Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Saturday, May 30, 2009


A year ago today, my brother-in-law was killed by a very, very careless driver.

In the last year, my sister has taught everyone who knows her what it means to have substance. The kind that keeps you going when your world has dissolved and collapsed into foam where there used to be firm ground.

My sister has not only kept going. She has kept loving those around her, and she has appreciated life, full blast. She has moved forward one stunningly difficult day at a time while still somehow providing the same high levels of generosity and kindness and warmth that she's always given. She has helped her kids travel through the odd new days of absence, and they have helped her. She has taken on such a burden of pain and carried it in a way I could never imagine myself doing. I've watched her when she thinks I'm not watching her, and I've learned about substance.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Current Favorite Drink

Me and Southwest. We've become very familiar. I eat their 100 calorie packs of skinny little Oreo wafers. I get my aisle seat, usually row 5, and 80% of my trips are made more comfortable by the Southwest Sniffle. This is carried out by my very convincing portrayal of a woman who has a terribly snotty cold (as evidenced by the wadded-up, partially shredded kleenex over her nose, and her apologetic eye-rolling in mucus-induced misery). Boarding passengers usually do not even pause near my den of germ warfare. They keep moving. I am a pathetic, sniveling petri dish. A victim of an illness so vile that it has filled me with enough snot to sink a canoe.

A dozen or so flights ago, I felt sorry for the elderly woman sitting in the window seat near me, so I told her what was up. "Hey," I said, "I'm going to look like I'm really sick for a few minutes, snotty and coughing. But I'm really not sick. I just don't want anyone to sit in this middle seat."

Her eyes lit up, as eyes sometimes do when they are included in a conspiracy. "Oh!" she said. "I'll help you!" And she got out a kleenex of her own and suddenly became Sick Elderly Woman By The Window. She sniffled and blew and wiped until her nose actually was red. I loved her immediately. And we succeeded. We had the only empty seat on the plane, right between us.

Last month, when Scott and I flew together, we triumphed on the flight out, but not the flight home. There is no way for even the most expertly performed Southwest Sniffle to work if there are zero empty seats on the flight. So we were foiled when a guy came from the back of the plane and found our one empty spot. I had been on a winning streak (6 in a row) and was desperate to make it 7. "Oh man," I said to the guy. "Not sure you want to sit with us." (Scott was totally overdoing it, coughing into the crook of his elbow in a way that said "This is swine flu. Eject me from the flight.") But unless we killed the guy and stuffed him in the overhead compartment, there was nowhere else for him to go. We lost.

Anyway, I like their hot chocolate.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More Chihuly Glass

This is called "The Sun."

It was especially enticing because we don't get much of that here. In the desert. In the summer.

Scott and I were arrested when we took a sledgehammer to it.

All they had to do was call it something else. "Ramen Noodles on the Rampage" perhaps.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Suffering for Art

Scott and I went to the Desert Botanical Gardens yesterday to see the Chihuly exhibit. It was exceptional in many ways.

1. The Chihuly glass was mixed in with the zillion kinds of cacti and other desert plants to create the feeling of being in a fantasy world where any minute there could be a gaggle of leprechauns doing a little jig right into heatstroke. Or perhaps the landing of a glittery spaceship out of which these skinny blue creatures would elegantly hop.

2. Scott and I carried almost our own weight in water bottles, and drank the bulk of it as soon as we got out of the car. It was 105 degrees here yesterday and no one who had even a teaspoonful of brains was going to the Chihuly exhibit, since most of the glass was melting into fancy misshapen dinner plates.

3. You know that scene in Animal House when Belushi is in the front yard in the dark, doing Ninja moves and darting back and forth? That was Scott and me, scurrying from one tiny bit of shade to another, refilling our 45 water bottles at the many drinking fountains in the garden. The shade was minimal. Like two needles of a cactus stuck together. We fought over it. Lots of pushing and shoving.

4. Fifteen minutes into our walk around the garden, I got sick from the heat. That panicky, I-need-to-puke-or-faint feeling. We aborted the art-walk and hurried/stumbled to the gift shop where I was promptly led to the back office to have my head covered with wet paper towels. It was the Back Office of Shame for a midwest girl who can stand all levels of humidity, but had her head blasted off by desert heat. EVEN THOUGH I carried an umbrella to shield me from the sun. I was Michael Jackson. But with darker skin and a nose and without the little blond children in burkas.

5. Determined to redeem myself, I got my land legs back and rehydrated and off we went into the fantasy garden again. I had adjusted somewhat to walking on the surface of the sun, and continued on, guzzling water and pointing to things while Scott took frantic photos. He'd start running to the next site before the shutter had even closed. Our conversation was like this:

Scott: [Click] Yeahthat'scoolreallycoollet'sgetouttahere.
Me: Gulpguzzlegulp [sound of umbrella flapping as I ran]

6. Victorious, we walked to the car, me with my wet paper towels still dangling around my neck like mummy remnants, and my cheesy blue umbrella above my head like a sign pointing downward:

Wussieville, Population: Candy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

She Followed the Assignment

I'm in the middle of grading my final pile of poop, er, research papers.

I begged them to come up with good titles. To give me something that would not bore me.

This girl came through.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

"Raise the Woof, Homies!"

Yo. We be givin' some props to our momma and her tasty milk.

Why she don't like to stand still no more when we got us some growl-belly up in here?

Monday, May 04, 2009

If You're Taking My Brother, Can I Come Too?

Will the conniving never end with you puppies???

What is it? Do you think you're SO cute that no one has the power to resist you? Are you so confident in your adorable-ness that you expect us all to fall down on the ground when we see those soft fuzzy ears?


Friday, May 01, 2009

Why Can't I Come Home With You?

This is it.

This is the look those conniving little puppies have practiced like puppy sorcery on all who come to visit them. Perfectly innocent people, minding their own business, get laser-targeted by those blue puppy eyes and suddenly they're spending their life savings on mushy, expensive dog food and fancy squeak-toys in neon colors.

By the time they find out that the puppy would rather eat its own poop and chew on only their new owner's favorite shoes, it is too late, isn't it? There is no return from puppification.