May 23, 2012

Yelling Toddlers

Around six o'clock I was lifted from a very heavy sleep by a strange, continuous noise. It sounded most similar to a couple of hoarse toddlers yelling on one of those mid-grade roller coasters that make the rounds on the county fair circuit, you know, a few loops on a mildly hilly course. So, these kids are shouting "Whooooooooooah! Whoooooooooah!" and I'm thinking that it's totally inappropriate for toddlers to be yelling at this hour and then I really wake up.

I looked out the window. I'm not sure if it's mating season or if they're just very territorial, but these cats were sitting on this fence outside our place, just going for it. Normally I get pretty excited about petting street cats, but these guys are jerks. They stare at each other, make these horrible noises, tussle for a bit, and then break off and stare at each other some more, tails twitching. At this point Sam is awake too. I yelled out the window, "Shut up! No!" They turned and looked at me but then they're right back at it. I shut the window but it didn't matter, you could still hear them. I then decided to take matters into my own hands.

Had you been one of those cats, or a neighbor who happened to be looking out the window at 6:00 a.m., you would have seen me running at you, waving my arms, wearing my extra-large hot pink Lightspeed t-shirt and no pants.

That scared them off.

May 21, 2012

Second Place

It is rare that I get a chance to talk about personal success on this blog. However, this last weekend was nothing but a complete and utter success and I have the hand-thrown mug to prove it. That's right. Winners. Our team came in second in our age division in Pole, Peddle, Paddle!

A relay race of epic proportions (You start at Mt. Bachelor and do a downhill course, then a cross-country ski loop, bike to Bend, run five miles, kayak or canoe up and downriver, and then sprint a half-mile to the finish line), I did both the downhill and the finish sprint this year, and we came in for the silver. Not that I'm implying my performance was what brought us to victory. In fact, to be completely honest, all the other legs are the long, difficult, and crucial ones.

The first year we did this event I totally missed the start and added about five minutes to our time. Not only was this a horrific blunder, but missing the start is now referred to as "pulling a Rachel" at our company. Not ideal. Fortunately, each year has been better than the last and this year we changed divisions so that we might have a chance of winning a mug (the corporate category is especially competitive and only the top three teams win mugs). Sam was a supporter last year, but this year he got a team together for Greasebus, so we had the added bonus of another team to cheer for.

Highlights included the Greasebus team leaving Portland so late that we had to check in and get their numbers for them, though they luckily managed to sneak their boat (this gigantic silver battleship of a canoe) into the boat drop-off area a full half hour after the cutoff time, some puking and almost puking after finishing the various legs of the race, the mugs (of course), Kyle Arthur and I cheering for Caroline and Lindsay as they battled their way up the mighty Deschutes (we may have bummed some poor kayaker out due to our vocal celebration of the exciting fact that they were actually passing someone), a delicious bbq dinner, a rousing dance-off, and, in a rare and not-to-be-missed moment, Kyle Arthur waltzing with some bearded dude to Porno for Pyros. I'm still not sure how that happened. 

Anyway, the weekend was a great adventure and I'm actually excited about doing more running. Who wants to a do a race with me this summer? 

May 18, 2012

Fighting Injustice

It's the weekend! Almost! I'm off to Bend for the Pole, Peddle, Paddle but I leave you with this: Melissa "Marbles" McCarthy.


May 14, 2012

First You Get the Bunny . . .

Oh man. Friday was a sad, sad day.

Lately, there has been a void in my heart. When it comes to matters of the heart, there's very little you can do using the analytic side of brain. The hole is there when you think of it, the hole is there when you don't think of it, and no logical solution can fix it.

So I went to the only place you can go when there's a hole in your heart that you don't know how to fix.

That's right. The Human Society.

It was there that I discovered Bun Bun. Had I gone to the Humane Society at any other time, I may not have met Bun Bun. But the lady working the small animal room was a certified rabbit advocate and she wanted nothing more than to see me walk away with my perfect match in small, twitchy, rabbit-eared form. We looked at a few different rabbits, a sickly angora, a far too large brown rabbit called Thunder, a white, pink-eyed Easter bunny with a penchant for kicking. Then she took me to the back room to show me a few more. There were two back rooms actually. The first one contained a couple nice ones, but I wasn't convinced. It was then that she took me to see Bun Bun. Despite the fact that Bun Bun was given an annoying, yet oddly fitting name, I immediately fell in love with her. She plugged the hole in my heart. Bun Bun was a mini Rex, velvety soft, with grayish brown fur and large dark eyes. The rabbit advocate escorted us back to the front room where we sat in a small pen and I held her in my arms, feeling her heart slow as she got comfortable in my lap. Ugh. It's still too much.

I put her on 24-hour hold, mind racing as I pondered the perfect rabbit home, the various trips I would need to make to procure the various rabbit supplies, the sudden changes that would occur in my life to adapt to the responsibility of a rabbit in my life, and then the truth really came home. I would need to call my landlord and make sure he wouldn't evict us if he found a rabbit in our home.

I made Sam do it. I couldn't stand the disappointment of hearing "no" once again. And of course, that's we heard. Denied yet again. To make matters worse, she's already gone. Somebody else has my rabbit.

May 9, 2012

Romance in the Spring

Romantic Night is upon us once again. For those who don't know, Romantic Night is something that started a few years ago, back when I was one of the Ladies of 834 and living in a big purple house. It started one winter night, when the Ladies of 834 visited Tony Vu's house, and we walked in to find wine glasses in a row on the table, the fire roaring, and tuna steaks sizzling in the kitchen. It has grown into a longstanding tradition and has seen events as varied as late night hors d'oeuvres by the fire or sitting down and watching The Room while eating a giant cupcake.

