Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I got to see a lot of my extended family over the last weekend. And the weekend overall turned out to be very nice. These people inspire in me loyalty, love, astonishment, and fear. By-passing all that, here are the top three comments directed at me over the weekend:
-"How do you like living in Orange County?" (Delivered along with tense smile which intoned "is is possible to live in Orange County?")
-"Are you going to have another baby?" (I get this one all the time and as of yet they don't find my reply satisfying - which is that my dissertation is the 'child' I'm currently nurturing.)
-"That bar was amazing!"

That's right. I grew up within striking distance of a bar that GQ magazine* rated as the best bar in the world!??
*(who cares what GQ thinks; I say it is remarkable.)

If you're ever on I-90 headed across Montana then you have to stop at the Sip n Dip.** It is a totally random 'tiki' bar in the middle of the mid-West (in a town that is mid-western in every sense of the word).
**(You will need to stop because there's not a lot on I-90 between Fargo and Seattle.)

Here's the pics. This place appears to be an inferno waiting to happen (lights strung through 40-year old raffia). Pat plays a vicious piano bar (we heard "Ring of Fire"). They serve fish bowl mixed drinks and employ a mermaid to swim around behind the bar. Simply - Amazing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

last salute

Little S and I are heading out tomorrow for my parent's house and I can't wait. I've been there mentally since Saturday when they called to tell me that my grandmother was no more of this world. This wasn't a surprise, but still it is sad.

I wrote the obit over the weekend which was cathartic and annoying. Newspapers are so parsimonious; I struggled to reduce the breadth of ninety-four years into trite and dry lines of text. I can say, with a certain degree of glee, that I think I failed. I tried to turn a long life of experiences into "just the facts." Thus, she became "well-known" for gregariousness and ready laughter and even "renown" - among her grandchildren - for outsmarting their childish pranks. But I couldn't work in my favorite anecdote that I will regale you with (both of you). My great-uncle knew my grandma and all of her sisters well (there were nine altogether) and he said each of the Charvet girls was a general in her own right - smart, capable, and, most definitely, in charge. But, he added, out of all the girls, Henrietta, "she was the generalissimo."

So, if you're out over the weekend, I hope you'll tip a glass with me in memory of the generalissimo.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I recently ventured out of my cave. Like any caged animal, I was cautious and timid and a bit unwilling to leave. I gradually re-called my frolicsome past and enjoyed my time in the sun - before becoming overwhelmed and exhausted by the outside world. Now, I have returned to the familiar security - and confines - of my cave.

Some observations derived from my time on the outside:
-Salt Lake City is quite lovely in the winter
-a one-hour time (zone) change is enough to induce sleep deprivation (likewise getting up for events at 8 AM). Sleep deprivation feels like a hangover.
-the big "P" always offers sound advice. P told me to get out of the cave and go to SLC. I went prepared for an experience similar to last year. But the people I met there were great. They talked about real problems (historic and current) and, for the most part, real solutions.
-I did not forget my social skills during my months in the cave, but I may over-compensate for my lack of interaction when on the outside. Be warned.
-Hailani-Kay Trask is a rock star. I heard her talk on colonialism, Hawai'ian liberation and political activism (while she noted that "post-modernity is just a [useless] magic show"). She was inspiring.
-Linda Tuhiwai Te Rena Smith - also a rock star.
-I am doing work that other people actually find interesting!
-the sick feeling I had during the week prior to my outing was not just the stomach flu (which I really did have thanks to 5-year old). It was - in part - anxiety. R tells me this doesn't go away until the defense. I can't live with it for that long. Take pity on this creature-in-the-cave and share with me your relaxation strategies. Please.