Friday, March 30, 2007

The Moon and the Stars Was Shinin' Bright

Here I am, doing a quick Friday night wrap-up.

Today was full of crazy, nutty phone calls because April 1st is a huge deadline in our office. I think I handled everything pretty well, except I complained that people were "Gonna drive me to drinkin'" after conversations with a few of the more entitled callers.

After picking Stinky up from track practice, I went running in the fog and it felt really cool.

I just got done watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

I get paid tomorrow.

I also have my second date with Mr. Dateman, and I'm just about as excited as my sister was in this picture:

So, tonight what I think I'm trying to say is, Woooooo Hooooo!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spitting in a Wishing Well

Here is a messed up bike in a rack I saw on my way to work one day.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I was grouchy and I don't know why. I may have been sleep deprived or I might have had a little Spring fever, but whatever it was, it made me all spaced-out and irritable. I wasn't the only one. I walked into the bathroom and one of my co-workers was hiding in there by the sinks. I asked her how she was, and she said. "Churlita, I don't know, but I think I hate the whole fucking world right now. And obviously, it's bad enough for me to drop the f-bomb at work." I told her, that to me, there was no better place to drop the f-bomb than at work. It's almost always justified.

I got crankier as the day progressed yesterday too. In that frame of mind, I decided to put my futon back together. I'm sure I've said this a million times, but I'm not very mechanically inclined. I actually did okay with that part, but I could really have used another pair of hands because it was not only heavy but cumbersome. Next time, I'll be smart enough to wait until I can get my neighbor, who is always very good about helping me with mechanical fixes or heavy lifting projects, to assist me. I actually did kick it and swear at it at one point, and yes, it did make me feel much better, thank you.

Tonight though, things started turning around. I ran for a long time after work, and then later in the evening, I did a wonderful thing for myself. I took in about an hour's worth of Jackass. I'm telling you, it's the perfect antidote for grouchiness. If watching sixty minutes of grown men farting, crashing into shit, and kicking each other in the balls doesn't perk you up and restore your faith in the world, I don't know what else will.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

They Told Me, Don't Go Walkin' Slow

Here's me when I was five. Almost all of the red was out of my hair by then.

I know I'm not supposed to, but I can't help it. I always jump on the little cord at the gas station on my way home from school. It dings and a guy who works there comes out and sees it's me and yells. This is only fun in the morning when I'm with my brother, but I still do it by myself, anyway. Since I'm in kindergarten, I get out of school eary and have to walk home alone. I jump hard to make sure it dings, and then I run even harder to get away from the man who swears and calls me a brat.

I have to walk through the city on my way home from school, and I get scared and run a lot of the way. One day, someone had torn apart a porno magazine and spread the pages all over the playground. Some boys I knew thought it was funny to chase us girls with the papers full of naked ladies and I ran for three or four blocks, before I got tired and saw that the boys had stopped chasing me.

Another time, everybody said that there was a guy who was throwing bowling balls out his car window, so all the kids left school right away for a week, until my sister said she didn't think it was true. How could you throw a bowling ball at a kid?

Sometimes it's okay to walk home alone - like when they change the billboard by the gas station while we're at school and I get to be the first of all us kids to see it. My brother will come home to tell me it's different, and I will get to say, "I know. I already saw it."

By the end of kindergarten, a girl named Karen moves to my school and she walks part of the way home with me. We jump on the gas station cord together and it's even more fun than with my brother, because she doesn't call me names when I can't keep up with her. Soon, I will be in first grade and I will walk - just walk home with my brother and my new friend Karen.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I swear to god that I will take some new photos very soon. These snowy ones are starting to get a little ridiculous.

It was almost eighty degrees here on Sunday. Even though I was a little tired and still feeling kind of high from the night before, I couldn't pass up the chance to run and get even more buzzed. It seemed as though the further I ran, though, the more discord I felt.

Once I was almost to Scott Boulevard, I heard a middle aged couple arguing. At first I thought they were just kidding around, but then I heard the woman say, "Oh, so then you get home and it's four o'clock and you sit around watching sports for the rest of the night and nothing else gets done. Real nice, Joe. Maybe everything will just magically get taken care of by itself." I exchanged raised eyebrows with the couple walking toward me and picked-up my pace to get away from all the negativity. I didn't want the Bickersons to ruin a perfectly good buzz.

Once I turned on to Court Street, it happened again. This time a woman was sitting out on her deck screeching at someone inside her house. A male voice said, "Shut-up, bitch." And then she really got loud.

The worst part, after all the f'in' this and f'in' that, was that she finished by saying, "Whatever, bitch." I thought that was supposed to be my special phrase. I'm not sure if this kind of dissonance took place all the time on my running route and it had just been contained inside all winter by closed windows, or if there was some kind of bad juju in the air for some reason this weekend.

On any other day, I might have soaked up the discord like a sponge and let it take away from all the endorphins I'd been cultivating. On Sunday, however, I was working with two different highs, and I was able to make it safely home, still thinking about unicorns and rainbows and cute little puppies.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Share the Same Space For a Minute or Two

I took this last Fall. It is dangerously close to where I work.

On Friday I was doing my own bit to help increase morale in my office, by letting everyone laugh at my expense. It seems if you tell one person at my workplace something, like, oh say, that you are going on a date for the first time in forever, the whole office finds out and gets to make fun of you. The date razzing seemed to be calming down by the afternoon, until the ex-nun decided to take it back out and beat it some more.

Ex-Nun: Hey, Churlita. Are you still going on your date on Saturday night?

Me: As far as I know.

Ex-Nun: Is your futon fixed yet?

Me: No. I guess it takes longer when they're fixing it for free.

Ex-Nun: You might want to go in there and get a loaner for this weekend. And tell them not to bother taking the plastic cover off of it, if you know what I mean...

Me: You know, I always wondered why you got kicked out of the convent, but now I finally get it.

Ex-Nun: They didn't kick me out. I was the one who left them.

Me: Oh, okay. Whatever you say.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Feet They Hardly Touch the Ground

Remember how I like fire escapes? Yeah, well here's another one.

Mr. Dateman has kindly given me consent to blog about our evening. So, here's my take. I'm going to do another list thing. I'm sure you're all shocked.

You know you're on a good date when:

1. Mr. Dateman walks into the restaurant looking really, really, really, really, really, really good. (and that's me trying to exercise restraint on the "really's". I could easily have used several more)

2. He makes you a mix CD by artists with names that begin with "the" - ie The Clash, The Buzzcocks, The Specials, The Pixies... You get the drill. Each song on it is perfect.

