Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My new favorite photos...

I pity the fool who don't like Mr T!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Ahh, Reno. I haven't seen you since I was 9. How have you been? You never wrote, you never called. I thought we had a great time you and I. Remember how much fun we had when we went to Circus Circus? We played all those great midway games like "fill the clown's mouth with a water gun" and "pop the balloon with a dull dart" or "toss the penny in the glass dish and win a goldfish that would later die in 2 days" Remember????

Remember catching a glimpse of the casino that had the big red velvet ropes? We couldn't go in but we knew that whatever was behind there was bad for us (in a good way). All those dressed up ladies in high heels, smoking cigarettes and men with slicked back hair. The sound of ample coins hitting the metal catch tray.

But our love filled vacation only lasted a few days and then I had to go home. Back to the real world of 3rd grade. A world full of sharpened number 2 pencils, learning "Clementine" on the recorder and whether John Cherry really liked me. When I didn't hear from you I was hurt. No, really. You were my...first vacation. There would never be another like you.

Oh sure, there was Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone Park. There was even a brief tryst with Bedrock Village and Disneyland. But they couldn't compare to you. You with your shiny twinkling lights at night, your lucky smiling leprechaun, your, your...umm. I'm sure you had a lot more to offer than my 9 year old brain could possibly comprehend. I heard the rumors of the other vacation spots and how they talked about you. They said you were dirty and small. That you smelled bad and that there was nothing to do. I always tried to defend you. In my opinion you were just misunderstood. I just KNEW you had the same flare as Paris (or what I imagined it to be). Vegas was the worst. She bad mouthed you for years. Saying you were her ugly step sister. That you had no class. That you were for...gasp...old people!!!

Fast forward 10 (ok..ok, 28) years. Mom is turning 60 and will be in Reno with a girlfriend. Would I fly out and surprise her with her girlfriend's daughters? I don't know. In my mind I'm thinking, "Couldn't we go to Vegas? Isn't Reno kinda, gross?"

Then, as any good type A personality with a guilty complex and an overactive superego knows, I instantly felt bad. Shame on me! So your heart was broken, so what? You got over it. You've moved on. You had some good times with Reno. Give her another try. It's for your MOM damn it!

So, we 3 thirtysomething girls hopped on a plane and went to say "RE YES!!!"

Come on baby, mamma needs a stiff drink, hot young men and some dirty cash. Ok, here's how it went down. This man, "Doc Cheatum" met us in the hotel lobby. Talkin' about the fabulous shows and slots that we were about to experience. Oh, we had some experiences but I wouldn't necessarily call them "fabulous". Our pedicures clouded and clumped. The 1:30am fire alarm going off the the 16th floor, terrifying. The watered down drinks and waiters that could barely speak English let alone get you another glass of water.

But then there was this...
Front row baby! This man with the face of a plastic Clay Aiken gave us the business! We screamed and hollered and generally made fools of ourselves. And he loved it! We were personally invited back any time we wanted. That's right, Greg groupies.

More importantly, mom had a good time. And ya know, upon further reflection, I did too. Reno may not be the ultimate vacation spot but as my camera died while it took one last photo, I realized it might have been a sign. I think this is what I'm supposed to learn...

The colors and memories may be faded, but there will always be a line of traffic and a fat guy walking down your street to see you.

I'm not exactly sure what it means now, but in another 28 years I'm hoping it will make sense.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Did You Hear That?

Date: May 20, 2008
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: An undisclosed location in Rio Dell, CA

Two women, presumably grandmother and granddaughter are sitting at a table drinking tea and chatting.

Granddaughter: My friend's husband is taking her to Venice for her 30th birthday. Isn't that sweet? I would love to go to Venice.

Grandmother: Venice? You mean in Italy?

Granddaughter: Uh huh.

Grandmother: Why would you want to go to Italy? There's nothing but Wops there.

Granddaughter: Uh...Um....

Grandmother: You know, this used to be a Wop and Portuguese (pronounced port-a gee) town, but you can't use words like those anymore. People get mad.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I heart blog stalkers

DISCLAIMER: The word "stalker" is used loosely in this post, like in the "Kristabel-is-so-totally-obsessed-with-Heraldo-she's-like-
a-stalker-but-it's-so-adorable-he-puts-up-with-it" kind of way.

