Friday, March 30, 2007
This sounds like Nick and I, respectively.
Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt... Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves.

- Robert Anton Wilson


Maybe that's what Britney meant about her baby being her religion.
Sarah Smile:
Have you ever tried to meditate with a puppy around?

have you ever successfully meditated with a puppy around?

Sarah Smile:
He keeps sticking his tongue down my ear.


Sarah Smile:
But I figure all that giggling is almost as good for you as meditating.

it totally is.

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Hurts so good.
I've found a new yoga sequence that's both simple and challenging, and leaves just enough of a burn in your muscles the next day to feel like you really DID something, without hobbling you or making you want to whimper.

Wanna try it? (Don't forget to warm up and cool down.)

Downward Facing Dog, Warrior I, Plank Push-Up
Tones and shapes all major muscles and improves balance

A. From Cat position, move into Downward Dog by tucking toes, pressing palms into floor, and lifting hips. Straighten legs and press heels down. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths.

B. From there, step forward with right foot (keeping palms on the floor, left leg extended) and bend right knee (knee should be directly over ankle). Come up and extend arms overhead to perform Warrior I (see image). Go back into Downward Dog by bending at hips, planting hands on floor at each side of right foot, stepping right foot back, and lifting hips.

C. Shift into a modified Plank pose by dropping knees onto floor. Body should form straight line from head to knees, and hands should be directly beneath shoulders.

D. Do a Plank Push-Up by bending elbows back, close to ribs. Slowly lower chest toward floor. Press back up to Plank position. Lift hips back into Dog. Repeat sequence, this time stepping left foot forward into Warrior I. Repeat sequence 10 times per side.


The only problem ...
.......... with letting Nick make you a Farrah wig out of yellow post-its stuck to your head on the long drive home, is that it's so lightweight that you're apt to forget about it and wonder why the people at the gas station are staring at you.

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Someone keep us from going down to the shelter. No, really. I don't think we can be trusted.
My Nick - "[Company name], this is Nick. How can I help you?"

Sarah Smile - "Hey hun, it's me."

My Nick - "Oh hi. What's up?"

Sarah Smile - *deep breath* "Nick, I need you to just tell me NO."

My Nick - "NO."

Sarah Smile - "But if you could see her eyes and her ......... protruding ribs and .................. THAT FACE ........."

My Nick - "Yes."

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Happiness is new earrings.
I bought them at a flea market a few weeks, and they make me feel ......
.... like myself.
Like I match my own blog.

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Good thing I like that song.
My Nick - *setting up voice dialing on his cell phone* "Call ............. Mobile one ............. Mobile two ............. Home ............ Work ............"

Sarah Smile - *turns down the radio* "Now you're never going to able to make a call unless someone is singing 'her name is Rio and she dances on the sand' in the background."

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Thursday, March 29, 2007
My castle in Spain
When I was a little girl, we had an exchange student from Spain one summer. I wanna say his name was Ivan, and my brother broke his arm that summer. Or wait. Was that Ivan who broke his arm? Poor Ivan, I think it was him.

One of the things Ivan brought us from Spain was one of those large coffee table books, of pictures of Spain. It captured my childish imagination. Since the book was in spanish, I understood very little of the photo captions.

One image in particular stayed in my mind, long after the book was lost or given away. It was of a hall of arches, arches that looked like brick candy canes. The light was warm and dim. And it looked endless. The floor was some sort of marble. I remember the picture, right down to the dust on the lens of the camera that took it.

And I would lose myself in daydreams of dancing there. I always knew that if I could have a castle someday, I would have a room of just arches, like that. Nothing else. And I would dance in it.

And this daydream stayed with me into adulthood. A place I could conjure at will, as I was driving or falling asleep. A "castle in spain." It was all very Blue Castle (my favorite book). By the time it occurred to me to find where this place I remembered actually was, I had no idea where the book had gone.

I always hoped that someday, I'd find it while backpacking in Spain, quite unexpectedly, on a hot afternoon.

Instead, a picture of it came up on my daily Photos of Sacred Places box on my Google homepage. Turns out my castle in Spain is actually a church in Spain.

I actually said, "That's it!" rather loudly, and looked around the lobby to see if anyone was around to share it with. (Sadly no.) And then I actually cried a bit, with joy.

