Saturday, February 6, 2016

I made it home! ALIVE!

These are the kinds of conversations that ensue when I tell TRQ that I'm going hiking in the snow with my friend Kim.

TRQ:         Wait.  You're going hiking with Kim?

ME:            Yes.

TRQ:           The same Kim who lives in Park City?

ME:             Yes.

TRQ:            So that means you'll be hiking in Park City?

ME:              Yes.

TRQ:            Well.  Okay then.  Watch out for avalanches.

ME:               I will.  I'll watch out for avalanches.

TRQ:            Call me when you get home.  (darkly)  If you get home.

Okay.  I added the "if you get home" part for dramatic effect.  But the thing about TRQ is that she can foresee the worst-case scenario better than anybody else I know.  This is the reason why Ken Cannon always used to say he'd hate to have TRQ on a jury awarding damages in a personal injury case.

It's also the reason why TRQ has a much more interesting life than I do because she sees thrilling possibilities everywhere.  Honestly, she's the best.

Friday, February 5, 2016

What you might not want your bookseller to say to you on the telephone

One of my jobs at TKE is to call customers and tell them that their special orders have arrived.  It's great.  I put on my best silky smooth announcing voice--the one I used  over the PA system when I worked at Albertson's, informing shoppers that we had fresh donuts in the bakery--and let people know their books are waiting for them.

Anyway, I was calling on specials today when I suddenly forgot myself and almost ended a call with "I love you!"

Which would have been creepy, don't you agree?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Books that make me feel cold

Notice I didn't say "leave me cold."  Because that would be a totally different thing.  And these books did not leave me cold.

Anyway, I've read three books lately, all of them set in cold climates.  And they've been so vividly rendered that I CANNOT GET WARM.  Even though I'm in my house wearing the flannel housecoat I bought from the Vermont Country Store for Christmas this year because I'm an old fart named Donna Reed now.

But that's another story.

Anyway, these are the books.

The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra--a collection of short stories set in old Soviet places like Chechnya, Siberia, and Moscow.  It's honestly the best thing I've read in a long, long time.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys--a young adult novel set during WWII about four refugees, trying to make it to a seaport where they will be evacuated from the eastern front by ship.  Based on a true story, this book is stellar.

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit--another young adult novel set against the backdrop of wintry WWII (why so many WWII stories for young readers these days?).  Although this book is stunning on a number of levels, I don't really see it as a book for young readers.  Or if it is, it's for kids the way The Little Prince is for kids.

I think it's interesting that I read books about winter during the winter.  You'd think I'd reach for Hot Country by Robert Olen Butler and take myself to Mexico in my head instead.  What is wrong with me?

Friday, January 22, 2016

A meditation on earrings

Whenever I see babies with pierced ears I want to tell them I HAD TO FIGHT FOR THOSE whereas they just rolled out of the crib one morning and off they went to Claire's for some badass baby studs.

But whatever.

The point is I have always loved my pierced ears because I had to fight for them (although it must be said after TRQ relented and let me get them pierced when I was 14, she got hers pierced the next day).  I never NOT wear earrings.  I may be an indifferent dresser.  I may be an indifferent makeup- wearer.  I may even (some days) be an indifferent-hair comber.  But I always wear earrings.

Except when I'm in the grips of a depression.  Then I'm all UGH.  PUTTING ON EARRINGS TAKES TOO MUCH ENERGY.  And also WHO GIVES A DAMN.  WE'RE JUST ALL GOING TO DIE ANYWAY.

See what good times are to be had when you're depressed?

Anyway, I had a bad siege this summer.  And I stopped wearing earrings.  And then one morning I looked at myself in the mirror and said PUT YOUR EARRINGS ON, DAMMIT.

Which I did.

It didn't cure me.

But it was a start.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What I Learned From Watching THE MARTIAN with Ken Cannon last night

So, Ken Cannon and I finally saw that movie.  At home.  Where, apparently, I like to watch movies these days because it doesn't involve a) me getting dressed so that b) I have to leave the house.

Just put me in a cave, people.  With you know what.  (Donuts.)

Anyway, the movie is pretty intense, and I'm glad I could watch it while knitting socks so I could look away and not be physically ill while people floated around in endless space in space suits, which is one of my paranoid fantasies as I've mentioned before:  accidentally floating off into space in a space suit.

But anyway.  Here's what I learned.

1.  I should have paid more attention in math classes at Provo High School.  Math skills will save you if you get stuck on Mars.

2.  Don't eat any potatoes Matt Damon offers you unless you wash them first.

3.  You have to look like a movie star to work for NASA.

4.  The f-bomb dropped sparingly is much more effective than an f-bomb detonated in every sentence.

I recall learning other things, too, although this morning I can't remember what they were.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I promise this isn't morbid

Last Sunday I read an opinion piece in the NYT (I know!  Me=Smartypants!) by Arthur C. Brooks called "Be Happy:  Think About Your Death."  Anyway, the gist of the column was that being mindful of your own mortality gives you perspective about what matters and what doesn't, what you enjoy and what you don't.  "If this were your last [day, month, week, year, hurrah] would you spend the next hour mindlessly checking your social media, or would you read something that uplifts you instead?"

(I would possibly be checking my social media, actually.  But I would remind myself to notice how much I'm enjoying it.)

I was struck by Brooks' opinion piece because I'd been doing that very thing even before reading the paper.  I didn't feel well much of December.  Also, I had a cousin who died after a brief unhappy relationship with cancer.  So inevitably my mind went THERE.  What if I'm dying?  What if this is the last time I put this ornament on a tree?  What if this is the last time I eat TRQ's famous Christmas tree loaf?  What if this is the last time my boys all get naked and take a Christmas sauna together?



Instead of depressing me, these thoughts helped me to pay attention to the things I was doing.  And when all was said and done, I have to say this past holiday season was full of joy for me.

So yes.  Think about your own death.  And be happy.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Food for the Dudes

Yesterday Ken Cannon called to see if I wanted to meet him downtown for lunch and I was all LUNCH!  So before I knew it we were together at DP Cheesesteaks on Third South ordering cheesesteak sandwiches like a crazy young couple in love.

Anyway.  The place was packed like a New York subway at rush hour.  Very popular, that DP Cheesesteaks.  And not long after we sat down Ken Cannon looked around and told me that aside from the girl at the counter screaming out people's last names, I was the only woman there.  Beyond that everybody else was a guy.  Some of them were even firemen.  WHAT A CLICHE!

And I said what is it about my life that  I can't even go to a restaurant and see my own gender?

Which brings me to this question--is there such a thing as dude food?  And chick food?

Opine, please.  And give examples.  I think this could be a column.  A super sexist column for the new year.