I'm leaving the old intro here, but adding this- it appears the doves have taken over my blog for their fiction. Just as well, I was doing a piss poor job of updating. They're doing much better.

This blog is infrequently updated, full of incorrect spellings, misused words, and general bad grammar. It started when I was trying to use google+ (which I've since given up on) and discovered there was no character limit for posts. If you've known me a long time, a lot of these stories will be old hat. If you plan to know me for a long time, you'll no doubt hear many of them in person. But, folks seemed to enjoy them, so here they are.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Thirty Third Story

Another Christmas Story: I love the concept of the christmas tree. The first year I had my own apartment, in Oberlin, I went out and got one as soon as they went on sale. I brought it home. I leaned it against a wall. I called my Dad. The only words I said were "Dad, I have a problem" without pause, he responded "Five gallon bucket, gravel from the drive way" I said thanks and hung up. I swear to god, I hadn't even told him I was getting a tree.

The Thirty Second Story

Been a while, so, another story. This one is set in Union Square, Somerville, right before Christmas, probably the second year I was in business (though maybe the first). My friend Irka had been helping me out with some of my fairs when I overbooked myself. That day, I just had one small fair, and I had to drop off work for the Massart Winter Sale. I went over to Union square and got myself all set up before remembering about the dropoff. I couldn't leave my work there, it was 11 oclock in the morning, dropoff was only till noon, the fair was already open- so I called up Irka. "where are you, um, right now?" "in Union square, getting brunch" "Great! That's perfect! That's where i am, too, and I need you!" "Um, can I finish my waffles?" "Well, as long as you're quick about it". A few minutes later, I saw her, and with her the fellow who was clearly her date for morning brunch. I felt, suddenly, quite awful, but it being rather too late to avoid interrupting things, I went and did my drop off. I did make them both dinner, later, as an apology.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The thirty first story

Today: A story from when my parents were dating- this one has been independently verified by both parties, and they're very differently styled storytellers, so I believe that this story is true in all its details.
My Dad is Jewish. My Mom is... not. Who knows what she is- she was raised some branch of protestant, and believes in santa claus, but not in god. Regardless, she loves Christmas. For a long time during their courtship, my Dad worked for the army and lived in a shack in the Arizona desert. Mom wasn't a desert person, but she would visit regularly. One of these times she arrived very very late on christmas eve. Dad didn't have a tree. Mom was upset. I get different ideas of how upset from each of them- Dad says she was reasonable, she says she was not. Regardless, the end result was Dad, breaking into the base to steal a christmas tree from the lot, tossing it back out over the barbed wire topped fence.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

the Thirtieth Story

For today, my one and only thanksgiving story. My family never much did thanksgiving growing up. There were four of us, and we ate dinner together every night. We didn't have any extended family within driving distance, and, most importantly, we're not people inclined to be bound by tradition. Generally, we didn't make a big deal of it. Dustin's family, though, makes a very big deal of holidays. After going to his extended big meal two years running, I put my foot down, and insisted that we were going to my mom's for thanksgiving. He, very logically, argued that my mom doesn't do thanksgiving, so I called up my mom, and asked if, you know, maybe we could do this thing? She was game, and called up my brother, who agreed to come out. Then she called me back and asked how traditional this ought to be. Since Dustin was so used to a big  thanksgiving, and I was keeping him from it, I thought we should try to do a turkey, and some pies. So mom bought some frozen pies, and a turkey.
Mom's a teacher, and her kids homecoming day was thanksgiving morning. She wanted to go to the game; we could either put the turkey on before and have dinner in the early afternoon- far too traditional for us- or wait till we got home and have dinner around 6. We opted for the latter. Then the game went into overtime, and there wasn't time to come home before picking up Tristan and Yukka, and it was pretty late before we got the turkey in. New Yorkers at heart, this was fine- dinner would be around 8. Mom has a roaster thing separate from the oven; we put the turkey in this and turned it on. It emitted black clouds of smoke. We took the turkey out and cleaned the roaster, put the turkey back in, mixed some cocktails and went down to the beach. About an hour before the turkey was scheduled to be done, we headed back up the hill to put on potatoes and check on the bird. We opened the lid of the roaster to a completely raw bird- the damned machine never got turned back on after the cleaning.
We had pie and wine for thanksgiving dinner, and turkey for dessert. We're adaptable people, and for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Twenty Ninth Story

Today's story takes place in Ohio. For my birthday, my mother gave me some amount of money and told me to use it to learn to fly. I wanted to go hanggliding, but much of Ohio has the wrong geography for that, and the amount wasn't quite enough for a flight lesson, so I decided to jump out of a plane. There was a place not too far from Oberlin where you could take a two hour course and then they would take you up; so I signed up there. The class was about 20 minutes of knowledge one might need when jumping out of a plane. This advice included the nugget that we weren't to have long in freefall and should pull our cords about 15 seconds after leaving the plane; but this was our first jump, and it would probably take us that long to start counting, so to just scream FUCK! at the top of our lungs about 5 times and then pull. (this was good advice)

