As scandalous as it sounds.

 

On the way to see The Hunger Games (fucking awesome btw) :

Typical mom-conversation about texting– “Honey, what does it mean when there’s a parenthesis with a ‘P’?

“…you mean a colon with a ‘P’? It’s a tongue sticking out.”

“I don’t see it.”

 

Typical dad-conversation about his ability to foretell success–

“See I told you guys–The Hunger Games, Twilight, The Uglies. I told you they were all gonna be hugely successful.”

“Wow, Dad, you’re right. You were great at foretelling the success of best-sellers.”

“No, seriously. When I would go to parties with adults and talk about the books, none of them even knew what I was talking about.”

“That’s because they were adults, they weren’t thirteen year-old girls.”

“That’s what I’m saying! Producers aren’t thirteen year-old girls either! That’s why they need me!”

…Very logical. A sixty year-old man is just the person to put producers in touch with the interests of thirteen year-old girls. It’s a wonder how they managed to catch on to those trends without him.

 

My mom tries to order pizza–

“They have eggplant with aquatic cheese!”

“No thank you.”

Once she hangs up.

“…I’m curious about what that aquatic cheese was. Were they milking sea cows?”

“Aquatic cheese?”

“Yeah, you said they had the eggplant with aquatic cheese.”

“I think it’s like the four cheeses, you know, parmesan, asiago…”

“Quatro Formaggi?”

“Yeah, that’s what I said.”

“No…”

 

 

 

 

Dear George,

It’s awfully sweet that you like to sleep with me. However, I have been feeling for some time now that we need to establish a few ground rules.

  1. I have this concept of personal space. Two very important personal bubbles of mine encompass my eyeballs. I’d appreciate if you didn’t try to swat at them with your claws, or walk on them. I know it’s all fun and games, but someone’s gonna get hurt.
  2. Also my throat. I don’t really get this kneading thing that cats do, but most of the time if I’m under a proper cover of blankets I just let you do your thing, even if it feels an awful lot like a breast exam. I don’t question your motives. But I’m gonna have to draw the line at my throat, where you’ve nearly drawn several lines of blood. No more throat massages please.
  3. When you try to comb my hair with your claws, I don’t like that. I especially don’t like being woken up in this fashion at 3am. Maybe you’re a gay hairdressing cat, that’s fine (although then why all the breast exams?), but you need to ask for volunteers, not just select unconscious victims.
  4. My face is not your head rest. It’s kind of cute, the way you like to lie cheek to cheek, but inevitably it becomes back of furry head to smothered mouth and nose. That’s just not the way I want to die.
  5. When you get really close to my face and purrr directly into my mouth, it weirds me out. I’m not used to other peoples’ sounds going into my mouth. It’s not natural, and it makes me feel slightly violated.

That’s about it, only five little things. Do you think you can manage? In times of doubt just remember, don’t do unto others what you would have done unto you. Ie. no head scratchies, face massages, chin tickling, etc. Then we can both sleep soundly.

Much love,

Ali

Last night I went to my first bike party. Also spent the most time on a bike since I was one of those accursed freshmen in high school without a license. The bike party itself was fun, but I am currently finding the day after more amusing.

1)The hangover. I am a lightweight, so I spent this morning sitting on the couch with my dog, watching National Geographic and eating toast. But the more un-delightful day-after effect of the bike party is that my crotch is broken. I should have worn like 10 pairs of underwear and 3 maxi pads to this thing. Next time I will know to protect the jewels. Or whatever the vagina-equivalent is. My current crippled state begs the question, people do this professionally? My sympathies.

2)My parents’ commentary. They drove me to the starting location, and this morning they shared with me their thoughts on the gathered crowd.

Mom: “There was this really hoodie-looking guy.”

Hoodie-looking? Not from da hood or a hoodlum. Hoodie-looking.

Dad: “They looked like a bunch of gang-bangers. All they were missing were some teardrop tattoos to show how many people they had killed. Killed by running over them with their bikes and jumping up and down on them.”

So this is how the older generations sees us youths…

You know that poem about the plums?

This Is Just To Say

by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Well, it was kinda like that.

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The first morning we were in Los Angeles, I woke up early and went for a run. Boy was spring in the city looking pretty.

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I love LA because everything is so colorful, from the fences, to the houses, to the fire hydrants, to the walls. Oh, the walls. Graffiti and murals are everywhere. It makes your whole world art. But I have whole posts dedicated to street art to come.

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After my glorious morning run, my father asked me to come with him to look at some outdoor furniture. I looked like this:

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It looked like this:

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Possibly an alien capsule sent from space? Not my thing. But I did get the pleasure of seeing this very awkward use of a “ballerina” in their catalogue.

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Later that night after dinner my sister and her friend convinced my dad to act in a skit where he plays a beat up psychiatrist advising her on anger management. I’ll link to that video once my sister puts it up. But let’s just say I was surprised and impressed by her make-up artistry and his improv acting. It was very strange.

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I picked my dad up from the Flagstaff airport, and off we went. He was in good form, immediately losing his phone (he was sitting on it), and mistakenly trying to go into the girls’ bathroom (I stopped him). Anyway, eventually we rolled up to the El Tovar Hotel in the Grand Canyon.

(Image is an approximation of our actual arrival.)

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The El Tovar opened in 1905 as a first class accommodation for travelers on the Santa Fe railroad, which had finally reached the Grand Canyon. As the card in our room informed us,

“Nothing was spared to make this one of the great hotels of its era. The building was completely equipped with electric lights powered by its own steam generator. Railroad tank cars brought fresh water for the hotel from Del Rio, 120 miles away; fresh fruit and vegetables were grown in greenhouses on the premises. The hotel even had its own dairy.”

