Monday, August 28, 2006
My grandma came, and brought my Aunt Shirley, and that was nice. But then Grandma looked up at me as she sat in a straight-backed antique chair, folded one hand over the other, and laughed, as only a disapproving southern woman can, "What *have* you done to *your* *hair*?"
Well, I've done a couple of things over the past year. I got it cut a few times. I dyed it a few different shades of red. It's been like this for months. Did she just now notice? Doesn't it look good? Everyone else seems to like it....
I suppose it might have been a compliment, but it didn't feel like it. And when Aunt Shirley said she couldn't see it, and maybe that was a good thing, Grandma didn't contradict. All of a sudden I felt at a loss, guilty, like a child that's gone wrong somewhere, and honestly doesn't know how to put it right, while everyone frowns down. I hate that feeling. I was that child too many times. Every time someone was upset with me, I was that child. So yesterday I shook my hair around and grinned and said, "Hey, I look great!" Certainly enough people have told me so to outweigh one disapproving grandmother. Including my other grandmother! But still, why did she have to say that? Of all the things she could criticize me for...
Or is that it? Is it the things I've done that she *can't* come out and criticize me for, so she has to start in on my hair? She's never said she disapproves... But she's certainly hinted... And I know I've made mistakes. Who hasn't! But dangit, I'm through with feeling small and guilty over them. And dangit, how many grandmothers can brag on their grandkids as much as she can?
Heh... maybe I should get a buzz cut and die my hair blue just to give her some perspective. :-P
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Give me strength to weep the willow's tears
And bend beneath the weight of passing years.
Until my sorrows ripple on the breeze
And float away among the golden leaves
To drift and spread, and spreading, free my heart
And with each breath of wind breathe a new start.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
I pulled up to the tracks under the orange glow of the sulphur street lamps. The warning lights blinked like harsh red eyes, and the alarm bells clanged like a funeral knell, only too harried to hold the sublime dignity of a slow toll.
The deep whistle filled my ears with a mournful wail, sweeping over me like rushing water mixed with the thunder and the lightning flashing on the horizon. A rusty screech followed one of the cars like a thin, high, dreary cry. A few drops of rain began to show on my windshield, as the monotonous clatter of the wheels on the rails jarred just off the tempo of the bells.
I sat in the dark filled with a sense of endless, lightless emptiness. I don't know where the train was going, or what it was carrying. Sometimes I've felt like there's a romance in the melancholy, and a gypsy glory to the cars that creak across my path and disappear, only to haunt a blues melody or a rambler's dream.
But tonight the train filled my mind with a gritty, sordid sort of sadness without even a longing for light or joy.
My life isn't like that. Even when I'm down, I can grit my teeth and look up. This isn't a feeling that stays with me. It touches me sometimes, fills my mind, and then winds away as the crossing arms lift and the dream fades.
But what if all my life were like a train in the night? God keep them and bring them to the morning.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Rules of engagement:
- Pick a song that asks a question.
- Answer the question.
- Provide artist, genre, album, any other info you like, but that's not necessary.
"Why do birds suddenly appear . . .?"
Because you're sitting on the beach, and you held a dorito up in the air. (Mine?)
Ready. . . . . . . . GO!
Monday, August 14, 2006
I had a big client meeting this morning, and I wore my little gray suit from Express, and I looked *fabulous*. Very professional and sharp. And I was incredibly competent. I exuded confidence. I mean, the stuff was oozing out from under my fingernails, I felt so good about life. :-P
I'm sitting on my couch snuggled into my soft pillows and my extra soft blanket feeling like today was *mine*. I got a fortune cookie yesterday that said, "You will be a dragon of creative fire this week. Watch your aim."
I'm starting to believe it. Just give me a target!
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Zev, Erik, and the movers did all the real work, so why am *I* sore?
Current mood: confused
I am REALLY BAD at unpacking. Here was my thought process this morning, as I stood in the middle of my rather disheveled living room:
First I'll unpack books. Oh, cards and stuff go with games. Crap, I hate 52 card pick up. CRAP, now there are only 49 cards. I bet the other three fell behind those video boxes. I'm going to unpack my videos and DVDs, then, and put them there. Oh, but first I should glue that piece of wood back. Ugh, and the glass is really dusty, I should windex that first. Where the hell is the windex? I had it just . . . . Well, maybe if I get some of these boxes unpacked I'll find it. I guess I'll just keep going with the books. Oh, but the bookshelves aren't where I want them. But I can't move them because book boxes are stacked in front of them. Maybe I should set up my TV and stuff. But the shelves have the video boxes on them! Oh Lord.