The rest of the two hours was looking at a map of the surrounding farmland. We were supposed to land on their property, but again this was a first jump, and if we screwed up, we might end up at the neighbors'. Most of the farms we were to gather up our parachutes as best we could and find the nearest gate (gates were marked in red on the aerial view). There was one place where they were breeding thoroughbred race horses, and we were on no account to open any gates there; the woman had raised the lowest bar on the fences towards our goal and we should be able to roll under. "And THIS field. This field here- there is a bull. If you land here, fuck the parachute- there is a knife in you jumpsuit pocket, cut your lines and run for whichever fence is closest. Jumping out of a plane isn't dangerous. That bull though- that bull is dangerous" (I'm not sure whether this was good advice. Should one run from a bull? or back away slowly? Don't know, didn't have to find out)

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Twenty Eighth Story

My brother went to Japan for several years after graduating from college. The first Christmas he was gone, my mother and I flew to Thailand to meet up with him and his then girlfriend, Vika. There are lots of stories that come from that trip (the one about the hiking boots and lack thereof originates here). This is just a short aside, though. It is easy to lose track of days when traveling; Mom was more alert than the rest of us. Christmas morning found us on a plane on or way to Phuket. Mom pulled a tiny fake pine tree out of her carry-on and started singing christmas carols in the middle of the flight.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Twenty Seventh Story

While we were in Mali, my mom and I wanted to get to Timbukto. There were two main reasons for this- the first was the libraries, and the second was the simple fact that it is Timbukto. I mean, you just can't get that close to Timbukto and not go. "That close" though, gives the wrong idea. It is still hard to get to timbukto. There is no road. There's the River Niger, and there's 4x4s. We got it into our heads that we wanted to take a boat. Boats are expensive. We had met up with a pair of British folks, and we were going to try and get together to find passage. They found some other folks (another british woman and a couple, one Danish, and one Bulgarian). The bunch of us ended up splitting a boat with another group from Spain, and a French lady traveling with her Senegalese husband. The last two actually knew what they were doing, the rest of us were dumbasses. Because we had negotiated separately, the english speaking group was to be sleeping on the boat, while the spanish speaking group was to be camping on shore. The first night, there was a storm. It was amazing- the wind was shearing horizontally, driving rain in front of it like a blade. The spanish tents ripped themselves to bits in their attempt to blow away. The boat was leaky, but designed for these storms and thus mostly fine. Clearly, the spanish people needed to come in. But the english speaking crowd had spread out blankets and mosquito nets and what not covering every inch of the boat, so for a long time, we ended up with all the Spanish people sitting in a row on three sleeping bags. Eventually, through diplomatic means, we were able to gain some more land, but there just wasn't enough room for everyone to lay down, so we all played cards and accused each other of cheating in languages we didn't understand.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Twenty Sixth Story

I guess this will be the pattern. I'll forget to check google+ for weeks (months) at a time, but when I remember, I'll post a new story almost everyday. Then I'll forget again.
This is the story of the duck who couldn't swim. It is from when I was VERY young; probably first grade, maybe second. My brother and I both weren't going to school at the time, and in between lessons, mom would take us down to the park. There were lots of ducks at the park, and I would run around like a mad thing trying to pet all the ducklings. There would often be one female duck with ridiculous numbers of ducklings. Presumably, none of the ducks counted their fluffballs, and when a fluffball saw a bunch of other fluffballs it figured that was were it was supposed to go. There was a downside to this, though. Ducklings don't produce oils of their own- the mother duck preens her chicks and imparts waterproofing when she does. With that many chicks, she can't preen them all. My brother and I found ourselves standing on shore, watching a duckling sink. We had no idea WHY the duckling was sinking, we only knew that it was. We called mom over, pointing at the floundering duckling; being who she is, without even stopping she walked right into the pond in the middle of the park, swam out to the duckling, and brought him back to shore. She didn't know why he couldn't swim, either. We let him rest and then put him back in the shallows, keeping a close eye. He clearly wasn't gonna make it, so we brought him home. Our cat had kittens at the time, and the little duckling did his best to keep up with them (after all, they were also fluffballs, maybe they were just really strange ducklings?). Mom, of course, was calling around trying to figure out what to do with a stray duck. Eventually she found a bird rehab place, where we continued to volunteer one day week until re-enrolling in actual school.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Twenty fifth story

another day, another story. The Crab story is another installment from the beginning of Dustin and I's relationship. It is set in his old apartment. It starts with him at work and me at school- he called me up to say that he was at the grocery picking up food for dinner, and do I eat crab? Of course I eat crab. He picked me up on the way home, and when we got there, he went into his room to check his email. I stayed out in the kitchen, mucking around, maybe doing dishes or something. The window above the kitchen sink was open, and there was a breeze, still, the grocery bag seemed to be rustling a lot more than it should. I began to suspect there was something in there. The super 88 is a little sketchy, maybe there was a mouse in the vegies? I went into Dustin's room, and said something along the lines of "I think the grocery bag is moving". Dustin didn't really respond, so I went back out and continued with what I was doing. The bag was definitely moving. I went back into Dustin's room, and said that there was absolutely, for sure, something in the bag, and he needed to come check it. He sighed, and got up to go investigate. He opened the bag, looked in, and said that there was nothing in there but the crabs. I responded that I was SURE something was moving, and he said that the only thing moving was the crabs. Only then did it occur to me that the crabs would be alive in the kitchen. Only then did it occur to him that one might buy crabs that weren't alive.

