Thursday, June 29, 2006

Fruity Philosophy

A few weeks ago, my pal, Jennifer, left me a contemplative voice mail that I haven't been able to forget. She'd purchased a bag of apricots and while the majority of them were unfit for eating, two or three of the little orange buggers were perfectly beyond delicious. "Was it worth buying the whole bag of shitty apricots just to experience the joy of those exquisite few?" she asked my answering machine. It had no answers for her, only rude beeps, so she hung up.

Jen's Bag O'Fruit inquiry launched me in to deep contemplation. In one way or another, I've been asking myself that same question over and over again with regards to my recent romantic drama. Was it worth the current heartache plus a lifetime of never knowing what really happened just to be ridiculously over-the-moon in love for just those four short months? Was experiencing the drastic beauty of all that daily correspondence worth today's crushing weight of silence? Was the act of taking the Big Dive more important than the fact that there was not even one goddamn drop of water in the pool?

I believe that what passes for the modern sage (Hallmark, Oprah, Citibank, Dr. Phil) might reiterate the trite belief that 'it is better having loved and lost than never having loved at all.' Of course, none of these folks/corporate entities moved across country just so they could live a mile from their ex, I'm sure.

Naturally, the question goes far beyond matters of a broken heart. Was it worth my concussion to learn how to snowboard? No. Was hosting a giant ravenous worm in my hip worth three months camping in Africa? Yes. Was it worth getting thrown in jail for public indecency back in the '80s? Um, not sure - I can't remember.

But the current question remains: Was my effort to move to Denver worth the pain of having the love I moved here for evaporate almost immediately? It seems much too early to tell but I suppose I should look on the bright side:

Apricots are in season.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Caffeinated KISS and Darwin's Dead Pet

When folks ask me why I don't write fiction, I can only respond, "What, the real world isn't weird enough for you?" Truly, is there a pressing need to make stuff up? I respectfully submit two very recent examples:

Exhibit A: Desperately holding on to the last remaining shreds of their fame and/or dignity, the members of the 70s rock band, KISS, have opened up a themed coffee house. That's right, you heard me. Yesterday, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (?), desperate, aging rockers Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons were on hand for the ribbon cutting and expressed high hopes for their new venture.

According to Paul Stanley, "The KISS Coffeehouse is our way of providing everyone with the buzz of great, quality treats and coffee filled with enough sugar and caffeine to get the party started, and keep it going!"

This from a band second only to the Beatles in gold records and the only thing that remains is quality fucking treats?!? FYI: These include Demon Dark Roast, French Kiss Vanilla and their specially trademarked, Rockuccino!

Swear to god, I'll make a special trip, fly out to SC and order twelve of everything if these guys will only put their make-up back on. I never did forgive them for that.

Exhibit B: Long mistaken for a guy, Harriet the Tortoise took it all in stride during her 176 years. Believed to have been taken from the Galapagos Islands by Charles Darwin in 1835, Harriet finally passed on this week. She was said to be one of the oldest living creatures on the planet and at 330-pounds was fetchingly full-figured. Little known fact: (Sprightly and fiercely competitive in her youth, Harriet was also the inspiration for the famous 'Tortoise and the Hare' fable.)

Er ... okay, I made that last part up but this only proves that I could never make a good Tom Wolfe, Stephen King or even a worthy Jayson Blair.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Endless Summer

To celebrate this strange newfangled season they have here in Colorado, I set out this morning, determined to have a day of pure summery fabulousity (take that, Spellcheck!) First, I went to a nearby Farmer's Market and happily cruised aisles bursting with fresh produce, grass-fed beef, homemade tortillas, dogs, babies and one small bluegrass band thrown in for good measure. I walked away with makins' for Mandarin sun tea, a bag of ripe apricots and some fresh roasted green chilies. Yum.

