Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Did You Hear That?

Date: Jan 23, 2008

Place: Small town beauty parlor

Time: 3:30pm

A late twenty something woman (I'll call her Liz) sits in the parlor chair getting her hair coiffed by an early twenty something girl (let's call her Frenchy). They continue to talk loudly while Frenchy back combs the hell out of Liz's highly gelled and sprayed strands of DNA.

Liz: You know, I used to be a hair stylist too.

Frenchy: Really?!? Oh my God...NO WAAAAYYYY!

Liz: Yah, I would get sooooo stressed out that I would go home and cry. But then I got a higher calling.

Long Pause......... (wait for it....)

Frenchy: Like what??

Liz: Oh, now I'm a real estate agent.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Things that make me feel better after driving home with a terrible sake hangover and realizing there are probably things from the night before that I

should regret saying but unfortunately can't remember enough to regret them:


1) Boys with spiky hair who work at Safeway

I realize that every moment of every day that goes by I move a step closer to being 40. I also realize that this means I have most definitely moved into the realm where young people who bag my groceries might begin to call me ma'am. Spiky haired boys at Safeway certainly realize this too, but they wisely wink and call me miss anyway, god love 'em.

2) Yams

Hot, steamy, yummy, orangey...baked and eaten with nothing but some fresh salted butter on top. They settle my stomach and make me feel all wholesome and earthy and pure and virginal again.

3) Langhorne Slim on the ipod.

His voice is just unhinged enough to be comforting.

4) Snow

Beautiful, silent and peaceful snow. Getting snowed in means that maybe by the time I'm able to get to town again, everyone will have forgotten about all the inappropriate things that came out of my mouth.

5) Daffodils

The coming of spring means that I can melodramatically blame my overindulgence on the dark, dreary, depressing days of winter and my feelings of grief and loss and hopelessness. Sniff.

6) Love is blind

I have a husband who upon seeing me this morning about to hike up to check the water tank in fleece pajamas with sheep on them, hot pink rubber boots and hair that hadn't been brushed for two days said, "You look like Super Homesteader Girl. That's hot." While doing the dishes, no less. What more could a girl ask for?

P.S. If I happened to have seen you outside the Shanty and loudly pointed out the upstairs window you need to yell at in order to get crack, sent you a pornographic email, flashed you while you were driving or talked to you on the phone and asked you to run away and join a traveling carnival with me and let the bearded lady homeschool our little carny

My list.

Last night Burt and I went out on a double date with a girlfriend that I've had since the forth grade. This may not seem like any big deal but let me tell you, when you move around a lot as a kid, friends come and go. They have to. It's the nature of the beast. You don't want to get too attached because you know that soon enough you will be forgetting them and trying to make a whole new batch of replacements. I've always been envious of people who have firmly planted family roots. Lots of friends and a centered self confidence are traits that continue to elude me. I like to be solitary, inverted. For me it's almost painful to be around groups of people. But...

After a long day of dragging myself to the gym, overeating at lunch, followed by a required nap I managed to throw on some clothes and head out the door. We met at a Macaroni Grill. Now, Burt and I are no strangers to going out to dinner so when we saw the parking lot we knew something was going on. It looked like the day after Christmas...thousands of cars! After driving around for about 10 minutes we hiked in beneath torrential buckets of rain. Once inside we discovered that two local high schools were having their Winter Formals. The girls were all dressed up in sparkling gowns, hair just so and long fake eyelashes. On top of this they donned their Columbia Sportswear heavy winter coats. Nice. You gotta love Oregon. Oddly enough they were from the same 2 high schools that my girlfriend and I went to.

During the meal we were entertained by my girlfiend's husband getting water dumped on his lap by the waiter and a 9-ish year old girl who had been dropped off by her parents to sell valentines from table to table. After a lively dinner conversation of aging gracefully, people being hit by buses and trains, strikes and child molestation we decided that we should try to catch a movie. By this time I'm can do this. I know you want to go home and get in your sock monkey flannel pjs and watch the new episode of Rock of Love... but just go with the flow!

