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The sky is falling, and other tales of woe

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Ever had one of those weeks?

Last Monday and Tuesday, I got four parking tickets in 24 hours. My license plates had expired at the end of March (news to me!), and before I could find an opening in my work schedule to hit the DMV, Denver’s parking patrol graced me. Four times.

I have to say, street parking enforcement in Denver is stricter than any other city in which I’ve lived. No matter the offense, THEY WILL CATCH YOU. I’d say that it’s the worst thing about this town, except then I remember how bad the boogers hurt (those who live in dry climates at high altitude surely understand), and allow the parking patrol to drop a notch on the Worst list.

When I finally made it to the DMV, they slapped me with a late fee and sent me on my merry way.

Late last week, I walked out into my backyard to find Foxy chewing on a chicken bone – just, you know, an instrument of canine death. I mentally accused every one of my neighbors of throwing leftover KFC over the fence into my yard, and cursed them along with their children and their children’s children.

The next day I saw a squirrel summit my fence with a chicken thigh in his clutches, and realized that the bone had likely been dropped by a varmint. I released my neighbors from vindictive mental prison, and instead, channeled my anger into psychic BBs aimed at a rodent – which really gets me nowhere (as opposed to despising my neighbors, which is obviously edifying).

When I was stopped at a red light at Colfax & Speer and I offered the homeless man on the corner a granola bar and he refused it, saying he doesn’t eat “that garbage,” I told him that his sign (“Anything helps”) was a lie. And as he walked angrily and aggressively toward my car and I frantically reached for the button to roll up the window, I thought, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

On Sunday, May 11, it started to snow. On Monday, May 12, it was still snowing. And just as my soul was withering up to die, my kitchen ceiling caved in* – as did my will to soldier on.

Let me tell you, you think life’s bad, and then your roof collapses*.

I’m leaving tomorrow for a work trip to Minnesota, and 12 hours after I get back, I’m leaving for a week in Nashville. My roof has one job – to keep everything out – and it’s failing. Work is busier than ever. I’m exhausted. There’s a lot of uncertainty in my life that I’m trying to beat back and not give the power to, but it feels impossible. I find myself craving things I don’t need – new clothes and new shoes and plane tickets to take me far away – but I know that they’re just misplaced desires. This ache can’t be fixed by money or things or security or control, all of which are just a fist full of water – the tighter I hold on, the more they slip through my fingers.

“You sound really stressed,” she said. And it was the best possible thing someone could offer – a simple acknowledgement that life feels out of control right now.

My throat got tight. “I am. I’m really stressed. I wish that just one thing was easier right now.” And then, the heart of the matter floated right up to the surface. “I need to find a way to be happy.”

And I’m not talking about a “look for the silver lining,” “there’s always something to be thankful for,” “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” kind of happy. I’m talking about laughing in the face of life’s trials and letting them roll off my back like a wet duck – because life’s too short to dwell on the nonsense. Do I trust that there’s a story bigger than I can see, and that it really doesn’t matter if the sky is falling, because my security lies somewhere other than my circumstances?

This is the question I’m asking myself today – because the older I get, the faster life goes. I don’t want to miss it.

*Very dramatic terms to describe a mere leak – although yes, thank you pessimist friends, I agree that the roofer is probably going to tell me, “There’s no such thing as a ‘mere’ leak.”

Joy to the World Wide Web

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Thanks to our office Christmas lunch yesterday afternoon, I had the chance to spring out of work early and take myself on my standard 9-mile walk.

Wearing my new Patagonia Nano Puff jacket (which is the perfect weight and warmth for winter in Denver), I booked it from Sunnyside down through LoHi, across the Highlands to Sloan’s Lake. I looped the lake just in time to look back and see this sunset.

Given that the only daylight I see anymore is on my drive to work in the morning, witnessing this was a rare gift.

As I turned toward home and the light faded from the sky, I had the thought that an amazing(ly horrible) holiday album would be “Jolly Old St. Nickelback.” And as is the case with ALL of my genius ideas (trust me, there are plenty), I posted that very thought on Facebook this morning.

Little did I know that my friends would take it to a whole new level.

