An Open Letter to a Jager Bomb (you know who you are)

Dear Jager Bomb,

You may or may not remember me as the 30 year-old gal who, on an uncharacteristically warm February day, went to a late lunch/early happy hour with her parents at the oceanfront. I remember you, unfortunately.

After 5 hours of seafood tapas, wine, cucumber mojitos, a walk on the beach at sunset, stargazing, wine from a thermos (don’t judge. 5 hours is a long time), you and I finally met. It was about 9 p.m. when I, in a moment of poor judgment and peer pressure (if you can call parents pleading to go to a seedy karaoke bar “peer” pressure), caved and agreed to enter an establishment called, “Grumpy’s.” Grumpy’s, as you very well know, is a converted Pizza Hut, circa 1989, frequented by the very same patrons as Wal-marts in Arkansas, Bone’s biker bar, and Super Cuts, so you can, I’m sure, imagine the attention we received when my father plunked his polo shirt-wearing self down in our red-vinyl-padded booth, followed by mom and I, what with our groomed eyebrows. Awkward.

I’m not writing you, however, to recount those early moments of embarrassment, but rather to thank you for helping me to quickly overcome my self-consciousness. It had been awhile since last we met, see, so I had forgotten the special powers you possess. Powers I don’t intend to tap into again anytime soon. Once my fear of perception was gotten over (read: once I had chugged you), not only could I relax and enjoy those participating in karaoke, but I could also:

  1. Approach a man and tell him how much I admired the embroidery on his jeans. Such patchwork creativity! “Harley Davidson” stitched right across the rump. I was told the jeans had been made in the 70’s, so I then applauded his ability to fit into said jeans.
  2. Assist as back-up singer to, not one, but ALL karaoke contributors, resulting in loss of voice. When you don’t have a mic, you sing reeeeeally loudly. Who knew I could remember every word to Bobby McGee and Tupelo Honey?
  3. Rub the DJ’s bald head for luck. (5 times)
  4. Style that tall guy with the long hair; meaning I commanded him never to wear jorts, a Hawaiian shirt, or white socks with white tennis shoes for as long as he lived. Then, I fluffed his locks. You know who I’m talking about.
  5. Begin conga/dance trains (3 times) around the entire bar, taking care to weave graceful figure eights around the pool tables and their players.
  6. Dance to Margaritaville with jorts-man. Of this, I am not proud.

We were encouraged to hear our new friends’ cry of disappointment when we got up to leave. Apparently, we had introduced some new behavior to the regulars. Hurrah.

Anyway, all this to say, it was, from what I recall, a pleasure to see you again, but please don’t expect to see me again anytime soon.

Cheers,

Abigail

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What to do with the New Year’s Resolutions Rotting in Your Fridge

It probably isn’t a stretch to say that many of you made some health-related resolution this New Years. Maybe you wanted to work out more regularly, perhaps you’re swearing off sugar and white flour because you know they’re of the devil, or it may be something like, “I will not get blinding-drunk at parties, so that I wake up the next day wondering where my shoes are, what that stuff is in my hair, and why there are branches and sand in my bed when I live in the city.” Whatever the case, bravo for wanting to make better choices for your body, and here’s a post on what to do with all of those vegetables that you thought you’d start loving overnight, but, let’s be serious,  are now rotting in your fridge.

An aside, I have been doing a ridiculous amount of domestic stuff since the holidays. I sewed an apron (the whole thing. With a POCKET!), crocheted (kinda), mended (3 garmets, 4hrs. tiny holes.), and made shoe clips, which scalded all but 2 fingertips. I feel that qualifies me to give you my recipe for:

