I killed a Smurf. Sorry, not sorry. 

As first attempts go, my first attempt at over dyeing a rug turned my rug a slightly blue tinge, but only in the right light. It also stained my tub like a smurf crime scene. I killed Brainy. He was annoying as hell anyway. Don’t tell anyone.

Brainy
No one likes you.

I would deduce this as a pinterfail but frankly, I don’t fail pins. I do them twenty times till I have flattened my face by hitting a wall or I make the damn pin. I mean why buy a fifteen dollar lamp when you can make your own for two hundred.

I make other rugs jealous with my sexy ass. http://www.rugsusa.com

What I have learned from this disaster? Hotter water, I need caustic chemicals, and probably not RIT dye. But I swear on Odin’s Nuts my fifteen dollar goodwill rug will be a glorious shade of teal or I will fray it trying. I need to bring out the big guns here. I need to read some directions and God forbid follow some instructions and it will be blue. I need a blue runner. It has to happen. It is a thing now. I sound like a crazy person… Stop looking at me like that. I’m not crazy. (Tries to bite own ear)

Also Smurf blood is a really good indicator that one should clean their tub. Is this the rug of sadness? I think so..
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It All Started With a Clown Car – The Voyage Home

After three months, gaining ten pounds, and twelve ass gropes (groping of my ass, not me assaulting Italians); I start the journey home. I am reminded of one of the great movies of modern cinema. Homeward Bound – The Incredible Journey 

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A much belied classic from my childhood. Oh Shadow you are too old!

 

I had an absolutely wonderful time at the villa. I learned a great deal about Roman architecture and got an opportunity to sketch great Italian masterworks, both new and old. I would say that traveling to Europe was the greatest event of my college career aside from graduating, but I was happy to be going home.

I realized the day that I needed to leave that I had made a terrible mistake.  As a side note, it seems that in my life I tend to miss important details. Especially if there is excitement involved. If there is excitement. I could be naked and covered in eels and I probably wouldn’t notice. The way that it worked out was I gave my presentation that I had been working on for a month to all the students and faculty. Sat down for a moment to take a breather and overheard a conversation.

“What time is your plane?”

“8 am, what time is yours?”

“3 in the afternoon, you know the trains don’t run till 9 and you have a 4 hour train ride ahead of you”

Oh holy shit. Oh bullocks. Oh fudge. oh damn… oh shite. I haven’t packed and my flight leaves a 7 am. IN MILAN! Which means dear reader, that I need to be on a train within an hour with all of my crap from my journey here plus: six bottles of wine, a bottle of olive oil, a new purse, rolls of parchment drawings, a painting,  a agate stone, a new glass necklace, and a glass statue. Seriously I bought a glass statue in Venice. I am of the “It’s awesome, I’ll figure it out later,” variety. This also meant that I had no where to sleep tonight. If all else fails, I can create a fort out of my luggage on the side of the road and huddle inside.

Commence packing. Actually no, that is not an accurate description of what happened. Commence the fastest packing in the history of all packing. Commence chucking multiple things that I did not use this summer. Hair dryer, who was I kidding. Swim suit, I will buy another. Toiletries, I will stink. I shoved, I pulled, I sang lullabies to those bags till they closed. And close they did with the help of some duck tape.

I realized a small snag in my victory. What do I do with all the wine, olive oil, and sculpture? I bought them,  I will steadfastly carry it across my chest like some deranged wine bomb. Wine is not heavy at all! (I should have just drank the damn wine, all six bottles, and they could Medivac me to Milan.) We pile into the car. My instructor looks at my wine bomb sideways.. I smile the smile of desperation and glee.  My roommate had to fit the clown car with all of their luggage as well so she sat on my lap with her face pressed against the windshield, like a mime that is saying, “help me, we need a bigger car.”

We arrived down the hill at breakneck speed. Our combined weight, plus that of the luggage allowed the car to be pulled down the hill. I doubt the instructor had to even put it into gear. We landed with a squeal and smoking tires at our stop just as the sun was setting. It was picturesque. Trash blowing in the wind  and then getting caught on my luggage. The smell of urine and bougainvillea wafting by. A lowly mosquito landing on my arm and receiving a just death. Ahhhh Italy. How I will miss thee. I want to point out that Italy is a beautiful country full of wonderful people, but this train station smells like pee and has bums everywhere.

We hop on to the night train heading for Genova.

