Thursday, May 10, 2012


I go through these obsession phases with male historical figures.

In late elementary and early middle school, I was obsessed with Alexander the Great (in my defense he did rule all of the known world). To this day, I know the name of his horse, the various theories behind his death, the specs on his arch nemesis, and that his revolutionary war maneuver (the phalanx) looked a lot like a porcupine.

After Alex came Julius Caesar. This lasted through late middle school into early high school. I even took a class on Greek and Roman history and for years could name each of Rome's rulers in order (thankfully, that bit of knowledge has been replaced with a knack for being able to name the entire Cullen family).

After good old Jules came James Dean. This lasted from high school through early college. I can tell you about the car he died in, that his middle name was Byron and that he died before Giant came out. I can also tell you that he was disappointingly short.

After Jimmy, came...well. Perhaps I should explain this next one. I was in college, in the library, when this book (that happened to be shelved library style and therefore not easy to spot) caught my eye. This super attractive (in my opinion) guy was on the cover. And his name? Che. Now before you go judging me for my obsession with Ernesto "Che" Guevara, know this...I had zero clue who he was. I mean it's not like the book was titled "Che the Commie!" or something equally obvious. And I'm young!! I know who Fidel Castro is, but I never knew he had famed accomplices.

This meeting marked the beginning of a time in my life where I was stalked by Che. You may laugh (!) but I swear he was everywhere I went. My most prominent memory of this happened when Che followed me all the way to Turkey. I was there for a summer, and whose face showed up on the t-shirts, totes and pins that littered bazaar stands? His.

Now the only way to get rid of these obsessions was to research the heck out of the person. I'd usually tie it in to schoolwork (so it wasn't a complete waste of time), and would let the papers, presentations and reading material stack up until I felt I knew the person so well that I could move on. (If you like, I can make a compelling case for why Che would have been a much better leader than Castro). 

So recently, I stumbled upon this fellow named Doc Holiday (again, I'd never heard of him before. Sue me). As soon as I started reading about him, I felt the obsession begin to take hold. I needed more. More info. More theories. More urban legends surrounding this clever and cunning man of the wild west. My only problem was that I didn't have any school assignments. No papers or book reports through which to funnel my obsession.

It looked as though I was stuck.

And then Tad heard about suggested we watch Tombstone...

Ladies and gentlemen, nothing is more of an obsession buzzkill than seeing who Val Kilmer used to be.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

When Nature Attacks!!!!!!

Wow, it's been an eternity since I last posted. Sorry about that. I made a promise to post more, and not only did I break that promise, but I broke one of my blogging rules: Never make promises you can't keep.

Again, sorry.

It's not that my life is uneventful or boring or difficult to depict. Aside from busyness (which is the lamest excuse in the world, am I right youth pastors?), I just haven't had anything that was so crazy impossibly convoluted that it couldn't be shared in 140 characters or less.

Until today.

Some background: I'm not a fan of nature. I get scared when I'm in open country, and I really dislike the sun in a very fair-complected-can't-see-without-squinting-can't-exist-without-getting-sunburned sort of way. So I avoid nature at all cost.

But since moving to this house that is in front of a forest (woods? forest? serial killer hiding spot? is there an appropriate term here?), nature has been on the attack.

So you may or may not have heard about my snakes (plural!) escapade. I was at home, minding my own business, when Helo had to go outside. So, we went to the side entrance, I opened the door to the landing and noticed something rope-like in the corner. I stared, and stared, and kept staring, thinking I was making it up (it's dark in our landing!), and then I realized. Snakes.

Not one, but two. Two garter snakes had made it into the house and were hanging out by the side door. One was SUPER long. We're talking at least 2 feet. Its body was the circumference of a quarter, and it was trying to slither UP THE DOOR. The other was a little guy. Maybe 10 inches. It kept popping out FROM UNDERNEATH THE WALL.

Now I'm not the screaming type. In a tense situation, I may yell out orders or furrow my brow, but I don't scream. So when I saw the snakes, I shuddered, took an abrupt step back and moved on to thinking about what the heck I was going to do to get rid of them. (Turns out, you can get snakes out of the house the same way you get birds out of the house).

While solving the snake problem, I decided to use the FRONT door. (See how smart I am?!). We have a bunch of rocks for a walkway instead of you know...civilized concrete or stepping stones. While making my way to the driveway, I noticed a rock that looked like a brain.

Upon closer inspection I realized that this rock was in fact the top portion of a squirrel's skull. Teeth, eye sockets, brain-y skull ridges. The whole shebang.

Right after the Snake and Squirrel Skull situations, our back yard was invaded by butterflies. And not like pretty, fluttery things that keep their distance. No, we're talking maniac dive-bombers who would fly right at me and try to land on my shirt or skin. Let's just say for that entire week, I took the long way through the back yard to get to Helo's romping grounds.

Number of snakes I have seen slithering around the yard while I'm mowing: 2

Today, I was mowing the lawn (an activity that I love yet am quickly growing to hate). I was minding my own business, mowing by this tree that is between our garage and a fence. There are tons of sticks there, so I was keeping an eye out for ... OH MY WORD WHAT IS THAT RUNNING AT ME?!

A crazy squirrel (probably the son of the squirrel whose skull I found), ran at me full speed. He smacked into my bare naked leg and bounced off.

This time, I screamed.

He did a few crazy man spins (at which point I thought he was going to come back for more) before he scooted under the fence and disappeared. (Tad has made the point that he probably had watched Helo do the very same thing to me...bounce off my body before spinning around like a crazy man...but I don't think this particular rodent was trying to play).

Now for the record, squirrels are surprisingly soft and cuddly. But that did nothing to ease my anxiety.

I kept mowing and all I could think about was whether or not I had rabies.

Then this guy was standing on the neighbor's driveway, watching me. I shut off the mower, thinking he was going to ask if I was ok or something.

"Hey," he said, "Have you seen a white cat?"

And then it all made sense.

I am Nature's Gatekeeper.