Thursday, August 27, 2009


So, the other day I found out that I glow. I was having a bit of a glum day and I sat down with an acquaintance of mine. He noticed that I was a little less chipper than usual, so I just explained that I was feeling a little down. He told me that he is always excited to see me in town, because I am always glowing. I figured he was full of BS and was just trying to get in my pants. He lives in a town with about three women and they all share the same three teeth. I shrugged off the compliment gracefully and dismissed it. Two days later, another friend of mine told me that he couldn’t figure out how I was always able to glow. They used the same word: glow. So, I guess it wasn’t BS; I glow.

What does it look like to glow? I assumed it was a compliment, but was really unsure. I looked up the definition to find out what others are really seeing in me. I found a few definitions.

1. To shine brightly and steadily, especially without a flame.
2. To have a bright, warm, usually reddish color.
3. To be exuberant or radiant.
4. To shine intensely

The second definition makes me laugh, because I am definitely one of the most colorful people I know, both in appearance and personality. I have a warm, pink complexion, ridiculously red hair, and intensely bright blue eyes. I definitely fit that definition of glowing in my appearance. My attitude and personality also fit these definitions, especially the third one. I think glowing is an awesome description and I think I will keep it.
Sometimes I fizz out though. I need to work on that. Lately I feel like one of those 12 hour glow stick that are so brilliant and fun when you break them, but totally fizz out into nothing by the morning. At least I make it through the night; that’s what’s important.

Friday, June 5, 2009


So I really would love feedback. I know I digress in things and that they aren't really that good. That is why I need help. I try to take less than 10 minutes on anything before I post it, so don't feel bad about ripping it apart. We all know that I am not good at writing about me. I actually hate writing in first person, so this whole narrative thing is new to me.

Beverly Hillbillies

I am so accident prone that I don’t even get embarrassed anymore. I am actually sort of glad that my slight misfortunes give someone something to be amused at. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you deserve to be laughed at. At my last National Guard annual training, I was running around like crazy trying to finish up a bunch of tasks, so I could tackle the next ones one my list. I ran into the personnel tent and gave my first sergeant some pertinent information that I thought he might need. I ran out of the tent, and caught my foot. I had forgotten that the tents have a three inch lip on the bottom of the doors. Normal people wouldn’t be fazed by this, but my roughly three inch inseam makes these sorts of obstacles more important to be aware of. I fell. I fell hard. I don’t do anything half-ass, and this situation was not an exception. I fell in slow motion, arms flailing. I would have gone face first into the desert petro-calcic aridisol, but something caught me. I was carrying a M249 machine gun. I guess I am not as good with controlling it as the Punisher, because it caught me before I fell. I hit my own nose with my own butt stock. I hit the ground and tried to quickly get up hoping no one would see me. I am never that lucky.

I looked up and saw SSG Leprochaun (name changed to protect his identity and keep people from trying to steal his pot o gold). He wasn’t the only person to see, but he was the least likely to let me live it down. All I could do was exclaim, “Dang, you were here to see that.” Then I had to fill my gushing nose with wadded up toilet paper. This wasn’t Charmin either. This was government issued TP, otherwise known as single ply sandpaper. It is even worse in your nose than if used on your butt. Since coming back from Iraq, there is one item I will never skimp on and that is toilet paper. Nice TP is like a quilt on your butthole.

I have a legacy of clumsiness. When I was a toddler, I fell out of my family’s potato truck. Yes, my family not only owned, but regularly drove around a potato truck. We actually moved to Idaho in that truck, and the pictures are hilarious. My mom was six months pregnant with my little sisters (twins) and Helene and I were three when we moved. The pictures are in black and white, and we looked just like the Beverly Hillbillies. There was a rocking chair strapped to the top of the truck and everything. It took three days to get from Western Oregon to Southeastern Idaho. My mom wouldn’t let my dad pay for any hotel rooms; we couldn’t afford it. Helene and I slept in the truck on my mum’s tummy, while my dad and our Saint Bernard Beatrice slept under the truck. One night it rained and unfortunately for my father, he had parked in the lowest spot in the parking lot.

Back to the original story…my father, Helene, and I were riding in the truck. I fell asleep and was leaning against the door. I guess the door latch must have been broken, because the door flew open and out I went. My dad caught Helene before she followed me out. I tumbled out of the truck onto the gravel road. I don’t really remember this part, but the image in my head when I think about it is pretty funny. I see this little toe headed girl basically bouncing and spinning headfirst continually down the road. I am sure it wasn’t like this and probably wasn’t as funny to watch. The truck was going about 40 MPH. The part I do remember is sitting on this awesome chair (it was orangle plush) with a big old blanket at someone’s house. I had survived just fine if you ignored the blood and scratches on my face. For some reason, I never really get hurt if I hit face first. This is the first memory I have.

It seems fitting that the first thing I remember is biffing it. I thought that big feet were supposed to make a good platform, but I think mine have just made me more of a clown. A super hot clown, but a clown nonetheless. My dad was privy to another big face plant a couple years back. Right after my divorce, my dad took me up to his cabin so that I could relax for a few weeks. It was a pleasant drive up. We picked up snacks at the gas station and just talked. He reassured me that I would be better of without Ben because of the different motivation levels we possess. His concern was sweet and softened my heart. Then, he had a request. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to become a lesbian. I let him know that I like men. He just wanted to make sure.