Meanwhile I've half-unpacked several boxes of books, have undone work I did yesterday setting up my stacking bookshelves, have wandered aimlessly all over the apartment in search of windex, wood glue, and a clue. My dining table is covered with piles of books because I want to organize them before I shelve them, and I keep having to rein my brain in from thinking about curtains and all sorts of stuff that can WAIT until I'm UNPACKED. If I ever am. Oy.
Help? Please? Anybody?
Monday, August 7, 2006
Why am I sore? Because I'm sick. Yay.
Current mood: sick
Nope. I now have a fever again. I feel like crap. I'm working from home because I've already need to make up the billable hours I lost Friday. And my apartment is, of course, a wreck, and I can't go to the hardware store, so I can't fix my bookshelf that got a little broken, and I can't really do any of the stuff I want to do to make this place livable. I cant even go to the grocery store to buy soup and vitamin C drops and gatorade. And all the friends Ive called are busy. And my apostrophe just stopped working. This sucks. Hrmph.
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
Do most hardware stores carry machetes? Current mood: sluggishCuz it seemed weird to me. But I got my C clamps, I got a level, and I patronized a family owned business that has been selling hardware for over fifty years, or something. Feels good.
Plus I found out where to buy a machete, should a jungle ever spring up in my apartment. *looks around*
Hmmm. Might actually be useful . . .
Feeling better, but . . . the grocery store will have to wait until Thursday. Hope I'm okay playing trumpet tomorrow. I feel fine, just nooooo eeenerrrrgy.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
No Beachin' Current mood: sick
Well, I don't think I'll be going to the beach with my mom and sis this weekend. Came home from band last night, and yep, had a fever.
Going to try to make it through the whole day at the office, though. Got my vitamin C drops!
I wish this meant I'd be able to get stuff done around the new place, but I dunno. We'll have to see how much better I get.
Friday, August 11, 2006
It's Progress Current mood: Ebullient, as Frank would say
I actually sound worse than I feel. Yesterday I nearly lost my voice, but I felt much better! I've got about 75% of my voice back now, and I'm coughing some, but it's not bad. Better yet, I have energy! Not tons, but much more than earlier in the week.
The best part is, I don't think I'm contagious, so while I'm still in town for the weekend instead of at the beach (), I can at least hang out with people as long as I don't feel too tired.
Yay for not being a hermit! Yay for Friday!
Friday, August 11, 2006
Too much excitement Current mood: relieved
Not, like, *tooooo* too much. But still too much.
I decided to come home right after dinner tonight. Because 1) my friends were being a little boring, and 2) I've been sick, so turning in early sounded good.
So I get out of my car, and I go and get my mail. And I walk back and up the stairs to my door and . . .
It's open. I look at it, with my head cocked and my eyebrows drawn together. I nudge it with my foot like it's an animal I think might be dead. It swings back, and I see that the bolt isn't shot, and the door frame looks fine.
I nudge it again, and reach in and turn on the lights, and peep around.
Then I remember. I *did* lock the door this morning. I *know* I did. I had to go back to get my Hawai'ian shirt to put on after work cuz it's Friday, and Chuck and I always wear a Hawai'ian shirt to Valhalla. And I had my shirt in one hand as I locked the door with the other. I remember looking at the lock, turning the key, and having this red shirt in view. So I *know* I locked it, for sure.
So I turn around, walk back down the steps, and call the complex to see if they have a security service. They do not. I call 311 to ask what I should do, because, mind you, I'm in denial that this is an actual emergency.
311 hands me over to the police department, and they dispatch a car to my location, take my phone number, and tell me they'll be there soon.
So I try to call Kerri. Who doesn't answer. So I try Erik, who doesn't answer. So I try Terri, who doesn't answer. So I just start going down the list and figure I'll call the first person who seems to be a good person to call. I end up with Joe.
