Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Wednesday, August 29


Other guys never cross our minds, we never wonder what it might be like. How could it be any better than it is with you?
- Terri Clark, Girls Lie Too

How many husbands have I had? You mean apart from my own?
- Zsa Zsa Gabor

So many little time.
- Mae West

I read an article (by a man, of course) that asserted women are naturally inclined to monogamy. The author didn't defend this statement, he just threw it out there as though it were obvious and could be used without debate to prove a larger point. If by naturally inclined to monogamy he means women naturally want their men to be faithful and more particularly women want exclusive rights to a man's resources (money, time, affection) then he's probably right. I don't really want my husband spending money and affection on some other woman; there'd be less for me. But I think the author meant that women are naturally inclined towards being monogamous themselves. Perhaps the author has a woman and a hot poolboy at home and is trying to delude himself into a feeling of safety. But that's just a guess. Either way, I'm pretty sure he is wrong. Any women out there who never go looking can feel free to contradict me. But just because I am married and just because I love my husband doesn't mean that I don't want to grab that new Bond guy's "perfectly formed ass". Well, and the rest of him too (If you've seen Casino Royale, you know what I am talking about). And there are lots of other hot guys that I'd like to do. I don't do them. And that's because I choose not to do what feels perfectly natural, not because I am following some womanly instinct to 'stand by my man' and ignore sex appeal as it walks by in a tight pair of jeans.

I wouldn't bring the article up, but this isn't the first time I've read such a claim. Women are less likely to cheat than men and apparently some men take that as evidence that women are really so enamored them as individuals that we don't consider alternatives. I think it is evidence that a woman tends to think with her head and consider the likely consequences of jumping into bed with every hottie she can get her hands on while a man tends to think with his...well, you get the idea.

Sunday, August 26

Anal Retentive Organization

Anyone out there who has every shared a room or office with me knows I am a slob. Which used to be fine. When I was a teenager I could walk into a cluttered room and be completely unconcerned about it. My idea of sorting laundry was three piles on the floor: clean, dirty, and somewhere in-between. My class notes were typically a mess, but I could find what I needed. No worries. But during the last six or seven years I have managed to maintain my slobability while becoming uptight and twitchy about it. I still operate like a slob: leaving things all over the place, dropping clothes on the floor only to roll out of bed the next morning and put them back on, letting the paper trash bin next to my desk overflow instead of taking out the trash. But now I walk into a messy room or sit down at a messy desk and I start stressing about it. I can't study and I can't relax.

My solution to this problem has been anal retentive levels of organizational minutiae. If absolutely everything has a designated place and if non-designated places are completely off-limits to any object whatsoever, then everything stays organized. It winds up being painfully obvious when something is not put away and I always know precisely what to do with any such item. It would probably be easier to learn to relax and accept my slobby ways. After all, I accept so many other faults in myself with barely a twinge of guilt. But instead I am determined to become a neat and organized person.

All of this organizing would probably work just fine if I didn't have a husband living with me. He uses things and moves things and buys things and generally hampers my organization efforts. I tried telling him what goes where, but who is going to remember that green and gray towels go on the dressing table shelf while other towels go in a different room and facial moisturizer goes on the second shelf while body lotion goes on the third. So I started labeling everything (drawers, bins, shelves) with the types of items that may be placed there so that he could follow the rules. Now each shelf in the bathroom has little plastic dividers with labels like "Outdoor Skin Care: bug repellent, sunscreen" or "Foot Care". The whole system works pretty well. I got home after three months and most stuff was where it belonged.

