Saturday, June 27, 2009

Just Put Me in a Wheelchair . . .

Oh my God. One of the best chill-axing experiences of my life. Like being in a sensory deprivation chamber, only a little noisier.

Massage? No, MRI!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

For Every Drop of Rain, A Burst of Sunshine

A lot of ink has been spilled over the years trying to suss out the secret to a happy marriage. A good sex life, shared hobbies, separate hobbies, separate bathrooms (or at least double sinks), good communication skills, empathy, blah blah blah and yeah yeah yeah. Me, I think it's all luck, coupled with a touch of Forrest Gump in the head.

Oh, and a spousal unit who graduated from a Southeastern Conference college.

Today, S.B. is in a MOST happy mood. Geaux Tigers!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stormy Weather

Right now, were in the middle of our monsoon season. Which means, every day from now until some time in August, our days start off with the best of summertime intentions – sunny, clear, hot – and end in a swirl of violent storms. Come about 1:00 p.m., skies darken to bruise-colored purple, rain falls in sheets, hail in buckets, and the boom of thunder and the flash of lightening send Ivan to winding himself underfoot and Maddie to stuffing herself into the tiniest space in the house she can find.

Some days don't even bother to pretend they're going to be nice. They start off bad from the get go. Like yesterday. When I had to run into down for a ten o'clock appointment, then lunch, then a few quick errands before heading home to finish an assignment.

I was dodging the skies all day and by the time I got to my last stop – Home Depot for light bulbs and a flat of pansies – it looked like I was losing. The mountains to the east were completely obscured by a heavy curtain of rain. And it was headed my way.

All around me in the parking lot, heads poked out of car doors like gophers weighing their chances against a patrolling hound. Stay? Go? Wait it out? Play a game of beat the clock and chance the ruination of linen suits and skimpy shoes and leather bags, because, well, this happens every year but our collective amnesia means that no one in New Mexico even owns an umbrella and if they do, who remembers to unpack it from the golf clubs and put it in the car?

I decided to take my chances. Just as I scooted in between the opening automatic doors, it hit. The gal manning the returns counter pointed upward, beamed me a beatific smile, and mouthed something barely audible. If you've ever been out in public in New Mexico when a monsoonal thunderstorm hits, the last thing you'll hear before the machine-gun rat-a-tat-tatting obliterates all ambient sounds is the ubiquitous refrain: "We need it!"

It should be our state motto.

I gave the returns gal an obligatory nod of the head and grabbed my bulbs. But the pansies were out in the garden section, which was protected by a simple canvas canopy stretched over a steel frame. Would the flimsy roofing hold?

I decided to risk it again, and as I headed towards my goal, a loud whoosh sounded from above. I looked up in time to avert a long stream of water that had broken through a gap in the roof. Instead of falling on my head, though, it was soaking a shopping cart that was parked next to the pansy flats. Moving quickly, I grabbed the cart and pulled it out of the stream, which resulted in an immediate and thankful response from its owner.

Who turned out to be a nun.

"Bless you, my child," she said, and flashed me some teeth.

To which I could only smile in return and then dumbly reply, "You, too."

Note to self in the car on the way home: "Bless you" is not synonymous with "have a nice day."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Baby, My Heart is Full of Love and Desire for You

I'm NOT going to indulge my passion for fun 1970's fashion.

If you went to Junior High School the same year I did, when "Seasons in the Sun" was a mega hit and your boom box looked like this:

then you may find yourself sniffing back a tear or two of nostalgia.

Most definitely, the shoes to GO with those Dittos?

I own a pair similar to the black ones above. I scored them on eBay two years ago. They were brand spanking new, languishing in a warehouse somewhere in Jersey until I rescued them. I wear the heck outta them. Famolare Hi Ups: Best shoe. Ever.

And I'm not going to buy any of these looks for day,

Or anything Disco Queen for night, like this el perfecto wrap dress.

Nor will I, unfortunately, buy the perfect car to drive it all in:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

You Tube, You Got Some 'Splainin' To Do

One week from tomorrow, I'm going to be a participant in an all-day University of New Mexico study of a neurological phenomenon that Wikipedia describes as occurring when, "stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway."

In other words, those of you who have always suspected I'm the oddest duck in the pond can now stamp a big-ass ol' scientific word right on my forehead to explain it all: Synesthetic.

I didn't know I was synesthetic until recently. I think it explains a lot. Or, at least, I plan to use it to explain a lot. Like, "Why no, officer, I didn't realize I was doing 112 in a 45 mph zone, I have this condition, see . . . " Or, "Those shoes? Uh, no. They're not new. I've had them for ages. I'm only just now getting around to wearing them."

