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.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Seventy Second Story

Looking out the window as we were landing in Florida, there was an egret, enormous and white, floating along outside my window for a very long moment. It was as though he was guiding us in; some sort of divine tugboat so gloriously graceful that he needn't a rope to pull us behind him.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

the Seventy First Story

The first winter I was in Boston, My father had just moved to Miami. There was one really brutal week up north where the highs (not including windchill) didn't make it up to 0 degrees. At one point during the week we were talking on the phone, and the weather came up. He started in about how it was cold down south, too, and all the fancy ladies had broken out their fur coats. I asked him how cold it was. He said it had gotten down to nearly 40 one night. That remains the only time I've sworn at my Dad.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

the seventieth story

this is very quick. At least the first few years I was in high school, the group of friends I was part of would have the Fete Du Triumph at the end of each school year. This was a big party, some two or three days long, out in the woods. Folks would camp out or not, but there was a bonfire, full bodily contact capture the flag, and all the other craziness one might expect. My freshman year, my brother was going, and so, of course, I wanted to go, too. I called up my mom. I told her about it. I asked if I could go. She said I still had finals left on Monday, and I needed to come home and study. Before thinking about it, I said "but Mom- there's gonna be drugs and fire and sex!". There was a pause and a slight sigh from Mom. "Shall I bring your sleeping bag, or are you all set?"

the sixty ninth story

Previously mentioned- there was a surprisingly active live action role playing club at my high school. I was part of it. My English teacher, one year, had done some in that past. She also felt that role playing increased kids vocabularies, helped them get past that first hurdle of starting to tell a story, and generally made for better writers. Her way of giving back- she would respond to anyone using the accepted signs as though in a game- that is to say, if you entered class just a bit late, but did so very quietly, while making the handsign for invisibility, she wouldn't mark you late.

the Sixty Eighth Story

As teenagers, we used to frequent the 24 hour diners. Honestly, even as an adult, I look for a nearby 24 hour diner when picking a living situation. If one happens to be still awake at 3am, diner food is wonderful. One of these times, we were at the diner very late at night. It was a group of us, and not the best looking group- there were black trench coats and boots and lots and lots of mud. One particular young man was in full on black lipstick and white facepaint that had begun to run after a full night of sprinting about in the woods. He looked like shit. He carefully counted out enough coins and ordered a coffee. The rest of us placed our orders as well. The waitress came back with everything, plus an enormous blueberry muffin, cut in half, toasted, and buttered, which she placed in front of him with a big smile.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

the Sixty Seventh Story

I worked at a pet store for one year in high school. People would sometimes drop off little kittens in cardboard boxes, hoping we'd take over finding them homes. One time, we got two little bits who were only  a few hours old. They came home with me- they needed to be few every hour, so I would take them everywhere. They would suckle on anything, given the chance, so had to be kept separate when unsupervised to prevent them from hurting each other. So- to attend school with them as subtly as possible, I would put one in the right pocket of my lab coat, and the other in the left. All my teachers pretended not to notice, and I pretended not to know that they knew. I'd feed them in the bathroom between each class, and, for a few weeks, was late to everything. No one complained. As they got a bit bigger and only needed one feeding during the school day (and had stopped suckling each other's fur off), my art teacher agreed to let them stay in her office.

the sixty sixth story

When I was in high school, I hung out with a lot of goths. Being the perennially difficult person that I am, there was no way I was going to wear a long black coat if everyone else was doing it. One afternoon, after school, my friend Michelle and I were up to some mischief or other, and we ended up in one of the science classrooms. There was a white lab coat just hanging there, and in my size. I snatched it. I admit it. And I wore that thing all the time from there out- if it was cold, it would be under another coat, but it was always there. I loved having the pockets, and, I have to admit it, I loved that I was the only one who had one. Even my very conservative Jewish grandmother loved it- when it finally was so stained as to need to be replaced, she ordered one for each of us.

the sixty fourth story

The previous story was likely based on this one, in which I was only tangentially involved, and thus I am missing many of the details that would really make the telling worth the event.

