Monday, April 30, 2007

Be Honest. I Can Take It.

I can't think of anything to write for the "About Me" portion of this blog. I am completely uninspired. All I can think of is "I have brown hair! I hate Wal-Mart and iceberg lettuce! I fear rejection and grasshoppers!" Please nominate material for said entry. Perhaps you would like to suggest that I forgot my name that one time when I was 17, or that I have the upper body strength of a quadriplegic (except for these guys), or that I can hold a grudge like it's my job. Thank you for your support.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I Pity the Fool!

Last night I called MacGyver, who is currently working on an out of town project. Sometimes I feel sorry for him for having to be the husband.

Me: Hey, MacGyver, I have a problem.
MG: What's up?
Me: I got some pants from a coworker today. I can put them on easily, but I can't tell if I look good in them.
MG: So?
Me: How are pants supposed to look? If they fit do they automatically look OK, or what? I don't know if I can go out in public in these.
MG: Do you realize what you are asking me?
Me: [Looooong pause] I'm asking you if these pants make me look fat.
MG: While I'm 220 miles away.
Me: And can't see me. You knew I was merciless when you married me. Can you just pretend I look OK?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hunt for the Great White Sea Bunny

Sunblock? Check. Grapes? Check. Time tested approach blown to Hell at the last minute resulting in a mad dash to remedy the situation no matter the cost? Check. Behemoth canoe? Check. 45 year old map? Check. Vague sense of direction? Check. Three pound drill hammer? Check. Bike lock? Check. Time to rock.

My first canoe trip was spent sitting in the boat and not allowed to paddle. That was left to my sister and Mean Patrick. Yobahoo intermitently threw mating frogs into the canoe and that's about all I remember: frustration and frog sex. The second time I was actually allowed to paddle and my camp counselor and I beat a pair of boy-campers in a race. So she put me in the camp's grand finale relay race. I was supposed to go another time senior year, but due to a fractured vertebra I was thwarted. H, her friend, and velocibadgergirl took me to the Blue River when I was out of the brace to make up for it. Canoeing became my favorite hobby. For seven summers VBG and I have run the Blue and made it our bitch. We aren't the strongest chicks, but together we exceed the sum of our parts.

This year, the eighth run, was an unexpected test of our skills. Less than 48 hours before our trip we discovered the livery wasn't renting canoes until May. Not cool. She got a topo map from 1962 and some internet map-ishness, I arranged to haul my (and MacGyver's) canoe. I love having a canoe, but I am not so fond of this particular model. It will always have a special place in my heart because MacGyver presented it to me at our wedding reception and I have spent some wonderful afternoons in it, but GODDAMN! The motherfucker weighs nearly 80 lbs, is 3 feet wide, and 16 feet long. He tosses the thing around like a rag doll and I can barely manage to hold my end over my head. Anyway, we get to the general location of our put-in and the real roads do not match the map roads. We get some directions that involve only right turns (but no road names) and we're off. We find Rothrocks pretty easily after 3 right turns and lock the canoe to a sign. Finding the take-out was more of an adventure. After a few more right turns I know we are lost. I know because what should have been a highway is a road in BFE. We find a farmer who gives us directions to the bridge, and after 2 more right turns we're there. Then we just have to leave the her car and retrace our route, which is pretty simple since it is all left turns.

At the put-in we got some advice from a random kayaker and a hand with the green leviathon. I stop freaking out and rejoice, because the day is absolutely perfect. The water is fast and high (and wide), the sky is true blue, the squirrels are hanging upside down, and we don't see another person for hours. Usually we have to portage several times since the water gets so low. This year we flew through rapids, averaging 3 miles and hour and getting up to 14.3 on the sweetest rapid I've ever experienced. I was airborne, we almost hit a tree, I nearly lost an oar, the waves were two feet high, and it felt like flying. Canoeing with anyone is fun, but with VBG it goes to another level. I prefer sitting up front and paddling on the right, she likes to sit in the back and paddle on the left. She is the only person I've paddled with who moves right in time with me, after a while our thoughts start to sync up and one of us says just what the other is thinking. We saw wood ducks and mergansers but no otters. We saw an otter the first year and I have ached to see another.

The drive back was reasonably exciting, we decided to try a different road, one that may have been the road we saw on the topo map that would have made getting to the put-in easy. Soon the "road" turned into a one lane gravel...strip, there were uphill hairpin turns that nearly froze us in our tracks, and everything was pitch black. Since I didn't have a clue as to where we were or how to escape, we chose directions randomly. Eventually we found our way to the interstate and I had a horrible realization that if the metal part of the canoe carrier that I had been hammering failed, the canoe would fly off the truck and possibly kill my best friend. OR I could hit a deer while driving 75 mph. My brain is so sadistic sometimes.