Why, my wonky neural pathways could even be the reason why about once a week or so my brain decides to snatch me from the lulling embrace of a dead-to-the-world sleep and plonk me in the middle of a series of day glo bright dreamscape adventures whose convoluted plots and blaring MTV-style soundtracks all seem to make perfectly good sense at the time. Zac Posen-wearing Ninjas? 'kay. A superpower that allows me to spew fire out of my nostrils? Sounds about right. A secret assignation in a Berlin bar in which, in between puffs on one Camel Light after the other, I am speaking flawless Russian while "I'll Be You" by the Replacements thumps along in the background? Cool.

Only, now? I want a cigarette, a drink, and I can't get the song out of my head. I wanted to share it with you because "I'll Be You" is one of the greatest pop songs ever written, but dumb ass You Tube has disabled the original video and all that's left is this scratchy concert footage from somewhere in Rotterdam in 1991. So if you want to hear it in all its fabulousness, you'll have head to iTunes and download it. By the way, it's colored purple.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just Like Chicken, Only Tougher

Lance Morrow once said: "A rattlesnake loose in the living room tends to end all discussion of animal rights."

Which is funny, sure, but totally unnecessary. Everyone knows when you find a rattlesnake* in your living room, you put it in a bucket and relocate it to your next door neighbor's property.

*Hmmmm . . . the more I look at him (her?), the more I'm thinking this is a juvie bull snake or gopher snake . . . it sure got all pissy with me when I poked at it, but now that I take a closer look at these photos, its head isn't triangular enough.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


What is your current obsession? Growing things in my garden, in spite of this unusually cool, rainy late spring. While my lettuces are growing like crazy, the tomatoes and basil? Not so much.

What is your weirdest obsession? I am obsessed with running the Iditarod. I dream of it – just me, a parka, a sled, the endless expanse of frozen tundra, and a great pack of dogs.

What are you wearing today? Right now: running clothes. Later: something presentable to go pick up my step dad.

What's for dinner? Roasted chicken, baked yams, wild rice salad, green salad from the garden.

What would you eat for your last meal? El Bruno’s Enchiladas de Herrera with a big ol’ margarita, followed by a frangipane and pear tart (Julia Child’s recipe), and a cappuccino with loads of sugar.

What's the last thing you bought? The book, 1,000 Places to Visit Before You Die.

What are you listening to right now? Ivan grooming his feet.

What do you think of the person who tagged you? Shamu has a very calm but determined presence – and a sneaky sense of humor. There are few people on this earth who would have been able to so artfully steer me away from Nordstrom’s by snagging my attention with the shiny objects in Sur le Table instead. Plus, she cooks like a pro and takes amazing photographs. I would love to go on a tour of K.C. BBQ joints with her.

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished, anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be? I’d need at least three: A penthouse in NYC, a Bart Prince at the foot of the Sandia’s, a cabin somewhere in the Looziana bayou.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? Tree Spring Trail in the Sandias to get in a good run.

Which language do you want to learn? Italian, dahlinks, the language of food and wuv.

What's your favourite quote (for now)? "Life itself is the proper binge." – Julia Child

What is your favourite colour? Right now, I’m digging all shades of coral and orange.

What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe? If shoes count, my 5” Stuart Edelman snakeskin gladiator sandals. If not, my Ann Taylor army green military style jacket that goes with everything.

What is your dream job? Rock star.

Describe your personal style: Whatever the hell I can get away with.

What is your favourite tree? Ponderosa Pine.

What are you going to do after this? Go for a run.

What inspires you? The American West.

Your favourite books? Baking, American history, natural history.

What are you currently reading? Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. Go buy it NOW!

Go to your bookshelf, take down the first book with a red spine you see, turn to page 26 and type out the first sentence: "Remember that a dog’s commitment to you lasts forever and yours should, too." Who Moved My Bone: A guide for multi-dog households by Theresa Mancuso.

What delighted you the most today? Ivan dancing for his breakfast.

By what criteria do you judge a person? Whether or not they return their shopping cart back to the store or the shopping cart bin. Leaving it in the adjacent parking space or propped up against the curb is not only discourteous and lazy, it’s also potentially harmful to people and property. If someone can’t spare a couple seconds and a few yards to get the thing safely out of the way, they don’t deserve to live. Neither do those who see elderly or disabled folks struggling with their bags and don’t offer to lend a hand.

If someone waved a magic wand and suddenly turned you into a dog, what kind of dog would you be? A pit bull, baybeeeeeeee.

World’s most overrated painter (nicked off of K9’s tag, but I had to address it): R.C. Gorman.

My added question: You have thirty minutes to live. Who do you call and what do you say?

The rules: Respond and rework: answer the questions on your blog, replace one question with a question of your own.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sunshine All the Time Makes a Desert

Which is fine with me. Because the desert means a plethora of my favorite slithering and slinking things.



Or this fella:

Or this one:

And remember, Party People, if you can't eat it, keep it as a pet, or scare the neighbors with it, you can always turn it into a handbag. Or a mighty fine pair of shoes.

