Sunday, November 26, 2006

the long way home

24 november 2006, 2:55 pm, mst, mile 175: we’ve stopped along route 66/I-40 in tucumcari, new mexico. we learned on the way out which end of town had all of the eating establishments, and now we find ourselves at the same blake’s lotaburger where we ate lunch five days ago.

the guy in line in front of us is creatively costumed in coveralls, white athletic socks with stylish grey accents, and flip flops. as we approach the counter, he’s bargaining with the waitress, asking her which combinations of double-meat, cheese, and beverage will come closest to the amount of change sitting in a gleaming pile in his palm. it was sort of like watching an audition for the price is right.

which reminds me- i’m sure you’ve heard by now that bob barker has decided to hang up his microphone next year. this was perhaps the oddest thing i read about in a magazine geared toward a much older audience all year.

no, wait- let me amend that. it was the second oddest thing, because seeing robin williams on the cover of a retirement magazine nearly made me hyperventilate. surely mork’s not old enough to retire yet. i mean, he’s what- 45? 46?

but i digress.

7:45 pm, cst, mile ish: i am sitting in the middle of my bed at the super 8 motel in clinton, oklahoma. i have no clue what our mileage is, but val kilmer was wandering around shirtless in a field (i was watching willow on my laptop in the car) when we pulled up to the motel.

25 november 2006, 3pmish, cst: no trip to kansas city is complete without a trip to taco john’s, and i’m thrilled to report that we’re taking a slight detour to bonner springs, kansas, so i can stuff myself full of tacos and potato oles.

6:15 pm: i’m sitting next to a guy who’s busy tapping away on his apple laptop. i’m not completely sure exactly what he’s working on, but it appears to be a map of europe with song lyrics that are either czech in origin or else bob dylan, as transcribed by a hearing impaired monkey.

there’s a guy a couple of rows ahead of us with his ipod cranked so loudly that i’m beginning to wonder if he has any eardrums left. the guy next to him has already requested a seat change, and the folks in the row behind him are taking advantage of the noise to loudly discuss some of the various things they’d like to do to each other as soon as we get near the “family” bathroom at the airport. (funny- that one never showed up on the “purity” tests that made the rounds when i was in college....not even in the infamous “dr. seuss” section of the 1500-pointer.) all that’s missing is a crying baby, although the guy who seems to be hacking up a lung right behind my right ear is probably close enough.

i’m kinda glad i ate all of my tacos in the car. call me unadventurous, but tacos seasoned with other people’s phlegm just don’t whet my appetite.

Friday, November 24, 2006

i fear for mrs. peacock's tiny bladder

surely, i am not the only one who has noticed a conspicuous omission from the game of clue. how is it that mr. boddy, the owner of the mansion, could afford a house with a ballroom and a billiard room, but not a single bathroom?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

tackling a dreaded assignment

remember back when you were in elementary school and right before the four-day weekend your teacher always gave you the dreaded “what i am thankful for” assignment?

i used to sit there and struggle with what to write. i mean, sure, there were the usual things: family, friends, house, pets, food- but even at a young age, i wanted to be different. i mean, everyone listed at least three of the big five, even if in second grade the list sometimes wound up looking more like “famlee, fiends, hose, pets*, fud”.

well, everyone except for the kid in the corner who was more thankful for his collection of he-man action figures and baseball cards. while such answers were considered selfish, cold, and unfeeling at the time, perhaps maybe that kid understood that the other answers were all too obvious. i mean, aren’t you glad to have each of the big five on pretty much a daily basis, anyway?

with that in mind, here’s the list i wish i’d had the guts to write when i was little:

1. i am thankful that my parents are both addicted to books....and that we have enough bookshelves and other random horizontal surfaces to hold them all.

2. i am thankful that sometimes other people laugh at my jokes....even if it’s only daddy, and he’s just laughing because he was thinking the same thing.

3. i am thankful that my parents believe that spending time with us is more important than spending money on us.

4. i am thankful that my parents like to take my sister and i on road trips, even if it’s just the 30 minute drive to baltimore. (we lived in a suburb at the time.)

5. i am thankful that there’s a really good sledding hill within walking distance of our house, and that daddy lets us sled until we have to practically crawl up the hill for “one last time- really”.

as for my current list?

1. i am thankful that my parents passed their book addiction onto me....even if i don’t really have enough space for all the books i buy.

1a. i am thankful i have a boyfriend who loves me enough to not only let me pile my books everywhere, but also takes hints and buys me new ones when i’m out of things to read.

