Friday, November 30, 2007

The Decision

Thanks so much for the (mostly) fantastic book suggestions. I've now added many to my already horribly long To-Read List. I guess it just means I'll have to spend a lot more time on warm beaches. So here's what's going in the bag:

On the Right: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. It sounds contemporary, interesting, both Jon and Jen recommended it, and it was already sitting on my shelf.

On the Left: Part 1 of the erotic Sleeping Beauty series written by Anne Rice. Chains and riding crops and sex slaves....what else is there to say? An oldie but a goodie.

And in the Center: Me Write Book....a bigfoot memoir written by the big guy himself - in his own words. This may seem like an odd choice, but truly, this is one of the funniest books I've ever read. I read it over and over again and every single time I end up giggling uncontrollably and snorting wine out my nose. In fact, just so you'll know what I'm talking about, here's a little excerpt for your reading pleasure:

"I get away with murder cause everyone think I fragile since I last of kind and so on. One bad thing about it though that I attract lots poachers. Apparently me gal bladder give Chinese people boners. Funny cause Chinese people give me boner too but Bigfoot digress.

One time poacher try to get Bigfoot organs. He expert Safari hunter and spend weeks stalking me and learning Bigfoot ways. He see my love for Count Chocula and hide in fridge disguise as giant milk carton. Day before he want poach Bigfoot decide go low carb diet so no Chocula. Man freeze to death in fridge.

Bigfoot also have cirrhosis at time so it convenient for me use him for liver transplant donor. Bigfoot enjoy irony."

How totally freaking funny is that?! You all just feel free to express your worry about the state of my mental health in the comments section.

I'm ending this with a challenge for my darling cousin Keri. Hello? Are you there? Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write a story about the last time you and I crossed the border - into Tijuana when we were 18. Remember? Something about donkeys and margaritas and cute Mexican boys and terrible haggling skills. It's all coming back to you, isn't it? Sweet anonymous needs entertaining, so it's up to you. Love you!

So...we're off. See you later. I'll miss you all. But I'll be back in a couple of weeks with plenty of tequila and plenty of stories.

P.S. Damn! How cute do my toes look? (Thanks for the pedicure, Mom!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Need Your Help!

In five days this will be me.

Except my skin is much paler with a lot more freckles. And my assets are much more ample. And the thought of my ample assets spilling out of a bright orange bathing suit top is downright frightening. And I don't have a cute sun hat. And do those look like man hands to you? And if it were really me, there'd be a great big margarita sitting there in the sand. And a cabana boy wearing very tight swim trunks and carrying a bottle of massage oil and a ripe papaya.

Squirrel and I are heading to the Yucatan on Sunday. He's going to be climbing pyramids, learning about Mayan history, trekking in the jungle and snorkeling in the cenotes. I'm going to be eating, drinking, making friends, drunkenly dancing and looking for cheap souvenirs to bring back for Christmas presents. And eating. And drinking.

It may sound like we have very different interests while on this little vacation, but don't worry. It's our honeymoon after all, so the fact that every morning, afternoon and evening is going to be Saturday Night will be the common thread that will hold the whole thing together.

And this is where you come in because while I'm basking in the sun and drinking margaritas, I'll need something delicious to read. I've scoured the shelves of bookstores today and have come up empty. I've looked at my own collection, and while there are plenty of books I probably should have read by now, none of them seem quite right. So I'm now pleading for your advice. Won't you help a girl out? Please? If you don't, I'm afraid Squirrel's going to sneak "50 Simple Things You Can Do to Fight the Right" in my bag. And if you think I'm reading that on the beach, you're crazier than he is.

What would you read?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Need something to do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers?

Here's the answer to your problem.

This is an email I received yesterday through Humboldt Freecycle, a fantastic way to get rid of your junk - or to get some more.

Make too much for Thanksgiving? Don't know what to do with all those leftovers? Let a starving student take them off your hands! You provide the food, I'll provide the containers. I can travel just about anywhere in Arcata that's within a few miles of downtown (on foot). Email or call me at xxx-xxxx . I can pick up Thursday evening or anytime Friday. Anything I can't eat will be shared with other students.

Thanks in advance,

I think anyone willing to take a risk like this definitely deserves to get his wish fulfilled, and believe me, if I didn't live in the middle of nowhere, I'd be donating to the cause. So if you're not a member of Freecycle and you want to help this courageous young man, send me an email, and I'll hook you up.

And's wishing you a long weekend filled with turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes and free of salmonella, hepatitis, errant hairs or other assorted germs and surprises.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What's Cookin' Hotstuff?

