I’m trying to remember what happened in 2009, and honestly, it seems like things were pretty quiet, which must mean that we’re getting old in a hurry or that I need to get a little bit more imaginative when it comes to this “annual pack of lies,” as a friend puts it. My only hope is that next year, our friend Oscar will let me tell the sans pantalones story.

Baseball: Part Deux

You might remember a certain baseball trip from far back in the history of this annual holiday where Joel and I spent a long weekend going to ballgames in Baltimore, New York, and Boston. We (or rather, he) had a good time, only I drank too much iced tea and almost passed out in the car when traffic came to a halt between Philadelphia and New York and there wasn’t a rest area in sight. This time around, Joel found a three-day baseball weekend featuring the Anaheim Angels, the San Diego Padres, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. While Joel fulfilled a childhood fantasy of eating a Dodger dog while standing next to a poster of Don Drysdale, I spent the trip trying to deter-mine which ballpark had the best sno-cones, which was fine by me (San Diego by a landslide). Only this time, I remembered not to drink so much iced tea before getting on the road.

Joel Pleads the Case

Joel Pleads the Case

Dave’s Lamentation Salsa: So Good It’ll Make You Cry!

Ah yes, our annual family tradition of gathering and making as much salsa as we think we’ll need for the upcoming year. You’d think we’d have learned by now that we could just buy salsa (oh—the sacrilege!), but I think we now have too much fun saying things like “It’s hotter this year than last year!” and “Do you think 27 gallons will be enough?” After packing suitcases with 42 pounds of habaneros, serranos, tortillas, and tamales, Joel and I boarded a flight for the trip north only to have the same 42 pounds of hotness defrost on my favorite purple wrap. On the plus side, the stench of hot peppers is nearly out, so you no longer have to stand upwind from me. On the not-so-plus side, the genius idea of adding tequila to the salsa didn’t occur to anyone until the very last batch, so those jars are hard to come by. Caryn gets high marks for now having us so organized that we now have t-shirts to commemorate each year’s salsa batch. If you have slogan ideas, send them along. If yours is chosen, we’ll send you your winning t-shirt.

You Take Your Dogs for a Walk, We Take Ours for a Roll

You know it’s bad when soccer moms stop their minivans so that the kids can point and laugh. And before you make the obvious joke of said urchins laughing at me, they’re laughing at Reba, who has this funky thing for rolling on unsuspecting neighbors’ lawns. (Think “Young Frankenstein” and “Roll, roll, roll in the hay!” and you’ve got the right idea.) She walks up and dives snout first into the Lakewood neighborhood’s finest Bermuda grass and proceeds to roll and roll and roll. Muddy and I are stuck there, hoping that we don’t have to explain ourselves.

Something Is Rotten in Denmark

Mom and I spent a happy week in Copenhagen and Sweden trying to find Die Lille Havfrau (the Little Mermaid), haunting Hamlet’s castle at Elsinore, and drinking a whole lot of beer while walking and walking and walking. There was a slightly scary moment when I fell asleep on the train to Gothenburg and thought that I wound up in Norway without a passport, but the person next to me was kind enough to deliver a swift elbow to the ribs to save me a dinner of lutefisk. Next up: yoga and surf camp in Mexico. You know, because yoga and surfing come so naturally to people from land-locked states.

Scene and Overheard…

  • “Quid Pro Crow”—While the original means something for something (or something like that), we find that this bastardization of this phrase pretty much sums up our marriage. Which leads me to…
  • “Luscious—that’s your P.I.M.P. name!”—Joel proclaimed this when he was debating whether it really was worth the trade of having to give me a footrub in order to receive a backrub. We did make the trade, but ever since then, I’ve seen Joel sur-reptitiously eyeing jewelry ads, looking for a little extra bling for himself. Maybe Santa will bring him a gold grill for his teeth…
  • “Crusty, Meet Sparkles”—Much to our chagrin, Joel and I finally had to break down and get a new car this year. And for those of you wondering if a car to ever come into contact with me was worth anything, it was—to the Texas Service Dog organi-zation. We figured that any car that had been through almost ten years of Reba and Muddy could not be de-dogged, so we donated it to the dogs. So, while the crusty red Subaru remains, it’s now joined by the sparkly black one, in which Muddy and Reba are not allowed. (Joel actually looks a bit iffy whenever I get in Sparkles, or worse yet, drive. He’s afraid that my car, Crusty, is contagious.)
  • Mom, the Chief Harlot—My cousin Marilee married the very tall Matt (we’re banking on him to center all family photos and to possibly reintroduce height into our family line) in glorious Hamilton, Montana this past summer. This gave us all the chance to spend a couple of days wandering around the Bitterroot Mountains and soaking up lots of family togetherness. While I’m certain that my father is proud beyond belief to be married to the Chief Harlot, alas, we really stayed in the Chief Charlot cabin. I still think my pronunciation is far more entertaining.

We hope this letter finds you and yours happy and well. And should you find yourself down this way, the beer is cold, the salsa mind-blowing hot, and the spare bedroom is all yours. We’ll even try to keep the dogs off the bed for you!