Wednesday, July 30, 2008


“Communications majors have no business with numbers. You can’t do math because you don’t think logically.”

Yes, my finance and banking Professor Lance did say that to me. Yes, I did yell at him to back off and help me simultaneously. Yes, I did cry after that extra help. AND Yes, I did ace the class.

So you can imagine my anger at a little number transposing problem I deal with on occasion. My brother-in-law, a manifested dyslexic tells me I suffer the same fate. I shrug it off until nights like tonight. A close friend invited me to dinner and gave me the address. I arrived early and sat talking on my phone for about 20 minutes. At 6:00 I left my car and walked up to a red brick wall. The same wall I had been staring at while chatting away. But because I was at the specified address I didn’t stop to think that maybe the brick wall would not serve me food. Hurmph.

Jumping back in the car I scrolled through my text messages and saw that the 860 was in fact 680. Those numbers, they kill me. I quickly called my friend back and she laughingly reminded me of a disastrous night of Rummikub. I struggled for hours trying to find the numbers scattered on the floor. My friend spent the time mocking me happy that there was a game I sucked at. Until I finally slapped the game floor and exclaimed, “I can’t read the damn numbers!” My dyslexic secret was out. But I’ve never had to play with number tiles again.

Monday, July 28, 2008

México Pequeño

A week of family adventures in Little Mexico, my hometown in Southeastern Colorado. I dubbed it Little Mexico because I forgot the mix of cultures that it is. In Mexico I remember the people I’d met there asking me what I thought about it and how different it was from home. I shook my head and replied that it reminded me of home. They looked at me with disbelief and I began doubting my memory.

Then I went to home to Lamar for a week. I think the town is at least 50/50 white to Hispanic, possibly 45/55. Something you feel when you enter town on the North side. That feeling was validated on day two. After painting Grandma and Grandpa’s house, many cousins and siblings sat in the living room. The ringing of a bell drew our attention to the two large windows face out to the street corner and the park. A little old Mexican man pushed his cart of popsicles down the street. The 106 degree heat pushed us out the door and we each picked our favorite flavor, mine a frozen strawberry bar dipped in chocolate and coconut. Various members of my family speak Spanish fluently so the conversation flowed and I piped in with hola and gracias. (I do know a little more, but nothing to do with frozen fruit bars.)

The next few days passed by and the subculture faded into the background, until late Saturday night. Laughing in the hotel room and after eating too much ice cream my cousin turned to me and slapped my leg. I’ve seen that same expression of excitement before—on the Latin dance floor. The not so faint Banda music played late into the night. And again throughout the park on Sunday just like I remembered. When we left at 3 this morning I mentally mapped out the steps to the Mexican Hat Dance and whispered Adios, silently drifting to sleep as Trav drove us to the airport.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Where Is...

In an unfortunate life (a.k.a. mine) I spent an extra few hours delayed at the Salt Lake International airport. Luckily they have a playground. I especially enjoyed the Ariel chair and Under the Sea special table with a hidden treasure top. Wish I could be part of that world, but I’m a little old and have been receiving odd looks all night.

Here I sit in my casual church clothes. Meaning a summery skirt and pale blue Banana T complete with flip-flops, tear-stained cheeks (this is no lie. As I later discovered that a morning cry left streaks in my powder foundation, barely noticeable when you’re red swollen eyes look in the mirror, a little more noticeable at midnight?!) and wavy semi-greasy hair. Who can be bothered to get ready for a night of travel?

No it’s not me they are checking out, it’s the sexy red Vaio. I know because many days I come home from work, throw my purse on the clothes covered carpet and pause to stare. It’s smooth and shiny, a bit like a certain pair of ruby red slippers. If the witches saw this baby they’d be plotting again. And clicking the keyboard a tornado would sweep me back home to Lamar.

Or so I thought until a tired looking girl ran to me, threw herself at my feet, and asked for directions. The baggage claim, hmmm. I encouraged her to continue down the corridor. If she didn’t run into it then try the other way. I get lost in my hometown so I wonder at the GPS look I hold that causes such requests. In Ireland I wandered aimlessly about confused and directionally challenged, yet constantly people stopped me to ask for directions. They with their muddled Irish slang and I with my twangy hick talk pointing firmly as though I knew.

I think it was the running shorts that inspired confidence. If they only knew that I never once ran the same route, and not on purpose.

Friday, July 18, 2008

When I Grow Up I Want to Be Cute

Last night on a late caffeine run, my cousin commented on why people like me. Not because I’m funny, but because I’m cute funny…as in people laugh at me when I do ridiculous things. It was this and the long venture out to Jordan Landing for a midnight screening of The Dark Knight that I remembered my art class and my art teacher’s finely sculpted shoulders. The only other time I’ve been to Jordan Landing was the date I had with said teacher.

A few years ago in protest to an academic curriculum I took a beginners drawing class. Good thing too, my teacher needed me. He was a grad student and this was his first class. He tried to scare half of us away on the first day. Luckily he’d also done a short demonstration, and captivated by those shoulders I decided to remain enrolled.

