Friday, June 30, 2006

Lake Mead, NV

Lake Mead

I just got back from a family vacation in Lake Mead, just outside of Las Vegas. Vegas is a bizarre little city. The Vegas airport is instantly recognisable upon disembarking because of the electronic dinging that you later identify as the sound of hundreds of slot machines that line the corridors. People have a lot of time to kill in Vegas, and most don't wait to leave the airport before gambling.

The strip is unempressive from the air. My trip was so short I didn't have a chance to go see the sights. But then, I'm not a gambler, so I think the pleasures of giant casinos would be lost on me. Drea and Jason picked me up, and we drove to Lake Mead where Grandma and Ken had rented a 70' houseboat complete with water slide, hot tub, ski boat, and two skidoos. Mom, Dad and Allie came in a few hours behind me. Hail, hail, the gang's all here.

Once I put my swimsuit on it didn't come off again until it was time to dry it out and put it back in my backpack to leave. The weather was scorching. Anywhere from a "cool" 95 to 115. Dawnie and I found the best way to handle it was to lounge around on the deck for half an hour at a time (I wearing SPF 50, she trying to become Puerto Rican by the end of the week) and then run for a dip to get hair and swimsuit wet. We had enough food to save Napoleon's ill-fated army. Everyone still remembered the turkey sandwich fiasco in Florida (most of the family can't look at a turkey sandwich without shuddering) and came armed with junk food. We also sent the parents to the store for Malibu Rum, tequila, vodka, and something for Drea. We're not a heavy drinking family at gatherings, so the selection was odd for us. But what better place than on a houseboat for Margaritas and Malibu Cherry Limeaids? There was also beer, but as Dad put it, 'I drove all the way to Nevada and all you have is light beer?!" Ken of course provided the zinfandel for the barbecues.

We spent a lot of time moving the houseboat trying to find the perfect spot. The boys fished, each catching at least one. There was waterskiing, and we all dinked around on the skidoos. And of course rummycubes and monopoly. One evening our entertainment was a fantastic heat lightning storm. I provided a medly of "I will go down with this ship" by Dido, and various songs from Titanic. Wednesday night Nick and Allie built a bonfire on the beach. At one point he added a mound of tumbleweed, and the fire was suddenly at eye level from the second story. Little piros, all of them. I'm suprised Drea wasn't down there dancing to the heathen gods as usual.

Thursday morning I had to catch a flight, which I missed, and then flew standby the rest of the day. In the break between I caught the hotel shuttle to the Hilton, where there is a Star Trek exhibit, but it wasn't open yet. So I have a lovely dark picture of the gated off Promenade. And I played one dollar on the five cent machine at gate 26 just to say I gambled once in Vegas. Woohoo.

And after all the ribbing my family gave me over my SPF 50, guess what they wanted me to leave with them when I packed...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

So, to cap off my year, guess who has a lovely case of mono?

Saturday, June 17, 2006



I almost didn't get out of my car yesterday. My drive to work is bar none the best part of my day. The mountains are as green as I imagine the highland hills of Scotland to be, without ever having seen an actual picture. Kris burned Death Cab for Cutie, and one track has lyrics about driving down a country road with the windows down smelling the scent of the evergreens through the open window. It fits. I play it four times in a row. Out my window I can see the hilltop above the Naches. I want to forget work and climb to the top, lay down in the grass up to my neck and watch the clouds pass by. The sun beats down for the first time after three days of rain. If I weren't driving I'd be able to smell earth and wildflowers.

At work I listen to the acoustic coffeehouse station. There are some obvious singers; Rufus Wainright, Dido, Norah Jones. Someone called the Recliners sings a terrible ballad version of I Wanna Be Sedated. I make a list of songwriters and bands to try to find.

An SUV drives up and parks. A matched set of black labs stick their heads out the window and sniff in parallel. I wonder what they sense on the air. I want to be out there.

At every hint of the sun I run out from behind my cage and go to my window. From the bar all I can see is the rock face above the highway. I hang onto the windowframe and lean in until my nose almost touches the glass and I can see to the top of the cliff and catch a glimpse of sky. Bits of fluff drift down the highway from right to left. Funny. The clouds go left to right. What currents are the fluff balls catching?

My itchy wanderlust has taken over again. I knew I shouldn't have read A Year in the World immediately after Tales of a Female Nomad.

I must go.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Winnies and Speaches

Winnie Awards and Acceptance Speeches

Saturday night were the Warehouse Theater Winnie Awards (their version of the Oscars). Guess who won a Best Actress in a Lead Role for her portrayal of Catherine in Proof?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Contemplation of Felony

Contemplation of Felony

Have you ever had one of those moments when you look down at the register drawer and think, I could do so much with that money. And for half a second you're serious.

I've never had an opinion on gambling. It's always seemed like nobody's business but their own, and if they want to throw their money out the window with both hands, the better for them. But as I'm struggling to pay bills after two months unemployment, am behind on my RDRP (rapid debt repayment plan - for those non Mary Hunt-ers), and am just now able to buy food without counting change, I get ill watching a thousand dollars get blown. If they want to throw it away, give it to me. I'll do something productive with it.

Like pay off the $250 worth of car repairs that were the result of going in for an oil change.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Whacked about with Romans 12

Whacked on the forehead with Romans 12

It's been an ongoing joke since my tour days. For some reason Romans 12 crops up in the oddest situations. For a while on tour we had a sermon on Romans 12 for weeks on end, different churches, different states even. At that point it could be argued that Romans 12 was the tour chapter, and not mine personally.

I came back to Yakima and attended First Pres for the first time in years. Not long after, a Romans 12 reference. Kris and I went church hopping. Romans 12. I was thinking about joining a Bible Study that I wasn't sure if I wanted to, "alright guys, turn to Romans 12." It was actually Romans 13 that day, ye olde governing authority bit, but the fact that he would misquote the first day I was there was suspect.

This morning I dragged myself out of bed for Imago Dei, my favorite church in Portland. I almost didn't make it into town this weekend. I've been sick since thursday, but it was Tasha's birthday. I love Imago Dei. It's the most eclectic church. The songs are mostly old hymn lyrics to new settings, with any accompaniment of instruments that volunteer that sunday. Today it was guitar, oboe, violin, and jimbae. The communion altars are along the front of the gym auditorium (when I first went there they met in an old Catholic church) with iconography behind the bread baskets and wine goblets. There's very little ceremony. At communion you go when you feel you've prayed or sung or confessed enough, though for "due process" you leave whatever row you're in to join the lines snaking their way down the isles. They have various organic home groups, some children's programs, and a theology program designed for lay people, taught by the theological members of the congregation. Very cool. I digress. Today the pastor stood up in front of the congregation, prayed, and told us to open our Bibles to Romans 12. I burst out laughing, and then, being sick, started choking. Made quite a spectacle. People around me looking for the girl having seisures. The girl next to me wanted to know what was funny. And Tasha laughed too, because she's been there most of the time.

If I ever get a tattoo, it'll be Romans 12 backwards on my forehead.