This turned out to be a great move on our part. The Bucket List was playing and although we arrived just as the previews were rolling, we were 2 rows from the front. Not exactly comfy but somehow profound. It was like the universe was literally putting the movie right up in my face to say "Pay attention!!"

If you haven't seen this movie yet...what are you waiting for? Without giving anything away, the movie is about making a list of things you would like to do before you kick the bucket. Simple enough. By the end my girlfriend and I were in tears and then I remembered why she has and always will be my friend. After this long she is my family, my roots and all the things I didn't think I had were there all along.

Burt and I started on our own list last night. I already crossed one off...allowing myself to have roots through a lasting friendship. How's your list coming?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Crush Update

You might remember my mad crush on the sweet but troubled Number 24-08.

It seems that some bull has stolen her heart and made an honest heifer out of her.

Look, she's a mom!

Does this mean she's given up her hoodlum cow ways? I won't know for sure until apple season.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Drag kings, Nuns and Sparkly Green Panties

M.C.'d by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to benefit Humboldt Pride, the 2008 Mizz Thang Drag Pageant at Auntie Moe's nightclub was the place to be Sunday night.

I've been a huge fan of drag queens for a long time, and there was definitely some major talent rocking the stage. There was also some major talent rocking the bench seats....and the backdoor....and the bathroom stall...but that's a different kind of story. There were feather boas, grinding dance grooves, nun's habits, the yummiest looking drag kings on the planet, sequined undies, stiletto heels, strange door prizes, and everyone there either being who they are...or who they want to be...all for a good cause.

And even though the bartender made me a horribly nasty drink called "Bitch on Wheels," and then charged me for a new drink when I took it back to her visibly gagging, it was a fabulous time.

Here are some of my favorite answers from the very intensive interview portion of the pageant

Sister of Perpetual Indulgence: What do you want the judges to know about you?
Drag Queen Contestant: I like to cook Betty Crocker dinners and get flogged after dessert.

Sister: What do you think is the best way to help with the Middle East peace process?
Drag King Contestant: Um.......Uh......Maybe fly some rainbow flags all over the place?

Sister: What do you want the judges to know about you?
Drag Queen Contestant: David Bowie is my spirit animal.

Sister: Which brand of lube do you feel lasts the longest?
Drag Queen Contestant: My saliva.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Simple answers

This week my mom and dad are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.

One unusually sunny Eureka day in 1968, my dad, who worked for the Pacific Telephone Company, went to install a new phone at my mom's apartment. He arrived to find her enjoying the sun in her backyard - in a very tiny swimsuit. He was so taken with her that he pretended to be missing a piece of equipment so that he could go back to see her the next day.

Three months later they were married.

Forty years after that they still leave each other love notes on the bathroom mirror.

You would think with role models like that, I would be great at relationships, and I am. I'm great at jumping into them without thought; I'm great at completely screwing them up, and I'm really great at getting out of them in ridiculous melodramatic ways. Somehow I didn't acquire the same skills that seemed to come naturally to them.

A few weeks ago I was sitting at the dining table at their house. My mom and I were sharing fudge and conversation, both of which are treats during the madness of the holidays. She was telling me about how Dad wanted to take her on a vacation for their anniversary. Having only been married a few months, it seemed like the perfect time to ask her the question I'd wanted to for a long time.

"Mom. I really need to know. What's the secret to staying married for forty years?"

She barely paused. "Oh honey, just be kind to each other."

Could it really be that simple? I thought about that for a minute, and I thought about the way that I'd always seen my mom and dad relate to each other. Things had not always been perfect. There were bounced checks, fender benders, rebellious children and all sorts of other typical things that make two people snap at each other once in awhile. I'm sure there were other things too - more serious things that my brother and I may have never known about. But I can count on one hand the number of times I heard either of them speak harshly to the other.

When my dad grumbles because he can't find something, is certain my mom has hidden it from him and has to go on a "god damned treasure hunt" to find it, my mom sweetly smiles and helps him look for it.

