Sunday, September 30, 2007
But there's one thing that I just absolutely can't stand. It offends me every time I see it, and I just have to express myself about this issue or I may very well explode.
It's COULD HAVE, people. Not COULD OF. If you have to write it like you pronounce it, then for god's sake use COULD'VE. (Or should've or might've or would've...)
Are you listening Fred? All you anonymi at The Herald? Could have. Learn to love it. Learn to use it. Any questions???
Saturday, September 29, 2007
My best friend's walkie talkie name is Bumblebee. Our friend Trixie (also her walkie talkie name) nicknamed her years ago, and I'm not exactly sure why, but it fits.
Bee is everything a best friend should be - warm, funny, smart, loyal, generous to a fault, willing to run her ass ragged when you get married and the caterers are short-staffed, nonjudgmental, candid, and appreciative of a fine two-buck chuck and Ben and Jerry's peach cobbler ice cream. If she wore a size 9 shoe, she'd be perfect.
Bee and I met in the fall of 1990, the year we both traded in our acid-washed jeans for grungy flannel shirts and began attending Humboldt State University.
We lived in the Westwood part of Arcata and each of us had one side of a duplex connected by a wall and a carport overhang. At first we'd see each other in the morning and evening, say hello but not really talk much. We had roommates, boyfriends, friends and vices that kept us occupied in our own separate spaces.
But on Halloween night, through the magic of overindulging in alcoholic beverages, we became bonded and have been friends ever since.
I'm not sure how I ended up on Bee's side of the carport that night. It might have been the fact that she was legal tequila-buying age while I hadn't quite reached it yet. At any rate, there we sat on the living room floor chugging 40 ouncers of Miller beer punctuated with a tequila shot now and then.....a combination nothing good could ever possibly come from. Bee had a friend named Mike who was the bass player in a grunge rock band that was playing at HSU that night, so we put on our black skirts and clunky doc martens and headed out.
Most of the rest of the night is a bit....fuzzy around the edges, with a few completely dark spots. I remember kissing a man named Rumsey who was sleeping in the bushes beside the library. I remember Bee lifting her shirt and flashing the cars driving by. Mainly I remember the really loud, really bad music that we pretended to like because....well...Mike was hot.
So hot, in our completely obliterated state, that we decided the best way to clinch our new-found friendship was to have a threesome with him. We asked him, and not surprisingly, it took him about 1/8 of a second to agree.
The three of us walked arm-in-arm back to his house, Bee and I playing the adoring groupies the entire way. "Are you girls really going to do this?" he asked several times. "You're serious?"
The first order of business when we got to his house was to retreat together into the bathroom for a little primping and plotting. I sat on the edge of the bathtub watching Bee while she reapplied some lipstick and fluffed her hair. I was much more innocent in those days, but figured Bee was more experienced and could show me the way. "I've never done this before," I giggled to her. "How does it work?" To this day, neither Bee nor I remember what the answer was. All I know is that at that moment, coupled with the drunkenness and the nervousness, it was the funniest thing I'd ever heard.
I covered my mouth with my hand and plugged my nose to stifle the inevitable snort, but it was no use. I was so completely riddled with laughter that I couldn't stop no matter how hard I tried. I attempted to get up but my legs wouldn't follow my brain's instruction. Eventually I laughed so hard I fell backward into the bathtub, peed my pants and passed out.
Hear that noise? That's the sound of all the random "You sound hot" emails I receive from horny Humboldt men grinding to an abrupt halt.
The next morning I awoke feeling like someone was smashing my skull with Mike's bass. Some kind soul had apparently helped me out of the bathtub during the night, led me to the couch and covered me with a blanket. With the one eye I could open through the stabbing pain, I looked up and saw Bee coming out of one of the bedrooms and tried to smile at her. "Hey, did you have fun with Mike?" I mumbled. She started laughing. "Nah, I ended up making out with his roommate all night."
