Saturday, June 23, 2007

That's A Knife

See, this is why I have a nationwide crush on Australia. From the BBC:

Iranian naval forces in the Gulf tried to capture an Australian Navy
boarding team but were vigorously repelled, the BBC has learned.

The incident took place before Iran successfully seized 15 British
sailors and Marines in March.

It turns out that Iranian forces made an earlier concerted attempt to
seize a boarding party from the Royal Australian Navy.

The Australians, though, to quote one military source, "were having
none of it".

The BBC has been told the Australians re-boarded the vessel they had
just searched, aimed their machine guns at the approaching Iranians and warned
them to back off, using what was said to be "highly colourful language".

Who wouldn't pay large gobs of American money to see a YouTube video of this? I want to know what the "highly colourful language" entailed. It might serve useful when dealing with the reception site manager who yesterday said the following: "Yeah, booster seats... we really should have those, shouldn't we? But we don't."

good on ya at:

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Last Week in June

It's time for what has become an annual tradition here at Blonde Champagne: "The Last Week In June."

This week was, in my childhood, what kept me alive throughout the other fifty-one. It is what pulled me through nine months of hell in grade school. It was The Week, the Week of God and All Joy: One week in Colorado, horses and dust and pine trees and creeks of freezing mountain runoff. Even if I've been conducting my June unconsciously aware of the anniversary, I suddenly will feel a strong rugged pull as the Fourth of July approaches and look at the calendar and realize, "Oh. The Week."

From the year I was six until the year I was thirteen, this was It. I have never known a place I was happier. College comes a close second, but four years are impossible to conduct without at least some semblance of tears and heartbreak. There were no tears in Lost Valley except for the following Sunday, when there was always near-hysteria. One year I sobbed as the plane departed from Colorado Springs at the thought of another twelve months of waiting in Cincinnati: Were we going to Ohio for a funeral? the woman sitting behind me wondered to my mother's horrified humiliation.

A part of me is literally seared there, burned into the walls of the main dining room. Each family creates its own brand as it passes through, adding checkmarks each returning year. Our brand sits high on a far wall overlooking the mountains and the hummingbird feeders. The brand is a boot representing the brief fact that we all rode that first year, even my mother, who bravely lasted until Wednesday, when she gripped the saddle horn of Colt 45 so tightly that tendinitis followed. Our initial stands in the middle of the boot over wavy lines representing the Ohio River. As I was fully lame even at an early age, this was my civically proud suggestion.

When I grew up and went to stay with my then-boyfriend in Colorado Springs for a month, he drove me there along a narrow shelf road I thought wondrous at the time and now, returning as a driver myself, recognized as terrifying. On one side is a drop of many thousands of feet through trees and jagged scenery; on the other, pure mountain. When two cars meet going opposite directions, one driver has to back up, slowly and with much tense cursing.

"This place is kind of cheesy," the ex announced as he got out of the car and looked upon cabins named "Jessie James" and "Diamond Lil." And I knew then, somehow, although the end was yet months away and much sobbed over, that I could never, ever marry this person.

It is kind of cheesy, in a City Slickers sort of fashion, the way the wranglers greet the suburbanites at the cattle guard entrance on horseback and canter away in front of the car to guide these unleathery dudes to the check-in lodge, but when you are six and you are miserable, this is wondrous to behold. It announced horses to me, the very ones I write about today, and it brought seven days of the social acceptance I never found in the classroom. I heard God in the pines and I inhaled; this was where my soul has lived for so long. This was where the kid picked last for the kickball team won rodeo awards for booting her quarter horse around the barrels the fastest.

Terrible fires raged five years ago all around this little green valley I have always thought of as cupped in God's palm. The ranch was evacuated, the horses herded to safety. I was reunited via phone with one of the kiddie supervisors who cared for me twenty years ago and have exchanged Christmas cards with ever since (it is that kind of place) and she described to me what happened.

"The fire got to the cattle guard," she told me, "and it split. Burned everything around it, but the ranch was untouched. The areas in the mountains where you rode as a child are scorched, I'm afraid."

I would be scorched, too, if I returned right now. I know towering pines and thick tangles of wildflowers, and I prefer to keep them alive inside of me rather than replacing them with black and charred reality.

The regeneration has already begun, I know. It will be well underway three years from now, when Jim the Small Child Nephew will be old enough to ride with a plastic cowboy hat on his head and a face full of sunblock. We will go, I think, the last week in June.

sorting through slide show pictures at:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Columbus Tomorrow

And CorningWare today.

For those of you in what we Cincinnatians lovingly refer to as the "chestal region" of Ohio--it' s in the center below the armpit, you see--I'll be reading in Columbus at 7 PM tomorrow.

I go as the proud owner of a scoop. Anne The Reader has most kindly rummaged around my Bed, Bath, and the Groom's Nightmare Beyond registry and come back with with a canister set and a scoop to go with it. Every woman should have a scoop, and a place to put all scooped matter. I think I will use mine for very large mounds of sugar. My pending kitchen smiles upon you, O Anne.

CJ The Reader sent us weaponry. The box says it's a Mr. Bar-B-Q Grill Tool Set, but I could seriously take down an entire terrorist cell with this thing. It's nothing but a box of long pointy metal, and that makes it awesome. CJ is all about homeland security, and I say God bless him.

For some reason, The Readers are intent upon providing me with as much access to alcohol as possible; witness the fact that everyone immediately bypassed the towels and sheets to ship us a margarita pitcher, a set of highball glasses, and a bartending guide. And I say God bless them. Amy The Reader has now added a punch bowl. This makes me the only person in my entire family with a punch bowl, which means I now hold all the power. Ha! I shall share it with Amy. As long as there is punch left.

Now we come to Phil The Almost-Priest and his CorningWare. I knew Phil in college, back when I was dating... not the groom, and Phil was in the chute to become a priest. I encouraged his vocation by setting him up on a double date, and last I heard of him, he's not in the Priest Chute anymore, and has sent me a casserole dish as a lovely parting gift for my soul. That's the third man I've known who has met me and then immediately abandoned all priestly ambitions. Sorry 'bout that, God!

totally worth it for the hot/cold travel pack at:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

FDA Approved

I was at Walgreen's yesterday, engaged in the vital bridal activity of purchasing gel shoe inserts for the entire female half of the wedding party. It has dawned on me that our ballet slippers, while comfortable on the toes, offer no more protection between us and the marble floor of the church than standing on a carefully arranged row of business cards might. So. To the good Dr. Scholl I go, basically the only local practitioner my health care will cover.

On the way to the Foot Aisle, however, was the Horribly Unhealthy Weight Loss Aisle. For a moment I hesitated, for I have nine pounds to go and three weeks to do it in. There were big yellow signs all over the shelves: "Alli Is Here!"

Who is this "Alli," and how might she unlump my thighs? Well! Alli is a weight-loss drug, and is perfect for a bride to-be, because the side effects are among the most romantic I have ever read:

  • Gas with an oily anal discharge
  • Loose stools or diarrhea
  • More frequent bowel movements
  • Hard-to-control bowel movements
At least you wouldn't need the Pill.

would love to write the ad copy for the Alli TV commercial at:

Monday, June 18, 2007


Those of you who check regularly at the Appearances and Events page over at, all... one of you, have likely noticed that I'm having my first Cincinnati event next month. I'm signing at the Glenway Waldenbooks from on 11 AM to noon on July 7th, which is all kinds of awesome, since this is the very same location where this went down. But although I once won an essay contest at this branch entitled "What My Dad Does At Work," my dad won't be able to come to the signing. He'll be at work.

having matter at:

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