With a little help from my friends, I present to you:

Holiday Albums That Should (Never) Happen
What Destiny’s Child Is This?
We Three Kings of Leon
Mary J. Blige, Did You Know?
Santa Babyface
O Come All Ye Faith Hill
The Friendly Beastie Boys
The First No-LMFAO
It Came Upon a Midnight Everclear
Deck the Hall and Oats
Little Drummer Boyz II Men
O Come O Come EmmanuElton John

Joy to the World Wide Web, y’all. And joy to your Wednesday.

Miranda Sings

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

I have three favorite Mirandas.

One is Seattle Miranda (who is actually now New York Miranda): sassy and styling, mother to two of the sweetest little boys, knows how to drive a stick shift and run in high heels and out-talk just about anyone.  Her wit and wisdom are astounding, and her belief in me as a human being both pumps me up and humbles me.

I also have Nashville Miranda, who is one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given.  She is easy like Sunday morning, unflappable, gliding through life with grace, poise, and humor.  A natural teacher, I learn from her all the time – and she is never too busy to ask the Good Questions, and talk about the Real Things.

And then… oh sweet mercy.

Then, there is Miranda Sings.

I remember when I first saw “Free Voice Lesson” on YouTube.  I was horrified – because I believed her.  She reminded me of girls that I studied music with in college, girls who sang just to hear themselves sing.  I KNOW PEOPLE LIKE THIS.  So it wasn’t outside my realm of possibility that this girl might actually exist.

Just watch.

But as it turns out, Miranda Sings is a character, a farce created by Colleen Ballinger (who is actually quite talented).  This satire has brought me so much entertainment, especially in the past few months.  If you hear me laughing from my bedroom late at night, it’s probably because I’m watching Miranda Sings.

Some recent favorites:

TOUR OF LONDON – mostly because I love the fact that she walked around London all alone making this video.

CHICK-FIL-A BREAKING NEWS – because she should have the right to marry a gay man.

AMAZING HALLOWEEN COSTUMES – a shopping girl.

VOICE LESSON! (PENTATONIX) – “Do you speak English?”

Ellery says the darndest things

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

I have a friend named Emily.  She is all sorts of lovely.

Emily has a little sister named Ellery, and Ellery has a blog.  Or, rather, their mom keeps a blog on Ellery’s behalf.

Please.  Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to What Ellery Says.

My favorites?

This one.

And this one.

Here‘s another.

Read this.

And yes, this, too.

I’m so glad that Ellery has things to say on the days when I don’t.

It’s the little things

Monday, October 26th, 2009

I’ve mentioned Zach before – my crazy friend who recently moved from Seattle to Nashville, who lived on the JAM House floor for awhile, who now has his own place in East Nashville but we still like to see him, etc.  Zach is one of a kind – like a snowflake.  Or a fingerprint.  Or a tracking device in a stray dog’s neck.

zach

Last night at church, he caught my eye across the room.  In a sea of people, his face was a little bit higher than the rest, stretching his neck to catch my attention.  It reminded me of Goldbug.

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The thought of Zach as Goldbug gave me the giggles.

fotoflexer_photo

I couldn’t wait to tell him.  But after church when I got the chance, it turned out that Zach had never heard of Goldbug.  I went on to explain anthropomorphic animals and “Cars and Trucks and Things That Go” and the worm that drove the apple car – and Zach got excited and we high-fived.

If you cannot read this, you must be using Internet Explorer

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

But if you are using Internet Explorer and you CAN read this, then please disregard – the problem must be fixed?  In any case, down with IE.

Let me tell you about a couple of great things that have happened.  Warning: this post has no unifying thread aside from my two hands, my ten fingers, and my blathering brain churning it all out.

First of all, I had a perfect, flawless, divine flight experience on Monday.  I thought that because it was Labor Day, travel would be a nightmare.  But here are the amazing things about the day:
–    When my parents drove me from Colorado Springs to the airport in Denver, we took E-470, a tollway – but all of the tollbooths were closed.  Free!
–    I made it through security in 10 minutes – probably because I had no frozen meat in my purse.
–    DIA has free Wi-Fi, and I got one of the stools at the table where you can plug in your laptop.
–    I met the aforementioned songwriters.
–    I was reading Stephen King’s “On Writing,” which the songwriters noticed, and thought I was really cool for.
–    The flight left on time.
–    I had a free drink ticket, so I ordered a plastic cup of Chardonnay.
–    The flight arrived early.
–    My suitcase was the first one out at baggage claim.