There was never a bloody tragedy and my mind has been punished with Kahlua and a good scolding for fucking with me; rather, we drove a lot, ate more food at Denny's than is generally regarded as safe, and went far too long without a shower. Next year's trip has a lot to live up to, and then we'll have a tenth year trip to awesomize. Maybe a two day trip? Maybe a week in the boundary waters? Maybe coastal kayaking? Definitely another trip that proves we are not Danger and Adventure for nothing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Sing the Body Electric

Eight years ago today my life took a dramatic turn. I had been eighteen for two days and America was generally in shock over the Columbine shootings. I was ecstatic because the Ass-Fucks of the Honors Lane had completely stopped bullying me AND I had a rock climbing gym pass. You know what I'm talking about. I must have approached light speed because time slowed: I had enough time to enjoy the acceleration, realize what was happening, and calmly accept my impending death. My last thought was almost "So this is how I die." Then time returned to normal and the screaming began. I remember feeling embarrased because I had never been so loud and I couldn't make myself shut up. Someone asked me to wiggle my toes and I couldn't. I could see them but they wouldn't respond. Those bitches completely ignored me. Finally the left big toe waved "Yo." One of the EMTs happened to be my brother's friend that I had met days earlier. I did not see him again until the Anthrax/Rob Zombie concert last year and I was wearing the same pants. The X-ray technicians found a rock on the stretcher. I still have it, I named my rock Lucky and he lives in a tiny purse with the bloodstone ring MacGyver gave me the night I realized I would marry him.

April 24th is the one day a year when any body issues I have are completely moot. This is the day I feel deservedly shallow wishing I could be thinner or stronger or prettier or taller or an artist's model or a model for Mountain Gear catalogue. This is the day I wear sandals and watch my toes wiggle every chance I get. This is the day I am astounded that I can see and walk and swim and climb trees and jump-kick and shut up whenever I choose. This day I marvel all the more because I have studied anatomy and neuroscience and I know how complex and beautifully my body works. This day feels like a second birthday.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sisyphean Labor of the Damned

The good news is that this week I signed up for Algebra! Third (squared) time was a charm :) After 10 phone calls to 7 people, a fax, and several hours on the computer, I went to the registrar and told her my sob story. Fifteen minutes later I had signed away every Tuesday and Thursday night for 8 weeks and owed the school $391. As much as I suck at math, I suspect the hard part is over.

Fortunately I will be able to read at lunch instead of trying to sign up for classes. I'm reading The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel (That's my lunch book. In the bedroom I have Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Sammy's Hill in the car, Lone Wolf and Cub in the sun room, and Hard Eight in my discman. I just finished Nickel and Dimed and Letter to a Christian Nation awaits me) which is absorbing and I wish it didn't have a last page. I wish it was infinite, which is the thing that looks like sunglasses. I read Kimmel's A Girl Named Zippy and She Got Up Off the Couch a few years ago, which are non-fiction, and I recommend the former for everybody. It made me laugh. Solace is fiction and it made me decide she expresesses my second most favorite style (Ray Bradbury's style is my favorite). The characters are fascinating, though I may not have found them realistic if I didn't know so many interesting, quirky living people. It is also a useful book: I had to write a note to a sick co-worker and lifted a couple of lines out of Solace. I will be very disappointed if the ending isn't as good as the beginning and middle. My expectations are pretty high and I fear it won't be a happy ending. The happiest way it could end is the most predictable ending, if she goes all literary on me I will probably be sad and mope around for a few days until I eat half a bag of Hershey Kisses and in a sugar-fueled rage I scribble her a scathing, critical letter demanding a rewrite that I never send because I secretly wish the author and I could be friends one day.

I made a double batch of flitter noodles this morning. I also had an adventure yesterday, but that is for another post.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pinkerton is a JERK

Although I have been wasting 40 minutes at the library when I should have been driving home to my awesome husband, I felt the need to post something, ANYTHING, just so 29 isn't the first thing my 5 people see anymore. Plus, I discovered that blogging is sort of like cutting myself, but without the follow up therapy. I feel happy, I post. I feel depressed, I post. I feel snarky and sarcastic (my default mood), I post. No one has to read this and I don't have to apologize for it.

