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I Spy...

So there are something like eleven subs in the building today which means every single student wants (okay, NEEDS) to go to the library. No biggie. I've got some groovy music playing, I'm helping some kids with research projects, I'm cataloging and reshelving and BAM! I stroll past a young lady who is writing something ever-so-interesting on her computer.

I start to read it and laugh. Out loud, I laugh.

I ask (innocently, mind you, as though I haven't already devoured the first paragraph), "Do you mind if I read this? It looks interesting...what is it?"

No, she doesn't mind if I read over her shoulder. And what is it? It's a plea to her parents to unground her (from what appears to be everything possible). I laugh manically as I read on about her offenses because they seem, well, like things I do (at age 35). She left the lights on all over the house. (My husband gripes when I do that, but I merely have to point out how the TV has been playing to nobody but the dog while he (said husband) has been rummaging through fishing tackle in the garage.)

My husband and I, we call a truce. This girl, she writes her 'rents a letter to plead forgiveness and for her rights to a cell phone and to her MP3 Player, MySpace, FaceBook, and whatever else has been taken away (which seems like a lot). And yet, she's laughing as she writes the letter. Why? Because it is SO damn funny and honest and true to what we expect of our kids. My smile grows even more...

It's perfect. It's the first page of the perfect novel. Even her NAME is perfect, (with loads of alliteration!!!)  though I know I can't (shouldn't) use it. [Insert tragic sigh here.]

I'm dying to begin my new piece. Forget the novel about the crazed girl at the motel who makes horror flicks with her friend and who has the weird saggy-boobed aunt with one glass eye.  Despite the yellow tube-top, Ramen Noodles and the dog, the story is total crap (at least for now). This letter to the parents is so fresh and animated, I can't not stay away. It's NOW. Honest. Funny.

Like I said, it's perfect.

If I weren't planning to sit in the hot tub for a few, I'd start writing the next best-seller right now. (Okay, that is SO not true because I think I may read and go to sleep instead.) Besides, there is this fear I have of laptops near water that makes my hair stay less frizzy and keeps me alive.

Go figure.

I'll show you what I've got, babes, at writers' group next week. Until then, I'm spying on kids in [what is supposed to be] the quietest place on Earth. It's not, though, because I play fab music all day long. :-) Isn't that what chic librarians do?

Ha!

Anyway, rewind to earlier today: I am so inspired by the girl's work, I ask for  a copy and say I want to use her for a character in a new novel. Rather than freaking out, tackling me, and tearing the paper from my hand, she says, "Cool." And then she smiles.

I can't wait to get started... LL, welcome to the world, girl, because you're about to be the MC in my fabulous new book. :-)


Some Poetry...








DRIVE


Chopsticks in hand,

          You drive

Fried rice falls
into your lap

Words and laughter
fog the windows

         You drive

I care not where we're headed,
only that we arrive
all too quickly

          Drive

Because I have so much more to say
and every word exhaled
will keep me in your presence
Our thoughts
tangle, weave, twist
around us

This could continue forever
and I wish, somehow, it would

Your words melt within my mind,
Not the meaning, but
the sound, your voice

          I smile

I smile at the darkness
and at the curve of your gentle lips,
your mouth,
your fingers,
and at those clumsy chopsticks
that balance along this tightrope
where we linger in the dark

          Drive

Picking Up the Pieces

Well, I did it. I finally hauled all of my Christmas stuff downstairs and created a towering mess of snowmen, Santas, angels, and everything else I'd attacked the house with for the holidays. Make that ALMOST everything. On my last trip down the stairs I noticed the enormous wooden letters J-O-Y and a pine bough up on the tippy-top ledge that hovers over the landing of my stairs. Yup, it requires a LADDER to access, and since Tim is in bed, there is no way I'm going to be able to get at those last pieces tonight. Rats! No matter: I shouldn't attempt the feat while he's home because I inevitably bash every wall (and the ceiling) with the ladder as I navigate it toward the stairs. I pop the ladder into the bathroom and realize the corner is too sharp; I whip it into the bedroom and wonder how I've angled it to get it down the stairs. It's a tricky thing that involves spider webs and other strange fluffies (as the ladder is stored in the garage, not dangling from the kitchen ceiling where I could hook shiny pots and pans from the rungs).

Anyway, I've squished my Santas into clear storage bins and shoved them into the Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs for yet another season. It seems a bit odd pulling out my pails of daisies and collection of turtles and sea shells when dirty snow cakes the curbs outside, my white car is brown with winter grime, and the sun shines only when the wretched inversions lift.  

