Friday, May 23, 2008

Desperate times, desperate measures and all the things in between

Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Like in high school when you had no one to ask to prom (and you were pretty sure that was your biggest concern because you were even more sure that no one was going to ask you) and so you asked the guy that had smiled at you that one time when you were having a really bad day behind the counter at Starbucks.

And it was ok that when you decided to ask him he was working at the pizza place a few doors down from your own barista gig, but then when you actually finally got around to asking him (by passing him a note as you drove through the drive-thru to collect your cheeseburger and fries), he had switched occupations and was now the one manning that same window which you were driving through.

It also didn't matter that when you discussed the details of the prom event over the phone and talked about what he would wear and what you would wear and what kind of flowers you wanted your massive, overly blooming corsage to have, he also asked you (in a way that was not so much asking, but more like informing you politely) if it was ok with you that he was gay and seven years your senior.

It's kinda like that, right?

[It didn't matter that he was gay because he had a killer smile, nice eyes and a nicely proportioned body. And when you introduced friends to him at prom, he'd flash his kilowatt smile and take their hands in his and say, with all the warmth and sincerity of a skilled courtesan to a nobleman (seductive with the molten hot liquidity that melts one's heart), "It's a pleasure to meet you." And it would be evident with the changing of their facial expressions and body language that everyone fell for it, completely ate it up. And you'd beam with pleasure that you had come -- had been brought by -- the dreamiest prom date stud in all of prom date history... Never mind that when they cleared away the dinner tables to make room for the dancing portion of the night you noticed that he danced with unbelievable, near super-human vigor and soaked through his tuxedo front, baby blue shirt with sweat and you worried he was on drugs -- which you had never experimented with, which worried you to think was pumping through your date's bloodstream... But never mind all that, those small minuscule details which will never tell their side of the story from your happy, glossy 5x7's.]

But how do you know if you need desperate measures if you aren't sure if your times are even that desperate?

How do you know??

Speaking of prom... They are still quite popular with the youth of today, with fancy dresses, boys in tuxedos, hair do's, flowers and heels -- it's just like how it was in the early part of this decade!

One of many jr. prom go-er duos, the handsome couple Sophie and Brian of Gresham, OR

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

When You Can't Fight It, Just Get A Month to Month Lease

I used to think people who couldn't sign 1-year lease agreements had commitment issues. To some small, teensy extent, if someone told me they didn't want to or couldn't sign a lease, I might have looked down my nose a tad at said person. Or at the very least made mental notes to file away in the back of my mind in the "Misc., Yet Perhaps Important For Someday And So Should Be Remembered" category that I should not live with such a non-committal person.

This was before I discovered what less than perfect roommates are like in the real world.

When my sophomore year college roommate and I stopped speaking for 3 months, and when no one on the dorm floor dared venture into our room due to the near tangible level of tension, I knew things were bad.

But this was before I caught myself in Trader Joe's a few weeks ago, cruising down the bottled water aisle and stocking up on 1.5 L bottles of water to keep in my room to tide over my eternal thirst in order to avoid walking into the kitchen to the communal Brita.

And now the refrigerator is broken, so there is nothing left for me here. Not even the once cold french pickles -- cornichons are they called? -- once kept chilled, crisp and waiting for me in the fridge.

Then there is the other cold, hard truth, not quite as refreshing or crisp, that I am afraid. I'm afraid to move for what I might find behind the doors of city dwellings, suburban condos and in the Victorian homes that await me.

Yes, month-to-month lease it is.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hill Training and Asthma, the Story of how the Two Became Friends. Sorta.

The cool blue of the pool tricks us and makes us think the air outside has cooled down, enough so that we can start running. Alan decides that today we will run hills to begin our hill training -- because that part of the training has been neglected so far and must be addressed. He picks what feels like the hottest day of the year for the start of this portion of training.