At this point in my Saturday, I'm feeling pretty damn brilliant. That all changed when I went and got a bikini wax. That's right, I paid someone to rip out my most sensitive naturals. It felt like a summery thing to do but as my red welts and I did our best cowpoke waddle out of the salon, my 'genius' waned. (I like to alternate the wisdom levels of my decisions - intense cleverness followed by outright stupidity followed by a dash of savvy. Rinse, and repeat.)

So, I crossed the street and bought some lemonade (and a free cookie!) from some enterprising young girls on the corner of Pearl and Virginia for only 25 cents. They were saving money to ride the paddleboats at Washington Park. As a former-lemonade-stand-girl, I wanted to hug them all. As a full grown subscriber to The Wall Street Journal, I wanted to advise them to raise their prices ASAP or they'd all be there until next summer.

Next, I met up with my fine new friend, Kath, in Lakewood. (Those who know me well understand the irony of me traveling across country only to end up in Lakewood. Once again, no lake in sight.) We had a great patio lunch and cruised some shops. Again, in celebration of the season, I bought a purty new sundress and a pink ice cream maker. Between the two, I expect limitless joy.

Then, just to extend that lovely, sunny feeling, we went to see Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" which carefully and completely illustrates the case for global warming. Trouble is, anyone that would see this film already knows what kind of trouble we are in so it is, unfortunately, preaching to the choir. Still, I admire the man for taking his message out there, working it as hard as he can.

Basically, since the industrial revolution - and the last 30 years in particular - we've been cooking the Earth's atmosphere with our love of fossil fuels. This creates a situation which traps more of the sun's heat, thus, sparking a rise in temperatures on land and most tragically, at sea. We've seen the warning signs already (heat waves, melting glaciers, freak rains/floods, vicious hurricanes, etc.) but within the next 50 years, our little blue marble is going to become increasingly ... er, pink - not to mention, incredibly moist, as in, underwater. Manhattan, downtown San Francisco (!) and that flaccid part of Florida? Gone. That's right, as a nation, we stand to lose all our stockbrokers, hipsters and golfers which would cripple us as a world superpower and no, I don't think FEMA-issued floaties will help.

And that's just us, not to mention other parts of the world. Of course, the U.S. is the worst offender in this. ("We're Number One! Fuck, YEAH!") Yup, we're that guy that wants to kill themselves and take everyone with us, kinda like those suicide bombers that are so en vogue these days. Truth is, until we wake up and smell the coffee, we will continue to be that asshole.

When Karen and I emerged from the theatre, an epic thunderstorm had moved in and was dumping torrential rain on the helpless humans. I thought about the day's purchases sitting in my gas-guzzling Ford truck as I watched folks in flip-flops and t-shirts run from the weather's sudden fury. For the second time that day, I didn't feel so smart. I pondered the famous Gandhi quote ("You must be the change you want to see in the world") and realized I'd have to do some serious coffee-smelling myself. Sigh.

Well, at least I'll have plenty of ice cream.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Back in the

Until I find me some horses this weekend, I am without a direct conduit to the Great Spirit or a support network, I'm going a little mad over here on Milwaukee Street. To tide me over, I've enlisted the heathen's oasis, Craigslist.

Mock if you must but when is the last time you prayed for anything and actually got results? Meanwhile, the temple of CL rarely disappoints. Even now, I sit here waiting for some guy named John to pick me up and take me to the Ogden (formerly Denver's leading vaudeville house) to see Hank Williams III and The Murder Junkies. Don't know a heap about Hank III except that I liked his grandfather and he's not playing in my living room. The name of the game is distraction, folks.

I spent the better part of this afternoon IM'ing with a playful Dane in town for a convention. He warned me he was going to send a nude photo, which he did - of his feet! This is the sort of harmless stuff a girl can live on from hour to hour until she can get her head together and every so gently, pull it out of her ass.

Last week, I was the dinner guest of a mountain photographer residing in Littleton. He lived alone but the place was huge. Each room was designated for a different hobby, "And this is for gaming - notice the console? This one is for sewing, that's right - I sew." Very interesting stuff. Mind you, nothing to set my heart or loins aflame but they are both in the doghouse right now anyway and not allowed to come out and play until fall. (Okay, maybe just the heart is grounded.)