2. i am thankful for my sparkling wit and personality. i can usually find a way to make someone at least crack a smile, and people find me interesting enough to frequent my blogs and read my ramblings. (though according to statcounter, most of them wound up here because they thought i’d have pictures of female celebrity feet.)

3. i am thankful that my jobs are both fun and flexible....and though i may not be rich, the bills are paid and i’m able to travel as much as i do.

4. i am thankful that my parents passed the travel bug along to me. the world’s a mighty big place, and i’d like to see as much of it as possible.

5. i am thankful that i still haven’t been forced to grow up. next time it snows, you can bet i’ll be out looking for a good hill........

*let’s face it- it’s hard to screw up “pets”, though some seven year olds might have issues spelling names right. i mean, even at a much older age, i had issues deciding whether my hamster, fuzzybutt, needed a hyphen in the middle of his name or not.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

on hiking and hooligans......

i’m pleased to report that my noggin was weird al- free today. instead, it was occupied mostly with “i’m on my way” by inxs, especially when running back to the car after visiting the “ceremonial cave” at bandelier national monument, just northwest of santa fe, new mexico. (no, i haven’t suddenly discovered the joy of sprinting- i lost track of time while climbing ladders to get to the cave and wound up needing to cover a mile in about 5 minutes. unfortunately, the only way i’ll ever do a five minute mile will be on the back of some sort of fast-moving animal.)

while i had to scrap my initial plan, which was to tackle a five-mile hike to a pair of waterfalls in the canyon, i still managed to wander a couple of miles.....and still wound up a little winded while climbing ladders to get to the cave. (honey, start warming up that treadmill for me, okay?)

we just passed a billboard advertising acne cures and tattoo erasures. if you opt for both, do you get some sort of discount? not that i’m seriously asking, mind you. well, not for myself anyway. however, if britney spears was foolish to tattoo anything even vaguely related to her soon to be ex on her person, i’d be more than happy to scribble down the number for her.

which reminds me- during the flight to kansas city last week, i read an article in people magazine about how kevin federline was now boasting about his newfound single status to practically every breathing female he could find. i suppose i should be surprised that no one seems to be banging down his door. did paris hilton not get the memo, or has she developed standards? what sort of a blow is it to a guy’s self esteem to find out that not even paris hilton is willing to make out with you? then again, maybe she caught a preview of that sex tape he seems to think folks might actually be interested in (well, actually, i should probably take that back, since i know people who would, though it most certainly would not be because of kevin’s starring role.) and wasn’t exactly impressed.

let me do you a favor, kevin- don’t bother knocking on my door. even if i were actually home for once, the thought of your lazy, golddigging butt showing up in columbia doesn’t exactly give me the urge to slip into something more comfortable....unless you consider a chastity belt and a nun’s habit comfortable, that is.

weird al, on the other hand, i’d consider.

if this thing blows......

while i must admit that i am mildly disappointed that we’re unable to make it over to the eastern end of el malpais national monument on the way back to albuquerque this evening, at least we were able to fully explore el morro national monument.

(before i whipped out the atlas to look for national park-related day trips from albuquerque, i hadn’t heard of it either.)

perhaps i’ll actually be able to upload some of my pictures this evening...especially after the close call that nearly resulted in my inability to take pictures at all.

before leaving south carolina a few days ago, i made sure to pack my digital camera, as well as a handful of charged (or so i thought) rechargable batteries. while i’m still a film kind of girl, i figured i’d have enough of a hassle at the airport with my computer, and just didn’t feel like dealing with highly paid tsa employees who’d undoubtedly frisk my black and white film and considering the “liquid issues” they were having over the summer, i could just see myself trying to explain that i didn’t have any intention whatsoever of blowing anything up with my contact lenses and solution.

since my batteries were running low after shooting approximately 10, 251 pictures during the road trip to albuquerque*, a battery change was in order. unfortunately, as i quickly found out, the batteries i foolishly thought were fully charged...well....weren’t.


you know how battery manufacturers always warn against mixing rechargeable and alkaline batteries? how they leave you under the impression that if you commit such a foul and horrible sin, your camera, discman, or other battery-powered instant gratification device will surely explode, not only killing you but sending you on the fast track to hell, to boot?

guess what my dad’s solution was?

i am pleased to report that his theory that the fresh alkaline battery would rejuvenate the rechargeable i had in my camera has held true so far, allowing me to take several photos of the oasis at el morro, as well as many of the petroglyphs and inscriptions on the delicate sandstone of the rock formation and the ancient ruins i nearly wore myself out hiking to at the top of the rocks**. so far, the camera has not blown up, though i don’t think i’ll breathe easy just yet. (actually, after the 2-mile hike to the ruins on top of el morro, i’m still breathing a little hard- a sure sign that maybe i need to get out just a little more.)