Nowadays it’s a destination for thousands of short-pants ruffians like ourselves. It’s right on the edge of the canyon, prime location. Our first order of business was to check out the view.

Woah. It made us a dizzy the first time we looked into the canyon. It’s just so massive and deep, and all the different layers of color funnel your vision down, but you can’t even see to the bottom. Only in a few spots can you glimpse the Colorado River.

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Second order of business was to get some food in us. We sat out on El Tovar’s deck and looked out over the canyon while sipping on tea and munching on vegetarian chili and crab cake sliders. Twas good.

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Properly fueled, we ventured out to walk the Rim Trail. This is just a paved path that goes along the rim. My dad was mad because it wasn’t more trail-y, but it had some educational merits of its own. There are no rails anywhere, because to rail the whole canyon would  require as much metal to go halfway around the earth, then for every foot of height you’d need another bar of rail, multiplying that amount. Besides, people would climb over it anyway, so the park admitted there was just no point. However, there are plenty of copies of the book Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon, detailing the 550 deaths in the Grand Canyon, on sale everywhere you go to give you ample incentive of your own not to wander too close to the edge.

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Overlapping the Rim Trail, the Trail of Time  is set up to give you a physical metaphor in the distance you walk comparing to the amount of time it took for the Grand Canyon to form. Along the way there are plaques explaining the formation of the different rock layers. Dad helped to further elucidate in his coloquial style, “Look, so there’s where that shit seeped through”.IMG_1411

They’ve also mounted rocks from each layer and era so that you can touch them. Dad insisted we walk along petting each rock. After this first one he paused to analyze the texture and came up with his official scientific observation: “This would make a great granite counter top.”

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One plaque shouted at us that 1.2 billion years were missing from the rock record. Dad muttered to himself, “Goddamn teenagers.”

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Then he made us take this picture where “it will look like we’re falling into the canyon”.IMG_3734 Shortly afterwards he came running up behind me yelling I had to stop. He wanted to show me this ancient geological specimen he had found…IMG_3740

Ie. a piece of the road.

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We finally made it to the end of the Trail of Time and this vista point.

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Dad tripped and almost fell off the cliff taking this picture of me, evoking a shout of “Jesus fucking Christ, Dad!”

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So then we had other people take pictures of us.

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After that we went to fancy dinner back at El Tovar. You could tell it was fancy because their butter is stamped with a crest.

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Also because they had a crumb sweeper. This is someone who comes around after they take away your bread and sweeps away all your crumbs with a little silver comb so that you are aware of how messy an eater you are.

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Honestly, their food was pretty bad. My dad’s celery soup was inedibly salty, they brought him the wrong entree, and though it’s hard to mess up a salad, it just had too many over-powering components to be truly enjoyable. Even their pie was too sweet. Their chefs obviously had heavy hands.

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The next morning we got up early to go on the Cedar Ridge Hike, a Ranger lead hike down the Kaibab trail. I have to reiterate how awesome park rangers are- always so nice, with zillions of helpful and interesting things to tell you. I was particularly comforted by his presence, because everywhere on the trailhead and heading down there are posters detailing all the different ways you can die. I must also give props to their commitment to making visits to the park exceptionally educational, especially when visitors usually show up with no intention of it being so, and environmentally friendly. Nowhere in the canyon will they sell you bottled water, because the bottles end up in landfills or blown into the canyon by the wind. They provide their own water in filling stations along the trails, straight from the Roaring Springs below the North Rim.

Before we started, Dad made me take this picture of him to prove to his personal trainer that he was warming up. So here you go, Craig…

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Then we started down in a group with about 12 other people. It was a little chilly, but just in the way of nice, brisk morning air. Our ranger told us that of all the thousands of people that come visit the canyon each year, only 2 percent actually descend into it. What punks.

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The trail is unpaved, 3 miles round-trip, and descends 1.120 feet. It took us a little under 3 hours, and that was with stopping at the bottom to chill out and snack. It’s somewhat steep and rough going, windy, and it certainly would be possible to fall off the edge and die, but if you hold on to your hat and pay attention to where you put your feet, it’s so much fun! The views were spectacular, exponentially better than you get just walking along the rim. Our ranger told us interesting anecdotes about the building of the trail, some of the plants along it, and the park’s legal battles with Ralph Cameron, an original settler on the canyon.

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Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 6.38.59 AM

The hike up is a bitch, but stop to rest frequently and it’s fine. Excellent father-daughter bonding time. If I come back, I want to do the hike all the way to the bottom of the canyon, where you can stay the night at Phantom Ranch, then hike back up the next day. But that’s for another trip.

We were back on the road. Next stop: Los Angeles.

We are all hilarious and crazy. Put together we only get more so. For clarification, there is my mom and dad; brother, Joe; and sister, Julie.

This is what happens when we are all stuck in a car together:

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This is what happens when we all go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant together:

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This is a card my Dad gave to my sister to indicate they’d be helping her buy a car for Christmas. Note that in the illustration they are both bare-ass naked. With the exception of what appears to be some thigh-high stockings and high heels on my mom, and a belt on my dad. Hilarious and disturbing and thoroughly unprovoked.

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My little cousins also show some promise.

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I’m gonna blame this on serial-killer Ken’s troubled adolescence.  He was born without junk, after all. That’s gotta be very emotionally scarring.

But seriously, I love my family so much!

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