Perhaps the flowers and the shells will mentally hasten the arrival of spring...which means fishing for steelhead, hunting wild turkey, and--if I'm lucky--drawing a tag for bear. No wonder my basic decor is quite simple, yet bright: our lives are so full, packing seasons into totes and dragging my antique ladder through the house is one task I can handle only once a year. Damn. That J-O-Y just might have to stay up through Christmas 2010.

In Stitches



When my plastic surgeon informed me that I could have a local doctor remove my stitches so that I wouldn't have to make the hour-long trek to Boise, I almost went without my follow-up appointment. I've removed many a stitch before, but because I was paying this guy big bucks to fix the gashes left in my face from the removal of some skin cancer, I figured I should let him do it: he's the professional. Besides, he wanted to see how my scar was progressing.

The snow that fell Monday and Tuesday was absurd. While the weatherman (thank you, Rick Lantz) promised rain on Tuesday, I sat at work and watched the snow fall, fall, fall, fall, fall all day long. I had made arrangements to leave work an hour early to make it to Boise by 3:30, but it's an hour in good weather. With the ridiculous assumption that ten more minutes would get us to my appointment on time, I begged a teacher to take my class just before the bell. At 2:20 I raced from the building to discover that the masochist who drives the snow plow had buried our cars even deeper in white...and I was left to climb a five-foot wall of snow, in work clothes, to get to my car. Why hadn't someone dug a tunnel? Why hadn't I thought to bring an ice pick and rope?

The one mile drive home should have been simple. Simple? Oh, now that's funny. I live on the same road as the school, a straight shot mind you, but some guy was going back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth (annoying, isn't it?) at an angle in the middle of the road. Yes. I could not get his attention, nor could I dart in front of or behind the guy because--did I mention?--he was going freaking back-and-forth. I flashed my lights, honked my horn, and fought off an aneurysm until finally the guy pulled forward enough for me to slip by. So much for that extra ten minutes. Five was spent climbing Mt. Everest to get to my car and the other five was wasted watching the guy playing Tonka Trucks in the middle of the road.

Upon my arrival at home, Tim climbed into the driver's seat and informed me we needed gas. I said we had a quarter-tank. He said we shouldn't risk it.
 
"You're only getting six miles to the gallon," he said. (No, I don't drive a Hummer; I drive a total of two miles a day at 30--okay, up to 40--mph and it is hell on mileage.) Anyway. We gassed up and managed to get on the highway...right behind a snow plow. And a gravel truck. And some other huge orange-yellow contraption that drove painfully slow.

We followed the trio through Payette and through Fruitland and out to the freeway where I looked from watch to dash-clock to watch and wailed, "We're going to be late!" The temperature was still below freezing so we couldn't drive fast--and a good couple feet of snow had fallen in the last little while. If I made it to the doctor, I wanted to get to him alive.

At 3:20 I used Tim's phone to call the doctor's office. My appointment was in ten minutes and we were at least 20 minutes out. Twenty-five if we were lucky. I selected "nurse" on my list of automated options because I figured that a nurse would actually have access to Dr. Rustad to tell him I'd be late. He knows I have a disorder and can't drive on the freeway, that my husband has taken time from work to chauffeur me, that I have taken time off work to be there by 3:30, that snow has been falling for two solid days. He will be glad to know I'm on my way...

When I gave the nurse my name and told her I was going to be ten minutes late, she said, "Well if you're fifteen minutes late, you'll have to reschedule."

What?

I said I'd be fifteen minutes late, at most, and told her the road conditions were horrible and I was driving in all the way from Payette. She repeated her mantra: "If you're fifteen minutes late, you'll have to reschedule."

I was able to censor what popped into my mind at that moment and instead I chose to inhale. Exhale. And then I begged her to PLEASE tell Dr. Rustad I was on my way and I told her he knew my situation and that he'd wait for me.

"If we have to reschedule," I yelled to Tim once I was off of the phone, "I swear there is going to be a major freak-out in that doctor's office. It'll be like nothing you've ever seen before."

Tim wove in and out of cars. He didn't want a freak-out.

"I don't even know WHAT I'm going to do if they don't let me in... Like he can't wait five minutes past the allowable TEN late minutes? The weather is horrible! That nurse is lucky I didn't crawl through the phone and--"

"Easy," Tim said, accelerating. He could imagine what might have happened if I'd have crawled through the phone. He could also imagine what I might do inside the doctors' office if the receptionist told me I'd have to reschedule. He drove faster and faster, as though death might be the best option. 