So many of the things we remember from our childhood lose their magic over the years, or seem smaller than we remember. But not so with my hall of arches.
And now I know that someday, some hot afternoon, I WILL go there.
And dance.
Of all the gods that have been worshiped there over the years, I'm certain none will mind. Because a part of me has always worshiped there.

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Is it wrong to out your cat?
I mentioned earlier that my cat sleeps on a pile of purses in my closet. This might lead you to suspect what I've known all along, that my Mau is gay. (All together now folks, "Not that there's anything wrong with that.")

But rather than discuss his fondness for baby carrots and tufu, or he complete lack of sexual interest in Dulce, his beard wife, I'll just post actual photographic evidence.

It's ok, Mau. We all know, and we all accept you.

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Doesn't this house look like two little houses smooshed together?

And don't the two parts look like a skinny old man, and a fat old lady?
Leaning on each other?
Doesn't the window on the front door look like a brooch on her shirt?

I love it.

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I've always wanted to tattoo it in a spiral up my arm.

[Infinite Love] is a weapon of matchless potency.
It is the "summum bonum" of Life.
It is an attribute of the brave, in fact it is their all.
It does not come within the reach of the coward.
It is no wooden or lifeless dogma but a living and life-giving force.
It is the special attribute of the heart.

- Mahatma Gandhi -

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Music of the Day

Crazy Love by Poco.

This is one of those songs that I often find myself humming, not a passing obsession but one of my all time favorites. Enjoy!

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Well, HELLO and GOOD MORNING to you too.
"What the hell?" said Nick.

Something large and furry stepped on my face, danced around on my hair on the pillow, finally coming to a rest with a wiggling, full body cuddle between Nick and I.

Two facts registered through the sleep fog.
It was three AM, and this was NOT Luca.

I opened my eyes and thought fast.

My bed? Check.

My house? Check.

My dog? No.

Somehow the neighbor's dog Kylie (yeah, that Kylie) had gotten in. Perhaps we left the door open, but Kylie is one hell of a smart dog and it wouldn't surprise me if she figured out how to open our kitchen door.
As Nick escorted her out, and Luca hovered nervously, no doubt worried that his friend's bad behavior might reflect on him, I searched for the Dulce and Mau. (Kylie's a sweetheart, and I would have let her stay, but she has a hard time resisting the urge to chase the cats.)

I found Mau in his new favorite perch, sleeping on a stack of purses in the closet. He only bothered to open one eye to view all the chaos. I expected to find Dulce clinging to the ceiling, but luckily she was only mildly ruffled by the tornado of dog that had blown through.

As we all dropped back into bed, Nick said, "sorry," assuming he'd left the door ajar earlier. But as he and Luca and I all melted into a sleepy pile with Dulce on top like a cherry, all I could do was smile.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Chamook says:
I suck at keeping secrets

Sarah Smile says:
I rock at it.
Like, I never told about ......... or the .........., or when she ...............

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I'm gonna check this place out before I go.
A man just came in and gave me a stack of these.

This isn't going to be like the free mammogram van at the mall, is it?


I'm so in love with my google home page.

I added this, because it slays me. It's like Crazy! In Real Time! And the UFOs all look so friendly and cheerful.

It's got art! And coloring pages! A spanish word of the day, a love quote of the day and a Buddhist thought of the day.

I want to print it out and roll around on it and sniff it.

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I've been attacked.
It was just like they always warn us on Dateline.

I was in the grocery store parking lot, getting into my car, when I got a sharp blow to the back of my head, throwing my face into the doorframe of the car.

And again, just like they always say, I knew my assailant.

And that is why I'm able to draw the following sketch from memory.

Please, if you spot the culprit, please call.

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We have new suggestion boxes.
I wonder if this means I'm still banned.


*mutters "office bunny" and "snuggles" as she jots down a list*

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007
One year ago........
....... to the day, the most legendary virtual houseparty ever.

Attendees included -

josh leo
Edwin, the talking circus horse
The Butler
Migrating Butterflies, Lee stayed sober to drive
Pink Elephants
Randy Jackson, who forgot his name
Harrison Ford
Closet door
The couch
Random person walking by
Cafe mocha grande
Fire Engine
The Phone
Fakin’ It Girl Band
Bake Town
Another Drink
The Tabloids
Green Jello in the pool
Pale Green Veil
Inflatable Duck (from ‘Rez’s blog)
Party Police
Butane Bottle
Chuck F. Norris
Dem Soldier
Chocolate Sauce
Peppermint Schnapps
Martha Stewart
Glitter Cannon

So if you wanna have a kick ass party, there's your invite list.