Joe reassures me I've done the right thing, and keeps me company while I wait.
In about a half hour the cops show up. Much to the chagrin, I'm sure, of the woman walking her (absolutely lovely and friendly) dogs by on the sidewalk. I wish I had had time to stop and make friends. I explain to them that I came home, my door was open and unlocked, and that I knew for certain that I had locked it this morning. And that I don't know if anything is missing, because I didn't go in, or really look.
It's not a big place. It doesn't take them long to search it (with me hovering frightened outside the door, poised to run if any sounds of a struggle break out). They check all the rooms, they check my doors and windows. And no one is there, and I come in, and my TV, stereo, computer, are all intact.
One of the officers asks concernedly, "Is the the way your apartment looked when you left this morning?" I shamefacely laugh, "Yes, I just moved in." The place is a wreck. It really is.
They laugh, and say okay, and head out the door. No forms or anything. Complete and total false alarm.
And frankly, I'm happier that way! So here's a shout out to the men in blue who made it safe for me to come back into my home. I still love this place, but I'm going to raise a little hell in the apartment office tomorrow, and get my locks changed. Once is enough!
So that was my week. I get new locks on Monday. I hope to be completely recovered by then too, since I have a big client meeting. To that end, I do believe I'll go to bed now.
Friday, August 11, 2006
The road is lovely, and after my dose, just seems to float by as I doze, never really asleep, but never really awake. Fortunately this wears off as we near Spokane, just in time for lunch at IHOP, since we're really early for Will's flight.
The IHOP is very crowded, but we have time. Our group takes up a fair amount of the waiting area. We finally get seated, and find that we have been assigned to the waiter on turbo charge. He is a short latino with only one speed - super-fast - and he calls everyone "my friend" except for Amy. He calls her "boss." Twice. Me he calls "sweety" once, and I think he finally calls Mark boss, or at least something other than my friend. But the guy nearly runs around the table, filling water, bringing us a carafe, etc. It's awesome.
We go to fill up the cars before returning them. We figure if we drive down this major-ish looking road, we'll find a gas station eventually. Well, we do, but it's absurdly far from the airport. We console ourselves, as we drive and drive and drive without seeing a station, that at least we aren't lost. We can always u-turn and end up right where we came from. When we finally find a pump, it's a pay first, no credit cards, old school sort of job. But hey, it's an adventure. And it works. And we finally head for the airport.
Will's flight leaves, and the rest of us wait around for a bit. We catch the end of the world cup on TV. Italy wins. We find out that Ken Lay has died of a heart attack. People ask us where we've been that we hadn't heard. It really was fun to drop off the face of the earth for a while. Going back is going to be a bit harsh.
The Houston crew leaves Teebs and Amy behind to wait for their flight. We get to Phoenix, only to find that weather in Las Vegas has delayed a lot of the connections, and the gate area is in chaos. We've got plenty of time, so we find some neutral ground to park in while we wait to find out which gate our plane will actually be at. We pull out the lap tops and connect to the wireless. We all take turns checking e-mail, and it's just about business as usual already.
Our flight is delayed, of course, and by the time we get on it, I'm regretting that I didn't request tomorrow off from work. I'm going to be pretty ragged tomorrow. As I expect, I don't sleep much on the plane. We land in Houston around 1 A.M. and the first thing I notice getting off of the plane is, of course, the humidity. I knew it would be bad, but the air actually *smells* like water. Not to mention feels like a sauna.
We collect our baggage. Mark and Joanna drive me home. I drag everything into my aparment, and, already half asleep, shut out the world and the stray cat that apparently wants to come live with me. I fall into bed at 2 A.M. and my trip to Glacier National Park is officially over.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
To get to Bowman lake we leave the paved road quite decidedly. Dirt roads are nothing new. They're my way home, to the places I feel most at home. This dirt road is longer and more winding, though. And stranger.
The dust billows up around us and the cars that pass us, hiding the mountains and the forest to either side. We drive through the bare matchstick trees, killed in the 2003 fire, that stand on the north side of Lake McDonald. The road winds and jumps and shakes itself beneath us for miles. Suddenly we begin to see signs.