We linked arms and walked unsteadily home swearing that we would be best friends the rest of our lives. And we have. Over the last 17 years we've seen each other through marriages, divorces, bad haircuts, illnesses, achievements, failures, key lime pie incidents, weight gains, weight losses, deaths of loved ones, a gazillion prank phone calls and everything in between. For some of those years we've lived near each other, and some of them we've lived at opposite ends of the state, but we've always managed to stay as connected as if we were actually sisters.
The last year has been exceptionally hard for Bee. After recovering from a nasty divorce from a boy who refused to become a man several years ago, she began seeing a man who, although he was less-than exciting, had a good job, owned his own home and seemed to really love her. Things moved very fast with Dan. Within the first month she had moved in with him and was helping to raise his daughter. Bee is the nurturing type, and she liked the security that Dan offered. They became a family quickly. She seemed really happy, and I was happy for her.
After about a year, though, things began to change. Bee didn't seem very happy anymore; in fact, most of the time she seemed downright miserable. When I asked her about it she was elusive. "Oh, everything's fine. I'm just tired," she'd say and change the subject. She was obviously unhappy with Dan and her life with him, and she started spending much more of her time alone escaping into a computerized fantasy world and less time with the people who cared about her - including me. I invited her to go places and do things, but she rarely wanted to. Days would go by and suddenly I'd realize that I hadn't spoken to her at all. I felt like not only was I losing Bee, but that she was losing herself. I worried that unless she made some changes in her life that she would never resurface, but she didn't seem to be willing or able to.
It is almost always easier to stay where you're at than to make a change, even if where you're at is making you unhappy and unhealthy. This is especially true if you're a woman...and past a certain age.
Bee, now in her mid-thirties, is certainly past that age. Even in 2007, there are certain expectations for women in their mid-thirties. We are supposed to be coupled by now. Married, preferably. Children should be in the picture. We should be volunteering at elementary schools or working at respectable jobs and throwing dinner parties and kids birthday parties and admiring our husbands as they put tacky Christmas decorations on the front lawns of our houses that sit on streets with Neighborhood Watch signs.
And if we don't? If, at 38, we find ourselves single and childless; if we can shut up our inner voice that tells us we're not worthy, look into the mirror and say out loud,
"I reject the vapid and hypnotized mainstream and the orgy of uninspired fucking that goes on there and I am FABULOUS because of it!"
Well, there's still the voice of our mothers whispering into the deepest darkest cavities of our ears and our psyches, "You should be giving me grandchildren by now. You're going to die pathetic and alone. You are such a disappointment."
And then there are the looks of those that reside within that mainstream; looks that are a combination of jealousy, fear, and worst of all, pity.So I understood why Bee hung on - why she clung to an "acceptable" but unfulfilled life. I knew that one day she would figure it all out - whether that meant staying where she was or shaking it all up and moving down the road.
Three days ago I found myself in the middle of my fourth Red Tail Ale in Bee's brand new apartment - the one where she lives alone above an art gallery in old town. I was telling her about the very odd and interesting family reunion I'd just been to. Bee was drinking too, and we were trying to hold off on dinner even though we were both starving, just to enjoy the beer buzz a little longer.
A couple more beers, three prank phone calls, four stories that started out with, "Hey, remember that time...," three rounds of the classic tune "God Bless My Underwear," and six trips to the bathroom later, we were rolling on the floor clutching our stomachs with laughter wondering if that burning smell coming from the kitchen was the turkey meatloaf or the baked potatoes. I looked over at Bee and realized that she no longer had the vacant look that I'd become so used to seeing in her eyes. She looked beautiful and radiant and perfectly happy. For a split second, we both stared at each other and became almost serious.
"You know, " I started, "If anyone asks you what happened to you and Dan and you don't want to deal with the questions or the LOOKS or anything...."
Bee interrupted me. "I can tell them that I'm part of a polyamorous threesome with you and Squirrel?"