I don't know how this started, but I do know everyone had water guns. There was an arms race that reminded one of the cold war- if one side got a supersoaker, the other would find a way to procure a supersoaker 500, and on up. There were folks involved that made no sense whatsoever- this war was not limited to the freaks and geeks- it was everyone. There were people coming in from out of town and doing drivebys in our dunkin donuts parking lots. No one was left dry. Alliances changed regularly, and with an alacrity that made it impossible for one to know if the car approaching was a friend or foe. It was best to simply leap behind the closest vehicle and hope to dodge the water that was quite likely to be coming your way. It ended as suddenly as it began, and I have no idea, really, what happened, except that for a few weeks, the world was tremendously exciting.

the sixty fifth Story

My art teacher, Ms. Joyce Hannah, used to take us all into the city occasionally. She'd hire a bus (a  nice one, with bathrooms!) and we'd get our permission slips signed, and most of the time, she'd just have the bus drop us off at the corner of Houston and Broadway streets, with the only rules being the time we were to meet the bus and that we had to eat something interesting for lunch. We'd go to galleries, and my favorite toy store, and eat empanadas and think we were hot shit. One of these times, though, there was a particular exhibit she wanted us to see at the Met. She had the bus drop us off in the middle of central park. As anyone local to NYC knows, the Met is free if you want it to be, but there is a suggested donation of something very high. If you show up as a school group, they give you a discount, but take away the option of not paying. So, she divided us up into groups, and handed each of us a dime to give them, to at least pay for our little tags. And we all met up at the exhibit, thrilled that our teacher had gamed the system.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

the sixty third story

Most of the real solid pranksters I was friends with in high school were either two or three years older than I. That meant that, my junior year, there was a gaping hole. No specific person filled it, but we did our best to keep up the tradition of pranks. For St Patrick's day, the fellow I was dating at the time decided we were going to stage the Catholics vs the  protestants. I sewed a huge irish flag (accidentally bigger than the US flag on the pole- whoops!) Very early, before classes, we snuck onto the campus, ran the American flag down the pole, clipped the irish flag right below it, and ran it back up. Then a bunch of folks stationed themselves at the front door of the school, handing out either a green or an orange sash to each kid who entered, along with a water pistol and the admonishion that the war would happen only outside of classes- all classrooms were to be considered temporary truces. And sure enough, we had a schoolwide water fight, with spies, and ambushes, and folks who "just happened" to have larger guns secreted away in their lockers. My memory is that no one got in trouble, but I could be wrong.

the sixty second story

there's a secret I haven't told you. I have a diary. I only write in it occasionally, and it exists on my harddrive, there are no paper copies. It isn't public, but, I wanted to tell the story of this day, and the fact is- there's no way I can do a better job than to simply copy and paste the word document into this space. So, I know that this was written on 5/24/99. This is the unedited text of a 17 year old girl's diary, complete with embarrassing bits on my adolescent interest in boys. It was a grand day.

I forgot my shoes
Not really, though
I had one
See, last week I was looking for my boots
And yesterday my mother borrowed the car
Cause its big
For cages
And she saw one of my boots
And she told me so
And I figured if there was one there would be two
And this morning I was in a hurry
So I figured there would be two
And I left
And I went to school
And I got to school
And there was only one
So I didn't have shoes
And it was raining a little then
So my socks were wet
And I went to class
And my math teacher won't tell us what our final project is
And then I went to English
And we had a seminar on time
I liked Gatsby
And Nick didn't live in the past
And fourth period I made graphs
And I forgot to eat lunch
But I was hungry
So I went to gym
And didn't do much
And sixth period I went to get money
From Phil
For lunch
But I forgot lunch again
I had given my five dollars to Sarav
Except that sarav wasn't there
So I wrote all over it
So no one else would take it
That was fourth period
Or maybe fifth
And sixth I spent in someone else's English class
And seventh was physics, except it wasn't
And I had all six physics books in a paper bag with handles
And then all I had was the handles
And then I was lugging all six physics books around in my arms
Six physics books weigh about 20 pounds
And then I carried them all down to the library
But I didn't go to the library
Me and my physics books went to the tech room, instead
I need to finish my fish
And I talked physics with a little freshman
He's going to be the next Bill Gates
I need to marry a rich man
He doesn't believe in faeries
He's a freshman
Elana says he likes me
He's a freshman
I'm so petty
Eighth was French
I went
Stuff due tomorrow
No filming after school
English instead
Food first
I had forgotten to eat lunch
We went out to my car to go to the Deli
The most Surreal five minutes of Elana's life
Me with no shoes, dancing in the rain
Thunder Lightening
Sheets of rain
W e both got in car
Chris was on the windshield
Funny, he wasn't there a second before
Not moving,
We can't have run over him
We haven't moved yet
Wipers weren't on, couldn't see him till he was pressed up against the glass
Not his face
His whole body
I need to wash my car
Why won't the Rain?
He went to Elana's window
Said he's soaked
Ran around to my side of the car
Elana was still looking for him out her window
I jumped out to dance, Chris jumped in
Elana looked over at me
I was Chris
Elana looked confused
Chris got out
I got in
Chris ran off
I turned on wipers and drove to the deli
I got a sandwich
Elana got sugar
Back to the tech room
I said I'm changing clothes in there
Brendan offered to duct tape venetian blinds up for me
We made Brendan leave
I change
Clothes strewn all over tech room
I laugh and put them away
I had a change of clothes in the tech room
We went back outside the library to eat
Brendan came
He missed his bus
Raining to hard to walk
He'd melt or something
Maybe short-circuit
I drove him home at three
Before that he played with my physics books
I can talk physics with him
Talk about surreal
He's a freshman
I came back
And went to go to the bathroom
On the way I put green footprints on the wall
I wiped off some of the paint
And put my socks back on
Later the green seeped through
We did English
Talk about surreal
We hear,
Topless dancers are the same as models
I agree
Elana doesn't
Elana took modeling classes
No matter what you do,
you have to sell yourself or starve
I think I'll starve
Maybe I'll sell myself
And marry a rich man
Maybe I'll be a topless dancer
But I can't dance
And I don't have a middle name
So I'll starve
And paint
And eat paint
I don't like that
I don't know what I'll do
We all go home.