My friendships in the class blossomed. And in an odd way. Somehow I ended up going out on dates with five of the boys in that class, instructor included and one girl. OK, the girl wasn’t a date but it could’ve been and she made me crash a frat party. One boy even secured me a place on a house boat for a week long party at Lake Mead. Regretfully I passed. But the best friend I made in the class was the middle-aged woman from Park City. I think she only talked to me and our teacher. I was a social butterfly so it’s amazing that I was able to keep up with my drawings.

Not really since my teacher did most of mine for me. After giving us our class assignments, he would walk around and help us individually. For me that meant a revised explanation (Somehow I was the only one in class that actually tried to do what he told us to and he never told us the correct way. In fact I corrected his math and teaching methods a few times, but still couldn’t draw a box). By the end of the semester, my teacher felt like my drawing had progressed. He even complimented one area he found particularly beautiful. As he pointed at it and praised my work, I hung my head in shame.

“No,” I cried, “that’s the part you drew for me not quite two hours ago.”

As the entire class found me entertaining all eyes and ears gravitated my way. My art professor looked at me and laughed nervously. Luckily PC Lady picked up the ball and offered some words of comfort.

Holding my hand she announced loudly, “It’s ok if you can’t draw honey. You’re one of the cutest girls in the class. You’ve got beautiful eyes and a wonderful smile. And I’ve never seen them, but I bet you’ve got great legs too!”

I painfully shared my portfolio on our final day of class, and just to be safe I went heavy on the eyeliner and short with the hem.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why Can't We Be Friends

My friend recently traveled to Japan and spent two wonderful weeks exploring the island. Unfortunately on leaving the U.S. and entering Japan he was stopped three times and questioned relentlessly by the anti-terrorist police. Those orange-banded enforcers saw their target from a mile away. It’s the Middle Eastern decent that singles out this friend and he’ll probably be stopped habitually. So in honor of his persecution I post my own terrorist interrogation story. When I moved to Ireland for a year the immigrations officer spotted me as a sex slave extraordinaire. Seriously, an average, educated white girl from the States?

I was standing in a long line of foreigners wanting to shoot myself. I’d left my mom 26 hours ago at DIA and had been crying for nearly as long. I was moving to Dublin and was traveling 2 days after the terrorist attack at Heathrow. Puffy eyed, messy haired, no make-up, ratty white T and sweats, I stood out in the crowd of Euro travelers who actually take time with their appearance. In a state of sleep deprivation I drug my sorry ass and luggage up to customs. The official took one look at me a frowned. Then in rapid Irish, which sounds like a drunk on speed, fired pointed questions at my arrival to his blessed country.

Being illegal (staying over the 90-day limit, no visa and employed) I had been instructed by the family I was working for to say that I was here to stay with friends. What I didn’t know is I needed the address I was staying at, the name of the family (I had met them once and was terrified I wouldn’t recognize them when they picked me up), plans, etc. If I’d been born a charming deviant the lies would easily have dropped from my lips. Unfortunately, I was born with a tendency to blunt truthfulness and a damsel in distress look.

After 30 minutes of unsatisfactory answers from me, the official stamped my passport with a restriction and instructed me to report to the Garda. My story “didn’t add up” and he’d love to “hold me for longer to fill the gaps and get the truth” but obviously I was not the only passenger that needed to be welcomed to Ireland. I marched, er slinked, into the shadowy halls plastered with human trafficking posters.

Every month we’d visit continental Europe. And every month I would receive interrogation coming back to Ireland. The Garda were slightly more forgiving. Probably because Jay and Jodi were with me to answer questions, you know back up my story, or embellish it. He was my proof of residence and had come to vouch for me so I could obtain a visa. I sat to his left with his wife on the other side, whom he also had to vouch for (seriously patriarchal over there). Returning to Dublin for the last time a young guy granted me entry, by cheerfully reading my Irish criminal record. “So ya’re leavin to home in a few days, ar ya? Bin stoppt at yer boyfriends, livin wit ‘im. Still leavin?”

Yeah, I’m leaving. But as a terrorist or sex slave?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Paper Panties

If ever Murphy’s Law dictated a privileged life it would be mine. Never do I catch the common cold, but mono and pneumonia—had them both. Worked at my dream job and the company failed. Sped down a five mile stretch and ticketed. Rear-ended in a dust storm and I became a fugitive in the state of Utah. Relocating to Dublin and suspected of terrorism…just an average day.

I enjoy the excitement of such a life and it rarely surprises me, I just have to expect the worst case scenario. In fact I hummed along to the cell phone ring of Halloween during my first gyno appointment. I expected Mike Myers to burst through the door as I sat with my feet in the stirrups and no immediate escape. Thankfully he’s fictional.

So why was I shocked when I showed up for my massage at an upscale Spa Resort in Mexico? Lack of underwear. I’ve had many massages before and am familiar with the optional clothing. However in an early morning stupor I’d thrown on yoga pants and rushed out the door. When I changed into my robe I realized my mistake of not taking time to add panties first. What the hell? In high school I showered with my teammates after volleyball games. Nudity among women is liberating once you get past the embarrassment, I think. This isn’t that different. Until a deep masculine voice calls my name and a large man ushers me into a treatment room. Leading me to a chair he begins explaining the voodoo wand that would verify the correct blend of essential oils. You know the oils he’d be rubbing all over my soon to be exposed self. He believes in holistic healing, I believe in covering my goods.