3. He offers to drive in front of you on the way to the bar in the small suburb of Iowa City where he lives, so you don't get lost, and to be the one to hit the deer if it should come running out onto the road. He also saves you the parking spot closest to the door and parks at the other one further away.

4. He makes you laugh a lot. And after every time you think, "Ha, ha. That's so funny. So, when are you going to kiss me?"

5. He makes you feel comfortable about your own nerdiness, by being completely open about his own geeky ways. You can't quite remember the actual number of video games he said he has now, but you know that even the most serious gamer would be very impressed.

6. He doesn't instantly run away to fill-out a restraining order after you admit that you stalked him on the internets.

7. When you finally go home after spending twelve hours in a row together, it still doesn't feel like enough time.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Shapes of Things Before My Eyes

Here are some daffodils that the morale building organization in our office gave us today. They've been trying to recruit new members and were going from cubicle to cubicle like Jehovah's Witnesses a few weeks ago. When they got to me, I told them that joining anything would upset my delicate punk rock sensibilities. They laughed like it was joke, but they haven't bugged me about it since.

I'm going to make the rest of this post very short. Apparently, everyone decided to go off of their meds at the same time today, call my office and spew bile through the phone lines. Lord knows, I've had plenty of experience dealing with other people's crazy, but by the end of the week, it just makes me tired. Plus, Stinky may have an ear infection, so I'm going to have to get up earlier than I want, to take her into the doctor. I guess what I'm really trying to say is, goodnight.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I Better Be Quiet Now

So, now that it's been warm for a couple of days, the snowy pics look kind of pretty again, don't they?

Ah, let's see. How do I say this without sounding like a total, scary dweeb? I have a date on Saturday night. I haven't dated in ...Well, a very long time. This is all the information I'm going to give you about it too. Since he reads my blog, and the little bit I've written is already too embarrassing, this is going to be one of those, "if I tell you any more, I'm going to have to kill you" situations. Suffice it to say, I'm more than a little nervous.

You know how you guys are all so nice and concerned and you do and do and do for me? Well, I appreciate it and all, but now I'm asking you to do a little more. It's been so long, that I'm pretty clueless as to how this whole dating thing works, and I thought maybe you who do it more often, or at all, could give me some pointers in the comments. Feel free to assume I'm a little "special" in this arena and please write slowly and use the smallest words possible.

Here are a few things I know I'm going to need to work on: I'm not a big drinker, so I shouldn't have more than two beers, (no matter how many I think I need) I have to remember that chronic, nervous laughter is not even a little bit sexy, and no matter how hard it might seem, I need to keep reminding myself to use my inside voice. (loud Ottumwa girl talk should be avoided at any cost)

Okay, I'll leave the rest up to you all, while I go breathe into a bag for the next day or two.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Across a Crowded Floor, They Worked From 8 Till 4

Hey, look what I saw when I walked out of my house first thing this morning. I know it's a crappy picture, but I take a long time to wake up and I see things all blurry and over-exposed like this until about ten o'clock. The weird thing about these guys, is that I've lived here for four years, and I've never seen flowers grow on this side of the house before. I think they might have bloomed this year because the tornado took all the trees away from the East, and now the sun gets in there in the morning.

I know I've been writing about the office a lot this week, but I honestly don't have much of a life outside of it right now, so it's what I got.

The guy who sits behind me at work, reminded me that it's almost the one year anniversary of the tornado. He told me he thought the people in my neighborhood should all get together and throw a huge party and play Twister, watch The Wizard of Oz, and serve all the cocktails with a twist. After I told him to get the hell out of my cubicle and leave me alone, he pretended to hock a loogie into my gigantic ceramic mug full of tea. I acted like I was going to wipe snot on him and he finally ran away to his own cubicle, where he thought up creative ways to flip me off for the next hour.

I retaliated by singing, "His name was John. He was a loser..." to the tune of "Copacabana". (try getting that song out of you head) I also read aloud a fake e-mail to his wife, telling her that he drank tomato juice and ate oranges for lunch. (he has really bad acid reflux)

Did I mention that all our supervisors were gone for two hours at a meeting today?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tell It to Me Slowly

I took this almost exactly a year ago today on the railroad bridge behind the Union. I couldn't bear to post a snowy picture on the first day of Spring, so I had to steal from some back files.

Even though the breezy, thinner air has made it feel more like Fall the last two days, it is indeed the first day of Spring. Woo hoo! It's like someone flipped a switch and things both inside and outside of my scary brain, are rapidly changing to accomodate the new season.

Both girls have started their Spring sports. Coadster has soccer practice everyday after school and Stinky's doing track. It means that soon I will be frequently watching sporting events and catching up on the gossip with the other parents, while we remind each other to pay attention enough to see our kids do their things.

My head is burning up with Spring fever. It makes me so stoooopid. I'll be in the middle of a task, and suddenly forget what the hell I was doing. I can't tell you how many times I've caught myself thinking, "Uh, wait. What?" It's as if my stoner roommate from college is couch surfing in my brain.

I have that early spring conundrum where I'm just starting to shed the Winter pelt, but I still have a ways to go, and I also want to wear my cute, warm weather skirts. I keep trying them on and telling myself, "Next month. This will look so much better on me in just a few weeks."

On Monday night, I went to my friend K.'s house to plan out the garden we plant in her backyard every year. We did talk about at least one related topic, like how we'd just buy peppers from her neighbor who works at the Co-op and apprentices at an organic farm where he grows tons of them. It will be less seedlings taking up my kitchen table and her shelves. Most of the night, we forgot about why I was really there, and talked a bunch of shit instead. We'll figure out all the garden stuff as we go, I'm sure.

You know how I'm super immature with my potty brain, and my extreme love of the double entendre? Yeah? Well, that is even worse in the Spring. I keep misreading words or hearing things wrong at work, so that it seems as if everyone is being completely inappropriate in a supposedly professional environment. I've even accidently typoed my real name twice this week, once as Tata and the other time as Tarta on work related e-mails. It was me, anyway.

Monday, March 19, 2007

And You Can Act Real Rude and Totally Removed

Here is the picture from my first college ID at the University of Northern Iowa in 1983. I must have thought it was worth ripping out of the laminate and saving, if only for the light pink OP shirt and giddy expression I was wearing.