Garbage Sauté

  1. Grab every vegetable turning wrinkly in the fridge-   if it’s slimy, slap yourself in the face for your oversight and laziness in letting things fully rot, be sad for a moment for the money you’ve wasted, let guilt creep in because there are children in a far off land that would maul you for that slimy wad, and then toss in the trash.
  2. Find the dullest knife possible to chop these veggies up, because a) the effort will make you burn more calories and b)you are less likely cut the tip of your finger off like last time.
  3. Put olive oil in a pan (If you think I know which pans are what, you’re crazy. Figure it out. The flat-ish one.) When it’s hot (med heat), toss in garlic (if you don’t have garlic on hand at all times, stop reading this now. GO away.) that you’ve minced. Go crazy. It’s competing with veggies that are at their most flavorful (since your non-committal ass has let them begin to wither), so any less than 5 cloves, and you shouldn’t even bother. Mincing, btw, involves smacking the side of the knife to each clove to separate from the skin, chopping, sprinkling salt, sliding your knife over the shards to help the salt pull the date-repelling (fact) oil out, chopping more, mushing more. Voila. You reek, but your dish will smell amazing. Only let it sizzle in that oil for 30 seconds to infuse.
  4. Pat yourself on the back for knowing how to mince garlic AND properly infuse an oil.
  5. Scour the fridge for a lemon and maybe leftover wine.
  6. Curse, and run back to the pan to stir and turn down the heat, bringing it back to medium, since you had turned it up in your impatience to heat the oil.
  7. Check your blackberry to see if you’ve missed anything important.
  8. Curse because you didn’t think to chop your veggies in advance, and now the oil is ready for you to throw in mushrooms, peppers, chick peas (or some other bean protein from the cupboard), onions, olives, broccoli, squash, and maybe that tofu you bought January 1st, knowing healthy people eat it, but had no clue how to prepare. Chop as quickly as you can with a dull knife, having moved your flat pan off the burner to avoid cooking the garlic.
  9. Once veggies are chopped, throw them into the pan with a loud, “BAM! Take THAT, Emeril!” and chug some of that old wine.
  10. The veggies need turned a couple of times, but should go soft  in about 10 minutes, which gives you time to boil water for the pasta/grain of your choosing.
  11. Curse and kick the wall when you realize you don’t have any pasta.
  12. Check Blackberry to see if you’ve missed anything at all.
  13. To cooked veggies, add any vulnerable veggies, like spinach, which would be a little gross if cooked for 10 mins, but now is a good time to put it in there. Add the juice of your lemon, and, if you’re feeling the bravado that comes from week-old wine, get some of that lemon zest in there without grating off the skin of 3 knuckles.
  14. Run for band aids when you’ve grated off the skin of 3 knuckles, and shake your aching fist in the general direction of whomever invented the damn microplane.
  15. Add a can of organic diced tomatoes, which you keep cases of in your cupboard. From Costco. Tu amor.
  16. Throw your favorite seasonings in. Oregano or Basil is always a good idea. Fresh pepper-der. Then taste to see if you need any more seasonings, or if some more salt is needed. This is personal.
  17. Spit taste test back into flat pan, because you forgot to blow on it to cool it off, and now your tongue is swelling and may scar. Stir.
  18. Throw whatever’s left of the wine in there, not to exceed ½ cup- give it a few minutes of simmering…but not too long. You’ve never understood this silly notion of chefs the world over to “Cook off the alcohol.” Waste not!
  19. Dump into a bowl, wish one last time that you had pasta, and plunk whatever cheese is in your fridge on top (ideally feta, goat, or parm)
  20. Carry bowl and any wine remnants to the table. Glass is optional. This is Garbage Sauté, after all. Feel good about having not totally wasted your money and dreams of becoming healthier.

Garbage Saute, ya'll

See? Anyone can cook. Now, go forth and purge the veg drawer in your fridge, if it isn’t stuck shut from not having been opened in over 2 weeks….

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Beat Poets and Wee Wee

I began reading Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five last week, and read a section about a character who is under a lot of familial and fiscal pressure who has just been a bit short with her father. Vonnegut lists her substantial tasks (which I currently identify with and stand behind her verbal affront to her crazy father) and defends her (albeit sarcastically) when he writes, “All this responsibility at such an early age made her a bitchy flibbertigibbet.” And I thought: someone’s got my number. That is what I’ve been for the past 3 weeks. Nearly had to turn in my “kindness” badge on more than one occasion.