By now I was panting with fury. "I shit you not. First I'm going to be like, 'Excuse me? I have to reschedule?' And then I'm going to throw out my best villainess laugh ever and demand a pair of scissors. I'll rip out these stitches myself, by God, and I might even leap onto the counter."

"Oh God," Tim said. He didn't doubt me. Nor did I doubt myself. I wondered how long it would take for security to arrive, and I imagined myself pacing back and forth, wildly laughing and ranting and going nuts right there in the waiting room. Should I start screaming the doctor's name? Did he REALLY leave at 3:45? Was it truly impossible for him to wait? Why was the nurse so crotchety?

The closer we got, the worse traffic became. Not only did we find ourselves behind a school bus, we hit every red light there was.

"Do they not TIME the lights?" Tim screamed, waving his arms at the stoplights. "When one turns green, the next one in line should turn so you all move ahead at the same time. I hate this town! What is WRONG with these lights?!"

While I nodded and threw in my two cents about the school bus being the bane of my existence and how I, too, hated stop lights and people and especially the nurse, I contemplated if it would be faster for me to run down the sidewalks through the snow in my high heels to get me to the medical center. Probably not.

When we pulled into the parking lot, I flung open the door and asked Tim if he was coming in. I wondered if he wanted to see the freak-out or if he was going to wait in the parking lot until I was pulled out in cuffs.

"Go!" he shouted. "I'll meet you inside!"

I hit the automatic glass doors running, clawing at the seam as they began to creep open. One glance at the directory told me Fourth Floor and I pounded on the elevator button. "Up! Up! Open, you--"

Inside the elevator I jabbed the Door Close button. "Close! Close! Close, you piece--" as the doors slowly slid shut. Ack. Was I going to have to freak out? I envisioned my cackle, my stitch-ripping, my arrest.

Behind the receptionist's desk the clock read 3:44. I was fourteen minutes late.

"I'm late," I began. "I had a 3:30 with Dr. Rustad? I called the nurse and said I'd be late..."

Would she let me in? Tell me to reschedule? No: she smiled and told me to have a seat.

"So I can get in? The nurse told me if I was fifteen minutes late I'd have to reschedule," I panted.

The receptionist looked at me like I'd just sprouted horns from my head (which maybe I had, considering I was plotting the freak-out right then and there). "No. I've checked you in. You may have a seat."

I was still on my adrenaline high. "Do I have time to use the restroom?"

Seriously, had I grown horns? Why did she look at me like that? "Ummm, yeah. Go ahead, you're fine." A note of amusement tinged her voice. Obviously she didn't realize the psychological hell the nurse had just put me through.

Five minutes later I was in the patient room with a nurse. Without a name tag, it was impossible to discern if it was the lunatic who told me I'd have to reschedule, but based on the frown plastered across her face, it wouldn't have surprised me one bit. "The doctor will be with you in a few minutes," she said, stomping from the room.

Whatever.

The door flew open a moment later and I smiled. "That was the fastest few minutes I've ever had... Sorry I'm late," I went on, "but the roads are horrible. And we got behind every red light, school bus and snow plow in the state..."

The doctor laughed. He eyeballed my stitches and grinned at the scar. "It looks good," he said.

I wanted to tell him the nurse was crazy-evil. I wanted to ask him if I'd really have to reschedule if I'd been fifteen minutes late. I wanted to know if he had to leave early or if they all stood around at 3:45 because they didn't accept patients after that time. Instead, I kept my mouth shut and let him yank out the stitches. In less than a minute, it was all over.

"Let's see you in a couple-three months," he said. Then with a grin he added, "And make sure there's a huge blizzard outside, will you?"

The doctor and I laughed, the nurse glared, and I waltzed back to the waiting room where Tim sat. 

"Done already?" he asked.

I smiled, nodded, and took his hand. "I'm so glad I didn't have to freak out," I said.

"Me too."

And together, we took the elevator back down to the wintery world through which we'd come barreling only minutes before. 

Black Friday

Shopping. It's not something I enjoy...I'd rather dig through refuse at the dump or find something that has fallen out of someone's truck only to be lost on the side of the road. (Don't laugh: It's usually just roadside cooler lids that I discover, but we have been so lucky to find ATV tie-downs, a sweet extension ladder, and 4-wheeler ramps...all on separate occasions, of course.) More to the point: I'm not a fan of blowing money, I'm not fond of crowds, I dislike early mornings, and I can't imagine anything that's worth throwing elbows, squealing shopping carts, and manic shoppers who are intent on getting as much as they can before, say, 7AM on the day after Thanksgiving.

