12.30.2006

you say it's your birthday? it's my birthday too!

Today is my birthday. I was exactly 36 years old as of 3:16am EST. Thanks Mom & Dad!!

Check this out ... I find it fascinating, considering my posts (& comments) of the last week:

for December 28th, 2006:
Your sins are pretty mild, Capricorn. Still, you have from time to time violated some of your own highest standards; you have on occasion failed to live with impeccable ethical integrity. That's the bad news. The good news is that in 2007 you will have the best chance ever to atone for past mistakes. If done well, your corrective actions will win you a permanent vacation from the hell that those mistakes have sometimes trapped you in.
=>from Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology

12.28.2006

updated stats

STATS17-Oct 200622-Nov 200623-Dec 2006
Weight166 lbs.166 lbs.162 lbs.
Body Fat34.5%33.5%31%
Fat Mass / Lean Mass57 lbs. / 109 lbs.55.5 lbs. / 110.5 lbs.50 lbs / 112 lbs.
TESTS17-Oct 200622-Nov 200623-Dec 2006
Sit & Reach9”1’2”1'3”
Sit-ups202832
Push-ups152633
Pull-ups152923
T-test14.97 seconds14.22 seconds13.62 seconds
Plank59 seconds1 min. 22 sec.1 min. 45 sec.

Hooray me! Everything was improved ... EXCEPT for the pull-ups. Why was that number worse than last month? I don't know. I'm going to arbitrarily blame it on the socks I was wearing.

New guidelines for me this month:
=>Only one "sweet" every 3rd day (which equals = any empty calorie treat, not necessarily only sweets).
=>At least 64 oz. of water every day.
=>When I drink alcohol, only consume 1 drink per evening. (Who's got the best pour in the city? I'll start going there.)
=>Cardio 3x/week. (This I'm already doing most weeks.)
=>Cheese only once a day. (How did he talk me into that?!)
=>Greater general body awareness.

I'm pretty friggin' pleased. Lost 7 lbs. of fat since I started, which is a net loss of 4 lbs. I do not think I'll make my goal weight of 156 by the end of January, but I'll get as close as I can.

warm as toast

I am a cold, cold person. When winter rolls around, I haven't been warm since 1994. Which is when I moved to the Emerald City. I mean, it's not super cold here; but it's not the cold, it's the humidity. It was way colder in DC ... but it was a dry cold. The chill here sinks into the bones and makes you feel old.* Coldilocks, that's what my ex-husband (my "first draft", as we like to say) used to call me.

Until this year! This winter has been magically warm inside my skin, and I think I owe it to my personal trainer. That must be it, right? Nothing else has changed. Working out makes you warm! And skinnier! Who knew? (I'm guessing a lot of you knew, and I'm mad at you for not telling me.) I will sincerely try not to proselytize too much about my new fitness regimen, but it may be the single best change I've made in my life in the arm's reach of my memory.

*I'm not some kind of trendsetter by remarking on this phenomenon; in fact, we don't ever get friggin' sick of talking about it. That and the fucking traffic. Seriously, Seattlites. SHUT. IT. (Except for you, Egg ... you can talk all you want. Why, thank you! You're welcome.)

12.22.2006

alter this ego

I was ego-surfing this morning, and here are some things regarding my immense famousness that I think you'll want to check out:

Also, I have never acted better than in this segment. (Be patient - I'm the last to arrive, but it is WORTH IT. Take notes, bitches.)

12.21.2006

... and a gun to go with it

I was re-reading this post, and the comments, and I realized that I'd be ashamed and embarrassed if my bosses read it. Not because I'm chicken (I'm not), nor because I said things I didn't mean (I didn't). I intended to be humorously snarky, but I just sounded like an ass (to myself at least). Because I called them out when I really should have called myself out. I used them as examples of an issue I've personally been struggling with. What does it mean to be politically liberal? I know many of the definitions, that's not what I mean. But how do I manifest it in my daily life? Do I choose to spend my money at businesses that act in accordance with my beliefs? Do I leave my car at home whenever possible? Do I always recycle, even when it's a pain in the ass?

Well, I have given up some things that I enjoy(ed), but usually only when it's not inconvenient to me. Like I gave up McDonald's fast food. Primarily I gave it up because of environmental and worker-treatment related issues. But I still ate at Taco Bell. Why? Well I had some reasons based on false assumptions (which have since been proven false, big surprise), but mainly it was because I didn't really like McDonald's and I really like Taco Bell. It wasn't a hardship.

Okay - here's another one that pains me. I loved LOVED Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers in high school and collage. I got off of them after that, but now I'm on a kick again. I wanted some pairs. Well, in looking for where I could buy some, I came across the fact that they're now owned and produced by Nike (am I the only one that didn't know this)? I actually love Nike shit, but have flat out refused to support that company for ages. So, of course, upon learning this fact, what I did was ... I went out and bought the Chucks anyway. Yeah - 2 pairs. Why? Because I really wanted them. I love them. Kinda. I'm also kinda sad about them. Because I can't claim I didn't know any better. I did know better. So I made a choice to break a long-standing boycott that I was quietly proud of so that I could have some sneakers. So the price of my conviction was about $60. Yay me.

My bosses don't read my blog, but I offer up a public apology. It's always easier to judge others than self-examine. They were a superficial symbol for my growing dissatisfaction with my own actions. When I say I believe a thing, but continue to behave in a contrary manner, where does that leave me? Am I liberal only in conversation and when I vote? Or do I live consciously by making choices I'm not embarrassed by? It's not about SUVs or Chuck Taylor Converse or McDonald's. It's indicative of a larger slippery slope. It's about aligning my actions with my beliefs.

I no longer eat at any of the major fast food chains. I try hard to support local businesses instead of huge corporations. I'm not going to get rid of my Chucks, though - I really do love them.

cody vs. wallace & gromit

Here's the deal --- Cody doesn't want me to eat cheese. WTF?! I know, right? It's the most impossible thing he asks of me, and he asks a lot of impossible things. Like, "Do 75 crunches," or "Don't cry or throw up on the mat." But to not eat cheese. Excuse me, my head just exploded.

Here's how I currently incorporate this into my life ... I kind of ignore him and eat it anyway. Isn't that horrible? I suppose I have cut back just so I don't have to lie as often. I am totally kidding, of course - I never lie. (To Cody.) But so that I don't have to feel guilty about it. Well, that's not even true. I don't actually even feel guilty; but I feel awkward about not feeling guilty, so that's something.

Here's what I'm going to do: I've decided that I'm going to lure him over to the dark side of cheese. That way he'll encourage cheese-eating to the point that I'll have to say to him, "Whoa, dude, settle down on the cheese."

12.20.2006

next? a gun rack

"IT'S MY BOSS' CAR! I SWEAR!! IT'S NOT MINE!"

I was running an errands for my boss this afternoon. She's not the type of boss who would actually ask her assistant to run errands. I practically begged her to let me so that she'd have an hour or two in her office (unheard of) to whittle down her completely overwhelming to-do list before she goes out of town tomorrow. So if you saw me driving around town this afternoon in an SUV, allow me to repeat: It's my boss' car.

And if you see me driving around this next week in a different SUV ... that's my other boss' car! I'm housesitting for his family while they're away, and they graciously allow me to drive their vehicle when I need it ... except that's it's an SUV.

Let's say I'm not an SUV kinda gal. Except that when I drove one for the first time, I was all like, "Oooh, man. I could get used to this!" It was comfortable. COMFORTABLE comfortable. Like butter. And finally, I could see everything around me while driving, because of course I drive a small car and I usually can't see due to all the SUVs and huge-ass trucks. It was ... well, kinda nice.

So I see the appeal, but I have a few questions:
1. Why do my bosses (or my parents, for that matter) drive these machines? By all other accounts, these people are good, upstanding, card-carryiong money-where-their-mouths-are liberals (thank god). Can you be a liberal and drive an SUV? Are liberals, by proxy, environmentalists? Discuss.
2. Does anyone else remember when they were first becoming popular and they were called "sport utes" or just "utes" (pronounced yoot, short for utility)?
3. By a wide margin, the most commonly suggested sketch idea that "BFL* should totally do" was Law & Order: SUV. I know that's not a question, but I just thought of it.

*I doubt there's any reason to explain this, since I think everyone who reads this I have either slept with or wanted to* --- but BFL is Bald Faced Lie, a sketch group I was in in Seattle from circa 1995-2005. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. We were funny. RIP.

*Do I even need to explain that's a joke?

12.19.2006

it's my party! i'll cry if i want to!

Sample # 1 ...
Cody: Okay, next you're going to do [fill in the blank].
Me (with extreme dubiousness): You're kidding. Seriously?

Sample #2 ...
Me: Oh my god. I don't think I can do this, Cody.
Cody: You say that everytime; c'mon!
Me: Yeah, but this time I really mean it.
(This repeats about 3-4x/session, and I'm completely serious every single time. For some reason, he doesn't believe me.)

My sessions are filled with cussing and groaning and strange pterodactyl-like noises that somehow make me feel better. And humming. Humming fools me into thinking I'm calm and in control. I swear, I must seem like some CrAzY cAt LaDy*. Luckily I have lost all regard and self-consciousness for how I appear to others while in the gym.

Finally ...
Me: Does anyone complain as much as me?
Cody: I'm not going to answer that.
(HA! This cracks me up the most.)

*This makes me remember that I told Cody that I used let my cat eat of my mouth. (I know - gross; whatever.) I mean it's true, but why in the world would I say it? It's freakin' hilarious how my defenses drop when I'm at the gym. Working out apparently makes me giddy. And crazy. Oh, and totally hot.

12.15.2006

oh ... and my new profile icon?

That's my avatar in the rain. Love it or ... well, love it.

the old man is snoring, indeed

Holy key-riced. Seattlites are no pussies when it comes to rain, but that shit last night was UN. BUH. LIEVable. I mean, let's perspectivize this ... it's no national disaster. But it was nuts --- take a look at these photos. Or these. 4 deaths have been linked to the flash flooding & high winds. One woman was trapped in her windowless basement and couldn't get out because the force of the water blocked the door. That is not cool. I can't think about it too hard, or I want to cry.

