Thursday, October 29, 2009

The expressions of rain and absolutely fabulous Halloween costumes

In London, the rain 'pisses' or 'lashes.' In Oklahoma, the rain 'pours,' often in quantities of cats and dogs. It also 'buckets.' And if there's one thing this state does, it's rain. In Tulsa, there's an average annual rainfall of 39-40" a year, compared to Seattle at 36". The difference is, ours comes all at once. In buckets. And to borrow the UK term, it lashes down. I remember school being cancelled mid-day because of flash floods, where water would accumulate so fast that you arrive when the pavement's dry and by lunch, you're sloshing to class in water up to your thighs. (Who decided to build a school on a flood plain? Anyone?) I remember sleeping in my sneakers as a small child during tornado season in case we had to make a run for it in the middle of the night. This state is INSANE.

I'm looking out the window as I type this (at 9:15 in the morning), and the sky is black and roaring and the thunder is rumbling so low you can feel it inside your body before you actually realize it's a sound. It won't necessarily be cold out--these storms don't mind the heat nor do they alter it--but you can be sure that roadside ditches will be full of rushing water and all the cars will have their lights on. We knew this storm was coming from the winds last night, nearly pushing us over when we were walking outside. That's something else Oklahoma can do: wind. But I won't start on that subject today, because one, I'm already in danger of over-talking the weather, two, I'm too lazy to look up comparative wind stats, and three, I think the phrase 'Tornado Alley' speaks for itself.

I personally love it. Violent weather, that is. Then again, I'm also not driving to Oklahoma City today; my mother is. She'll be groaning the full two hours to my grandparents' house. It's going to be great.

Here are some pictures I took on my phone of my nieces' Halloween costumes last night:

I think Hunter was going as The Morning After, although my sister insists she had a Hannah Montana wig lying around somewhere. Also, when Hunter first walked into the room, I totally did a double-take, because she looked EXACTLY like my sister at that age and I was like, 'Past? Is that you?' She also looked like my sister at sixteen getting home at two o'clock in the morning, although that could have just been the green eyeshadow playing tricks with my eyes.

This is Peyton, who is apparently going as a Demented Princess. Peyton (a.k.a. PeyPey or Peepers) is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to photograph, even when you're not using an iphone. She is living proof that a perpetual motion machine actually exists. You could NOT get her to hold still. By the time I'd kneel down with my camera, I'd be zooming in to a picture of her back running 20 yards away. This picture above was snapped with phone in a rare moment in which she contemplated the pro's and con's of entering the bouncy house to her right. (Pro's won.)

Here is what a picture of PeyPey usually looks like:

Let's check out Hunter in her Party Girl costume again. I mean, 'Hannah Montana.' Right. I know whenever I'm smearing black eyeliner all over my face (I'm not as precise as my sister was with her daughter) and dolloping on gobs of shimmery green eyeshadow, I'm TOTALLY thinking 'teen popstar.' Also, I NEVER look this good. Alissa, I hope your makeup services are for hire.

Aren't those freckles killer?! They're so perfect. Not too much, not too little--just a fine smattering across the nose! You can't DRAW them any better than that! And trust me--when I was young, I tried.

And in conclusion...more pictures of The Demented Princess:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

two little girls from oklahoma

I feel like I may have exhibited a bit TOO much of the dark side of my nature in that last post. I mean, schadenfreude is something that nobody should admit to, let alone on the world wide web in front of EVERYBODY.  So now I'm thinking I should post something NICE on TOP of it and nobody will scroll down and they'll think THIS is my post, and then I look good again.

These shots are of my niece and her friend. They were both so beautiful, so 'Faces of America,' so...innocent, that I couldn't get over it. Please love them with me:

So many good things, all in one day: Tulsa, Oklahoma

I saw a girl I used to go to high school with at the Pioneer Woman cookbook signing last night and she TOTALLY got fat. I was going to go up to say hi to her just to show her that I DIDN'T get fat--at least, relatively speaking--but then I thought about how immature that would be, so I decided to ignore her altogether. As though I didn't SEE her. Or recognize her. Because, you know, she got fat. She looks WAY different. Especially in that round bit around her face.

She used to be a track and cross country star, super tall and skinny and snobby. I think that's why this development feels so satisfying. Kind of like this girl I knew in elementary school who was all long, glossy, flipped hair and all, 'I've been on STAR Search and I'm a CHEERLEADER and all the boys know who I AM,' and then at recess one day she kicks you off the monkey bars because they were the COOL KID monkey bars and you're NOT a Cool Kid, so you have to go use the NERD monkey bars, the small, bad ones way over there, and so you let go of the bar and drop to the ground and scuff over to the small monkey bars and feel like a tiny piece of dirt, but you HAVE to obey her because she's shinier and has lots of shiny, laughing friends and from then on every time you see her in the cafeteria glossing around, you feel your blood boiling with anger and helplessness, and then later in college you see her at the mall and she's  all fat and pushing a STROLLER, and you're finally validated because check THAT, at least you don't have a BABY at 18, you're actually in COLLEGE, and are those MATERNITY jeans? And also you get  to tell her that now she has to go play on the PREGNANT TEEN monkey bars because this set is for VIRGINS. Except you say it in a way that makes virginity sound cool. Except you actually don't say any of it, you just THINK it, but it still feels just as good, and then the rest of the day you swish around feeling like a million bucks.

Speaking of the Pioneer Woman's cookbook signing: Professor-Mama Gray and I pulled up to the Tulsa Historical Society about twenty minutes before the signing was due to begin, and the parking lot was so full we had to drive about an hour away and walk. And we had barely squeezed ourselves in to the standing-room-only space when the announcement came that all the cookbooks had sold out. Oh, yes. SOLD OUT. And there are women walking around holding STACKS of them and I was like, 'Hey! You book hogs!' even though I was 'technically' going to buy a couple myself. But despite that setback, we still got super cool free tee shirts and cupcakes and got to hear a Q & A session with Ree (we're on a first-name basis) and it was lovely. Here are Mama Gray and I wearing our shirts later and looking super-fantastic:

We also had dinner at Elmer's BBQ (motto: 'we be bad'), and honestly, it was the best bbq EVER, and just got  me more excited for Memphis with Dinana. I got the chopped pork and fried okra and it was INCREDIBLE. Check out the grease stains on the wax paper:

(taken with my phone; forgive the quality)

Elmer's ALSO smokes their own meat AND makes their own amazing bbq sauce. I KNOW. It was heaven in a basket.

I just got back from lunch with two high school friends who are now blissfully hitched with a gorgeous baby. It was wild. I love the sort of friends that you can talk to once every ten years and pick up right where you left off. It's trascendental.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get ready for tonight's Fall Festival with my nieces. According to the flyer, there will be 'CANDY AND GAMES! FREE FOOD! FACE PAINTING! AMAZING BALLOON ARTIST!' I'm going to see if this balloon artist can make me an armadillo riding a bicycle  balloon to match the armadillo riding the bicycle I'm going to have painted on my face. I LOVE FALL FESTIVALS.

Monday, October 26, 2009

No task but to live

You came! You really came! I love you more today than yesterday.

Here's the poem that speaks of the heart of the next few months:

And that's why I have to go back
to so many places in the future,
there to find myself
and constantly examine myself
with no witness but the moon
and then whistle with joy,
ambling over rocks and clods of earth,
with no task but to live
with no family but the road.

--Pablo Neruda, End of the World (Wind)