Category Archives: Gather Round

su nombre

People can’t seem to remember my name – and it’s not half as complicated as John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.

My name is Caroline, as in Caroline Kennedy or Caroline in the City (the precursor to Sex in the City, duh) or my personal fave, Caroline Manzo from the impassioned cast of Real House Wives of NJ. And no, it is not Carolyn. Caroline, like a straight y=mx+b sort of line. Now that the formal introduction is complete, we can move onto drinks in the drawing room and listen to the piano man.

The valiant Ezekiel, a custodianal hero, hailing from Mexico City, comes by every day pleasant and smiling at work. He asks me what I’m studying, how my day is… we talk about such important things as being sleepy or what’s for dinner. But without fail, “Su nombre!!?!?!?!” I reply “Esta bien senor. Mi llamo Carolina!” He will forget again tomorrow. If he just wanted to let it go and talk about beer or how many days left before the weekend that would be ok with me.

It’s not only native Spanish speakers that have trouble remembering me.

There is a white and portly man named Billy that is boiling over with friendliness and merriment. He works for a cat skiing operation up in Crested Butte. My boyfriend, his friend Heaven, and I went to meet him to purchase backpacks that have airbags in it case of avalanche. I cannot tell you anymore about these jetpacks. I wasn’t paying attention.

Mason introduced me to Billy Boy as Caroline, and we walked into his office. There was a long time in that office while I sat in the corner looking at the ceiling and them boys looked up youtube videos on how these avalanche air bags worked. Luckily I had some sixlets and gummy bears to keep me company.

Following there was a formal goodbye, where everyone said how much they meant to one another, kisses on the cheeks, hugging, tears in the eyes, the embrace that dudes do where they grab each other’s shoulder and make good eye contact and sort of shake their shoulders….you get the picture. And then after all of this good naturedness and coming together, Billy struggles , “Eh woman, what’s your name again?” It kind of killed the moment.

It wasn’t but last night, that we meet this larger than life Billy at the pizza parlor. Billy again ingratiated Mason with loving words about how exciting it is that it snows in the mountains, or something. Again, I wasn’t paying attention. Then Billy catches a glimpse of me and again misses the mark, “Tiffany??” We tried to brainstorm ways on how he could remember Caroline Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. We’ll see how it works.

Turns out Billy and I both like to talk about psychics.


back to school

I am yet to make the primordial back to school shopping trip. There is no new beret or cape in my wardrobe.

Tomorrow, I will fail to make a good impression with my classmates because my clothes are not of the new variety. And the unfortunate truth is that we only get one chance to make a first impression, just one. My posture will undoubtedly suffer without a new Jansport backpack or a 5 star notebook. One eye might bug out and I’ll look like Quasi modo. Hopefully I will remember to bring a writing utensil, because no one wants to let ‘Modo borrow a pencil.

It is funny doing college again. Back at my alma mater, the first day of school was about dressing to impress and strategically picking a seat.  I wanted to sit next to a hottie toddy that looked like they might be a contestant from my favorite game of yore, Dream Phone. This time I could care less what the 19 year old next to me looks like. As long as he doesn’t smell too strongly of cologne and refrains from asking to copy my homework, we will be AOK.

The most egregious of trespasses to me has always been when people ask to “borrow” or “take a peak” or “see if we got the same answers” on homework.

My answer is always bug off. Naw dawg. Mind your own.

And this is why – human beings are preoccupied with the concept of reciprocity. Back scratching, an eye for an eye, etc…….. You copying my problem set hardly does anything for me, except puts me at risk of getting in trouble with teach. So girl with the daily Egg McMuffins complete with offensive numbers of ketchup packets, and the worn fleece cupcake pajama pants, you serve no purpose to me.

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aerodynamics and fence posts

There are people that are quite aerodynamic, and I’m not referring to those idiots that jump off cliffs in flying suits and bang up their knees on rocks.

Sigh. Scoff.