I had it easy. I left work early at about 3:45p for my personal training session, and while the bus was a little late, traffic wasn't too bad that early (even considering the Hawks game). And of course, it was only reasonable rain at that point. Halfway from work to lower Queen Anne, the floodgates of heaven opened and got stuck. I have never seen rain like that here, and maybe not even back east. Walking just 2 blocks from the bus to the gym, I had to cross Taylor Ave. (at the eastside bottom of QA Hill), and it was a river. A very shallow river, but FAST and up to my ankles. Good-bye, brown leather shoes. I really liked you while I had you.

While working out, Cody & I kept looking out at the gridlocked traffic, and kept seeing the same cars for almost the whole hour. The gym is about a block away from 99, 1/2-mi. north of the Mercer tunnel/underpass. Which was flooded. Those pictures I linked too above have some amazing shots of cars submerged up to the windows. CrAzY, dude.

So I figured my normal bus wasn't coming, and I sloshed up to Seattle Center to catch a more direct bus, and hopefully get luckier further away from 99. As I round the corner, not even half a block from the bus stop ... the #2 is pulling away. "Fuck!" I mutter, and then "Oh, hooray!" Because the bus had just nosed it's way into the flow of cars, but no further -- because the traffic was craptastic and the light had just turned red. YAY! So I run up, and knock on the door. The driver doesn't hear me. I take my gloves off and knock again. And a third. Finally, on the 4th knocking, he barely turns his head to me and shakes it. No. He's not letting me on the bus. Even though he's completely stopped, not even out of the bus zone, AND his coach was HALF EMPTY. Asshat. And yes, I did get the coach number. Fuckwad.

So I took the next bus. 65 minutes later. Normally I would have walked up QA hill. Not a joy, but not too bad since I started getting fit. However, I was loaded down with packages that I'd cleverly had delivered to my work instead of home. Fucking yeah. Awesome. Way to go.

No power at our place today, nor at about a million other residences. I'm at work. Warm and dry, but unshowered. Could be worse. Could be much, much worse.

I hope you are all safe & warm.

12.13.2006

pretty pictures

I vow to get back to the roadtrip journal postings. However! in the meantime, I finally finished captioning our photos. If you have an yen, why don'tcha mosey on over and take a look. Try not to be jealous. Road Trip 2006

12.12.2006

oopsie doodle

I thought this might happen. I changed my template to take advantage of Blogger Beta, and lost all my comments. (Don't worry, Bloggersters, it almost certainly won't happen to you; I was using a hack for my comments, not the Blogger-approved template. Shame on me.) Anyway, since I anticipated this, I copied & saved all of your comments, my 3(ish) faithful readers! Yay me! Slowly but surely I will be adding the comments back, one by one. Why? Because if you care enough to comment, I care enough. It's that simple. I care. About you.

you are what you eat

If you have any odd desire -- well, any desire at all, odd or not -- to see what I eat (!), then go here:
http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=p8-uxsjKu6ueK4FYKCRGWOg

I've made my food diary public. It feels weird. Now you know far more intimate things about me than I'll probably ever know about you, whoever you are. Unless you want to share a secret with me in the comments section. C'mon, seriously, I won't tell anyone.

12.11.2006

my head, pt. 2

What I think while I'm stationary biking for 30 minutes:

1/30
1/15
1/10
1/6
1/5
1/4
3/10
1/3
2/5
1/2
3/5
2/3
3/4
7/10
4/5
5/6
9/10
2 minutes
1 minute
45 seconds
30 seconds
15 seconds
DONE!
That's a little weird, right? Also kind of obsessive.

At least my elementray school teachers might be proud of me.

welcome to my head

What I think while I'm working out with Cody:

"Why the hell do I pay for this misery? This is horrible!!"
What I think right after I'm done:
"That wasn't so bad; maybe I'll come back."
What I think inbetween sessions:
"I can't wait to go back!"
Rinse, repeat.

12.08.2006

get thee behind me

Oh, Cody - how can I lie to you? I ate a brownie this afternoon. It was delicious, but it was not worth it.

UPDATE:
I made up for the brownie by not eating dinner, so that's good! And then I drank too much, and that really worked out really great for me. (For those of you who don't know me, you may notice my sarcastic tendencies.)

I really only truly regret the 2nd whiskey. Oh, and the not eating dinner. Oops, and the smoking.

Boy, I sure fell off the wagon, didn't I? And then it ran over me.

12.06.2006

these boots are made for walkin'

I found this great site that uses Google maps and turns it into a mileage calculator for walking (or running, I suppose, but I sincerely doubt you'll catch me secretly tabulating the miles I plan to jog). Enter your location, double-click your starting point, and double-click your way through the map, marking your journey. It makes you want to walk places! (Kinda.)

12.05.2006

it's practically medieval

I realized that my monthly eval stats don't mean anything unless you know exactly what I am put through

  • Sit & Reach: This tests, what? Flexibility, I guess. Sitting with legs straight out in front of you, heels on the ground about a foot apart. You lean down in between and stretch your hands as far down the measuring tape as you can.
  • Sit-ups: # sit-ups in 1 minute
  • Push-ups: # push-ups in 1 minute (on the knee push-ups, but still …)
  • Pull-ups: # pull-ups in 1 minute (assisted pull-ups, meaning I’m under the bar, leaning at a 45% angle with my feet on the ground)
  • T-test: Best time out of three. A sprinting thing between cones set up in a T-formation; reminds me of football practice. (Ya know, back when I played ball before my knee injury.)
  • The Plank: A truly hateful Pilates-ish ab exercise; horrifyingly deceptive.

And there you have it; my monthly torture test.

12.04.2006

why not?

Considering the sporadic and frequently infrequent nature of my posting on this blog, this may seem nuts. NUTS! But I have a second blog now.

I know.

But! My new blog is specifically dedicated to my personal training regimen: health & well-being; weight loss; strength & stamina building; the trials & tribulations, the occasional crying jags & rage; and last (but certainly not least), the weird conversations Cody & I have while he's kicking my ass.

12.03.2006

i may be vain, but i'm not proud

Here's the workout I went through last Saturday. Before you watch it, you just have to know this --- every single thing you see is way harder than it appears. That's how Cody tricks me into doing things.

http://www.survivalseattle.com/Peggys_workout_dec.html

Full disclosure: Cody had videoed a workout once before but he said we couldn't use it, because "You weren't smiling." Yeah, no shit. Gee, I wonder why. In between the agony, the lack of breath, and my pleas to simply kill me quickly - who's got time to smile?

12.02.2006

may the force be with you




The are always several complicated and often contrary motivations hanging out inside my psyche at any given time. I suppose we're all like that, right? I mean, human beings are a complicated species. Well, screw celebrity deathmatch - getting in shape pits two longtime archrivals in the fight of the century; two sides of the force fighting to gain control of my soul ... my innate love of comfort against my vanity. Currently, vanity is trumping laziness. Yay me. Yes, Carly Simon, I do think that song is about me.

At the first session, Cody talked to me about my goals. I was all like, "I wanna be able to kick ass. And also, HOT." I mean, duh. But he forced me to get specific. Which I absolutely recommend for others, but which I don't love to do myself. I know it works; it's old school time-tested. Again and again, you see the people who succeed are the ones who are specific about what they want to achieve and who draft up a mission statement of sorts for themselves. Well, la-di-dah, good for them, but dude! it's just awkward. There are all sorts of things that I want and that I believe, but I don't say it OUT LOUD. C'mon! It's embarrassing. But the last photo I saw of myself was embarrassing, too; so! I sucked it up and did it. Besides, I'm too old and determined to be shy about that shit anymore.

MY PERSONAL TRAINING MISSION STATEMENT:
=>In 3 months (*basically by the end of Jan 07), I will weigh 156 lbs, and my body fat will be at 30%. My target body parts are my waist, thighs, and ass (*Cody translated that into "glutes," the cutie-pie, but I know I said ass). I will wake up in the morning and not feel achy and weak.
=>I will be able to accomplish these things by working out 3x/week (with Cody), swimming 2x/week, going to bed earlier, eating out less, decreasing drinking, and quitting smoking. (*He claims I said I was going to give up eating out & drinking, but if I did, I was drunk when I said it.)
=>By acheiving these goals, I will be able to control my body in a way that will improve my acting. My patience will improve. I will be able to do any activity I wish.
=>I am ready to change, for good.

Then there's a whole evaluation circuit, to set a baseline and chart the (hopefully) improvement. I did the same thing approximately a month later.

Here are my stats when I started and at my first month re-eval:

STATS17-Oct 200622-Nov 2006
Weight166 lbs.166 lbs.
Body Fat34.5%33.5%
Fat Mass / Lean Mass57 lbs. / 109 lbs.55.5 lbs. / 110.5 lbs.
TESTS17-Oct 200622-Nov 2006
Sit & Reach9”1’2”
Sit-ups2028
Push-ups1526
Pull-ups1529
T-test14.97 seconds14.22 seconds
Plank59 seconds1 min. 22 sec.

Everything greatly improved except my weight. And that's because I freakin' love food. LOVE. IT. Can't get enough. Guess what my goal is for this month.

Seriously, though. It was only a bit over a month, and I was shocked at the improvement. I was really proud. Enough for now, but I tell you later how this all affects my day-to-day world.

Oh, also, I'm 36 years old, and a stage actress. See ya later!

11.30.2006

just you wait

I adore my personal trainer; he kicks my ass. And just as soon as I can catch him, I will kick his.

help me out here

What do you call someone who is more than an acquaintance, but less than a full-fledged friend? This isn't a set-up for a joke; I actually want to know. Is there an elegant descriptive term for it? What do you use when describing a person such as this in your own life?