In 1983 I graduated from high school and went to college in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I chose to go there because,out of the three state universities, it was the furthest away from Ottumwa, it had the cheapest tuition and I thought it was my best shot of walking on for track and earning myself a scholarship. I got injured my senior year, and the only school that offered me money to run, was a small christian school in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. With my big mouth, love for loud music and white girl angst, I didn't think I'd last long there. So, I chose UNI and learned a lot of things.

In high school I wasn't allowed to go out very much and never dated. I had spent the last eight years, cooking cleaning, being told I was shit and thinking that's what I deserved. During my first few months of freedom, I was sure I was going to get hit by a train or come down with a terminal disease. I couldn't imagine how to live a life like other people. It actually took me several years to get rid of all the crap leftover from my aunt and uncle, and quit fucking myself over. Out of all the mistakes I made that year, I'm going to relate to you the one that always made me feel the worst:

Because I was a runner and goofy/spazzy and probably the Lucille Ball of my high school, I had tons of male friends, but never dated. It didn't occur to me that a boy would like me as anything other than a friend. The first date I had in college, was a set-up by one of the girls who lived on my floor. The guy was very nice and cute, but very normal. He was an accounting major, and played rugby and thought Cedar Falls was a big city. (he was wrong) After a group date where we drank beer and watched The Exorcist, (about the least sexy movie you can imagine) he asked me to come watch him play rugby. I told him I would, but then never showed.

I was scared and thought that everyone else in the world had dated in high school and already knew some set of rules, that I had never learned and I wouldn't know what to do. I didn't think I'd see him again, but it turned out he was in a huge lecture of mine. (that I obviously didn't go to very often) At the final, he tapped my desk with a pencil and said, hi. He asked what happened to me that day, but not in the vindictive tone he should have used with me. I lied and told him that I had to do something with my roommate at the last minute, and couldn't make it. I'm sure I wasn't the least bit believable. He said that was too bad and really meant it and then went to find his seat.

Back then, I had no idea that I could hurt someone's feelings. When I realized I had, I didn't know how to fix it. I didn't even apologize. At this point, I think my relationship karma has kicked my ass about a hundred times over, but I still feel bad for my lame-ass behavior with that first guy.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

You've Got to Pick Up the Pieces

Here is a slide covered in snow. Excuse all these snow photos, but I haven't been out to take any new pics in the last month, so I'm using up the old ones.

Oh, Kids. Let me just say that today has been a very, very, very, very bad day. If I wasn't so tired, I'd put a few more very's in that, because four doesn't quite cover it.

I had a migraine to beat all migraines. It kicked my ass from 11 am - 6:30 pm. Normally, I'll get one and take half of my migraine pill and in two hours, it's gone. Sometimes it's almost gone, and I take the other half of my pill and in another hour, I'm all better. Today I took half a pill and went back to bed, and it got worse instead of better. I took the other half and it didn't touch it. I puked and had to sit up because lying on a pillow made my head hurt too much. I took another half a pill and started to get a little better, but an hour later, I was back to puking again. I took the last half pill I could take and then Coadster gave me an awesome head, neck and shoulder massage. I cannot emphasize enough, the importance of teaching your kids massage at a very young age. Coadster should seriously be licensed. When she was done, I was finally able to sleep for an hour and when I woke up, it was almost gone. Egads!

Okay, enough of my wah, wah, wah. If it comes back tomorrow, I'll just have to deal with it. Until then, I think I'm going to resort to the lameness of "Google searches that led people to my blog." Yeah, I know, but it's really all I'm capable of right now.

a cartoon picture of a door with a stinky smell coming from inside of the door - People have often describe my house that way. Now I want to draw that - maybe tomorrow if my headache doesn't come back.

i don't want to grow up song- Do you think they mean the Toy's R Us commercial song? That song sucks and now it's in my head. Thanks a lot, supid Googler.

how to get your sister in trouble- Can you imagine how awesome it would be to be a kid right now, when you could just Google shit like this and get answers? Damn, when I was younger, we had to think it all up on our own.

dudes- I have no idea why they checked out my blog, when the other options were:

The Dudes Warehouse, Shaved Dudes, Huge Dudes: The Biggest Dicks on the Internet, Dudes Dressed Like Jack Sparrow and Does Shane West do Dudes?

I may have to start Googling "dudes" more often myself.

firefighter songs "shine on me"- Mmmmm, firefighters.

men who are cantankerous- Is there a "cantankerous men" website? I would love that. It could be full of old guys yelling at kids running across their lawns and shaking their canes at people driving too fast down their street. How hot would that be?

big ass girl- So, yeah. I'm not sure how to take this one. Do you think they want a girl who has a big ass, a girl who acts like a big ass or just a plain, big-ass girl? Either way, they probably came to the right place.

adonis & casanova- Dude, I've been looking for those guys too.

blogs about crazy people- What? What!?

who's gonna ride you home- I have no idea what to say about this one, except, that's one hell of a pick-up line.

"never be an adult"- Amen to that, sister.

phlebotomy lunchbag- Obviously, I don't get out much, but is the some new sex term, and if so, do I want to try it?

And You Used to be So Sweet I Heard You Say

Here is a picture of two corn cribs, in case you're not from a farm state and didn't know what they looked like.

Tonight I went to my friend A.'s house and and visited with her and my other friend G. It's St Patrick's Day, on a Saturday and I didn't drink one drop of alcohol. How odd. I think this post would be way more entertaining for you and embarrassing for me, if I had.

It's late and I'm tired, so this will be mercifully short. You know how lately things have been breaking down in my life, and people keep fixing them for free and another friend offered to try and help me out with Cubs tickets? Do you think all of that is because I live in Iowa and people here are just that nice, or do you think I was really fucking awesome in another life, and I'm finally getting my karmic props?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

All the Young Dudes (Hey You There With the Glasses)

This is a picture of a large, glass building downtown.

I thought I'd do a fun little post where I make sweeping generalizations about indiscriminate men. Since I think this might be something I'll want to do again, I'll call this, "the futon store edition".

1. Guys who work at the futon store are hot.

2. Guys who work at the futon store are surprisingly, not hippies.

3. Guys who work at the futon store are too young for me, and so they're totally safe.

4. Guys who work at the futon store are just rough enough around the edges for me. Being churlish, I don't like my eye candy to be too tidy looking.

5. Guys who work at the futon store tell me they'll fix my frame for free, and therefore, they're perfect.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Whatcha Gonna Do When She Says Goodbye?