Monday, December 17, 2012

the sixty first story

I had lots of pets growing up. One of my ferrets got cancer when I was in high school- maybe sophomore year. I was sad, no way around it. I must have been even more quiet than normal, as one of my friends, a certain Armando, asked me what was wrong. I told him about my ferret. I likely cried- I was a sensitive soul. The very next day he set up a fund among my friends to buy me a baby ferret. Sure enough, they raised the money, and I got to go out, several weeks after my elder ferret passed on, and buy myself a little ferret kit. I was delighted with the ferret, but moreso, with the fact that a group of people (mind you, a group I had not really considered myself terribly close to) would do that for me.

the Sixtieth Story

Our friend Dave had this thing called the Boognish. It was used as a nom de plume for pranks, and its face graced any number of unexpected places. Once, painted from edge to edge of a king size sheet, it was lovingly placed between the upraised arms of the field goal during the night before a home game. Several friends were in marching band, and thus got the full effect of this visage. It was beautiful. We felt like princes, or at least like rooks. It came down, but we were able to claim it and secret it away with the band uniforms. We decided we needed to recreate this wonder at the next away game. On the way, the bus stopped at a travel plaza thing for everyone to grab lunch, and our coterie snuck into the store, hoping to buy tape and rope. There was none. There were, however, furry handcuffs. I don't really want to think about the person who buys furry handcuffs at a truckstop, but we bought two pair. There were three of us- two gals and a guy, buying two pairs of handcuffs while grinning maniacally and holding a balled up king sized sheet. We made a fantastic impression. When we got to the game, though, there was a)no way we could hang the thing from the field goal without rope or a ladder, of which we had neither and b)no way we could be gone long enough to really fully pull the prank, anyway. We hung it from the back of the stands, instead.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

the Fifty Ninth Story

In light of recent events, I think i'd like to tell some Newtown stories. Yes, it was a sleepy suburb, but if anything, that forced us to use our imaginations to entertain ourselves, and we had a hell of a good time.

This story that comes up sometimes in conversations about my interactions with police (and the fact that I love them). I was in the role playing club, and we were the pinnacle of geeky- live action, vampire based games. Hell yeah. I loved it. Sometimes, we would have weekend games, not at the school, and sometimes these games featured boffer weapons- that is, pipe covered in foam with which two people might beat each other fairly safely. We would refer to these games as "going into the woods and hitting our friends with sticks". One of these games, though, was not in the woods- it was in the local cemetery, very late at night. Sure enough, a cop showed up. We didn't scatter, or not fast enough, and when he drove up, we were all standing there, looking foolish. He got out of his car. He asked us what we were doing. We explained. He asked us what kind of foam we used. We told him it was from an old couch. He said that some other, very specific foam was much better. We asked where to get it. He said he had lots extra, as he hadn't really had the time to make any new boffer weapons since joining the force, and he'd drop it by our club meeting the next friday. Then he told us to get out of the cemetery and go into the woods if we wanted to keep the game going. And, in a final note of awesomeness, as he was getting back into the car, he took a moment, turned himself into a gamemaster, and told a short story about why all the vampires had to run into the woods.

the Fifty Eighth Story

I have, throughout my life, moved a great deal. I never claim any one place as a “Hometown”, and most of the time, when people ask where I'm from, I just wave my hand in a vague way and say “East Coast, U.S.” and leave it at that. I have, very likely, never said Connecticut. But every time I drive on 84, I start hitting exits, and I remember parties that happened here, or friends that lived there. I remember summer jobs and cheap gas stations and diners and ice cream shops, and I feel like I am coming home. And so, even though I can not claim Newtown, I still feel connected to it enough that I want to say this.