Which only take up this much room in the suitcase. Really. I swear.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In the Desert You Can't Remember Your Name

Which is a good thing.

See you Tuesday, Party Peeps!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Life Itself is the Proper Binge, Part Deux

How can you not have as a personal hero a woman who once said, “The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.” or who, when asked the secret to her long life, deadpanned, "Red meat and gin."?

The two people who had the greatest influence on my love for cooking and baking are my mother and Julia Child. I miss them both.

So, in honor of my love of all things food-related, and as part of my participation in Chef Troll's Drunken Master Culinary Throwdown, I give you:

Moi's Easy Peasy Pineapple Granita:
(Because when you're drunk on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean, who has time for solid food?)

Serves six.

• 2 cups total liquid, comprised of: 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup Fresca, 1/2 cup pulp free lemonade, 1/2 cup pineapple juice, strained from a 20 ounce can of pineapple chunks
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks
• New Mexico red chile powder

Drain pineapple, reserving a half cup of the liquid. Bring all liquids and the one cup of sugar to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is completely dissolved, about five minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

In the meantime, in a blender or Cuisinart, puree the pineapple. Add to the sugar/liquid mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. Run through an ice cream mixer for 25-30 minutes or until thick in texture. Or, simply pour into a freezer-safe container until frozen, 4-6 hours. Scoop into individual serving dishes and sprinkle lightly with red chile powder.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rest Be Not Idle

There are two surefire ways for me to tell that summer has arrived. First: our city’s streets instantly become trickier to navigate due to the tens of thousands of teens who are let loose from school and into their parents’ SUVs. Just yesterday alone, I spotted two teenagers texting while driving, an act that set my temperature to boil and my fantasies blazing as I imagined wielding my .38 with enough righteously indignant accuracy to shoot the tires right out from under them.

Then I remembered back to my own teenage years and how my misuse of our family’s telephone privileges resulted in my month-long ban from all devices in the home sporting a receiver and dial pad, causing me to camp out for hours each afternoon at a pay phone at the 7-11 up the street, armed with a $5.00 roll of quarters culled from my meager allowance, a couple cans of Fresca, and a call list as long as my forearm. In other words: I could relate. Thus, yesterday's offending teens lived to text another day.

Secondly: summer has just not officially arrived until my friend Wicked is released from her own form of school-based hell and she emerges from her home after the requisite week’s worth of recovery suddenly bursting with reinvigorated sociability. Summer has arrived when Wicked’s e-mail responses not only arrive in a timely manner – say, within 24 hours and not twenty-three-point-six days – but also actually make sense. Instead of something that sounds like it was composed by Bill the Cat, with the addition of references to alien abduction to distant galaxies, weirdly concocted cocktails, and how much the brain, ow, hurts, I get something relatively succinct, along the lines of: “Want to go get a pedicure tomorrow and catch up on all the latest gossip?”

To which I reply: you betcha!

On the recommendation of another friend who is always sporting such spiffified footsies, we scheduled to meet late yesterday afternoon at Rose’s Nails, which is tucked away in one of those ubiquitous urban strip malls that always seem to house the most untenable-sounding businesses – Wills While You Wait, Janitor Express, Nursing Shoes R Us, or, in this case, a Chicago-style pizza house whose single window is decorated with an over-sized photo of Frank Sinatra and whose two lone employees seem to think nothing of hanging outside directly in front, chain-smoking cigarettes and practicing their own form of Rat Pack glower on passersby.

But Rose’s is as friendly as can be, run, as these types of establishments tend to be, by a gaggle of Asian gals in darling outfits and mile high shoes who seem to exist for the single purpose of beautifying your nails in whatever manner you so choose – whether it be a simple foot massage or fake nails in lengths so outrageous, you wonder what type of work the woman who insists on sporting them actually does. Um. Never mind.

At any rate, Wicked and I were there for the $16.95 pedicure, which includes a marvelous soak in warm, jetted water, nail and cuticle trim, dry skin de-flaking, and a moisturizing foot and lower leg massage, followed by our choice of polish. After our toes were satisfactorily coated – Wicked's in a deep fuschia, mine in a vampy red – Wicked’s gal looked up at her and asked, “You want flower?”

To which Wicked instantly replied, “Sure, flower sounds good!” Which of course prompted my gal to ask me the same. I hesitated, however. Wicked and I were just speaking about how once you land yourself firmly in your forties, achieving age-appropriate fabulousness means walking an ever thinning line between trying too hard to look youthful and just giving up and giving in to elastic waste bands and sensible shoes.

My worry, naturally, was this: Will sporting a flower motif on my two big toes mean I've just committed a fashion felony of the first order, or is it, rather, a good-natured way of just going with the summer flow?

My personal verdict? Anything that makes me smile these days is a good thing. Even if it’s just on my toes.