I insisted on putting a brick on top of the pan when we cooked them, as I was SURE - despite knowing otherwise - that they would escape the pan, angry and wanting revenge. They were very tasty, but I told Dustin that if he wanted fresh crab again, he damned well have it dead and cooked before I arrived.

the twenty fourth story

This is the story of Milemarker 81. It requires a lot of stage setting. My brother decided, one winter, that he wanted to see the northern lights. His plan was to take a tent and a sleeping bag and just drive straight north from NYC. I was a little leery of this plan- neither of us have winter camping gear, and he didn't (doesn't) have a car. In the end, it was decided he was going to borrow mom's car, and mom's car comes with mom, and I hitched along for the ride, and his then girlfriend (now wife) was also along. It turns out, though, that you can't drive very far north on this side of Canada. I had gone to the library the day before we were leaving to try and get a map. Couldn't find anything, so I asked the research librarian. He asked me to come back in fifteen minutes. When I walked back in, he started laughing the kind of loud gaffaw that just does not belong in a library. It seems no one had bothered to make a map of Labrador- there is only one road. He also helpfully informed me that the road is not paved and was not recommended for anything without 4-wheel drive. The only way in is the ore train, which will hook up a passenger car if someone wants to ride along.

Ok, that's the setting. The four of us were on the ore train. There was one other passenger, of the first nations (I never got which nation, so we have to go generic, here). I speak a bit of French, he spoke even less; still, we were trying to have a conversation. After a few hours, he stood up and started to get his things together. I intended to ask him where he was getting off, but, in my pidgin French, what I actually asked was "what town for you?" He responded, very clearly "pas de ville" (no town). I said, "I know we're not in a town now, but what town do you live in?" He looked hard at me this time, and said, again "No Town". Once again, I tried to rephrase my question, once again "No Town". I thought to myself, ok, there's no reason to push this, we'll see the town when we get there. The train was slowing down, so I figured it wouldn't be long. He had all his stuff together by now, and was moving back on the train to the door. The conductor appeared at the door and motioned to our fellow, who went and stood next to him. As the train reached a curve, the conductor opened the door, and the man simply jumped out, into snow nearly as tall as his head, right next to milemarker 81. Before we sped up, we were able to see him plow his way to a tiny shed, from which he removed a pair of snowshoes and the disappeared into the woods.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the twenty third story belongs somewhere about 3/4 the way through the twenty second story

It's been so long since i've been on google+ that part 1 of this story has long since passed into memory, but here's part two. Or, maybe it's the middle part.

Picking up from the middle of the last story: I had a small section of leg missing, and was about 15 miles from home on a bicycle. I did have a cell phone. I only knew two people in the Boston area with cars; Case and Dustin. I didn't really know where I was, and Dustin seemed like a better candidate for figuring that out, so I called him. I told him I needed to go to the hospital and get stitches, and needed a ride. We didn't know each other well then, but we'd met in the foundry, and he'd seen me pretty badly hurt, yet refusing to take off the few minutes to get a proper bandage, so he knew this meant serious. He said he'd be right there, and asked where I was. I got as far as "there's this one set of unlit ballards" and he knew just where I was. He asked if I could walk at all, and I said yes, and he told me he'd meet me in the nursery parking lot about 500 yards towards Boston. Sure enough, it was there, and I waited, and he was there pretty quick. When he arrived, he asked if I really needed stitches, or if I just wanted a ride home. I said no, I really needed stitches. We went to Mt auburn hospital, and I walked up to the check in desk. It is important to the story that a) I have a clumsy tomboy's pain tolerance- VERY HIGH, and b) I was still flirting with Dustin, no way I was gonna admit to weakness in front of him. So I walked up to the desk, and, when asked what I was there for, said, with a smile, that I had misplaced a bit of my leg out on the bike path. I suppose this was not the right approach, as we then sat in the waiting room for two hours before I even saw a triage nurse. When we finally did see her, she asked me to unbandage the leg so she could see it. I did so. She, of course, was unshockable, though she did berate me for not complaining and getting into her earlier. Dustin leaned over, took a look, and said "Whoa! That's BIG", and both she and I laughed. I was immediately taken into a room. They insisted on taking xrays, while I was arguing that we could see the bone with our bare eyes ( I imagine they were right). After that, the actual stitching started. Now, while I am totally cool with pain, doctors kinda freak me out, and, at some point post triage nurse, I had started acting like a normal young girl with a portion of leg missing- there were tears and whatnot. Dustin was holding my hand, and i was looking away from my leg. I guess he was looking at me leg, because, about half way through the stitches, he passed out. I mean, actually fainted. It was hilarious. All the sudden we're all looking over the side of the bed, figuring out if we need to do something for him. He got up pretty quickly, but the nurses insisted he go into another room. This, of course, was the best thing he could have done in the situation, as the nurses and I were now laughing our asses off, and all anxiety was well gone. I was out of there, with a big bag of complimentary gauze, only about half an hour after seeing the triage nurse.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Twenty Second Story

While I'm on bicycle accident stories- here's the velveteen rabbit story. A warning- while I think this story is funny & uplifting, there is one gruesome passage. this story takes place rather a while ago, when I first got my first "adult" bike, in Boston. He was a 1960's Peugeot road bike, named Squirrel.