When my mom is upset because my grandmother has said something thoughtless and cruel to her for the umpteenth time, my dad holds her hand and tells her that everything will be alright. And he goes to fill Grandma's woodbox and fix her television regardless.

They kiss each other every time one of them leaves the house, even if it's just to run to the store, and while talking to one another on the phone, I've never heard either one hang up without saying "I love you."

After thinking about that, I realized that my mom had summed up the philosophy of their entire marriage in one sentence. Just be kind to each other.

I guess sometimes the most difficult questions are solved with the simplest answers. Maybe there's hope for me yet.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Compound

My dad has always been logical. A "black and white" kinda guy. As I was growing up, this realization both sucked and...well, sucked. On the plus side he was both reliable and responsible. The voice of reason. We used to make fun of him "getting up on his soapbox" and giving you a good 2 hour lecture on why you should or shouldn't do something. If you were lucky, you got one of his old Irish sayings that only took a sentence or two and wrapped up nicely. "Ya know...there's an old Irish saying....No tickey, no laundry." That little gem right there got me through most of my homework I didn't want to do, chores and cleaning out my parent's car in order to borrow it.

Mom was the emotional one. She was the first to cheer you on but also the first to yell at you. She should have been born a redhead. Dad likened her once to a firecracker. Quick to get mad but then it was over. My dad was more like a volcano. He'd take it and take it and then good God look out!

The lines were clearly drawn in the sand when my younger brother and I had an issue. Had trouble with a boy? Talk to Mom. Got a flat tire? Dad was your man. Had math or history homework that you couldn't figure out? Dad. Something you didn't want Dad to hear from you? Tell Mom, she always told Dad everything anyway.

And so our lives continued on from high school through college, marriages, births, divorces and deaths. Somewhere along the way my parent's got older. Their personalities changed. Dad began to mellow with age. His black and white thinking turned as grey as his hair color. He became less interested in making the correct decisions and more interested in how you felt about those decisions. He felt he had made some mistakes when we were younger. He started craving to spend time with us. Now don't get me wrong...Dad had always wanted to spend time with us but now he was doing things like calling just to say hi.

As you can well imagine, my relationships with my parents started shaking like a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. What the hell was happening??? My foundation was starting to show cracks. Where were the lectures?? Where was the soapbox and the sayings and THE REASONING????

Now it was like I had two moms (minus the firecracker part). Dad started talking about his "compound". Excuse me...a what? Yup, that's what I said too. "You mean like Waco?" I'm pretty sure the Irish don't live on compounds. Anyway, it was his utopia. At first he mentioned it casually. "Ya know, that way we could all be together." Mom thought he had lost it and needed his hormone levels checked.

The other day I was talking to Dad and he abruptly got up. "I want to show you this. I've been working on the compound." He brought out a sheet of paper and started drawing on it. "Now see, we would have a main yurt in the center and then these other smaller yurts spoking out like a wagon wheel. There would be a breezeway between them all. If you wanted to be by yourself then you could go to your family's yurt...but the main yurt would have a kitchen and family room. The smaller ones are mainly for sleeping. Well???(grinning) What do you think???"

YURT???? Knowing that this man could cry at any moment, and not wanting to be the source of his new found emotional pain, I kicked my own soapbox under the table and fought off the urge to give a 2 hour lecture about the freezing cold of a Willow Creek winter and the thin canvas walls of a yurt.

Seeking the solace that only a cousin could give about now, I quickly called Kristabel and told her of my Dad's entry into early senility. "Oh my God...I LOVE yurts!!!!" she cried. I think the word "yurtastic" even got used. Great, add another spoke on the yurt of the family compound.

So, if you ever get to Willow Creek come on by. We'll all be in the main yurt talking about feelings and how the world is grey and if you are lucky you might just hear "Ya know...there's an old Irish saying..."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Did You Hear That?

DATE: January 11, 2008

An Arcata drinking establishment

TIME: 5:00 p.m.