*i know. go figure. they just don’t make ‘em like they used to, do they?
**for some reason, at this point in the hike, “stuck in a closet with vanna white” popped into my head. i have no idea how or why it happened, but i suppose it’s better than being at the top of a hill with van halen’s “jump” in your head. i mean, one ill-fated leap into the air, and you could go from enjoying the scenery to experiencing it in a rather extreme way.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

from the road......

18 november 2006, 11:25 am, mile 60ish: we have just left a gas station where daddy browsed the snack aisle, kathie visited the little girls room, and i bought (i kid you not) postcards of wheat. you know a state’s hurting for things to photograph when they resort to producing postcards featuring a closeup of a wheat stalk.

4:40pm, no clue what mile we’re on: stopped in oklahoma city for my first southwest region national park stamp- the oklahoma city memorial. off all the things stuck in the fence along the edge of the memorial, the cookie monster and the army boots affected me the most.

7:55 pm, somewhere just inside texas, mile 575ish: maggie seems to think she knows what’s best for me. i’m beginning to regret the 24 oz propel, 15 oz grapefruit juice, and two glasses of water that i have consumed in the last 8 ½ hours. unfortunately, texas seems to be living up to that whole “everything is bigger” theory, which apparently includes the distance between rest stops, gas stations, and other points of interest where one is allowed, nay- encouraged- to relieve oneself. as a result, despite maggie’s protests, we have stopped at a gas station that looked promising from a distance, but dramatically less so upon closer inspection. however, i sincerely doubted my ability to travel another 15 miles to the next approved facility, and therefore can honestly say that there is nothing quite like the thrill of taking a whiz at a gas station full of abandoned vehicles.....including the blue ford truck that i was somewhat convinced would start up at any time and knock me into my own puddle.

not quite the way i plan on going out, i assure you.

19 november 2006, 1 pm, mile 630ish (not counting side trips): after a disappointing side trip to fritch, texas, where we’d hoped to get the alibates flint quarries and lake meredith recreational area stamps and struck out miserably (i can honestly say this is the first time i missed stamps because the facilities are open by reservation only), i was somewhat consoled when we passed cadillac ranch while heading west on I-40. naturally, i managed to talk daddy into turning around, and i’m pleased to report that i now have multiple photos of both myself and the gnomes with the ten cadillacs upended in the middle of a field.

i’m not sure who exactly got the bright idea to start spray painting the cadillacs, but there were several cans of paint available for the artistically inclined. my original plan was to do a high-quality rendition of bodhi, but all i could up with was a can of green paint, so i settled for painting his name on the hood of the westernmost caddy. naturally, i’m pinning the crime on him- after all, he’s the one holding the can in the picture i took.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

just (not) a friend

maggie and i are not going to be friends. i know this already.

you know how sometimes, when you meet someone new, you just know right off the bat that the two of you aren’t going to get along? well, that’s maggie in a nutshell.

when daddy announced that she would be joining us on our roadtrip to albuquerque, i was a little concerned. was this a new step-grandchild? a new pet? (highly unlikely, since daddy isn’t exactly what one would call a “pet person”, despite the short term, inadvertent hamster-breeding phase....)

no such luck. i mean, i’m glad i don’t have to share the backseat (the best way to travel through kansas is in a somnolent me on this.), but i’m really starting to wish i’d brought better headphones along with maggie, because she’s bossy and just won’t shut up.

i know i’ve kvetched about those annoying navigational aids before. i also know that my dad reads my blog. add to that the fact that he’s seen RV. surely, by this point you, like i, are scratching your head and wondering how, despite all of the above facts, daddy still insists on traveling with maggie, especially since he’s got an atlas in the car and is not afraid to use it.

however, in the spirit of the upcoming holiday and family togetherness and all that, i am willing to give maggie a chance, however, the first time she tells us to make a u-turn at the next possible opportunity because we’re not following her preferred route, i can’t promise i won’t mumble “bossy bitch” under my breath while reaching for my headphones.

reunited (and it feels so good)

“hi. i think my suitcase may have entered the witness protection program.”

not exactly an approach anyone had taken before, judging from the reactions of the folks behind the (insert name of major airline that rhymes with “us fairways”) baggage counter.

we were already half an hour past daddy’s target departure time for the big road trip down to albuquerque, and i was suffering serious deodorant withdrawal. not wishing to make everyone else suffer the experience of spending approximately 57 ½ hours in the car with my funky pits, daddy and i had driven roughly ten miles to the kansas city airport in search of my missing (yet you would think it would be hard to miss, considering it’s a bright freaking orange) suitcase.