For Yom Kippor, instead of fasting, I decided i was going to go on a very long bike ride, all by myself. I started from Massart, and rode all the way to the end of the minutman trail, and then kept going to that funny little petting zoo/ icecream stand out in new bedford somewhere? I don't know. Then i went swimming at a little lake near Walden Pond. Then I fell asleep. When I woke up, it was dark, and I considered just staying there, but it's not really an isolated location, and I didn't have a well hidden spot, so, I got ready to start home. I had a cheap little plastic flashlight in my bag, but no headlight, so I taped the flashlight onto my handlebars with medical tape. Technically, the bike path is closed after dark, but I didn't know any other way home, so I went back to it and started down it. At the very first road crossing, my flashlight fell off, and was promptly run over by the only car i saw the whole night. Still, things were going well- the moon was out and lit the path in silver, like some sort of magical route that would lead me to the Last Homely House. The only obstructions were ballards. The ballards at that end of the path are formidable- made of cast cement and topped with the sharp remnants of cast bronze bike seats; but the ballards are at street crossings, which are well lit. Except for this one set at a driveway. It turns out that, the way these ballards are spaced, a bike will just about fit between them- but not the rider. So I hit them, and flew through the air for a bit. No doubt, I yelled. Then I laid quietly on the ground, and thought about what hurt. Only two spots- something on my back, and something on my right leg. I felt my back- no big deal, a little raw, probably hit a pedal. I felt my leg. There was a gap. There was definitely no flesh in a place where there should be. And remember- I had no light. So I stood up, rolled my pants down over the spot, picked up my bike and, in the scariest moment of this whole story, knocked on the door of the house whose driveway this was and asked to use the bathroom. They gave me a lecture about proper headlights on a bicycle, which pretty much set me at ease that they were ok people, and let me in. Once in the privacy of their well lit bathroom, I took a look. Sure enough, there was a big chunk of leg missing, and a 1inch by 2 inch section of bone showing, but it was the front of the shin, and wasn't bleeding much at all. Still, I put some gauze over it, and taped it up. I rolled my pants back down, thanked the folks, and walked out. There is a separate, and also very nice, story about my getting a ride, but this one's already too long, so suffice to say that I made it back to the city and got stitched up.

That night, I dreamed that my piece of leg, with bunny ears, was hopping around the trail, free and happy as could be. The image still makes me smile. And while there are many bunnies on that path, and thus I am quite certain it is coincidence, every single time I use that trail, I always see a bunny right at that point on the trail. I like to think the bunny is my liberated chunk of leg.

Monday, September 19, 2011

the twenty first story

I haven't been writing up stories- I have been too busy making them in copper. So here's the pie story:

First, context. A few years back, I signed up for the Downtown Crossing Holiday Market. It was insane- seven days a week, outside in Boston in December, and the thing was open for something absurd like 11 hours a day. I was set up across from a farm stand staffed by a delightful young fellow who made the whole thing bearable. Also, I had good boots, and it was close enough to home that I could ride my bike back and forth. I rather ended up enjoying myself.

The day in question, the lad over at the farm stand unpacked fresh baked pies in the morning. As he was unpacking them, he announced to us what they were. Pumpkin, Pecan, Apple, and one blackberry. I think I squealed. It's possible. I love blackberry pie. He asked if I wanted it, and I said I'd have to see how the day went. I talked to eighty bazillion people that day, and he talked to a least three times as many as I did, and i forgot that conversation. Towards the end of the day, he came back over and asked how my day had gone. I made a sour face, but someone walked into my booth before I answered. Appleman went back to his booth, picked up the pie, carried it back over, lifted a corner of my tablecloth, and slid it underneath, with his finger over his lips in the universal symbol for "we shall never mention this". I smiled very big.

Now, the pie had to come home with me.I was on my fixie- no rack, no basket, mustache bars are terrible to balance anything on, and my riding position is leaned so far forward that putting the pie in my bag was not even an option. So I tucked it under my left arm and road home. We lived in Somerville, and it was not a long commute- perhaps four miles? Certainly less than six. The bridge was an adventure, what with the wind, and the large flat box, but I made it all the way to my street with no real problem. I turned into my street, and hit an enormous pothole that had been there all winter and which i knew all about. I flipped over, landed with one leg through the frame, my bag tangled on the seat, my arm, still holding the pie box, stretched out in front of me. I was entangled in the bike, and unable to get up, but I was just able to reach the box and open the corner.

The pie was right side up, and uninjured. Life is awesome.