Come on.  All of those things NEVER happen all in the same day.

When I got home and discovered my driver’s license missing, I thought that my perfect day had been torpedoed.  But the next morning, the airline called and told me that they had found it at security, and they were mailing it to me.  Southwest Airlines, FTW!

Tangent:
my co-worker Danny recently told me
that one of his friends thought that
FTW stood for “for the wind.”
I laughed so hard, I snorted.
I’ve tried to tell my non-internetty friends,
and they don’t find it funny.
If you find it funny,
please validate me and tell me so.
If you don’t find it funny, well.
You’re probably using Internet Explorer.

Last night I went to the gym, and Tuesday nights at the gym are the best, because on Tuesday nights from 9-10pm, they play reruns of “The Office” on TBS.  I spent an episode and a half on the elliptical machine, all alone, but allowing myself to LAUGH OUT LOUD whenever I wanted – which meant that I was laughing for 45 minutes straight.

Another tangent:
for the longest time,
my friend Joey thought that
LOL stood for “lots of love.”
This made me laugh, too.

I have had my buddy Del Barber’s songs running on repeat in my head for a couple of days now – and this is the furthest* thing from a problem.  A few weeks ago, he and Dreadlock Dave stopped in Nashville to crash on the floor of the JAM House, and we had a regular hootenanny (hurray!) in the living room – Del and Neal and I taking turns playing songs.

It was so Nashville.

And finally, speaking of music, my EP is almost finished.  October.  Get ready.

*A free EP to the first person who knows the difference between “furthest” and “farthest.” 

Feeling like a simile

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Last night’s catfish and collard greens isn’t sitting so well.  Since when have I been an eater of collard greens?  Sheesh.  I don’t know.  It strikes me as odd that I would willingly order something that people would only eat if rummaging for food in the forest.  It’s practically chard.

And yet, last night, it sounded so good.

I woke up this morning at the crack of dawn – although I’m not sure that it counts as the “crack” if the sun hasn’t come up yet.  After driving Mel to the airport in an outrageous thunderstorm, I hydroplaned home, used Julie’s expired inhaler, and crawled back into bed.

Bad idea.

Now, several hours later, I can barely type.  Albuterol does it to me; I am shaking like… a leaf?

Oooooh, it makes me so sad that I didn’t come up with a better simile.

Which reminds me of a fantastic list of similes, metaphors, and analogies I once saw – found in high school essays, submitted by English teachers across the country, and compiled into one glorious list.  They’re the best of the worst, and the worst of the best.  Here they are:

– – – – – – – –

Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

She had a deep, throaty genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup.

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.

John and Mary  had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

– – – – – – – –

And just because it is fabulously senseless, here’s one of my favorite similes, brought to you by Patrick Swayze:

“She’s like the wind, through my tree.”

Julie made a great joke

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Me: How can they tell how old an eagle is?

Her: They measure its crow’s feet!

Things that have made me laugh as of late

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

I’m always perusing Craigslist, and in my recent days of unemployment, I am particularly drawn to the “Free” section. The other day, I saw this:

napkinrings
Napkin rings. 8 gold, 8 silver/gold. Free to a good home.

I’m sorry, but inanimate objects do not qualify for a prerequisite “good home.” A puppy? Yes. A bunny? Of course. Napkin rings? You need to be okay with it if a sociopath wants those bad boys. Learn to let go.

– – – – – – – –

Remember when Julie and I saw a coyote last year? Well, they’re back.

0208091155

And they don’t take no prisoners.

– – – – – – – –

But perhaps my biggest laugh came from my dad. Both of my parents are on Facebook (and if you’re my friend, chances are my mom has asked me about you, knows what you look like, and could pick you out on the street), and I get a kick out of their status updates.

A recent one of my dad’s:
picture-1

My siblings and I talked it over, and couldn’t figure out what this was about. So last night at dinner, we asked him. It turns out that he posted a status update in which he misspelled “Parsons.” So he deleted it, and then wrote this new one announcing that he wished that he could spell “Parsons.” However, his initial status update with the misspelled “Parsons” disappeared, so there was no context for this new one. So he tried to delete it. But he accidentally clicked “Like,” giving himself props. And then he just left it.

My dad is hilarious and adorable.