The road smoothes into pavement beneath us, and we pass driveways and the cafe that contains these advertised wonders. Some of the driveways have for sale signs. For an amount of money that won't buy more than a postage stamp of land in West University Place, here I can buy myself 51.3 acres of at the foot of the mountains. I begin to seriously consider my ability to tough out the winters and escape potential forest fires. The pavement doesn't last for long, and we're back on the wilder side.
We pass through Polebridge, where gas from the large above ground tank is bought on the honor system, and a sign says "Slow, People Breathing." The dust from the road is thick on our cars.
We reach Bowman Lake, park, and walk to the waterside. It lies like a small turquoise in mountains' lap, nestled there like a child. It seems like such a little lake, after Lake McDonald. But like all the lakes here, the water stretches out and down, still, peaceful, magical.
But the bugs are terrible.
Lunch, a short hike, sitting in the sun and skipping rocks. I spend a lazy day on the edges of this gem. The group splits up. Will rests in the shade, not feeling well. Amy walks back to Polebridge, later met by Erik, Kerri, and Will in the car.
Mark, Joanna, Teebs, and I finally start back. We stop in Polebridge for cookies. Very very *good* cookies. Because I ask, we stop in Apgar Village, where Lake McDonald empties itself back into a creek. It does so with a nonchalance that seems strange. But then I live in Texas, where lakes are mostly what happens when you dam a river. Instead of any dramatic break between still and streaming waters, there is simply lake, then creek. More impressive is the large water spider and its sprawling web among the rocks.
My curiosity about the beginnings of things and the roots of things satisfied, we get back in the minivan and head to the cabin. Our last day in the park is slow and relaxed, just as it should be, and I'm sad to be leaving soon.
We begin to pack up our things, and to eat as much of the food that's left as we can. It feels, at the end, like a day of endings.
Monday, August 07, 2006
- The trees that lie like pickup sticks amid those still standing in the forest were probably knocked down by wind. And probably fell 30-40 years ago! The cold temperatures keep the wood from degrading, and dead trees seem to hang around forever.
- The forest around Lake McDonald is a cedar hemlock forrest.
- Going to the Sun Road was originally going to zig zag up to Logan Pass, but the route they finally chose, making one sharp turn then scaling the garden wall, was much cheaper (not to mention less nausea-inducing). It still cost $80,000 per mile to build.
- Bird Woman Falls does not flow from Hidden Lake.
- According to our guide, bicyclists are known to the bears as "Meals on Wheels." Lest we get too complacent, he adds that the Red Buses are known as the "Easy Open Variety Pack."
- Many of the fire-scorched trees we see were killed in the 1967 fire, which was started by lightning. Many of them are still standing.
- Ox-eye Daisies (which are very pretty) are actually weeds in this part of the country, and were carried in by settlers traveling along the wagon trails.
- The purple bell-shaped flowers are hairbells.
- The fire of 2003 came up to the Garden Wall, and you can still see the blue plastic of some Port-o-Potties that were melted into the asphalt in the parking lot by the Loop turn.
- The rock in the mountains here is very old. They have found fossils dating back to the supercontinent Pangaea, and they've found Stromatolyte fossils that are very similar to ones found in Austraila and New Zealand.
- The cascade of Bird Woman Falls drops 492 feet in one fell swoop as the stream travels down the mountain.
- The odd little stream that seems to spring out of the middle of Piegan Mountain is probably from the meltwater off of Piegan Glacier, which lies on the other side of the peak from the road where we can't see it.
- Going to the Sun Road gets its name from Going to the Sun Mountain, which in turn is called after a legend reported by J. W. Schultze. Sour Spirit came down among Blackfoot tribes, and when he returned to his home in the sun, ascended Going to the Sun Mountain.
- Wild Goose Island looks very small, but is actually the size of a house, and the trees that stand on it are about 80 feet tall.
- Parts of the movie What Dreams May Come were filmed in Glacier. Specifically, the water that Robin Williams walks on was St. Mary Lake. It was very cold during the filming, and the actors had to pretend they were very hot.
- Opening shots from The Shining were filmed at Dead Horse Point.
- The rubble that the back-hoe is playing with at the Sun Point trail head is from the construction up at Logan Pass.
- When a glacier stops moving under it's own weight, it is no longer a glacier. It becomes a snow field. The snow field that we shuffled through on the way to the Hidden Lake overlook used to be the Clemens glacier, which stopped moving in 1913.