11.29.2006

when you read you begin with ABC

In the beginning there was me, and there was too much of me. Too much weight, yes; but that's symptomatic of the systemic issue ... too much noise; too much "other." I've been promising for years that I will get in better shape, that I will lose weight, that I will set goals and stick to them. I'm too broke, I'm too poor, it's too hard. Blah blah blah, I was freakin' sick of hearing myself, and I'm me. Yeah sure, Peg; but what have you done for me lately?

I'm not sure what the tipping point was. I was a bit weary of not succeeding. Well, it turns out I wasn't trying very hard, so my lack of success is not, in retrospect, incredibly shocking. I have to say, though -- it's not so much that I didn't want to try, but that I didn't know where to begin to know how to try. I read a lot; that's how I begin solving almost all my internal, and even external, dilemmas. I read books on organizing, on diets, on exercising, on detoxing, on philosophies of weight loss, on meditation. I did everything I could to get my body & mind into shape without actually having to do anything hard: chiropractic, naturopathic, massage therapy, acupuncture. I got a hot haircut, I bought good-looking clothes & cute shoes, I stopped biting my nails, I started waxing & getting manicures & pedicures. I loved it all. It's good 'n' good for you. But at the end of the day, I was forced to admit out loud that it was me. I'd fixed everything else, so I was obviously the culprit. Hmmmmm. Go figure.

One thing about me, though, is that once I commit - boy howdy! I know how to push my own buttons. I know intimately all the white lies I tell myself, and exactly how I trick myself. So I tricked myself and hired a personal trainer.

11.03.2006

heaven on earth

I'm not so much a religious person, but I have lately found myself questing for spiritual meaning and action (for lack of a better phrase). Simple daily compassion & courage ... that sort of thing. I came across this prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. I've heard it before; probably most of us have. But it's time to cast some fresh and childlike eyes on it again. Read it with care (rather than skim it) and see what comes up for you.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

I think this is worthy of a New Year's resolution. Or beat the crowd and let's start today.

10.08.2006

going up the country / baby don't ya wanna go

July 14, 2006

80 miles, in and about Arches NP & Moab. We set the alarm and woke up early for the cool of the day. Which more or less worked; except, ya know, that it’s the desert.

We were hiking fiends today. First thing, we headed to the Delicate Arch trailhead, and hiked 3 miles to and from the iconic arch. I’ve discovered that the most annoying thing about hiking -- apart from the sweat and lack of breath -- is the encouraging folks on their way back to their air-conditioned cars. “You’re almost there!” “Just around the bend!” “Hang in there; it’s worth it!” Assholes. (On the way up, anyway. On the way down, they’re not assholes; they’re me.)

I wanted to stay up there forever, but we had hikes to hike!

Next stop was 1½ miles on the Primitive Trail all the way around The Windows. Most folks simply walk the paved path to the overlook, but we got to see it from behind with nobody in sight. Lovely.

We headed back to the campsite, ate lunch, and dipped in the pool & hottub to prepare us for the late afternoon hike, which was a guided hike; 2 miles through the Fiery Furnace. This hike is not to be missed if you find yourself at Arches. Go first thing in the morning to the visitors’ center to make reservations; they have guided hikes twice a day.

There were about 25 of us on the hike, but one family in particular will stick with me. A male/female couple and his parents. The parents were Mexican and spoke limited english; the wife/girlfriend was white and spoke limited spanish, and the son translated often between the two languages. Despite the language barrier, the 4 of them seemed quite comfortable. A lot of non-verbal communication, kindness and support and love displayed through touching and smiling. The mother struggled mightily with the hike; and I mean really struggled. But she never once gave up or complained or stopped enjoying herself. The rest of the family rallied behind her and was so patient, you can't even believe it. They never rolled their eyes or sighed or got embarrassed. One of them would go ahead, reach out for the mom; one of them would be behind giving her a boost up or a steadying arm, the other would spot to make sure no-one slipped. This simple patience and good nature overwhelmed me a bit. I am ashamed at how easily I lose patience with the immediate world. Especially, perhaps because I love them and know them so well, those I love. Extra-especially, my folks. And what very important thing am I on my way to do that affords me the egocentric luxury of being so impatient with people? This trip has been so good for me to be quiet and examine what kind of person I want to be. Not just say I want to be, but actually be. Add patient to that list.

Shoogie will kill me for spilling this, but it's too fucking funny not to. About half of the group got to go through narrow crawl-through while the other half held the bags & water bottles and took the not-as-fun shortcut. Because I totally rock, I sent Shoogie through the crawl-through. It was really narrow, and Mark was the last one through, so we were all waiting for him, watching him. I joked to the group about what would happen if he got stuck, and people laughed. And then he scooted through, and kind of shrugged and said, "Oh I should have let her go." Everyone laughed again, and he came up to me and whispered, "Was it really loud?" As Shoogie had squeezed through the opening, he also squeezed out a fart, which he claims echoed like crazy in the crawl-through, and was positive everyone had heard it. I swear, you guys --- I was on the fucking ground I was laughing so hard.

The ranger (a young kid; new college grad) stopped us all at a place called Surprise Arch and told us about the discovery of the area. This was his favorite place in the whole park, and he often would hike out here by himself for contemplation. He asked us all to be quiet for a moment so we could hear why. And he was right - I've never heard such quiet in all my life. Amazing.

We also saw Turtle Arch, so named because it looks like 2 turtles kissing; and Skull Arches, because ... well, guess.

We ate dinner at a much-lauded local steakhouse (Buck’s), and had the inside to ourselves because everyone but everyone wanted to be seated on the porch. Crazies. I was thrilled to be cool & dry for once that day. We were in the throes of glorious, giddy exhaustion. We felt a little drunk even before we downed our several mojitos. The dinner was perfect, we ate way too much but didn’t even care. We were too tired to do anything but gaze & smile & giggle at each other over our food.

I wasn’t sure I could do this hiking thing with any kind of grace. I’m pretty game, but I am fairly out of shape. “Easy” hikes make me feel like I accomplished something sincerely major; “moderate” hikes make me want to commit murder once or twice along the way; “difficult” hikes make me cry and (worse) whine. Six and half total miles for me in one day is HUGE, and I feel sinfully pleased with myself.

It’s relatively early, but you just try to keep me up. I’m sleeping in tomorrow, mofos.

10.03.2006

on the road again; like a band of gypsies we go down the highway

It's back ... ... ...

July 13, 2006

227 miles. Wow, it’s hard to believe we made so many miles today, considering the entire morning we were RAFTING ON THE MOTHERFUCKING COLORADO RIVER. (There are certain things I imagine myself saying at dinner parties when I’m rich and famous and yet incredibly approachable, fun-loving and down-to-earth. Name-dropping the Colorado River is one of them.)

Shoogie has never been rafting, and I hadn’t been in, like, 20 years.* It was incredibly fun, but after we got over the anticipatory terror of the first few rapids, I think both of us wished there had been more continual excitement. Apparently we’re secret thrill-seekers. I suspect rafting is something we’ll do again. Our guide’s name was Jamie. She’d grown up in the area, and regaled with tales of her wayward youth -- which Shoogs & I ate up, but the family with us was a bit non-plussed. Jamie pointed out a bridge where it was now illegal to jump from. Because of her, actually. When she was in high school, she and a friend jumped off it as a senior stunt, and “some bum” saw them and decided to follow their lead. He jumped too close to the bank and broke himself. They dragged him out of the water, but he died. “Why did he do that?” the daughter asked. “Because he was stupid,” Jamie replied. It was freakin’ surreal. I still don’t have a handle on how to feel about that entire exchange. Soon after that, we anchored at “the Boxcar Eddy” and jumped in to swim. It was cold, but no colder than Lake Washington & certainly warmer than the Columbia River. Refreshing. I swam in a famous river.

Then we had this great lunch at a brewpub in another nameless town I want to retire to. I drove the rest of the way to Moab, UT while Shoogie slept most of his cold away. We decided to take it easy this evening. We went for a dip in the campground pool and hottub, and did a little cold-plunging to detox and relax. Lucky us, we’ve hit the desert in a heatwave.

*I can’t believe I’m old enough to say things like “20 years ago” and have it actually mean something.

9.27.2006

ban-ban-ca-caliban


Here's a photo to stave off my guilt until I post again. This is me on my first entrance in The Tempest (on the lake), which closed last weekend. So fun, I can't even tell you. I haven't had withdrawal from a show in awhile.

9.14.2006

mea culpa

I promise I'll get back to recapturing my roadtrip soon ... after the 18th, I'm gonna OWN THIS MOTHER-FUCKING BLOG! Okay, you're right, I already own it.

Real quick, though - I needed to get something off my chest; and here it is.

I have an older neighbor in my building who is in bad shape; his health is obviously failing. This is a situation I've never personally dealt with before, but I'm at a point where I can't just sit by any longer. Here's the deal:

Don is stubborn and sometimes downright ornery. He's a a misanthrope, but he's also an intelligent & fascinating person. I have come to believe that he suffers from bouts of depression. He has no health insurance. He uses a walker, and moves slowly. He's lonely. He lives alone, he has no family, and I don't believe he has many friends (I only know of one other gentleman, besides myself & Shoogie). He claims to not trust any doctors ("they're all quacks"); his father was a doctor and was the only doctor he ever saw. He also lived in Europe for years, and "hates" the US (he came back to care for his dying mother). Sometimes we hear him moaning/crying in his apartment, and twice he has broken down weeping in front of me. "I think I'm dying, Peggy." His father had Alzheimer's Disease, and he thinks he getting it, too.

I find myself trying to avoid Don lately, because I don't know what to say or do to help him. And that just won't do anymore -- I believe in community support & neighbors as circumstantial "family," and I intend to talk to him directly about that fact that I think he needs to see someone, and that Shoogs & I will do anything we can to help him (rides, phone calls, etc.). I think he might listen to me. His fear of being miserable might outweigh his fear of doctors. Maybe not, but I need to try. It's time to put my money where my motherfuckin' mouth is and be a good neighbor. If he responds, I'll feel so relieved and grateful. If he doesn't, I will be speechlessly sad, but at least I'll know that I didn't just stand still and watch him deteriorate.