But there I was, 5:45AM, pulling into Staples' parking lot. OMG. The line of people was a good 100 people long, and I had only one desire: the HP laptop for $399 (regularly $799, mind you). What if everyone in line wanted the laptop? Would I become an elbow-slinging, cappuccino-tossing hot-head? Perhaps. I felt a bit crazed there in the cold, my hair quite frizzy from having just crawled out of bed. But what did I care? I wasn't exactly heading to a fashion show.

When the doors rolled open and the line streamed in, a mob of late-comers attempted to shove their way THROUGH our line and through the doors right about the time I was rounding the corner. Not smart. I pulled my Glen Close laugh (which went well with my boil-your-bunny Morning Hair) and I flung my arms wide and muttered something like, "Think again," as I cut them off and blazed onward. There was a free printer with the laptop purchase, and as I ducked and dodged people grabbing enormous flat-screen monitors from a display--note that my desktop monitor is about 100 pounds and two feet deep...I mean, why do people really NEED the fancy flat screen?--I saw a guy in a Staples shirt by the printers (of which only a small heap remained) and I yelled, "I need a laptop!"

He shoved a coupon into my hand and I clutched it like it was Charlie What's-His-Name's damn Golden Ticket to meet Willy Wonka. The check-out line wound through the aisles and split, and all around me people were on two-way radios and cell phones as they worked in tandem with spouses and friends to gather up every HOT item in the store. Kids were along to pack "extras" to evade the one-per-person rule. Would these things wind up under the tree or on EBay? Are people THIS greedy? Are people counting on a freaking stimulus package to pay off their credit card bills?

Clutching my coupon, I chatted with the shoppers around me as we watched in awe, our carts moving toward the check-out at a rate of a millimeter every ten minutes. So this is what usually goes on while I'm in bed on Black Friday... In my early 20's I joined forces with a friend and we used to giggle our way through this madness, but I hadn't touched a toe to the floor (of my house) before 9AM for a big-time sale in... ouch... can it really be ten years? (Yes, it can.)

Mayhem. And this is in a SMALL town. I'm not in Chicago, for crying out loud. Yet as I'm in line I hear stories of how some guy called 'racism' earlier this morning when he was scolded for cutting in line to get a Wii at Walmart. Give me a break. It couldn't have been because he was just some idiot trying to take cuts, now, could it? What about holiday spirit? Sales? Glenn Close hair and ratty fold-down mittens while clutching a coveted Golden Ticket? (Had I arrived one coupon too late, I'd have simply bowed my head in dismay, driven home, and crawled back into my cozy little bed. Are bargains worth the rage? I think not...)

And that's why I can grin at the new computer before me: the one for which I saved "allowance" for the last five years. That's why I didn't cram enormous monitors and fax machines and God-knows-what into my basket simply because they were a good deal. The economy still sucks, I'm still thrifty, and I'll never love standing in line before I should be out of bed. Today I grin because I joined the masses and I survived. Black Friday? Hmm. Give me ten more years, Sweetheart, and perhaps something somewhere will be worth it.

NaNo Gets a Snort


So I've made a pathetic attempt at NaNoWriMo, writing ridiculous run-on sentences and throwing adjectives and adverbs and word repetition in every place possible. This makes for what I consider to be horrible writing, but because I AM writing, I'm sharing my NaNo "crap" with my writing group...

Last week I had my MC taunting her aunt who somehow, suddenly, mysteriously, crazily had a glass eye--which, mind you, she was tapping on with a fork that had a Top Ramen noodle dangling from it. By the end of the scene, their golden retriever had inhaled an unlit cigarette and then quite possibly inhaled the fork that was falling ever-so-slowly through the air as the MC bolted bolted bolted away, faster than a whisper, faster, probably, than E=Mc2. Which is pretty fast even if you're not into time travel and quantum leaps and that sort of scientific data that only people like Einstein can figure out anyway. (Did I mention that she bolted?)

In the scene I shared tonight, there was the mishap of a yellow tube-top from 1972 and the description of Aunt Madge's magnetic force that pulls parts of her body down down down toward the center of the earth, like she is the focus for the force of all gravity on the planet. While I won't go into detail here--as it gets a little crude--I'll just say the piece received slap-the-table laughter and even an un-stifled snort due to its hilarity factor.  

I discovered that my group LIKES the run-ons, word repetition, and the crude but crazy character that has appeared upon these wicked NaNo pages. Heck, I like my MC too, but she's nothing like the girl I tried to conjure up. She's certainly carving out her own path, but I can't make her do anything... (She's stubborn that way, I suppose, but her obstinacy is somewhat endearing.)
 
