Tuesday, June 18, 2002

My Quest for a Walk West -- Geocaching

My Quest for A Walk West
I have gotten no less than 10 emails in regard to my request for
a copy of Peter Jenkins' sequel to "A Walk Across America." All of them pointing me to used bookstores online... and one even telling me that her grandmother just bought the book in a local used bookery the other day for two bucks.

Much obliged, people. Much obliged. I had found it on Amazon myself... but there something doesn't sit right with me when it comes to used books in cyberspace.

I buy a lot of books online, usually because most of the bookstore chains sell "popular" books, and reserve stocks of the weirder crap for the online people, because they have one warehouse for the stuff and surfing to it is easier than having the less popular stuff shipped off to 1,000,000 bookstores across the country.

Used books though, they have a history, a look and feel, that begs they be paroused in person in a musty old bookstore someplace, where you can sit in an old dusty chair and glance through while making a decision.

I am a big fan of the old used bookstore scene. And I like supporting that. When Doug and I were driving cross country to come home from Oregon, we stayed a couple days in Phoenix with our traveling companion Matt's family. His sister and her husband and kids were living in Phoenix, and gleefully welcomed us in. We spent a few days goofing around and found a run down, nasty looking old bookstore in the heart of a rather Native American neighborhood. We went inside and found great buys on good conditioned used books, including several copies of "The River Why." I couldn't fathom why someone would send that book to a used bookstore, it should sit on your shelf next to your bible and your copy of Ray Bradbury's "Dandilion Wine." It should never leave your home, once you own it and have read it.

Someone else's mistake, my gain. I bought a few copies to loan to friends. I've only gotten two of them back.

Spending time in a used bookstore is something Doug and I used to do when we were dating. Hours of time spent alone, together, looking through the strange and sometimes arcane literature, finding something that we'd never heard of that caught our eye or ear... and bringing it home to become a part of our collection.

We take stuff to used bookstores too. We've recently gone through and pulled out things that we've outgrown, and a ton of stuff that Clay left behind at our house that doesn't mesh with our personal reading tastes. Mostly sci-fi. We'll be hauling stuff up to Portsmouth sometime in the next week to profit from our loss, and buy more books.

I will check for the book there, and if I don't find it my friend Tanager has offered to buy it for me from half.com... I'll take her up on that if I don't see what I want in Portsmouth.

Locks Of Limp
Today I was thinking of a hair cut.

My hair is the longest it has been in quite some time, and it is almost all one length for the first time since third grade I think. A long time ago I decided that I wanted to grow my hair all one length, and it took me quite some time to get it that way. Not sure why other people's bangs (or fringe as they say in the UK) grow out faster, but mine seem to take forever. Now that I have it the way I wanted it, but ...

I hate the way it looks.

Honestly. I hate it. Singer Christine Lavin has a wonderful song where she whines "What was I thinking?" after seeing herself in a bad dress she hurriedly buys but doesn't get to see herself in until the intermission of a concert, gets a bad perm... other social mishaps (even adds an ode in a verse to Monica Lewinsky).

I sometimes sing the song when I look at my hair. It took me two years to get this mess on top of my head?

It is supposed to be low maintenance to have nice long all-one-length hair. Like Angie Harmon on "Law and Order..." her hair is gorgeous. I watch her nightly on the TNT reruns and shake my head in disgust. And her football hunk of a husband proposed to her on the Tonight Show. Pfth. Me, I look like spaghetti mop Ozzy Osbourne, sans the little blue glasses...

So I was thinking of getting it all cut. Layered again. Doug suggested I get a perm, because it always does look nice after the first month, which it does. But I'll be honest -- I can think of better uses for 100 plus bucks. (I think he probably thinks perms are 30 bucks max or something. For hair my length, we're looking at a major chunk of change). And I don't want to go through the perming thing again. I just want a no-effort nice look. Is that so wrong?

I got a perm right before we went to Oregon in 1988. In years past, my aunt Carole gave me perms in her kitchen. Or, I'd get one at a nice salon once in a while. But this time, I was short of cash and short of time so I had a girl from college do it. She was an award winning beauty pageant contestant. She always looked nice. She told me that she'd given tons of perms before, and that she'd do it, no prob. I figured, hey. She has to know what she's doing, so I decided to have her do it.

