Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cosmic Particles

When I was in college I came up with the phrase ‘cosmic particles’ to explain things that happened by eerie coincidence. Anything that happened by chance but needed a better-than-chance explanation – that’s when I used ‘cosmic particles’.

Well this weekend there was a doozy of an example of cosmic particles.

I was in Texas for a flying visit with my family. My sister brought her whole crew to my dad’s place north of Dallas and my cousin and I were up there too. More cousins came up the next day. So at the end of the day we’re standing around, saying goodbye to one set of cousins, when Kelsey and I start looking at each other’s feet. (We’re girls. We like shoes. We look at feet.)

I narrowed my eyes suspiciously and said, “What nail polish are you wearing on your toes?”

She said, “Bogota Blackberry.”

I whipped off my shoe, held out my toes and yelled, “BOGOTA BLACKBERRY!”

We both started jumping around and making the big eyes at each other. We were both – BY COINCIDENCE – wearing cute and comfy bright orange shoes (very different styles though) and we were both wearing OPI Bogota Blackberry toenail polish.

Completely. Unplanned. Eerie. Coincidence.

Are you as bowled over as we were?

Yup. That’s cosmic particles.*

*For those of you who are left singularly unimpressed by the power of cosmic particles (because you’re probably lacking some fundamental cosmic characteristic but that’s okay, I’m sure you’re still a lovely person), you should understand – that too is cosmic particles. So there you go.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Domestic Confessions

- I have a tea towel problem.

- I hate vacuuming. It makes me swear. Seriously. My mental monologue while vacuuming would shock you.

- I thought I was going to confess the really embarrassing tunes I have on my ipod but I’m not. I’ll admit to having Juice Newton,* Maroon 5, a remake of ‘Conjunction Junction’ and a swing version of Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ but other than that, the embarrassing stuff is staying in the vault. For my ears only. (* Seriously, you have to watch the video. She's no actress, our Juice. But she is a little twisted.)

- I can go a VERY LONG TIME between laundry loads because I own more underwear than is on sale at Macy’s.

- The bathtub is literally my cleanliness blind spot – naturally I don’t wear my glasses while taking a shower and since I’m in there GETTING CLEAN it never occurs to me that the tub itself could be dirty. (I usually clean it before visitors arrive. Ahem. Mom, it’s ALWAYS clean for your visits.)

- I treat my living room like a clothesline. I don’t like to put most of my clothes in the dryer (they last longer if I don’t) and I don't have a yard with a clothesline, so I hang them up all around the living room. Sometimes it’s like a laundry festival in here.

- I have an egg pan. I get real grumpy if someone cooks non-egg substances in it. (Except bacon. It's hard to get grumpy about bacon.)

- I would bake pretty much every day if I had the chance and a calories-free pass to do so. As it is I wait for occasions, bake, and then give away the leftovers.

- Love houseplants but can’t have ‘em. Dickens would eat them and then hork them up all over the house.

- A fair amount of storage space in my home is always given over to ‘personal archive’ space. I give a lot of old clothes, books and household items to Goodwill but certain items, while no longer in style or the right size or whatever, I’ll never give away. They go in the archive.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Things I Loved in Denver

So here's the thing. I've been in Denver for the better part of a week for a museum conference. The conference was fabulous. I'm serious. I loved it. I'd have loved it just a tiny bit more if they'd served more cookies (let's face it, any cookies) between sessions, but really, that's my only complaint.

My only complaint about the conference, that is. I do have one other complaint about Denver, before I get on with the singing-its-praises chorus I promised in the title. Altitude. Dear heaven, but that city is way up in the sky! [Clue: the nickname 'Mile High City.'] For me personally that translated into every cell in my body going into a simultaneous gasping-for-air routine that rendered me tipsy, achy, queasy, sleepy, grumpy (and probably a few other dwarves, too) all at once. New and profound insight: I am a sea-level creature. I like my oxygen thick, syrupy even, undiluted, unpolluted, and unrestricted. Good to know.

But on with the chorus of praise. Really, I had such a good time in Denver I had to share my list of things to love about it. And if you're a Denver-lover you should chime in with anything I may have left out.

  • The big blue bear at the convention center by Lawrence Argent, actually titled 'I See What You Mean.' He's curious (see, he's saying “Hm, what's in here?”), he'd cuddly, he's bright blue and ginormous. What's not to love?

  • The prairie dogs beside the highway from the airport to downtown. They always look so alert. And concerned. The life of a prairie dog is full of worry.

  • The T-Rex puppet at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. AWESOME. I didn't much like it when he aimed to chomp on my head - although I did think it was funny when he did that to other people. My neefs would be shimmying with joy if they could see it.

  • The Tattered Cover Bookstore. I am a collector and admirer of bookstores. If it were at all possible for a bookstore to have a soul and to be a kindred spirit with other soul-bearing creatures, this bookstore and I were made for each other. Comfy chairs scattered in little nooks, a bakery with yummy smells in-store, a tempting selection of books all over the place in shelves arranged in a non-regimented way, pleasantly worn antique and creaky wooden floors – it all added up to a perfectly delectable bookstore.

  • The Paul Manship bronze sculpture of a turtle at the Denver Art Museum. I saw lots of great art at the museum and the building itself is supposed to be a buzz-worthy new example of architecture, but this turtle is the thing I fell for, the mascot of my visit.

  • Crazy contrast. When you fly into Denver you land on the flat scrubby plateau east of the city. Then you drive into the city which is about a 30 minute drive. The entire time just ahead of you there is a purple haze in the west topped this time of year with snowy peaks. The closer you get to the city the more the haze clears and you realize that right there, just a few miles further away, the Rocky Mountains have poked up right out of the plateau with a gigantic TA-DA! There's no subtle approach, no gentle introduction by way of some little foothills. No way. It goes flat, flat, flat, doo-dee-doo, more flat and then WHAM! Enormous mountains. And when you're in the city, right in downtown Denver, you can be walking along down a street, past a TJMaxx or a Starbucks let's say, and you casually glance to the east and there's blue sky, but when you casually glance to the west, BAM! There they are again. WATCHING YOU. You can turn your back on them, but they're still there. Looming in a majestic and indifferent way. The Rockies. Mountains that never bothered with 'subtle.' They interrupt the sky in an unsettling way for a native Texan, but they're fascinating.

  • Say it with me now: Mayor Hickenloop. My new big crush. I love the mayor of Denver. He's charming and well-spoken, a passionate supporter of the arts, and an innovative one at that. He came and talked to a vast crowd of museum people and by the end of the morning had us all eating out of his hand. (We're pathetic really – we love anyone who loves us back.) I would move to Denver, despite the altitude, just to live in a city where the mayor is such a devoted and creative museum-fan. Seriously. Look him up – he was apparently voted one of the Top 5 American Mayors recently. I know he'd get my vote.