Thursday, October 29, 2009

First Snow

However unprepared I am for frozen toes (some years I've been wearing flip-flops) I'm always curiously smitten with the first snow.

It's Mother Nature teasing us. The trees slowly shed their leaves which line the sidewalks and streets in fall-patterned wrapping paper. Flowers burst with a final glimpse of color before the browns, grays and blues of winter settle in. The evening's chill lasts far into the next day's sun. And then you wake up to snow.

The heavy moisture laden flakes joined in a small snowball gently lobbed from the sky. Plastering the leaves. Smashing the flowers so the blooms droop. Soaking the streets and smothering the green grass.

Ohhh Mother Nature, she found a way to make a super-soaker relevant in the 30 degree weather.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Smelling Something Fishy

I'm not sure where to even begin. I guess at the beginning but when that was I don't know. The problem with a lack of a dependable smeller is that I can't remember when it was dependable. Years ago if ever. And then my witch doctor gave me some drops for my stomach which actually cleared up my ever-present allergies. The result? I could smell, I could breathe, I could sleep face down in a goose-down pillow without choking.

When the drops ran out I had two days of good smelling followed by days of glitches. My sniffer fades in and out, mostly out.

A blessing when some pleasant but noisome neighbors moved in downstairs. I only suffered for three days (three long days where every smell plowed me over, my stomach churned and my mouth watered wickedly at each new venue and greeting each new person). My roommates have further complaints.

A couple nights ago the sniffer came back. In a crowded movie theater as I sat down between some friends and a stranger wearing some brand of grandmothery flower power perfume. I lurched a little in my seat, tensed up tilted my head and twisted my face into a complex look of horror, amazement, disgust and fear. Imagine a little kid sucking a lemon, the girl from the Exorcist with a twisting head and a wrinkled pig-like nose. Non-fiction isn't always pretty.

In the midst of my reaction Sharlee leaned over to ask what was wrong. I didn't even have to say anything because she answered herself by noting the strong odor. Then a new friend leaned over to exclaim, LOUDLY:

"Is it that girl's perfume? Does she need to move down one? Is it making you sick? Is it a bad smell? Just tell her to come sit over here."

While the rest of the theater stared us down Sharlee and I giggled in a lower volume.

And then to add injury I moved.

But that's not the oohhh moment of this story. Two days later I'm sitting in a kitchen with some corn boiling on the stove. From another room, a ways off, comes an urgent question, "Is something burning?"

I reassuringly said no because I couldn't smell anything. A look in the pot confirmed my lost sense. I may never wear perfume again or sit by anyone who is because that smell overwhelms me. However, a fire can claim my life as the smell of burning passes undetected.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Girls

Sometimes, just every once in a while, I get sick of the guys. Maybe because I've been forced to befriend many of them since the demise of my girl clique in high school...middle school.

In eighth grade I became one of the most hated girls but persuading all my friends to enter into a blood oath that we would not date middle school boys. I was sick of my friends disappearing to hang out with cute but mindless boys. No fun.

That lasted all of two weeks and then all my friends were paired off again. What's a girl to do? Make friends with all the guys, at least most of them wouldn't leave me for another dude.

The trend stands now that all my college friends have married. But like I said, sometimes I need my girls. Only now they're ages 2-5 and in Cali and CO. and they all answer to "BLONDIE!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Running Scared

Let me describe my uplifting day. First wrong of the day, looking in the mirror because what looked back should only be seen on Oct. 31st. Somehow, overnight I’d scrubbed my face with coiled wires until it shone in a vibrant red hue. My egg-tooth (the crink in my nose that doubles as a gnarly pimple according to certain members of my family) had multiplied. NO this does not mean I’d developed a nest of zits, rather my nose had actually twists and turns which complimented the pile of shriveled worms lying atop my head. My eyes looked relatively normal but to determine that I had to fight the brushy tangle of eyebrows covering them. In short I appeared to be a broken clay sculpture pieced together with chewing gum.