That wasn't really where I was going with that statement, but it occurred to me that it would certainly shut someone up in a hurry.
Welcome home, Bumblebee. I've missed you.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Alright, it's time yet again for a running tally of phrases and words that have led the searchers to our fuzzy little world of Chocolate Covered Xanax.
Who are these people? (and why haven't they invited me to their parties?)
* red bumps inner thighs after camping
* is it possible to get giardia from port-a-potty
* i love xanax
* we love to have sex covered in food
* b&m canned bread where to buy california
* girls covered in baked beans
* i dont like you i think i love you
* xanax chocolate bars
* my favorite day of the week saturday
* exciting foreplay
* xanax ingredients made simple
* chocolate covered breasts
and the ever popular:
* chocolate assless chaps.
White chocolate has always been my favorite kind.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
24 hour Church of Elvis- check
Saturday Market- check
And now adding to the list: Miss White Trash Pageant
I was so disappointed that I had missed it, because who, in their right mind, doesn't want to win a 1973 GMC, meat products, a tattoo of a naked lady and a check for $29.99?
Next year I'm bustin' out the Daisy Dukes, bleaching my hair out and crushing a can of beer with my forehead.
Now that's a quality woman!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Walking around the Farmer's Market today on a mission to pick up some Oaxaca Mama salsa, I was reminded by the gigantic piles of gorgeous produce all around me that September is Local Food Month here in Humboldt. As previously mentioned, every day should be about eating locally as far as I'm concerned, but if you haven't discovered the bounty we've got going on here, now is certainly a good time.
My suggestion? Get yourself down to Fortuna right now and pick up some Clendenen's apple cider. This little roadside stand complete with an orchard in the back has been pressing cider since 1909, and they're still doing it the same old-fashioned, unpasteurized way. Pasteurization takes away that just-picked-from-the-tree taste, and Clendenen's refuses to do it and lower the quality of their cider. Thanks to the whole nasty Odwalla E. Coli outbreak in 1996, you can't buy Clendenen's cider in stores anymore - only from the Cider Works itself. And that's not such a bad thing because then you might get to meet Clif.
Not only does Clif Clendenen make the best freakin' cider in the world, he doesn't let a majority of irritating Fortunans who constantly complain about having to drive clear to the metropolis of Eureka to buy underwear (will somebody puhleeze open a damn clothing store down there so they'll shut up already?) sway his opinion that a big box like Walmart won't be anything but a sprawling blight on the town he obviously loves. Clif rocks. He'll tell you all about which apples went into the cider you're buying, since it varies based on what's ripe. He knows the subtle differences of the myriad of honey bottles warmly glowing in the window. He'll even show you the cider press if you'd like, and if you're really lucky to be there on a day that they're making it, he'll give you a sample straight off the press.
I always grab a few bottles when I go - at least one to share with an uninitiated friend who will be frightened by the warning label but immediately converted by the taste. And another to put in the back of the pantry. The beauty of unpasteurized cider is that in a few weeks when you pull it out, it's fermented, bubbly and tastes like the sweetest apple champagne.
And unlike thinking about a Walmart invading your town, the splitting headache you'll have in the morning is totally worth it.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
It's that time of year again...the sunlight is slanting and there's a chill in the air....autumn has definitely arrived. And so have the bald-faced hornets. Those little bastards, along with their cohorts the yellowjackets, are everywhere.
I remember going to our friend Jay's cabin on South Fork Mountain every autumn so that my dad and brother could hunt for deer. Jay used to sit on his front porch eating his breakfast of bacon and eggs every morning while the yellow jackets swarmed all around him. He barely looked at them as he continuously lifted his fork to his mouth. Until, that is, one unlucky creature would land on his plate. With the tiniest hint of a gleam in his eye, Jay would make one quick sweep with his arm and stab the yellowjacket right in its nasty little heart. And without a hint of unease, he would then wipe his fork off on his napkin and continue to eat breakfast. I never saw him miss.
