Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pictures of My Parents

My sister and I have always been kind of fascinated by our parents--not because we like them (JUSTKIDDINGPARENTS!), but because they looked really cool in the 60s and 70s. Or rather, whatever coolness there was ended up being documented and curated by skilled photographers.  

As kids, Allison and I spent hours poring over Mom and Dad's old photo albums, drinking in their majesty, marveling over who those people even wereWho were those people!?! I mean, It looked like my mom and dad, only way awesomer.

Like here's Dad shelling beans on our front porch, for instance:
Marlon Brando and Bruce Springsteen had a baby with a weird haircut.
And Mom kicking some dudes' asses in barefoot hippie football:
Mom with football, Dad in background in hilarious jorts.
So yeah--it was like our parents were double agents or something, and the photographs were proof.  I never actually figured out the mystery behind my parents' alter egos, other than to just accept that they were having a good time back then: they got plenty of exercise, they slept well, ate well, did stuff, weren't afraid or stressed out or unhappy.

But I admit, the photos have been a lot to live up to. The ones of Mom especially, since she was gorgeous and a bad ass and apparently had her very own paparazzi that followed her around everywhere. My mom's dazzling, happy visage plagued me for the entirety of my 20's.  She really did her 20's up right.

But here's the bad news: I think having me and Allison made a difference to how cool my parents were.  I mean, here's a picture of Mom maybe a year or two before she had me:

And here's one of us together when I was a wee babe:

I know, I know: the photo's not as good--it's just a snapshot.  But so is this:

I mean, she's doing basically exactly the same thing, but without the kid: she ostensibly had a good night's sleep beforehand, so somehow she looks 85% cooler.

I guess there's just something about having kids.  That's all I'm going to say.  But I will give you some more pictures of my childless Mom to ogle because she was looking pretty great.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I'm lucky I got the mom I have.  I mean, she and I are really different in a lot of ways--for instance, she's a 68-year old lesbian lady who always has hay in her hair, and I just spent an hour trying to decide whether or not to buy this dress:
Anthropologie, please grow up and quit charging $150 for "SALE" dresses.  (You almost got me, though!)
But in general, Ma and I see eye-to-eye on most stuff.  Which is good, because assuming most women eventually turn into a version of their mothers (unless we try super-extra hard not to), I can see that I'm wandering pigeon-toed into affable, slightly ditzy middle age.  

I'm completely fine with that.

However, Mom and I share a tendency to not pay attention to what we're doing. Like driving, for instance: the back of my car has one dent in the right bumper from when Mom backed into my car last spring, and a matching dent on the other side from last week when I backed into an old man's fancy car in the parking lot of Odessa's school.

Today no injuries were sustained as we chainsawed up some stuff in the burn pile, but on the way out of the pasture, Mom totally backed into the brand new fence she just built and tore it up with her trailer hitch.

And she was like, "Oh.  Woops."

And I was like, "Yeah, s'okay.  I don't think a horse is gonna get out of that.  Unless it's like a really sneaky horse.  Or like a real small horse?"

And then we sat in the yard and watched Bryan chop a whole cord of wood and posed for this picture with Ma's super-stupid dog Safina:

So, mindfulness: I'm working on it--not sure about Mom, though.

And Safina definitely isn't working on it.  God bless her.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What to do?

This month commemorates my one year anniversary as a freelance writer.  And while my job is interesting and fulfilling in that I get paid to do what is arguably my only marketable skill, I have no idea why people do this.  Aside from the fact that writing is tedious work, you have to think about taxes all the time, you have to pay for your own health insurance, you're constantly having to  tell people that they're not paying you enough to do this or that, and you could always, ALWAYS be fired tomorrow.

Or at least that's my perception.  (I have a possibly irrational fear of being fired ever since that one time I was fired.)

I'm pretty lucky because my main client is a good friend of mine, and I know Hank will do his best to keep me in science writing for as long as I care to do it, or at least warn me when there is no longer science writing on the horizon, so I can start applying for restaurant jobs.