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The main train station is freaking enormous. Squeak, squeak, drag, drag. “Excuse me lady coming through with luggage. Oh scuzi. Sorry about your toe.” Picture courtesy of http://www.depeck.info

The train ride to Genova was blissfully quiet and empty. The air conditioner was on and it was wonderful. I created a fort of luggage around me and put my feet up. I dared anyone to say anything by sporting a manic look, and twitching a bit.  I only wanted to set fire to my luggage once at this point. From there, we took another train to Milan. Again uneventful save for dragging it through the huge terminals. At this point I have bruises on my shoulders from my “wine bomb” across my chest.

We hop on the train from Genova to Milan, then take a bus and arrive around midnight. Nothing is open. Of course we are all starving. I have learned to use the Euro, and I want to use it to buy some damn food. My flight does not leave for 6 hours. I am exhausted and have not slept in 30 hours. I pulled an all nighter the night before working on my final project. So I am slap happy. I try to play cards, but I cannot focus on anything. I go hunting for a place to wall myself up in. Low and behold I spy a space behind the elevators. My roommate and I make a wall of luggage blocking off us from view, curl into a little ball on the dirty linoleum and sleep the sleep of a child on Tylenol.

I wake up four hours later and wipe the gravel and drool off of my left cheek. It was wonderful. When you are that tired, any sleep is welcome. Even if it is behind a elevator shaft that infrequently gets cleaned. I turn my luggage in to the counter, I almost want to draw faces on the individual pieces of luggage and name them. They have been my constant companion on this voyage home. Sort of like Tom Hanks with “Wilson.” Except mine would be, “Samsoniteeeeee!” Or Sami for short. We don’t stand for formality.

cast-away-wilson
Willlllssssssooooonnnnn!

I trudge onto the plane. I smell amazing, and I pity my seat companions. The plane takes off and I leave my second home. It was the grandest adventure of my life up until that point and life changing. I will always remember the good and bad of Italy and be thankful that I took the chance offered to me to travel in college. It has shaped so many aspects of who I am now as an adult in my thirties, and I think I am better for it.

Things I learned on my Voyage home:

  1. I am not carrying anything to Europe. I’ll stuff cash and my passport into my bra.
  2. Every place I pass that has food, I am going to purchase some. I am not going to starve and live off of airline food.
  3. All joking aside, I am serious about the passport and my bra. Screw luggage.

 

The Redwood Didn’t Hug Back..Jerkface

Redwoods are really gigantic trees that are not found anywhere in the desert I grew up in. I looked. All we have is Joshua trees, and they lack the oomph that redwoods have.  They only get to be about twenty feet and can look rather alien-ish scary. Imagine a field of fuzzy things from “mars” all raising their arms at you.

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See …weird alien landscape.  Found this photo at HawkedBackpacking.com. 

This is my childhood, with the occasional jaunts to Mt. Charleston for some.. gasp.. pine trees. Mt. Charleston is lovely, but it isn’t the grand arboreal forests I have heard of in California. Places with trees so large that to hug one, it would take you and six friends. I love the landscape. Desert, forest, or arctic tundra. But for some reason, I was particularly entranced and interested in this one type of tree. Call it part novelty and part appreciation.

A very good friend of my, more like a sister really, is from behind the “The Redwood Curtain.” Basically as you can guess it is a barrier of these giant trees that cuts off parts of California. No pipes, or utilities can cut through. Her and I went on a road trip a few years ago to visit with her family and I got to see these giant trees first hand.

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A redwood forest, if you look really closely you can see a few sprites waving at you. No not really.

I got out of the car and Stood surveying the prospective candidates.  My friend was like, ‘What the hell?”  then, “Yea yea pick that one.” The one I picked looked particularly snide and rough. Maybe he was having a bad eon or something. I walked over to him and hugged him. I hugged him with everything in me. I hugged him with all the magic I was hoping there was in the world brought on from a childhood reading science fiction and fantasy.

and…….

Nothing happened. What should have happened is a damn Treant comes to life and takes me on a grand adventure to save the forests or something. Instead, I came away a little sticky with a few spiderwebs stuck to my shirt. The tree may or may not have appreciated being singled out and given some hugs.  Either way, I felt better. The tree was beautiful and I was so lucky to have finally witnessed first hand.

