Lula Belle’s

I promised, and I must now deliver.

The tale you are about to hear is true, and the truth, perhaps, is not stranger than fiction– but it certainly serves as vivid inspiration.

 

Thus brings me to the tale of Lula Belle’s.

It was a sunny, windy as heck day in a small town in northern Wyoming. As I often do, I headed that morning into the main part of town to check out what antique treasures or hidden-gem coffee shops I could find.

I parked on a random block in town and quickly googled to see what was around. Since it was so windy, I was about to drive to my next destination. I turned the key and… My car wouldn’t start.

Dead battery. I knew it. The battery had been dying slowly since a month before. I have roadside assistance, but since I was in the middle of nowhere, I thought I should ask around for a jump before I called and had to wait hours for the pros to show up.

I got out and walked up to the store I was parked in front of, a “farmer’s market” store selling jam, honey, and baked goods. Inside, a woman wearing a flannel asked what I needed. “Do you have jumper cables?” I asked. “Or know anyone who does? My battery’s dead.”

“Oh, I left my cables in the Jeep and my husband drove it today. Did you already try Lula Belle’s?”

I gave her what I’m sure was a blank stare, because she started to explain.

“Lula Belle’s, it’s down at the end of the street. There’s always, you know, mechanic type guys in there. Old guys with all kinds of tools in their trucks. Someone will definitely have cables. They’d love to help you out.”

“Oh, okay,” I said. “Where is it?”

She led me outside and pointed down the street. “It’s a diner, last building at the end of the street there.”

I thanked her and went on my way. The wind was blasting but I was going to find a nice old mechanic guy to jump my car, and maybe this diner would have a great breakfast-for-lunch and endless coffee refills. As I walked, though, I passed a boarded-up building, plastic covers on the upper windows flapping in the wind. The train tracks ahead of me held empty cars, standing still. There wasn’t much at this end of the street.

Then I saw Lula Belle’s.

It was a tiny building at the end of the street, on a miniature block all its own, right next to the train tracks. I stepped up to its front entry and got a whiff of nicotine. I stepped into the entryway, which was a glass enclosure just big enough for me, a dry-looking plant, and a bucket full of gravel that I presumed, from the smell, was for putting out cigarette butts.

I pushed open the front door and immediately every eye was on me.

I stood in front of a tiny, wood-paneled room crowded with people sitting at little square tables. Almost everyone in the place was old, and smoking. The air was thick, to say the least. An old woman squinted at me suspiciously and exhaled a gray stream in my general direction.

I walked up to the formica counter. A girl stood behind it, and I hoped that she worked there as we both made hesitant eye contact.

“Hey,” I said. “Um, my car battery died, and I was just wondering if you knew anyone with jumper cables who could help me out?”

The girl said, “Hmm,” and I watched her peel back the plastic wrap on a tray of buns that were so coated in whatever sticky brown substance (don’t think of lung tar don’t think of lung tar) that she had to pry them apart with a spatula. “I’ll go in back and ask. Maybe the owner has some.” She went into the kitchen and left me standing in front of the counter, trying not to look directly at anyone. I stared instead at the murky cowboy pictures and cracked mirror on the wall.

Had I stepped back in time? It felt like it. Smoking indoors was banned in Ohio before I was even a teen. Even in Denver, where smoking in general is more common, it’s always relegated to sidewalks and patios. And at one table, a woman peered over her coffee at a map, an actual paper map, that she had unfolded and spread out.

And then there were the old people.

Here’s the thing: I like old people. Old people like me. I’ve enjoyed the company of my much-elders since I was a kid befriending ladies in church. Old people have taught me how to play chess, paint with watercolors, and tell the weirdest jokes. Most of the old people I know, honestly, are the inspiration for many of my life goals. So it never made sense to me when I would see people dress as “old” for Halloween. I always thought, what, is it like a fear of mortality? A fear of the fact that one day you’ll be wrinkly and probably need a cane? So what? What’s so scary about old people?