David decided that we are simply channeling these characters from the ozone; they tell us their stories and we write them down whether or not we approve of what they're up to. Poor Judy sighed, "Me? I'm channeling rats..." This is true, but Judy's rats are on their way to the publishing house (during what I believe is the fourth revision of an amazing novel), so she's got a map to some serious hot spots in the atmosphere.

Lucky her! And lucky all of us for getting to work together as we write, revise, and cheer each other on with brownies, rotten rinds of grapefruit, and even a good melodious snort when we throw out the red pen and simply channel the spirits that surround us.

Duh Flag



So I met with my plastic surgeon today... (Makes it sound like I did something really fantastic with myself, eh? Yeah, dream on, it was just some stupid skin cancer.) Oh, great. A funny story just occurred to me and I SO want to share it, yet I am TRYING to make smaller posts. Tragic-osity at its finest, right here!!! Oh, screw the short posts. Heh!

I simply MUST back up. So this weekend I got out of bed to pee and Tim hears me... He waits and waits and when he doesn't hear me tinkling any longer, he wonders what is going on. He walks toward the bathroom and discovers I've fallen asleep on the toilet! (The imitation I do of this is great, btw.) He heard me SNORING and my body was completely dangling down, over my legs, head upside down on the floor (as I was still sitting, of course). He woke me up and I just said, all pathetic-like, "I'm tired," and away I shuffled, back to bed.

So today while waiting at the doctor's office I fell asleep TWICE in the waiting room! My snoring woke me the first time, and the nurse calling, "Kory?" woke me the second. Then I was in the little room, waiting, and I tinkered with my weird chair in a futile attempt to make it recline. No use. In fact, one of the bar-thingies flopped down and I certainly hope I didn't break it. (Doc, if you're reading this, I'm not me. I did NOT touch the chair in room two. Tee-hee.) Anyway, I fell asleep in the stupid room waiting to be examined. Pathetic, huh? I told Tim about this and he thinks perhaps I'm narcoleptic. Like a sudden onset of narcolepsy has taken control. Weird, huh?

ANYWAY, so the doctor comes in and I slowly drag my head up off of my lap and fluff my hair and smile as though I haven't just been sleeping and I certainly didn't break the gadget under the barber shop-like chair where I'm lounging. He eyeballs my scar-face and pokes at it and I tell him the knot is slowly dissolving and I think it's all better now.

He agrees that it's not longer a prominent bump, yet it's still not right. In fact, he wants to do several surgical operations to slowly make the FLAG into a LINE. I said, "I'm fine with a flag on my face, really." 

He said it is unacceptable. I will NOT have a flag on my face; it will be transformed into a fine line.

I said I don't want my nostril to flare when he pulls the skin toward my cheek (which is what happened in the first place and why he had to slide this extra skin up toward my nose to reconstruct my face where the cancer'd been removed). Plus, I don't want to pay for more surgery. I didn't care for the pain, either, and I don't want more stitches. Oh, the list goes on. Who cares if there is a giant flag on my face? It adds character. Doesn't it?

He said he'll do LOTS OF SMALL SURGERIES so that there won't be nostril-flare. There'll be a small trace of a line. (Sounds expensive!)

We argued a little bit and I felt like maybe I wished I HAD broken that stupid chair. And at the same time, I was so damn tired I couldn't think clearly enough to ask well-thought out questions, and I didn't have the lightbulb flash above my head to say, "Hello. Just schedule the surgeries, bam-bam-bam, so we can get 'er done before January first because my deductible is already paid!"

Ack.

He wanted to see me in three weeks but I feel bad about missing work, so I scheduled my appointment for five weeks out--which puts me there over Christmas vacation. Tim told me I was stupid. (He's right.) But do you think I'll be able to get the doctor on the phone and discuss the flag scar with him? Should I call to ask if I can move the appointment up, get it all over with, and tear down the flag? Will I tip over, asleep, while I have him on the phone? Hrmmm. Anything is possible in this world of mine. Like right now, it's possible that you, my entire audience, have collectively joined me in a narcoleptic haze, your heads hitting the keyboards one by one. Careful, you might wind up with a scar.
 



 


I'm TRYING to keep it short...

From the road trip, of course...


Wow. It's been nearly a year since I have blogged! Can I say that I've been, ummm, busy? Tra-la-la, it's true! Now that I'm sitting here, however, I'm trying to think of what in the world I've been doing this whole time. A list, perhaps?