My family moved to Newtown the summer before I entered ninth grade. I was nerdy, and geeky, and weird, and I had spent my middle school career being as quiet as possible, hoping that no one would notice. But already in that first year in Newtown, I met some other nerdy, geeky people. We made a Rube Goldberg machine, and there were enough other weird, nerdy folks to make a competition. When I got to Newtown high, I found a school that revered its drama club as highly as its football team- the days before the musical opened had the same high stress fun as those before homecoming. There was a role playing club, and a fantastic art department, and the ability to sign up for classes at the local college if you wanted more variety in credits. The community embraced the nerdy, the geeky, the weird. Columbine happened while I was in high school, and we, as children ourselves, would joke that there was no way it could happen in Newtown, not because we were a sleepy little suburb, but because the goths were too damned happy. I know, as an adult, that none of that has anything to do with a mentally disturbed young man who clearly would have needed more direct help than some after school singing lessons. Knowing, of course, does not make these events less of a shock. I can not even begin to fathom the emotions experienced by those who truly are part of the community, much less those directly involved. Still, here is my toast to the town that taught me it was ok to be different.

the Fifty Seventh Story

This morning, at nine AM, I rode through the beginnings of a Santa themed pub crawl. That really ought to have been enough of a hint for me to take a different route home.

the Fifty Sixth Story

Then, on my way home today, I was crusing along in my empty bike lane, next to a long line of stopped cars waiting for their light. There was someone double parked blocking my lane. The cabbie on his back end actually put his taxi into reverse and pulled back far enough to give me room to merge into his lane. Then the taxi in front of him pulled forward, allowing enough room for me to pull back into my bike lane and keep moving. Right now I have a lot of love for Chicago taxi cabs.

the Fifty Fifth Story

so, a couple days ago, I was riding peacefully down Clark. The taxicab behind me saw the guy in the parked car in front of me start to open his door. He came to a screeching halt to allow space for me to swing out around the door, and then he got out of his car to yell at the dude for not checking and almost dooring a bicyclist.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

the fifty fourth story

Leaving the show today, I put 10.01 gallons in a ten gallon tank. For some bizarre reason, I'm really proud of that. I'm also REALLY glad I pulled off the highway for gas when I did. There was another dude pumping gas. I went over to him, showed him the receipt, told him I had a ten gallon tank, and we high fived like we were in a movie. Then I drove off into the (long passed) sunset

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

the fifty third story

When I was a kid, there was a partial solar eclipse. I was thrilled. Made the pinhole box to watch it, went outside and realized, much to my surprise, that the spaces between leaves did the same thing; that the dappled light under a tree was, at that moment, thousands of tiny crescents. Science is magic.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

the fifty second story

When I was 9 years old, we were moving away from Florida. My mom wanted us to wake up early enough to see the sun rise over the water, and to look for turtle nests hatching. We were too late for the turtles, but there was one little one that wasn't making it past the breakers. My mom carried it out, but it washed back up, anyway. We took it to the turtle rescue place, and they told us that its flippers had been chewed by crabs and it wouldn't be able to swim, but they would send it to the aquarium, and it would get prosthetics. I believed them. I believed them until I was telling this story, not more than a year ago, and got to the point of saying the thing about prosthetic flippers and realized, all those years later, that it was almost certainly a lie you tell to children.