Here's Coadster running away at The Adler Theater in Davenport. We were teasing her that she looked a little like Jerry Lewis in this photo. I can only assume that she was yelling, "Dean! Deeeeaaaan!" when it was taken.

The closer I get to Coadster's fifteenth birthday, the more imperative everything feels. She'll be gone in three years. THREE. YEARS. That's nothing. Especially, since she and Stinky looked like this:

just last week.

Fifteen seems to be a magical age for losing child benefits. I just found out today, that Coadster needs to get her dental sealants put on her teeth before May 15th, when my insurance stops covering it. I'll also lose my additional child tax credit for her, after this year. I have no idea why they take that away then. It's not like her upkeep will take less money, at that age. She'll actually start costing me a lot more. I'll have to shell out a few hundred dollars for driver's ed., and my insurance will probably go up higher than it would if I had hit that dumb kid with my car last weekend, when Coadster starts driving. The biggest expense, by far will be all the hair dye, blood pressure meds, and the Prozac/ liquor cocktail it's going to take to see me through her first years of driving.

Lately, I've been thinking of some things I want to do for her before she leaves me and complains to her friends about how needy I've become and starts only coming home to ask for money and to do laundry:

1. She really wants to see a musical - a real one, not something her dad is in at a local community theater. So, even though you already know my feelings about musical theater, I'm going to try to get tickets for whatever show comes to Hancher next year. Hopefully, it won't be something totally lame. The girls and I will even dress-up and eat at a fancy schmancy restaurant beforehand.

2. I'm going to try to make her fifteenth birthday party as kick-ass as possible. I thought it would be funny to do a po' person version of My Super Sweet Sixteen, where we show up at Coadster's high school parking lot in a rusted-out 1969 Ford pick-up and hand out grease stained invitations. We could go to Goodwill for cast-off bride's maid dresses and get the food catered courtesy of the dumpster behind Kentucky Fried Chicken. It would be so emotional at the end, when we roll out her shiny, sleek case of Hamm's beer, birthday gift that I picked out myself. I have a feeling this idea will be quickly vetoed by the birthday princess herself.

3. We're planning on going to Chicago this Summer to see my friend S., check-out some museums and most importantly, take in a Cubs game. I know the tickets are ridiculously expensive for a team that rarely wins, but it's something Coadster has wanted to do for years and years. In the scheme of things, ten years from now I won't remember that I charged a hundred dollars on my card, but she'll remember her first Cubs game and overpriced hotdog at Wrigley field.

4. I want to plan another bigger Summer trip in the next few years. Coadster still talks about how awesome our trip to South Dakota was, and I'd like to be able to do something at least on that scale. Ideally, I want to take the girls to Northern California and do Yosemite, San Francisco and drive up to Humboldt so I can show them where I used to live, but the money for that could be a few years away...Unless, of course, I stumble across a trust fund on my way to work someday soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Break It On Down

Hello, big, tall tree in College Green Park.

So, last night my futon broke. It, being a futon, is our couch and the bed I sleep on when the girls aren't at their dad's house. (which is most nights) I think something unscrewed and one whole side came down, pulling out the mission style slats under the arm.

I seem to be going through another break cycle in my life. I'll be humming along, not really noticing how good I have it and then, bam! Things start breaking down. It didn't happen when I was younger so much, because until my mid-twenties, I could fit pretty much everything I owned in a backpack and one of those huge army duffel bags. As my brother says, the less bells and whistles you have, the less things that go wrong. But now I own things, and things eventually fall apart. This past month has just been a painful reminder of that.

I would like to say I calmly surveyed the damage, trusted my instincts and fixed the situation, but I think you all know me better than that. I don't ever trust my instincts, because they always tell me to spaz. I did survey the situation and called in Stinky, who is the one in our family who can fix things, to help me figure it out. We tried a bunch of stuff, but there are little nail thingys that keep the slats in their places and most of those nails had been pulled out and twisted. I tried for over an hour to get the dowel thingys in their holes and the nails back in the wood, but it never quite fit together. I stepped away from the whole mess, thinking that I was so not above, just duct taping that whole side and hoping for the best. Instead, I threw my futon down on the floor and decided to sleep on it. (literally and figuratively)

When I woke up today, I had an amazing idea. I would go to The Futon Store and see if they could fix it. The guy at the store told me to bring it in and they'd see what they could do. This is the first time in years and years, that I've had enough money (read, credit) to pay someone to fix shit for me. I doesn't seem quite real. I'm sure I sounded like a total hillbilly at the store when I said, "You mean to tell me that alls I gots to do, is bring that puppy in here and ya'll 'll put it back together for me, for just a little bit of money? Well, shooooot. Hot damn!"

So, tomorrow, I'm going to take my futon couch apart and bring the right arm in to see if the futon guys can make it all better for me. After Stinky helped me work on it last night, I apologized for being stressed out and said I hoped she didn't feel like I was taking anything out on her. She replied, "No. You were good. I just knew you were upset, because you kept saying the F word. I wanted to laugh, but I remembered how you say there are times when you can laugh at yourself, and other times when you won't think it's funny, and I thought this was one of those times." Stinky has never been more right.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

'Cause We're Empty as the Desert as We Move From West to East

I think tonight I'll keep with the years ending with a 6 for my "year in review post". So, let's examine 1986, why don't we? Come on, it will be fun. I lived in San Francisco for most of it. This here picture is of me and my friend Laurie. She was the one who talked me into moving to California in the first place.


General: I started 1986 in Big Bear Lake, Ca. I moved to San Francisco at the end of January and stayed until the end of December, when I moved back to Iowa City. If you haven't guessed, this was smack dab in the middle of my confused/lost years.

Age: I was twenty at the beginning of 1986 and turned twenty-one in July.

Music: I worked a lot and was subject to the New Agey/ Adult Contemporary stuff that was shoved down everyone's throats in nicer restaurants. So, I heard a lot of Windham Hill and Deep Breakfast stuff as well as, Steve Winwood, Dire Straits, Sade, Sting and in the Fall, Paul Simon. At the beginning of the year, I worked at a shoe store in Berkeley, so I was forced to suffer through The Bangles, Falco, The Miami Sound Machine and The Pet Shop Boys, in very short rotation and ad nauseum. Ouch. My roommates were hippies, and at home I heard a lot of The Dead, and Bob Marley, and Joni Mitchell-girlie music. In June, my boyfriend (who turned 21 one month before me) went to see Camper Van Beethoven at a club and was totally hooked. They were probably the closest I came to theme music that year.