I thought it was entertaining that my dad was concerned about this. First, I don’t know why anyone cares about anyone else’s sexual preferences, and second, I am obviously heterosexual. Ok, well, I know I am straight. I am kind of a chick magnet, but I can’t help that. Women love me! I told my mom that people often mistake me for a lesbian and she asked me what a lesbian looks like. My reply: Obviously just like me.

We made it to that darling little mountain town. It was my first trip to the cabin, and I have never forgotten that place. I still visit regularly. Elk City is a beautiful town that has unfortunately been forgotten by the rest of the world. Any one who actually steps foot into the town could never fall into forgetfulness. I have never been anywhere so peaceful, yet so colorful and alive.

All of the color, and probably the craziness of divorce, pushed me to try things I had never done. I had never ridden a four wheeler; I had always thought enjoying all terrain vehicle meant you were siding with environmental degradation. I actually had fun. My dad and I rode along, and I was beginning to get more adventurous. Ok, ok…I was going slower than a ten year old, but I was having fun. I can’t help it if I am careful. I decided to speed up. I needed to live life! We encountered some bumps. The scaredy cat in me hit the breaks…. Well, I flipped the ATV…three times…and I guess when you crash, you are supposed to let go, not hold on for dear life…that would have prevented it from landing on me. Let me tell you, 4-wheelers are heavy. I remember looking to the left and right next to my head was a stump. Instead of landing on that knobby stump and spraying brain fragments all over the Morel mushrooms growing in its decayed flesh, my head had landed in a pillowy growth of purple wild flowers.

I heard my dad yelling to see if I was ok. He helped me lift the four wheeler off of me and I jumped up. I was fine. The only real trouble was pulling the four wheeler up the steep incline I had tumbled down. We attached the wench on the other vehicle and pulled in out in the only way my father and I would ever do it: entirely unsafely. We then pushed it to the side and rode the one back into town. The best part about being the one to get hurt was that while he went and recovered the ATV, I sat at the local bar and had a cold Amber Bach (ok, it may have been a couple more than one). I relished my luck in really having only a few scratches. I am glad I was drinking, because my intoxication kept me from noticing that my legs had rapidly begun to swell. I have never seen such an awesome design of blue and purple swelling. I should have had a tattoo done to match the natural design of my fall. That could have been a painful night, but by 5 pm, alcohol made it so that I wouldn't have felt it if a car had run me over. It is not that I would ever advocate the use of alcohol to anyone, but, hey, it's have always worked for me!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

And it begins....

People have always told me I should write. I had an English Professor who told me it was my calling. I thought he was mistaken. Clearly, I am a scientist. Still, I have had repeated requests from friends to write a book about my life and about my personal philosophies. I didn’t know what to write about. I still don’t. My life really isn’t that interesting. I really am boring. I have always seen myself as the definition of normal. I’ve lived with myself my whole life, and well, I kind of make sense to me. I should submit a picture of myself to Wikipedia and post it under Normal. Recently, I have found that either I am mistaken, or the rest of the world in inhabited by a drone of abnormal freaks. Have you ever wondered how others see you? I know what I think I look like. I know what I think I project to the world. Recently, I have discovered that maybe I see myself much differently than anyone else sees me.

I am of average height and am of average attractiveness. I always felt like an ugly duckling as a child, but that is really a symptom of having three drop dead gorgeous sisters and a total MILF of a mother. To make myself feel better, I tell myself that everyone goes through a geeky stage; mine has just lasted my whole life. I have grey-blue eyes that catch everyone’s attention now that I am an adult. As a kid, I wore ridiculously large glasses (which along with my fro of a perm never gave me a chance to even attempt to be cool), but since, I have gotten LASIK surgery. After my surgery, my section sergeant in the army told me that he had never even known that I had blue eyes. I have small ears, a small nose, and full lips. My hair is ridiculously crazy and has been cut above the shoulders my entire life. My mother told me as a child that if I couldn’t learn to brush my hair, then I wasn’t allowed to have any. I still haven’t learned to brush it. My hair color changes every month, but everyone says I am a redhead. I don’t correct them. I am actually blonde. I dye my eyebrows, because naturally they are quite transparent. I have a very large head, hands, and feet. My twin sister is the opposite; she has a pin head and itty bitty hands and feet. You don’t have to distort my image at all to make me look like a bobble headed clown. I have a ridiculously short inseam which I totally obsess over (ask my brother…it drives him nuts). My wiener dog, Sasquatch, and I have the same proportions. I avoid looking at pictures, because I don’t really mind being in denial about what I look like. I can pretend that I am in awesome shape rather than facing the actuality that I have about fifty pounds to lose. I am terribly un-photogenic anyway. My mother attributes my horrible photos to not being able to see my personality in the photo. I am glad I have a good personality, because if I didn’t, I would be in serious trouble.

My friend recently wrote online about his daughter and her interesting encounter with a cockroach. My friend had killed a cockroach and thrown it in the toilet, but apparently, forgot to flush. His young daughter later came out of the bathroom crying and quite distressed. She exclaimed to all that she had “pooped a bug”. I want to see more than just what is in the toilet. Since I returned from my tour in Iraq, I have somehow gotten lost in a small part of my world and I have been unable to discern what is real and what isn’t. My goal with this “project” is to step back and find out which of my turds are mine and which turds are really not my doing.

The point of this blog

I need to clear a few things out of my mind. I am going to use this blog to post up the exerpts I am writing for the book I am writing this summer. This is my first attempt to write informally on a large scale. Don't worry, I won't be focusing on comets or sun flares.

Technical writer goes novelist here I come!

BTW, the current title is "I Left my Sanity in Iraq".