And you're all invited to the reenactment party, as soon as Nick and I can find a firetruck and a pool we can fill with jello.

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I'll sit by the phone and wait.
Supplier - *signing in*
*cell phone rings*
"Hello? ............ Hmmm."
*hangs up*
"I've been getting the strangest calls lately. I pick up and it's just ice cream truck music."

Sarah Smile - *splutters* "Wha ............ it ................. they ................. WHY DON'T THEY CALL MEEEEE? Next time they call, give them my number!!!!!!"

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Actually, I WOULD still have a job. I just say that to sound badass. Is it working?
Sarah Smile - "Good morning, [company name], this is Sarah, how can I help you?"

Favorite Salesguy - "It's me, Peaches."

Sarah Smile - "HI! How are you?"

Favorite Salesguy - "Stuck in an airport. Elch."

Sarah Smile - "That sucks."

Favorite Salesguy - "I wish."

Sarah Smile - "Hahahahaha."

Favorite Salesguy - "I hope they don't record these calls."

Sarah Smile - "I'm going to say what a bus driver said to me once, when I pointed out a security camera after he asked 'Do you want to drive the bus?' He said, 'If they were recording, do you think I'd still have a job?'"

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Colsy says I should blog about trees.
More specifically, my favorite tree.

When she asked, it was very easy to think of my favorite tree.
While I have had many love affairs with different trees in my life, (and one love affair in a tree, but that's another story) there is one tree I can still sketch (badly) from memory.

My favorite tree is an avocado tree. And no, it's not my favorite because avocados are my favorite food group. Although partly.
It was in the orchard in our yard, growing up, at what is now Bunny's house.
Avocado trees in general kick ass as climbing trees for a couple of reasons.
One, they grow really strong and unique main limbs.
Two, they're like a tent. All the small branches and leaves are out at the ends of the tree. It's like a natural treehouse.

Of all the trees in the orchard, this tree was my favorite.
A was like a natural little hammock. I could (and often did) lounge there for hours with a book and an apple.
B was low enough that I could coax my dogs to jump up and hang out with me for awhile.
Sometimes I could even get them to walk out to the end of C with me, and lie in wait for some to walk past.

That tree was my clubhouse, my pirate ship, my deserted island, my castle, my lair.
And sometimes when I'm at Bunny's, I climb it again, always expecting to run into a skinny, skinned-knee, apple-clutching, 11-year-old version of myself up there.

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Music of the Day

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In 50 words or less.....
DayDreamer's husband, The Scientist, says that he read that if you say more than 50 words an hour to your cat, you're crazy.

I say that if you stick to the same 50, and just repeat them, you're ok. If you limit your vocab to 50, then you're obviously not seeking the answer to life's mysteries, you're just chatty.


I counted, and I can say pretty much everything I need to say to my cats in a mere 17 words. No really. I counted. (And alphabetized.)

  1. a
  2. aren’t
  3. come
  4. Dulce/Mau
  5. here
  6. hungry
  7. in
  8. kittykins
  9. lap
  10. little
  11. mama’s
  12. my
  13. pretty/handsome
  14. scratchy-scratch
  15. tuna
  16. want
  17. you

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Monday, March 26, 2007
This needs to belong to me.

I think it will feel the same sense of emptiness I'm feeling, until we are brought together.

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Why I have so many Mexican flags.
My friend Nick (not to be confused with My Nick) always has fascinating stories. Like the times he babysat the Olsen twins or when a drunken Lisa Loeb tried to stick her tongue down his throat. Stories you would totally doubt unless you knew him. Nick is the sort of person to whom things happen. Happen with a capital H.
And he's had some of the oddest odd jobs imaginable. Like chef, or bicycle thief.

For a while, he was temping for a company that outsourced trash pickup along freeways. He told me that the two most common things he'd find were Mexican flags, and bottle of pee.

Which made me nervous every time he'd tell me he had "found me a present."

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Be proud of me.
On Sat, at Nick's urging, I took a bike ride with him. My initial reaction was that there was no way I would make it up that hill on the bike, that I'd end up pushing the bike while simultaneously dying.

But he said he believed in me, and by golly I DID IT.

Of course, he ended up literally pushing me for the last part, and the last few feet, I actually crawled, but still.


So now I'm eating french fries.