Monday, September 3, 2012

the Fifty First Story

When I was first riding a bicycle in Boston, it was a little old upright English three speed. She was a great, easy little bicycle. Her name was Daphne. Riding to work one day, I was hit by a car. There was no serious damage, either to me or my bike (those things are tanks) and the driver was not confident in her legal status, so I sent her on her way. The biggest issue with the bike was that the seat post had bent, so I pulled up onto the sidewalk to try to straighten it enough to continue on my way. In about 3 minutes, the BU cops showed up. I said I was fine, and sent them on their way. Then a Boston city police car pulled up. I explained that I was fine, and they left. About 30 seconds later a firetruck pulled up. I explained that my bicycle was unlikely to explode, but while we were still talking, another firetruck and an EMT guy showed up. Yet again, I explained that I was fine. Then another policeman showed up- the EMT guy took over the job of pointing out my lack of injuries. Finally, about 10 minutes after the crash (longer than I would have been held up there if not for all the interruptions) an ambulance showed up. The EMT guy told them I was ok, and just fixing my bike. They wanted to take me in just to check things out. I was already late for work, knew I was uninjured, and was not going anywhere. They tried to insist. I said no. Then one of them piped up with "well, at least let us clean your road rash". I was going to work and didn't have a  full first aid kit with me, so that actually sounded ok, until he followed it with "just step into the back of the van, and we'll get it cleaned up right away. I looked at the EMT guy. He shook his head and mouthed "no". I said I'd be happy to sit on the curb while they did it. They looked really quite pissed. I am utterly convinced they would have kidnapped me to the hospital.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Fiftieth Story

It was raining very hard today, so I had the big door closed but left the little door open for ventilation while I was soldering. When I was done with the torch, I turned it off, put it down, and turned around to see my UPS lady standing right outside the little door, under the awning. She said she hoped it was ok that she had stood there; she didn't want to put my packages on the wet ground, but it looked like what I was doing required concentration, and she didn't want to startle me opening the door the rest of the way to bring them into the shop.
I have the best UPS lady EVER.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

the Forty Ninth Story

Before I had my own cross country ski equipment, I would run down to the EMS and rent a set for a day in the winter woods. There was this one time when things just weren't quite right, but I didn't realize till I was out in the woods, and being stubborn, I still went for a full day. I came home a bit sore, but these things generally take some time to sink in. I went to work the next day, and while things hurt a bit, I was pretty much ok all day. I wasn't doing anything real physical- just cutting apart a model car to make a maquete for a piece the guys were doing that would be an exploded view of an Indy 500 car. I left a little early, and sometime about halfway through my ride home my muscles started locking up. By the time I made it home, I was pretty much out. I was so out that I left my bike, freelocked, leaning on the side of the house, and that's pretty damned far gone, for anyone who hasn't seen me with my bike. I went in, and found the muscle relaxers I got when I first started forging. Now, I only ever took half of one of these things, as I'm extremely sensitive to most drugs, but I was already basically gone, and the idea of trying to cut one in half was just too much- so I took a whole one and went to bed. Dustin came home a few hours later, and, seeing my bike beside the house, knew something was up. He came in, and I was in bed. He asked me what had happened that day. In my drugged stupor, I waved my hand in the air and said "The car. It exploded." He asked for clarification and I, rather annoyed that such a clear statement could cause confusion, simply repeated, louder and slower "The car. It exploded". Dustin responded with the only appropriate thought "so, you won't be eating dinner?" and carried my bike in.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

the forty eighth story

happens on the same trip as the forty seventh. We were both young, and silly, and one of the things we most loved to do together was to get lost. Inspired by the previous day's events, we decided to go ahead and deliberately do so, together. So we wrote up a plan. We would get on the metro. We would wait till we saw someone in an orange shirt, and take the next possible transfer, and get on whatever train we saw first. We would get off at the fourth stop, and go to the left exit off the train. We would turn left on getting to a road. We would take the third right, and walk past one bakery before turning left. Two blocks and turn right. And we would eat at a restaurant on the third block*. We ended up at a Russian restaurant with only two tables. It had red walls, red curtains, red tablecloths, red napkins, and red shades on the lights. We ourselves were red, with the tinted light coming in from the windows and through the lampshades. There was an open window to the kitchen, through which we were handed (red) menus. The menu was in Russian. There was a (red) wax figure of an accordion player sitting at the next table- except that, as we were trying to figure out how to order, the wax figure leaned over and very kindly asked, in very broken French, if we needed help. We were very happy to have any help, but it turned out we really could not talk with this man- he had so little French, and we had so little French, and there just wasn't much overlap. He kept apologizing, and finally, we told him to just order for us whatever he thought best. We ended up with Boscht, and some sausage dish, and some meatball type thing- a whole lot of food. We took much of it home with us. The next day, for dinner, we opened up our takeout containers, and you can only imagine our childish surprise at realizing that the food itself was all red.