Well. Suddenly I understood. These old people were scary. None of them spoke. They ate silently, sitting across from each other, forks in bricks of scrambled eggs. Or else they just  drank coffee and smoked, staring straight ahead, glancing at me. And they looked quite… gray.

Maybe I hadn’t stepped back in time, but into a parallel world, or a movie set. But this was no Little House on the Prairie or even Fistful of Dollars. This was No Country For Old Men vibes, noir, ominous, creepy sunlight slanting into the frame, the stranger comes to town and it turns out everyone is the living dead… That kind of movie.

A few people came out of the kitchen: first the counter girl, then the scrawny dishwasher guy, then the owner woman and lastly, her husband, frowning. “Where’s your car at?” he asked me.

“Oh, thank you,” I said. He walked to the door and I followed. “It’s right down the street.”

We went outside and he looked down the street as I pointed. “Yeah, see, it’s the blue one down there. It just needs a jump.”

“I don’t have cables. Loaned ’em to my cousin and he never gave ’em back. Nobody else has any, either. Checked my truck.”

“Oh… Well… Thanks so much for checking,” I said, as I inched away from the building.

“You could ask across the street.” He pointed to a crew of people who seemed to be disassembling an abandoned building. “I don’t know those guys, but maybe they got something.”

“Okay. Yeah maybe I’ll do that. Thanks!”

There was no way I was asking anyone else. I fast-walked back to my car and called roadside assistance. They got there in half an hour.

Turns out I could have called first and probably saved myself some time and trouble. But I would have missed out on quite the experience.

~Pen

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Payphone

Something my brother-in-law will never let me live down is that I had never heard the song “Payphone” until someone literally played it for me last year. (Never mind that he had never heard of Joan Baez…) I still don’t know any of the words except the chorus, but that popped into my head yesterday, as:

My cell phone took a dive and a smack onto the tile floor of the Denver airport. That was that. R.I.P.
My plan for the day was to take a plane to Phoenix and then a Greyhound (my first Greyhound, woo) to Tucson, where Patrick is working for the week. After the tragic death of my phone, we communicated via email and free wifi. But alas, there was a fatal flaw in this solution: Free wifi is always crap.

My plane got me to Phoenix, a wonderful TSA girl and a shuttle got me to the Greyhound station, and the Greyhound got me to Tucson. I used the station’s free wifi to email Patrick several times to tell him to pick me up there after work… But time ticked by (or at least, I assumed– something I noticed sans phone is that there are no wall clocks anymore) and I realized that none of the emails were sending. I glanced around. Through the window I could see a gas station, and being incredibly thirsty (and maybe a little unsettled by the number of men with neck tattoos waiting for the next bus) I decided to head there in search of a drink, and, you guessed it, a pay phone.

Guys, pay phones are not a thing anymore. (AND I doubt they were a thing even in 2012 when “Payphone” came out, just saying.) Both the airport and the Greyhound station had one, but it wasn’t a coin one, but one which you could use for free in the same area code or else you needed one of those long-distance minutes cards. So long story short, I asked the gas station girls if they had a phone I could use. “We don’t have public phones, but….” One girl disappeared into the break room, returning with a cordless landline. “You can just use it.”

Thank God I actually remembered Patrick’s cell number, and that thing where you have to dial “1” before the area code. So I called him, he picked me up, all was well. I told him about the Greyhound:
Me: “It was totally fine. The window had face marks, but otherwise it was clean.”
Patrick: “Hey, you basically lived the ‘Desert Bus’ game!”
Me: “And I won!!”

Honestly I did enjoy the peaceful two or so hours I spent on the bus, reading a book and watching the desert. Plus it’s always fun hanging out in different cities with Patrick. And, as I always tell myself, every experience is “grist” for a writer, and sometimes a lesson for life. Like how I learned that I should have a watch and an atlas, in preparation for the inevitable next time I break my phone….

When you go, can I go with you?