TV: I didn't own a television back then, but other people talked to me about their favorite shows. I had to schedule some of the high school girls at the shoe store to get off at eight so they could make it home to watch Miami Vice.

Movies: Because I was single and made tips, I had a lot of disposal income, and dispose of it, I did. Here are a few of the movies I saw that year: Blue Velvet, Peggy Sue Got Married, A Room With a View, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Hoosiers, Nine and a Half Weeks, Amadeus, The Mosquito Coast, Soul Man, and Absolute Beginners. Here are some movies I managed to avoid that year, but may or may not have caught later on video: Stand By Me, Transformers: The Movie, Under the Cherry Moon, Band of the Hand, Top Gun, Platoon, Pretty in Pink and Howard the Duck.

Books: As far as I remember, I read a lot of Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Margurite Duras, Jean Rhys, Henry Miller, Italo Calvino and probably overdid the Beat stuff. Because my roommate was going to the New School to study poetry, I picked up a lot of her school books.

What I Wanted to Be When I Grew-Up: That was what I was trying to figure out back then. At the time, I kept a drawing, every day and a dream journal. Maybe I thought I'd be a professional journal keeper. Too bad they didn't have blogs back then. Or maybe it's just as well. It's pretty hard for me to stomach my journals from that time. I threw most of them away when I moved to L.A. in 1988.

Winter: The Winter of 1986 sucked ass for me. I moved to San Francisco with my boyfriend and at first, I lived in his crazy mother's house and worked at that horrible shoe store. By March, I was ready to take-off and go where? I had no idea, so I actually stayed and fixed things...For a while.

Spring: In the Spring I started working at the Courtyard Cafe on 24th Street in San Francisco. I moved in with an English girl named Susan. We shared a bedroom in a house with a bunch of other Europeans all living here illegally and desperately trying to get Green Cards. We lived on 24th and Harrison, right by the projects, where even little kids were in bicycle riding gangs. I moved out after I woke up one night to Susan and some guy she had picked-up at a bar, snorting coke off a mirror right next to my bed. It was way too eighties for me.

Summer: I moved in with two girls I worked with in a flat on Randall Street, just up from Church Street, by Day Park. It was fine at first, but then the one who was dating the drummer from American Music Company kept getting snottier and snottier and finally got to the point where she was so much better than us, that she had to move into a nicer place. She was replaced by a wonderful woman who was studying accupuncture. Like I said, they were hippies. We smoked a lot of pot, ate a bunch of mushrooms and made big communal dinners with food we bought at the Noe Valley Community Store. I can't imagine a better way to turn twenty-one.

Fall: I thought I'd try my hand at getting my shit together and went to college again. I was already a California resident, so I could go to Community College for $50 a semester. Even I could afford to fuck-up for that much money. My boyfriend decided he needed to move to the Seattle area where his dad lived and I decided not to go with him this time. He lasted about a month and a half before he came back. In that time, I made up my mind to move to Iowa. He thought he might follow me, but since he'd never been off the West Coast in his life, I didn't think he'd like it. I quit the Courtyard Cafe and worked as a bartender at Macy's Department Store, instead. I finished my semester with all A's and one B, because I went to a Dead Show (the first one after Jerry Garcia's diabetic coma) the night before the final in that one class, and missed it altogether. My professor let me take it later, but dropped me a grade.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Eat Your Words But Don't Go Hungry

Here is Stinky with one of her friends in Des Moines last week for the girls state basketball tournament.

My friends who have boys in junior high, always complain about how it's so hard to talk to their sons. They say most of their questions are met with one word answers or grunts. How wonderful would that be? Yeah, yeah, I know it's good that my daughters feel comfortable enough to talk to me about everything. But every now and then, I fantasize about having a boy who would say, "Nothing," when I asked him what was wrong.

On Saturday afternoon I was transporting what seemed like 150, but was really closer to five kids from one destination to another. There were a couple of boys in the car, and they totally shattered my illusions. They talked more than the girls. (which I honestly, had no idea was even possible) So, here's my version of overheard in the backseat of a 1999 pine green Subaru station wagon:

Teen Boy: Last summer all we did was play Halo. It was so boring, and my friends were so mean to me. One time I washed with some soap my mom got at Bath and Body Works and the guys kept telling me how pretty I smelled. They just kept flipping me shit and they wouldn't stop, so I slapped one of them. He turned around and slugged me, but not very hard because he didn't want to lose his game. So, then I said, hey watch it, you almost died and when he turned to pay attention to his game, I punched him in the face really hard. He was so mad. He told me that if I didn't smell so good, he would have fuckin' killed me.

At this point, I think I should maybe say something, but I'm not sure what. Plus, there's a sixth grade kid jogging just ahead of me on the sidewalk. He's wearing an iPod and he looks all kinds of spaced-out, so I pay a little more attention than I normally would have. Sure as shit, he turns without looking, and runs right in front of my car in the middle of the street. If I hadn't been watching him, I would have hit the poor dumb kid for sure. All of us in the car are a little shaken. I would have felt horrible, if I had hit him, which is why I'm irrationally pissed-off at him

Teen Girl: I know that kid. He used to go out with a girl I know.

Me: Has he always smoked crack?

Teen Girl: What?

Me: Nothing.

Teen Boy: Dude. What a dick. We should just go back there and all kick his ass.

Me: (Just in my head) That would be awesome. I'd feel so much better about almost, accidentally, hurting someone, by taking all the power back and hurting him on purpose.

Me: (Aloud this time) Although it sounds tempting, how about we just get you all home safely? Is that your house there, with the basketball hoop in the driveway?

Sometimes it's no fun to be the parent.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Where Everything Was as Fresh as the Bright Blue Sky

This was my alley a little bit earlier. Now, almost all the snow has melted. Bring on Spring.

Remember how on Friday I said we could check and see if I ended up being lame or not this weekend? Well, it's time to add it all up. Are you ready?

1. On Friday I went to Stinky's talent show. I know, I already talked about the scary kids and the hormones, but I forgot to tell you the best part. Two girls did a tap dance routine to Guns and Roses', "Sweet Child O' Mine". How rich is that?

