Saturday, February 20, 2010

WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?

Oh you sweet sweet people. I don't know why you put up with me.

Truth be told, I had resolved to give up fireflies (just too busy) in spite of the constant pestering of my mom, who is my biggest fan. Every time I do or say anything that is even remotely witty or interesting she says "YOU SHOULD BLOG THAT!!!" It's cute actually. Which doesn't mean I'm not going to continue to roll my eyes every time she says it. It's daughterly duty.

So this post is about nothing. Yet another reason why you should not still be here. I popped by the ol' blog to delete a spam comment and here I am posting with no plan and nothing to say.

Yes, I know I never gave you part 3 of our Salton Sea travelogue. About a month ago, I told Matthew that it had been so long that I was going to need something over the top good for part 3. Something on the level of dragons or gypsy curses or a pack of wild angry midget men would do nicely. I commissioned him to write it (I don't do fiction) and he never did. So blame him, not me. Really.

Actually, part 3 is pretty boring.... Slab City blah blahh devastation blah blah destitute half abandoned town the end. There you go. It's been so long that you probably don't even remember that I was in the middle of a Salton Sea travelogue. Here's a picture to round it out:




Oh wait, picture fail, that was from an entirely different adventure that I failed to blog about.
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That's the one. Devastation. Yup. Okay, Salton Sea wrapped. I should have done that months ago.


I would say more, but I have a cup of coffee and a new episode of Project Runway calling me away. You know how it is. But one more exciting thing - Matthew quit his job to work with me full time. Today is his last day. So so so so wonderful. Maybe, just maybe, I will even have more time to write. Thanks for reading, you guys. You're the best.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Salton Sea Part 2: In which we find religious fervor moving yet freaky

Sometimes I think I'm getting out of hand with all of these "in which" titles. Meh. I enjoy them. They're jokes for readers.

So part two, a day late.

We finished up our lunch and were excited to find that we were less than ten minutes from Salvation Mountain. What's Salvation Mountain, you're asking? Well friends, it is this:

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and let me tell you, it is amazing. All of that rain and traffic and horrible z-grade diner food and when we first caught glimpse of this, it was all worth it.

Salvation Mountain is an enormous sculpture made by one old man who lives on the property and has been building it for years and years. It appears to be made almost entirely out of bales of hay, mud, and paint, with a few found junkyard objects thrown in. When you first drive up to it, you see the mountain itself

'foo
The mountain is climbable, but on the day we were there it wouldn't have been safe. We could barely walk on level ground in boots without falling. Adjacent to the mountain is another smaller mountain (of sorts) that you can enter. It is composed of several caves
cave entrancejesus loves  (color, apparently.)matching
along with walkways and courtyards and just general random mini structures. pueblothronelove.this is a ceiling
It seems that Leonard Knight, the artist behind this work, just built and built and built. There is even a replica in front of the mountain of the mountain itself:


meta.

Surrounding Salvation Mountain is a circle of cars. Those are painted too:
even the inside is paintedrepent god-love bible

One might be tempted to write this off as outsider art kitsch, but that is not the experience of actually seeing it in person. When you see it and climb it and interact with it, its message of sheer joy is absolutely overwhelming. I asked Matthew what he thought it would be like to love anything as much as Leonard Knight loves God and his sculpture and he said "terrifying. And amazing."

Agreed. It was beautiful.

And I still owe you guys part 3: Slab City, Niland, and Bombay Beach.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Salton Sea Part 1: In which water from the sky attempts to keep us away from water in the earth.

So we never got to see the Salton Sea up close. Remember how I said it was an ecological disaster area? The beaches are also closed. There are no fences keeping you out, just periodic signs posted saying to keep out.

That's not what kept us out. Why would it? A sign? Are you kidding me?

When we woke up on Monday morning, it was raining. Hard. We had set the alarm for 7:30 but somehow managed to hit snooze until after 9. We were wrapped up in a big tangle of cuddling and blankets and the cat, and that combined with the peaceful sound of rain outside was just too much to resist. Once we did drag ourselves out of bed, I went to check the weather report.

Rain all day long.

Our destination was nearly 200 miles away and in the desert. There couldn't be rain there too, right?

There was. In fact, this storm stretched all the way to Phoenix - some 8 hours away.