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"So I was soaking in the tub for ages, and decided when I was done to take a shower to rinse off, and so I drained the tub and turned on the shower and the water was cold so I thought to myself, 'this is what poor Nick complains about since he takes his morning shower after me' and I resolved to take shorter showers for your sake, and then I realized that there WAS some hot water left, it just needed to run for a minute so I learned my lesson AND still got to take a hot shower, so it all ended happily."

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Song of the Day

It is, hands down, the best breakup song EVER, but it slays me, cracks me up, whatever my mood might be. I'm including the lyrics here, but you really need to hear the snappy banjo to get the full effect.

I hope that our few remaining friends
give up on trying to save us.
I hope we come out with a fail-safe plot
to piss off the dumb few that forgave us.

I hope the fences we mended
fall down beneath their own weight.
And I hope we hang on past the last exit,
I hope it's already too late.

And I hope the junkyard a few blocks from here
someday burns down.
And I hope the rising black smoke carries me far away,
and I never come back to this town again.

In my life, I hope I lie,
and tell everyone you were a good wife.
And I hope you die,
I hope we both die.

I hope I cut myself shaving tomorrow;
I hope it bleeds all day long.
Our friends say it's darkest before the sun rises;
we're pretty sure they're all wrong.

I hope it stays dark forever,
I hope the worst isn't over.
And I hope you blink before I do,
and I hope I never get sober.

And I hope when you think of me years down the line,
you can't find one good thing to say.
And I'd hope that if I found the strength to walk out,
you'd stay the hell out of my way.

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me,
hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die,
I hope we both die.

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"No Girls Allowed."
I don't like Fry's Electronics.
No, they didn't have a 'no girls allowed sign.' Although I wish they would have.

Something about that place makes me feel like I'm treading water in jello. The employees look miserable, bustling around like if they stopped moving, they'd have to admit how hung over they were. Everyone seems lost, and the few that aren't are bumping and bouncing through the rest of us like a ball in a fooseball table. It never ends. Did you know that place has fifty cash registers? Fifty. And yet somehow we still spent an eternity in line.

And that's where we met the crazy man. He was standing behind us in line, and when I took a picture of a sign saying that our Fry's receipt may contain a chemical known to cause cancer ("Yes, I'm here to return my cancer and yes, I have my receipt..."), he used the opportunity to strike up a conversation with Nick about his unicycling shirt. He wanted to start a unicycling club with Nick. Every time he'd ask something, we'd end our response with, "Ok, well, you have a great day now," and turn around, only to be asked another question.
It quickly became apparent that the sort of club he wanted to start with Nick would probably involve a tree house, a 'no girls allowed' sign, and him using Nick's skin as a lampshade.

Once outside, we hid in a far corner of the parking lot until he left.

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Dirty, dirty laundry.
Sarah Smile - *lugs in a basket of wet laundry and throws it in the dryer* "So. That was weird."

My Nick - "The laundrymat?"

Sarah Smile - "It was pretty laundrymatish. I mean the people there."

My Nick - "No shit."

Sarah Smile - "Yeah, but not like that. It was all women there today, and they were so freakin' nice to me. Like, they didn't even acknowledge each other, but they fell all over themselves to talk to me. Show me the open washers, tell me to avoid the one with the wooky spin cycle, stuff like that. One woman, with a toddler on her hip, hefted up a giant basket of wet clothes up almost over her head to give me more room to pass by her, and I already had plenty of space. It was nice, and almost .......... ok, it was creepy."

My Nick - "It makes perfect sense. You're new. Therefore, you're the only woman that they could each know for sure hadn't slept with their husbands."

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Friday, March 23, 2007
Music of the Day

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I want trophies for these.
I am the 20th search result for "bigfoot-friend."

I am the 4th search result for "Trombone girl."

And the number one search result for "sarah bad."

*throw head back and laughs

I'm 'specially proud of that last one.

Sure. Hit 'em in the head with a 2x4.
Sarah Smile - "Good morning, [Company name], this is Sarah, how can I help you?"

Caller - "I'd like to speak with someone about getting an employee injury approved."


Sarah Smile - "I really hope you mean treatment ......"

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My stomach hurts .........
....... and I just noticed that I'm making the exact same noise as the lawnmower being pushed around by a maintenance guy out front.

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His humor keeps me sane.
This morning on the way to work, Nick rolled down his window and yelled to a man working on a roof, "DON'T DO IT! YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO LIVE FOR!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And we laughed all the rest of the way to work.
Thanks to Nick, I actually enjoy the two hours a day we spend on the road, in bumper to bumper traffic.