With some of the recent flurry surrounding avatars, I decided that maybe this was a good time to get my own. Taking a personal assessment of my, hmmm, assets, I made a brief check off list. Feel free to use this quiz to determine which avatar reflects you. Results may vary.

1. Are you male or female?

Female? Housewife? Got it!!

2. Do you have any hobbies?

No? Try this one:

3. Are you old?

Yes? How about this:

4. Do you smoke?

Yes? This one's pretty good.

5. Are you religious?


6. Are you sexy?

Well, that one's already taken my friends. This concludes the avatar compatibility test. I wish you the best of luck in your hunt. Remember, an avatar says a lot about you, so don't take it lightly.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sorry, Judy Blume

Are you there God? It's me, Kristabel.

I know you're aware that I don't really believe in that whole walking-on-water-rising-from-the-tomb thing, but that doesn't mean I can't still talk to you sometimes, right? This week's been tough, and I think you're the only one who can help me out. So this is your thank you letter - in advance.

About Steve, that guy I kept staring at while eating lunch at the Chinese place yesterday...remember that summer when he used to sneak over to my house in the middle of the night and make out with me through my bedroom window? Remember how he dumped me on the first day of sophomore year for that skinny little blonde girl? Thank you for making sure that he has six screaming kids and a wife with a severe facial hair problem at home. Thank you for causing him to have to live with his mother-in-law who refuses to let anyone watch television unless it's the Lifetime for women channel and who leaves her dentures all over the house.

And about that woman at work who sent me a bitchy email about overdue paperwork and c.c.'d it to my boss....thank you for giving her a really bad haircut, you know like the one Suzy Owsley sported for two years. Thank you for making all of those celery sticks she's always chewing on suddenly have 1,000 calories each so she gains 20 pounds in one week.

And about that rude salesperson who kept gossiping instead of ringing up my cargo pants and then acted like I completely interrupted her and she was doing me a huge favor by taking my money....thank you for making her drink so many Singapore slings that she sings Christina Aguilera's "Dirty" off-key at the Blue Lake casino karaoke night then refuses to get off the stage when the song is over and uses the microphone to tell the entire audience about her husband's erection problems. The bright pink projectile vomiting is only a decision you can make, God, so I'm leaving that one in your capable hands.

Thank you so much.


P.S. I realize you probably think I've got one foot in the handbasket already, but I've gotta tell you, the thought of spending an eternity with Satan is a lot less scary than the thought of spending it with those freaks who speak in tongues and roll around on the floor.
P.P.S. Oh, and that time that the gas station clerk gave me change for $20 when I'd only given him $10, and I kept it? I was really broke at the time, but I feel totally bad about it now.
P.P.P.S. I also realize that this kind of stuff is cake for someone as powerful as you, so just so you're prepared, my next thank you letter will include Darfur, the Iraq war and becoming the filling in a Gulo Gordo - Heraldo sandwich.
P.P.P.P.S. Amen

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Frog Talk

This is the tattoo that is on my right shoulder. Yes, it really is that blurry and please ignore the freckles - unless you think they're cute of course.

I obviously had it done long before tattoos became trendy - and pretty - for girls. It is also probably obvious that it was done by a guy named Bud whose shop was across the street from the liquor store in downtown Rio Dell.

My Aunt Lucy loved my tattoo. She used to look at it when I was running around the house in my underwear trying to get dressed for work and would laugh, "There's a froggy on your back. I want one of those froggies." I would try to tell her how much getting a frog on your back hurt, but she didn't care.

Lucy was born with strawberry blonde hair and a developmental disability. The "experts" thought her mental capacity was about the same as a four-year-old. Although she could recognize letters, she was not able to read. Although she could dress herself, her pants were often on backward and her shoes on the wrong feet.

When, as a very young child, I noticed that Aunt Lucy was different than the other grown-ups I knew, my mom tried to explain it to me. "Your Aunt Lucy is mentally retarded," my mom said very matter-of-factly. "It means her brain is different and she has a harder time learning than some people. But it doesn't mean she's dumb, and it doesn't matter because she's our family and we love her. And we treat her just like anyone else in the family."

My brother Ron and I grew up with Aunt Lucy a constant part of our lives. She lived with my grandma but spent a good part of her time with us, and she was much more like a sister than an aunt. We never thought about it much because it just happened to be the way it was. And Lucy was a lot of fun.

She liked parties and cake with big icing roses just as much as we did. She played card games with us like slapjack, where at the sight of a jack she would hit the backs of our hands so hard they would sting for the rest of the day. She would sing along to the radio even though she didn't get most of the words right and would dance for hours, her bright blue eyes gleaming while her extra large hips moved in a way that no white girl's hips usually can.