People will do anything to get attention these days.

Don’t even get me started. Just fetch me my walker, the one with the tennis balls on the feet. Let’s talk about joy instead just for a minute – which is pizza bagels and unusual date ideas. No. Stay on topic. Don’t fall off the log while crossing the creek.

Aerodynamics – in terms of people that have their feet firmly planted on the ground – means that they are able to accomplish a lot within a day. These people actually cross off items on their to do lists, change their car wiper fluid, send out the loveliest Hallmark birthday cards with dainty fonts, and remember to do sit ups everyday. In conclusion, they have really nice abs.

I’m not one of those people. Although, I keep trying. My ability to soar through this world, flags waving, guns out, tongue out, getting ‘er done, can best be explained in one way. My movement through the air is about aerodynamic as this fence.

I think it is because I’ve always been a slow walker.

But, try, try, try again. And so here goes another shot at trying to write in my blog more. And I’ll try to make my bed in the morn. And instead of subsisting on fudgecicles maybe I’ll try to add spinach. Good luck to me.

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I have grown rather weary from all of this traveling. A lot of boot scooting around the USA. In the last 10 days I’ve been to Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Washington DC, and back again. Now I’m gonna stay put and firmly plant my two large feet on the ground.

What is charmante about riding the train is all of the Heartland scenery is out there for the looking. America is covered with fields of corn and a lot of tires have been left by the wayside.

weary traveler. what a pity.

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This baby goes by the name Anderson. He belongs to my sister Terrell and my brother-in-law Ben.

I like him. Every time I go to visit him in Texas, I ask if I can take him back to Colorado. I would raise him like a bulldog. Terrell says, “No way Jose.”

You might ask Andy what is in his nose and expect him to say boogers. He will take you off guard and reply “babies.”

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water for the drankin

On long drives, it’s nice to pullover at watering holes and gain some relief. I’m not talking about Conoco stations.

On the side of Monarch Pass, a spring springs from the side of a rock. The water drains through a rusty grate into a rusty steel barrel. On the rock walks, wildly untalented artists have expressed their deepest sentiments. The prepared have brought spray paint. The neophytes of the novice have used Sharpie markers or paint. The drawings and writings leave much to be desired.

Above – sad alien saying HI.

Above – I interpret this as someone forgot to go to a volleyball game, because she was swinging on a playground. She is very apologetic for this slip of judgment. Again, she is so woebegoned about missing this match, she has taken the time to draw an elaborate tree on a rock wall. I will take it upon myself to forgive thee.

But wait a minute. I did not stop for this vandalism. I stopped for the water, healing properties and all. It is cool and clear and giardia free.  And it tastes a lot better than the surroundings look.

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This is a photo of my latest science project. These are the entrails of rhubarb. I was caught quite off guard with how many are ignorant of this fruit/vegetable that can make tart desserts. I made a rhubarb crumble and served it on up with a scoop of that original vanilla ice cream. P.S. May is the best month for this celery like plant. Duh. Who doesn’t know that.


porcupines don’t make good valentines

I live where the porcupine roam. These prickly pears of mammals amble from here to there and back again. Foraging on blades of grass and twigs, they would seem to be a docile creature. That is until those pernicious quills become erect. Then Johnny-B-Good and a dear and stay away from those spiky rodents!


In the West Elks, where the air is thin, the population of these pot-bellied-beasts is thick. This is particularly true on any trail you want to take a dog on a hike. Folks up here all have stories about encounters between the slow moving porcupines and their unassuming dogs. And the thing is, the porcupine always wins. The dog limps away with a face full of quills. And it happens a loooot.