And that?
That's love.

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I'm so ruined for bitch about your job sessions.
Seriously, it's this bonding thing among friends, and I got nothing.

When everyone is talking about their boss's ridiculous rules or annoying habits, what am I supposed to say?

"When he hired me, my boss insisted on giving me more money that I asked for."

"My boss always reminds me to take my vacation time."

"My boss counsels married couples in his off time. For free."

"My boss gives me a raise about every six months."

"My boss surprises me sometimes with chunks of stock."

"My boss never bugs me, but drops everything and gives me his undivided attention if I need something."

"My boss rescues puppies."

I mean, seriously. Can't he at least have an annoying voice or something that I could make fun of? A often used phrase that I could do imitations of? GIVE ME SOMETHING HERE. Every employee is entitled to that. Like health insurance.
This is so bad for my social life.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007
He's a good sport.
Jesse - "Lets get together this sunday night. What do you wanna do?"

Sarah Smile - "Ooooo, get pizza and go watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the drive in?!"

Jesse - "Surrrrrrrrrrre, we could do that ........... or something else. Or that, we could. Yeah. Or something else ............"

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Women TALK.
Jesse - "Oh, I'm an uncle now!"

Sarah Smile - "Pfft. That's old news. Even to my blog readers."

Jesse - "Oh."

Sarah Smile - "Say hi to Bethany for me."

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And yes, I agree. Facebook is dumb.
is "cause it's lame" a good enough reason not to join Facebook?
Or do you suppose I need to qualify that with "cause it's lame and I am sick of joining things it takes to much energy"?



Sarah Smile:
Sorry, I was at lunch.

NEVER, EVER apologize for lunch.
Lunch is sacred.

Sarah Smile:
You're right of course.
And yes, that's a good enough reason.
I think most decisions in life don't require an explanation.

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I blame the sugar rush from the M&M's that our 'Rhymes with Bentel' Rep gave me.
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"Self Portrait" in Candy, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
"Home" in Candy, 2007

Done here.
This is thought provoking art here, people. For example, the first one probes the mystery, 'why on earth DON'T I own saddle shoes?'

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Today has been a good day.
Our 'Rhymes with Bentel' Rep brought me a big bag 'o swag, including a candy, a magnetic dart game and a lightup pen. And who doesn't like a lightup pen?

"Oooooooooooooooo, I can do crossword puzzles in the dark now."

*blank look*

"I'm excited about that."

*blank look* "Ok. So that's good then."

He likes me, even if he never really understands me.

A childhood friend looked me up on myspace! I'd actually tried to find her a few months ago, with no luck, and now she found me!
After 17 years, I recognized her instantly.
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This morning one of the engineers called me "Poet of his heart." I have no idea what that means, really, but it's sweet.

And I'm eating leftover chicken wings from On The Border.
All's right with the world.

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My favorite of my new postcards.

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CousinFest '07!!!
The last time I saw all my cousins together at one time .......
....... wait. I've never seen them all at once.

On my mother's side, my uncle has one son, Shawn. (Not to be confused with my other cousin Shawn, on my father's side, who is now deceased.)
And my aunt has seven kids, Julie, Bekah, Caleb, Lizzie, Jordan, Kimmy and Matilda.

Somehow, fate has conspired that I don't think we've EVER all been in the same room together.

Jordan told me that five of The Seven are going to be in Vegas next month, and wanted to know if I wanted to come.

Hellsssss, yeah!

I invited Shawn and Jesse and Bethany.

Oh, the mischief, the adventure, the complete takeover of the McIlhenney Clan! Watch out Vegas!
CousinFest '07 is coming!

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And now I'm afraid of them.
Sarah Smile - "Hey, you wanna join Nick and I and some of his coworkers for drinks after work at On The Border?"

Coworker M - "Sounds great, actually, but [Coworker J] and I just started a new diet."

Sarah Smile - "Oh. You don't think there's something there you could eat?"

Coworker M - "Well, no, see, the diet is just for ten days we don't eat anything and only drink lemonade."

Sarah Smile - "Damn."

Coworker M - "Yeah."

Sarah Smile - "Do you know what kind of a person I'd be if I hadn't eaten in ten days? I'd be answering the phone with, 'I hate you, you fuckwad, I hope you die. Painfully. And then I'll eat you.'"

