocence With Which You Do Your Sorcery

I went to a somewhat uptight high school, and my use of the adjective "somewhat" actually makes me a liar. In hindsight, I now see that many of my teachers, though well meaning, were actually quite angry and/or chronically depressed people.

During one chapel, the superintendent gave us a lecture on the long-lasting evils of sarcasm. Obviously, I took a lot away from that one. Another lecture was a metaphorical justification of their strict punishment system; it was something about how we are all sheep, and sometimes, shepherds need to break the legs of their sheep in order to teach them not to do something. I think I would have preferred that they would have just broken my legs, instead of messing with my mind and filling me with fear.

I ran for freshman vice-president the spring before I entered high school, but lost to a guy named Paul Williams. I was thrilled to find out later that most people had not known who to vote for, and had decided to vote for the guy, because he was a guy. I say "was a guy" because, frankly, I have not talked to him in a while. People change. Anyway, since I had not been elected to the Associated Student Body (ASB), I decided to start a Loser ASB. I typed up applications and passed them out to everyone else who had not won. In order to be inducted, they needed to answer important questions such as, "Are you a loser?" Somehow, the school office found a copy of the application and called me down to have a talk with me. They said that my new club would spread negativity. I was spreading negativity? They were the ones who threatened to break my legs.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Super, Uh, Wednesday Double Post

Break, break, break
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

Taken from "Break, break, break..." by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Although I like poetry, and the depth of meaning that can be missed by rambling prose, I rarely read it. I have to be forced to read it, like when the cable man is taking an hour to hook up the cable, and I want to both stay out of his way and also be available to answer questions that I do not have answers to, such as, "Has the R52* cable already been drilled into the wall? Because I don't have any of that." Hey, that's a good question. Maybe you could tell me since you apparently do this for a living. Aside from being there to provide the much needed answer of "I don't know," I also like to make sure the cable man is doing his job swiftly and correctly, and not goofing off by using my shower or eating my sister's vitamins. Pulling a book of poetry or short stories from the bookshelf and reading it 12 feet from his workspace provides the perfect vantage point to spy on him.

So, this may or may not have been a hypothetical situation used to illustrate under what circumstances I read poetry, but we have cable now! It's so pretty.

And now, for your reading enjoyment, a list of possible names for Christian coffee shops and dentist offices, as created by myself, my sister and my brother-in-law, the night before we received the imagination killer that I like to call cable television.

Christian coffee shops:

Bibles and Brew
Heavenly Host Roast
Jehovah Java
Morning Star Bucks

Christian dentists:

White As Snow
Holy Molars
Thy Words is Tooth

* the real name of the cable has been changed to protect its identity

Four Corner Shake-Up

I have returned from my pseudo-lesbian vacation to a Colorado dude ranch. Carrie and I had a great time, even if there were no dudes to pick up (with the exceptions of Jim, the old cowboy who has a daughter older than me, and Peter, who was my age but decidedly creepy and overeager.)One of the owners acted somewhat hostile to us, and as we thought it might have to do with our perceived yet untrue lesbianism, we attempted to set the record straight. Since flirting with a man in her presence was out of the question (her husband- off limits; Jim- unresponsive; Caleb- six years old; Peter- as previously mentioned, decidedly creepy and overeager), we looked for opportunities to mention past boyfriends. Unfortunately, the conversation never steared towards cocaine addiction or science camp, so our plan was unsuccessful.

She warmed up to us at the end. I don't know what brought the change of heart, but I don't care. I don't have to make you happy, Ellen! You don't own me! Please accept me!

The greatest part of the dude ranch was the three enormous meals that we ate daily. Carrie and I quickly became like Pavlov's dogs, racing towards the feeding trough the second we heard the beautiful meal signal, the triangle. That instrument will never be the same to me again.