*these are not the actual directions, but a recreation of how they were done. The actual ones were much more convoluted, but you get the idea

the Forty Seventh Story

When I was a junior in High School, my brother did a semester abroad in France. Naturally, I went to visit. He had classes, though, so I was on my own for some hours each day. During one of these periods, I took myself to the Louvre. I was supposed to be meeting my brother after his class, at roughly 4pm, on the other side of town. And I got lost. Truly, awfully, horrendously lost. I could not get out of that museum. There is, I kid you not, a staircase in one of the upper galleries which has, at the top, an exit sign, pointing down, and, at the bottom, an exit sign, pointing up. Picture me, if you care to, at age 16, frantically searching for a way out of the Louvre, getting distracted at every turn by something that simply demanded my attention. Luckily, not too long after the museum closed at 5h30, I was very politely thrown out. By the time I made it to my brother, he was pretty well worried sick.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

the Forty Sixth Story

When I was a tiny thing, I was afraid of snakes. My mother was not the type to accept unreasonable fear, so she decided that she was gonna break me of that one by catching one of those pretty little green grass snakes and bringing it in for me to play with. She caught it fine, and brought it in, but when she went to show it to me, it bit her. They don't have teeth, but they do have sharp grinding plates and powerful jaws- she ended up yelling and waving her hands in the air, with this long streamer of bright green snake flying out behind one of them. It was hilarious. Pretty much cured me of my fear of snakes, though I do still have a healthy respect for the big ones.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

the forty fifth story

Waiting in line at the taco counter I was conversing with the fellow in front of me. In the conversation it came up that I seldom go there, and was only there this day because I was on my way to pick up my partner. He got his tacos to go, and left. When I went to pay, I was told that he'd already done so. I generally think i have a pretty positive view of the world, but it never would have occurred to me that a fellow would buy my lunch knowing that i'm taken and that he's unlikely to see me again to even get a thank you. Yay world! Yay free tacos!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

the Forty Fourth Story

The Mushroom story: (this one's good! it has a punchline! it's worth reading to the end)I lived in one apartment for almost the entire time I was at Massart, but during that time, lots of folks moved in and out. After I'd been there for six months, everyone but me left, and Svea, Tom, and Sonia all moved in. This was ideal. Everyone got along, everyone had similar ideas of personal space, things were great. Svea moved out and Tyrell moved in. Things were still great.  Sonia moved out and Amber moved in. It still worked. Then Amber decided we needed a chore schedule. This pissed off everyone, and everyone, without talking about, decided they were only doing chores as they were assigned, but mostly still only did the chores that they had been doing before the schedule. Previously, Tom pretty much didn't clean, but he regularly made chilli and cheese cakes, and that was a fine balance, as far as I was concerned. I kept the bathroom and counters cleaned. Everybody did their dishes (including Tom). Sonia had done most of the neatening, and I admit, we were collectively falling behind in that department with her gone. One month, on Amber's bathroom cleaning turn, she made everything in there REALLY neat. Cleaned the mirror so it shone. Put the shampoo bottles in order by size. Looked great.
That night, Dustin was over. About three AM he got up to go to the bathroom. He shouted back "Kest, come here! You've got to see this!" There is, I thought, nothing I could need to see in my bathroom at three am. I shouted back a simple "no". He insisted. I put on a bathrobe and went out, bitching in my head. There, though, in the corner of the bathroom, were mushrooms. Sprouting right from the floor. They were aesthetically pleasing, and also absolutely hilarious, particularly after the scene Amber had made about how she was the only one who ever really got anything clean in the house. Dustin and I stood there and laughed for a while, I took a picture, and we went to bed. I left the mushrooms in place, knowing that Tom would enjoy them at least as much as I had.
In the morning, I got up and asked Tom if he'd seen the mushrooms. He hadn't, and I took him in to show him, but they were gone! We were both upset by this tragedy, and asked Amber if she knew anything about it. She was livid, and utterly unamused.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Forty Third Story

This story is from the first time I went to Thailand.  Across the street from the Grand Palace campus is Wat Pho. This temple is only just bigger than the Buddha it houses. There are two doors, one on each side of the head, such that you walk in, do a "u" around the feet of the Buddha, and walk out just about 20 feet from the entrance. There is no point where you are far enough away to see the whole Buddha- instead, one contemplates details. When we were there the first time, there were scaffolds set up to do some upkeep on the Buddha. We walked in and heard this metallic "tiktiktiktiktiktiktik". I assumed it was tiny hammers, associated with the repairs, but it was quickly evident that no one was working. When we finally made it around to the other side of the Buddha, we discovered the source of the sound. Hundreds of tiny metal bowls were set on stands, and, for luck, many folks were walking down the line, putting 1 baht coins in each of the bowls. Bowls had different tones based on their own make, as well as how much weight was in them. Monks came along and emptied the bowls at regular intervals, updating the sound