I didn't quite realize that this was weighing so heavy on me until I began to write it and had to try not to cry. It's really hard to be a human being sometimes. On some (bad) days I don't know how any one of us makes it through any day without crying our eyes out in sadness and frustration at the world. I am lucky that my good days outweigh my bad. Don? Not so lucky anymore, I think.

Be well, my friends -
PJ

8.14.2006

when the rooster crows at the break of dawn / look out your window and i'll be gone

July 11, 2006

341 miles. Not much eventful today, and a lot of just driving. We made one important decision ... there is a campground for sale right outside of Custer SP, the Spokane Creek Resort, and we are going to buy it and live happily ever after. Come visit!

On our way out of the Black Hills, we stopped at Jewel Cave National Monument. You know the difference between a Nat’l Park and a Nat’l Monument? Nat’l Parks need to be sanctioned by an act of Congress, and any ol’ President can designate a Nat’l Monument. (Excepting, of course, our current President - he’s too busy destroying the environment to bother with preserving it. Ha ha ha. Cry cry cry.) Many Monuments are later promoted to Parks. We went on the “moderate-level” guided tour of Jewel Cave. It was really beautiful; it reminded us both separately of the Goonies cave. Definitely worth it, but we were both pretty ready to get under way and put some serious miles on the car.

So we did, and drove through Wyoming. We were going to stop at the Cheyenne, WY KOA, and we found it, but we did not stay there. It was almost the opposite of charming. It bordered some huge factory, was directly off the highway, and must have been near a cowshit processing plant. We’re not talking natural, fresh farm manure here. This smell bowled you over if you even cracked the car door. Shoogs vetoed it post haste, hurried back into the car, backed up to get the hell out of there, and hit a brick wall. Seriously. He actually knocked over the KOA decorative brick parking lot wall. I laughed my ass off while he got out and laid the bricks back together. I wanted to help, but it was too funny! Wiping tears from my eyes, we crossed the border and dragged on to Fort Collins, CO. Our luck held out once again, because we found a lovely campsite that bordered a large field of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen. They wandered around all evening, playing games with each other and galloping here and there. Thoroughly captivating as we sipped our post dinner whiskey. (We found out later that they were exotic, foreign-bred, famous show horses!)

I did some late night laundry and read my book while Shoogie went to bed early. I think he might be getting that cold.

July 12, 2006

240 miles. Yep. Shoogie’s sick. And, well ... he’s not the most patient sick guy. I mean, who is, right? But Shoogie. Oh Shoogie, Shoogie, Shoogie. I love him. That’s all I’ll say.

Another almost full driving day. We drove through CO today, and decided on the spur of the moment to stop where we’d be able to do a little white water rafting. I haven’t been for years, but I used to love it, and Shoogs has never gone. So we found a campground & resort, and signed up for a trip for tomorrow. I hope he’s feeling up to it, but they said we could get our deposit back, if not. He’s really feeling crappy today.

We got a campsite right on the Colorado River across from an immense cliff and some train tracks going along the base. Really nice site, and we were lucky (again) - it was really the only super cool site left; the place was really filling up. As we were setting up, it clouded over very quickly, and started to sprinkle just a bit. Shoogs walked up to the camp store to see about a tarp, and I started to unload. By the time he got back (sans tarp), the sprinkle had upgraded to a light rain. We hustled to get the tent up while the ground was dry, and good thing, too. Just as soon as we laid the tent down, the downpour started. And the lightning, and the thunder. We were soaked through instantly, and then just as quickly muddy from the knees down because of the sand & dirt we were kicking up. We finished erecting the tent (quickest time ever, probably), with no major water distress to the tent itself. It was a warm day, but a cold rain. Poor Shoogie was miserable. If you’re tenting, once you’re already wet, there’s no place to go. You might as well stay in the rain. But all sickie-pie wanted to do was relax, which was entirely impossible. So I worked a little magic, and produced the cure-all for this trip - a whiskey on the rocks. Refreshing!

So. We’re standing and sipping and generally getting soaked. The wind picks up a bit, and I’m watching the rain hit the river and turning my face up to the rain, and generally having a great time. And I don’t mean to be, but I can’t stop giggling at my poor sweetheart. It’s AWFUL, he’s SICK! But there’s something about his hunched shoulders and the way he’s holding his arms, and his dripping windbreaker, and his sad puppy dog expression as he takes sips of his whiskey that pushes me over the edge. I wander closer to the river, so he doesn’t see me laughing, which (rightfully so) would make him FURIOUS in his current state. Then I hear him say, “Oh shit.” I think he’s referring to my inappropriate laughter, so I turn to apologize. But he’s not even looking at me. I twist around to see what he’s looking at, and immediately see our tent spinning towards us. We hadn’t staked it down! I have a quick horrifying flash of us chasing the mother-effing tent all the way down the road through the campground, but it somersaults over the picnic table and smacks right into Shoogie. Even sick, Shoogie can withstand the power of an empty tent, so we’re saved! Except I totally, completely, 100% Lose. My. Shit. I can barely stand up. Jeez, it was funny. I’m laughing right now writing about it.

The rest of the evening is uneventful, and the sun comes out full force and dries everything. (Even my laughter-induced tears.) We spend the rest of the evening chillin’ and cooking and watching trains go by right across the river. Sometimes the engineers wave and blow the train whistle. Fucking cool.

8.12.2006

where the streets have no name

July 10, 2006

110 miles. The air was wonderfully cool last night, and woke up refreshed and not sweating for the first time in a handful of days. We even slept in just a bit. Nice. And we took our time getting ready, so by the time we headed out, it was lunch. Hooray! We enjoyed a delicious lunch buffet at the Game Lodge, the former “Summer White House” of Coolidge. Then we hit the scenic road.

We’d gotten a tip from the rangers, and in mere moments we rounded a curve, and were surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of bison. It was truly amazing, and I shouldn’t even try to capture it here, because no words exist for the childlike, giddy, quiet, intense, joyful wonder I felt. (Okay, actually – I just came up with six words; but you know what I mean.) And the herds just kept going and going for, like, 2 miles. Astonishing to see these beautiful beasts up close. If I were allowed, I could have petted them from the car. It was slow-going, because they were everywhere, all over the road, and munching on grass and brushing their teeth. I was in heaven! We emerged from the bison herds, but the critters weren’t done with us yet. These magical animal encounters just kept up the whole day. Mule deer moms & babes. Antelope buddies out for an afternoon walkabout. White tail deer that couldn’t care less whether we were there or not. A whole extended family of big horn sheep nestled down in a copse of trees. We had to stop for an entire wild turkey family out for a stroll to cross the road right in front of us.

And then there were the burros, famous in the area (or infamous, I guess). A small group of burros had been brought to the area in the early 1900s by a tour company to carry folks to the top of some mountain lookout or other. Eventually the company closed up shop, but just left the burros there. So they’ve been in the park for about 100 years, hanging out, breeding, making families, having fun, and living pretty good lives, really. And whenever they see people, they come right up and nose their way right into your beeswax. I don’t know if it’s in a burro’s nature to be forward with humans, or if it’s a learned response, or what; but these suckers’ll stick their heads right into your car window - right into your face! - and beg for food. If you get out of the car, watch out! Because they’ll surround you with their cute begging eyes and their huge nosy noses. I LOVED IT! I was out of the car instantly, digging around for food that Shoogs and I weren’t going to eat. We served up some lettuce that had gone wilty, we sacrificed our carrots, we gave ‘em everything we didn’t suppose was unhealthy for them. And a dozen or two of them rewarded us with undivided attention ... until we ran out of food, and fresh tourists came along. It was pretty cool, but also the teeniest bit scary to be mobbed by creatures who outweigh you by that much. I got all girly and giggly when they would eat out of my hand.

We headed back to camp to indulge in a divine nap. It felt so decadent and good and pleasantly temperatured. Maybe the best nap of my life.

In the early evening, we took a gorgeous drive through the park highway up to a few viewpoints of Mt. Rushmore. And there are two short tunnels we go through that were purposefully designed by this one dude back in the 30s to allow a perfectly framed view of Rushmore. We’d thought we might catch it at sunset, but we mistimed it. No big deal, it was a great view, and stunning drive through a stunning park. It unfortunately came along with the WORST public restroom of the entire trip. I am not timid not overly sensitive to the vagaries of public facilities, but even I almost couldn’t stomach it. I tried twice, and both times decided my needs were just not that urgent. Then I came to terms with the fact that yes, in fact my needs might very well be that urgent, and I guess third times’ a charm. For the record, I am compelled to note that these bathrooms were outside the boundaries of Custer State Park, and they bear no responsibility for them. Thanks for listening.

And that’s as close as we came to Rushmore, a great view from a long distance. Shoogs had been there before. I hadn’t, but felt no compelling need to go. What more could I have seen from up close?

That night was a full moon, huge and low in the sky, and a heartbreaking shade of light orange.

Thank you, Mr. Florida; sweet dreams, critter-guy.

8.07.2006

don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy

July 9, 2006

194 miles. There was a major windstorm all night, and I barely got any sleep. It was crazy and incredibly disconcerting. Shoogs (of course) slept like a baby on valium. I guess it stressed me out - I kept looking out the tent window to make sure nothing was blowing away. Which is an overreaction, to be sure, but the middle of the night in the middle of a prairie brings strange thoughts to your head. After tossing and turning all night, another all-you-can-eat brekkie swept my cares and weariness away. It’s actually a bit amazing how quickly humans can adopt a regular routine. After 3 days, it was as if we’d never eaten breakfast anywhere else. I’ll miss that little place. Lovely folks, and damn good pancakes.