The glaring exception was the refrigerator. Our fridge broke a few months ago (Don't ever buy Amana) which was upsetting because we lost all our food. But since it was under warranty we called to get it fixed (Don't ever buy Amana) and weren't too worried. Like I said, that was a few months ago. The fridge still isn't fixed (Don't EVER buy Amana). Scott eventually bought a new fridge (not an Amana) and filled it bachelor style. Meaning ketchup, milk, some shredded cheese, eggs, and soy sauce were distributed pretty randomly throughout the fridge. When I got home I stared into the fridge for a bit before grabbing some yellow post-it notes and a pen. This is a big fridge. We already had an upright freezer so he bought an all-refrigerator. If I lost a container of yogurt in this fridge it could be years before I found it again. I needed to organize. So I wrote labels on yellow post-it notes and stuck them all over the fridge: "Salad Dressing", "Syrup and sweet sauces", "PB&J", "Drinks", "Ingredients: Don't Eat!", "Snacks", "Bread", etc. Two weeks later and the labels are still there. I've tried to find less tacky looking labels. Yellow post-its really aren't subtle. But nothing else sticks. And I'd prefer tacky-looking yellow post-its to a yogurt container getting misplaced among the pickle jars.

Wednesday, August 22

Hair Trauma

Lately I've been dealing with some hair trauma. A year ago I had a nice wash-n-go crop cut. I loved it. The tips were even purple. Don't I look cute?

(National Mall, Aug 2006)

But that was a year ago. It's grown a bit since then. Here is what it looks like now:

(Glacier National Park, Aug 2007)

This has created some trauma. I had to start using a brush and a hair dryer. Which meant I had to go buy a brush and a hair dryer. So last week I found myself standing in an aisle at Sally Beauty Supply staring at shelves of hairdryer boxes covered numbers and adjectives and descriptions that all had two things in common: they ostensibly described superior qualities and they were completely meaningless to me. Does anyone out there know what Tourmaline is or why it makes for a better dryer? Of course not. That's because it is a semi-precious gem/mineral with electrical properties. I looked it up. Anyway, none of the boxes bothered explaining how a mineral with weird electrical properties "renews and enhances the vitality of your hair as it emits gentle infrared heat that seals in hair's natural moisture." Or the importance of ceramic or infrared or higher wattages or longer cords...oh wait. I can figure that last one out myself. Since the dryers varied in price from about $10 to $50 (give or take), I needed some rational way of finding the best value. So I grabbed the dryer that would fit into my bathroom decor best and asked the saleslady if it was a good dryer. She said yes. Since asking her was proving so much quicker than shopping myself, I asked her what brush to buy. She picked one out for me and I checked out with my Tourmaline-infused, ionic generating, 1600-Watt dryer and my Tourmaline-infused roller brush.

Once I had the dryer and the hairbrush I practiced using them. The brush is a round one with bristles, the better to curl those back hairs off my neck. But in order to curl the hair I have to twirl the brush in one hand while pointing the hairdryer with the other and I have to do all this behind my back without looking because I don't have a third hand to hold a mirror up so I can see the back of my head.

So I have a new hairstyle, but it still doesn't quite feel like me. I fretted about it to my officemate-in-Washington for weeks. Every few days was "Megan, do you think my hair looks okay?" Megan very patiently did not run screaming from the room the 15th time I did this. But I thought hair curled up at the back and sides on a woman in her mid-20s maybe looked a little too young. Although all this angst is coming from a woman in her mid-20s who had this hairstyle 15 months ago:

(Hike near University of Utah, June 2006)

So perhaps I shouldn't be taken too seriously. However, Megan was nice enough to explain to me that I was old enough to pull it off and not look like a teenager. That problem was solved. Only one issue left and that is that no one would believe my hair was this long. Not even my husband has seen it this long before. I know most women reading this won't think my hair is long, but for me this is epic. One woman at church stared at my head during the service trying to figure out if it was a wig (I have several, this isn't totally without a basis). And my officemate-in-Oklahoma, Naomi, was a little surprised to see me. But it seems that I am the only one with real issues believing I have hair measuring over two inches. Maybe I should get over it.