So when he told me to disrobe and lie under the blanket I panicked. The one day I left my optional clothing in the drawer, I desperately opted for them. I considered running out of the room. I would go home early, quit my job (I was there for a press trip, spa specific) and move in with mom and dad who would welcome me and reward me with new clothing for my virtue. Or I would suck it up and act like a man.
My healing technician walked to the door to leave while I stripped. I clenched my hands together and held my breath, apparent as I released a huge sigh when he stopped and turned around. Holding up one finger he opened a cupboard and produced a pair of disposable paper underwear.

I restrained from jumping and ripping them out of his hand. With the flimsy shield of protection I felt comfortable and ready for my massage. The next challenge in relaxing was not turning red as he hit on me. Maybe the sterile paper underwear trumped my racy hot pink lace thong. At least this time.

Monday, July 7, 2008

For the Fourth

My American holiday began the American way with a huge pancake, sausage, steak and eggs breakfast. Instead of savoring the meal I stood behind the grill scrambling eggs. My singles ward hosts the Brighton Breakfast each Fourth of July and they’re pretty intense about it. I thought they were joking about placing you on a committee if you didn’t volunteer. They weren’t. So I drove in the dark of the morning up the canyon to Brighton ski resort and wandered groggily waiting for instructions. After I was handed a cap and apron I began perfecting my cooking skills.

Two hours later I felt a little more awake and noticed the smiles of happy patriots as I dished out the eggs. Unfortunately that was also the time that I realized I’d been awake for hours and forgotten to eat. It was about another hour before I cut out early and went on to spend the remainder of my day bleery eyed.

Fun as it was, I couldn’t help but think of my childhood Fourths. We’d leave “early” to hike Two Buttes. Standing on the peak of ancient volcano, we’d slap mosquitoes and look at the empty plains stretching in every direction. Dodging cactus and rattlers we’d stumble back down and venture into the gully for a BBQ lunch. While Grandma prepared the meal, we’d stomp around searching for gourds. Add a little blackcat and it’s an impressive explosion. But the best part of the day was swimming in the Black Hole. Having grown up in the area I’d heard rumors of the stagnant water pool. The most famous (aside from the ever present itching disease) claimed that no one had ever found the bottom, there’s even a car down there. What isn’t folklore is the giant rock in the middle and right under the highest jumping cliff, Granddaddy.

As kids I don’t think any of us jumped off that point. We weren’t able to numb our good sense with the necessary booze. Jason and Phil may have attempted it, if they hadn’t landed on top of each other during a tandem jump from a lower cliff. I think they wanted to reenact a scene from Tango and Cash, or some other Mel Gibson flick. The parents usually packed us up in an effort to keep all body parts intact. Right. And we’d sunburn on the drive home as we fell asleep in the back of the pick-up, anchoring down the Jiffy tubes.

In keeping with tradition, and maybe starting a new one, I took this Fourth as the opportunity to do a little risqué swimming of my own. But I’m not a kiss and tell kind of girl…

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Silly Poons, Golf is for Girls

Chocolate Moda. Yum! And I’m taking about my new golf clubs, which is funny because as a child I always thought of golf as an old man’s sport. Then I entered the corporate world and learned that golf is the powerhouse sport (and the anti-sport sport–it goes against all my natural instincts and yet I'm best when I'm not concentrating on the 50 billion left foot planted, straight back, locked arm, immobile head rules).

According to the heads of my office, and the many random PR people I conversed with, golf is the one sport I should play. I shook my head for months and continued to push volleyball. I worked with some tall athletic guys and just knew we’d have a killer co-ed team, or at least I could groom one of them for an outdoor partner this summer. Turns out they thought grass while I thought sand. So I caved. Don’t hate me, it was four against one.

It also helped that the new clubs I got are gorgeous, or pretty as the boys say. If only my swing were pretty too. I’m working on it. With the tips from the office crew (seriously they had me practice my stance everyday and after a month or two of that I was verbally taught how to swing) I was well on my way to being a wreck on the course. Actually they were helpful so when the Poons stepped in I was on prodigy level.

The Poons are a group of SLC boys who grew up together. My older brother was inducted because of his mad basketball skills and blood relations. Who knew that it would benefit me throughout my stay in Utah. A couple days ago one of the Poons called about his sweatshirt I’ve been storing for the past few months. Deciding we should get together he asked me if I golfed. No….but yes! I told him I was reading golf for dummies but would love to hit some balls. We met at the driving range and he was blown away with the speed at which I learned. I didn’t have the heart to tell him about my office coaching. So there he was thinking I’m a prodigy and he’s the world’s greatest natural coach.

Or I was thinking that for him and he was drooling over my clubs. It’s a response I’m accustomed to. Every boy has admired them. Creeping up for a closer look and shyly asking if they can hit with my clubs, because “they’re just so cute!” And I thought I was the girl. Go ahead boys hit away, but I get to take them home.