Friday, February 29, 2008

Dead White Guys Are Pretty Smart

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, February 25, 2008


I'm sick. Full-on no voice, can't breathe, awesome cough that makes people turn and look with either sympathy or disgust: S-I-C-K. I looked back at the last time I was this under-the-weather (October 5th, 2007, if you'd like to know,) and my complaints are about the same.

I don't understand sick days, (hence why I'm moaning in discomfort and forcing myself to work,) I sound like a depressed bullfrog, and I would very much like some graham crackers.

On a happier note, I'm thankful for a great man who takes good care of me, (he went to the grocery store twice last night for tea, honey, Advil, and other sicky-feel-better things,) yummy juice and (hopefully) a nap soon.

Oh, and have I mentioned that I bought a kayak? Because the thrill of boat-ownership hasn't really worn off. Even when I'm sick.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

2008 - Bobby McFerrin's* Worst Nightmare

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Mostly because I have a tendency to worry myself to an early death, and our worst, most obvious behaviors are often what we gloss over in ourselves and despise in others. So before I say anything else, just know that I do recognize my worrisome tendencies and am sadly and acutely aware that I am not perfect.

In church on Sunday, they showed a flashy video (as Mariners, the ultimate in relevant megachurch, is so apt to do,) of things that are worrying Americans, and particularly, I suppose, affluent Southern Californians in 2008. Images with titles explaining our fears, such as " Iraq War" "Recession" "Presidential Primaries" "Global Warming" "Terrorism" and a host of others that I can't even remember, backed up with stressful-sounding rock music to enhance the effect. It's an impressive list of concerns, and I have to admit that I had a bit of a knot in my stomach after such a stirring reminder that I'm not actually in charge around here.

After they got everybody sufficiently riled up, they calmed us all down with a ballad of God's love and faithfulness, after which we all settled back into our semi-contented state, believing that we have more things to be concerned about now than any generation before us, but that we are quite righteous in giving it to God and worrying slightly less.

We are, as a society, becoming more and more accustomed to living in worry and discontent. To think that 2008 is the worst year yet, that we're overwhelmed with hardship, particularly in Orange County, of all places, is laughable and disturbing. Our worry is not a fleeting mood that comes when the rent is more than the paycheck; for most people at Mariners those days are such a distant memory that they can hardly remember what a bounced check looks like. It's a constant attitude of disgruntled living that colors our days, darkens our sunshine and batters our souls without us even realizing it.

What exactly are we so upset about anyway? We live in the most affluent, freedom-loving democracy in the world. We worry about terrorism, but not nearly like those who have lived for years in a war zone, losing countless friends and neighbors to pointless violence. We worry about Global Warming (which personally, I believe is an unfounded scare tactic - perhaps another blog on that will come later,) but we drive trucks and SUVs to work, gladly vacation all over the world, and willingly produce tons of waste per day, simply because we were too lazy to wash a dish or cook at home, and would rather buy it now and throw it away. Although we say we're worried about politics, only 64% of U.S. citizens over 18 even care enough to vote. And although Recession is a buzz word for furrowed brows and long sighs, I haven't seen many folks giving up their $6 coffee or $40 manicures lately.

OK. So now the people who've plowed through think I'm naive and have oversimplified the problem, and the people who don't care have long since left me to my rambling. Here's my point. It's become the fashion, as Jane Austen would say, to be a pessimist.

Here's the truth. We live in a beautiful, democratic country. We are blessed with freedoms of speech, religion, privacy, safety and affluence beyond what most cultures ever dream of. Everyone I'm writing this to has eaten today, and it was probably something that they actually wanted to eat, not the only thing they had. We have wide-open spaces, well-engineered cities, and above all, a God who loves us immeasurably and a purpose for being here.

We've got work to do, I'll give you that. But that's why we're here. Not to wring our hands in worried irrelevance, but to go forth boldly, speaking truth, living in love, making a difference, and above all, being content - and letting the Big Guy worry about the end result. I have a feeling He's got it covered... even in 2008.

*The composer and performer of the famous tune: "Don't Worry, Be Happy"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Seven Dwarves - Bashful

I've kept Bashful to the end because, well, he's the most embarrassing. I don't want to write what I'm bashful about on my blog! I'm bashful about it! Plus, being the modest guy that he is, Bash didn't even want to grace the blog with his presence. "You'll be fine without me," he said. "Besides, I'll just blush...and...twist my beard... and... st-t-t-tutter." But I wouldn't let him hide behind red cheeks and facial hair - I told him that we'd committed to this series, and we were gonna see it through, dadgum it.

He seems OK with it now, and even smiled for the picture, despite the pain he must be inflicting by all this beard braiding.