I, unfortunately, never acquired Jay's talent for annihilating, nor his laissez-faire attitude about, wasps. So it was with trepidation that I journeyed out to the apple tree this afternoon to pick enough beautiful sweet red apples for the food that smells and tastes like autumn itself: Grammy's fresh apple cake.
My gram, in her little house on Monument Road, has made this cake for years, and like all the best recipes in this world, it's very simple. Therefore, hypothetically speaking, of course, if you are suffering from exhaustion due to the Great Autumnal Raging Hormone Surge of 2007, and you just happen to make a few mistakes here and there, like maybe....you don't beat the sugar with the butter, you add it to the dry ingredients....and you forget to sift the dry ingredients...and you underestimate how many apples you picked so you add two more cups than the recipe calls for...and you try to put the sugar back up in the cupboard and in doing so knock an entire box of open baking soda into the cake batter sitting by the stove so you have to dig it all out with your hands and then vacuum the stovetop while using language Grammy definitely wouldn't approve of.....well, you have nothing to worry about. Everything will be just fine, especially if you serve it warm with a big scoop of Humboldt Creamery vanilla.
Grammy Edith's Fresh Apple Cake
1 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups chopped apples
1 cup nuts and/or raisins rolled in flour (optional, of course)
Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Beat together the butter and sugar. Add egg and beat. Add dry ingredients. Stir in apples and anything else you desire (the batter will be thick like cookie dough.) Pour into a greased 8" x 8" pan and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.
Friday, September 14, 2007
To continue today's theme of....well, if you've read the previous posts you already know....here's something Keri and I would like to share just because we're sweet that way. It's one of our favorite groups asking that age old question: Do you take it?
The Wet Spots
Well, do you?
You people covering your eyes right now....you know you love it.
bomp chicka bow wow...chicka bomp chicka bow bow....
Monday, September 10, 2007
I had never been to Happy Camp, and having packed fairly light, was a little anxious that we hadn't stopped in Hoopa to stock up on some groceries. But as we pulled into the parking lot of the market and stepped inside, my fears were easily put to rest. Everything we could possibly need was there on the shelves.
The town was actually much prettier than I had expected. We found a campground called Curly Jack where we would spend a couple nights with some guitar-playing rafters, set up camp and then headed to the park where the festival was being held.
I'm sure Bigfoot was much happier with the display of love given him in Happy Camp. There was art, jewelry, clothes and crafts, and I was excited to see that the majority of it was hand-crafted. There was a magician wearing a bright yellow suit at the pavillion who actually pulled a rabbit out of...something...maybe a hubcap? Anyway, the kids loved him. After that, we got a sneak preview of the Bigfoot court. Having lost the coveted Fortuna High prom queen prize to some undeserving slutty cheerleader in 1988, I felt a little tear well up in my eye at the sight of the beautiful Bigfoot queen. The only criticism we had was that just like in Willow Creek, there was an extreme lack of Bigfoot schwag. We could only find one type of t-shirt. I can't find the words to properly describe it, so I'll just let the picture speak for itself.
The food at the Happy Camp festival was also superior. There were huge Indian tacos, barbequed flesh, pizza, and just about any kind of deep-fried morsel you can imagine. Squirrel and I were really looking forward to dessert. There was a booth serving gigantic bowls of shaved ice in over 20 different flavors. In the center of each huge mound of flavored ice was an equally huge mound of soft-serve ice cream. It filled up the middle and came spurting out the top like some kind of weird sweet volcanic treat. It looked fabulous - but after the tacos and the side of the largest fried zucchini rounds ever, we just couldn't stomach anymore. Besides, we had to save room for Reese's s'mores. We headed back to camp happy and satiated and fell into sweet Bigfoot dreams accompanied by an off-key version of "Fire and Rain."