2. After the show, Coadster, Stinky and I went to the rec center to rent a space for Coadster's birthday party. We were able to get the Social Hall there for the 5th of May. There's a $100 deposit on it, so all the girls' talk of a cake fight was quickly squashed. Hey, anyone want to volunteer to be a bouncer? How fast are you reflexes when you see a 15 year old with a handful of cake?

3. When I put up the post on Friday, I had forgotten what happens when we hit a certain temperature - I get all kinds of energy and I don't even want to hibernate. That temperature must be about 50 degrees, because I was rarin' to go this weekend. I got my recycling done on Saturday along with a few other cleaning projects that I kindly won't go into on this here blog. If you've been having trouble sleeping lately, I'd be happy to e-mail you a detailed list of everything I cleaned, and it will be so mind numbingly boring, that it'll put you right out.

4. On Saturday night, I decided to go see a movie after all. I asked Coadster if she wanted to watch something, and she suggested that we see Zodiac. Stinky was going to see Ghost Rider with some friends, but they got confused about the time and missed their show and played hide-and-seek at Target while they waited for me and Coady to get out of our movie. I liked the movie a lot, but then again, I'm addicted to Cold Case Files, so I don't know if any normal person would find the length and the material a bit tedious.

5. I had originally planned to go home and read White Teeth, after the movie, but the whole snafu with the movie time, and the idea of Ale' and her friends playing hide-and-seek at Target, while Coadster and I were in the theater, made my head hurt. So, after I drove all the kids home for close to an hour, I wrote a very quick blog post and went to bed.

6. I lengthened my running route from four miles to six this weekend. I was tired for the last mile both days, but I didn't stop, even after a bird shit on my head on Sunday.

7. Running around town with bird shit in my hair, made me engage in deep philosophical thought. One of the things I wondered was, what happened to all that talk about the Avian Flu? Is it not a threat anymore, or did it just get overshadowed by other more important issues like Anna Nicole's death, Britney's melt-down and subsequent shaved head, and the diaper wearing astronaut?

8. Here are the things I didn't get done: Get my oil changed, read my book, wash my car and determine the paternity of Anna Nicole's daughter.

So, was I lame or was I not? I like to think that I was only a little bit lame.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

If You Really Like it You Can Have the Rights

Hey kids,

I'm exhausted, so I won't be linking any of these blogs tonight, but I'll point you to my sidebar where you can click on the proper blogs. I want to congratulate Illiterati for being a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. There is more information on better written blogs like, Circle Jerk at the Square Dance and Earthgoat. Anyway, her book is called Icebergs, and you all should read it. I've been trying for months to buy a copy, but Prairie Lights keeps telling me it's on order and there are already several holds for it. One of these days, though...

I Don't Feel Tardy

The thing about getting off work early to go to Stinky's talent show, was that it took place at her junior high. In case you haven't been in a while, junior highs are scary places full of bad smells, tan colored lockers and feral hormones - lots and lots of hormones. If they wanted to, the hormones could all band together and take over the school. Fortunately, or unfortunately for us, hormones have no attention span and might be able to all rally together for a few minutes, before a totally hot hormone of the opposite sex came along or a really weird and slutty hormone of the same sex walked by, and they stopped conspiring to either ogle or talk a bunch of catty shit.

What was I writing about again? Oh yeah, the talent show. I have no pictures of Stinky and her friend singing, because I got there right when they started, and realized that Stinky's cousin had used up our memory card in order to take copious shots of herself looking pouty and alternately flashing gang signs, making the peace sign or flipping off the camera. Don't worry, I was able to delete all of those charming pics in time to photograph the male teaching assistants dressed in drag. Clearly, I have my priorities.

I was also smart enough to stand aside when the show was over, so as not to get trampled by the rabid, hormone filled beings fleeing the asylum on the Friday before Spring Break.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Swinging Down the Street So Fancy Free

Here's my weekend wish for you: May all the snow finally melt off of your patio furniture in the next two days.

Oh kids, the weekend's here and not a minute too soon. I could really use some extra time to waste. It's weird to think that both spring break and daylight savings time start this weekend. It still seems like February outside.

I really like it right now on Thursday night, before it all starts. I have tons of plans and fantasies about what I'll do with my weekend, and nothing to prove to me yet, that I might just putz around and not do anything all that amazing, after all. I have always been a big fan of potential.

I get off work at 2 tomorrow to see Stinky perform in her school talent show. Getting off early on a Friday is one of life's greatest gifts. After the show, Coadster and I are going around to see about renting a space to hold her fifteenth birthday party. I know, I said, no more teenage birthday parties ever, already. But what I meant to say was, no more poorly planned, held at my house, teenage birthday parties ever. Coadster will have her golden birthday this year. On the Mexican side of her family, a lot of her cousins have quincenearas for their fifteenth birthdays, but even if I had enough money for all of that, I think it's a little too ostentacious for my blood. Coadster is happy with our no frills birthday party - even if we don't have enough money to hire a DJ. I'm sure I'll do a great job. So, do the kids still listen to Motorhead these days?

On Saturday I am faced with the beautiful cunundrum of either contacting some friends to see if they want to catch a movie and/or get a beer after, or just staying home and reading the awesome book I just started. The book is, White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Of course, I'm only about forty pages in, and I know Illiterati had some problems with it, but, like this weekend, it feels so promising now. I'll let you all know later, whether me and my new book totally lamed-out, or if we both, surprisingly reached our full potential.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

This is Your Night, Baby You've Got to be There

Here is a picture of a steamy tunnel in the snow. At least there isn't a train going through it.

Last year my neighbor/friend B. quit her job waiting tables at 126 and started working for Tait's Natural Foods, the new place downtown that didn't last very long. After about a month, B. decided she didn't want to be the cheese girl in town, so she quit that to begin her own house painting business, which she loves and is amazing at. I was also in my mid-thirties when I stopped working food service jobs, and the transition to a world where you actually have to work at maintaining a social life, can be awkward. Because of that, B. called me the other night to see if I wanted to join her and some others in a "ladies night" outing at 126. (we wouldn't be outing ladies so much, as going out with ladies in a purely platonic sense) I told her I thought I might, and I wasn't lying. I really thought I might.

At different times during the day today, I'd remember that I said I may go out, and I was okay with it. Even by the end of the day, when I was walking home from work, I thought, "You know, I might just join those ladies, tonight."