[Note: This was written a few days ago, but I didn’t get a chance to add the pictures until today. We’re currently home and enjoying our Memorial Day weekend in Denver.]

Today is the last day of another surrounding-state sojourn.
Our first stop was North Platte, Nebraska. To be honest, I was mostly going along on this trip because I didn’t want to be stuck in Denver alone for two weeks again, not because I thought I’d find Nebraska all that cool. I was wrong, though! North Platte was a good time, thanks mostly to the good weather that allowed me to enjoy their various parks. (Most of them were in some way named after Buffalo Bill Cody… Apparently he lived in North Platte at one point.) Green grass, blue sky, riverbanks, fields… The Midwest makes me happy. I spent one afternoon driving around just to enjoy the scenery, and another one sitting at a picnic table, barefoot and reading in the sun. Driving into Nebraska, the sign welcoming you over the state line reads: Nebraska …The Good Life. That pretty much sums it up.

Our next and longest stay was Rapid City, South Dakota. On our way down there we made a stop to check out the Badlands. I kind of wish I had been more into taking pictures, but we’d planned to go back (and then didn’t end up doing it; we hiked in the Black Hills instead).
Before I went on this trip, a friend at work told me, “The Badlands are cool. They’re not, like, beautiful– they’re interesting.” Umm, I think we have different concepts of beauty. The Badlands are otherworldy. Parts of it felt like a fantastical castle-city. Other parts were stunning because of how far you could see, the huge openness. Plus we saw mountain goats (including baby ones!), prairie dogs, a buffalo, and an appropriately ominous gathering of buzzards.

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Dusk in the Badlands

Rapid City itself is more of a small but busy town, kind of touristy because of its proximity to Mount Rushmore. There were some more “local” spots, like the super chill coffee house I basically lived at (they recognized me after the second day). But honestly, when you’re traveling through random towns, you come to appreciate the comforts of tourism. Like the fact that there’s more places to eat than just fast food (or this place called Runza?? Like, there are at least three of them on every main street in Nebraska. What is this place? Why the obsession?). Plus, I had a lot of fun with Patrick taking silly pictures with all the statues of presidents they have on the corners of Rapid City’s downtown.

We spent the weekend checking out Mount Rushmore. Well, actually, we first hit up a beer tasting festival in town.

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We tried going to Mount Rushmore later (after a long nap…) but it was too foggy to see the mountain, so we spent some time in the forest instead. The strong scent of pine permeated everything… Sooo good.

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The next day was sunny and warm, perfect to finally see the monument. Patrick got lots of compliments on his shorts, and some guys high-fived him as they passed us on the trail. Mount Rushmore was kind of more impressive than I’d imagined, and I’m glad I got the chance to see it.

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I thought it was funny seeing everyone take the same picture…

But the Black Hills were my favorite part. They’re so expansive and beautiful, and it restored me to be out in real woods. Hearing frogs, seeing birds and animal tracks, climbing on rocks and fallen logs. I’m a little jealous of Rapid City residents who get to live in the lap of those hills.

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Hiking trail in Black Elk Wilderness area

Now, for the past few days, we’ve been in Scottsbluff, Nebraska… On our way here we stopped at a gas station where I locked the keys in the car and we had to get help from some locals (and found out the gas station clerk girl was a fellow Denverite, just in NE for the summer). I’ve been kind of under the weather, so this last bit has been mostly me lingering too long in this coffee shop and reading My Antonia (a friend lent it to me, saying I should read it on this trip since it’s set in Nebraska. I just finished it last night).

Patrick has some more traveling to do this summer, and I’ve decided to go along. We’re also planning a just-for-fun trip together. For me, traveling makes me want to travel more– and whether we visit a national monument, a different city, or a small town, it’s always worth going.

do now cheer me on

The other day I drove my first solo road trip, to meet up in Albuquerque with Patrick. It was a pretty easy ride– the route was somewhat familiar to the one we took to El Paso (I think I even stopped at one of the same gas stations, heh). I over-caffeinated in the beginning and got really jumpy so every passing road sign made me feel like I was on the verge of a heart attack, and a piece of the chocolate bar I ate melted on the seat/my pants, but besides that, no trouble.