Monday, August 20


We went on a rafting trip near Glacier. The boys went on a raft and I took an inflatable kayak. Complete with a white helmet that looks like the kind of thing you'd put on a hospital patient that couldn't help knocking his head into things. Yeah, I looked chic. Anyway, there were three other people on inflatable kayaks: two teenage boys in a tandem and their dad on his own. If you've never been in an inflatable kayak, it isn't hard. I mean, on rapids maybe it is easy to flip, but on calm water it is nearly impossible. You just paddle sort of awkwardly in the direction you want to go (there is no keel, so nothing to keep you going nice and straight). And you can run into rocks. You just bounce off, so no harm done. Anyway, I ran into a rock. I didn't mind. And I hit a few shallow spots that took me about 10 seconds to get out of. I did all this by the end of the first rapid. While I was still figuring it out. The teenage boys thought that this was ample evidence of the old lady's (that'd be me) incompetence in the fine art of inflatable kayaking. They insisted that if they kept letting me go first, I'd get stuck or tip over and then they'd come along and hit me and flip over into the very cold water and it'd be all my fault (note, they weren't particularly worried about the damage the collision might do to me). So I let them go first. And then their dad who was insanely slow. And then me. That is, I let everyone else go first until the boys got marooned up on a rock during a rapid and had to be rescued. And their dad flipped his kayak and had to be rescued. After that, I started going first. As it happened, Scott and Chris were in the safety raft. So they rescued the cocky little boys and their dad. When it came to the dad, as their raft came floating by, Scott flipped the kayak, Chris picked the guy up by his life jacket and tossed him in, and a guy behind them in the raft tossed in the paddle after him. He was a little dazed to find himself back in his kayak so suddenly. I am sure by the time I am 50, this story will have become embellished with heroic efforts on Scott's and Chris's parts to save an unconscious man from drowning in Class V rapids. For the present, these rapids were still Class II, at best. And the guy was sputtering and annoyed, but nowhere close to drowning. Anyway, at this point I started taking rapids first so as to more easily avoid hitting idiotic male creatures in my way. I kept that up for awhile until I realized that the idiotic male creatures now considered me somebody-worth-talking-to. Or perhaps it was just that I was the only other one that could talk to. Either way, the boys told me how cold the water was (note: we were all in wet suits and they even had booties) and the dad complained about how tiring it was to paddle. Admittedly, there were a few times the wind was against us and it was kind of hard work. But more important than that, I had taken a pain killer that morning that had worn off halfway into the float trip and I spent the last hour or so of the trip with rather painful cramps. And this guy is complaining about his arms? Like I am going to sympathize. Finally I started hanging further and further back just to be alone. Eventually I was hanging out by the safety raft. Where Scott was discussing my life insurance policy with an entire raft of strangers. Hmmm...maybe next time I shouldn't let him adjust my very chic helmet.

Saturday, August 18


Still working chronologically backwards here. Which means sometime next month I'll get to talking about the first day of school. Before I made it home to Mom's cooking and my adored hats, I had vacation. We visited Denver for Titanic Day, Glacier National Park (including a kayak float down the river during which I did NOT flip over), Grand Coulee dam and surrounding area, and Lake Chelan. Lake Chelan is a 50 mi long lake with a town at one end nestled in the mountains and accessible only by boat or small plane. This means the town doesn't get a cell signal. Doesn't have land lines either. The town has a satellite phone for emergencies. I told Scott the town only had one phone. He thought this meant the town only had one type of phone. Meaning, the town only had landlines. It also had satellite internet, so Scott managed to survive a few days cellphone free. The town exists for tourists who want to come take in natural beauty. I have never been to a resort town before. I always found the idea of hanging out with a bunch of tourists to be a turn-off. Somehow it never occurred to me that a resort town would be full of people ready to take care of everything I need. I know I have to pay them, but still, it makes for a very carefree vacation. We kayaked, mountain biked, swam under a waterfall (see above, this was a waterfall fed by ice melt so it was a little chilly which didn't bother me but that look on Scott's face isn't exactly a smile), and ate really good food. I want to go to a resort town again. I really like having someone take care of absolutely everything for me.

Thursday, August 16

My Mom Rocks

So about the time I got on the road to head home, my mom emailed me to ask would I like some meals to take home so that I wouldn't have to cook. Would I?!? Of course! So I got to Mom's house and she loaded me up with stuffed red snapper, beef stew, salad, fruit, etc. Isn't my mom the best?