So, without further ado, a few things that make me Bashful, and a few stories about this weekend (with blushing twists):

  • Magazines. I buy a lot of them, and I keep them for a really long time. That's kind of weird, not really embarrassing, unless you count the amount of money I spend on them and the racks to keep them in.
  • I get really tired of wearing makeup. Often times, I just don't put it on. I don't usually care until I run into a particularly pretty girl, at which point I always remember the awkward red spots on my nose or bags under my eyes. Ick.
  • Note to personal trainers, buff dudes, and desperate gym guys: the gym is not a good place to pick up girls. I smell bad, you do too, and pick-up lines do not work on the self-conscious, or anyone else for that matter.
  • Compliments. I get all hot and nervous inside when I'm told I'm good at something, pretty, etc. I'm learning to say thank you and leave it at that.
  • Now about the weekend - it was phenomenal. It had several things going for it from the start: it was Adam's birthday/Valentine's Day weekend, Ashley was coming to town, and we had Monday off. It got better, because, as you saw before, I bought a kayak, Texas food is delicious, and girls are just as good as the guys at planning Valentine's Day surprises.
  • "This is getting really embarrassing!" Jill has the best reaction ever to surprises, and when the entire restaurant stops and stares, you know you have a winner. Check out how we spent Saturday morning.
  • "It won't be fun if I'm not in the picture..." Ashley is the Queen of Moment-Capturization, even if it requires a teensy bit of staging and some eye rolls from the less-patient members of the family.
So, that's a wrap of the Seven Dwarves. Please comment with suggestions for a new series, topics you would like discussed, or literary character whom you would like me to embody for a day on these pages, to either a comic or tragic end. The sky (aka my finite imagination and abilities,) is the limit!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We Interrupt This Broadcast...

...of the 'Seven Dwarves' series for a very special announcement.

Dani Linthicum, wanna-be adventurer, Pacific Ocean lover and curly-hair-in-wind expert, is now the proud owner of her very own Hobie Revolution ocean kayak, in the sunshiney hue of Golden Papaya.

She is now accepting name suggestions, congratulatory notes and bottles of expensive drink to break over the hull on the eve of her maiden voyage.

Thank you for your kind attention. We will now return to your unpaid regular programming.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Seven Dwarves - Sleepy

Hello, my faithful readers! Today is Friday. We all know what that means - our poor little selves get to bounce between the exhaustion of finally being done with another week of perpetual motion, the incredible high of the coming weekend, and too much caffeine coursing through our little veins. This generally leads to an abrupt collapse Friday night and an insatiable craving for Cinnamon Toast Crunch on Saturday morning, after a bowl of which the world returns to its axis and we start again, ready to run ourselves ragged with work and fun and errands and commutes and getting gas and milk going bad and church and making coffee and cleaning showers and editing off-road articles and writing html and laughing and admiring the ocean and working out and listening to good music and kayaking and living life.

So, anyway, back to my original point. It's Friday and I'm tired. Sleepy, even. (Did you see what I did right there? I brought life and the blog theme together...)

Things that make me Sleepy and (bonus!) a few notes on sleeping in general:
  • Fridays
  • Boredom
  • Watching Golf on TV
  • Sunday afternoons
  • I can't fall asleep unless I'm laying on my right side. I didn't know this about myself until Valerie pointed it out to me when I slept below her in Oxford.
  • Speaking of sleeping below Val, I'm a very heavy sleeper. Val is not a morning person. We shared a bunkbed in Oxford, and every morning my alarm would go off, I would not hear it, and Val would forcefully shake the bed to wake me up. This was very aggravating to her, but lucky for me, she loves me anyway.
  • I also can't sleep unless I'm hugging something, so I still sleep with a stuffed animal curled up in my arms. I know, I'm adorable.
  • I scare easily when I'm sleeping.
  • I'm grumpy/cranky/no fun at all when I'm tired. Sorry to anybody who's tried to interact with me when this is the case. I promise I'll try to be nicer.
  • When I'm going to sleep, watching TV, or just sitting for too long, I wiggle a lot. A LOT. When I'm watching LOST or Prison Break or something equally nerve-wracking, I wiggle even more. I swear it gets stressful toxins out of my body, but it also drives some people crazy.
  • While we're on the subject of wiggling, I can't sit normally in a chair. I have to have my legs tucked up to my chest, or folded Indian-style, or feet on the dash/desk, or somehow splayed out in a more interesting fashion than feet on the floor or demurely crossed legs. The only time I will control myself is in business meetings, fancy restaurants, or short skirts. Even then, it's a challenge.
  • I slept on a couch for two years in college, and for four months in the bower.
  • Before I bought my college couch, I seriously considered putting a hammock in my room. I still think that's a pretty awesome idea.
  • Sleeping while traveling does not work for me. Planes, trains and automobiles are not comfy.
  • More than once, I've fallen asleep on my couch, only to awaken at 3 am with candles still lit, laptop open, and wondering if it's morning, only to look down and see that I'm still in my jeans.
  • When I worked as a wrangler, Ami, Boss and I would sometimes eat lunch wherever we were working, and then settle down for 40 winks in the tall grass, hats over our eyes and the smell of a summertime hayfield all around us. What beautiful days.
  • Wranglers didn't sleep much. I lived off of 5 hours a night for months at a time - only getting more sleep when I was home for a rare weekend. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for letting me come home to sleep and eat.
  • Cabin leaders don't sleep much either. I was 19 the first summer I worked at camp, and I thought I my eyes were gonna dry up and fall out I was so tired. By Day 2.
  • Going back to sleeping at Mom and Dad's, the Ranch house is seriously the BEST place on Earth to sleep. It's 36-miles-away-from-town quiet, ranch-style peaceful and boasts amazing beds and cozy sheets. Plus, when you get up, Mom's always been cooking something, so the house smells great, and there's a latte machine readily available. Paradise. Can I come home this weekend for a nap?
  • Napping on the beach, or after a day at the beach, is the most amazing summertime experience. I can't wait for warm weather again...
  • In college, I usually had Friday afternoons off. After the noise of Chinese Food Friday had subsided and before the fun of Friday night began, I usually had time for a couple hour snooze. Sometimes I really miss college.
  • Even writing this list is making me really tired. Time for a Friday nap...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Seven Dwarves - Happy