Last year was one of my favorite years as a teacher. I had a fabulous group of kids and I adored my drama class. I holed-up in my office one weekend and wrote the script for their spring performance, complete with songs by ABBA and Queen and even Dolly Parton. Gah, those were good times. And when one of the kids refused to play his part, I found myself dressed in his rat-suit, smoking a cigar and talking with a Brooklyn accent. What a great time we had!

And then it happened... 

After the second-best year of my teaching career, I resigned. No, I didn't win the lottery (which wasn't for lack of trying). I changed districts and became a middle school librarian! I know, I know...some of you are thinking: A librarian!? Kory? Isn't she loud and crazy and melodramatic? How can SHE be a librarian? But that is what you all thought when I became a teacher. Go on and do your Kory-Imitations and laugh. (I had some friends imitating me a few weeks ago, so I know it's impossible to control yourselves.)

Dang. This isn't much of a list, is it? Kym once told me that I write too much on my blog, though I read hers today and I must say her entries have mysteriously grown longer and longer too. So there.

What else... After my resignation, I vanished for a period of time. I spent only three weeks of my summer at home, though I can't recall all of the places I went. I spent several weeks in Lowman enjoying the cool mornings and gorgeous summer days. I became known as the girl with a gun--as I packed my Ruger single-six shot on my belt as I went fly-fishing, for walks, and even to fill up old Greenie (my fab 1970 Ford F-150) . Tim watched me go in the store packing heat one day and was like, "Do you realize you just went in there with your pistol?!"

I just smiled and said, "This is Lowman. Seriously. I have my hunting license on me. I'm legal."
 
But I didn't just hang in Lowman.

Hartung and I took our annual road trip, this one aptly titled The Lariat. It was our third summer of Seven Days on Ham and Cheese (the title of the travel guides I keep saying we are going to write), and we hit the road for the Seattle area some time in June. We stayed with her cousin on their lovely horse ranch (several acres of forest and such) just outside of Seattle. It was marvelous. Walking up to their home was like stepping inside my Country Living magazine which, ironically, my hostess (Janet) was reading an issue of as we strolled up the steps to their amazing house. We camped in a tent and they slept in their stables--sounds weird, I know, but they are into green living and Hartung and I are used to the tent. The cold moisture in the air nearly killed me, though, as evening temperatures plummeted and I believe I put on every article of clothing I'd packed. (Yeah, even the dresses.)
 
After a few days on the ranch, we went to Pikes Market. I hated it, but I won't go into the details on that one. This is supposed to be a list. :-)

We couldn't get out of Seattle and escape to Anacortes soon enough for me. What a fabulous little town Anacortes is! We stayed with friends, Will and Linda, and spent our days antiquing, visiting, and exploring the area. We girls took a day-trip to the San Juan Islands and enjoyed shopping and drinks and good company. We stayed in town longer than anticipated, as we usually plan to be gone for about seven days.(You know, until we run out of ham and cheese sandwich supplies!) For one more adventure, we decided to head  toward Lake Chelan and take a trip on the Lady of the Lake before heading home...

Don't get me started on Lake Chelan, the fact that my sleeping bag is the size of a wiskey-barrel, and how we discovered a Wal-Mart in the middle of Egypt. We did NOT get on the jet boat, we did not dip a toe in the lake, we did not want to go home. What did we do? We looked at each other, looked at the map, announced that we had our passports, and then we decided to backtrack up to northern Washington and hit Canada. Yippeee!

When Tim called that afternoon to see how close I was to home, I said, "We just crossed the border into Canada!" Obviously this was in the opposite direction of home and his response was to be expected.

"Jesus Christ," he said. Then I head only silence. I imagined he was simply shaking his head because Canada-Canada-Canada was all he had heard about for three hundred and something days since the last time I'd been there. 

My list is turning into a novel so I will just say we paid an absurd amount of money to camp at some fancy vineyard in Osoyoos, and then we traveled through the Hinterlands where we saw a yak (A yak!!!) wandering down the road, we traveled on ferries, hit the pubs, discovered thrift stores, ate the last of our ham and cheese sandwiches, and we somehow turned our Lariat Trip into a couple of weeks on the road. God, it was fun.

In August, Tim and I spent one week in Cancun, my favorite part being our day-trip to La Isla Majeres (the Island of Women). We didn't realize that Cancun is a tourist hot-spot, so we were pretty low-key, sharing margaritas by the pool and swimming in the too-rocky ocean at night. (I've got some great scars.)