It is happening tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited. Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of this event, you should read some excerpts from the emails that have been going around.

Whisper to me tenderly the days next week when you will hunger for Charissa's succulent pot roast...
Sing out your times of availability to enjoy libations poured by Heidi!...
Proclaim your willingness to cancel all previous plans so that you may enjoy sweet morsels of yet-to-be-determined-appetizers from Ms. Wright!..

And lastly, please be there to partake in the pie I will have made for us--for Charissa, for Heidi, for Rachel, for Tony...

Romance is coming.


Hush, Tony, I hear your gentlemanly call.  I will be available any night next week for the making of braised meats and tender merriment.  I am all yours.  All ours.  Forever.


Considering that it will be nice all week, may I suggest a warmer-weather type meal? Fish tacos? Fried chicken and greens? I've never made fried chicken before - and you know what they say about how trying new things together keeps the romance alive.


Despite my eternal longing for the slightest taste of Charissa's simmering pot roast, I realize that love is a two way--err, four way relationship--err, wait, it's like 12 ways between all four of us, which is why romantic night is so damn good.


When I think of fish tacos, I think of love. Not the tawdry cheap love that a term like fish taco evokes, but the kind of deep, slow-moving-river-type love that exists between us. I will eat the shit out of some fish tacos. 


It's official.  I will create with my two hands fish tacos for us to enjoy on our slow-moving-river of love.

Romantic Night is coming. 

May 3, 2012

Free Stuff

I don't know about you, but I love free things. I can't resist digging through free boxes on street corners, even when you know they're going to be stuffed with slightly damp velour hoodies, broken picture frames, elastic-waist pants, and barely-operating kitchen appliances. Sometimes there are gems! You just never know.

So, I thought I would share a couple things with you.

One, you can go here and get a free download of Haim's EP. An LA trio of sisters (yeah, long straight hair and cutoffs and all that) who have this stripped down harmonic folk crossed with 90s R&B thing. Think Stevie Nicks and TLC skipping in a field. Pretty magical stuff.

Two, Cinco de Mayo Festival. The Waterfront. We're talking tacos, Ferris wheels, The Octopus, red-white-green, elephant ears, live music. This is taking place across the street from my office. I've been watching them set up and yesterday I took a walk along the esplanade to really check things out. The best thing? The carnival rides are brought to you by a company called Funtastic. Their slogan? Just Possibly . . . . the World's Finest Carnival. The amount of doubt brought in by the "possibly" has to be the best part. The Cinco de Mayo Festival is FREE tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m and you can bet that Kyle Arthur and I are going over there to get an elephant ear. And probably tacos. And I might take a spin in the Hammer.

May 2, 2012

Bus to Nowhere

When I was younger I moved around quite a bit. The first four years of my life were spent in St. Helens, Oregon, and then we moved up to Washington for a year. I have a lot of great memories from that time. Mostly that when we moved back to Oregon I was allowed to eat cake for breakfast, a novelty that clung to my memory with a tenacity that many other experiences have not. We then settled in Newberg, Oregon, the home of my grandparents and as stated by the welcoming sign on the outskirts of town, "A good place to grow." We lived in three different homes in Newberg during my childhood, the last being the house that my parents still occupy. I was pretty bummed about that last relocation and had some compelling arguments for why we should stay in the city limits. I had made quite a few friends in town, we had all these cats (some stray, some not), and I didn't want to change schools. My parents were uncaring and we moved out of town with only a single cat in tow. The school that I transferred to for fourth grade was out in the sticks. No longer would we get rides to school. My younger brother and I would have to ride the bus to and from school like everyone else.

On the first day my parents weren't going to be home when we arrived since they had jobs with commutes, but my Aunt Sharon was going to be there to welcome our triumphant return. This would have been a real treat, as she was our favorite aunt. We caught the bus to school without hitch, we went through the bewildering cloud of a First Day at a New School, and then somehow my brother and I got on the wrong bus. We rode, silently, sharing a seat and staring out the window until we noticed that everyone had gotten off the bus but us. The scenery was unfamiliar. The hills were on the wrong side. Besides the roaring of the motor, it was eerily silent. As the bus continued its ponderous meandering into town I sat stewing in horror. This bus was completely out of control, destined for some horrible place, and we were in its clutches. I was a shy child and the prospect of actually speaking out loud to an adult was frankly terrifying. With sweaty palms and a cracking voice, I finally worked up the nerve to ask the bus driver where we were going and why we hadn't been dropped off. She squawked into her radio. The radio squawked back. It was clear a mistake had been made. She then revealed that there was nothing she could do because this bus was destined to pick up the Middle Schoolers. I broke into a cold sweat. Middle Schoolers.

We were going to have to wait it out and ride the bus with the middle school kids until the bus driver could loop back around and drop us off. She was understandably apologetic but nothing else could be done. Finally the moment of dread occurred and she let the doors open with a hiss. They piled in, all loud, coarse language, upper lips covered in awkward fuzz, grotesque heavy metal shirts, shaved legs, backpacks covered in Sharpie. It was like the bus filled with vikings. These were gigantic thugs, probably drug users, practically adults. Hoping to be unnoticed, Laurence and I sat very still and just waited for it to be over. Eventually one leaned over and said to my brother, "Hey! Hey! Are you a homosapien?" I stayed quiet, studying the vinyl seat back in front of me. I didn't know what this meant. Laurence didn't know what this meant. "Are you?" It was obviously offensive. "Leave him alone!" I snapped, showing a vestige of retaliation that would later be a teenage trademark. And that was that. We were left alone. We eventually, after hours of being on that wretched bus, were released into the early fall air to walk down the lane and find our worried aunt sitting with warming milk and Oreos. It had been a harrowing ordeal that we could hardly put into words. But we had survived.