The guy that put acid in his eye is recovering, though I haven't had an update since the announcement that his eyesight wasn't completely ruined because he dabbed the acid in instead of pouring it in. Odd things happen at work, but I tend to forget the weirdness more and more. One of my people believes she's history incarnate, another wears a sheer black shirt over a white bra, another is sent to the ER but doesn't go in because he can't find a parking space. It's all just another day. I am building an immunity to insanity.

I attended my very first opera. It was very sad, and very dramatic, and I really liked the parts where more than one person sang at the same time. I also enjoyed the stage hands moving a prop while dressed in black (like a ninja!) and a full hood (like an executioner!). Thanks to my soon-to-be sister, I got to go to the opera in disguise. It was the second time in my life that I wore more than lipstick in public and I can't even remember the last time my hair was curled. I felt like I could have robbed a bank and no one would ever have known it was me. Sort of a Clark Kent/Superman thing: not much of a difference, but enough to create an optical confusion.

Last night I got to see Venus, Sirius, the Orion Nebula, and Saturn. I had seen the rings once before, but this time four moons were visible. Pretty fucking sweet. This was possible due to VBG's boss's 10 foot long telescope and a ladder. I actually squealed with joy when I saw the Orion Nebula because it looked just like what I've seen in National Geographic. Seeing the usually unseeable made me feel a little more real.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Is it selfish to wish one of the others had drowned?

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Featuring Kung Fu Grip

I have had a fascination with terror birds for a couple of years. I read about them in Discover, and they were described as the closest thing to a dinosaur that a human has ever encountered. The fact that they weigh more than half a ton and could simulataneously eviscerate and kick the hell out of you makes the hairs on the back of my neck prickle.
I applied for that physical therapy tech position about 2-3 weeks ago and I haven't heard anything from the hospital. Is it cool to send HR a follow up letter that says "GIVE ME THIS DAMN JOB OR I'LL CUT YOU!" ? Or at least with that theme? Hospitals take forever to hire anyway, but I was hoping they would get my application and say, "This is the person we have been searching for! Call her stat!" (Everyone who works in a hospital says "stat." Everyone.) I could start applying elsewhere, but they were they only one who actually had a position open.

I like Fridays at work. I try pretty hard to make my work load as light as possible so I can finish up paperwork in the afternoon and chat with my cubicle mates about how drunk they will be in 6 hours or where they will be bagpiping on Sunday or whatnot. Because cubicleville is the corporate equivalent of 40 illegal immigrants stuffed into a studio apartment, I am privy to a lot of conversations. Such as Vagina Skirt Girl's side of one over the phone. At the other end was a young man who is pretty ill and has a compulsion to put acid in his eyes. He had never done it...until Friday. Everything went as well as could be, considering. She kept him on the phone, he only put it in one eye, which may not be blinded totally, and she got the sheriff there before he could swallow it. Can you imagine how you would feel after that? She did everything right with him and it wasn't enough.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

What Came Before a T-rex?

Is there a higher power that does not wish to see me go back to school? I have attempted to sign up for two of my nine prereqs (prerequs? prereks? ah ha! prerex!) FIVE TIMES and they will not allow me to enroll in algebra and anatomy. Two failures stemmed from the registrar failing to enter all of my personal information into the computer. It turns out she did not approve of my birthday. You know what anonymous moron? I don't approve of it either and I'm not going around messing up people's plans. Two attempts were thwarted by system failures, please try again later (Make me!). This last one said I need other prerex to get into these prerex. WTF? I do not have time for these shenanigans! I have a future to gamble on! I have to take classes that may or may not raise my GPA, then apply to a competitive program that may reject my sorry white ass, so I can take a stab at being careerly satisfied! Maybe I will just stab you, prerex foiler!

Today was sort of easy, I only had a bunch of paperwork that doesn't count toward my billing quota, I talked one of my favorite patients (she has schizo-affective disorder, mild mental retardation, 7 ex-husbands, and used to be an exotic dancer. She is also one of the happiest people I know.) out of buying a bunny, took an elderly patient shopping and she told me about her sex dream last night, and Brain Damaged Lady was manic and delusional and hugged me. I can escape the clutches of Elvis (thanks for the organizer again, F-bomb, it is a great personal space defender) but BDL manages to plant one on my cheek.

I had all kinds of fun articulating bird bones the other night, I was in some sort of ass-kicking spatial skills zone that helped me put together half a wing with no diagrams. The bones just sort of snapped together. I have a new respect for paleontologists, I figure their job is akin to assembling puzzle pieces from several boxes mixed together, with some missing, no border pieces (maybe a skull is like a border piece. At least it lets you know when to stop adding bones in one direction), and no picture to look at. I wonder if anyone has turned that into a drinking game.