Lately it seems a lot of my friends (and semi-related friends, i.e. cousins-in-law) are traveling as well… People are heading out to the West Coast for internships, one friend of ours moved to Denver too, another friend applied for a job that requires moving. One of my cousins-in-law is working with AmeriCorps out here in the West (I think she’s headed to Texas soon), one lives in DC, my brother-in-law lived in Ireland for a few months, others have taken trips overseas. I know everyone says that posting about trips on social media is fake or trying to make your life seem cool or whatever, but… I guess I’m glad they’re all posting about it everywhere. I feel like we’re all in a sort of club, spreading out and exploring the country. It inspires me to not miss home too much.

While I drove yesterday, telephone wires spooling along beside me, rocks rising out of the horizon, strange plants bristling across empty fields, I imagined myself years from now gliding on some other open road somewhere. And why not? Life is short and gas is cheap. (Uh… right now, anyway. *has horror flashback to 2008* *horror flashback switches from gas prices to my fashion* Yeah guys, forget the past!!! Seize the day!!)

Albuquerque is familiar in a weird way… They have a parkway across from their zoo, which is reminiscent of Old Brooklyn; even the signs for the zoo looked the same. Of course, the parkway went through a forest with signs warning of fire dangers, and all the trees were pale and dry. The path through the woods was just dust. You could walk without making a sound– or hearing a sound. I sat still for a while, though, and saw some small birds and one woodpecker.

Tonight, Patrick and I are driving to some other town in northern New Mexico… As I’m really growing to like this state, I’m looking forward to seeing more. Plus, it’s really spring here! Besides that park, there are many trees budding and blooming. Imagine new, bright green and a clear blue sky against all the subdued shades of brown (which is pretty too). Add in the ~~power of the sun~~ and it’s hard not to feel alive even on an ordinary Thursday.

The title of this post is from “Erin” by Joanna Newsom… A song I think about on just about every road trip. Erin, Erin, Erin across America! Some people say it’s also a mondegreen for “Erring” which I like too.

Yours from the road,
Pen

A road too long to mention

Well, there are only a couple more days left of our time in El Paso, and then it’s the trek back to Denver. In preparation, I’ve been reading On the Road. I’m glad I waited until now to read it, actually, because his journey in the beginning of the book, from New York to Denver, is very similar to the way Patrick and I drove with our U-Haul when we moved. I can really picture it: I also traveled through Illinois, took a quick stop in North Platte, felt the excitement of getting close when we hit Cheyenne.

Then, when he’s actually in Denver, I could imagine him running around Colfax; I could relate to his friend’s basement apartment and poems about those Denver pigeons.

Of course, there’s still parts I don’t understand at all– like when he casually mentions walking five miles to a friend’s place. I’m just like… How??? Wouldn’t that take a long time?? Was this a normal thing, to walk five miles to meet up with someone? Did they just sit around waiting for however long it takes you? EXPLAIN PLEASE.

Right now I’m sitting in a Starbucks, across from a stranger who is also on a laptop. It’s crowded, needless to say. I just tried to move my foot and I accidentally nudged theirs and I died for a second.

Another thing about On the Road is the way he hops from city to city, job to job. He gives his shirt away to a fellow traveler (and later, gets it back). It reminds me of what I love about movie hit-men: if they lose their coat or their gun, they just find another one laying around and use that. Goals, man. If I could go with the flow even half as much as movie hit-men and Sal Paradise…

Oh, the stranger got up for a second. Time to stretch my legs… Oh lord. Well, at least I’m not the guy who got stuck with just an armchair in a corner.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the road trip, and to getting home and having my own pillow back, and doing some projects. (One of which, I keep joking to Patrick, is going to be the opening credits of an indie film with the song “Rights of Man” playing in the background for absolutely no reason.)