I had reached the zenith of my stress-o-meter this past Friday, so last weekend had to hold a few cartwheel/bubble bath-type events, or it was possible this girl would self-destruct, like Inspector Gadget’s messages. My relationships were beginning to feel the impact of my anxiety. I may have overreacted, for example, when decorating the Christmas tree, I found that an ornament (with no sentimental value) was broken.

“ How could this HAPPEN!?! Who DID this???” is how the futile grilling began. I was clutching the ornament to my chest like it was a wounded bird, and glaring suspiciously at my co-tree-deckers.

So, Sunday night, I linked arms with a friend to go to a charity event at a local bar for the homeless in our area. I was a bit conflicted. For one thing, the last time I served the housing-challenged, I was criticized, followed, then made fun-of (DC homeless-folk are often smoking whatever they can get their hands on, was what I kept telling my wounded ego. That, and I don’t look my best first thing in the morning), and for another, it felt wrong to go spend money drinking booze on behalf of people who can’t afford it, but legitimately need to be lit in order to keep warm.

The local talent, when it comes to music, was quite pleasant. The local talent, when it comes to art, was “meh”. I mean, thank you for donating your work to a good cause, but please don’t quit your day job.

Now, the highlight of the night, nay, of my month, was when I went to the Ladies’ to relieve myself of a few spirits. I don’t have to paint you a picture, but I was there, in the Ladies’, and there were 2 other water closets, besides mine, that were occupied.  Enough said. So- I’m doing that thing you do, and can hear one of the evening’s vocalists crooning away back at the bar, when another voice interrupts business to yell,

“Ladies! Ladies! Ladiiiiiies! We. Are. All. Beautifulllll.”

Have you watched So I Married and Axe Murderer? Then you know what a form of slam poetry sounds like. Usually, there’s a similar voice pattern throughout, using inflection/intonation, and in this woman’s case, hiccups and lurches, ‘cuz she was very many sheets to the wind. So, this inebriated woman in the loo, while the rest of us “saw a man about a dog ” (as some Irish drinking buddies of mine once called it), was providing us with inspiration, Greek-chorus-style.

“We all have. The Voice. Of. That. Singer. Out therrrre. Deep inside of us.”

“Not me,” I called back, “My voice does NOT sound like that, unfortunately.”

“YESSSSS!,” she cried, “You. Do. We ALL do.”

Then, from the stall to my right,

“I WISH I had it deep inside of me.”

And, predictably, from the stall to my left,

“Oo. OO! That’s what she said!”

We all began to laugh, and I chortled,

“I don’t think I’ve ever had such fun while, you know, going wee wee!”

“Ladiiiiies,” interrupted our bard, “You do. You all have the voice. We are aaaaall. Lovely. SO. Beautiful. We have that voice. You. Have. A VOICE.”

“Not me.”

“Uh uh.”

“Nope.”

This frustrated the poet deeply, and we all made our way to the sinks to wash our hands. The sight of this act inspired a new line of poetry: how different ladies are from men. Her face was flushed with renewed passion, or booze, and she waved tight fists around maniacally as she began anew,

“We. WASH. Our hands! We have…..” then began the anatomical discrepancies between the sexes, and I am nothing if not a verbally immature 30 year old, who still refuses to call anything on the body by its proper name, so I took that as my cue to head back to my table, but I did so with a grin on my face. The first in weeks.

Thank you, artists of Norfolk, and crazy/hazy beat poet lady who resembled Dame Tilda Swinton a la The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. “…for I dearly love to laugh.”

Exactly like this, but with candy cane clips in her hair, as opposed to a gold-plated warrior helmet.