We dry off from the pool and change in the parking lot into shorts and running shoes. We stretch our calves and briefly our quads. And then we start running up the dusty trail, up the dusty hill that inclines so quickly. I have forgotten my inhaler at home and desperately suck in the dry air, heavy around me, and it comes in strained tendrils, as if I'm sucking air in through a little red coffee stirrer.

As we run, I am running faster than normal and Alan and Jon run at a speed described as "just having fun." This is a crushing demoralizer in hill training. After a while, after the blazing sun beats on me and bends me and I am forced to walk up parts of hills, I wave them off.

They run even slower than before, unsure of if I mean what I say. And then, after a few more wavings of my hands, they are off, racing up and down hills. I take a short cut back to the car, I can feel the Taco Bell snack midway between my stomach and my mouth and I walk slowly and with purpose, to keep things down that should remain down.

When I get back to the car, I sit in the small, giving shade of a bare bones tree and I watch the two bodies compete on the steepest hill. They walk down the hill, shirtless. And then they disappear for a few moments and then re-appear, running at full speed back up again. They do this a few times -- a slightly pink body and a slightly more brown body, arms pumping and legs reaching. A pink woman in a matching pink sports bra and red-trimmed shorts does the same, but in the opposite order as them. When they run up, she walks down.

I have regained my breath and the waves of nausea have calmed down. From here, while sipping water and sitting in shade, one could almost forget from watching the three of them that it is 97 degrees outside.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Free time looks like this.

A note: Never the aspiring L.A. actress, a baby chick I did want to be. The return of zaniness and the OG chicken will soon join me in my fowl ways! Hip, hip, hurrah!

In the lull between my second cup of coffee and lunch, Deanna and I run out to check out the Dos xx's billboard box on wheels.

Wilder Ranch State Park

I know.

Don't you hate it when you show up to a hike and the flowers are all wearing the same color as you?

The one day it was 75 degrees in the city and everyone rushed to the park to get naked and get some color. We ate ice cream and kept our clothes on.

This picture makes me think two things: 1) Isn't it funny how Bilbo thinks he's a cat? and 2) I've become that person who takes pictures of their dog. And he's not even my dog.

He really should be on a calendar.

Perfecting taking pictures sans cameraman with the help of careful twig and brush placement.

Sanborn-Skyline County Park

It was cold that day.

You should have seen what the graffiti said.

In Castroville, the artichoke center of the world. Did you know there was such a place?

Fall Creek/Henry Cowell
[Young man pictured is neither Fall Creek nor Henry Cowell, no.]

The beach, jellyfish and a little white lie

It is not quite beach-prime weather in all the ways one would imagine, but it felt close enough. And with the yo-yo'ing of this spring season, from days of autumn chill to a sprinkling of days like summer heat, we were willing to take what we could get. And so when it hit 80 degrees at 11 a.m., we put on shorts and took it. 

The drive up 17 pushes us gently from side to side as we turn and hug the corners of the road. And our sweat is a gentle kind, different from the sweat of summer which causes one's shirt to stick to one's back and shorts to the back of thighs. We are traveling over the hill, past homes shrouded among trees, past people's driveways too close to the highway (how do those people turn left to get to work in the morning??). And the feeling is one of relaxed, casual excitement. 

The beach presents us with miles of sand to run across, with a shell-speckled tide on one side and expansive, window-full beach homes hanging over cliffs on the other side. As we run, those lounging on the beach follow us with their eyes in the same way one would watch the tide, not really watching at all. As we run, I watch the houses and note the building materials of roofs, the very many different kinds there are to choose from. And I take note of those running with their trainers on and scoff quietly to myself -- shoes! ha! -- and feel pity for those that cannot appreciate the miracle of running on sand, the soft squishyness that is so good and gentle to my knees. 

And then Alan steps on a jellyfish and says he wishes he wore his shoes. And after giving my inspection of the injury, I tell him they are blisters, water blisters, from the moisture in the sand. When he looks disbelievingly at me, I add that I have had water blisters before and keep nodding until he stops looking at his foot all worried-like and starts running again.
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