I GOT NO JOB. In the words of Buddy the Elf: THAT’S FUN TO SAY! Really, I’m starting to think it’s best that the job I want wouldn’t start until the fall anyway — I wondered what was wrong with me, since such a stretch of quietude would usually make me antsy, until I realized I’m pretty sure I am exhausted. Somewhere amongst my massive course load last fall, the dreaded Winter Session, hot dog slinging, wedding stuff and then moving, my brain achieved some beautiful zen that allows me to happily reject job offers from Jimmy John’s and the bagel place down the street (ostensibly to spare my poor bloody hands) in favor of a calm summer with perfect midweek ladies’ luncheon availability. I’m like Lois from Malcolm in the Middle crafting piggies out of milk cartons all day, filling her mind and house with imaginary piggy world and ignoring everyone because she had a nervous breakdown. I think Lois needed that little quiet time. I have totally gone back to memorizing things as a hobby. My to-do list for tonight includes “knit.”

For all the riotous fun I’ve had, though, you could spin all this cozy rehabilitation another way. In one sense, I almost feel like this is an extended version of my typical mid-semester whirlwind visits. I am having times. In places. To prove that to all the haters and also because I have the time, I will list them for you now.

The Outings and Also the Innings

5/25/17. The aquarium downtown might have had tigers, and porcupines, and even a group of elderly lady patrons in red hats and purple shirts (the first I’d heard of a club called “The Red Hat Brigade”), but I’m staying loyal to the Steinhart. I had a lot of fun with Oriana there, but honestly, there was a section where they tried to spray me with water, and there was a mermaid diving in one of the tanks. I am too cool for that school of fishes. Props to whoever decided feeding live crickets to spitting fish was a good guest activity, though.

5/27/17. Most of you know I love amusement parks. Great America is a Rothenbuhler tradition, the Del Norte County Fair is a vacation tradition, roller coasters are wonderful, I would kill for a Job’s Daughter’s Doughboy right now, etc. Derek made sure I didn’t know for sure what Lakeside was until we got there — had he told me, I would still not have been prepared. Picture a newly-abandoned theme park that was never fancy in the first place and always had questionable food, except it’s not actually abandoned, except it probably should be. So sweet. So cheap. Basically a sampling of everyone’s favorite janky carnival rides with retro signage and ancient vending machines, held together with actual zip ties and squished between a lake and a freeway. There were no lines for anything. Pretty sure if you stuck your arm out riding the wooden coaster, you would actually chop it off. I ordered a funnel cake and watched this blessed individual pour Krusteaz batter into a fryer and then cloak the resulting corn blob in so much raspberry and chocolate sauce I couldn’t see it anymore. Lakeside could make anyone a patriot.

6/7/17. It was an odd group that day. Billy B. was in town, so Oriana arranged for me, Allison Fountain, and Sophie Ann (an approximately nine-year-old neighbor) to visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo together. I am no ginormous fan of zoos, but this one was the coolest I’ve ever seen. It is in fact built into a little mountain, which you can climb via gentle switchbacks or a gondola, and the views are crazy beautiful from nearly everywhere (despite the fact that it was RAINING and I had GLASSES ON). They have a sloth who hangs out loose in the monkey house, and they seem to be able to keep elephants without killing them. SF Zoo just went from lame to shame.

6/15-17/17. WOW! NOW I’VE BEEN TO SEVEN STATES INSTEAD OF FIVE! Thanks to our great journey to the Carolinas. Muse was actually impressive, albeit rather glam. (Missio and Thirty Seconds to Mars opened; besides their utter suckage, the only thing worth noting about them is just how diminutive and creepy Jared Leto presents in reality). Next day we got the genuine Greenville, SC experience by way of Trader Joe’s and Dave & Buster’s (that’s sad). Worry not, we went out to eat also (CRAB PO’BOY!). My theory about bricks looking better in humid climates held up nicely, and I have photo evidence available upon request. My scalp and eyeballs made a brutal discovery about how the back of a convertible compares to the front while cruising down the highway. Of course, for me the highlight of the trip was our visit to Myrtle Beach. (Mom, you told me true! It was white! The whole beach was white. You expert, you.)

6/22/17. I need to take a moment to encourage all of you who like new releases, friends, to never clap during a movie. Backstory: Oriana is such a dear, she took me with her to an outdoor showing of Rogue One at Red Rocks Amphitheater! The perfect setting for a galaxy far, far away. We really did have fun. But we were able to have fun without clapping in the middle of the film, and on that point I think we were unique. Initiate soapbox. Hey, look, the opening frame! Clapping. Hey look, it’s Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa! Clapping. Hey, look, CGI Tarkin! Sniggering, clapping. Wow, the Rebel Fleet has arrived to shoot stuff! Clapping. Aw, it’s our friends C-3PO and R2-D2! Clapping. Oh, so inspiring, “Rebellions are built on hope.” Clapping! Clapping! My heart can’t take that kind of stress. If you’re seeing a movie for the first time in theaters, I can’t fault you for getting excited and applauding when the end credits roll, but if you need to clap at all the fandom checkpoints just to publicly indicate that you understand why a certain moment is cool, you should wear gloves. Oriana agrees with me. I think.

6/26/17. Speaking of which, I found the nerd. Decided that to mark the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter publication, I’d have Oriana over to test recipes and hopefully produce the perfect draught of Butterbeer to go along with a movie. The day before, I happened to casually ask Katie Becker if she liked Harry Potter. Oh, there it was. She made the face. I had found a brother. So, after we put together our inspired drinks, Oriana got to enjoy listening to the two of us dork out loudly over the entire film (what was that you were saying about occasional clapping, Anna?), or at least until Katie succumbed to the paralyzing effects of all the sugar she’d snorted. (I don’t succumb to sugar.)

6/27/17. And now, the moment none of you have been waiting for!– you’ve probably heard about last week, which brought with it from California some of the most marvelous doings yet. Derek and Elisabeth pulled the upset of all upsets. A surprise birthday visit from the Bee! I’ll talk about that in an upcoming post, though. All the time in the world for such things when you GOT NO JOB.