Sunday, December 28, 2008

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

I’m sitting in the casino restaurant on Christmas night. I would be sitting in the bar, but for two things. Firstly: Have you ever tried to read in a bar? Not easy. Sometimes not even possible. Secondly and most importantly: The State of New Mexico does not allow package or bar sales of alcohol on Christmas day. They could serve me a margarita with my meal, but no other drinking allowed. I never have more than one anyway, so no harm done.

Jackson is making money hand over fist at the penny slots in the casino. Well, as much as that is possible, what with the payouts being in pennies and all. I won absolutely nothing in the half hour I spent there. Feeding money into little machines and getting nothing in return bores me frightfully, so I have vacated the premises in favor of pen and paper to be followed quickly by the perusal of an as yet unread Dorothy L. Sayers.

We arrived here yesterday afternoon and managed to find our cabin with very little difficulty. We tend to argue vociferously over direction when traveling; each of us equally convinced of our navigational superiority. Sad to say, he appears to have the upper hand in arguments so far, having been right 2 1/3 times. That is enough to drive me to drink in and of itself, but I shan’t give in to such shallow temptation. The time he was 1/3 right he convinced me to drive all the way around the mountains this afternoon – in what I was certain was the wrong direction – instead of going over the mountains in the right direction as I had postulated.

I begrudged him the one third win when his rout was confirmed by a convenience store employee when I stopped to fill up with gas after having made snide remarks about needing to conserve as much fuel as possible for our foray around the entire mountain range. I may have to concede him a full half win and admit that his route, however circuitous and indirect, saved me from driving over the mountains during an afternoon sleet storm.

However, that was not what I intended to write and it appears that I have gone far afield and completely lost my point. Where was I?

Ah, yes. We arrived yesterday. After a late lunch/early supper we went back to the cabin to putter around a bit. Embarrassingly, we were both so tired that by six o’clock, when the sun been down for more than an hour, we were both stretched out on the living room furniture and snuggled under blankets, fast asleep.

We woke around mid-night, thoroughly refreshed. And who wouldn’t be, after a six hour nap? It was by then definitely time to open presents - regardless of whether you belong to the Christmas Eve or Christmas morning camps of present openers.

Jackson’s presents took longer than mine and we were both fascinated about what was in the heavy box with his name on it. I’d totally forgotten what it was, even though it was from me and I’d wrapped it myself only days before. I blame this gift and its capturing of our attention for the remainder of this story.

Jackson really wanted cash for Christmas to use for a specific project he’s working on. Just before we started opening our gifts I slipped a hundred dollar bill into the folds of gift wrap on one of his gifts. That gift. In the heavy box. You can see how I got a bit distracted, can’t you?

I really don’t want to tell you what happened. You can see it all coming, can’t you? You can see that I forgot about the money and never told him it was there. You can imagine how the feisty little bill held fast and never slipped out of the wrapping paper and managed to get bundled up with the rest of the discarded wrappings and carted off to the dumpster, outside. In the cold. Outside to the dumpster where it was deposited amongst the detritus of the neighborhood. Where it would languish until sometime later when a blinding flash of memory sent one of us out to the offensive skiff, faced with the prospect of sorting the trash to retrieve the treasure.

You know that’s what happened, don’t you? And you’re wondering which of us made the dive?

Well, you’d be wrong. Very wrong.

What really happened is that as we finished our holiday plunder party the room began to get a little chilly. That’s because the fire in the fireplace had gone out.

Oh no? Oh, yes.

Jackson bent to gather an armful of wrapping paper to throw on the embers.

”Wait!” I cried. (Admit it – you breathed a sigh of relief here, thinking I’d remembered the $100 just in the nick of time and all was well. If so, you‘re wrong. Again.)

“Don’t just throw the paper on the fire – roll it into a log kind of thingy,” I commanded.

Jackson obeyed. He set the paper log on the fire and soon it was blazing brightly.

We sat back, admiring his fiery handiwork and fiddling with our gifts. It was at least five minutes before realization struck and our domestic tranquility was shattered by me leaping to my feet and attacking the fireplace amidst a hail of repetitive profanity. Reasonably startled, Jackson made use of some profanity of his own as I drug the remnants of the paper log out of the flames and onto the hearth, filling the room with smoke. I frantically peeled back its now smoldering layers in search of cooked currency.

I never found it. Not even a trace. Money burns very well, if you had any doubts about it.