A man and a woman are standing behind the counter at work chatting. The man is telling her about a trip that he will be taking for a first meeting with a person he met on the internet.

Man: I'm flying in to Gulfport, Mississippi on Saturday, so I called him up yesterday and asked him if he was going to pick me up from the airport.

Woman: Is he going to?

Man: Yeah. Then I asked him if he was coming alone, and he said, "I'm sure not gonna bring the missus with me."

Woman: Oh my god! So....

Man: So yeah. You know it's gonna happen. We'll have the whole evening together, and we're going to do things that are totally illegal - at least in the state of Mississippi.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A little storm story

Alright, I give.


I'm throwing in the towel.

The official score:
Mother Nature: too many to count
Kristabel: a big fat zero

It all started innocently enough Friday morning right after the power went out. When Squirrel and I left the house at 7 a.m., we realized there might be some obstacles....tree branches in the road, a few pot holes, maybe a puddle or two. With plenty of caffeine coursing through our veins we headed out full of energy. We had seen the weather forecast and since the storm was supposed to get worse, we had packed our bags and were driving in two separate cars so that we could spend the weekend in town as I had to work Saturday night.

About every 1/8 of a mile or so we were stopped by tree limbs - some of them much larger than we imagined. At first it was fun - jumping out of the car, hauling off a big branch, flexing our muscles that early in the morning. The ranchers are usually the ones doing things like pulling our sorry asses out of ditches and such, so it felt good to be the first ones on the scene - clearing the way for everyone else who had to get on the road that day. It usually takes us 20 minutes to reach the Wildcat from where we live. On Friday it took close to an hour.

Continuing on down the Wildcat there were even bigger and heavier branches to get out of the way. At one point I looked down at myself and realized I was soaking wet and covered in mud. "At least if I'm going to show up for work like this I'll have a good country living story to tell," I thought.

Suddenly Squirrel stopped in front of me. I looked around his truck to see that a huge tree had fallen into the road and was leaning precariously on a power line. I rolled down the window to yell at Squirrel as he surveyed the scene. "Can we drive underneath it?" I innocently asked. He looked at me like I had asked him to vote Republican, and I quickly rolled up the window and turned around.

We headed back up the Wildcat and over Bear River Ridge Rd., thinking that we might be able to get to town by driving over the ridge and into Rio Dell. A few miles in we came upon more trees - big, heavy and lying across the road, and we knew we couldn't make it that way either.

Resolved to wait it out at home until the tree was cleared, we started to drive back down the hill to our schoolhouse. Unfortunately, my body was revolting against the gallon of coffee I had drunk, and I found it necessary to stop at a conveniently located corral to take care of things. Upon returning to the car I let out a groan. My front tire was almost completely flat. Squirrel got out his handy air pump and pumped the tire back up, but we decided to leave it there until later when we were driving back into town.

We spent a lovely couple of hours at home getting caught up on chores...really....we were not eating blueberry bread and pretending it was Saturday we weren't...stop smirking....then got in Squirrel's truck and started back up the hill. I was praying the entire way that the tire had stayed inflated, and that I could drive it right to Fortuna, but when we pulled up, we were out of luck. The tire was completely flat.

Squirrel quickly grabbed everything to change it and started loosening the nuts. He had only been working on it for about five minutes when the wind started blowing so hard I thought that Squirrel, the two cars and I were all going to end up at the bottom of the ravine in a heap. Then it started to rain. Realizing we needed to wait until the storm broke a bit to finish, we ran for Squirrel's truck and sat inside. Every time we felt like there was a little break in the wind and rain we ran out to work more on the tire. Then the wind would start to howl, the sharp hail would pelt us in the face, and we'd have to get back in the truck. It took us two hours and innumerable swear words to get the spare on. At that point all hope of working that day was lost.