 

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Getting My Thanks On (you should, too)

Admin Note: To the right- Take a sec to “Like” on FB and/or subscribe via RSS (no idea what that means) or email. Simplifies your life for post updates, and helps proselytize your’s truly. Win/Win/Nice.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel like some sort of trickery has happened in the time-space continuum/matrixy/quantum majigger because it cannot possibly be the DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING. But I’ll play along, being the passive person I clearly am, and peruse the Black Friday sale ads in yet another futile attempt to motivate myself to be that person who wakes at 3 a.m. to buy $5 walkie talkies, eat an alarming amount of stuffing (Some call it “dressing”. I have never understood this. Counter intuitive to the utmost.), and reflect on some things I am grateful for:

Diesel’s Stupid Campaign

I got/get a big fat kick out of this campaign. Sometimes it’s made me feel validated as a creative stupid person, and other times it went straight over my head and just seemed to be a distracting ad with a hot person wearing message board panties. Mostly the former.


Having the Gumption to Quit a Life I wasn’t Passionate about

There’s enough info in the Nosy section and in previous posts about this, but I’ll add that it has been 10 months since I began chasing a dream, and even though there’s moments of fear, there is never even a nanosecond of regret. I’ve just got this one life, see.

Prince William’s Engagement to What’s her Face

If this had happened any sooner, I may have lacked the emotional maturity to see this as an opportunity for closure on my part, so that I can move on and open my heart to other single princes. However, I am most advanced and see this as a happy occasion to celebrate with my friends across the pond as they welcome, for the first time in well over a decade, a new princess. Even if she is utterly forgettable.

Frequent Flier Miles

Trips to Denver, London, and Paris this year were made possible by points racked up primarily at said job I was not passionate about as well as the good people at Citi who had amazing offers for beaucoup upfront points with absolutely no fees. I am eternally appreciative. (Having nothing to do with being grateful: if you are using credit cards that have no award structure, that is stupid. And not in the Diesel sexy-stupid way.)

Ridiculously Cute Family

My brother added 2 new members to our family this year, and I can say without fear of reprisal, that baby-girl-niece-Monkeyface is my favorite. From her ability to charm me into a blathering idiot (“MONKEY!!!- Who’s duh prettiest-est?! Who?? You’s is. YOU-YOU! Wuv you SO much. Yush I DO! Wuv. WUV!), her emotional maturity (she has a canned polite laugh for when she knows what you need to hear, but isn’t actually amused. Like when I avoid telling someone their ugly baby is cute, but instead say things like, “Aww. So tiny!”), to her ability and desire to learn to do everything we can do (fart noises using tongue and lips? Check. Walking before a year old? Check. Peek-a-boo? Check. Drinking wine? Ch…No. I grabbed her before she tipped it all the way in. She was going to drink straight from the bottle. How cute is THAT?!?).

Canned Cranberry Sauce

You heard me. The stuff that looks like a gelatinous magenta can and shimmies when the plate is passed. Mm. Save your organic, fresh, made-from-scratch sauce for someone who cares. I just love the phony stuff that’s been sitting in the cupboard since last Thanksgiving’s post-event grocery sale.

Friends

I’ve been carried through this year of a lifestyle jackknife by the people in my life, past and present. They’ve either been a part of my history to help make me the person who would stop chasing her tail and actually run after something I care about, or someone who is currently running with me. Shouting encouragement to not stop and affirming that I am just the sort of person who can pull this off. They are invaluable, and I am so appreciative and blessed to have them. I’m also thankful for new friends made on here and other social networks that have joined my expedition. You send me your experience and perspective to continue shaping moi. Thank you.

P90X, Zumba, Thor, Beach Body, Self, and Shame

I’m counting on these things to ensure that I fit my britches by Monday, because I really enjoy stuffing. And turkey. With potatoes. And gravy. Maybe a roll. Faux cranberry sauce. No doubt an inventive cocktail. And then…dessert.

I want to know: What are you thankful for?