Several weeks ago as I was walking to the store on my lunch break, I saw a cute woman across the street looking at me and smiling. I smiled back at her and gave a little wave. Then she said, "Are you Kristabel?"

I froze in shock and didn't answer thinking I must have misunderstood her. She asked again, "Are you Kristabel?"

I hurried across the street to her. "How'd you know?" She laughed and said that she knew I must work in the neighborhood because of some of the pictures I'd posted of the surroundings. She also said that she recognized my hair. She hugged me and sweetly said how much she liked Chocolate Covered Xanax. I was very flattered but oddly I wasn't sure what to say. Finally I mumbled, "Please don't tell anyone who I am. I post pictures of my sex toy mishaps." She said she wouldn't, and we both went on our way.

I thought about her a few times after that. She seemed smart, nice and like someone I'd like to be friends with. I almost delivered some marshmallows to her. I almost asked if she wanted to grab a cup of coffee, but I didn't. It just seemed.....weird.

Friday morning I looked down at my flip-flop clad feet and gasped at the ugliness. The red toenail polish was chipped and my heels looked like the bottom of a dry creek bed, so I decided to treat myself to a pedicure at The Spa. I deserve it right? Don't answer that.

I arrived a little bit early for my appointment (on purpose - so I could drink a bunch of the yummy cucumber water) and was sitting in a chair waiting when who should appear at the counter? My blog stalker.

We exchanged hellos, talked about the joys of painting, waxing and wearing dresses in the sun, and she headed out the door as I headed back to the pedicure tub.

After the treatment, I sat lounging in the happiness of being pampered and waiting for my now-gorgeous bright orange toes to dry. Just as I was about to slip on my sandals, the receptionist came over. "I just wanted to let you know that your pedicure's been paid for by the best blog stalker ever, so whenever you're ready you can just skip on out of here." Again she had managed to completely shock me, and I was extremely touched. What a totally unexpected act of kindness and generosity.

I thank you, blog stalker, from the bottom of my chubby painted toes. You're definitely getting some marshmallows.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Parrot Story

People often say that my friend Bee and I have our own language. I guess in a certain way this is true. It happens when you're really close to someone and have spent inordinate amounts of time with them. You know almost everything about them. You've had shared experiences that have helped to shape your world. Eventually you're able to recognize a certain look in their eyes, and you know what they're going to say almost before it comes out of their mouth.

People often talk about this phenomenon with couples who've been married for a long time. I've never had a relationship with a man that lasted longer than 5 years, but Bee and I have been friends for over 18. We've now become one of those couples.

We met during those good old hazy drunken days at Humboldt State and became fast friends over shots of tequila, bottles of Mickey's Big Mouth malt liquor and hot bass players. Neither of us remember why, but before long we started calling each other, not by our names, but simply "Friend." It may have had something to do with being so chronically drunk that we could barely remember our own names, let alone anyone else's, but we're not sure. People overhearing us often thought we were calling each other "Fred."

We have expressions with secret meanings like "I feel a song coming on" or "Something has fouled the sanctity of this place" that will immediately send us into fits of giggles. But nothing compares to the times when one of us calls the other with the magic phrase, "I've got a parrot story for you."

Many years ago Bee and I were taking a road trip to Sacramento. It was a warm spring day on Highway 20, and we were enjoying the feel of the sun while the sounds of Oingo Boingo blared out the open windows.

An old green pickup truck pulled onto the road in front of us, making me have to brake hard and spill peanut m & m's all over the car. The truck was obviously driven by someone who was moving as the back was completely filled with various pieces of furniture and boxes. It was all piled precariously high, and I was sure that something was going to come flying off the back at any moment. The truck was moving very slowly, and as I got closer to it, I noticed what appeared to be a birdcage sitting in the very back. With a large parrot inside.

I looked over at Bee who had also just noticed the cage. "Is that a parrot inside that cage?" I asked her. She thought it was too.

The truck began to pick up speed just as the highway began to get curvier. The parrot, sitting on the hanging perch in the middle of the cage, began to softly swing. As the truck moved faster and faster around the curves, the parrot swung harder and harder. Before long, it looked as though the parrot could barely hang on, and that as the perch swung, the bird was getting its head beaten on the sides of the cage.

Then something even more horrifying happened. As I looked at the old rusty truck and the poor parrot being pummeled in front of me, some inner demon inside me found it all just a little bit funny. And the more I watched the funnier it became. So many thoughts were raging through my head. Should I pull over and call the police? Should I try to overtake the truck and get it to pull over? Is my lip bleeding yet from biting it so hard to keep myself from laughing?