Then I went running and got a huge runner's high and came back all sweaty and was rocking my frizz halo. My house was warm and I had tostadas to eat and some killer guacamole I had just made. I also thought seriously about what going out with real live ladies might be like. It would be so much different than drinking PBR with my raucous girlfriends. These ladies were all moms from B.'s daughter's club swim team, so they probably had some money and talked about their homes in terms of square footage, and went on real vacations and had advanced degrees and could possibly be offended by dildo or blow job jokes. In fact, I may have almost nothing in common with actual ladies.

So, I stayed home. I know. Shut-up. I lamed-out, but I was so close to going out. For sure, the next time someone I know asks me to hang-out with them, I will totally go...At least, I'm pretty sure. I would seriously think about it, anyway.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

And All That Remains is the Faces and the Names

Here's me in 1976. I had just moved to the Chicago area, but I was still wearing my Pueblo Dustdevils t-shirt from Arizona.

I know they keep saying it's going to warm up in the next couple of days, but we're not there yet and I don't want to write a bunch of blog posts (anymore) detailing how cranky it's making me. Last year, about this time, I did a bunch of posts on different places I visited or moved to, but this year, I thought I'd try a little experiment where I review different years of my life. I figured I'd start with the Bicentennial, because nothing is funnier than The Bicentennial.


General: My mom died and we moved to Alsip, Illinois, (a suburb on the Southside of Chicago that was home to a giant, garbage can, looking water tower, painted red, white and blue for The Bicentennial) to live with my aunt and uncle at the end of 1975. So, 1976 was all about dealing with ch-ch-ch-changes.

Age: I was 10 when it started, but turned 11 on July 16th of that year.

Music: As with everything else, it was a big transitional year with music for me. I still liked cheesy songs like, "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" by Elton John and Kiki Dee, and "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot, but I was starting to get more into album and glam rock. I loved Heart when they first came out, and I remember writing "KISS", complete with the lightning bolts for s's, on the cover of my Little House on the Prairie book. My oldest sister was really into Fleetwood Mac, so I got to hear "Rhiannon" over and over and over.

TV: My taste in televsion shows was also changing. I was moving away from the sappy "back to nature" shows like The Waltons and watching things like the The Muppet Show and Wonder Woman. The cool thing about moving to Chicago was that they had VHF channels 32 and 44. Channel 44 had all the Superhero cartoons, and weird Japanese shows like, Speed Racer and Johnny Sokko. They also ran The Banana Splits which I loved. Even though, the run was almost over, I was still in love Randolph Mantooth from Emergency! Sigh.

Books: In 1976 I was just starting to read Judy Blume. I wouldn't get to her racier stuff until later in junior high. At the time, I was into, Deenie, Are You There God? It's Me Margaret. and Blubber. I met my first real best friend, Cindy Ruf, because we were both nerd girls and I told her she should read To Kill a Mockingbird, since it was my favorite book back then. She came back from the library all frustrated, because she searched and searched and couldn't find Tequila Mockingbird. I was also getting into biographies and read Gayle Sayres', I am Third and another one on Eleanor of Acquitaine.

What I Wanted to be When I Grew Up: My aspirations have never been realistic, and in 1976, I thought I'd grow up to be a famous singer. I wrote idiotic songs in my head and practiced singing them when I was alone walking the dog or working in the garden. Ouch.

Winter: During the winter of 1976, we went into the city to do all the legal work needed in order to make my aunt and uncle our legal guardians. They asked us if we wanted them to adopt us, and we all politely declined. I, as usual, went along with whatever my siblings said, and I'm so glad now.

Spring: Our school was pretty tough, and the cool guy in our class, Michael Smolik, hated my guts because I defended a girl he was making fun of for being ugly, on one of my first days of school. He would be the bane of my existence the whole time I lived in Alsip. Since we were both really fast runners, we raced down my street when he came by to deliver papers one day. He won, and it really pissed me off.

Russell Marcordes and some of his friends were bullying my brother the first few months we lived there. We were at a skating party at the roller rink in Oak Lawn, when they started to beat him up again. A couple of my aunts saw what was going on, and went off on them. I think my brother was kind of humiliated, but Russell and his cronies never bothered him again.

Summer: My brother became best friends with Cindy Ruf's brother, John and we all hung-out at the Ruf's house. Their grandparents did ceramics and had their studio in Cindy's garage, right where the ping pong table was. We used to annoy the hell out of her grandfather, who was originally from Mexico, and he would putz around the garage muttering, "You kids can go to hell," all day long.

Cindy and I also liked to lounge around in her family's pop-up trailer and write brilliant songs like,

I am so dumb.
It is pathetic I am dumb.
And I am glad to hear
that I am a big fat jerk.

Oh, how the talent oozed out of that trailer.

Fall: I cried for the first time, almost a year after my mom died. Kenny Kozlowski (who lived across the street from me) lost his dad to cancer and I finally cried for him and me at his dad's funeral. Kenny was kind of like a friend of mine back then. I once caught him playing red light/green light with a bunch of younger kids and never told any of our friends on him. He repaid me for my kindness, by coming over to my house with his friend, Vince Martinez and shoving snow in my face. My brother and my cousins retaliated, and we had the most, balls-out, kick-ass snowball fight I've ever experienced in my life.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Hold On 'Cause the Coldest Hasn't Thawed Yet

What a surprise, I'm showing another ice storm photo. My, but how the icy branches are both beautiful and dangerous all at the same time.

So, you know how it was all the way up in the thirties today, and there was just the littlest, tiniest, hint of Spring in the air? Well, it's making me rethink the whole hibernation thing I've been successfully working the last few months. Who knows? I might actually go outside other than to walk to work or go running. I know, it sounds a little scary, so I've prepared a list of things that could possibly happen, if I went out and tried to socialize. I'm not promising anything, mind you, I'm just entertaining the possibility.

1. I would have to leave my house.

2. I could have conversations with other men than I already know from work and they might sound so much different than this:

Guy at Work: Hey, pull my finger.

Me: Knock it off, loser. I'm not falling for that one again.

Guy at Work: Well, you can just bite me then.

Me: Ew. No. Gross.

Guy at Work: I don't blame you. I wouldn't bite me either.

I could also talk to men other than the ones I see out walking their dogs, and we might have different interactions than this:

Dog Walker Guy: (shortening his dog's leash) Boy, I bet it's not much fun running on all this ice, is it?

Me: Yeah. it's pretty tricky today

Both of Us: (Give each other a fake, polite laugh and move on.)

3. I might not have any idea what to say to a guy who doesn't ask me to either pull his finger or talk about treacherous sidewalks.