Lucy was never afraid to tell us how she felt about us. "Nobody loves you," she'd often tell Ron and me. "Poor you. Nobody loves you." "What's wrong Kristabel, nobody loves you? Poor Kristabel." As soon as the words were out of her mouth she would burst into a fit of laughter. "Lucy loves you!" she'd shout as she encircled us with her arms.

Most of our friends grew to know and love Aunt Lucy, but kids in other places were a different story. They would laugh. Stare. Ask us what was wrong with her. At times Ron and I were her staunch defenders. Once in McDonald's we gave some nasty giggling kids a death glare so long and so powerful that we thought surely their french fries would burst into flames right in front of them making them regret their hurtful remarks.

At other times, we were not her staunch defenders, but were, instead, horrified as any pre-teens could be when, in the midst of watching Grease surrounded by kids from our school, Aunt Lucy stood up and started loudly singing and dancing in the aisle of the Fortuna movie theater. We slunk down in our seats and put our hands over our faces hoping that no one would recognize us.

As I grew older and moved out of my parents' house, Lucy was still a big part of my life and we continued to spend time together. I would sometimes pick her up from her day program, and she would spend the night with me in whatever dumpy little place I happened to be living in.

We always had a good time, and we had a lot of things in common. We both loved art, music and, much to my grandmother's dismay, admiring construction workers. We both also loved the lowly dandelion, rocks, good food and most of all frogs. We each collected frog things, although Lucy's collection was much more extensive than mine. We talked about frogs a lot...wondering what the frogs in the woods were having for dinner and trying to count how many we could hear in the distance. Lucy always told me that every time they croaked, they were really saying "More rain."

One night, while trying to maintain a second job as a pastry chef, I had to decorate a birthday cake for a kid's party while Lucy was spending the night. She sat unusually silent and watched as I carefully placed pink polka dots made from sugar dough all over the cake followed by a sprinkling of edible glitter. She looked at me earnestly and asked, "Can Lucy go to the party?" My heart immediately snapped in two. I tried to explain to her that it wasn't a party I was giving - that it was for someone we didn't know. My explanations didn't matter. To Lucy, there was a fancy cake on the table which meant there was a party somewhere that she should be going to. And it was my fault she wasn't. She refused to visit me for weeks.

Several years ago Lucy began to have problems moving one of her arms. A few months after that she began to have trouble walking and moving most of the rest of her body. She eventually wasn't able to attend her programs anymore and had to spend the majority of her time with my mom, bravely going from one doctor to another and from one test to another to try to find a diagnosis. Finally one day in late summer I was decorating yet another fancy cake when I got the call I'd never expected. "Lucy has ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease," my mom said, her voice shaking with emotion. "We don't know how long she has."

What? What was she saying? It's terminal? She can't be cured? She's not going to get better?

I am a Capricorn, and we don't like it when things are changed without our full approval. Part of my adult life had been spent thinking about, talking about and planning for the day when my grandma was not able to care for Lucy any longer. My mom and I had ideas...things we knew that Lucy had always wanted to do but hadn't been able to yet. We were going to make sure those things happened. Lucy would live with my mom and dad, and if for some reason they weren't able to take care of her, I would. Now what would happen? I couldn't imagine a life without Lucy in it. THIS WAS NOT PART OF THE PLAN, GOD DAMN IT!

Within months, Lucy was completely bedridden. My mom moved in with my grandma and tirelessly took care of Lucy night and day, barely taking time for herself to eat and sleep. I continued to work and visited as often as I could, although it never seemed like enough.

None of us were prepared for the pain we would feel as we watched Lucy struggle with a disease that progressed quicker than we could have imagined. We maintained manic smiles around her, bringing whatever we thought might give her small amounts of happiness, all the while trying to avoid the blame and the guilt and the anger at God or whoever was letting this happen that lay in the cobwebbed corners of the room. My grandma talked to Lucy about "getting better." In the back of her mind, she was always hoping for a call from the doctor saying that there had been a misdiagnosis and her precious daughter would be healed. That call never came.

One day I had a message on the answering machine from my mom asking if I would be down to visit that day. "Lucy wants to see you. She said that she has something to tell you."

My mind spun. What could Lucy possibly need to say to me? Had she been overcome by end-of-life wisdom that she wanted to impart? Was there something about the afterlife that she had seen in a vision? And why me? Was she still mad about missing that birthday party?