All we could do was sit back and laugh, while I tried not to touch anything until I’d washed the soot off my hands and face.

This will certainly be a memorable Christmas. And if Jackson wins a hundred bucks in the casino tonight, I’m not gong to tell you. You’d never believe me anyway.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Been playing around with Photoshop and layers and textures. So far, so good.

How has your week been? I've had a cold or some sort of flu or something all week long. This afternoon I finally started to feel human again. I'm really glad I'm getting over this before next week. Everyone is going in different directions this year, so Jackson and I are doing something we've always wanted to do at Christmas. We're going spending it in a cabin in the mountains in Ruidoso, NM. Should be fun!

What are you doing for Christmas?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Friday Cemetery Blogging

I don't know where they bury the brides...

This sign is in the same town:

Transubstantiation, anyone?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pilates and Pelvi

Texas, in the fall, is a hard place to breathe. Once corn harvest starts, followed immediately by gin season, our air quality rivals that of Houston and Los Angeles for uncleanliness. We like to think that our pollution is of a more natural nature than theirs. It makes us feel more self-righteous, secure in the knowledge that the spring sandstorms will blast our air achingly clean again.

I was contemplating this during Pilates class this morning. We’re all overcome with rampaging sinus crud. Everyone is snorting and suffering. Several people brought piles of Kleenex that they put on the floor next to their mats. As we hung upside down, suspended like bats from our own pelvi*, the tissues quickly migrated from the new to the used piles.

I could feel my head swell and expand as the stuff that had settled in the back of my head drained to the top while I was upside down. I wondered how big my head would get before the snot started to push my eyeballs out of their sockets.

Then we stood up.

And I almost fell down. The fluid had shifted so completely that I had no equilibrium. I was not alone. We all staggered significantly before being able to stand upright unassisted.

I wiped the sweaty hair out of my mascaraless eyes and surveyed the other, similarly unmade-up, women around me. None of us would set foot out of our houses looking this bad, except under cover of darkness, to go to an exercise class with other equally unkempt people.

God, we’re horrific. Unwashed hair, blemished skin and chapped noses. I wonder if this is why there’s never been a man attend this class for more than one or two sessions?

One Sunday morning at church a total stranger – lovely woman – came up to me and reminded me we’d moved the start time for the Monday morning class from 6:00 a.m. to 5:45 a.m.

I had no idea who she was!

She introduced herself on Monday morning. I knew her then. The fact that she was able to recognize me in real life, clean and coiffed, was a little bit disconcerting. Do I generally look that much like the wretched leviathan that I am before showering? I hope not.

I’m hoping maybe she just recognized my nose.

*I know this is not really a word. But it’s so much more fun to say than pelvises. Bleh. Try it. Pelvi, pelvi, pelvi. Much, much better, don’t you think?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Just some stuff...

We're a little weird about water around here. Yesterday and today I listened to people arguing about it. Yesterday it was strangers in a store.

"Hey y'all! It's snowing out there!" Guy 1 said to the assembled shoppers.
"It is not. That's just rain," scoffed Guy 2
"No way - some of it is flakes," Guy 1 said.
"You're kidding!"
Guy 2 goes out the door and stands in the parking lot.
Guy 2 comes back inside and said: "You're right! It is snowing! Kinda."

Today it was people at work and the conversation was essentially the same.

After I got home, Katie and I had to venture back out into the wintry weather in search of a vacuum cleaner. (I had to buy one now, so I wouldn't get one for Christmas!) Tiny flecks of white had accumulated in the corners of the windshield. There were maybe 10 or 15 flakes on the hood of the truck. Katie eyed them eagerly. "Maybe we won't have to go to school until 10:00 tomorrow!"

Hope springs eternal, but the water has already stopped falling.

I was afraid the lady at Sears was gonna bust a gut when I told her that bit about buying a vacuum to avoid getting one for Christmas. Not a lot of funny stuff happenin' at Sears these days, I'm guessing.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Friday Cemetery Blogging

The Christmas Cards are here! If you would like a tombstone Christmas card, email me your address and I'll send 'em out as long as they last.

If you happen to be in Fake Cow tomorrow night, Rose and I will be doing our once yearly good deed. We'll be ringing bells for the Salvation Army at Wally-World from 5:00 until 8:00. It's supposed to be pretty dang cold, so stop by and keep us company.

Here's a bit of a challenge for you - these two stones represent my all-time favorite TV show. What is it? (It's really pretty easy, but first one to figure it out is my bestest friend for the day.)