as you may recall, i was told thursday evening, when i reported my suitcase missing, that it would be delivered to me between 12:30 and 4:30 yesterday. as a result, we made sure someone was home to greet it at the door the entire day. because of both the urgent need for more underwear/socks and the whole “watched pot never boils” theory, my stepmother volunteered to stay home while i ventured out to old navy and vickie’s in search of something to throw on my body in an attempt to avoid having to turn certain items of apparel inside out and wearing them again. (sadly, she did not volunteer her debit card number for my little expedition, but i suppose that sort of thing only happens in julia roberts movies.)

after a phone call to the baggage delivery service, which, interestingly enough, is located another ten minutes away from the airport, in the bustling metropolis of platte city, missouri, it was determined that my suitcase had, in fact, made it to kansas city, and just happened to be staring the (undoubtedly harvard-educated) baggage delivery technician in the face. the aforementioned technician claimed he’d called several times yesterday, starting at 12:30 in the afternoon. (my reaction was a bit more understated than daddy’s, which was along the lines of a word i think i last heard him use at some point during my teenage years. in contrast, i use it on at least a weekly basis, if not daily.)

rather than have them deliver my suitcase to the airport while we waited, i obtained driving directions to the state-of-the-art facility where lost luggage eagerly await being reunited with their owners.

as you can imagine, daddy was thrilled with the prospect of driving another ten miles own I-29 to retrieve my luggage, especially since we were now an hour past our target departure time. in fact, during the entire drive to the baggage delivery facility, daddy imparted his philosophy involving lost luggage and the highly trained folks who handle it and so on and so forth.

to make a long story short (assuming it’s not already too late), i still have no clue what phone number they called yesterday, and i’m still pondering what exactly sort of qualifications one must have to be a baggage delivery person, but most importantly, i can tell you at this moment the precise location of both my deodorant and my underwear.

Friday, November 17, 2006

i'm a frequent flyer, but apparently, my suitcase is not.

i've got the only two lines i know from "running up that hill" by kate bush running through my head. i'm not quite sure why. i mean, of all the songs i ripped into my computer last night, why that one? why not "hot hot hot!!!" by the cure?

but you didn't come here to read about music, did you? of course not! you came for mystery, drama, intrigue, and/or (more likely) the latest chapter in the reality sitcom that is my life. (without the scrpt, live studio audience, videocameras and, quite often, the sidesplittingly comedic moments. come to think of it, perhaps i should come up with a better term for it.....)
anyway, i am pleased to report that i made it to kansas city without incident.

well, without too much incident.

incident #1: cell phone guy behind me on the plane who called no fewer than four friends during the five minutes before takeoff. thanks to his inability to speak softly, i now know far more about him, his freinds, his girlfriend, and his fondness for booze than i ever thought necessary. all i can say is that if he gives in and goes barhopping with his girlfriend tomorrow night, i sincerely hope they call a cab.

incident #2: the suitcase i so carefully packed in the half hour between "honey, we need to get going" and "honey, we need to leave right this minute or else the plane will take off without you", along with the suitcases of approximately half of the other passengers on my plane, somehow stayed behind in charlotte. i'm still not completely clear on how this happened. i mean, it was a direct flight. pretty much all that needed to be done was for one of the handlers to pick up the bright orange bag (not an easy feat, since i outdid myself and it tipped the scales at 39.1 lbs) and put it on the plane. i'm thinking maybe they shouldn't have called in the second string of baggage handlers this evening. i mean, how do you not notice the full cart of luggage standing next to the half-empty plane? then again, i suppose it's an understandable mistake, especially if you spent your entire shift cruising around the airport in your luggage cart, trying to get that puppy up to 65 mph...which is most certainly the reason why i would not be a very productive baggage handler.*

anyway, after coming to the realization that my bright orange bag would not be falling off the conveyor belt anytime soon, i joined the herd heading for the baggage office. (at this point, shaun would surely say, "not going anywhere for awhile?", mimicing the snickers ads.....which usually elicits a chuckle from me, followed by the observation that i'm more of a milky way kind of girl.....or hershey's dark. one of the easiest ways to win me over is with dark chocolate.....but i'm digressing again, and making myself hungry, to boot.....)

one of the guys in front of me was highly cranky about his lost luggage. he ranted. he raved. he even stomped his foot and swore, but i think that was mostly for dramatic effect. the most interesting thing about the situation was that his situation was his own fault (left his luggage on a plane and suddenly needed it rightthissecond), yet he was trying to tear the folks at the counter a new one, because they wouldn't chase down his bag and have it waiting on his doorstep ("i live in omaha, dammit!") by the time he drove up there this evening.