In the morning as we sat drinking coffee and enjoying the quiet, we skimmed over the program for the rest of the festivities. The parade started at 11, and we definitely didn't want to miss that. We figured we might be able to get in a quick swim before heading into town. But wait! There was something else we just had to be a part of: the local elementary school's pancake breakfast! We hurriedly got dressed and headed to the school. Who would possibly want to miss being served lukewarm food by surly thirteen-year-olds who'd rather be anywhere but there on a Sunday morning? The bonus was that we also got to eat on plastic trays! It was the best $10 we'd spent in a long time.
The parade was everything that a small-town Bigfoot parade should be. Here's the beautiful queen:
We talked to this guy for awhile. He told us that after the parade he was going to get Bigfoot on the back of his bike and do a photo shoot in the woods for "Easy Rider" magazine. Squirrel, who has ONLY looked at "Easy Rider" because his...um... roommate in the Army had a subscription....uh huh....yeah, that's it....said that he had noticed some of the women in the magazine looked like Sasquatch, but he had never seen the real Bigfoot in one. Maybe Squirrel's "army buddy" will send him this issue.
My favorite entry was the "State of Jefferson" garbage truck. That guy could really fling the candy!
Of course Bigfoot was there, but he was quite elusive. I only managed to capture a flash of his foot as he went running by.
It was HOT in Happy Camp, and standing on concrete for an hour made us sticky and sweaty and ready for that swim we had missed to go to the pancake breakfast. We headed to the store to hopefully find a local who knew of a good swimming hole.
"Oh, sure!" said the woman who was bagging groceries behind the counter. "You take this road here and drive, oh, between two to six miles or so. It'll take you about fifteen minutes - twenty if you drive slow. Look for a perfectly manicured lawn and a turn-out across the street. Park there and you can walk right down to the river."
The directions were a bit sketchy, but we were sure that we could figure it out. We drove, snidely wondering what "perfectly manicured" actually looked like in Happy Camp. After about ten minutes I noticed that we seemed to be going much higher than the river. After fifteen, the county-maintained road ended, and we got out to take a look. We were high above the river, and there was absolutely no way down. Figuring we'd gone too far, we turned around and headed back down the hill. We stopped several times along the way whenever we'd see what appeared to be some sort of lawn. Each time, we saw what looked like beautiful swimming holes, but there was no way to get to them without seriously risking life or limb.
At one turn-out, we saw a trail leading back into the woods. We could hear water in the distance and hurriedly ran down the trail imagining the glorious swimming hole at the end. The trail ended abruptly in several walls of poison oak. Each way we turned there was more poison oak - it was completely impassable.
Trying to remain positive, we drove a little bit further, parked the car and decided we might have a better chance of finding something on foot. We walked and walked in the stifling heat. Streams of perspiration began to drip down my forehead into my eyes. My flip-flops were making matching blisters between the toes of both of my feet. The bag of towels and books I was carrying felt like it weighed fifty pounds.
At this point, I began to get a little bit cranky. And perhaps a little bit paranoid. I imagined the woman in the store laughing hysterically and telling all of the locals who came in about the swimming hole snipe hunt she had just sent some dumb tourists on. I visualized her glowing red eyes....the little horns starting to peek through the dark roots of her unkempt blonde hair...the forked tail curled up inside of her out-of-style stonewashed jeans.
"I'm done," I told Squirrel. "You can keep searching for this damn swimming hole all day, but I. AM. DONE. I'm going back to the car where at least I can turn on the air conditioning." Sensing, in the throes of my temper tantrum, that I might just leave him there, Squirrel wisely followed. We got in the car and drove silently back down the road that would take us to the campground.
Suddenly we came around a turn and saw that to our left was a long stretch of perfectly manicured lawn, and on our right was a gravel turnout. How in the world did we miss it on our way up? We pulled into the turnout and gazed at the glorious swimming hole before us like it was some kind of mirage.