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I Wouldn’t be Single, if America was Mexico

I worked in southern California for a couple of weeks, with plenty of downtime, and can I just say,  what a bunch of terrible drivers?  There isn’t enough time in my life to qualify this statement, but if you’ve been there, you know what I’m saying. It also rained for the first week I was there, and since that only occurs for the natives once a year, you can imagine the additional challenges to operating their vehicles.

After a day of driving from San Diego to LA, I bellied up to the hotel bar for dinner and a much-needed tranquilizer. I tucked in to my Thai calamari and edamame, but my chewing slowed when I noticed that 3 cooks of Hispanic persuasion were peering around the doorjamb that led into the kitchen.

This bothered me greatly.

Frank, the attentive barkeep with an excellent mustache that had just the right amount of grey in it,  strolled over to check on me, “Eez everee-ting ok, meez?”

I smiled, a little embarrassed that he’d caught my pause, and replied in a conspirational tone, “Frank…don’t look, but there are 3 guys staring at me from the kitchen. They sort of appeared right after I got my food, and, err….well, I am wondering if they put something bad in my dinner, and want to see my reaction.” I glanced back at the doorway, and seriously, all 3 were stacked like a totem pole, straining to keep an eye on me, but look inconspicuous…conspicuously.

“No. No, meez. Dey want to see you. Dey tink you are berry, berry pretty.”

“Oh,” I blushed, “That’s nice.” A little weird, and more than a bit awkward, but nice. So, I continued dinner, and Frank plied my with gin, and the kitchen staff started bringing me things I hadn’t ordered, like chocolate lava cake. “Wow, Frank. This is great- thank you! I didn’t even see this on the menu.” So bizarre.

“Eez not on dee menju. We make it juz for jew,” he beamed, and I glanced up at the cooks, in the doorway again, watching to see if I liked it. I smiled and winked, and they all fell out of their stacked stance against the doorframe, and smacked each other with dish towels.

“Meez,” began Frank, as I settled the check, and began to gather my things, “Jew said jur room wus a leetle noi-see, so I hab dee front desk move jew. Here’s jor new kees.” He smiled hugely at me, and puffed his chest out.

“Thank you, Frank!” I reached for his hand across the bar pulling myself over to smooch his cheek, and grinned as I heard  the collective groans back at the kitchen door. I felt like both the fatted calf, ready to be sacrificed to the volcano and the village princess simultaneously. It was nice, flattering, and educational. Perhaps my relationship status is indicative of my citizenship.

Frank handed me a huge bottled water as I hopped off of my stool, and I grinned at him. The free bottle of water was the coup de grace of a lovely evening of unabashed worship, but also reminded me of something I’m grateful for in my own country, which is fearless water-drinking, so perhaps I’ll stay right here, even if it banishes me to being just another face in a crowd of women.

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Lumberjacks II: The De-Evolution of a man

I couldn't find a truly handsome lumberjack- they're a rough bunch, so this will have to suffice.

We’ve been visiting a cabin in the Blue Ridge since I was about 8 years old. It’s super primitive, and about as rustic as this girl will get, since it has no hot water. This means bathing takes place in a creek that is sub zero year round and frequented by some interesting, albeit charming, native mountain folk, but I love it. The silence there is stunning, and you are so far removed from time and throngs, buried in the trees on the mountainside, that you just feel entirely insignificant and at peace with that.

Our family had spent Thanksgiving at the cabin, and, when out for a walk up the road, I was followed by a chocolate lab puppy from another homestead. He was beside himself with jubilation, as only a dog can be, at the sight of me, and being a canine lover and attention-whore myself, I was pretty thrilled with the worship. Only… he wouldn’t go home.  I checked at the cabin he seemed to have come from, and no one was home, so “Jake” (as his tag read) came with me on my walk, and back to the cozy hearth of our mountain home.

