Tall Lady’s officially gone loca. Not only has she decided making me a costume to reflect one of my namesakes — Willie Nelson — is the funniest thing ever, but she painted on a unibrow for yet another Halloween.
First, yes. This is me as Willie Nelson. I know. I know. I’m damn cute. What you should be glad you can’t see is my alarmingly increasing midsection. I actually conned Tall Lady out of a portion of a rotisserie chicken to sit for these photos. It’s not my fault. I showed up at the Heirloom Homestead underfed — ribs visible. The vet told Tall Girl to “feed that dog!” and she has done a great job. Thank God I don’t have to fit into skinny jeans, or any jeans for that matter.
I just hope she doesn’t decide to shave me anytime soon. My girth is hidden fairly well with all this fur, especially the dark fur. Uncle Cody had the nerve to call me “chubby” this afternoon. CHUBBY.
There is enough sorrow with that to make a dog want to write a sad, slow country song.
I may be a drag-dog, but I’m no fool. Dress up? Really? We’ve gotten to this pathetic point of the year after one minor snow? Friends, we may need alpine rescue around here pronto, and it will have nothing to do with being snowed in and everything to do with Tall Lady’s boredom and me as her sole focus of craft.
In other news — she decided yet again that Frida Kahlo was the right costume choice.
Never mind all the other girls at the party went as cheerleaders, sexy nuns, and pretty much any other costume that doesn’t require emphasizing one’s facial hair. Those are also the girls who went home with boyfriends. Tall Lady? She came home with a glue gun and a mission: the Willie Nelson costume!
At least Uncle BJ was creative. He’s a black eye pea. Get it? Fergalicious!
Happy Howl-oween, amigos. Don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
~Willie Nelson Mandela
The snow is melting, leaving behind a trail of mud. Nelson has never been happier. I have never had less balance. Mud, ice, snow and thud. I need to invest in a pair of trail runners.
We trekked through Boulder County for a couple hours this morning, winding around the pointy orange teeth of a mountain chain that sits just west of the city. Collegiate cross country teams zipped around us, using the trail system for a draconian training tool.
Sadly, the giant tree at the Heirloom Homestead — that silver maple ash that is more than a century old — didn’t weather the storm well. Huge branches split leaving the towering beauty to resemble a weepy willow.
Otherwise, we are ready for the next snow. And I’m getting used to living with dirty floors. Paw prints on the hardwood is now a sign of home.
I’m working through my yarn stash to whip up a few gifts. (Not going to lie: it is a lot more fun to work with wool when there is snow on the ground.)
Also not going to lie: it is going to be a lot more fun to knit now that I have a model who works for treats:
Doesn’t he look thrilled?
Actually, now that I look at him — he looks like he needs a haircut.
I woke up to a blanket of snow. It is a heavy storm, but a warm one. We are expecting 6-10 inches, which should be gone by tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, Nelson and I are using the weather as a reason to stay inside, get a few projects completed and spend some time with our friend — the couch.
There is something magical about the first snow of the season; you can’t help be be optimistic for such a fresh start to every change in life.
Yesterday was a national “Food Day” — a time to encourage Americans to improve their food choices and physical activity for a healthier citizenry. Of course, this is my cup of tea. The celebration in Denver was hosted at the botanical gardens with a day full of courses, lectures and other activities.
With work, I was able to swing through one class in the evening — “Canning like your life depends on it.” Holy pickles and sauerkraut — I could not have lucked out more. Lead by local business owner Milan Doshi, the course discussed basic canning and fermentation techniques.
For this sustainability-loving domestic dork, it was so, so cool to be a room of like-minded folk, scribbling notes. Pickles are not so hard to can. Who knew? And sauerkraut? I can do this. I’m not sure I want to do it. The instructions included both the words “scum” and “burping,” but now I could if I wanted to.
Milan’s company — Five Points Fermentation — is leading a local culture change. He encourages people to research their family food history and to honor this with their cooking choices. Listening to him speak, with his adoring Indian mama sitting by his side, was enchanting. He talked of the shelves of pickles he’d eat as a kid visiting India — each jar made with love by his grandmothers. Each jar including some spice or vegetable was was in bounty on canning day.
It is so lovely to hear enthusiastic business owners honoring their families and their communities with their work. And of course, this means pickles for Christmas. I can’t wait to get going…
A few of the new books on my shelf making me very, very happy.
I’ve been haunted by insomnia lately. This happens about once a year. I’ll go 3-4 weeks without a good night’s sleep, waking around 2 am for 2-3 hours at a stretch. Some nights I just lie there, rolling the day around in my head, like a bowling ball down an empty alley. Others, I read and heat up a bowl of leftovers. More dramatically, there are nights I scream into a pillow — annoyed I’ll once again stomp through the day with bags under my eyes and splintered patience.
Yesterday, I spent two glorious hours in an auditorium with the author Mary Karr. The event, sponsored by Lighthouse Writer’s Studio, was an interview of the author. Karr is best known for her memoirs and poetry. She is currently writing a TV series based on her life for HBO. (And revealed last night she briefly dated David Foster Wallace. Always fascinating when famous people knew each other when.)