Still dodging fallen branches all the way down, I drove as carefully as I could to Fortuna, and I could swear I heard a choir singing as I pulled into Les Schwab. Completely relieved to be somewhere warm and helpful I waited in line not realizing what I looked like. The woman at the counter glanced up at me, and then her eyes widened. "Are you alright?" she mouthed. At that moment it struck me as such a kind thing to ask that I couldn't respond. I just shook my head as she took my keys and pointed me to the free popcorn.

Saturday was uneventful, and I woke up Sunday ready to head back to the valley. I had left Hitchcock, the world's greatest cat, with plenty of food and water, but he's old and needy and really likes it when we're around to build him a fire. Plus when we've left him for too long, and he gets mad about it, he pees on our bed. So it was important to get home to him.

I checked the weather reports. No storm advisories. No flood watches. Nothing about snow. The temperature was pretty warm. I thought it was a great time to head for home. Squirrel had gone over to his mom's earlier in the day, and we were going to meet back at the house. I was looking forward to a quiet evening with him and my newly brewed batch of Meyer Limoncello.

Most of the drive was fine with just a light drizzle falling. I was lost in my thoughts of the toasted corn chowder I was going to make that night when I noticed that the rain looked more like slush. As I turned onto Upper Bear River Road, there was a little bit of snow sticking to the sides.

Just then the sky burst open and huge amounts of snowflakes started falling so thick I could barely see. I drove a little bit further and realized there was a lot of snow on the road and that I'd never make it home in my two-wheel drive. At the first clearing, I turned around to go back to town. I had almost made it to the Wildcat when through the snow I saw a large blue truck coming my way - PG & E. I hesitated. Should I back up? Was there room for both of us? Would he back up? I saw that he was easing his truck to the side of the road so that we could get by each other, so I did too.

And that's where I stayed.

I was in a bank of snow that had accumulated on the side, and there was no way I could get traction. I tried to reverse it, but that didn't work either. I sat in complete disbelief of my own stupidity and tried to stop myself from banging my head on the steering wheel. Then I got out and tried to wave down the PG & E truck.

"! Hey! I'm stuck! Stop driving you jackass! This is your fault! Heeeeey!"

He kept on driving.

Fortunately, just as I was deciding which of my poor friends or family had four-wheel drive and would have to come get me, the PG & E driver came back. He had tried to drive down into the valley but had thought better of it and had turned around. He sweetly tried to push my car out, but it was no use, so I grabbed my bags, and he drove me back to Ferndale. On the way he told me all about what it was like to be a PG & E guy in storms and how his usual shifts were 36 hours straight and how he was on his way to San Rafael. I smiled at him and told him how much we all appreciate them through gritted teeth that were keeping my mouth from yelling, "36 hour shift! My god! Can you even see straight? Please don't kill me."

Back in town I called Clyde's Towing. "Nope, sorry. We don't have four-wheel-drive tow trucks. There's a guy in McKinleyville that does, but he's really expensive. Your best bet is just to wait until it's melted."

Wait until it's melted. Argh.

So here I sit. Car-less and limoncello-less, with a cat who's probably peeing on my bed as I write this. Waiting until it's melted.

I'm done. Beat down and worn out, and I admit my defeat. All those "Don't Mess with Mother Nature" warnings were right.

Will somebody please pour me a drink?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Kristabel: Several days ago I had a crafting emergency. It was time for my monthly Not Yo Mama's Craft Night, AKA Drinkers Who Craft, and I had not yet started my craft challenge. The other members and I had been given a plain glass ornament to take home. We had the entire month to craft it up and bring it to the next meeting. In my usual style, I had waited until the night before and was stuck for ideas. This is where I knew my craft diva cousin would come in. She is never without ideas, so I called her in a panic. "Oh my god, Ker, I only have a few hours and I can't think of anything good to do with it. What do you think?!"