I didn't dare look at Bee for even a second. I knew that she was appalled, memorizing the license plate number and planning her call to the cops and her letters to the SPCA and PETA and the local papers, and she would never be my friend again if she saw that I was laughing at this poor creature's plight.

And then I saw, almost imperceptibly out of the corner of my eye, that her shoulders were shaking. Oh my god, I thought to myself, she's crying. My amusement momentarily stunted at my friend's emotion, I looked over at her.....and for reasons unknown to anyone but perhaps the person who will inscribe the handbasket we'll be riding in to hell, we both burst out into simultaneous hysterical laughter.

We laughed all the way to Williams where the truck finally pulled over into a gas station. We pulled up behind it not really knowing what we would say to the driver. Fortunately, there was no need, for as we got close enough to inspect the traumatized parrot, we realized that it had been a stuffed animal the entire time.

Upon returning home, we knew this would be a hilarious story to tell all of our friends. And we did. Repeatedly. Not one person ever thought it was funny. Some looked at us with revulsion. Some looked alarmed. One person gave a half-assed smile when we told him it was only a stuffed animal. But for the most part I believe our friends began to wonder if we were sociopaths. We stopped telling the story.

Now "I've got a parrot story" has become another one of our phrases. It's kind of like saying, "I guess you had to be there." It's a tale that no one else will find the slightest bit amusing. No one except Bee and me, that is.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

More Marshmallows

Several weeks ago I was hanging out over at Carol and Greg's place. Much to my chagrin, sweet Carol mentioned that sometimes she feels like she can't post under her own name here at CCX, so she posts anonymously because the topics often make her blush. Imagine that! She also mentioned that the "kahlua marshmallow" idea came from her - anonymously. She so inspired me that I had to create a marshmallow just for Carol, but not the kahlua ones she had imagined.

For this recipe, there will be absolutely no blush-inducing comments. No talk of spanking benches or sex toy mishaps or assless chaps. No mention of that thing boy-most-likely-to does with his tongue. No new ideas for Saturday night adventures. No blog fantasies about Heraldo or Carson Park Ranger. No photos of drag queens or discussions of stiletto heels and sequined panties. No shameless flirtation with Jane Doe, Erin, Headwrapper, Mresquan and.....oh, who am I kidding....all the rest of you. And there certainly won't be any mention of Carol's own shameless flirtation with Humboldt Turtle over at The Herald. Ahem. And so I give you (in recipe format for you email beggers - sorry for the slacking):

Carol's Please-Stop-Talking-About-Saturday-Night
Blushing Pink Marshmallows

4 envelopes gelatin
1/2 cup strawberry puree
1 and 1/4 cup water
3 cups sugar
1 and 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar and cornstarch for dusting

Line a 13" x 9" pan with aluminum foil and lightly rub with vegetable oil.

Mix the strawberry puree and 1/2 cup of the water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over to soften.

Put the sugar, corn syrup, remaining 3/4 cup water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until it reaches the soft ball stage (234 - 240 F).

Turn the mixer on to full speed and slowly pour the hot syrup down the sides of the bowl. Whip until the mixture is very stiff and fluffy, about 15 minutes.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Let sit uncovered at room temperature for at least 8 hours.

Mix equal parts powdered sugar and corn starch and spread some onto your work surface. Turn the marshmallow mass out onto this and peel off the foil. Dust with more sugar/starch. Slice into squares using a thin-bladed knife and dip all cut edges into the sugar/starch mixture.

Marshmallows will keep several weeks if kept in an airtight container at room temperature.


If you need more in-depth instruction with photos, look here.

These marshmallows are delicious and so pretty with just their faint hint of blushing spring pink. When I took them to work they were snapped up so quickly I didn't even have time to save any to deliver to the muse herself. Sorry, Carol!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Absolute Best Time to Get Your Saturday Night....(revised. again.)

is not after realizing that you've mysteriously come into contact with Bear River Valley's lovely little harbinger of spring, the poison oak plant, because you've got bumpy itchy stinging patches of red on your arms and legs and stomach and belly button and parts without which Saturday night could not be Saturday night.

Bomp wow.....Yeow!...a little to the left....chicka bomp...that's calamine, not lube.....chicka bow....oh, just stop.