Speaking of scars, I had some skin cancer removed from my face and my new nickname is Scarface Carpaccia. People keep telling me It's not that bad which, to me, is the equivalent of It's not that good. Seriously. And just ten days ago my plastic surgeon told me my face looks like an orange rind and it's completely unacceptable. I laughed hysterically because he wasn't sugar-coating anything. Not that I mind. Every scar has a story, and this one has some great tales. [Roll footage of me pre-surgery, whipping my arms out of the restraints... Insert clip of me asking if the shots were whiskey, etc...] Whoops! This is supposed to be a list of why I've been too busy to blog, so I'd better keep moving.

Every weekend since September 1, Tim and I have headed to Lowman. I didn't get my buck or my bull, though I should have had an amazing six-point. That is another story... The hunting was great, though, and I covered more ground than most people do in a lifetime. Tim says I'm stubborn, I say I'm motivated. (He was always the one to say, "Okay, Kory. We've gone too far in. You can't kill anything back here..." and then we'd get into the conversation about how we don't have horses. How we need a mule. How we live in town. Where does one keep a mule? Aren't mules stubborn? Am I stubborn? Open up a granola bar, Baby, and enjoy the view. We are in God's country...) If only I could hunt all year long.

Well, mysterious blog readers, this is plenty to put you to sleep for now. Besides, I'm signed up for NaNoWriMo and I'm nowhere near the 50,000 words I'm supposed to hit by November 30. What does this mean (besides I'm a total loser)? It means I'm going to beat it and see what Juniper Pratt (my MC) is up to. Probably trying to kill herself in some fantastically funny way. And that, my friends, is--you guessed it--another story.

See you next year. (Just kidding.)

 

 


Color Me Puzzled

Oy. So about a month ago I was complaining to my friend, Hartung, that I seriously needed to update my winter wardrobe. She and I both scoured the stores in search of some nice wool skirts. Do you think we could find any? No, of course not. So last night while I was supposed to be writing the next bestselling novel, I logged into EBay and bid on a wool skirt. A size eight. At the time, an eight seemed like it should fit. Now? After trying on 27 skirts at the thrift store? Riiiiight.

Seriously. I walked into the Youth Ranch and it was like Heaven's Gates were shining this glorious light onto a rack of skirts while this choir sang in my head: Ahhhhhhh. I scoured the rack and took a heap of skirts--fabulous brand names like Pendleton, Alfani, Worthington. From size sixes (apparently I like to dream) to size 12s. It was pitiful, me trying to jam my butt and hips into these itchy scratchy skirts! I wound up with a linen Alfani skirt and a wool sweater (sweater is huge and itchy but made in Scotland and ONLY a dollar...how fab is that?!). Then I traipsed BACK to the dumb rack of skirts, wedged my armload of cast-offs onto the rack, and made another round. A round that included 12s through 16s. Bah! (The choir had obviously ceased its melodious tune.)

I found a few more "keeper" skirts--one strange purple plaid number (but it's wool, so there)--and escaped for a mere $15.90. And that included a strange (yet interesting) salt shaker that I intend to use for flowers or something groovy like that. 

Once home, I called Hartung and said, "I don't have time to talk, but you must get your butt down to the Youth Ranch and buy the marvelous tiny wool skirts. There are multitudes and they're brand names and you MUST buy them because they won't fit me!" While dishing some pasta salad into a bowl, I explained how somehow, some way, my butt and thighs have grown larger than I realized. "I must stop drinking pop and beer," I announced. 

"Yes, the pop has something to do with it," Hartung agreed. 

"No more beer, either," I chimed in. "Seriously, I drink too much. Too many calories in all of the beer. I have no self-control."

My fork banged against the dish as I scooped the pasta into my mouth. I could hear the smile in Hartung's voice as she asked me if I was eating right then. But this was nutritious! Well, sort of...

"Yes, but all I've had today are chocolates from the box of chocolates Tim brought home last night. I stood in the pantry this morning and used the key to determine which pieces I'd like and I ate them. I ate them all. The truffles and the caramels and the ones filled with orange cream. I couldn't help it. But when I accidentally ate one with a nut, I put the other half back for Tim..."

Silence. 

I took another bite of pasta. "Seriously, Hartung. This whole weight gain is a puzzle to me. It was just some CHOCOLATE!"

We laughed and I told her to go buy all of the tiny skirts. And as I hung up, I shoved the pasta salad aside and had just one more chocolate. Oy. Puzzle solved.

Through the Scope

Ahh, Christmas! A time for family, travel, relaxation, and... writing!