The crabbiness and paranoia disappeared with the first dive into the cool blue water. A little girl who was swimming there too asked me where we were from. I told her we were from Eureka and had come for the festival. "How'd you find this place?" she frowned suspiciously at me as she challenged me to a breath-holding contest. "A beautiful blonde angel at the grocery store told us about it."
We spent several blissful hours floating the afternoon away.
That night Squirrel read me scary Bigfoot sighting stories around the campfire. I was disappointed that we hadn't had our own encounter, but inside the tent, I was sure that I heard the call of Sasquatch in the distance.
The next morning we sadly took down the tent and packed the car to go home. Neither one of us was ready to leave Happy Camp - or Bigfoot. But we'll be back next year. We already have our Bigfoot action figure/toenail jewelry booth all planned out.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
I snapped this photo recently of Bigfoot in Happy Camp and have been wondering ever since where he's planning to go with his newly acquired passport. What are your thoughts?
P.S. This is not the official Labor Day Honeymoon Part 2, but merely an interlude as my powers of concentration have been destroyed today by Greg.....and a couple of painkillers.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
On Labor Day Weekend of 2006, Squirrel and I had packed all of our worldly belongings and had roped every friend we could into helping us move them with the promise of undying gratitude, eternal love and intoxicating lemon drinks.
We had been warned that it was "Round-up Weekend." Not really knowing what this meant, we assumed we'd meet a few cowboys on the hillside or cattle trucks on the road. What it really meant was that for four days our next door neighbors would be hundreds of teenaged cows who had just been taken from their mothers on the open range and shoved into a corral. The noise was an indescribable cacophony of bleating and screaming with a sound underneath it all that was something akin to a Nascar race track. It was absolutely horrible. I looked at my friends with a shaky smile. "They go to sleep at night, don't they?"
They do not.
By the third night, I couldn't take it anymore. Squirrel found me at 3 a.m. on the couch with a bottle of wine and tears streaming down my face. "They've taken them away from their moms," I sobbed at him. "And now they won't stop crying....and now I can't stop crying...it's just so sad!!!"
It was at that moment that Squirrel determined that we would be going out of town for Labor Day weekend of 2007 - no matter what.
Fortunately for us, there are two fabulous festivals that happen every year at this time. They're both close enough for a weekend journey, and the best part is that they both revolve around the legendary and elusive Bigfoot. We decided to start our Bigfoot honeymoon at Bigfoot Daze in Willow Creek, and then move on to Bigfoot Jamboree in Happy Camp. We also decided to compare and contrast the two so we would feel like researchers rather than...well...um...big dorks.
We arrived Friday night at Tish Tang, set up camp, ate the ubiquitous roasted hot dogs and settled in for a peaceful night's sleep. As soon as we laid down, the noise began. Yelling, laughing, breaking glass, screaming, fighting, loud music...it all wafted up to us from the river bed. Then we began to hear more foreign noises: sirens. It wasn't a very restful sleep, but since newlyweds aren't really supposed to be sleeping much anyway, we made the best of it and awoke the next morning ready to start the festivities.
The festival was at the river park, and it was certainly well-attended. There were tons of people - a lot of them who had obviously been indulging in some mind-altering substances (and not the fun kind) - really bad live music and a lot of scary-looking food. I was also expecting some art, craft and bigfoot schwag, but those things were sorely lacking. There were a few booths, but most of them seemed as if they had bought out the local Dollar store and were reselling the items for $3.00. The oddest thing was that there was absolutely nothing Bigfoot - no t-shirts, no action figures, no jewelry. The paper mentioned that someone named Dr. Bigfoot would be on hand to tell stories of sightings, but we didn't see him anywhere. For a festival in its 47th year, it didn't have a very fun vibe and was more than a little creepy, so we decided that we'd pack our stuff and move on down the road to Happy Camp.
I did find it interesting that a booth from the "Creation Research of the North Coast" was there in Willow Creek.
As much as I begged Squirrel to ask the guy what day Bigfoot was created on, he just wouldn't do it.
to be continued....