Brick by brick, I am exploring my new community, one hopeful ad at a time. As my father, who has never touched a computer nor seen the internet commented to me the other evening, "Boy, that online thing is really handy, isn't it?"

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Weenie Roast

Men of the Modern World - Beware! All those hours spent dutifully downloading porn, battling the mythic underworld and shopping for a new couch on Craigslist may, in fact, singe your willie to the (debatable) detriment of the species.

Turns out, balancing your smoking hot laptop on the family jewels may not be the best thing for one's 'nads. Cooked sperm, anyone?

Apparently, the heat from the machine causes an increase in 'scrotal temperature' - which is a great name for a band, btw - and boils the little buggers until a tapping an egg is the last thing on their highly-focused lil' minds. If that doesn't scare you, how about having your penis aflame? Medical journals are full of crazy stuff like this.

I can already see the right wing PSA campaign on this one: "Save a Child - Use a Table!"

Monday, June 19, 2006

Woozy and Wing-less

So far, my time here in Denver has been chock full of reminders that I am but a mere mortal. Dehydration headaches, shoulder sunburns and dried out eyeballs point out that I'm just a high-functioning hunk of meat loping around, at the mercy of the elements. Surely, angels and goddesses do not deal with such discomforts.

I joined a Boulder-based hiking group and made my debut on Sunday. Met up with a nice bunch of folks, led by HikingBob, and set off for Lost Lake, just outside Nederland, one of the last, great hard-core hippie outposts. Busy waterfalls, aspen groves and gorgeous wildflowers (I now know Columbine, the state flower) greeted us along the way. When we stopped for lunch, I picked a sunny spot on a rock at the lake's edge and looked up at the mountains, spotted and streaked with stark, white snow. Unbelievably stunning. 'Holy cow, I live here,' I thought to myself.

Though the hike wasn't difficult (about three miles round-trip, up to 9,000 feet,) I think I bolted out of the gate too fast in the beginning. My fellow hikers who knew I'd recently moved from sea level, warned me to take it slow. It wasn't until I started to feel dizzy and a tad naseous, that I took them seriously.

All during the post-hike potluck Sunday evening and on into Monday, I felt drunk and lethargic, minus the actual party. I felt like I was moving through mud in some weird dream state. This Sunday, HB will take us to somewhere called "The Loch" - I'll try to use my brain more than my feet this time, until I become that superhuman mountain momma that is my destiny.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

That Was Yesterday But This Is Today

First, let's get the self-congratulatory business out of the way: This marks my 100th posting here at ClizBiz and if I wasn't so lazy, I'd bake myself a cyber-cake. What began as a my own private 'writing gym' has become much more than a place to bench press 10-lb. verbs or outrun dangling participles.

Taking stock of my life today, I can see how this space has provided a forum for some very necessary and often dangerous self-exploration. It is also easy to forget that anyone actually reads it. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I had a food/restaurant column in a daily newspaper. I received some fan mail and the occasional bits of hate mail (my favorite: "You suk!") but seeing the paper on the newsstand or watching it run through the printing press, I was always aware that my words landed on people's doorstep and I had an actual, tangible audience. The proof was right there, in the advertising media rate cards.

This blog is more like throwing personal jewelry into a black ocean - not only do I never know if the trinkets will hit bottom, be swallowed by a fish or be discovered by some wayward explorer, it is actually not even the point. The goal is getting my fingers around something internal, articulating it as a thought and flinging it outward - letting it go whether the world cares or not.

Now then, a bit of irony to enjoy. My latest relationship with Man, came about because he'd read my blog and we began a correspondence. Flash forward four months and it crumbles. He hurts me, I hurt him back via the very same blog and now, we are, more or less, even. (Animosity and bitterness are heavy weights to carry around in 95-degree weather - on this, we both agree.)

Meanwhile, an angel from the Denver blogging community reaches out to me on the exact day when I need it most and invites me out for a night on the town with friends. The triple healing powers of Kath, Karen and Jamie had me dancing and laughing until 4:00 a.m. this morning and for this, I am forever in their gratitude.