Friday, August 26, 2011

the twentieth story

Another story, this one set in Brazil.

Dustin and I flew into Manaus to meet my Brother and Yuka, and we all went out onto the Amazon. We had a guide and were out for maybe five nights? I'm not totally sure. One night, Dustin wanted to take a night walk- lord knows what he thought we'd see, but we all got ourselves together. At the last minute, the guide decided he didn't want to go, and sent us with the cook, instead. That is another story. This story is very short. We only had one flashlight, and the cook had it in the front, and somehow or other I was in the back. Only about 200 yards from the campsite, I stepped in a hole. I admit it- I squawked like a startled parrot. My brother, right in front of me, turned around quickly enough to see me still descending into the hole. It ended up only being about thigh deep, and I was totally fine, but much later in the evening, when we finally got back, he admitted to having a split second of envisioning himself trying to explain to my mother when he got home that he'd lost his little sister fall down a rat hole.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

the nineteenth story

Today, a Massart story:
a little context is necessary for this one. I was a small metals major at Massart, but spent at least as much time in the foundry and attached large metal studio as I did in small metals. Small metals was a very clean, quiet studio- the kind of place where you could concentrate on setting a stone just so. Large metals was loud, and chaotic, and very dirty. I looked like I belonged in the latter.

So there I am, covered head to toe in black dirt, in a tank top and stained carrharts, sitting on my bench at the end of the row in small metals. I was grinding off a sprue (that would be where you pour whatever material you're casting into whatever it is your casting). It was from a bronze thing that I'd cast in the foundry, but was relativly small, so I was using the flex shaft. Most of the casting I did was large scale, and sprue grinding would have been done downstairs, with an angle grinder, standing up. A flex shaft is used sitting down. The red hot sprue flew off when the grinding was done- right down my pants.

I reacted the way that anyone would to a cherry red bit of bronze down one's pants. I yelled like a lumberjack, lept up, put my hand down my pants, and, when that didn't work, dropped my trousers in the middle of the studio, while still cursing more or less at the top of my lungs.

I still have a scar in an unmentionable location, and I NEVER go into the studio without a belt.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

the eighteenth story

Today's ever so short story: On my way back from the post office, I passed a pickup truck with a trailer full of lawn equipment. Tied to the back of the trailer were a bunch of cans and a "just married" sign.

the seventeenth story

and a story:
When we were getting ready to sell the house in Somerville, we redid the kitchen. The old one was awful, and while I'm perfectly capable of living with an ugly kitchen, apparently other folks have difficulty seeing past it. When we pulled out the old cabinet, the kickplate had text on the back. We were able to assemble it and discovered that it was an informational sign from a very old show at the Fogg Museum; the show had been focused on Chinese Calligraphy, and the sign was about one particular period (I don't remember which). I'm still carrying it around, and sometimes I cut pieces off and make things of them.

the sixteenth story

So much for trying to write up a story a day, which makes it ridiculous to open with "today's story"

On that note, another story: When Hamlet first showed up, he would run away all the time. Despite this, I would let him hang in the backyard while I was working in the basement, even with all the holes in the fence. He never seemed inclined to go through them. One day, I heard him barking, from what seemed too far away, so ran upstairs to check- he was in the front yard, barking like mad, but well on our side of the fence. no problem.
A few days later, I ran into Joe, mailman, on his rounds, and he asked if I'd gotten my dog back ok. I asked what he meant, and he said he'd found Hamlet a few blocks away, brought him back in his mailbag, and put him in the yard. I quickly realized that had to have been when I found him in the front yard. I thanked Joe profusely and asked if Ham had given him any problem. His response? "He only bit me a little"

the fifteenth story

Today's Story: This was freshman year of high school (maybe sophomore year?). I had my first "real" boyfriend- you know, the kind that you actually kiss, on the lips? and we were out back, behind the school, in the woods, doing some kissing. At some point, I felt a tickle on my ear, but I'd never made out with a guy! I wasn't going to get distracted that easily. The tickle, however, got worse, and kinda moved down my ear canal, getting louder and louder. Turned out to be an ant, who had crawled inside my ear. We ended up spending about a half hour trying to catch this ant with the tweezers from my swiss army knife, as I listened to him stomping around inside my head. It wasn't very sexy. Hilarious, though.