We decided to go anyway. We just packed our boots. In accordance with Murphy's Law, all of the umbrellas had vanished, save one flimsy little vintage parasol still sitting in the car from a photo shoot the day before.

We finally got on the road at 10 am and were met with a sea of red brake lights and incredibly heavy rain. We decided that we were crazy but to go through with it anyway. About 3/4 of the way there (once we were fully out of easy access to mechanics), the rain was pelting so hard that it actually broke one of our windshield wipers. The left wiper became half metal and little strips of rubber flew around in the wind. It made an unbearable squealing skritching noise as it futilely tried to wipe away the water. Matthew patiently got out in the rain, did his best to put the wiper back together while getting soaked, and finished the job off with a couple of scraps of twine we had in the car. We kept going.

To get to the Salton Sea, you pass through LA and into the Inland Empire - a sort of suburb county to LA county infamous for its meth labs and white trash culture. You then pass through Imperial County, which is sort of a suburb to the Inland Empire and therefore one level trashier. You then get off the main interstate and drive for 50 more miles along the backroad.

We were on this last stretch, with the Salton Sea finally just to our right, when a cop decided to follow us. Mile after mile passed. He wasn't budging. I stared longingly at the Sea flying by next to us. Stormy and angry and black and filled with flocks of giant sea birds. I wanted to go so desperately, but every time we saw a good spot to pull over, there were those damn keep out signs. And that damn cop behind us. And after about 10 miles of following us, another cop pulled behind him and followed us too. We were a freaking convoy. I guess there's nothing better for them to do in the desert in a downpour.

We resigned ourselves to not shaking the cops any time soon and instead stopped for lunch at an unfortunate little hick pizzeria where the locals gaped at us and there was no soap in the bathroom.

And after that we gave up on the Sea for a bit and instead drove on an even smaller road to get to the thing we had most wanted to see on our adventure: Salvation Mountain.

Which I will tell you about tomorrow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dateaversary 9.0



Today is the 9th anniversary of my first date with Matthew. To commemorate our dateaversary (as we like to call it), I thought I'd mention three things that happened on this weekend that reaffirmed that Matthew is indeed perfect for me.

-One-

Matthew said "We should do something really fun and romantic on Monday. Like maybe take a little road trip. What do you think - do you have any ideas?"

I replied with the first thing that popped into my mind: "How about the Salton Sea?"*

"That's perfect!" he exclaimed. Then he came over and kissed me on the cheek in honor of my awesome idea.



* the perversity of this is only clear when you know what the Salton Sea is. It is an ecological disaster - a lake so polluted its fish die en masse, filled with abandoned houses and shantytowns. It should be eerie and grim and it's 4 hours away. Super romantic.


-Two-

I was driving and slowed to let jaywalkers cross the street. Said jaywalkers were a youngish couple and a dog. The dog was very small and fluffy and prissy looking and was prancing slowly and indirectly across the street while its mistress coddled it like it was her baby. After a few seconds of this, I yelled "GET YOUR PET RAT OUT OF THE STREET MOTHERFU*KER!!!!"
Instead of being annoyed or perplexed at my irrational anger, Matthew just looked at me and sweetly said "Don't talk about that man's girlfriend that way."

So not only does he tolerate my bitchiness, he ups the ante by saying even more evil things. YES!

-Three-

We were walking in a nature center and we passed a large pond with a single lonely duck in it. Matthew pointed at the duck and said "Awww, look at that duck. He's all alone. He got left behind."

And I said "Yeah, he got left behind in the Duck ---"

"----Rapture" Matthew finished.

This one really blew my mind. When your mate can finish your sentence and the sentence in question ended in Duck Rapture, you know you have it made.

Love that guy. So today we're off holding hands and skipping at the Salton Sea. Two evil little trolls who are actually good people.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

in which my lifelong ambition to create a flowchart is finally realized




Ahh..... can you tell that my procrastination has reached pornographic proportions today? I am ridiculous sometimes.

Bungalow 360 is an awesome little company that I admire very much. It's a line of sturdy, expertly constructed, absolutely adorable canvas bags that I have been a fan of for a few years now. And best of all, Bungalow started out as an all-handmade line. You can see how I would admire them, yes?

Susie, Bungalow's owner/designer asked me to model some of her bags for her website. They're up now, and yes, I did get paid to model but I am not getting paid to tell you to check out the site. You just should because it's a great product and a great company.