We headed to Wind Cave National Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where we had already reserved space on a 4-hour spelunking cave tour. We were so excited; I mean, it’s like a childhood fantasy to go cave exploring. Not that we were allowed to go off on our own or anything, but it’s just incredible to think of the possibilities. Wind Cave is the 7th (or 8th, depending on reckonings) longest cave in the world, with approx. 103.5 miles of cave mapped. It was discovered in 1881. (Well, discovered by white men who bothered to tell anyone; likely discovered and cursorily explored by Lakota many years prior.) The story goes that Jesse Bingham discovered the cave while deer hunting, and the air rushing from the cave blew the hat right off his head. Several days later, he brought some friends with him to show them the phenomenon, but the air pressure was such that day that the hat was sucked into the cave and lost forever.

We met our tour guide, a caver-nerd-girl named Ajax. She was nerd-cool, with a few isolated moments that bordered on geek-awkward. Along with us on our tour was a lovely Brit couple, about our age, and then a single young man named Patrick. Patrick had just recently graduated from college and was headed to law school in the fall. He was on summer vacation with his folks. Patrick was pure undiluted geek-awkward through and through.

The experience was pretty unforgettable. We suited up in full gear - gloves, helmet lantern, the whole deal. And then we literally crawled, shimmied, climbed and slid around for about 4 hours. It was TOUGH. Very very fun, but far more challenging than either Shoogs or I expected. And dirty! But beautiful, and dark, and exciting. Unlike anything I’ve ever done. Really damn cool.

The one thing it wasn’t was quiet ... the one blemish on the experience was that Geek Boy would NOT SHUT UP. That kid was a stream-of-consciousness thinker in the extreme, and did not keep one fucking thing to himself. We did not get more than a few seconds at a time to listen to the impossible silence that exists under the earth buried in rock. Impossible silence is damn right! Poor kid, it was like he couldn’t help it. You’re supposed to kind of stay on each other’s asses, so you can see where they step or put their knee or bend down or whatever, but I confess we let Ajax and Patrick get as far ahead of us as we could. Well, at least we and the Brits bonded instantly. We tried so hard to be good, but there were times that we just look at each other and burst into giggles. It actually hurt your brain to believe that he could STILL BE TALKING. In some ways it was just as impressive as the cave, but far more annoying. At the end of 4 hours, we were all pretty beat, and Geek Boy’s patter had slowed down from overwhelming to merely frequent. We emerged into the sunlight, bid our goodbyes, and moved on (slowly - I was already a bit sore) to Taco John’s for dinner.

We decided to head to Custer State Park and camp there for the night after all, despite our earlier (ignorant) derision. We’d heard from 3 other people besides Mr. Florida that it was a no-miss situation. Who are we to argue? So we traveled a relatively short distance and got extremely lucky. We got the last campsite at in the entire park, at Stockade Lake South. Do you know of this idea of campground hosts? I’m not sure what all they do or how they’re compensated, but these folks are basically the building manager of the campground. Our campground host was Joanne, a lovely retired lady who lives in her RV with her husband. They own no permanent residence anymore, and they travel around the country, hosting. They host at this very campground basically every May to October each year. Seems like a really fucking cool job to me.

Driving in, we saw more wildlife than we’ve seen the whole trip. Mule deer, whitetail deer, antelope, sheep. And we hear rumors that the bison herds are hanging out right along the scenic drive. We’ll have to see tomorrow; I can’t wait! Even before we hit the showers that night, we’d already decided to stay here at least another day. As we were setting up, we met a young couple camped next to us, Kyle & Sam. They lived in Pennsylvania and were taking the summer after college graduation (sigh) to travel all over. Cool kids, and very active. Made me feel old.

But then I took what may be the best shower of my entire life (remember it had been 4, maybe 5, days) and I felt young again.

8.03.2006

kyrie eleison down the road that i must travel

July 8, 2006

Day 8. 91 miles.

So I started to tell you about Mr. Florida who gave us his leftover cooler detritus last night. He was adorable and hilarious, and the type of guy you’d want to talk to at every party ... for about 10 minutes before he wore you out, and then you’d have to fake a nosebleed to get away. He had some very interesting things to say. Which is good, since he had no apparent interest in our stories. He’s a self-proclaimed “critter guy.” Loves the critters, and he and his 11-y.o. son seek them critters out. “Have y’all been to Custer State Park?” he asks. “Naw,” we respond with vague un-enthusiasm, as we give each other ‘that look.’ (We don’t care about STATE PARKS. STATE PARKS are lame. How great can it be if our fine institution of a Wash, DC govt. hasn’t seen fit to endorse it?) Well, he goes on and on about it. “Pronghorn sheep coming out your ears!” “You can see bison brushing their teeth!” So we thanked him, assured him that we’ll check it out, and then faked a nosebleed and left with, like, 83 extra hotdogs from his cooler.

So this morning, we’re a bit ... well, delicate from the previous night. Shoogs is already up, walking it off. And as I’m rolling over for the last time, on the way to deciding to poke my bleary head out of the tent, I hear someone run by and have a brief conversation with Shoogie. “Hey!” “Hey – how’s it going?” “Good! See ya – have a great trip!” Turns out that Mr. Florida is a jogger. Of course he is – his wife probably makes him do it to burn off excess energy. So we chuckle about that (gently, because our heads hurt) and go for another all-you-can-eat pancake brekkie. We’re regulars now, so we’re like family. And fuck hair-o’-the-dog -- nothing cures hangovers like hot sweet breadlike items smothered in sugary liquid.

When we get back to camp, we find a bag of food on our picnic table. Mr. Florida, on the way to the airport with his family to fly home, has taken the time to drive out of the way to our campsite to give us the rest of his unused cooler stuff. Who cares we didn’t need it? I thought it was the sweetest thing. People are (charmingly) nuts.

Then we saddled up and hit the trail. Literally. I love horses. They are beautiful creatures, and although I grew up in horse country in Virginia, I’ve not spent much time getting to know them or about them. But I am a sucker for a trail ride. A charming older cowboy gentleman named Sam Newman hooked us up, and told us tall tales while we waited. He was a talker in a completely different way than Mr. Florida. A cowboy-talker; constant but gentle and with plenty of pauses for either response or reflection - whatever we the listeners reckoned we felt like. (We found out the next morning from the purveyor of pancakes & velvet jesuses that Sam Newman did not speak a lick until he was eight years old. They grew up together.) Our trail boss (*giggle*) was an incredibly handsome young man named Dustin. Hellooooooooo, cowpoke! We were accompanied by a perfectly Iowan family from Iowa, and the trail dog Canyon. My pretty girl was named Sage, and Mark’s big boy was named Mason. (That sounds dirty, but it’s not.) Mason and Sage were (of course) best friends (if only in my mind), and trotted along happily side-by-side as Mark and I lasciviously ogled the gorgeosity that is the Badlands.

We tried to kick it back at camp during the hot part of the day (104 today), but there was no relief at all in the form of shade or breeze. So we gave up, hopped in an air-conditioned Myrtle (our newly named workhorse of an awesome car) and headed to Prairie Dog Town. Man! Those suckers are EVERYWHERE. It was pretty cool – must have been hundreds or thousands of them. Total cutie-pies and they know it, too! We saw a few bison, too, but only from too far away to appreciate them. Have I said that I am bison-crazy? I am.

We stopped at almost all the overlooks, wading through waves of heat back to the car when we needed a fresher-upper. A beautiful pronghorn sheep that looked like a stately old man passed by our car almost where we could touch him (if we had wanted to roll down the windows, which we didn’t because we would have instantly melted). And then it happened. At a perfectly inconspicuous overlook. Okay – ants, right? RED ants. Got that? FLYING red ants. Now try this: SWARMING flying red ants covering Shoogie’s hat and shirt within seconds of haplessly crossing their own ant-y Burning Man. It was totally freaky, but anti-climactically ultimately benign. Although we did get to make a report to an official investigative Park Ranger, which made us feel very important indeed. The Summer Ant Storm of 2006.

As it cooled off - well, let me amend. When it was supposed to have been cooling down, but actually wasn’t, we hiked the Saddle Pass Trail. It was a steep full-on climb, basically. We’d climbed an enormously steep way to the top ... to reach another plateau. Sigh. (Which cracked me up when I could breathe again, 'cause from the front it totally looked liked we were climbing a *real mountain*). But we were able to look down across the whole beautiful and far-away valley below us, and the oft-neglected but magnificent prairie at our backs. It would have been perfect if my eyes hadn’t been trying to hide in my skull due to the impossible bright early evening sun.

We got back home to witness the treat of Guitar Guy strolling all over the campground and through the bordering prairie. You know that guy, right? ...Just taking it all in, man. Wandering, strumming, singing to myself, experiencing nature. This is IT, man... Adorable in the Badlands; annoying at Gas Works Park - what can I say? (Turns out that Guitar Guy was also Early Morning Yoga/Pilates Guy.)

And then we partook in an all-you-can-eat Cowboy Cookout at the same place we eat pancakes; also delicious. And those folks are now the godparents of our children.

Tomorrow: Spelunking in Wind Cave! Also, I take back everything I said about Mr. Florida - we meet the talker to end all talkers.

7.30.2006

home base

Hey all - I am home in Seattle and safe and tired and full of energy and squeezing my cat to death. I will keep posting my trip journal in order as I have time to clean it up. I had the most amazing time, and it will be such a joy to remember each day as I post. Keep your fingers crossed that we didn't lose all of our pictures ... how's that for a teaser?!

xo
PJ

7.15.2006

tired, poor, & huddled

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
===========================

I know that I should be catching up on the day-to-day, but I need to take a moment to pause and relay to you all that this trip has really begun to renew my love for this country; and my faith in folks in general. I alluded to this in my last entry, but it bears repeating. And it bears remembering when I'm back home and caught up in my small and elite city community and when the world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket all over the place.

The night before we left, we went over to Safeway, right across the street of out home on the top of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle, and we conversed briefly with one of our regular checkers. She's a very nice young lady, maybe mid- to late-20s. We slipped in that we were leaving for a month to tool around the west, and she said, "I have no desire to explore the Americas; it just doesn't interest me." WELL! Since our car was packed and we were on our way to go do just that, I'm not sure what conversation could have sprung from taking that path, so we simply smiled awkwardly and nodded. And pardon me for generalizing, but I might reckon that a lot of liberal city folk feel something simliar.