The holiday was wonderful--in fact, I still have one more Christmas this Sunday with my mom. Joy! I was able to snowshoe, visit with old friends and family, and see all of those faces that I only see once a year. Now, back at home, I've cleaned up the messes and am ready to write!

Project One is to polish up my YA novel in verse, Kissing Hamlet, and find the perfect editor or agent to query. Project Two is to write the next installment of SVS--a book I'm collaborating on with Liz. Project Three is to finish my elk hunting story (and this might be bumped up because it's not a novel and I only have a few more pages to go and it'll be in the Done Pile). In fact, I've got the first portion done and will use it to take breaks from my other writing. The beginning of the story follows... Enjoy!

Day One: Friday, October 26, 2007

             “Time to get up,” Tim says. My husband is like a human alarm clock. Most days I’d just as soon pick him up and throw him into a wall when he wakes me, but today I’m hit with a wave of excitement. Not to mention, Tim is also my elk-hunting guide, and if I injure him, it’s likely that I won’t get my bull. I spring from bed and stare at the pile of clothes that spill from my duffel bag.
“How cold is it? Should I wear long johns? How many shirts should I wear?” I like to think that Tim is a human thermometer as well as a clock, but he just shrugs, tells me it’s cold, and watches me pull on shirt after shirt. I know that by noon, most of these clothes will be jammed inside my fanny pack, and more will dangle from my waist and limbs, but I can’t resist. I have lucky shirts and warm shirts; I’m best off to wear them all.  
            I tell Tim this is the day. “I can feel it,” I say. “October 26, the day I get my first bull.” If I am successful, it’ll be exactly six days from when I got my first buck. Amazing. Yes, today is definitely my day. Tim and I exchange smiles as he steers our truck toward the mountain we’re going to climb. My mountain. I stuff miniature donuts into my mouth and stare into the darkness at all of the possibilities that lie ahead.
            What lies ahead is an unpleasantly steep mountain. I am reminded of this as I cross the creek; I have climbed this mountain before. It will lead me to where I harvested a cow in 2005, and I silently pray that I won’t have to hike that far before I get into elk. 
            “This isn’t a marathon!” I hiss. Tim is clipping along, upward, over boulders and brush, holes and fallen timber. I can hardly breathe the icy air and I’m thankful that I wore all seven shirts. Tim stops and looks at me. “Slow. Down,” I say, thrusting my Dave Brogan shooting sticks into the frozen earth so I can drape my body over them. “I’m going…to trip…and…die.” The words escape my mouth in bursts as I struggle to breathe.
It may sound melodramatic, but it’s not. Melodramatic would be if I throw myself down and shriek that I am near-death (which I am). Or if I tackle Tim and beat him with the sticks. While both of these options amuse me, I don’t want to jeopardize my hunt; this is the first time I’ve drawn a bull permit, and I’m determined to fill my tag. Today. With a record-breaking bull.
Tim waits until I resume a normal breathing pattern and then we’re off. He paces himself, and we finally make it up past the timber and to the ridge. I smell elk, and a new wave of excitement surges through me. The herd could be in the nearby timber, or just over the side of the ridge. We glass the hillsides and see nothing. Even though the sign isn’t fresh, the musky scent fuels my ability to climb the next mountain. And the next. And the next.
At 8:30, I glass the skyline. “Elk!” The hushed cry escapes my mouth and I wave to Tim.
“Where? Where?” He ducks down, so as not to startle the herd. Obviously he doesn’t realize these elk are really far away.
I point and direct him to the ridge where there are several head of elk. The sixth one from the left is a bull, his rack stretching to the clouds. When he turns, his massive silhouette forces me to gasp. “That’s my bull,” I say. “He’s like a painting. He’s the most majestic thing I’ve ever seen in real life. I’m serious, get me to that ridge.”
When Tim spots the elk, he explains that they aren’t just really far away, they’re across the river and on an entirely different mountain range. That doesn’t stop me from asking if we can make it there today. He laughs. “Honey, you’re hunting over here today. Don’t worry, we’ll get into elk.”
“I want that elk,” I say. “Man, I wish I had a missile launcher instead of this 270.” 
            By the time we reach the backside of the range, we are in snow. It has melted and frozen under the glow of the sun, and the ice is slick and menacing. “I feel like I’ve just climbed Everest,” I say, leaning onto my shooting sticks for balance. The wind is cold and bites at our exposed faces, but I hate to descend: the view is stunning. I’m on a peak above valleys of startling white clouds where the jagged ridges and timber patches poke holes through the brilliant blue October sky. Even if I don’t get anything today, this view, this moment, was worth the trek. Besides, my bull is over on another mountain range, right?