But about a month ago, I was on the phone with my editor--not Hank, this is another guy named Blake--and toward the end of a call outlining a Restoration Ecology script, Blake was like, "Welp, I guess this is the last time I'm gonna talk to you for a couple months." And I was like "Whatcha talkinabout?" And Blake was like, "Oh! Forgot to tell you! Our season's over so we don't need any more scripts until January!"

So then I slammed my phone down on the desk three or four times and broke the glass on the screen*, and then I took Drew's office chair and broke out the window in our studio*, and then I called Audrey and blubbered incoherently**.  And then I went catatonic for about an hour** until David made me go for a walk on the railroad tracks because he said he couldn't study--even with headphones on--through all my moaning**.

I'll admit: them was dark times.  But things have been kind of looking up since then, because even though I'm not working right now, I'm not working right now.  I'm poor, but I'm free.

Yeah.  So after a year of working 70 hours a week, I'm down to 20.  I haven't written anything in like 2 weeks. I've even gotten kinda rusty.  This blog post is actually the most intelligent and inspired thing I could possibly have written today, and let's be honest: it really hasn't been very good so far.

And so here's the thing: I don't know what to do with myself.  Yesterday I called Audrey and repeated the words "WHAT AM I DOING WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME????" like 400 times in a row. And then we talked about the destructive power of the ego and Saturn moving into Scorpio, which is just how we roll.  But I think it all comes down to this: after 10 months working like a crazy maniac, all of a sudden everything's quiet.  (Quiet-ish--I still have a three year old).  And now I can't exactly remember what I used to do with myself when I wasn't working.

I mean, how do I relax? What are my hobbies?

Can anybody remember?


*False but practically true
** True enough.

Friday, November 2, 2012

People from Montana

I’m on an airplane headed to Montana.  I’m actually a pretty apprehensive traveller; it’s not that I’m afraid to fly or anything like that—I just like familiar things, I guess.  Friendly things.  Sometimes you get that when you travel and sometimes you don’t.

But Montana’s familiar, and today hasn’t been too bad: I got an entire row of seats to myself on the first flight from Atlanta to Minneapolis, and you better believe I slept all the way sprawled out like a hobo on a bench with a newspaper on top of me.  And now, even though we just had to wait on the plane, at the gate for over an hour, I’m with people from Montana.  And I totally love people from Montana.

So, I’m sitting with these two men: one’s wearing a cowboy hat—he’s a rancher.  The other’s wearing a baseball cap—he’s a miner.  Well, actually no: he was a miner, but now he digs bunkers for the military.  The miner looks a lot like a mole, the rancher just looks like a regular rancher with sideburns and a goatee. 

At first, the rancher was putting the moves on me pretty hard, because a) I’m irresistible to cattlemen: it’s a well-documented blessing SLASH curse and b) what else is there to do when you’re sitting at the gate waiting for the world's slowest catering truck to stock the plane than hit on the woman sitting next to you who literally cannot NOT talk to a person sitting next to her?

Anyway, so Rancher was giving me some pointers on arm wrestling (“All you got to do is make eye contact and wink at’em and BAM! On the table.”) when Miner, sitting on the other side of him, suddenly interrupts:

Miner: I don’t like to interrupt, but arm wrestling's just 20% strength. It’s a scientific fact.

Rancher: Yeah, it’s all in the wrist.

Miner: Well,…in the wrist and intimidation factor. And some other stuff.  I’m 50 years old but I can beat just about anybody I ever met.

Rancher: I never met anybody I couldn’t wrestle to the table.  Too bad we’re on a plane, or I’d wrestle you right here.

INSTANT FRIENDS!!  I totally don’t even exist right now—they’re talking about elk hunting.  Which proves that dudes love other dudes more than they love women, even though they think they like women more. 

Also: before we took off, Rancher called the steward a Bunnyhugger to his face.  His FACE!

I love people from Montana.