But they (and she) are missing out on an amazing richness and diversity. Diversity, much like people, comes in many colors. Diversity is not just found in Seattle, or in "the city." This country is so cussing beautiful in so many different ways that I think I have cried or gotten rather vaklepmt every day on this trip. Sometimes it's the scenery but mostly, it's random moments of interaction with the folks we run into that cause my heart to leap into my throat.

In a mere 2 weeks, I cannot count how many times I've seen strangers from all over the world strike up conversations and find something in common within 60 seconds. I've participated in this phenomonom myself (it turns out I truly am my parents when I travel campin'-style). How amazing is that? It is indeed a small world after all.

It feels a bit good to live in a liberal city and smoke and drink and feel a bit cynical about the world. But it feels better to lose a bit of that pretense and actually converse 1-to-1 with those who probably vote opposite of you. They want the same things - love, happiness, comfort, a future for their children. They maybe just see a different way to get there. The dream we can agree on; the path - perhaps not.

This track is not an easy direction for my mind to take. It's full of uncomfortable contradictions, and backtracking. It's easier to live in the liberal city and imagine that the stupid fuckers "out there" are ruining it for the rest of us.

Okay. So human beings are complicated. And the stupid fuckers out there are ruining it for the rest of us, kind of. But they are also amazingly kind people who, in a crunch, would give you the shirt off thier backs without asking any questions. City folk maybe ask a few more questions before dolling out their kindness.

I don't know. I'm a bit drunk on JD on ice. I am high on the fact that we decided to get a cabin tonight instead of setting up our tent. I am beside myself that the 4 cabins surrounding us seem to be rented by some family reunion; and that Shoogs and I watched a "under 10-years-old" talent show as we were unloading stuff from the car and pouring our first Jack. I feel joyously melancholy, if that makes any sense at all. I just know that I would not trade this trip for anything. And I also am aware that I am incredibly lucky to be able to do this at all. I feel very "connected."

Yep. And I need to sleep before I get any more sentimental. I may read this tomorrow and cringe. But as me and my best-friends-4-ever used to say back in drama club in high school, "The drunk man says what the sober man thinks." That may the only thing we actually understood at that age.

Love,
Peggy Jean

7.07.2006

Getting into the groove

Apologies for the sporadic nature of these road trip reports - I have SO MANY STORIES to tell, and yet such a strong desire to sleep when the sun goes down. ;o) Slowly but surely. Here's the next installment. xo PJG 7/12/06

July 5, 2006

Day five. 375 miles. Things are picking up. We're really getting used to our rhythms and our routines. Our bodies and minds are slowing down and it's easier and easier to remember where we packed that one thing that we want. It's amazing how much faster you can travel on the interstate. We took I-90 from Billings, MT to our present location. Perhaps not as picturesque, but really, the only logical way to go.

And now, I am in a hotel in Deadwood, SD. It kind of kicks ass. It's a very charming and small town of about 1400 people, and a mass amount of touristy types. Ya know, like us. I gambled away about $25 bucks. At some point, I won back $20 and was ahead, but ... well, jeez! it's so easy to stick in a buck and then another buck and then another into the slot machines. All of a sudden ... I'm still not rich. Ah, well. Ooh! And I got to see the actual place where Wild Bill Hickok was shot. This is especially cool if you happen to a fan of the HBO series.

So today - a good day!

We decided not to go to Tetons. It was kind of a tough decision, because we'd heard so many great things. But we wanted to really ensure that we had some available days to cash in for various "surprises" we might find along the way. We made a conscious decision to slow our pace down a little, and go with the wind a little more.

We started out at Pictograph Cave State Park, right outside Billings. Some original cave drawings left by the aboriginal Americans. It's quite something to think about the span of ages and peoples. And this is the place where I got my first sunburn. Well - it was bound to happen, right?

Along the way to the Badlands, we passed by Little Big Horn and decided on the spur of the moment to stop. We thought it would be okay, but neither of us was that into Custer or his last stand. But, we had bought a National Parks Pass before we left, so it didn't cost us anything. And here's where it paid off to stay open to whatever lessons are waiting for us on the road. The ranger talk was EXCELLENT and actually was quite moving ... I wiped my eyes surreptitiously several times (feeling a bit like a nerdball but not really caring). Seriously - either this guy missed his calling by not being an actor or I missed mine by not being a park ranger. And who says learning is over when school is out? Turns out Custer was not a straight up Indian killer, and actually had testified fiercely in front of Congress; calling out the insanely atrocious conditions on the reservations, and taking some of the powerful leaders of the day to task with the kind of courage that is not often seen today. And the Battle at Little Big Horn? A crazy and incredibly sad story of misguided and misunderstood information regarding intentions on both sides. A dark chapter that Hollywood has warped our impressions of.

Sleep. Maybe tomorrow I'll win back what I'm going to spend in gas on this goddam trip.

July 6, 2006

Day six. 131 miles. We ate lunch at Kevin Costner's bar/restaurant/casino. Yup, you bet; of course he does. And we happen to be seated next to the stills from my favorite Costner movie of all time - A Perfect World. Haven't seen it? Rent it immediately. Put it on your Netflix queue. It's a fan-fucking-tastic movie. Of course, Costner is also a little bit famous for giving me and Mark our first big win in Deadwood. Of course, he then proceeded to rob us blind, but we've forgiven him. Basically only because of A Perfect World and (of course) Bull Durham.

We took a charming bus tour of Deadwood and Boot Hill Cemetery, where Hickok and Calamity Jane and Potato Creek Johnny are all buried together. Ooooh! And for fans of the show - also Preacher Smith (who, disappointingly, didn't die gloriously of a brain tumor like in the show, but was shot with fake Indian arrows; presumed killed by the bad folks who were tired of him coming into the red light district and spewing his bible thumping morality).

Poor Shoogie developed a powerful headache by mid-afternoon and was barely able to breathe, much less eke out any kind of existence (apparently). You know those kind of headaches, right? People with migraines probably scoff, but seriously that shit is not fun. (And neither was Shoogie with this headache - ha ha.) But I forced him to drink water and eat some salted cashews (my theory bring that we had completely dehydrated ourselves in Deadwood by tying one on ... or five or six). Whether it worked or the headache just played itself out, we'll never know. Not being proud, I will claim the victory. None-the-less, Mark was recovered by the time we hit the Badlands in South Dakota. And I have to tell you - it was as good as I remembered.


July 7, 2006

Day seven. 89 miles. One week from home, and it feels like nothing and it feels like forever. We set up last night at the Cedar Pass Campground within the Badlands Nat'l Park. Really pretty glorious. The gorgeous prairie at our backs, the beautiful rugged face of the Badlands directly in front of us. I can't even describe the Badlands to you. You simply have to view it. I'm not kidding. This place captured me when I came through 12 years ago (when Phil, my ex-husband, and I drove through when we moved to Seattle in 1994). It's like God made sand castles. That sounds lame --- I don't know; it's just so astounding. Look it up; book a flight; rent a car; go.

We found place about 2 miles from us, just outside of the park that serves all-you-can-eat brekkie pancakes w/ sausage and coffee/tea for 4 bucks. And the people who run the place ARE SO NICE. Everyone we've met is incredibly kind and lovely. Granted, we don't talk politics, so I don't know about red vs. blue (I'm guessing usually red) --- but in terms of simple everyday human kindness and friendliness, it warms the cockles of my heart to find to find these lovely folks everywhere we go. The other thing these lovely folks possessed was a velvet Jesus for sale for $12.95. You do the math.

We hiked 4 trails today - about 2.5 miles. Okay, well ... really only 1 actual hike and 3 strolls. But the hike (Notch Trail) was kind of intense. We found out later that it was 102-degrees. Key-riced! But it's a dry heat. Ha ha.

Oh! And we discovered the best wildlife of all! Biting flies, the little shit cocksuckers. They SUCK ASS. They leave no welts - no indication of ever being there - but they latch on and the bite and bite and bite until you hit them. No amount of shaking of your leg or arm will dislodge them from their appointed rounds. And they bite through socks. Truly heinous.

In the evening, we were heading out to Wall, SD (home of Wall Drug!, which is home to free ice water!). As we were preparing to leave the campsite to make the trek (about 25 miles), a lightning storm sprung up in the distance. Have you ever seen an electrical storm come in over the prairie? Well, now I have, and I have to say that it is WAY BETTER than Wall Drug. I love Seattle, but one thing I miss is thunderstorms. And the best thing about this one was the beauty combined with the fact that it didn't land any rain at all on our heads - it passed right by. Best of both worlds. Then we did head into Wall, and let me tell you, it turns out that Shoogs loves him some Wall Drug.

I finally dragged him out of there, and he cooked dinner for us while I went to town and bought him that velvet Jesus. Hell yes, I did! It's Jesus at Getheseme, and it is kind of beautiful. Ya know, aside from the fact that it's a velvet painting. Mark, of course, was overjoyed and will love me forever.

We ate, and hit 2 of the evening ranger programs led by Ranger Shawn Smith, a sweet young kid from St. Louis who has a crazy penchant for Lewis and Clark. In fact, that's what the first talk was about - the L & C expedition through the Dakotas. It was quite interesting, but the highlight was that he showed a clip from the IMAX Lewis & Clark film, in which my friend Kelly Boulware plays Clark. It was surreal to see someone I know on a screen in a ranger station in South Dakota.

On the way home from the programs, we stopped by to get ice from ice vending machine. It was about 11:30pm and we ran into a guy cleaning out his cooler - he and his family were on the way home (to Orlando, FL). His name was Mark, and once he found out we were camping, he gave us all his leftover food. Hot dogs, mayonnaise, mustard, pudding, milk. Most of it we didn't want or didn't need, but he seemed so pleased to have someone to give it to that we took it. This guy Mark - nice fucking guy, and a TALKER. We were exhausted, but didn't want to be rude, so we talked for awhile. Once again - the glorious lessons we learn when we're open - he gave us the best tip of the trip so far --- CUSTER STATE PARK.