A photo of a small section of the Reclining Buddha

Monday, March 5, 2012

the Forty Second Story

When I dropped out of Oberlin, I called up my mother first. This decision was based soley on the fact that she, too, had taken the long route to graduation, so I figured she'd understand. I told her I had dropped out, she asked if I planned to go back, I said yes, and that was that. I didn't manage to get in touch with my dad till that night, and somehow, either through mom or my brother, he had heard before I got a chance to talk with him. I hadn't even said anything, and he was terribly upset- it sounded, over the phone, as though he might be crying. My dad doesn't cry. This was disturbing. We talked around in circles for a bit before he blurted out "But why did you have to elope? You could have told us, we would have supported you!" I was baffled. I had no idea what was going on. I assured my father that I was not married, nor was I knocked up. It wasn't until later that I made the connection that, progressive as he may be in his thoughts, in the world he was raised in those are the only reasons a woman drops out of school.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Forty First Story

Takes place during the one semester I spent at Kent State University. The parking for commuting students was quite far from campus, and in the beginning, I had to wait for a shuttle after class to take me back to my car. After a few weeks, I made friends with a fellow who for reasons I do not remember got to park right on campus, and on days when we got out at around the same time, he'd wait around and give me a ride. One afternoon, we dropped by the local camera shop - I think he had film to pick up from a recent vacation or something. In retrospect, I was probably supposed to ask to see the pictures, and then ooh and aah over them. Instead, we walked in and I immediately spotted a object which I had been coveting, and had been unable to find, for years. There it was- a perfect little 50mm fixed focal length macro lens for my old OM-1. I needed that lens. I didn't have my wallet. And, on the spot, I asked this fellow to borrow two hundred dollars. Poor kid, there's this gal who you don't know at all but you've been kinda trying to pick up, and she asks you for the equivalent to a full month's rent. He was so utterly shocked that he agreed. I did pay him back the next day, and he did keep giving me rides, but I think he stopped trying to flirt after that. win-win.

Friday, February 3, 2012

the fortieth story

This one is also at the pet store, and happened relatively soon after I started, so not long after my 16th birthday. I include that as an anti embarrassment feature, because this is stupid even for me.

Whoever was opening the store would come in at least an hour before the shop was to open- this gave time to clean the cages, scoop out dead fish, and generally make the idea of having pets look appealing instead of like drudgery.Tasks included cleaning all the fish tanks; they were on one system, so you could simply set the siphon going in the end tank, effectively run the water backwards, and there you'd have it, clean water. It was, though, very important to stop running the siphon. The first morning I was there by myself, I forgot that last bit. I flooded the store pretty thoroughly. I had flooded it to the point that there was water flowing out the front door. And I couldn't find a damned mop. So I did what any self respecting young girl would do in a difficult situation- I called my dad. This was another of our entertainingly cryptic phone conversations. "Dad- do we have a mop at home?" "I'll be right there, Princess" (yes, my dad calls me princess sometimes. Drop it.) Between the two of us, we had the whole mess cleaned up well before opening, but my brand new boss, when she came in, was VERY suspicious of the clean floor.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

the thirty ninth story

My first real paying job was at a pet store. At the pet store, we had birds. We also had fish, but fish don't really care one whit about people. Amongst the birds, we had some cockatiels, a small parrot, that sort of thing; those would live in the shop long enough that we would make good friends with them, and were always sad to see them go. We also had a big flight cage with parakeets. The parakeets were fairly cheap, and so made their way through the shop quite quickly- also there were so many of them, and they looked so similair, that it was hard, on our part, to make friends. We just didn't ever take them out and play with them. All they knew about us was that, occasionally, one of us would reach into the cage and grab a bird, who was never seen again. They didn't like us, and this was a reasonable conclusion on their part. One time, there was a little boy, and he had his eye on a particular bird. This always made things complex, but I was game. I waited till the one bird was near the door. I put down the internal gate so the other birds, further away, couldn't get out. I opened the door. I stuck my hand in. He attacked. I have never been so viciously and singlemindedly attacked by a living creature, before or since. This tiny bird wanted my blood. The way he was holding on, I couldn't get my hand out of the cage without potentially hurting the bird (for the purposes of this story, assume that this is synonymous with "It was impossible to get my hand out"). I also didn't want to make a scene, what with this kid and his parents there. So I stood there, trying to gently pry this nasty, malicious little creature from my hand. I did finally get him off.
I grabbed a different bird, and, with my injured hand behind my back, told the kid that the bird he wanted just wasn't very well behaved, and I'd chosen him a better match. He was pissy. His parents got pissy, demanding the first bird. I told them that, not only did they NOT want the first bird, I wasn't going to try to catch it again. This went back and forth for some minutes before I finally got sick of it, pulled my bloody hand from behind my back, and said "This! This is why!". They silently paid for the bird I'd chosen for them. And I have the silliest assortment of scars on my right hand.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