the fourteenth story

Been a bit, here's another short, unedited story.
In Mali, with my mom, we went on a walk through the Dogon country. At one point, we dropped off our packs in one village and walked to another- Mamadu knew I was a metalsmith and wanted to introduce me to the blacksmith. On the way back, Mamadu looked at the sky, and casually said "maybe we should hurry". Mom and I thought very little of it, he seemed so relaxed about the idea; and while we didn't stop to take pictures, we didn't really hurry, either. After about fifteen minutes, Mamadu looked at the sky again, and said, in his same, relaxed manner "Maybe we should hurry". Mom and I started walking faster, but the rocks were tall, and climbing not easy, so we still weren't making good time compared to what Mamadu would do on his own. About half way home, Mamadu looked at the sky again and said, with respect but a bit of an annoyed edge "Maybe we should hurry". Mom and I got the point, and started moving as fast as we really easily could. Then, about 3/4 of the way there, Mamadu looked at the sky, grabbed my bag and said "Maybe we should hurry", and started helping shove us up rocks. Within sight of the village, but with one very large dropoff left to go, Mamadu looked at the sky and said "Maybe we should hurry" Only then did mom and I see what he had seen over an hour before- a black wall. We started clambering down the cliff. Mom, who has always been more comfortable with down than I, took my camera, and all three of us entered into the downward climb at a speed that makes more sense as a partially controlled fall. We made it to the bottom just as the sand hit. I grabbed my camera back and wrapped it in my hastily removed headscarf, and we started trying to run for the village, totally blind. Just as we made it to the village, the sand stopped, and the rain hit. Newly exfoliated, we sat in our lovely mud hut, built with its back to the direction of the wind, and watched waterfalls form on the rock walls of the valley.

the thirteenth story

Today's Story: When I was seventeen, and in Costa Rica, I cut my thumb very badly on a bit of broken bamboo. I realized fairly quickly that I would need stitches. I didn't know what to do- I didn't speak a word of Spanish, and I was there as part of a college class- I didn't even know exactly where I was, much less how to find a docter. One of the other students, who DID speak Spanish, found one of the farm's owners, and persuaded him to drive us into town to go to the clinic. It was about an hour in, and then, when we got there, there was an incredible line. There were people camped out, clearly ready to spend days there in order to get antibiotics for very sick children, or to have badly broken bones set, or who knows what else. Suddenly, it didn't really seem like keeping the end of my thumb was so important. The man who had driven us there was quite a rich man, and walked us to the front of the line. I said nothing, embarrassed to tell him he'd driven me there for nothing, and unable to ask him to wait in line. I have never stopped feeling horrible about cutting that line for 12 measly stitches.

the twelth story is so short it is almost a haiku

Exhaustion and a very very very short story:

3 miles, straight out, against the tide in a kayak no intended for the ocean is really quite the workout. But, there is a peregrine falcon nest on the breakwater.

the eleventh story

Today's Short Story:
My old roommate Tom used to make us all chili, on a semi-regular basis. This was awesome. One day, he came home with some unmarked peppers and went to sautee them to put in the chili. I was back in my bedroom, with the door closed, but even so, I started coughing. And then it go worse. Finally, I opened the door to ask what the hell was going on, and was hit by what can accurately be described as a cloud of pepper spray. Tom must have heard me open the door, since at that moment he shouted "Go out the window! Save yourself!".
We all survived, but it was several hours till we could go back in the house.

the tenth story is very short

Today: woke up, had a good breakfast, went swimming in the ocean, kayaked for four hours, swam in a pool, came home, had dinner, went back out to a carnival, danced foolishly with my mom, rode the giant slide, and had freshly made cotton candy.

the ninth story

Today's story:
Back when I was at Oberlin, I went camping on a tiny island in Lake Erie with my friend David. It was post season, so most things were closed, but we made reservations at a little campground. We took a ferry out there, went for a hike, and set up our tent right near the shore- everything was lovely. There was a terrible storm overnight, and I do remember it, but I don't remember being terribly upset by it. When we woke up in the morning, the wind was still blowing fiercely, and the shore was not where we left it. I grew up on the beach in Florida and was very used to tides- somewhere in the back of my mind, something filed "low tide, 9am" without thinking "wait, this is a lake". We made some breakfast, and drove over to the ferry terminal to get home. The ferry wasn't running, because the storm had blown all the water to the other side of the lake. This was not something I was expecting. The storm had also blown out all the communication, and I was supposed to be at work at 10am the next day. We found the only convience store on the island still open, and asked them about the ferry. They said there was another at the other end of the island, at catamaran, that could run in less water, but didn't expect it to be running. Someone had a two way radio, and phoned them up- sure enough, closed for the day. We did not want to set camp back up in that weather- in fact, we were already covered in a thick layer of mud, were freezing, and both really wanted hot showers more than anything. The guys in the shop thought that the proprietors for one bed and breakfast might still be on the island, so they gave us their address and we set off on our quest. We arrived, and sure enough- they were there. They were packed up and ready to go, but had been foiled by the same ferry that had messed up our plans. They took one look at our bedraggled selves, and said that sure, they were still open. Further, when I asked how much it was (it was a nice place, and I doubted I could afford their rate) they said they'd give us the stranded traveler rate, and let us stay for whatever the campground cost, which was so generous it almost made me cry. Then, they made us dinner, and claimed it was included in the room.
We caught the catamaran ferry the next day. At that point, there was no time to go by Oberlin before my shift, so I arrived in my still muddy clothes, hiking boots, and generally not looking my best. When I walked in the door, the district manager, whom I'd never gotten along with, was standing there. He gave me one look, and said that whatever my excuse was, he believed it, and that I could miss this shift with no repercussions.
It really was a good trip. We made friends, we had fun, and we got a good story out of it. Also, I didn't lose my job.