Adventures to come:
=>Trail ride with a horse named Sage!
=>Spelunking!
=>Begging burros!
=>More lightning storms and tent shenanigans in CO!
=>White water rafting on the Colorado River!

Who know where we'll be next?!

Much love to all of you for reading,
Peggy

7.04.2006

the twilight's last gleaming

Right now, I am sitting in a KOA Kamping Kabin (did I mention how much I love KOA?!) and I am listening to fireworks taking place in various places around Billings, MT. But, Peggy! -you gasp- How did you possibly get to Billings on the 4th of July?! Well, let me tell you folks … it was not that easy.

Day Two. July 2, 2006. 317 miles. In retrospect, perhaps we should have decided to make Glacier NP in 3 shorter days rather than 2 longer ones. The second day (July 2) might be the closest we come to seriously almost bagging this whole ridiculous idea and holing up somewhere and coming back to Seattle simply pretending that we took a month-long road-trip. Note to self: Eat more frequently. 2nd note to self: Somehow trick Mark into eating more frequently.

BUT! We made it to Glacier, and it was beautiful. In fact, the whole of the drive up to Glacier was also beautiful. And some of the time we even had the presence of mind to remember to enjoy it. It was a long day that ended with a crazy campsite fiasco, which almost made me cry and involved not getting a site at all, then getting one, then having it taken away, then getting another one. Then it rained on us. And then we got to eat dinner. Then we got eaten by a grizzly.

Okay, I made that last part up. In fact, after it rained and we ate, we took a lovely walk around the campground (not KOA this time, but actually in Glacier NP at the Fish Creek campround), and found 2 ways down to Lake McDonald where we relaxed to the view and the sound of the water. And had a rock skipping contest. The winner? Me at 11 years old. Boy, have I lost that skill. A shame, really. I’m going to do my best to rectify the situation.

After the walk, we drank wine and promised that the rest of the trip we were going to be better and nicer, and then giggled in the tent for awhile before lights out. I love the sound of other campsites’ quiet murmuring and laughing and then gradual silence. It’s a strong visceral memory from a childhood of campground vacations, and it soothes me and makes me feel safe.

Day three. July 3, 2006. 133 miles. The day started rough. For various reasons too complicated and personal to go into, I had a bit of a meltdown. I partly blame this goddam cold which I cannot completely shake. But there it was. That happened, then the air was clear, and everything else that day was magical. Out first real day of DOING rather than DRIVING.

After a lovely light lunch, we drove through Glacier NP on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, stopping liberally along the way wherever we felt like it. A vista here, a waterfall there. The Continental Divide. We hiked to St. Mary’s Falls and then onto Virginia Falls. St. Mary’s was beautiful, but we shared it with everyone because it was an easy climb. Virginia, however, was almost empty. It was also a fairly easy climb, but almost noone besides us kept going past the first falls. I’m glad we did. As beautiful as Glacier is, it was our only real moment of solitude, and we soaked it up. And I soaked my feet in the edge of the falls (far away from any danger, Mom and Dad – I promise). A few sips from the flask added to our sense of euphoria.

Then back on the road, and we continued our slow pleasant drive through the park. We decided to push on and find a campground further on past the park. Our first try resulted in a vaguely Chainsaw-Massacre-ish place, where the toothless guy came up from the house on his tractor to welcome us and express his hopes that we would stay because, “We like to party; we have a good time here!” Actually, in another week, I think we would have welcomed the adventure, but I think we were both looking for something more in our comfort zone. So on we traveled, and just as we were starting to think we’d fucked up again, we came upon the most amazing oasis of a small town called Dupuyer. It is a town of 80 people, 2 grocery stores, 2 restaurant/bars, and 1 B&B. The B&B was charming, and we were pretty excited, but it was obvious from the welcome they gave us that those poor folks were just hoping to have a quiet early night before the holiday. They had just vacated a whole house full of guests, and were so kind and completely willing to help us out if we had no other options, but they were also noticeably relieved to direct us to the county park (a mere block away) once they learned that we were prepared to tent. The park was not much more than a field with an outhouse where you could camp for free (!) – there is no earthly way we would have know of its existence without the B&B folks. It was awesome, and we had the whole place to ourselves. We stopped by one of the groceries to get some cold medicine (yes, it’s still hanging on), and she directed us strongly to one restaurant over the other. So we went and had some whiskey and all-you-can-eat tacos at this place run by two native Washingtonians that are about our age. De-fucking-lighful. Then back to the campsite to play Frisbee. Then the quietest night sleep yet.

Day four. July 4, 2006. Independence Day. 338 miles. About 30 miles from Dupuyer is a town called Choteau (“show-toe”), and we rolled into town JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME to see their 4th of July parade. It was AWESOME. Fire trucks, tractors, the Shriners, princess floats – oh the list goes on and on. We shot a gazillion pictures. There is nothing like this in a city. It is impossible to have a parade like this anywhere but in a small town. We loved every minute. Then ice cream, then on the road again. And the road looked a lot the same from there all the way to Billings. That’s to say, beautiful. But our eyes were a bit saturated, and we were happy to roll into Billings to our Kabin, where here I sit on the bed with Mark now snoring and the pop of fireworks continuing into the night.

I shall take a moment as a fall asleep to remember what this day really means, and to pray for peace and freedom for all of us.

7.01.2006

Day One

324 miles. We started late and made it to just past Spokane today. Fairly uneventful, but we had a few first day blips. Getting on the was road for any trip is always a bit stressful, but perhaps slightly more so since it’s the two of us in a car for an entire month. Did we forget anything? Do we like each other enough to do this? If we were on the Amazing Race, would we have embarrassed ourselves in front of America?

On the TAR (The Amazing Race) scale, I’m guessing we would have come in around 9th (out of 11). Our navigation skills rocked, but our interpersonal interactions were shaky. Perhaps an earlier breakfast would have been beneficial. We’re the team that your bets would still be out on. Are they assholes or are they cool and just finding their sea-legs? Time will tell.

I woke up with a cold yesterday (hooray), and have been fighting it off fairly successfully, but it’s taken a bit out of me. (Patience, mostly.) And Mark was … well, Mark was cranky. We’re both better now that the camp is up and we’re sipping Basil Hayden on ice out of camping mugs. Thank god for KOA!

Route outline: I-5 North over to Highway 2 was our plan, but I-5 sucked balls traffic-wise. We stopped at a Denny’s (yay America), and found a shortcut to 2 that didn’t involve 5. Then we hit holiday traffic around Sultan. What? You’ve never heard of Sultan, WA? I already was expecting 2 to be slower than 90, but geez … it was even longer than I expected. Still better, though – peaceful and pretty. And I’ve seen that stretch of 90 more times than I can count, so I’m glad we did it. We’ll mainly try to stay off the major interstates, unless it makes no sense not to use them.

We stopped in Leavenworth for a cold one (which we needed – see previous note re: patience & crankiness), and chatted up some of the hippie townie bartenders, who were lovely. We enjoyed the majestic rock faces along the way to & past Wenatchee, and the colors of the WA State desert are stunning! I always forget. The dying sunlight off the wheatfields was amazing. And Mark and I have decided to retire to either Davenport or Startup.

We’re about to go brush our teeth and fall deeply asleep in our comfy tent with the top flap open to reveal a perfect shot of the Big Dipper. Dreamy. We still love each other. All told, any day that ends with that is a good one, no matter how many detours we take along the way.

6.23.2006

wishing well and well-wishing

My best college friend and I used to keep wish books. They weren't diaries; they weren't journals. They weren't even really goals, per se. It was a place where we wrote down everything from "I want to play [this particualr character] in [this particular play]," to "I want a house with a swimming pool," to "I want to learn to fix my car," to "I want to kiss [so-and-so] on the mouth," to "I want to win the lottery." Some of our "I wants" were silly, fun and airy; some reflected the sweet intense passion of youth; some of them actually did turn into goals. We crossed them out once we'd achieved them, but that wasn't really the point. The point was brainstorming and dreaming without any kind of self-censorship. It was silly and giggly and yet somehow galvanizing.

I talked to Lynnie recently, and she mentioned that she still had her book, and 12 years later (!), she was still adding to it. Oh my gosh, I thought, how cool! To have a record of whimsical wishes from when we were mere babies. I, of course, not only hadn't kept it up, but I could not tell you where my book ended up.

But I'm going to start it up again. It'll be a chronicle of daydreams, which is probably a more accurate snapshot of any of us than our day-to-day activities could ever be.

Also ... here's another list I recommend. When you're really really busy in life, and you think to yourself, "If only I had time to ..." --- write down whatever *it* is. Keep a running list. Then when you haven't worked in awhile (an affliction common to a lot of actors), and you're thinking you'll never work again (even more common), or you just split up with a lover or partner, and 24 hours in a day seems like a ridiculous amount of time to fill ... look at your list, pick the thing that appeals to you the most, and do it. This has come in handy for me several times to stave off melancholy and borderline depression. It's such a boon for me to realize that I have this incredibly full life and desires outside of theatre. Sometimes I forget that.

6.08.2006

Listen. Can you smell that?

There comes a time almost every afternoon around 3:30pm when I'm at work and the office almost always quiets down. Nobody's conversing on the phone or in person, all the office doors or shut, I and the other assistants are in our cubicles quietly typing and minding our own beeswax. It's very pleasant, and I feel like I get a lot done in the hour surrounding this quiet time.

Then the weirdest thing happens, and it surprises me every time. The fan on the behemoth printer behind me shuts off. And every day, it's only then that I realize how loud the fan is. It wasn't at all quiet before, I'd been fooled. But *now* it's super-duper quiet. I love this moment, and I hope I continue to forget about it and be surprised anew daily. I actually have a tangible physical reaction to it - my shoulders relax, my face muscles relax, I unconsciously take a cleansing breath, my brain calms for a moment.