Coworker M - "I'm getting there."

Sarah Smile - "What day are you on?"

Coworker M - "Day one."

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Some recent additions to my post card collection.
Marvel, for they were expensive, relatively speaking.

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From another of of the books floating around in my purse ...
Nothing Twice
Wislawa Szymborska (translation by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh)

Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive her improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.

Even if there is no one dumber,
if you're the planet's biggest dunce,
you can't repeat the class in summer:
This course is only offered once.

No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with exactly the same kisses.

One day, perhaps, some idle tongue
mentions your name by accident:
I feel as if a rose were flung
into the room, all hue and scent.

The next day, though you're here with me,
I can't help looking at the clock:
A rose? A rose? What could that be?
Is it a flower or a rock?

Why do we treat t he fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It's in its nature not to stay:
Today is always gone tomorrow.

With smiles and kisses, we prefer to
seek accord beneath our star,
although we're (we concur)
just as two drops of water are.

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Dear Miss VJ
Dear Miss VJ,

I've longed to write letters to people. I have stationary and current addresses, but how does one go about starting up a conversation after not having spoken with a relative or old friend for several years?


*sits at a desk with oodles of cubbyholes*

*chews the end of a pen*

Dear C.O.D.,

I don't see why an explanation would be necessary. The fact that you wanna catch up on each other's lives would be fairly self-explanatory. Unless you last spoke on bad or strange terms, like an argument or restraining order, I would just write to them. People love getting letters.
Believe me, I know.


Miss VJ

*adds a kiss mark to the end of the letter*

*spritzes the letter with perfume, then spritzes herself*

Next question, please.

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Jesse and Bethany are now an uncle and aunt.
And no, that's not a roundabout way of announcing anything personal here.
Bethany's sister Erin and her husband Scott just had a baby girl, Brenna.

Bethany once told me that she wanted to be the sort of aunt who made really good chocolate chip recipes. It was nice of Erin to give her a tester niece. By the time I have kids someday, Bethany will have that recipe down pat.

But speaking of sweet things, doesn't Brenna look edible?

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Happy Birthday Week*, Colsy!
Dear Colsy,

There's never been a meaningful moment in my life, big or small, that you didn't acknowledge and celebrate with me.
I can't think of a better defination of a friend, and my world is a richer place because of you.
Love you madly,

-Sarah Smile

* Her actually birthday was Sat, but she says she likes spreading the festivities out over a week.

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The Race is on.

Nick and I are racing a pair of candles. First one to burn down completely, wins. Nick insists his (on the left) with the sword-wielding angel will win. I think my giant hand with people standing on the fingertips will win.
I think that because I cheat. I pour wax out of mine when he's not looking.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007
And best of all, I can twirl it like a boobie tassle.

I saw this pin at a flea market a few weeks ago. My Nick saw me eyeing it, and said it needed to belong to me, and bought it for me.

I make it a point to surround myself with people who want nice things for me, and I mean that in as small and literal a sense as that pin, and as large and encompassing a sense as life itself.

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Wherein I sound morbid, but am not.
I do think about my funeral sometimes. Not my death, mind you. I don't think about that much, and when I do, all I think about it is that it will probably be in some stupidly hilarious fashion that those who are mourning over me will be slow to speak of it, because then both the teller and the listener will have to choke back the giggles. And if I'm correct in this prediction, I give you all leave right now to go ahead and laugh. If I get pulled halfway through my paper shredder, or manage to hang myself upside down while trying put up a new shower curtain, it's ok. Laugh. You have both my permission and my blessing.

But anyway. I don't think it's ever to early to think about your own funeral. I've already buried two of my dearest friends, so I know. And because nobody, not them, not their families, expected to have to throw a them a funeral, the ceremony held as little of their personality as the body being buried.

I don't think that thinking about it is morbid either, because it involves thinking about my life more than anything else. What my life is about, what it means, and how I'd like it to be remembered.

And what I think about is a place I've loved to hike to ever since I was a teenager. A short, leisurely ramble out from the old Sweetwater bridge in Jamul is a place I've written about before. Someone started to build a rock footbridge over the river, and I know I'm not the only one who tends and rebuilds it after rains. I've never seen my fellow workers, but we see each other's work. And it makes me think about life, about how what we do could be part of something bigger, putting our rock in the bridge that brings worlds together, never knowing who it will inspire or affect, and that no bridge is so perfect or permanent that it doesn't need to be tended to survive.