the eighth story

a longer story, today, but it's a good one. This is from a different trip to Thailand, though probably only a few miles from the other Thailand story.
Dustin and I were in Northern Thailand, and decided to rent a motorbike. We took it up the mountain to the temple we wanted to see, and on the way back down, decided to take a side trip to a waterfall mentioned in my guidebook. My guidebook was old, though, (from the first trip) and had already lead us astray several times, so all info from it was being taken as no more than a vague suggestion. The guidebook said the park the waterfall was in would cost about the equivalent of 20 bucks to enter, and that it closed at 5h30. We got to the park, and the gate was wide open, and the gatehouse unoccupied- further, it looked as though that gatehouse hadn't been opened in years. So, we continued on in, spent some time at the waterfall, and, when we were done, started back down.
The gate was closed, and really quite locked. I figured I had some cracker packets and a water bottle, and this was rather a nice spot, anyway, but Dustin was having none of it. The gate only went over the road- on one side there was a sharp cliff going up, on the other a 45 degree gravel covered embankment going down. He thought we could get the bike by on that side. The bike was not large- somewhat bigger than a vespa, not not even comparable to a Harley, and it didn't seem impossible. We got the bike down and in front of the gate, and started trying to get it back up. Dustin started sliding down the gravel. At that point, my goal, in total, was to make sure the bike didn't crush Dustin, and I ended up managing to hook myself to a tree and lock my arms around the bike. This stopped it, but we were MUCH further down the embankment, and had proven an inability to move upwards at all. Dustin got the bike stabilized, and thought he would try to turn it on and possibly use its own power as an assist. I thought this was a terrible idea, and got out of the way. It turned out to be a great idea. When the bike turned on, it's headlight automatically came on. The police/park rangers who had just closed the gate were still at the bottom of the drive. They saw the light in the trees, and came to investigate. I saw them coming (there were as many as twenty, as few as ten) and Thought "yes! It's the police! they've come to save us!" and ran up the hill to greet them. Dustin kinda stepped behind a tree, having possibly a different impression of policemen. The police had learned much of their english from pop songs, and assured me that I was beautiful (complimentary, but not helpful) and that I should stay right where I was (surprisingly helpful pop song lyric), and went down to collect the bike. They found Dustin, assured him that he was also beautiful, and put him out of the way with me. They got the bike up the hill and, with utter disregard for the geography and very clear evidence, decided that rather than us being in the park after hours, we must have had an accident on the road (at least 100m straight downhill). They were amazed that we were ok after such a terrible crash. They taught us how to use the brakes, using only the words "beautiful" and "eyes". We thanked them profusely, and, in the spirit of things, assured them that they, also, were beautiful. And then we road our bike back to our room.

the seventh story

Walking through Prospect park today, my brother reminded me of this story: The Time that Damned Baby Skunk Stole me Beer.
Our house in Somerville had a fantastic back porch, with a grape arbour. There was a skunk who lived underneath, and whom I would see regularly, and address politely as Mr Skunk. I'd wish him a good evening, and kept an eye out for him, but certainly didn't feed him. One summer, Mr. Skunk had her little mini skunklets under the porch. I changed my method of address to Ms. Skunk. Say what you will, but skunklets are possibly the cutest things in the world- cuter than ducklings, maybe even cuter than kittens. So I sat down on the porch, and had a talk with Ms. Skunk. I told her that she and her kits were welcome to stay, but mustn't spray me, my dog, or my tenants, and, in fact, should avoid spraying on the premises at all. they kept up there side of the bargain, so we had a skunk family as semi-tenants.
One weekend the gals upstairs had a barbeque- LOTS of folks on the back porch. This apparently woke up the sleeping, rebellious teenage kits. One of them peeked out from under the porch, on the side. He came out part way, grabbed a beer, and took off. Now, I'm sure that's not what actually happened, that he simply came out part way, got scared, turned around and ran back under, knocking over a beer bottle in the process. But from my perspective, that skunk totally stole my beer

story 6.2

I love flying over mountains and seeing their shadows. I love seeing farms from way way up and trying to figure out what the very long, very light coloured thing is. I love flying over subdivisions, with their little curvy roads spouting culdesacs, and how they look like mesoamerican petroglyphs, if you're far enough up. I love seeing puffy clouds on the horizon, and I love the way the sun hitting the top of the cloud, and the shadow on the bottom, makes them look just like mountains reflected in clear lakes. For what may be the first time, I was descending through those puffy clouds right at sunset, and they were red the whole way through, and then, just as the cloud started feathering, and we were coming out, the whole world was momentarily rose coloured, before it became it's usual, still beautiful, self.