Well, she did it alright.

It looked like complete shit. She rolled the curlers the wrong direction on my head, she put too much hair in some curlers on one side of my head, and didn't put the same amount in curlers on the other side of my head. It looked as if someone had brillo scrubbed my head, with the hair standing up on one side, and it looked like death.

And, it was permanent.

I was leaving for Oregon in a couple days. She said "Gee, your hair didn't come out right. You must have weird or damaged hair or something. Oh well. Bye!" and she left me there contemplating going to a salon to shave my head right down to the scalp. I'd be going to live among the granola people of the great Northwest, surely they'd seen something this weird...

But I didn't. I went to Oregon with a lot of hair barrettes and bandanas. I looked like a gork. The very end of the semester came and one of the girls in the cabin next door to me offered to cut my hair, because it had grown out rather nicely by that point. I was not exactly trusting her, seeing as I'd been burned badly by a novice just a few months earlier... but I figured it was hair. I would definately shave it all off if it didn't come out good.

It came out wonderfully. She did a great job, and what was left of the perm blowdried nicely into soft fluffiness when I styled it. Huzzah. I should have had her cut it right when I got there.

When I was a freshman in college my roommate Laurel cut my bangs for me one hot day. You saw the before picture back a few entries ago when I wrote about her and Bonnie. I liked my hair, but my bangs were too long, so... Laurie cut them from ear to ear. Not across my forehead, but seriously, ear to ear.

I went home to New York and immediately went to a salon in town where the hair dresser just about dropped his metaphorical shit when I took my Red Sox hat off.

When we were on our way to a wedding a few years ago, I couldn't get my hair to do anything right. I cut my bangs while Doug was sitting in the car. Lucky for me, they came out right.

When I was pregnant with Jessica I went to Supercuts one afternoon before picking Doug up at the train. I wanted my hair cut to my shoulders, and she cut it to my chin line. I don't know whether or not the girl was retarded or not. It was a nice hair cut, but it was seriously two feet too short. Doug almost dropped HIS metaphorical shit when he got in the car at the trainstation that afternoon and did his usual pull my hair out of my winter coat move that he would do... only to discover my hair wasn't in my coat.

That haircut worked out well, because two months later when I had Jessie, there wasn't a mile of spaghetti in my face as I was trying to birth her. And it looked really cute. I liked that hair cut.

I have trimmed my bangs myself a few times in the past couple of years, even had Doug cut the back of my hair straight across in the back once because it was quick and easy. But from hair on in I intend to have it done by a professional, even if it is Supercuts.

Jessie needs a haircut. Her very light and fine hair is so long and thick. When she wakes up in the morning one could swear that the squirrels that dance out on our roof in the morning have taken up overnight residence between her scalp and pillow. It's nightmarish to deal with. So we may both go. Get it over with.

That's a lot about my hair, eh? More than you wanted to know, I bet.

Geocaching, Letterboxing, and Treasure Hunting
Wil Wheaton does it. I'd read about it on his site and one other blog. Geocaching or Letterboxing are two examples of one of the latest outdoor crazes to hit the technology world. Using a GPS you find treasure "caches" in the woods all over the planet. It's pretty cool sounding, and after reading about it in Wil's journal I thought I might suggest it to Doug. But I thought he'd poo poo it.

Well, he came to bed the other night and said "I found my new hobby."

"What, Geocaching?" I asked.

"How'd you know about that."

Hrumph. I am somewhat hip. So he was talking all about how cool it was and how he wanted to do it, so he started shopping for a GPS.

Looks like we have a summer hobby here kids. I'll keep you posted. I think this will be fun, Jessica groaned when I told her about it... But I think it'll be good. And Aaron and Michelle are up in Maine, where there is bound to be some good geocaching-ability, so we'll look into that at Acadia and MDI when we're there next.

Alright. It's a gorgeous day. Sunny. Bright. Cool. Gonna go soak some of it in. Carrie, I hope you read this whole entry and it kept you busy for your afternoon conference call. Have a super day.

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