the thirty eighth story

takes place right after the thirty seventh. In the end, we did not have what I would, as an adult, call snow. We had an icy covering on the grass, with maybe some hail pellets to make it look a little white. My brother and I, htough, were snow kids. We loved the snow. We loved snow men, and sledding, and the whole deal. Sadly, in addition to not having real snow, we also didn't have hills. My grandfather was in town, though, and while I have a lot of negative memories of that grandfather, this was one of those times when he put aside being an asshole for long enough to be one of the awesomest people on earth. He got my brother and I to put on our snowsuits, walked us down to the park, and spent the entire rest of the day- many hours- all the way to full dark- pulling as around the flat park in our sled. It couldn't have been any easier to pull than it would have been on a summer's day, but we were calling it snow, and wanted to go sledding on it, so he did it. It was fantastic.

Monday, January 30, 2012

the thirty seventh story

I was born in rural PA, but we moved to Florida when I was four. I missed the snow something fierce. The following winter, when I was in kindergarten, we got snow flurries. This had never happened. My teacher took us all out into the hallway, to  a big picture window, to watch the snow. I promptly walked back into the classroom, grabbed my (bright pink, faux) fur coat. Imagine, if you will, the tiniest girl in the class, the shy one who has to be badgered to so much as participate in saying the ABCs out loud with the class, and now imagine this bitty thing marching up to her teacher and announcing that she is going out to play in the snow. At first my teacher said no- school policy was not to let the kids out in the snow, for fear of colds. I held up my (pink faux) fur coat. Then she pointed out that she had to have her eye on the whole class, and couldn't let me out by myself, nor could she leave the class alone. I promised to stay by the window where she could see me. And then I walked past her, out the door, and caught snowflakes on my tongue while trying to make snow angels in a flurry.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the thirty sixth story

another story from Mali, this one very short. The Dogon country features some remarkable gorges. We stayed part of a day and two nights in a village located inside one of these, with very very tall, very very steep walls on two sides. There was a donkey in this village, too. He would bray, and, with the echoes, the sound simply never left the valley. It would bounce back and forth, the echoes echoing each other long after the donkey had brayed again, harmonizing with himself.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Thirty Fifth Story

The Tornado Show:

A few years ago (maybe quite a few years ago?) I did Falcon Ridge Folk Festival as a vendor. Business was slow, but I was having a grand time, so that was ok. Two of my friends were along, helping out, so I was able to go see some music, and we were very near the main stage, so even while in the booth, things were not bad. Falcon Ridge folk festival is four or five days long, and the kinda thing where you camp on site and no one has any access to any information from the outside world (also, no one has soap or running water). It is grand. On the last day, while my friends were off at a contra dance thing, the wind picked up really suddenly. I stood up and grabbed the upper horizontal pole on the backside of my tent. Immediately, I felt the whole thing start tugging. Being the contrary person that I am, I dug my toes into the mud and held on- this put my face to the back wall, so when the hail started falling, there I was. I heard someone in the front of my booth. I was never able to let go long enough to turn around, and thus, have no idea what pronoun to use, but for the rest of the story we will go with "him" for no apparent reason. He shouted back at me (yes, it's only ten feet, yes, shouting was necessary) and asked if I wanted him to hold the front. I, naturally, said yes. He held the front of my tent and narrated as everything else started going down- first other vendor tents, then the cafeteria tent, then parts of the main stage. As the storm passed, he complimented me on my tent staking skills, said he thought things were good, and left. The friends came running back with information. A tornado had touched down at another spot on the farm, and more were expected within 15 minutes. I figured we could get out of there in ten. I sent one of the friends for the car, and the other and I packed everything up. Turns out I sent a person who can't drive stick to get my manual transmission car, but it did make it back, and we were, in fact, out of there in 7 minutes flat. I still think that's impossible, but as it is also impossible that my little ten by ten pavilion stood up to a tornado, you'll just have to  believe it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Thirty Fourth Story

There is nothing like being in a zoo after it closes; without the crowds, the animals can all let their hair down and relax, and you can hear their beaks slide through their feathers as they preen, and all their other subtle sounds.

There is also nothing like walking back to the front gate of a zoo and realizing you've been locked in for the last half hour.