I’ll miss this city, though. El Paso makes me feel so refreshed (*one hundred sun emojis*).

Also, I slept for twelve and a half hours last night… Which I guess might have something to do with it.

Sun City

So this is getting into my second week in El Paso, Texas. And THIS PLACE FREAKIN RULES. First of all, everything is pretty. The sun, the palm and cypress trees, the washed-out colors. Secondly, this city is huge and looks even bigger because you can see right into Juarez from the highway. (And the highway– it’s raised up so you can sweep fast over the city and feel like you’re on Coruscant.)

The only downside is that I’m apparently allergic to the desert (thanks, mountain juniper), so my eyes were red and burning for the first week. I think it might finally be subsiding, though. If I’ve finally found the magic combination of allergy medicine, I’m going to start looking for a tiny house on the outskirts of town, with a little metal fence around the yard and a tall, skinny cypress tree beside it. Seriously, though. If I don’t end up coming back here or somewhere near to visit frequently in the future, be warned: I am not actually me, I am a clone of myself and I am probably plotting destruction.

I really loved the drive down here, too. It was a little over nine hours from Denver; I drove most of the way, but the time seemed to go quickly. Instead of passing cow field after cow field, there were mountains and open spaces and forgotten towns. We also took historic Route 66 for a little while.

 

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Sunset desert in New Mexico

I’ve been spending my time here working on stuff for a writing workshop I’m taking online through my Denver writers’ group by day, and trying to improve my billiards skills by night. Also, Patrick and I went to a scenic view place one evening to climb on rocks and look out at the huge metro area.

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Our first scenic lookout spot
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Nighttime city

We spent Saturday afternoon half walking half sliding hiking down a mountain.

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Patrick kept putting the camera on rocks and setting the timer

Also, there’s bonus hype because Pope Francis is going to visit Juarez in a couple of weeks (right after we leave, actually) and, if that wasn’t already close enough, people say he might briefly visit El Paso too.

Although I’d say a brief visit won’t be enough– I’m glad I have several more days to enjoy being here.

 

Kansas

As Eliza and I drove into Kansas City, Eliza had to put “the lady” on. Which is to say, she had Siri navigating.
So as we’re jamming to some music (more like performing… Eliza did a striking impression of Mother Gothel, that’s all there is to say), suddenly we’re interrupted by
“Recalculating.”
Eliza: “What are you recalculating? You know, I’ve had it up to here with you.”
“Updated.”
Eliza: “Yeah, you just figure out what you’re doing.” *eye roll* Then she turns to me. “She has almost gotten me lost a few times.”
“Recalculating”
Eliza: “Lady, if you lie to me again, I’ll kill you forever!” *heavy sigh* “I hate her. Seriously.”
“Updated”
Me: “You keep referring to the disembodied voice as ‘her’, like there’s a third person in the car with us. Have you, um, gone a little crazy driving all this way by yourself all semester?”
Eliza: “You know what, that’s it… She’s gone. You be the navigator. You read me the list.”
So I was the navigator. Later, Eliza was saying over the phone to the rest of her family how good at it I was… aaaaand everyone else who has ever had me as a navigator laughs hysterically. Or else they’re wondering why I can be helpful for Eliza but terribly inept otherwise. 

Yep, I’ve been hanging out with Eliza for the past few days… In Kansas! Well, since we went to Kansas City today, also Missouri. My first all-alone plane trip went very well. I actually looked out the window most of the time, just listening to my music (to drown out the whirring of the plane, which I hated because I hate ceaseless white noise) and enjoying the clouds. And the weirdness of seeing other planes far across the way, tiny and black and going very, very fast.

Speaking of things going very fast, the time here with Eliza has flown by… She took me all around campus and the neighboring town, where we explored a lot, and took some pictures….

I loved the houses around Atchison. All very 1800s, and all unique and interesting.
I loved the houses around Atchison. All very 1800s, and all unique and interesting.