Having grown up on the mountain summer after summer, I imagined that Jake’s owner was likely one of the Bubba types who resided there. We passed them on our way down to the creek, shirts off, skin deeply browned by the sun and by not having bathed in a while, few unimportant teeth (courtesy of chaw, ya’ll), and hair cut only in the places that caused an obstruction of some sort. They were friendly, functioning alcoholics, mostly. They always waved and grinned their sparsely-toothed grin, were quick to lend a chainsaw for a fallen tree, and occasionally stood naked on their balconies while shooting guns.

It took me all of 5 minutes for me and my family to fall in love with Jake and I dreaded calling the number on his collar, but knew I had to.

“Hello?” Came a smooth, young, not-drunk voice. I had never seen a person near my age on the mountain, so this made me sit straighter and maybe I twirled my hair while I explained the situation.

Winding down the story, I said, “I took him back to your place, see, but he just followed me home again so…I think you’re going to have to come here and get him,” I panicked for a moment at my own words, since I usually spent my days at the cabin swaddled in sweats or hiking gear, but simmered when I remembered I had packed mascara.

“Well, Abigail, this is Jeff, and I sure do appreciate you taking care of Jake. Hope he’s not a bother. I’ll swing by on my way up tonight. I’m kayaking with friends, but shouldn’t be back too late.” This was all said in a smooth, deep timbre that curled at the ends with a slight southern drawl.

I got a brief scoop- He had moved onto the mountain less than a year ago, was into sports and loved dogs…what else was there to know? Assuming he had all of his teeth (at least the visible ones- a girl has to have standards), I was going to marry him.

Jeff showed up, and , well, I nearly fell down the steps when dazzled by the glory of his chiseled face. There were no Bubba tendencies. I’m saying, if they were casting for a movie where a absurdely good-looking, all that is male,  outdoorsy guy was to move onto a remote mountain where no one but some random shoe-obsessed girl from DC would find him, they would pick Jeff. Only, he would be given a fitting name. Like whatever they call the Brawny lumberjack guy.

He was friendly and said I should stop by next time I was in town, and maybe I tried to come up with something cute to say, but just ended up nodding dumbly and staring at his ice blue eyes while contemplating whether his clean shaven and powerful looking jaw could crush boulders.

Flash forward to this past Memorial day. About a year and a half later.

While walking back down the mountain from a traditional trek to the top, I hear a quad coming up the road. We had been passed by one earlier and the coot driving it had a full beard, yellow chompers, and permeated a shower-free existence. A quad came into view and I assumed the guy had done a loop, snuck past us and was now somehow coming up the mountain, instead of down, but as he drew closer, I saw that it couldn’t be the old guy. This fellow was taller, with broad and well set shoulders, had a full and thick beard, and was muscled where the old guy had been stooped and pot-bellied, but that was where the differences ceased. The patchwork denim, the plaid shirt, the rough-browned skin, and yellowed the teeth were uncanny.

I waved and smiled and he pulled right up.

“Hey,” said the wild looking mountain man before spitting onto the ground ( but on the other side of his quad than I was on, which was proper hill billy code).

“How are you?” this feral male queried with some familiarity.

“Good, thanks,” I said ‘thanks’ like it was a question, since I was sure by the way he was looking at me, and talking to me,  this guy had met me before, but they all looked the same up there, and I never remember names, unless…Oh. My. Heavens. Even though his full beard ( Like Santa- full) and his bush sideburns covered most of his face, and perhaps being out in the elements and maybe smiling a lot had caused lines to form where they hadn’t recently been, there was no mistaking those arctic blue eyes.

“Jeff,” he reminded me, reaching for my hand.

“Right,” I exhaled, and I let him fold his rough, dirty paw around my fingers, just as a lady should.

He talked about foreign topics, like weather change according to the Farmer’s Almanac, and I just stared, like an idiot, my shoulders slumping with each new subject, each fresh stream of brown fluid to the red earth. My mind began to wander and I wondered what had happened to hot Jeff. Had the mountain people, like vampires, sunk their volatile teeth into him, making him lose his mind, and succumb to their way of living and eating? I took in the machete and chainsaw strapped to the hood of his quad, and in an effort to be neighborly, I asked,

“What’s that for?”

