Friday, March 30, 2007

Couch poodle

At the Forney Museum

Cellphone post: This is Amelia Earhart's 1923 Kissel roadster. Reportedly she drove it like she flew: fast and recklessly.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Great minds?

The camera just doesn't do justice to these colors. We're talking really chartreuse, really turquoise.

There's a hot pink one around here somewhere, too.

Dog day

Can we pleeeeeease go for a walk?

Hooray! We're going for a walk!

There are smells! Under the snow!

That was good walk! (Now can I pleeeeease have a bone?)

Good morning!

This looks like more than the 3 inches forecast. But it will melt within a day or two. We were in the 60s yesterday, and will be again this weekend.

I'm just glad the trees haven't leafed out much yet. Obviously, this is why they wait. A bare branch won't hold much heavy snow, so it's less likely to break.

I really need to get more ski days in.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What I'm reading:
"The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion

This is a re-read. I remember being choked up through much of it, while also marveling at Joan Didion's ability to concisely capture an intensely personal experience of loss and grieving. Her ability to make it readable. I wanted to revisit it now, to appreciate it as writing, without being as emotionally wrung out as I was the first time, not knowing the story.

And the story is tragic: her husband of umpteen years keels over dead at the dinner table on Dec. 30, 2003, while their daughter is in a coma after falling ill on Christmas Day. And then her daughter wakes up some time later, and has to be told her father is dead, and later suffers from a brain aneurysm ... I'm going from memory here, but you get the gist. It's grim.

Usually I drop such books like a hot potato as soon as I read the flap copy. I'm averse to maudlin navel-gazing – who needs another downer? But a publicist at Book Expo America pressed it on me and said, "You have to read this. I know it sounds awful, but trust me." And it was Didion, after all.

Well, you know the rest of the story already. I read it, I loved it, and Didion won the National Book Award, which you don't get just because you suffered a lot.

I can't be more specific yet about why it's so great. That's why I'm rereading it, and I just started. Plus I'm bad at articulating what I think makes good writing good. But picture me pressing "The Year of Magical Thinking" on you anyway, saying, "I know it sounds awful, but trust me."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

But it's Blue Bell!

Every time I open the freezer at work to get ice lately, this container is there. I don't know whose it is. But I find it ... baffling. Yellow cake flavor? With frosting? And sprinkles? American Idol? What?

I know that the marketing of products requires differentiating yourself from the competition, and reinventing yourself constantly. But really, I think this may be going too far.

In the same fridge tonight, thanks to a generous co-worker, a couple of smaller, nondescript containers. They don't look like much, but they contain Blue Bell ice cream, which is very creamy and good. I took a little of each of the four flavors: banana pudding, vanilla, cookies 'n' cream and mint chip.
Blue Bell is a Texas thing. I was in Houston a couple of years ago with a friend who got rip-roaring drunk and who was being steered toward bed when one of our hosts came back from picking up ice cream. "You can have ice cream tomorrow," we assured drunk friend and got her upstairs. About five minutes later she came weaving back down. "But it's Blue Bell!"

Again with the flowers

We may be getting snow in a couple of days, so I'm glad the buds on some of my other tulips and such aren't quite ready to pop. If the sun comes out again quickly, they may start blooming over the weekend.

I used to panic a little about spring snow. "It'll kill all the flowers!" But then I figured out that the things blooming now are obviously hardy enough to deal with it or they wouldn't keep coming back and spreading every year.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Lovin' Kiss

I bought a signed and numbered print of this great photo at a fundraiser, as a gift. It was hard to let it go – it makes me laugh! Then I found out it was featured in the New York Times Magazine on May 14, 2000. How great to know the story behind it. And no, I'm not a Kiss fan. I just love the photo.


David Massie and Reginald Massie, Denver, March 28, 2000


David Massie: "I first saw Kiss in January of '77. I was about 17. I was overwhelmed. I think it was just the makeup and mystique – the spitting blood, the fire, the pyrotechnics, the bombs. Gene Simmons vomited blood at the end of his bass solo. That was just unbelievable.

"But being a Kiss fan never wears off. I'm 40, and I'm still chasing Kiss. When this costume went on sale, I thought, Why not wear it to the last Kiss show in Denver? I had to have my mom and my sister do my makeup. It took an hour and a half. And my wig was starting to blow off. But it was great. I was always into Gene, with the long tongue. He's so cool. Look at him, man. And I turned into Gene for a few hours. When you are dressed as Gene, you feel larger than life. But I was actually getting kind of choked up, thinking, Dang, this could be the last concert. I wanted it to keep going forever. I hope they come back this way. I'd like to tell them what they've meant to me."