It makes me wonder how much noise falls beneath my conscious radar every day. Because your mind can't possibly take in and process that much "static" - it would surely drive you mad(der than you are), right? But our physiological selves must be constantly affected; taking the exhausting sonic blows all day long so that our minds can function. Printer fans, air conditioning/heat fans, refrigerators running (ha ha), computers humming, constant traffic, construction, not to mention plain ol' electricity running through everything.

I had a friend - a young women I toured with - who was TERRIFIED of nights “in the country.” She'd grown up in LA, and lived there pretty much her whole life until she moved to Seattle. When we’d stay in a homestay off the beaten path, she’d take a sleeping aid and go to bed early. She hated the fact that there was no noise (of course, there was plenty of sound, just no noise), and that it was so dark that you could see the full force of the inky sky. Freaked her the fuck out. I could never (will never) grok this. I mean, I understand it intellectually; I appreciated that that was her deal, and I never thought she was stupid or anything. But to me, it seemed like such an alien thing to feel.

I can't remember the last time my body heard natural silence. Or felt natural darkness. Has it been long enough that I will be frightened by it? I dearly hope it hasn't been that long, but just long enough for me to be thrilled by it. I plan on experiencing it a lot this summer on my camping roadtrip, so I'll let you know how it goes.

6.05.2006

ass/door/not hitting - pt. 2

A couple posts ago, I mentioned this road trip that Shoogie and I are taking. My readership is not large, I'm sure, but I believe that you are smart and mighty! Would you please care to share your pearls of wisdom? Any campgrounds or areas of interest or amazing roadside diners we shouldn't miss? Please tell me all about it/them/your experiences.

Here is our very basic itinerary (subject to change upon any whim that Shoogs and I have at any moment):

  • over to Glacier
  • down to the Tetons
  • over to the Badlands
  • cut southwest across Utah, thru canyon territory
  • north rim of Grand Canyon
  • Las Vegas
  • home

It's basically a big circle(-ish thing) around the west. We plan on camping 90% of the time and trying to stay to the roads and lands less travelled.

Advice? Bring it on; I'm not scared ...

6.02.2006

Skot haunts my dreams. Why SKOT?

Stop it, Skot. I'm serious.

I wrote about my first Skot dream here. Which pleased me for days. But now it's getting weird. Skot wrote this a few days ago over at his url-pad, and (in addition to feeling cheated out of my memories because I saw that show, and now I can see that all they gave me was sloppy seconds *SOB* - aw, fuck, who am I kidding? sometimes it's the only road back to sanity) I have dreamed (dreamt?) twice now about Skot trying to assassinate me.* Once he was following me around work, and the other I was in the audience and he was on stage "acting."

*Of course, I don't mean really assassinate me, like that recurring dream I used to have about Adam Sandler - seriously, that's not a joke. Another entry for another day. If you didn't read Skot's post I linked to, do it. It'll become clear.**

**It now just occurs to me that maybe Skot's following me in my dreams to only to wink at me, with no malicious intentions. I'm not sure which is creepier.

6.01.2006

I'll try not to let the door hit my ass on the way out.

I'm really starting to lose it. I need to get out of here. Away from the city; away from my job; away from all these ... people. Blech. Why don't the people just stop talking to me?! Seriously ... zip it. You're annoying me.

Okay, see what I mean? I am totally not usually like this. I am a kind and patient young(ish) gentlewoman. Sarcasm notwithstanding.

The weird part is that my life is actually quite excellent right now. I'm just about to close a show that was challenging in all the best possible ways and quite successful and well-praised. I'm directing Shoogie in his solo piece that's going up in a festival next weekend - and it's going so freakin' well. My job's fine; I'm having fun; I adore my friends; biddy biddy boop boo nerdle derdle.

But the people. The poor ignorant people* are constantly throwing their unintentional buzz-kipe into my determined path. I have a few theories regarding this.

  1. The people are not ignorant, and it is intentional. The people can tell I'm in a general snit, and are doing it on purpose to razz me; and then giggling about it over lattes later. (I've dismissed this as "Not likely." I don't have that big an ego.)
  2. The people don't have anything to say, so they just talk nonsense to fill up space. (Well, duh. But this doesn't explain why it's making me poke my eyes out with a pencil.)
  3. I am freaking out and actually need to get out of here for awhile. (Aha ... now we're on to something!)
*I'm assuming not ignorant in general (hopefully), just ignorant of my personal current leave-me-alone mania.

Familiar with the term "senior slump?" Yep - fershurr that's what I got. In spades, brothers and sisters. Because Shoogs & I are going on a big fat car-camping road trip for the entire month of July. It's been planned for about 6 months, but now it's less than a month away and I'm starting to sweat. Big time. I want to hit the road so bad I can smell it. And it smells like hot dry heat and healthy sweat, and that smells like freedom. I haven't felt this way about a vacation since I was a kid and would restrain myself by only packing two weeks beforehand.

So if we cross paths, I am asking your kindest indulgence if I am less than patient and kind. It's not you; it's not me ... it's the open road.

5.12.2006

da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM

If you saw the title of this past and you thought to yourself, "Ooh, iambic pentameter!" or perhaps, more specifically, "Aha, Shakepeare!" - then you very well might begin to understand the hell I am in. Don't get me wrong; I love Shakepeare. Adore, actually. Reading it, deciphering it, acting it, watching good actors perform it. Love. It. Like. Crazy.

But I am in rehearsals currently for Shakespeare's King John (an all-female version, and it's gonna be so good). Yes, it's amazing, blah blah blah, but aside from all that --- it's taking over my brain. I walk around all day trying to make my conversations fit into blank verse. I can't friggin' read a book, article or even email without forcing this poetic rhythm on these bits of poor unsuspecting prose. (And really - is there any prose quite so prosaic as modern speech and communication?)

Even right now, I've tried to go back and examine this post for it's adherence to iams.

O God in heav'n, why must you torture me?

Sweet jesus, it's a sickness ... help me ... must ... hit ... publish

5.11.2006

These cartoons make me so overwhelmed with joy ...

... that I must punch someone or die.

Kenya
Badgers
England!

5.05.2006

nerdy work giggles

Things I get to say at work LEGALLY:

  • "Yeah, let me put that in your box."
  • "How are things going with your unit?"

And, of course, countless variations. Some days, it's all I've got ...

4.13.2006

Last night I had the strangest dream.

(... name that song!)

Anyway, it's true. I had one of the funniest dreams of my adult life. I was at Skot & his wife's place. Skot was in the dining room area sitting in an armchair reading the paper (like a curmudgeonly grandpa, which he is, really) and "the wife" (his term, not mine) was flitting around the living room playing hostess. Dusty, Val and I were sitting on 3 folding chairs lined up in a row across from the couch, and we could only just see one half of Skot in the other room. I don't remember the conversation we were having, but I responded to something by telling Dusty not to be pussy, or something like that. All of the sudden, the wife froze and looked distressed and glanced over at Skot. He rattled the paper and peered out from behind it, and just looked over at me. Like Skot would. Part mean, part "you are such a moron." Then the wife said, very politely but awkwardly, "Skot and I don't use words like that in our home." I was super embarrassed, but I remember that even in the dream I was thinking, "Ummmm, what?"

Because Skot is my friend who birthed AND popularized the phrase, "Awww, does your pussy hurt?" to indicate that you were being a ... well - not to put too fine a point on it, but - a pussy. For more of his genuis creations, go here.

When I remembered this in the shower the next morning, I could not stop giggling.

3.30.2006

Wesley has crushed me.

Oh, blog -

I love* Wil Wheaton. I loved* Wil Wheaton before he had one of the best blogs ever (soon to return to his original space at Wil Wheaton dot Net). Before the word blog even existed. I even liked him pre-Star Trek: The Next Generation. But I began to love* him the most during the ST:TNG days. He was mine; or rather the concept of him was mine. See, I kinda sorta liked him fine --- okay, hang on, 'cause this is where it gets confusing, because now "him" is starting to refer interchangably to either Wil or his ST:TNG character Wesley; but since one of the complicated and dubious joys we experience as Americans is the ability to hold this duality about celebs in our minds and implicitly understand it, I feel sure you'll grok this --- but because my sci-fi nerd friends didn't (like him, that is) and made fun of him mercilessly, I was compelled to take up the Wil/Wesley banner, and it was then that my "he's fine" blossomed into "he's awesome, and I will kick your ass."

And then he dropped out of sight (my sight, anyway). And then, years later, surfing from my friends' blogs to other blogs to other blogs, I found out he had a blog, and now I'm an obsessive WWdN reader. And now I love* him anew, and even more. He's a cool celeb again, but remember ... I LOVED* HIM BEFORE YOU DID!

His writing makes me laugh and ponder, and I'm always nodding and thinking "right on!" or "aw, man, yeah" when I read him. BUT! He had this post the other day which broke my heart just a little bit. It seems inocuous enough, about certain modern slang words, but ... I, I ... well, I -- (hitching breath) -- disagree fundamentally with Wil (*sob*).

But all blind love must come to an end, and I look forward to the next few days, when I will be coming to terms with my shattering disappointment (borne - understand this, dear blog - of my own unrealistic expectations, and not of any implied or direct promises or misrepresentations of his; like the day so long ago when I realized that adults can't always be trusted). Then I will wipe my eyes, wash my face, eat breakfast or something, and embark on a deeper love* which will stem from sincere appreciation of truth.

Then, blog, I will be ready to explain to you why I fundamentally disagree with Wil. Right now, it's just too painful.

Love,
me

p.s. I would've been a way better woman for Wesley than that shapeshifting princess.

(*In the sense of "love" that comes when referring to a famous person who you could not possibly truly love because you do not even remotely really KNOW them; but, from what you can glean from their career or how they conduct themselves in interviews, or just how you like their smile or something, you think you really would like them a whole heck of a lot if you went out for beers, and you could imagine being friends with them in an altiverse where you were kinda famous and really cool, too.)