“Aw, heck, “ he said with a marigold grin, “I like cuttin’ new ways down the mountain. I do some new trails every week.”

“Oh,” I said meekly, trying to muster some excitement for his new way of living, “And then what do you do? I mean, I’m usually ready to head home after a few days, since it’s so remote, so, err, what do you, um, do? For fun. Other than cut stuff.”

He bristled slightly at this, and that was when I knew that Jeff, hot sporty Jeff, was truly gone, and in his place was a primitive man, in touch with his surroundings in a way I wouldn’t understand.

“I know everyone in the valley. We get together every night at someone’s place, “ his chin tilted defensively, “We have a bonfire, guitars, and beer.”

And it sounded like a good time. Heck, I love a bonfire once in a while, and there’s nothing like just spending time getting to know people better. Once, I was driving cross-country with friends. We were in the middle of nowhere New Mexico in the middle of the night, and our gaslight had been on for miles. We finally had to pull up to someone’s house (there was one every mile) in desperation. I’d seen too many movies about this exact thing to be willing to get out of the car.

My friend walked around back and found 3 cowboys sitting around a fire, drinking. They, of course, had a can of gas lying around, gave it to us, and wouldn’t accept any payment. When my friend asked what they were up to, to make small talk, one replied, “Sitting around, drinking beer, looking at the moon. Raisin’ hell.” The simple life, no?

“And I have my guns, “ Jeff added with a nod, “Lots of guns, and I like to shoot off of my balcony.”

Officially one of them. The little candle I had burning for Jeff made an audible “pffft” as it went out.

“Good to see you, Jeff,” I smiled.

“You, too, Abigail. Let me know if you need anything. Anything at all.”

And I said I would, because his offer was genuine, as was every native’s on that mountain that had helped pull our cars out of the snow over the years, cleared trees off of the driveway, and in general, cared for us. Lifestyle be damned. These were good people. I just didn’t want to hitch my wagon to Jeff’s anymore. Is that so wrong?

The End.

Same as the last lumberjack story, I felt like Jeff was worth mentioning somewhere, but had a tough time drawing parallels to how that impacted my fundamentally, so instead, I’ve posted it here. Let me know if you’ve extracted anything that I missed.

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Lumberjacks: A tale of drugs and rock ‘n roll

I’ve taken a break from plowing through the recesses of my memory to unearth boys and men who have contributed to my present expectations, fears, and complexes for my book,  to work on my book’s proposal. Now, I have made it abundantly clear that I struggle with the confines of…anything; routine, discipline, rules, popular opinion, so it should go without saying that writing this proposal is causing serious strain.

Each time I sit down to put the content of my memoir into a marketable format (chapter summaries, cultural relevance, prospective audience, my credibility on the subject matter, and competitive comparisons), I start to shake and mutter “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”  Because, in the prolific words of the ever-wise and experienced Miley Cyrus, I can’t be tamed.

That said, it must be done, and I have never been one to drop important balls (I could not come up with another way to say that. Sorry. Creativity engaged elsewhere).

I am selecting only the finest of stories from my past to include in the proposal, though I’m sure some smaller characters will make it into the final product. This is similar to presenting the family members with jobs and no obvious mental disorders or addictions to a new beau, but waiting to spring Uncle Eddie, who has a permanent Skoal-ring faded into his Wranglers and was on the 3rd season of Jerry Springer because of his new-found love, who just happened to be his step daughter (fact), until after new beau has become new husband and cannot easily run away.

I thought it’d be fun to drop a character or two who didn’t make the cut here. So, without further ado, I give you the Lumberjacks. They’re called that for two very different reasons.

