Friday, November 24, 2006

Family Meating

Apologies in advance to all you tender vegans and lettuce eaters out there, as well as all other sensible folk. But the holidays, as my grandma just reminded us yesterday, are about feeling terrible. What I have observed from my perch here in the west/midwest is Very American. First you spend several days stressing out about whether the green-bean casserole is just like it has been for the past 75 thousand years and the red jello dessert thingie sets. Then you stress about family management. Who sits where; acceptable and banned conversation topics. Then it's time for some nonspecific, freeform stress. Soon comes The Day of the Great Devouring, and everyone gathers around a leafed-out table with extra chairs crammed in and a card table next to it for anyone under 60. Everyone eats as quickly and as much as possible. There are three kinds of meat, four counting the organs in the gravy. Turkey makes you sleepy. You watch football and doze off. You eat again. Have coffee. Eat dessert. Go home. Eat leftover dessert. Go to bed. Next day, at five a.m., the Shops in America open! It's time for Christmas. Buy stuff! It's on sale! People line up seven deep all the way around the Target building twice. (I've heard this from a reliable source; I was not there, shopping scares me.) The line to pay for your bargain all-purpose holiday gift items reaches the back of the store and takes more than an hour to get through. But you saved a lot of money! And now you have stuff to appease the expectations of the Christmas people. You have behaved correctly. You are an American! Eat some leftovers. We are proud.

Damn, this is fun! We should do it every year.


p.s. I should clarify that it's always fun to hang out with my particular family once the hanging out actually happens. They're pretty cool (although a little crazy), and I'm not just saying that because they're my primary blog audience. (Hi guys!) It's just the prelude to the hanging out that astounds me, and I think that's probably universal.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Internet addiction

I keep having to drive down off the mountain to get wired into the interweb. I cannot stop doing it! OK, so part of it is work-related. But that's mostly a feeble excuse. What is wrong with me??? Or maybe it's not me. Possibly, nature is boring!

Whatever. Twice a week is not that bad for a junkie - right?!? The point is, send me emails. Otherwise it won't be worth it and the fun will be sapped right out of my one remaining guilty pleasure. (Exert that comment power, Z Diddy!)

On the way down here, I drove past a flock of high-school girls in tank tops tidying up the pet cemetery. (It's right next to the veterinarian - good advertising!) The weather's been amazing - warm and sunny all day every day almost since I got here. Supposed to get stormy tonight, though. I am laying in supplies this afternoon. As they say.

After the vet's I passed the seedy-looking (if that's not redundant) Naughty Notions lingerie shop and then The Metaphysical Shop, where I presume you can't buy any kind of simple object. "Hunters Welcome" signs decorate every business in both Poncha Springs and Salida. I keep forgetting to wear orange when I go out hiking. If no one ever hears from me again it probably means I've been shot.

There's a big red truck parked outside that boasts eXtreme FOAM! ( Lunchtime's approaching, and the camo dudes are streaming in. A squalling child is sitting right behind me (shudder). Hoo boy, look at the time.

P.S. Pics of cabin and back yard:

Monday, November 06, 2006

cabin fever

So here I am in the land of chapped lips and nosebleeds. Mang, it is D-R-Y out here; every time I blow my nose it's like a Rorschach test of horror. And there's no air in the air. I'm at 7800 ft elevation or so. Slightly dizzy all the time. But I feel pretty good. I'm hunting all my own food, tunneling through snow, dressed in deerskin, with fishbones in my hair... Well, maybe not quite. But I do have to keep the woodstove going, and I am not very good at that. Took me about an hour to revive the poor thing this morning. Oh well.

We should ride motorcycles out here. The roads are cool. Highway 165 through San Isabel National Forest passes by Bishop's Castle, one of the odder tourist attractions around. The extremely task-oriented Jim Bishop has built / is building it by hand, one rock at a time; it was little and chintzy when I was a kid but now it's HUGE. There's a smoke-belching metal dragon head on one of the turrets. There's an orb. They used to have raves up there. Even better than the castle are the signs he's placed around the castle, hand-painted sandwich-board-type things informing the public that Jim Bishop has built the castle all by himself, without any help from anyone, especially not his dad.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Chaffee County

Heard yesterday on local radio station "The Rat," between the Sabbath and Queensryche -- an ad for a booze shop in the mountains:


Friday, November 03, 2006

Off the map

I'm at my parents' house in Rye, Colorado. Solar heating!

Last night we went to the actual Country Club for a very grownup awards ceremony - the 'rents were feted, skirts were worn, steaks were eaten. I always feel about 13 years old at such functions, but it was very nice. I'm only putting this in the blog because my brother said he checks it every day and is always disappointed when there's no news. There you go, Karl.

This afternoon I'll venture into the wilderness to hide out at the Ohlsens' Poncha Springs cabin, where I will be forced to survive with no amenities other than a dishwasher, hot tub, army's worth of food and electric heat. If I don't make it back alive, I want you all to know I love you.


p.s. Zach, do you recognize this?