I’m fairly certain a shower was in order. You can be certain that didn’t happen during the ten minute rush of pulling on jeans and searching for a toothbrush. I only stumbled over one pair of heels. Lucky me it was picture day at work. Even luckier, I managed to escape being in a single picture as we drove around Sugarhouse documenting every fast food joint in a mile radius. We also managed to snag shots of public domains like the library and park. Go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief that I don’t have a visual to share with you of how I looked. And again as you thankfully gaze up at heaven that you were nowhere near that part of town. A few hundred people nervously close their eyes for the night.

This is just to prep you for the real story. My acidic stomach rejected the tuna I tried to feed it (against Dr.’s orders) and I was feeling completely confident, competent and energetic. I decided to race my voyage run with Nike+. Race. As in I planned a short one miler to calibrate my stride and it was cold and people were staring; especially the coaches of a runner who doing ladders on my track. His coaches yelled, “Faster, harder, push, push, PUSH!” and I heard a gunshot.

Seriously it was intimidating because I felt the eyes of the coaches, the runner and the random spectators stopping by. Really none of you had anything better to do than watch a girl run in robotic motions as a marathon champ jaunts by her one, two, three, four times? It’s like reality TV in your backyard.

I finished my goal of a mile and slammed the breaks. My knees will throw it back in my face when I’m 40 I’m sure. Maybe I should’ve checked that finish line. Coach A stood there.

“That was a nice little run,” he commented.

HA HA HA. I wanted to say but I could barely feel my legs and they had weird red patterns blazed on them. Yes, my legs and mouth depend on each other. I only speak if I think I can run fast enough. Instead I smiled and shook my head.

“I’m slow and out of shape, but mostly slow,” I observed as if this were new knowledge.

“You did great, you held your pace,” he started. “Just keep your arms loose. You held them up for the first two laps and as soon as you got tired you dropped them and ran naturally. I mean you looked great, like a lady, but it wastes so much energy.”

OH. And I thought it was the worms in my hair. I didn’t know if I should thank him and ask for more tips or explain that I run like an idiot because I am an idiot with shooting back, shoulder and neck pain, afraid to run with ease. I smiled and nodded and walked a couple laps popping my neck every few feet.

A lady with a twitch.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hot Dog! She's Married.

The first semester after I transferred to the University of Utah I knew no one and generally wandered around campus looking lost. Lost but approachable, especially as the weather warmed (my nose stopped running and my eyelashes thawed), and soon random people in matching obnoxiously colored t-shirts began hugging me. No simple handshakes for these politicians. Hugging worked and I voted for people I didn't know, based on platforms I'd never heard. Translating to me picking as I judged the names for poetic sounds. The one name I remember? Tracie Bryan, in black ink on bright orange posters.

Tracie Bryan and I met months later in California when I'd forgotten about the campaign and desperately needed a roommate. Luckily she needed a roommate too. And so we moved in together. This worked one time only. The following summer while again in California I propositioned another charming girl to be my roommate. Torah Bright. Sound familiar? She's a model for Roxy and represented Australia in the 2006 Winter Olympics—snowboarding, known for her crazy risky tricks.

Tracie, not being an Olympian, began and ended our search for an apartment. A large spacious third-floor pad, furnished, private bed and bath for each and near the funky heart of Sugarhouse. Awesome. Not so awesome was the permanent smell of age.

We lived in an old-folks community. I'm not certain if it was assisted living or just a group of retirement condos. But no amount of open windows, Febreeze, candles or cleaning would neutralize the smell of old people. Coincidence that I didn't make many friends that year?

It also forced us to age abnormally. We cried over hot dogs about not being married, not having children and gray hair. A time warp had occurred. We couldn't share stories about our great-grandchildren. We follow our spouses down the hall with wobbling canes. We didn't really want to but we did feel like a valuable part of life had been withheld. Moral of the story don't live with old people. Except Tracie moved down to Long Beach for her Master's and eventually ended up in her grandma's house. A house she will now share with her newly legalized husband.

Guests ate hot dogs at her reception.