i think i understand why the guy wasn't wearing any sort of wedding ring...and judging from his demeanor, he wasn't exactly likely to pick up any chicks (or guys- whatever) with his sparkling personality anytime soon, either.

i'd say he was a tough act to follow, but heck, i might give stand up comedy another thought if i could be guaranteed that he'd warm up the crowd for me each time.

i bounded up to the counter, and as soon as i was acknowledged, said, "hi. i've got a rather unusual problem for you. it seems that i made it here from charlotte, but my luggage did not."

i rattled off of the pertinent information (name, addresses, phone numbers, my picks for this weekend's powerball drawing), and ended with "it looks like bag #22, except it's bright orange."

i was actually thanked for being so upbeat about the situation, to which there was really only one reply:

"i figured that after that last guy, you needed to talk to someone in a better mood.i mean, it's not your fault he forgot his bag....nor is it your fault the folks in charlotte didn't realize that the plane was only half full."

that earned me another thank you from the folks behind the counter, as well as the last one, in response to my hopes that they'd have a good night.

so, where's my gold star? :)

unfortunately, this time, i packed all of my underwear in one place- my suitcase. so, i suppose perhaps i'll reenact the inside-out underwear mishap of last week and head over to vickie's secret tomorrow in search of more undies. (wouldn't you know it- my coupon for a free pair is taped to our door at home. figures.)

*seriously. remember that episode of "tales from the crypt" where brad pitt was kind of evil and drag raced the hunkyish older actor whose name escapes me? picture that with luggage carts on the runway.......

Saturday, November 11, 2006

signs you're not getting enough sleep, number 541

here it is, five o' clock, and after being here at work for no less than 11 hours, i have just realized that my underwear is inside out.

on the bright side, however, at least i was awake enough this morning to put some on.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


monday morning, i mailed my final car payment.

monday night, my car decided it no longer wanted to start.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

i'm bringing sexy back......

well, maybe that's going a bit far.....but i personally find it impossible to listen to justin timberlake (now playing on wnok) without singing along.

i broke down yesterday, but it wasn't nearly as scary as i imagined it might be.

yes, dear reader, i went shopping.

before i go any further, let me point out that i am not one of those chicks who lives to shop. in fact, unless i'm out of veggies or books, i pretty much avoid shopping all together. (unless, of course, i happen to be on vacation, when i feel it is my duty to support the local economy by purchasing mass quantities of postcards and souvenirs.)

so, normally when money flies out of my bank account, it's to pay for my bills or plane tickets.

but something happened yesterday. i'm not sure if it was the realization that my anniversary is coming up in less than three weeks (yep- five years, and i'm still running from jewelry of great significance), or the desire to get the sort of reactions i did this past thursday, when i wore big girl boots and a short skirt to the def leppard/journey concert, or i simply wanted some type of reward for dragging my lazy butt out of bed not once, but twice this past week to spend some quality time on the treadmill, but i headed straight from work to the mall.

since i'd already scouted things out on both the frederick's and victoria's secret websites, i figured the trip would be a quick in and out (never thought i'd use that phrase in the same sentence as "frederick's" and "victoria's secret") and i could get home and take a nap before an evening of babysitting.


there were a few things i hadn't counted on:

1. nothing i'd picked out on either website was in stock in my size.
2. the latest push up bra offered by both establishments pushed up not only my boobs, but also a distressingly large amount of flesh in that previously unnoticed back underarm region. now, i'm not a big girl by any means, but that weird bubble of flesh scared the hell out of me. in fact, if you ever need assistance in a dressing room, just shriek like you've seen a ghost....or previously unknown hunk of flesh in a normally non-fleshy part of your body. i have never seen so many salespeople come running so quickly.
3. once inside the mall, i was reminded that i may have said something this week about buying another skirt or two to wear with my big girl boots, which necessitated a trip to old navy, where i was also reminded that if i buy more white socks, i can put off that load of laundry for a few more days......

and so on and so forth. next thing i know, two and a half hours have gone by, and my bank account is roughly $140 emptier. however, for that $140, i have enough socks to put off that white load for over a week, two new short skirts- which will surely inspire me to haul my butt off to the treadmill tomorrow morning, two new tank tops (i mean, can you beat 2/$12? i think not), and enough new dainty underthings to..uh....inspire interest for an entire weekend.

now, all i need is a good book for my next flight, and i'm set for awhile.....