We stop at the Logan Pass visitor center, to browse the little book store and use the facilities. I hop out of the Red Bus and walk across the parking lot, and I see a gold minivan that looks hauntingly familiar. And well it should. It's the one Joanna has been driving, down to the license plate! She and Mark got up very early in the morning, to judge by the excellent parking spot in a completely packed parking lot. They must still be hiking the Highline Trail along the Garden Wall. They will catch the shuttle that picks up hikers at the Loop, but they aren't back yet, so I can't resist leaving them a note on their windshield. Ships that pass in the night.
We stop for lunch at a restraunt looking out over St. Mary Lake. I have the best bacon cheese burger of my life. Or maybe the one I am the most hungry for! A card on the table tells me that I can leave with my bill a donation to keep the Red Buses in service, so I leave $5 extra as a gift to the fun little bus that is carrying me back to the places I'm so glad to visit again.
The wind on the eastern side of Logan Pass is incredible. We scramble up to Sun Point, which had been such a peaceful overlook a few days before, and I'm afraid to go too close to the edge, in case a big gust comes along. I might get blown right off into the lake below! The wind is exhilerating in my face, but tiring to push against for too long, so I turn my shoulders to it and shut my eyes as it whips my hair stinging into my face.
Eyes shut at the top of the world, with the sun warm on my neck and the wing roaring in my ears and drowning out the voice around me, I feel like I am completely alone in a world that is rushing past at a breakneck pace, and flying on down a tumbling stream, leaving me behind. Like the water I watched in the streams and water falls felt cleansing to my spirit as it rippled in my eyes, the wind races through me, and in a much more tangible way, seems to sweep away the dust and fragments of things I want to let go, and toss into it through open fingers in my mind. They leave me and I feel lightened, and I open my eyes and make sure I'm not being left behind by my tour group!
Back at Lake McDonald Lodge, I have a few hours to kill before the rest of my group returns from their rafting expedition and someone comes to pick me up. As the Red Bus drops me off, I feel in my own little independent element as if I'm cutting loose even from them, the people I only know for the day. But my own little independent self gets set down right in the midst of a wedding party taking pictures in front of the lodge, so I scuttle off out of the way, through the lobby to the back. I wander down to the lakeside, and see that the next boat excursion on the lake leaves in twenty minutes. Perfect timing!
I ask how long the runs take, to make sure I'll be back before my ride shows up. They only take an hour, which leaves plenty of time. I ask if there are any seats left, and there are, so I pay my fair, and hover near the dock, waiting for the chain across the entry to unfasten and let me onto the boat.
The guides that speak on the boat aren't really worth listening to, but for an hour we float against the waves down the length of the lake, and I kneel at the window, with my seat to myself, lean my elbows on the sill, my chin on my arms, and let the jade and emerald waters fill my vision. I can lift my eyes to the encircling mountains with their matchstick fire-ravished flanks, but instead I sink them down into the depths, following the sun beams that travel like silver floss through the upper feet of that clear, cold, glowing water.
Evening at the cabin and we're all together again. We exchange stories of our day, and lay our plans for tomorrow. Horseback riding, it appears, is out. But it's hard *not* to enjoy the day, whatever we do.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
I'm logged into the internet via my brand new wireless router and cable modem combination. There's another new thing I've picked up, a new bill. Now I owe money to Time Warner, but hey, I have *excellent* signal strength!
Having movers move my stuff was a new experience, but a very pleasant one. All three men were courteous and took extra special care of my great grandmother's china cabinet, which actually arrived in safer shape than it left; it locked itself en route, and I don't have the key!
My next new experience, then: lock picking. I was successful in getting the latch to slide back, and now it's taped so that we don't have this problem again. So now I just need to figure out where my stuff will all go, because I think I want to do something different with it all. Something . . . new! :-)
As if moving weren't enough, I had another very fun new experience this past week. On Wednesday, I had sushi for the first time. Now, I thought it would never be done. I mean, I don't like fish to begin with, so what on earth would I be doing eating *raw* fish? But Frank told me I could gorge myself on Yakitori chicken, and would I at least try one piece? Would I trust him? He'd select the best piece he could for me. So . . . I did!