 

Eliza sitting in the peaceful orchard behind the abbey
Eliza sitting in the peaceful orchard behind the abbey

 

Looking over the Missouri  River... (See that factory in the distance? Yep. Story idea.)
Looking over the Missouri River… (See that factory in the distance? Yep. Story idea.)

 

Cool old car. 'Nuff said.
Cool old car. ‘Nuff said.

Then there was Kansas City’s art museum, spending time sitting in front of a giant Caravaggio painting of St. John the Baptist, and wandering through Impressionists. “Aren’t you glad you girls don’t have to wear dresses like that anymore?” some guy asked us there. Of course we told him we actually weren’t glad of that, thank you very much. I mean, I actually wouldn’t want to wear that all the time, but if I got to flounce around on a beach looking that glamorous I would do it, just for a day.

We also watched several movies, all of which were new to me… Northanger Abbey, which spawned “the taco”:
Eliza: *sigh* “I just love Mr. Tilney… You know what, I need a guy who’s like, a mix of Mr. Tilney, Mr Knightley, Captain America, Eomer, Hawkeye, and— and a little bit of Kirk.”
Me: “Woah. Woah. Slow down, this is like a taco of guys that you’re making. And Kirk is like the hot sauce, you can’t put too much.”
So then of course they all got assigned ingredients…
We also watched All About Eve, which had fabulous quotes, and then Roman Holiday, which made us want to run out and cut our hair. Last night, to finish off, we watched Star Trek: Insurrection, because Data.

Now we’re sitting in the dorm listening to the Beatles and occasionally grooving (Or in Eliza’s case, attempting to groove… although she taught me a hilarious new dance move which she apparently learned from Francis) and writing this blog and writing letters in the Sunday afternoon sunlight…

I suppose that’s all for now. Off to have some tea and spend my last couple of hours with my gracious hostess and very very dear friend.

Things That Begin with the Letter B

(I wrote a long, looooonnnggggg post and split it into two parts. Here’s the first.)

Part 1: Buffalo!
The past week has been realllllly long and SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED that we are lucky my brain hasn’t im-/ex-ploded. So I was going to kind of summarize, but it was so awesome that I simply cannot just skim over it. (Plus I feel like I jipped you guys with the last post not going into extensive detail. So, details commence!)

Mom and I went to Buffalo, NY to visit the H’s, who are some friends you have not heard of on here before. I think. I am not combing my archives to see if that statement is true. Anyway. We left right after church on Sunday, and Mom “hauled bleep through Pennsylvania” and I played a bunch of music and fell asleep once we hit New York. It was my first time in that state, by the way. I said to Mom as we crossed the state line, “Wow, I’ve been so many places for the first time this year! Beach, New York, and whatever state I was in with the DHFs before we went to the beach…” (I am still confused about where the heck we were. Was it Virginia? D.C.? An alternate dimension? I may never know for sure.) Right after I said that, I realized what it sounded like: “Hi, I’m the stereotypical Ohio girl you see in poorly written TV shows where Ohio is like one big cornfield and the people have no knowledge of the outside world!”
Well, get ready for more of that, people.

We stayed with the H’s in their house in Buffalo. Highlights include playing games, seeing ducks, eating Buffalonian food, and generally just hanging out. But did I mention… We also went to Niagara Falls! And Dodge, if he ever read this blog, would get a smug grin on his face because of this conversation before I left home:
Me: “Niagara Falls? Come on. It’s just a waterfall.”
Dodge: “Well, it’s actually pretty impressive.”
Me: “How would you know!”
Dodge: *knowing shrug* (which sounds like an oxymoron, but that’s what he does)