Anyway, we haven't finished working our way through all the dishes, but the best so far is Cuban Black Beans and Rice. I highly recommend it. Even the yogurt dollop on top. Sounds a little weird, but the yogurt tang with spicy beans was delicious.

Wednesday, August 15

Hotel Adventures: Signs, Service, and Smell

I took a little roadtrip on the way back to Oklahoma. Really, I was the only one who needed to take the trip, but Scott and Chris came along for the ride. Apparently they felt their summer had lacked the spice and interest that a grumpy, tired, and sharp-tongued woman brings to life. Chris booked our hotels around Glacier National Park so I hadn't seen them. I just trusted that they were nice. As we drove out to the edges of town we passed one hotel that made me unspeakably grateful that we already had a place and weren't reduced to begging for bed there. I couldn't see actual hotel, but the sign said it all. You know the kind. Faded letters with some fancy name, like "Big Sky Motel". Stripped off lettering on another part of the sign. I felt smugly secure in my knowledge that better lodgings awaited me down the road. Wait! The car is turning around. That was our hotel. We rolled up to it all wondering whether there was any chance of finding a room at the Motel 6. After all, this couldn't be good. The lobby was being 'remodeled' and had exposed drywall and floor edges protruding here and there. Knowing there was no other place in town, we resigned ourselves to the hotel, comforting ourselves with the knowledge that we would spend most of the day in the park. As it turned out though, they had remodeled the rooms first. Our room was trendy, clean, and new. Even had those slate tiles and little tile shelves that are chic in bathrooms now. The whole stay looked different once we were in the room and couldn't see that sign anymore.

The second night in the hotel we came back expecting to walk into the same lovely room we had left. Which we did. Without a key. The door room was open. Not just unlocked. Propped open. Scott went to the front desk to politely inquire about why our room door was propped open for all the world to wander in at will. It turns out that the remodeling was still going on and maintenance people had come in that day to install a new drain. And they left the door propped open. I am sure Scott would have given the manager his opinion of the maintenance crews except that upon hearing his story, she gave her own opinion of the maintenance crews rendering his superfluous.

A few hotels later we are north of Denver in a rather nice looking hotel. And if I hadn't been able to smell that would have been the extent of my opinion. A guest at the hotel had burned a bag of popcorn into small cinders in the microwave in the common kitchen. The AC had done the job of distributing the burnt popcorn smell throughout the hallways. The rooms were, luckily, mostly unaffected. Because of the smell I decided to run to my room. Maybe it was that the running looked immature. Maybe it was just that I looked immature. Either way, an employee saw me running (like an hour or so after the popcorn was burned) and put zero and zero together to get a suspect in the great unsolved popcorn arson. I was already way down the hall and not inclined to stop for some annoyed hotel employee. So she rounded on Scott the gimp with "Did you burn some popcorn?" What does she expect? A full confession with an explanation of why we decided to hang around for an hour before fleeing the scene? Scott mumbles something about the popcorn being burned before we got there and comes up to the room. I called the front desk and got an apology the next morning at breakfast.

Tuesday, August 14

Hats and Wigs

Hey everyone! I am back! The first thing I did, before laundry or unloading the cooler, was arrange my wigs and new hats in my bedroom. That's obsession for you. And by popular demand, I have pictures of my collection. Let's start by taking a look at the four wigs and a few favorite hats:

The gray cloche with the cutouts is my newest hat. We were in Denver last Saturday having a Titanic Day: a visit to Molly Brown's house, the Titanic IMAX movie, and Titanic museum exhibit. Of course, I felt I needed a new hat for the occasion. After all, this is the Titanic. Scott, feeling secure in the knowledge that I had no idea where to find a vintage hat store in Denver, promised to buy me a hat if I found one. We walked into the Molly Brown house gift shop and right into a wall of elaborate period hats. I was in raptures. Scott was in tears. The gray cloche is the result.

Here is how the hats are arrayed along my bedroom wall:

This is a sign that Scott bought for me, along with 8 hats hanging on pegs:

And here is my new summer hat I bought at a Renaissance Fair last month, next to a basket I bought in Stehekin holding my headbands:

I have other hats, but these are my most fashionable and favorite ones.