Upon consideration, Keri had several great ideas. Unfortunately none of them would work in the short amount of time I had. I concluded that I would just have to go with my first whim - take strips of red paper, write "Merry Fucking Christmas" on them, twist them and shove them inside the ornament. That idea expressed my true holiday feelings anyway, so I started cutting, and Keri and I continued to chat. Inevitably, Chocolate Covered Xanax made its way into our conversation. We realized that we had never done a post in tandem....where I would write something and she would continue it, or vice versa. We decided that the new year would be the perfect time to try it, that we should write something about our resolutions and that we would do it over the next few days. We then, of course, spent the rest of the time laughing so hard that we both had to sit on the floor with tears running down our faces over something I can't even remember now, but it makes me want to sing the song from "The Patty Duke Show," especially the "hot dog makes her lose control" line.

Later on, when I sat down to write, I suddenly had a flashback about something very similar. About six years ago I had bought a Circle Journey journal so that Keri and I could have a creative way to keep in touch. I wrote a couple of pages, sealed it and mailed it to Keri. A week or so later I got it back, opened it excitedly and began to read. It was a list of her resolutions. There were more resolutions on it than I'd ever seen in my life. Lose five pounds every month. Read one book every two weeks. Exercise five or more times per week....and the list went on. She was so ambitious! I loved reading her goals and knowing what she was going to be working on during the year. Until it got to the end. She had drawn a little heart, and then, in her pretty curly handwriting at the bottom of the page had written, "What are your resolutions?"

Oh, the pressure.

I used to do resolutions. I used to think of things that I could do to improve my life, write them down and attempt to work on them. But instead of trying really hard, or breaking them and feeling guilty, I would usually break them one by one while giggling and rubbing my hands together with glee. It felt so rebellious. And it felt so silly. This was something that Keri would never do, and I just couldn't write down my resolutions knowing I'd have to tell her about happily breaking them. The journal has never left the desk drawer that I put it into that day. I don't do resolutions anymore.

And so, in the hope that I don't stick this blog in a desk drawer never to be looked at again, I'll just repeat: I don't do resolutions. I do everyday. Each day that I make it out of bed and into the world I try to do just a few things on top of all the regular responsibilities and duties. I try to show kindness to people, even when they don't deserve it. I try to deserve the kindness I receive from other people. I try to find amusement wherever I can and to live as creative a life as possible. I try to question everything I hear, even when it's easier to just believe. I try to do what I think is right even when it makes others mad. Sometimes I succeed at these, and sometimes I fail. But I always try, and most days - and most new years - that's enough.

Keri: Every new year I make resolutions.

I like to make lots of them. It makes me feel like I'm shopping for a new outfit. I'll take that dress and those shoes and oh...don't forget that necklace. And I could really use a new brassiere.

And so it goes for my goals for the new year.

In years past I've had the typical lose weight, exercise, organize, eat healthier blah blah blah goals. Too generic. It always felt like my new outfit came from Wal-Mart. Everybody looked the same and we all had the same goals. Well, as Burt can attest, I'm no Stepford wife. This year is different.

I don't want to be disappointed so I've decided that I will pick out the things that I learned most this last year that were lessons in disguise. Things that, upon careful reflection, are worth more than a new pair of panties. Things that are so important they're like that well worn Jimmy Choo shoe that knows only your arch and slips on like butter. You know, the patent leather peep toe?!? After all, how many clothes do you have just hanging in your closet that you never wear?

Here are my truths for 2007.

#1 Karma is a bitch with a baseball bat. Don't ever get on her bad side.
#2 Work is just work. It's a paycheck. Count your blessings if you really love it too.
#3 Funerals are more fun when drinking is involved.
#4 Don't ever answer the backdoor. Make them go around to the front.
#5 Kids and old people are funny. Write down what they say.
#6 Birthdays may not be important to you, but to the ones that love you, they are. Go ahead and order the lobster!
#7 Feeding the soul is not the same as feeding the stomach. Unless of course it involves buttercream, sugar or anything white and creamy.
#8 You should always have more than one friend. That way, when she gets mad at you, you don't revert to #7.
#9 Hair does not define who you are. It grows back. Besides, long blond wigs are kinky.
#10 ABBA playing in the background makes every situation tolerable.

Keri and Kristabel...together...arm in arm, legs kicking wildly in the air: Happy New Year Everyone!!!