the sixth story

Today's short story, in honor of my impending flight to NYC:
When I was 17, I went to Costa Rica and Nicaragua for the summer. It was the first time i'd ever done any international travel alone, and it was before online ticket booking really caught on, so my dad booked the flights through his travel agent. The result of this was that, on the way home, I had forty minutes in the dallas airport. That's 40 minutes to get off a plane, get my bags, go through customs, get from the international to the domestic terminal, and get back on a plane. This is basically impossible, but, remember, I'd never tried such a thing before, so I didn't know that. I got my bags and hurried to customs. I knew things were iffy, and mentioned the situation to the fellow in front of me- he was some sort of youngish professional, possibly old enough to have a daughter of his own, and he assured me that this would work out, drew me a map of exactly where I needed to go, and told me to run. He let me in front of him in line, and the customs guy let me through real quick, and I took off. The same fellow caught up to me waiting for the tram thing that takes you from terminal to terminal, and shouted "there's no time for that!". He grabbed my (very large) bag, gave me his briefcase, and we took off. He got to my gate slightly before me, and when I ran up, huffing and puffing, I found him standing half in the door of the plane, blocking any attempts to close the ramp. We switched bags back, and I got on.

the fifth story

Another story: Traveling with my mother in northern Thailand, we went on a five day walk. I honestly do not remember the purpose. What I do remember is that I had brand new, non-broken in hiking boots. I was young and stupid, and had not realized how bad an idea this was. In the first four hours, I developed a blister on my left heel with a diameter of almost two inches. This made it impossible to keep walking, not only in those boots, but in any shoes at all. I did the rest of the trip barefoot, which won me more young Thai friends than anything else I could have done as a 19 year old tourist. I got to play barefoot soccer at the top of a mountain (I was NOT the person who kicked the ball off the court, nor was I the person who managed to catch up to it, but I did go careening down the hill after it with the rest of the boys), and at the one point where I couldn't easily walk barefoot- there were very sharp burs on the path- I shared a pair of flipflops with a local young fellow. He would walk about 10 yards, clear a spot to stand on, and throw them to me, I would walk about 10 yards past him, clear a spot to stand on, and throw them back to him, etc. We had a grand time, and I was very happy to be free of boots in that weather, anyway.

the fourth story

Another short story- this one is a family legend and may or may not be true. I suspect it is "based on a true story".

Before my parents had me, they had Tate and Flower. Tate was a german shepard/collie mix of unknown provenance. Flower was a very small black and white long haired mutt who they'd adopted from a friend. At the time of this story, they, and my parents, were living in very rural Pennsylvania, and the dogs were allowed to go out and wander at will. One day, Tate came back without Flower. This was truly odd- they were a pretty good pack, and stuck together reliably. My Dad was home, and swears that Tate "did the Lassie thing". He didn't pay attention at first- Mom was the one who usually listened to the dogs- but Tate was insistent, and eventually, he got worried about where Flower might be, and followed. They walked for a while, and finally arrived at a rabbit hole. Which Tate barked at, vigorously. Dad, now a bit upset to have been brought all this way just to help bark at a rabbit, started to walk away. Then he heard the rabbit bark back, from down in the hole. Tate started digging at the hole, Dad went and got a shovel, and between the two of them, they dug down and released Flower from where the rabbits were holding her hostage.

the third story

today's very short story:
Last year, at a retail fair, a little boy walked into my booth, and immediately started trying on masks. Not a problem- they don't break, and I never put the pointy ones down low. After a few moments, his mom walked in, and told him to put those down, they weren't meant for wearing. Now, I do my damnedest not to contradict parents in front of their kids, but I had several other groups of folks in there playing dressup, and felt I needed to say something, so I just went with "well, they can be for wearing, if you want". She responded with an indignant "Why?!". Before I even had a chance to respond, the little boy, no more than waist high but already possessing the mortification over a parents actions usually reserved for teenagers, burst out with "Mommy!! They're for Carnival!"

the second story

Another short story: I transferred in to Massart, having already attended two (yes two) other schools. I still had to take a few freshman classes, though, including something that involved painting. One of my professors caught me hiding my enormous paintings in a stairwell, and gave me a key to an empty room to use as a studio. This was awesome. For weeks, I had that room to myself, and, being the person I am, I would frequently take off my shirt to paint, as to avoid staining it. That was great, until one day, the professor gave a key to another student, who opened the door to see me, nearly nude, painting a still life. He squeaked, turned beet red, and slammed the door. We later became great friends.

The First Story

This one is brought on by a photo posted by a friend.
In high school, I played in the marching band. One year (was it freshman year?) we went down to Florida, and played in one of an infinite number of parades that go through Disney World. While we were waiting for the parade to start, in our New England wool uniforms, a whole cadre of Micky Mice walked by, in flying V formation, with their heads off, tucked under their arms. If you've seen these creatures, you know they are inhumanly tall- the actual people inside are looking out the bowtie. Thus, when they have the heads off their uniforms, they are, in fact, headless. There had to have been at least 15 of them, all bumbling by in military formality, carrying their heads. It was a crazily beautiful moment, and one I'll carry for a very long time.

Um, Yeah

So, a few weeks ago I joined google+. Couldn't figure out what to do with google+ without just reposting everything I put on facebook (which I already only update once a month or so). Then I discovered that google+ doesn't have a character limit on posts, and started writing short little unedited, sometimes inane, sometimes hilarious stories from my life and travels. Then people liked them and said I ought to share them more widely. So here's some stories, if you want to read them. They aren't edited for grammar or spelling, and I am no writer, but still, stories are fun.

The end