And so when I rule out having my ashes put in fireworks and lit off as being too expensive, or having my ashes mixed with glitter and scattered from a hot air balloon as un-eco-friendly, I think I'd like my ashes scattered there.

Just carry my ashes out there, in that round brightly colored tin in my kitchen (you'll know it when you see it), down the path where the wild grass grows, green for just a few weeks in the spring, then turns gold and waves lightly in the hot dry air. Odds are it will be a sunny day. It's pretty hard to be sad while walking, especially in the sun. So don't fight it. Don't feel like you have to be completely sad. Take some deep breaths. Then when you get to the bridge, put a rock in it yourself. Let your eyes adjust to the shade and look for crawdads. Stand on the bridge and pour my ashes out into the creek.

Leave me there with the crawdads and hummingbirds and herons, and go out for breakfast and talk smack about me. I'm not a saint, and I don't expect to be spoken about as one when I'm dead. Laugh, cry, neither, both, both at once, whatever you want. No rules, no guilt.
Because that's how I try to live.

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From one of the three books floating around in my purse...
When a man is asleep, he has in a circle round him the chain of the hours, the sequence of the years, the order of the heavenly host. Instinctively, when he wakes, he looks to these, and in an instant reads off his own position on the earth's surface and the amount of time that has elapsed during his slumbers; but this ordered procession is apt to grow confused, and to break it's ranks. Suppose that, towards morning, after a night of insomnia, sleep descends upon him while he is reading, in quite a different position from that in which he normally goes to sleep, he has only to lift his arm to arrest the sun and turn it back in it's course, and, at the moment of waking, he will have no idea of the time, but will conclude that he has just gone to bed. Or suppose that he gets drowsy in some even more abnormal position; sitting in an arm-chair, say, after dinner: then the world will fall topsy-turvy from its orbit, the magic chair will carry him at full speed through time and space, and when he opens his eyes again he will imagine that he went to sleep months earlier, and in some far distant country. But for me it was enough if, in my own bed, my sleep was so heavy as completely to relax my consciousness; for then I lost all sense of the place in which I had gone to sleep, and when I awoke at midnight, not knowing where I was, I could not be sure at first who I was; I had only the most rudimentary sense of existence, such as may lurk and flicker in the depths of an animal's consciousness; I was more destitute of human qualities than the cave-dweller; but then the memory, not yet of the place in which I was, but of various other places where I had lived, and might now very possibly be, would come like a rope let down from heaven to draw me up out of the abyss of not-being, from which I could never have escaped by myself: in a flash I would traverse and surmount centuries of civilization, and out of a half-visualized succession of oil-lamps, followed by shirts with turned down collars, would put together by degrees the component parts of my ego.

Marcel Proust, Swann's Way.

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They make me a better receptionist.
Sarah Smile - "What's with all the books?"

Systems Engineer - "Just studying on being an SE."

Sarah Smile - "You ARE an SE."

Systems Engineer - "Yeah, just learning to be a better one."

Sarah Smile - "Oh, ok. I'm doing the same thing. I'm shopping for coloring books on Amazon."

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Best movie ever.

Ok, I'm like two years behind on this, I realize it came out ages ago, but Nick and I bought it this weekend out of curiosity.

Murderball is my new favorite movie.
A) because it's funny, and B) because it's never a cheap laugh that makes you feel like a bad person for laughing. And I'll say it. It WAS inspiring, but never nauseating.

Go watch.

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Because I love him.
Sarah Smile - "What time is it?"

My Nick - "Time for my second ice cream sandwich, that's what time it is."

Sarah Smile - "I see that you feel about ice cream sandwiches the same way I feel about Popsicles."

My Nick - "Exactly."

Sarah Smile - "I am so happy that there is something in this world that brings you as much joy as a box of Popsicles brings me."

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Monday, March 19, 2007
Ok. I MIGHT have lied.
That might not be our yard, per se.
It might be the San Diego Wild Animal Park, if you wanna get all technical about it.

If there was any justice in this world, what I wrote wouldn't be a lie, and my yard would look like that. Except that I would be riding the rhinos. And also, except that I would never own that many souvenir shot glasses. They would be a bitch to dust.

PumperNickel and I had a GREAT day yesterday. After a leisurely breakfast of coffee and breakfast burritos (Luca and I shared an egg and potato, Knickerbockers had egg and ham), Nick and I headed up the back country way to the SDWAP.