I fell head over heels in love with the profane Texan after her rant on “decorative writing” — that which is fancy to be fancy. She called out specific authors and said The New Yorker is largely to blame. Poems that have secret meanings, for example, are “bullshit.” She took the art of writing and put it in each person’s hands to take home with them, reassuring us that we — as folks who can read and love words — are just as capable of greatness as anyone else. In fact, we might be more likely to produce good work because we aren’t surrounded by fake intellectuals. And when comforting herself during a moment of publishing anxiety, she remembered, “Everyone writes a shitty book.”
To someone who once called her names in a letter, she told of writing the person back and saying, “You are right! I am those things. And guess what? You can’t hurt my feelings. You aren’t the first who has called me that and you won’t be the last.” Oh, the chutzpah!
It was her straight talk. Her basic clothing. Her love of swear words that would embarrass sailors. Her nonchalant aire describing turning down six figure offers for more memoirs because she “just didn’t feel like it right now.” It was her story of growing up in a poor Texan family at the intersection of crazy and drunk.
Her lack of pedigree never slowed her. In truth, it gave her the best material.
Last night I slept 10 hours straight.
Taken on my actual 16th birthday. That poor boy.
If I could go back to my 16-year-old self, I’d scream this wise advice in her ear:
- You are not Selena. There is an unfortunate chunk of high school when you foolishly think long, dark hair, brown eyes and the ability to roll your Rs makes you latina. Loca, no. Brown eye liner should never — ever — be used as lip liner.
- Fear not, Nordstrom is coming. Your height and feet have been a fashion hinderance since fifth grade, but hold on! Before you know it, you’ll have a size 11 shoe section and a “long and lean” option at the Gap. I promise you, the days of boy’s running shoes are coming to fugly end.
- Stop reading fashion magazines. Just stop. Those women? They don’t even look like those women. And while you are at it, give up every single “diet” you’ve decided to optimistically conquer. You won’t. And then you’ll feel worse and eat way too much ice cream to cheer yourself up. You are strong. You are athletic. You have muscle and cellulite and this is the way it will always be. Own it.
- Take yourself less seriously. College is not just one giant exam. Go out. Have fun. Get a fake ID. Take your time. Do not, I repeat, do not think anyone cares about your grades from a tiny state university. They won’t. (Future employers will care if you are well-rounded and able to handle stress.)
- Wear more moisturizer.
- Wear less blush.
- Sometimes it is okay to quit. In fact, sometimes it is the right thing to do. It won’t feel right at the time, but you’ll see.
- Never be embarrassed for showing your emotion. You can make friends at the grocery store. Enjoy it, and who cares if you are the only one who knows the bagel guy’s birthday? You love loving people — the wide, weird variety they may be. And when your friends balk at hugging, or telling you they love you, do so twice. Because you will never — ever — go to the grave with people saying, “Huh. I wonder how she felt?”
- Never be embarrassed for loving God. Also, know when is the right time to share that love, and when to be quiet and just listen.
- On that note, speak less. You have never — ever — regretted saying too little.
- And while we are at it, you have also never — ever — regretted saying no to a round of tequila.
- You will, my dear, regret many dates. Also, there will be a handful you love so much it hurts to breathe. Those few will make you better. I wouldn’t change any of it.
- Read more.
- Shop less.
- Appreciate the days when you can run without pain. One day, you’ll turn 30 and your right foot will give up. You’ll ache for the days of long, endorphin-fueled runs.
- Be outside as often as possible.
- Spend as much time with your grandmothers as you can.
- Be nicer to your folks. You will spend much of adulthood reminiscing how great your childhood was, and how mind-boggling incredible they are.
- Smile. One day you’ll wake up an have a dozen friends in your pocket who would do anything for you. Most of their families would too. They’ll invite you to stay in their homes — here and 10,000 miles away. They’ll make you godmother of their children. They’ll ask you to marry them. You’ll feel loved every single day by people who don’t have your last name.
- Be thankful. Sometimes life will suck. Sometimes you’ll pinch yourself, it is going so well. Order another round of tequila, screw regret, and thank God for all of it.
And oh, 16 year old me — you are a shitty, shitty driver. Slow down, pay attention and be kind to the Hornet. It is the coolest car you’ll ever own.
32 flavors and then some, me
Come to find out, my little garden bounty of squash looked much prettier than they taste.
In other news, I’m pretty sure I tried to serve roasted, decorative gourds for dinner last night. And it wasn’t even a Amy Sedaris recipe.
I drove WNM to the vet today for a teeth cleaning. Poor thing is so smart, we got out of the car and he — my otherwise curious and overly confident pooch — walked with shaky legs up to the front door, knowing precisely where we were and that he never leaves this office feeling anything less than poked and prodded.
And then I drove away in tears.
Because, oh because, I have become a crazed dog owner who adores her pet. Yesterday I let him off leash to run in an area I most likely shouldn’t have. Yet watching him chase squirrels and geese, dart through sprinklers and run with his ears pinned back was both hilarious (he hops more than he runs) and sweet. Never mind we had to dart an angered groundskeeper.
Ever thankful this furry dude is in my life. Even more thankful as of this afternoon he won’t have stinky, rotten squirrel breath.