All hail the power of the written word.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Million Shiny Red Pieces

Remember the Superman character who whisked me up into the atmosphere and stole my heart? Seems the Man has butterfingers and, as a result, carelessly dropped it from 40,000 feet. Turns out, hearts full of blind love don't bounce.

A little over a week after my arrival in Denver, I was dumped by email for not being spiritually evolved. Mind you, I'm no stranger to heartbreak but this was something else. Very high-tech, very New Age, very cowardly. Amidst my swings from confused heartache to white hot rage, I consider what it means to be spiritually enlightened.

I'm as simple-minded as the next drooling human but some lessons are innate. Not all universal wisdom can be gleaned from pouring over texts or meditating for hours on end. Even in my crude state as a spiritual midget, I have stumbled across these clues:

Be Nice: Harder than it looks, apparently. The photo here shows a billboard in - where else? - North Dakota that gently reminds folks to say their 'please' and 'thank-you's.'

Be Aware: This one is easy, just ask yourself: "Does everyone on the SuperShuttle want to hear about my date as I jabber on my cell to my equally vacuous roommate? Does my five-year-old kicking the back of the airline seat bother the person who is actually sitting in it? Does my high-pitched cackling not fit in with the mood at the wake?" This relates directly to Clue #1.

Be Grateful: This one takes consistency and the occasional angle-shifting. For example, though my cupid's arrow turned out to be rusty and infectious, we did not co-habitate, pro-create or take any vows. I do not need to hire a lawyer and for this, I am grateful. See? Now you try.

Be Present:
At the urging of my truly enlightened friend, Heidi, and the nudging of He-Who-Wishes-He-Were-Enlightened-Ex, I have been practicing living in the present moment. Sounds simple but it poses a challenge for most of us who always have our minds churning over the past or worrying about the future. Still, I'm starting to get the hang of it. For example, upon waking Sunday morning and pondering my imminent romantic doom, I quickly discover blood in my urine and a cold sore on my lip (ah, a souvenir.) With no idea where to go or what to do, I go online to find an open emergency room. At that moment, a bird flies onto my balcony and hops up to my window. He looks in, chirps at me a few times, and flies off. This has not happened before or since and I took it as a sign that things could only get better. They didn't, of course, but it's a nice story, isn't it?

Listen: We all need practice here. Sure, we hear things but truly processing what these sounds mean? We are devolving. Our ears are constantly stuffed with technologies but there is less clarification going on. This also relates back to Clue #4. I stopped wearing my headphones on my hikes when I realized that music pulled me into the past or the future but made me ignore the present - i.e,. birds chirping, other hikers greeting me, dogs barking, trees creaking - I was missing it all! Also, when talking to people, try not to think about what you are going to say next until (eventually) they shut up. Ideally, others will try to do the same but I'm warning you, it's becoming a lost art.

Okay, that's it. That's all I know. Perhaps Ex-Man is right and I know nothing but dammit, I stand proudly by my religious ignorance. I prefer to take this path on sheer instinct, like a blind man tracking down fresh baked bread instead of just being fed a loaf that's been on the shelf for days. Not by accident, our souls are hermetically sealed in separate containers and while we may ask for directions along the way, ultimately, the journey is done alone - which is so convenient since I am now completely solo.

As for Love? Looks like it's back to the drawing board but I think good things are to come ... a little bird told me so.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Neighborhood

Ah, the luxury of space. I'd forgotten how much I missed it. Every morning and evening, I take meals on my west-facing balcony. Though the white noise of I-25 whirs consistently, I mostly experience an array of vivid green trees, warm summer breezes and breathtaking sunsets. (I'd love to share photos but can't seem to find my digital camera - or my clocks or my dishes, for that matter.)