Lumberjack #1

Late one night, I was sitting at Roger Brown’s in Portsmouth, VA. For no reason in particular, since RB’s is a straight-up sports bar, white people/honkies/crackers are a minority. But not this night. I was there with a Photog from LA. We’d just finished a job for Fox’s release of Avatar to dvd, and this was the spot chosen by the studio for the wrap party. This means that sales teams from every major studio and record label (sales teams- not producers, reader) had descended on Roger Brown’s in the dark of night, ready to get their drink on.

There was no private space, so the back half of the spacious watering hole had been rented, as had a band. A rock ‘n roll band that party goers could join with for karaoke. These 40-something salesmen (primarily) had changed into their best Tommy Bahama shirt and stone-washed jeans.

Being the self-aware person that I am, I kept scanning RB’s other guests to see just how badly the whiskey-doused versions of Pink Cadillac were annoying them (I mean…I was annoyed) and interrupting what they thought would be another relaxed night at RB’s watching the game. Oh. I forgot to mention that the terrible cover band was blocking the big screen.

Photog was pouring vodka past his bleached teeth at record speed, and I was concerned, because he was really slim and had already raided my purse for any pills he could find. I had watched him take a fistful of ibuprofen, a linty sudafed, and perhaps a midol… but he turned his nose up at the mucinex I kept in my car, for the bronchitis I get about every year. I thought this was interesting, because when we had set up our shoot, I had found a plain white pill on the floor, looked at it, and tossed it out and he had shouted, “Are you crazy? What WAS that? Maybe it was good.” So, I believed he did not discriminate.

The night chugged on, but when Photog began to sway and look at me adoringly, and when I had my fill of Lynyrd Skynyrd sing-alongs, I suggested we go outside for fresh air. This seemed to do the trick for us both. Photog became alert and charming, and, with a toss of his perfect Ken-doll coif, he mustered the bravado to chastise the other folks on the patio for their unhealthy smoking habits.

Enter Lumberjack.

Photog was finishing a story about how he got the wicked scar on his arm that resembled a shark attack, when a very tall, lean man came out of the pub and proceeded to creep along the outer wall of the restaurant as if he were on the ledge of an imaginary 32nd floor.  Distracted, Photog stopped to stare, and I followed suit. The man’s eyes were rolled back into his head as he moved, which was bizarre to see. His skin was so dark, and his eyes –sans pupils- were so white, it was as if beams of light were shooting from the sockets. He crept only as far as a potted banana tree, and then wrapped his arms lovingly around it, went absolutely rigid, and then…timber. Like a Warner Brother’s cartoon, legs completely straight, torso parallel to his new tree-friend, which he joined him on his descent, he crashed into the ground.

 There he lay. Spooning a tree. Drooling into the pavement. It was all a little too real for Photog and I, so we sat, and ogled, heads tilted in confusion, trying to piece together what had just happened. We didn’t need to wonder for very long. His girlfriend game flying out of the joint, and knelt beside him, where a few bystanders and servers joined her.

“Don’t call an ambulance!, “ she cried, “I’ll take him home!” She rubbed Lumberjack’s face until he came to, and then told him, “I’ll go get the car. Don’t go anywhere.” For some reason, I found that very funny, but I turned my chuckle into a contorted snort-cough-gag-lion roar to be polite.

To us, she said, “He only had a soda. A soda and chicken! He ain’t never had soda before.”

Photog looked at me and said helpfully, “See? You gotta be careful who you get your “soda” (he did the finger quotes) from.”

“Oh.” I replied, while looking sadly at the banana tree as a busser worked at sweeping up the spewed soil.

The End.

This story has absolutely no resolution and I don’t believe it’s had any influence on my fundamental beliefs and ideals, so I didn’t bother writing it, until now. I do, however, think that Photog and Lumberjack were sensational in their own ways. If you can draw parallels between the two, or extract helpful nuggets from each character, I’d love to hear it. And please go beyond the obvious “Just Say No”.

Lumberjack #2…tomorrow.

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