I would have a lot more pictures of the WAP, but my camera has developed a most disagreeable habit of only saving the pictures it feels like saving. Usually the ones I'm not as anxious to have. But it might be just as well. The picture recreated below might have used as evidence to ban me from the park.

Nick and I devised a game while we were there. 5 points for touching an animal, 20 for getting it out of the park and back to the car. Percentages of these point amounts were awarded for good efforts. Nick won, 8 to 5.

Another set of pictures my camera decided to send to a gaping black hole were all the pictures taken at the tiger pen. I shall attempt to recreate the scene, but from a better angle than my pictures would have.. I'm leaning over the railing toward the tiger, who is stalking something. My Nick is paying 25 cents a minute into a telescope to stare at a very fat man on another observation deck. I think we lost these pictures because I had to turn my camera off in a hurry, after Nick poked me and said, "Aaaa, he saw me and he's headed this way! We'd better go, quick!"

My favorite part, hands down, was the catfish. I was throwing bits of my $8.00 pretzel to the ducks, and suddenly it looked as though the water was boiling, as the catfish surfaced for their share.

Add to the file of reasons we probably SHOULD have been thrown out, I told kids that if they could touch an animal, they could keep it, and Mommy and Daddy wouldn't be able to say no. Actually, add that to the file on why I probably SHOULD have been bludgeoned with a stroller.

Gawd, I love chaos.

I can't decide which is more amazing. That they didn't make us leave, or that they didn't keep us there as an exhibit.

After we left the WAP, slightly sun-crisped, we stopped at a small museum, the San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park. A long name for a small place. It's pretty much just a museum because it's our only battlefield. We were the only car in the parking lot. Inside was a very bored looking policewoman.

"I have a video, if you guys wanna watch it. Just lemme know, ok?"

"Uh, sure. We'd like to watch it."

We sat down in the little theater as she started the film, which was basically the long version of this postcard.

"Psst. Nick. Wanna make out?"

"Dude. She has a GUN."

"Good point. So, no then?"

We stayed as long as we could find ways to look interested. The policewoman looked so starved for company, I keep expecting her to stroke my hair like a doll and ask us to stay. I stalled over the guestbook awhile, making note that the last guest had been a week ago.

We wandered up the trail a ways, and spend a lovely half hour trying to catch lizards on an old red wooden bridge over a dry creek bed. Because that's what warm Sunday afternoons are for and where else would we want to be, anyway? We didn't catch one, but *shrug* we laughed a lot.

After awhile we headed back through the mountains, and while passing through Ramona we decided to stop at a winery. After accidentally crashing a private party at one winery, we ended up at Schwaesdall Winery. There were three other people there, and the owner holding court, so to speak. The cat shown on the homepage there also came around to be sociable. After a sip of so many good wines that it was hard to choose, we did manage to choose two to buy. I was a total girl and went for the white zinfandel. Nick picked a great Cab.

When we got home, I picked the last of the cheesybites off of Sat. night's pizza, and we snuggled in to watch some very stupid tv.
It was a perfect day.

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By popular demand.
Yesterday, it was a lovely spring day, and as I finished arranging all my coffee mugs and shot glasses on the kitchen shelves, I figured I'd go out and take a few pictures, satisfy some the curiosity expressed about exactly how many pets we have.

Here's a view from the house.

If I zoom in a bit, you can see our rhinos Lowell and Lily basking in the sun. I'd go closer, but it's mating season and I'm sure you imagine ...

And in addition to our antelope, you can see Slim and Shorty, our giraffes.

I stopped by our mountain goat habitat to see who wanted an ear scratch. All God's creatures need an ear scratch from time to time.

Luca from behind.

This little okapi, Kane, looks kinda emo in his striped knee socks. I made him take his ipod out of his ears for this picture.

I spotted an intruder, and quickly dispatched my deer to take care of him.

They ate him.

Now let me show you some of our birds. That's not poop you see, they've just been burning a lot of candles up there in their lovenest.

Here's Brad, our vulture. He actually prefers eggs benedict to dead things.

Everybody gets along pretty well at our house.

I told Mattie here that I'd give her a herring for every bag of recyclables she turns in to me. We're eco-friendly like that.

I make sure I get to spend quality time with each bird. Here I am gossiping with Constance.

We have real flamigos, because the plastic ones just seemed tacky.

They share the pond with our ducks and ......

..... our catfish.

And here we are, the wildest animals around.

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