Sure, in SF, I had the looming drama of the Presidio but I had to wade through legions of mansions to get to it. This neighborhood is more my style - open porches, dogs barking, friendly folks watering their lawns and bicyclists everywhere. My job is bringing me back to SF next week and I'll be curious to see how it looks and feels to me as a non-citizen. I wouldn't be surprised if I froze my ass off, just like all the other tourists.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Starting From Scratch

Talk about a warm welcome. My first week in Denver and it is blazing HOT, every day brings 90+ degree weather. After nine years in San Francisco, I am accustomed to wearing wool in July. My skin has a shiny white fog tan and my wardrobe is mostly black. I own one pair of shorts, which I have been wearing every day since May 28.

The heat, combined with the mile-high altitude, make for a sluggish new Denver-ite. I cannot seem to get enough water in my system or lotion on my skin. Instead of moody mist, I witness indecisive storm clouds borne of early summer humidity. My body is confused - Where is the ocean? How do I get to sleep without the foghorn? What happened to wearing make-up? Hey look, I have a scar on my knee. Who knew?

Furthermore, The Man keeps me on the bicycle no matter where we go. He'll surely have me in shape by the end of summer. I must say, it is mighty exhilirating to blaze past long lines of cars stuck in traffic. As much as I loved riding the bus, the independence and health benefits of the two-wheeled lifestyle could become addictive. Once my body adjusts to the local elements, the internal compass resets and I finally obtain a new pair of shorts, there will be no stopping me.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Colorado Citizen

As I sit here trying to adequately sum up my arrival in Denver, I realize there is some serious blues guitar coming directly through the hot water heater. The first night in my new apartment in a new state and I am serenaded by one of my appliances. Such a perfect welcome.

I'm told an old woman lives below and though I will undoubtedly meet Esther many times, she will rarely remember me. Sadly, she is dealing with Alzheimer's and every day is full of strangers. Perhaps this is why Esther loves the Blues.

Thanks to the organizational skills of my father and the superhuman strength of my boyfriend, all of my worldly crap has been successfully unloaded. Boxes, boxes everywhere. I have sworn that I plan to get rid of half of my worldly goods. Unfortunately, I not only announced this out loud but there were witnesses. Damn.

Still, most of my things belong to a Heather of a different time, a different era. That Heather truly needed feather boas in every color, tubes of eye glitter and leather boots of varying heights. This Heather needs her laptop and not much else. However, I consistently wrestle with what 'need' truly means when it comes to Things. It's an ongoing struggle.

Meanwhile, Denver is HOT. It was 91 degrees today and tomorrow promises more of the same. I'm used to wearing wool in July so this will take some adjustment. A real summer! On schedule and everything! Also, I heard a distant noise and assumed it was the foghorn that I'd grown so used to. My ears will have to readjust to new noises and my parched skin will need to drink more.

Mainly, it just feels great to finally be here. After pining for change for so long, it has arrived and I feel rejuvenated by all the unknowns around me. I can hardly wait to see what Colorado has in store for me.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Denver Eve

Driving across the wide expanse of Wyoming today, I played games with myself. My favorite, "Guess the Road Kill" where I try to determine the former state of a blob of smushed flesh. Fur remnants offer clues - mostly deer, some raccoon and the occasional unlucky rodent.

Okay, I'm stalling. Fact is, I have some large-winged concerns fluttering around in my stomach. What if Denver doesn't like me? What if the mountains don't take me in? What if The Man takes one look at all the crap in my U-Haul, comes to his senses and ends it right there on the spot?

Well, anyway, it's too late now. I'm in. I'm done. I'm now a resident of Colorado. Crossing the state border today, I got a thrill - it's beautiful! Kinda like meeting the man your parents have arranged for you to marry and finding out he is a sweet-natured hottie.

I'll miss being on the road with Papa Clisby but can't say the same about the Whiskey Dews - Dad's nightly cocktail of Canadian Mist whiskey and Mountain Dew. Somehow, the caffeine, sugar and alcohol end up battling one another and no one really wins. Still, I drink 'em because...well, this is the kind of father-daughter bonding rituals that happen in the Clisby family. I prefer not to miss them.