 

 

The Life List

This will be a very “listy” post. For obvious reasons, see title.  I thought it would be a good idea to get some of my goals and stuff up and crossed off. I know, super long list and it is constantly getting updated. This is by no means all of them. But a good start and I plan on writing posts about them:

 

Personal Goals


 

  1. Become and ordained Minister.
  2. Solve a Rubicks cube
  3. Fall in love and get married
  4. Have a baby
    1. Subsequent baby calls me momma
  5. Create a Rube Goldberg Machine
  6. Find a conch shell. The Conch Catastrophy
  7. Walk a mile backwards
  8. get a tattoo
  9. Break a bone And This Little Piggy Went Directly Into a Baby Gate and Broke
  10. Create and set off a thermite explosion
  11. Open a champagne bottle with a saber.
  12. Get fired, especially (but not limited to) when you’re getting fired because you want to get fired.  (Should happen to everyone at least once)
  13. Own a flame thrower
  14. Dance with my dad at my wedding
  15. Learn to BBQ some “Slap yo mama” ribs
  16. Save a life
  17. Go whale watching (Again, Thank you Bruce and Melissa)
  18. Cook a book
  19. Be able to do the scorpion yoga pose
  20. Have a hero.
  21. Be a hero.
  22. Meet your hero.
  23. Go ghost hunting.
  24. Lose 130 pounds (wow seems like a lot! It is a freaking lot. Oh well)
  25. Become a published author
  26. Have my artwork displayed in a gallery (When I was 12, but still counts)
  27. Publish a children’s book
  28. Restore a classic car
  29. Restore an old house
  30. Hug a redwood  The Redwood Didn’t Hug Back..Jerkface
  31. Start a blog! (it can be found here :P)
  32. make a 16 hour full day playlist  (I am on Spotify if you want to find me)
  33. Read a book about every american president
  34. Swim / stand under a waterfall (one in Zion pushed me flat to the ground)
  35. Ride a harley
  36. Cruise in a ferrari
  37. swim with dolphins
  38. Become a vegetarian (for 6 months, but I did it)
  39. Taste the finest wine. (Sweet surrender – from Keyways Winery)
  40. read the top 100 books (List can be found here Modern Libraries Reader’s List)
  41. run a marathon
    1. 3.5r
    2. mini
    3. 1/2
    4. whole
  42. Have 100,000 in savings
  43. Have 10,000 in savings
  44. Have 1,000 in savings
  45. Have 10 bucks in savings
  46. Own a 1971 Mach 1 mustang (have only hugged one, and drooled from afar)
  47. Dye hair black and blue
  48. Dye hair red and black
  49. Read the Kama sutra
  50. Know the names of all the American presidents
  51. Memorize the rhyme of the ancient mariner
  52. Complete a triathlon
  53. Walk a labyrinth  
  54. Help Lisa Fly in a plane
  55. Roll around in 20’s like the 3rd rate rap star that I am
  56. Roll around in 50’s like the 2nd rate rap star that I am
  57. Roll around in 100’s like the 1st rate rap star that I am
  58. Change my own serpentine belt
  59. Change my own brakes
  60. Change my own oil
  61. Rotate my own tires
  62. Fly my car 30 feet
  63. make 1000 paper cranes
  64. Attend the Nebula Awards (Thank you Bruce and Melissa. You made one of my dreams come true)
  65. Meet Neil Gaiman (I hugged him)
  66. See a major league baseball game
  67. Participate in a food fight
  68. Read 1000 books
  69. Be photographed in the Iconic breakfast at Tiffany’s pose.
  70. Get a blue box from Tiffany’s.
  71. Go grape stomping
  72. Experience a white christmas
  73. Hug a pug (Lisa, I miss your pugs. Snort snort)
  74. Watch over 100 artists live in concert.
    1. Dave Mathews
    2. Dave Mathews and Tim Reynolds
    3. Elton John and the red piano
    4. Reba Mcentire
    5. Rodrigo y Gabriella
    6. Metallica
    7. Godsmack
    8. U2
    9. Black eyed peas
    10. Buckeye cherry
    11. Cypress Hill
    12. Kitty
    13. nonpoint
    14. Cherry Poppin Daddies
    15. Big bad voodoo Daddy
    16. Big bad voodoo Daddy
    17. New Kids on the Block
    18. The killers
    19. Phil Lesh and Trey Anastasio
    20. The Black Crowes
    21. Damien Marley
    22. Godsmack
    23. Deftones
    24. Homegrown
    25. Incubus
    26. Stone Temple Pilots
    27. The Keller Williams Incident featuring Keller Williams backed by The String Cheese Incident
    28. Big and Rich
  1. Watch a Cirque du Soleil show. (Seen a few, those crazy bastards)
  2. Kiss under mistletoe
  3. Experience zero gravity
  4. Go to a drive in move (many times as a kid)
  5. Test-drive a car you can’t really afford
  6. Try on jewelry you can’t afford. (Tried on a pinky ring that cost a half million dollars)

 

Continue reading “The Life List”