Reginald Massie: "I'm into Glenn Miller. I drove 20 miles once to see Glenn Miller and that was enough. I guess my son's in darned need of help."

Blue Monday

I'm sorry this photo is blurry, but it was the only shot I got ... through the backdoor window. I've always been fond of blue jays, so colorful and cheeky. When I was a kid, the blue jay placemat was always mine. I don't even remember what the other birds were in that set.

They don't seem very common here, so it's a treat to see one in my yard. In the mountains, it's the gray (grey?) jays, or "camp robbers," that proliferate. If you want to see one, just take out your lunch. Seriously.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The payoff

Rain is the leavening that makes my spirits rise that much higher when the sun returns.Having grown up and lived in places where it can be cloudy and gloomy and damp for days on end, I didn't at first understand native Coloradans' carping when the sun is covered for more than a day. "It's sooooo depressing! It's so gloomy and awful out!"

But now I'm similarly spoiled. Sure, it can rain and I don't mind. But I fully expect it to get nice again toot sweet, gosh darnit.

Today did not disappoint. It's t-shirt weather for walking, and Sophie is delighted to have been divested of her heavy sweater. The better to roll in the cool grass!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

All dressed up ...

Yesterday I was invited to help fill a table at gala event tonight for which a friend had extra tickets. "Red carpet attire requested."

Though I knew it was going to be a fruitless exercise, I hauled out my tiny collection of vintage gowns. Vintage as in my mother went to the prom in this one, my grandmother wore that one to the Charity Ball, my great-great-grandmother got married in this other one. They don't take up a lot of space, and I've loved looking at them and trying them on my whole life, and worn a couple of them, too, so I keep them.

The blue dress looks the worst on the hanger and the most fantastic on (at least I think so) even all wrinkled and not zipped all the way up. It's a wrapped sheath in cobalt satin, with a stiff sort of train-thing behind it. I could just fit into it 20 years and 20 pounds ago for a college costume ball. My grandmother was a stick.

Finally I settled on a tried and true bias-cut gown that I've worn to umpteen weddings but which still looks terrific and, more important, fits. Today I met up with my friend and we got manicures, and I bought some new makeup.

Got home. Walked the dog. Phone rang: There was a mixup, and the extra tickets for the gala were no longer available.

Phooey. At least I enjoyed my unexpected trip down memory lane. And my nails look nice!

(P.S. Mom says the blue dress, which my grandmother first wore to the Charity Ball, is also the one Mom wore to a subsequent gala ... the night my dad proposed!)

Spring marches onward

Though it remains gray and chilly out, the rain stopped long enough for a walk. There are robins everywhere, pulling worms and calling out their spring rain song: "I'm here! I'm here! I'm here! I'm here!"

I think this is an apple tree. It's fairly glowing. My Spring Snow crabapple needs another week yet, I think. And the neighbors' rare dogwood, which draws vans of Japanese tourists when it's in bloom.

Fuzzy math

1 week x (warmth + sun) + freshly shaved dog = frigid rain2

Friday, March 23, 2007

Shear exhaustion

One more photo from earlier, via cellphone. I could probably make a whole other dog out of that hair.

Big hairy deal

With the weather warming up, Sophie has begun to suffer in her long long fur. She's old and gets cold easily in the winter, so I let it grow out. Today was the day for it to come off.

I'm still working on shaping her topknot. And I really should shave her face. But it's pretty good progress for today.

Out and about

Euphorbia is common and can be invasive, but it's very pretty, I think. The distinctive and precise geometry of the leaves, all sharp and angular, with sunny yellow flowers at the end in their little cups.

We met a friendly dog on our walk today. Usually dogs are much more aggressive behind their fences, but this one just wanted to say hello and have his (her?) chin skritched.
Other dogs go crazy when we walk by. Is it the fence that causes their anger, or is it their anger that requires the fence? You can tell dogs "see" with their noses ... it's never their eyes pressed up to the knotholes.

Another funny sight: I wonder what this realtor's parents were thinking.

And then there's some unusual "yard art": a fenced-in, colorful car. I wonder if it doubles as a gazebo.