Friday, June 29, 2012

On puppies

My brother got a puppy for his 16th birthday.  I find that puppies are one of those few things that can turn even the most serious grown-up adult kind of person into a carefree childish child kind of person, regardless of how serious and grown up the years have made them. The same applies to ice cream cones and helium balloons.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Tasha.

She eats duck food.  (Not to be confused with eating ducks as food.)

She’s absolutely the most difficult moving object to photograph in the world. (This was perhaps my 37th try.)

Sometimes she just rolls around in the grass for no good reason.

And when she falls asleep next to me in my parents’ farm truck snuggled up to an old leather glove my heart absolutely melts.

Sigh. They grow up so fast.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pit stop beauty queens

I was standing outside the port-o-potty at a gas station in Washington.  Another woman stood there too, freshening up while she waited for her friend to come out.  Her red lipstick was fresh, but she still had to have a glance at herself in her small compact mirror before applying some citrus-scented lotion to her hands and looking up at me.

“What cute shoes!” she exclaimed. I looked down at my feet.  One of my socks hung loosely over the side of one of my shoes. The other had awkwardly slipped under my feet.  “Thanks,” I muttered. “I got them at Payless.”  It was an embarrassing thing to say to the woman who was putting her shiny compact mirror back into her Louis Vuitton purse, who couldn’t possibly also be on a road trip at this road-trip only pit stop. I hadn’t anticipated people actually looking at me today. I make it a point to look grungy and sweaty and miserable on long drives like this one.

She looked up at me, then looked back down at my shoes as her friend was emerging from the port-o-potty.  “Phoebe, look at those shoes. Aren’t they cute? And she got them at Payless!”  Phoebe’s lipstick was pink. She nodded in the affirmative, handed me my port-o-potty key, and I escaped into the restroom.

Here I looked into the mirror and learned two things:

1.     I was still wearing the husband’s aviator sunglasses, which make me look uncannily like a man.
2.     There were White Cheddar Popcorn crumbs covering my entire person like chronic dandruff.
3.     There was bird poop on my shirt.  Rather, there was a giant glop of chocolate vanilla ice cream that had dripped upon me two hours earlier without my noticing that looked rather like I had been caught in the unfortunate path of a winged creature with indigestion.

I rinsed my shirt off in the sink and stood awkwardly beneath the hand dryer to make my chest look less soaking wet, grateful the entire time that the only key to this little space was in my possession.  It was only moments, however, before the next perfectly put together woman on a road trip was knocking on the door to see if it was occupied. So I had to hurry things along and walk out with a rather large wet spot on one side of my chest.  I handed the woman my key and hurried away before she commented on my shoes.

My Payless shoes on a non-road trip day.

And that, boys and girls, is why road trips do wonders on a person’s self-esteem. 

Serious road tripping/camping/summering details to COME!

Friday, June 8, 2012


I got work off today because we were definitely going to go to Vegas.

No, really. I swear. We had big plans.  We were heading down there with some friends and we were gonna bask in the 120-degree weather and jump in a pool and see family and everything.

But then we changed our minds.

So the inner moral conflict I dealt with was thus: Should I keep the day off and ignore the workload waiting for me merely 15 minutes down the road while my coworkers spend the day making up for my absence? Or should I keep the day off that was promised me for no real reason whatsoever?

I decided to skip.

And then I totally felt like I did in ninth grade when my friend Tesha and I skipped gym class just to go to the playground across the street to play on the swings for an hour and talk about boys.  There were still girls outside in their gym clothes when we came back, so we tried to be stealthy by sort of awkwardly bending over as we ran right past them.  But everyone knew what we were up to.  And we both got after-school detention, and my mom had to come pick me up, and I was grounded for like three weeks during a crucial window of perfect spring hang-out weather.  But oh, was that playground time WORTH IT!

So when I felt like that I told myself, “Self.  You’re a grown-up now. You’re taking this day to get important things done, like finish the laundry and get the oil changed and catch up on imperative facebook correspondence.”

I was definitely going to do all that stuff.

But instead I went to the park and fed the ducks. They loved my bread.  And I wasn't even sorry.

This isn't even the duck I fed.  I forgot my camera card today so stole this duck from the Internets.

I’m still half waiting for the principal to call my house.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Writer's block

The little robin does a dance around a small spot on the grass in the park, darting its head around suspiciously, then shoots its head down and comes up with something alive and wriggly.  It sees me watching and hops further away, maintaining a safe distance between human and worm.  Ambitious; proud; polished; that’s what he is. And I take my eyes off the bird and look down at my blank sheet of notebook paper and wish I could dive in head first and pull living, breathing, wriggly words out of the raw soil, fueling myself with the energy to fly off and get more inspiration.  But the bird finishes his meal and leaves the ground without me, and I remain here in the park with a full pen and an empty page.