And then it happens. To my poor baby Judge Doom. The baby bulldog is a mischievous rabble rouser. So when I got the phone call that his face was jacked, I couldn’t say I was surprised. At first glance, I cried. He had a beard of 40 black and white quills spiking out from his cute little mug. At this point, he still wagged his cotton tail and smiled.  But then the removal process begins. It takes a village to de-quill a pup. Good neighbor John, Brad, and Lindsey all came together to hold Judgy down. The first step is to cut off the tip of each quill to depressurize and allow for easier yanking. One by one, the barbed quills were removed by a needle nose plier. This was not pleasant for the Doom Buggy. There are still a few quills that brittled off that we are going to leave to the vet to dislodge.

Mason thinks that for this reason we should seek to run over porcupines barreling down the road. But that won’t work. Then the walking blowfish will wage warfare on your tires. If only we could just all get a long – the misunderstood porcupine, the concerned human, and the doggies with waggy tails.

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brown bag despair

From a very young age I had to pack my own lunch. I ate small pouches of Funyuns everyday for six or seven years. I was always a little bit disappointed when I got to school and looked into the dark of my brown bag lunch. My mother, Ann, did not purchase Little Debbies, Fruitsnacks*,  Lunchables, or pre packaged Rice Krispie Treats. We were supposed to make our own sandwiches. Hard to believe.

* These days, I more than make up for the Fruit Snack deficit in my rudimentary years.

Things are still pretty much the same all these moons later. I try and pack a lunch, and the same let down happens each and every day. My lunch is never exciting. I never have goat cheese or salamis in it. I still lack that planning and preparing finesse. Below you can see my watercolors of the yom yoms that do not hold a candle to your lunch. You’ll notice that I have quite an elevated taste in food. More like a predilection for children’s snacks.

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a bulldog’s plight

Bulldogs face prejudice just like any other marginalized group of creatures. AND I would know, because I spend most of time with two of these delicate  and noble mammals. Hence, my main purpose in life is to promote the most beautiful kinds of dogs in the world. And that is why I share this picture that I found in a book my dad gave to me. This is the way it should be with bulldogs, smothered in love and affection, and to always be surrounded by fancy ladies.

Miss Twinkie Jackson and Judge Irwin Doom (2 brindle bulldogs) do not always meet such graces in this world we live in. In fact, some misappropriate fear to these lovable dogs. But you know what, for the most part, they get pets and ooohs and ahhhs.

Except for the dangerous older lady that drags around her Yorkie around town and who is a menace to all.

It started out this way. Judgey and Twinkie asked to come to breakfast with Mason and me. We happily obliged and took the gremlins to the  bagel store. While Mase Pot got the goods, I walked the babies down the alley to get their noses some exercise. It was a beautiful day with a bench behind us and coffee in front of us. People came and went from breakfast, petting and asking about the dogs.

Until Cruella Deville and her nefarious sidekick (Yorkie Terrier) entered stage left.

Aside, the thing to know about this woman is she has driven her car into lake. She has already lambasted me in public before for bringing my newborn Twinkie into the Post Office. Ain’t gonna hurt nobody. I find her too aggressive for such a short, old, weathered tan woman with a trying-too-hard-newsboy-cap.

Judgey begins to bark, wanting to make a new friend with this pitiful excuse for a dog. The other dog barks and growls and the evil temptress begins hooting and hollering. She bemoans that we are sitting in the seats in front of the restaurant. See, she wanted those seats, and now has to walk another 15 ft to tie up yip yip jazz dog. I didn’t feel sorry for her.

She tells her dog to shut heck up as he barks at a very irritating pitch, successfully riling up all animals. Judge is a puppy and will bark given any opportunity. So of course he is meeting Yip Yip with noises of his own. The old lady then walks past us and tells my baby to shut up!  And that is entirely crossing the line. No, I did not meet her with rudeness. But come on!

Then after all that ruffling of feathers, I felt that the two dogs just needed to sniff one another another out. Of course this was after the evil woman was in the store. Mason led Judgey on the leash to the Yorkie and then the Yorkie ugly growled at my dog and tried to nip him. It’s all just because he looks a little different with those wrinkles of love, a rib that juts out, and a strange tail.

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