4. I would no longer have an excuse to wear jeans, the first thermal I pulled out of the hamper, and big man boots, or my winter running gear.

5. I may not know what else to wear.

6. There is a good possiblity that I will drink two beers and get all screechy, and talk too fast and too loud and forget to finish sentences, because I am so excited at the prospect of communicating with my actual peers, instead of thirteen year old girls or disgruntled cubicle dwellers, a generation older than me.

7. I might also have to find new friends - ones who are ignorant of my tendency for #5.

8. It could actually be just fine.

9. It could also suck, and send me running back to my lair for six more weeks.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

You Got to Lose to Know How to Win

Here is a picture to prove to you that they really did perform an Aerosmith song for show choir. I'm sure that a bunch of Iowa high school kids wearing, matching outfits and flashing overly dramatic, jazz hands was exactly what Steven Tyler envisioned while he was writing it.

It might take me a while to get back into the groove of blogging again. I've been resting on lame-ass computer updates as blog posts for so long, I've forgotten what I used to write about before that. It's certainly not like I ever really do squat on any given day. With as much as I write on here, I keep arriving at the same conclusion - man, I talk a lot of shit for someone who doesn't ever do anything.

This weekend in particular, I had two whole days off, and my house is still a mess, I didn't take care of my recycling, get the oil changed in my car or even do my big grocery shopping for the week. What exactly did I do? Who the hell knows. On Friday I made a ton of Mexican food. It's kind of labor intensive, but I made more than enough for BK and me and the girls for the next week.

On Saturday, we did a lot of show choir preparation. Every time I deal with all the hair and make-up for Coadster, I remember why I'm not high maintenance - normally, I just couldn't be bothered. As you can see from her expression in the next photo, Coadster feels the same way.

I ran by BK's place and dropped off food and beer and grabbed my computer right before Coadster's show. The performance was a tad long, running at about two hours, but Coadster handled her solo just fine.

I slept almost twelve hours straight on Saturday night. I'm usually lucky if I get six or seven hours on any given night, but I woke up with a migraine, which explains it. It's also the excuse I'm using for not getting anything done today. Oh, and what the hell, I'll blame this tedious blog post on it too. Is there anything anyone else needs an excuse for? Did you forget to turn your library books back on time? Please feel free to blame it on my migraine. I'm really generous like that.

This Tuesday, Coadster has a mathletes competition in Des Moines. Because I'm going to win the mother of the year award this year, the first thing I said, after she told me she was going was, "You big nerd." And because she's inherited the gene pool she has, she laughed and responded,

"I know, right?"

I'm not quite sure how all the attitude and flare she learned in show choir is going to work for her in a mathletes competition?/program?/event?/sparkle spectacle? What the hell do you call it?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Cold as Ice, I Know

So, I got my computer back today, right before Coadster's last show choir concert. BK rocks and he fixed a bunch of stuff and loaded me up with some cool things, and now I'm trying to figure out how to work with all the differences that are good, but will take a little time getting used to. Hopefully, by the early part of next week, I'll get back to my old blog reading schedule. I also want to try to add some new blogs to the roll this weekend.

Mostly, tonight I'm posting the photos I took during the ice storm. The first one, was our screen door that we couldn't see out of when we first woke up.

This one is my favorite. I've always been a little weirded-out by the pod vine that tries to choke out this bush every year. I think the pods are even creepier encased in ice.

Here is some ice on the weeds in my backyard. I like how it's frozen in mid-drip.

For some reason, we didn't do any grilling that day.

This was the view across the street from me, complete with heavy trees and sagging wires. I don't know about you, but I thought the powerlines could have benefited from a well engineered bra.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Stranded in Iowa

Here are some snow covered hay bales that I happen to think look like frosted mini-wheats.

It's Friday and I'm only capable of a random drive-by.

1. I used to always think that periwinkle was my favorite color, but lately I've been partial to sea foam green or sage. What do you think that says about me?

2. I went to Stinky's band concert last Friday. (she plays the trumpet) It was weird that they played the theme from Star Wars just like I did in junior high band - except they mixed theirs with the "The Raider's March" and we paired ours with the "Cantina Theme".

3. Coadster has her last show choir performance tomorrow. It's my very last chance to see her with big, poofy hair, wearing sequins and flashing jazz hands this year. It's making me a little teary-eyed.

4. "I just want to be able to go outside wearing a tank top, sandals and a cute skirt. Wah, wah, wah," I whined as I pulled on my big man boots for my walk to work in the snow and wind on the second day of March. "Iowa, you suck today."

5. On a happier note... I got an e-mail from BK this morning saying that he thinks he fixed my computer and I can pick it up anytime now. Hurray!

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Here's another recycled photo from last year. This was my favorite piece of grafitti in Iowa City, and the bastards cleaned it up.

You and your cousin have been planning this weekend forever... Well, at least for a couple of weeks now. Your cousin lives in Muscatine and she is so much cooler than you. She swears more, she wears sluttier clothes, she says she knows a guy who's in the Latin Kings' gang, and her mom is rarely home, so she can do whatever she wants.

Your mom, who is always home and seems to know exactly what kind of shit you're going to get into before you even try, suggests you wait for a different weekend - one that won't include an ice storm. Your cousin doesn't want to wait. After all, you've already made all those plans. Your cousin's mom has agreed to drive her both there and back. You miraculously get your mom to relent, and your cousin arrives on Friday night.

You wake up to the storm on Saturday. The ice is already so thick, that you can't see out the windows. Your trip to the mall gets cancelled. Plan B is watching an America's Next Top Model marathon with your cousin, while switching between eating green grapes and white powdered sugar doughnuts.

When the electricity goes off, you are stunned. What will you and your cousin possibly do without it? Your mother lights about 100 candles and suggests you read, paint or make clothes. Your cousin doesn't like to do any of those things. At first, you both text your seperate friends on your seperate phones, but your friends all seem to have electricity, and therefore, better things to do.

Finally, you ask your cousin if she wants do make-overs, and that is something she's actually interested in. Your mother digs through a cupboard and finds stuff you can use to do manicures and pedicures too. At some point, the lights come back on, but neither you or your cousin can really think of anything you'd rather be doing. For the next few hours, you talk, and soak feet and hands, and exfoliate, and paint nails, and your cousin suddenly doesn't seem that much cooler than you. She even admits that being allowed to do whatever she wants, feels a little lonely.