I hurried down to Gram's house after work. By then it was late November. It was cold and dark outside, but inside the house a fire was burning and a string of Christmas lights were glowing near Lucy's bed. I sat down, and we talked for awhile and sang a couple of carols. Then I asked her about what my mom had said. "I hear that you want to talk to me about something Lucy." She looked at me seriously. "It's a secret," she said quietly. I leaned down so that my body was practically lying next to hers on the bed and my face was only about an inch away from her lips. "Okay, " I said carefully. "Now you can whisper it to me."

Lucy looked around to make sure that no one else was in the room. She grabbed my hand, closed her eyes, opened her mouth and said loudly....


I looked at her with shock. This is what she wanted to tell me? This was the end-of-life wisdom that I had been expecting? She closed her eyes again and said even louder, "Rrrribbit!"

I looked in her eyes. The corners were crinkled with laughter, and there was a sparkle that had been absent for weeks. I began to giggle.

"Ribbit!" I croaked back at her. "Rrrribbit! Ribitribitribit. Ribbit!"

We talked frog for the next twenty minutes. By the time we were finished I was holding my sides with laughter while the tears ran down my face in a combined stream of overwhelming joy and grief.

Three days later she was gone.

Bear River Valley is a great place for frogs. Sometimes I lie at night listening to the cacophony in the backyard and think about how much Aunt Lucy would have loved this place. It has been three years since she left this world. I hope that the bereavement professionals are correct when they talk about the three year mark being a turning point so that my family is finally able to heal.

To this day her spirit remains infused in almost everything I do, and I try to live the way that she did. I wish on dandelions and pick up pretty rocks. I love people with reckless abandon and embarrass my family often. I sing when I feel like singing and hold grudges when people make me mad.

And eventually, when my life comes to a close, I can only hope that I've lived it so fully and completely that at the very end I can turn to those who love me in the place that makes me the happiest and say the only thing left to say.


Monday, November 12, 2007

You're A Grand Old Flag...

Happy Veteran's Day everyone!! As my family and I sit home today doing various chores and watching Dr. Phil, I just want to take a minute and thank those who have served and continue to serve our country.
I'm sure many of us have military members in our family tree. Have you thanked them lately??
I know I have be remiss in my gratitude. I get so dang frustrated with our administration, that I forget there are real people attached to those numbers lost in the war. We wouldn't be blogging here without them. So, whether you are Republican, Democrat or Independent, count your blessings and wave your flag proudly.
Thank you:
Grand pa P. WWII vet-Navy
Grandpa S. Korean vet- Army
Grandpa C. WWII vet- Marines
Dad-Marine Corp vet
Dad-In Law- Army vet
My little Brother- active Marine Corps

Thursday, November 8, 2007 that you????

I was at the garage the other day and...wait...H? Could it be???
Oh, sorry. I could have sworn that

Yes, that's him for sure...right?

Oh, well maybe?

This guy for sure. I know Heraldo likes to keep it neat and tidy down

OK, that's him.

Please God, tell me that's not him!

I guess we may never know but I'm keeping a look out for Heraldo sightings. He's tricky. Let us know where you've seen him.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Did you hear that?

Overheard at: AA Bar, Eureka

Date: Saturday, November 3, 2007

Time: 11:00 p.m.

Two men are sitting at a table eating the biggest steaks I've ever seen. They're discussing the meth problem in Eureka.

Man #1: Isn't meth what they fed to the Nazis?

Man #2: Yep. Hitler was a big geeterhead.

Man #1: He should've just smoked dope.

Man #2: Maybe then he wouldn't have invaded Poland.

Man #1: He still would've tried to invade Poland, but he would've lost his keys and got distracted so it never would've happened.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Birthday Blog for my little brother

Happy Birthday, you! I can't believe you're 36. It's making me feel all warm and fuzzy and sentimental. I'm getting a little tear in my eye just thinking about it.

It's absolutely amazing how you keep getting older while I just stay my same youthful self. Don't feel bad, though. At least you lost the cheeks. I still have mine.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday full of all the things you love like family, friends, love, laughter and good food. And beer. Lots of beer.

I just know this birthday is going to be even better than the time you got the Smurf shirt

AND the Empire Strikes Back play set!

And just know that the birthday gods must really be smiling upon you....because as hard as I tried....I just couldn't find the photo of you sporting a mullet in your leopard print shirt. You were bad to the bone!

I love you and miss you and can't wait to see you all in December!

With much love,
your big sis Kristabel

P.S. Give you-know-who and you-know-who a big kiss for me.
P.P.S. You look like a monkey.
P.P.P.S. And you smell like one too.