Ooh, also - housekeeping. I know most of you don't read my other blog. But I just wanted to mention that last week I gave it a major facelift and reformatted it to be for both ghost academy and my flower studio. I'm planning (notice I hedge with "planning" instead of just saying I will be) on posting 3x a week on the other blog and 2x a week on this one. If I can manage. I think I can. So if you like pretty things and silly things and inspiring things, go take a look: Ghosty Dreams and Flower Things Matthew told me that name was too precious and asked if I was a teenage goth girl. But he also told me that the name "on fire with fireflies" was pretentious, and the name is stolen from one of HIS songs. So pffffft.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving vs. Valentine's Day


When Valentine's Day rolls around, I always hear a lot of grumbling and cynicism about how it's a manufactured holiday designed to sell goods and make people feel bad. This is actually untrue - Valentine's Day is a holiday with meaning and deep roots and has been celebrated since the Middle Age.

When Thanksgiving rolls around, I never hear any grumbling and in fact, people seem quite excited even though I am sure they end up spending considerably more on Thanksgiving than they do on Valentine's and Thanksgiving actually IS a manufactured holiday that has only been celebrated for 100 or so years and has only been an official holiday for half that time.

There is only one plausible explanation for this.

Americans really, really, really, really enjoy gorging themselves on massive amounts of food. So dig in, America! And lest you think I'm being too judgy, know that I'll be gorging with the best of them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Confessions of failure part two: to touch and be touched

When I was 14 and a freshman in high school, I learned a very important thing:

If I signed up to take a series of aptitude tests in the career center, I would then be allowed to miss an ENTIRE AFTERNOON of classes while I took said aptitude tests. Being an enterprising young lady, I naturally signed up. I then spent the afternoon in a quiet sunny room by myself, cheerfully filling row after row of little bubbles in with my #2 pencil. I finished quickly and took full advantage of being in the room alone by rifling through files until I found my own and scanning thorough my secret administrative records.

A week or so later, I was called out of class with a slip of paper summoning me back to the career center to discuss my results. I got to miss more class! Bonus!

I can't recall the name of my small Catholic school's counselor, but I do recall much of what he said. And also, because I am a bit of a pack rat, I still have the folder he handed me on that day. I present his findings:

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Then, as now, I found the results hilarious. The tests showed that I required a job in which I was intellectually and creatively stimulated. And it inferred that I may have a bit of a problem with authority, so I had best work alone. The test also pointed out my biggest failings:

Orderliness, Leadership, and Social. The next few pages go on to explain that under no circumstances should I have a career that requires me to be around other people or more importantly to HELP other people. There is a half page devoted to how little regard I have for altruism.

Even at 14, I was already an angry little misanthrope. Ahhhh.... it's almost like a handicap then, right? Like I can't help it?


That test for the most part knew what it was talking about. But the part about altruism is dead wrong. For all of my prickly, muttering-angry-old-man exterior, I actually have a giving soul and a heart so soft it has gone rather mushy. I enjoy doing kind and unexpected things for strangers, I give (well, occasionally at least) to charity, and I would do pretty much anything for the people I care about. Post-college, I even had a brief stint as a hostess/waitress at a restaurant frequented largely by old people and I actually really enjoyed serving.

On the flipside, one place where my misanthropy really does come in to play is in being touched by strangers. As in, if a cashier touches my hand while giving me change, I shudder just a bit.

Does this make me psycho? Was the test right? I was reflecting on all of this a couple of weeks ago when I went to get a manicure. I was going to a swanky networking party and I wanted my hands to look a bit less like the monkey paws they usually resemble. I had not gotten a manicure since my wedding 5 years ago.

I went into the salon and requested my manicure. I sat there struggling and failing to not to be freaked out while a small bitchy woman who spoke barely any English clipped away at my cuticles. Across from me were a mother and daughter getting simultaneous pedicures. They were sprawled out on reclining chairs, looking positively blissed out while three women crouched at their feet, scrubbing furiously. I calmed myself by reflecting on how much worse it would be if I was getting a pedicure and having my feet handled by a stranger instead of my hands. The very thought makes my skin crawl just to type.

And there you have it: I can help people. I will enjoy helping people. But I must never, under any circumstances, have to touch them.