We went to Kubos in the village. I ordered my chicken on a stick, Frank, Chuck, and Brett ordered their sushi, and we got edimome to start with. I had thought those were spicy, but they aren't. Just salty. Frank showed me how to eat them, and I like them a lot! They brought us soy sauce in a little pitcher, and wasabi to mix in. Frank insisted I try a teeeeeeeeny bit of wasabi. Yeah, not a fan. That stuff is killer!
Frank's sushi came, and I do have to admit it is a lovely food. So colorful and elegant. He had something that must be caviar-ish, and sparkled like tiny orange gems in the dark wrapper. Then came something or other with lovely little shredded vegetables, read and green and white, against the soft pink of the fish. There were two sockeye salmon ones, a bold red, then two tuna ones, also red. There were two regular salmon, those were orange, and two pale pink yellowtail ones. I had half of one of the tuna, and half of one of the yellowtail.
Very interesting! The fish sort of just creamed away as I pressed it to the roof of my mouth and chewed the rice. I was surprised at how soft it was. I was expecting to have to chew it, but I really didn't. Frank was very pleased with the yellowtail, but I didn't care for it, really. The tuna was better, I thought. But then, both kinda tasted like soy sauce, since that's what I dipped them in. I also tried some of Chuck's which had salmon skin in it, and tasted sort of bacony. But it had other flavors I didn't care for. So sushi, tried it. Not really a fan, but I really enjoyed the new experience. Especially since I *did* use my chopsticks and I did *not* embarrass myself by dropping anything!
So, new job status on the August 1, new food experience on August 2, new apartment today. Solomon was a very wise man, but I think he was wrong. Maybe there's nothing new under the sun, if you expect any one person to be completely original and do something no one else has. But if you approach life as an adventure, and experience things you've never met before with an open heart and a sense of fun, all things can be exciting and new!
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
That deep blue sky means I'm also breathing the least oxygen per volume that I've ever dealt with, and the stitch in my side says, "No more!" Joanna gives me the keys to the minivan and a walkie-talkie, and I trudge back down to the Logan Pass visitor center.
I meet Teebs along the way, who turned back at the dirt-not-a-path-around-a-sharp-ridge scramble. He says he made a snow man, but it's gone already. I say we should write "Hi Amy" in the snow and take a picture for the Amy, back at the cabin recovering from the trailer hitch attack. But the photo wouldn't come out well, so we both continue down hill.
One really wants to scold the ground squirrel, who sits calmly nibbling a glacier lily. Can't he read the signs that say to be careful of them!?! Oh wait. He *belongs* here, eating lilies. I wish I could be his size, and live in such beauty all year.
Back at the minivan I curl up around some Powerade and potato chips and try to get my wind back. It's amazing how much richer the air feels down here, and how much lighter the sky is. I sit drowsing in the sun-warmed car until the walkie-talkie crackles and Kerri's voice says they'll be down soon.
We eat lunch on the sidewalk by the parking lot. Then Mark and Joanna head out for an exciting hike along the Garden Wall, which I've already decided my fear of heights will not permit. But Teebs and I aren't quite ready to call it a day, so the rest drop us off at Lake McDonald Lodge on the way back to the cabin.
We browse the gift shops then wander along the lake shore and spend a while skipping rocks. At which we are both abysmally bad. :-P Rolling gray clouds are looming up over the mountains across the lake, and we watch the storm come on until the other shore fuzzes with rain drops. Then we go into the lodge, and sit near the window.
I decide to book a seat on a Red Bus tour for the next day, since the rest of the group will be rafting, and cold water is not really my thing. A bit feline on that point.
I think this is the night where I learn how to play Nerts, a wicked game of competitive solitaire, with so much going on that I completely addle my brain trying to figure it out. I get so addled that when I try to talk, I get stuck.
"But I, but I, but I, but I, but I, but I, but I, but I . . ."
"Would someone reset her?"
Which is why I can't remember if this is the right night. It takes me almost half an hour and a quiet walk as the sky grows dark to actually speak in complete sentences again after I stop playing. At least tomorrow I'll be on the Red Bus with people who don't know me, so I shouldn't have to talk much! :-P
Good, good, good, good, good, good . . . *SMACK*. . . Good night!