Well, it did turn out to be “actually pretty impressive”. I was extremely enthralled by it. We stepped out of the car and I could instantly smell the water. It smelled iminently drinkable. We stayed on the American side despite Bram suggesting that we walk across the bridge to Canada (and then me suggesting that we run up to the border, put a toe over, and then run away). Actually, I liked the American side, because Canada, I love you but you’re all casinos and tourism and flashy-shiny-shouty stuff over there. And over on our side we had a park. (“WHAT NOW!!!” as Mom would say.) I have to write pages and pages about the experience in my journal I keep of such things (there are scrawly pages filled with things I saw/thought/experienced at the beach and also on random walks around my neighborhood. It was supposed to be an “idea journal”, but now it’s an adventure notebook!) so all I am going to say here is ohhhh pretty and wow and holy cow and… yeah. Also I told Mom that the park had a “vibe”.
Mom: “What kind of vibe?”
Me: “Um… a Niagara Falls park vibe? I don’t know.” thinking: I wish Bug was here!
Later, I called Bug and told her about it, and when I related that conversation to her, she said, “Oh, I know! The only named vibe is a creepy vibe.” So there you go.

Then we went to a Frank Lloyd Wright house, where we were peering in the front windows because it was closed. Or, it was supposed to be closed. Because suddenly a guy came out and he said, “Oh, do you guys want in?”
Us: “Um… is that allowed?”
Guy: “The door’s unlocked. I dunno. Sure.”
So we went in. It was all dim inside, but very fab, and we peered around for a couple minutes and I felt strangely hidden from the world. But then someone said, “Uh… I don’t think we’re really supposed to be in here”, and then we heard voices upstairs so we darted back out. That was fun.

Well, actually, the whole trip was fun. And the H’s were brill!

(Which is a word that begins with B, and as such is a good place to stop for now. Stay tuned for Part 2, aka the second half of my week, which I will post tomorrow unless a catastrophe happens or I simply cannot move, both of which are highly plausible at this point.)

Yours till the butter flies,
Pen

I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea

but I know what heather looks like / and what a wave must be…

Actually, I do know what heather looks like, but I don’t know how it smells or how tall it would be if I stood in it or how it looks when it’s dead and snowed on or does it even get snowed on at all and if it’s soft and what noise it makes when wind or footsteps go over it. 

I have a little better knowledge of waves, as I have visited a particular Great Lake on several occasions, but it’s not the sea and it doesn’t smell like salt. It kind of smells like sweaty water and whatever fishing bait is being used nearby. Besides, it’s hard to smell when you’re being blinded by the glare of the sun off the lake and the concret you’re sitting on, and you’re distracted by herons that your brother is feeding heat-stroked minnows to.

It’s hard to reasearch things on this disorganized network of inaccurate information we fondly call the internet. And I keep having to look up things for White Funeral, like different types of sailboats and rowboats and docks and tides and… The list goes on.

But there are things I do know. I know the twenty-nine different types of snow, the feel of cold wind down the back of my neck,  months where the difference between day and night is just the sky changing shades of gray. The moon being so huge and orange and low on the horizon that it seems to be asking for someone to try and climb onto it. (Which is how it looked last night, and I wished I was out in an open field so I could chase after it, or just stare and stare without streetlights polluting my view).  

 Well, speaking of things never seen, I am leaving this weekend for… Kentucky! I will be surrounded by wilderness, and I will see mountains, and (best part) I’m going with the DHFs! I think it will be awesome as long as it doesn’t turn out like a cliche TV show, where the one character gets invited to go camping or something and they show up in a pretty dress with some technological device in hand. (Not that I don’t know how to pack; Eliza has given me a helpful list, and I’ve gone camping plenty of times. It’s just a weird phobia I have, I guess.)

In other news, today was like a giant time-warp because I had to go to the dentist and get my hair cut. And then it was like oh wait, the day is completely over. Sigh. I never want to sit in another waiting-room chair for as long as I live. (Unfortunately, some dreams really are unattainable.) Now I have to get some writer’s group stuff together, and go to bed. (Instead, I’m half-watching The Voice and writing this. I justify blogging because it’s already been some time since my last post and I assume I will not be back here until I’m home from Kentucky. How do I justify watching some lame singing show? Yeah. There’s really no excuse.)