Happy and Grumpy are two dwarves at war. One is perpetually, foolishly optimistic, one is bull-headedly, arms-folded-leave-me-alone, pointing his face stubbornly in the opposite direction. Oddly enough, I think most of us have each one warring for space in the cozy little living rooms of our soul - one wants to play loud music while washing dishes, the other grumbles about it. One gives hugs freely and compliments others on adorable hats and awesome shoes, the other isolates himself with a "harumph" and silently wonders how one could be so foolish as to spend good money on pointy toes and heels.

Today, as most days, I'm trying to help Happy out a bit in his fight for prime Dani Real Estate. The trouble is, he's so dang good-natured that he won't actually beat Grumpy up or shake him down to size, even though I'm convinced he could take him. He just waltzes around admiring the scenery and making pleasant remarks. Dang happiness.

Anyway, I keep whispering little tips to him as to how to slowly edge Grumpy out... we're working on it.... Now if only we had little opposite dwarves for Dopey and Sneezy, like say, "Alert" and "Clear-breathing". They would come in handy.

Anyway, on to everybody's favorite feature, the bulleted list - this time about things that make me Happy:

  • Early mornings.
  • Sunrises and Sunsets.
  • Being outside. I could be walking down a sidewalk and I'm happier than inside.. although actually being outside and out of the city is pretty sweet.
  • Ambient lighting. No fluorescents for this girl. I love pretty light fixtures and soft golden light.
  • Home-made oatmeal raisin cookies. My favorite. Actually, I just like home-made cookies of any variety.
  • Flowers. Especially sunflowers and daisies. But you knew that. I kinda say it a lot. :)
  • Gmail chat.
  • Feeling creative
  • Feeling competent and valued.
  • Black lids on lattes. White lids are boring. They're for Starbucks and well, the birds, since everything dumb is for them. Black lids are so classy.
  • Cheezits and Diet Coke. Perfect afternoon snack.
  • Rainy/foggy days - especially if I get a chance to curl up with hot coffee and some inspiration.
  • Golden Spoon in the summertime.
  • Long talks - feeling understood and heard.
  • Horses. I love just about everything about them. Specifically the Paint Mare, specifically at Badger Creek Ranch. Actually, almost everything about Badger Creek Ranch makes me happy. I love the camaraderie, the deep appreciation for and knowledge about the horses, the pace of life, the smell of sagebrush in the rain, summer thunderstorms, knowing where I belong, mountains so close you can touch them, the heavy jangle of spurs on my boots, and the admiring young riders who look up to their wranglers to give them an opportunity to accomplish their greatest dream - to actually ride a horse.
  • One-armed photos.
  • Emails/phone calls/facebook posts/blog comments/gmail chats to and from my dear, far away friends. I love knowing that I can always talk to you.
  • Worship.
  • Kayaking.
  • Farmer's Markets.
  • LOST
  • Smelly stuff - soap, shampoo, hair products, candles.... yeah. I'm a girl. I can't help it.
  • Swimming in the Ocean. I have been known to duck under a wave and come up laughing for sheer joy. The Pacific has been a part of my earliest and most treasured memories... and I'm always convinced that everybody needs to learn how to swim in it. At least once.
  • New books.
  • Magazines. I'm always finding new favorites.
  • My family. Crazy? Yes. Fun? No doubt.
  • Small towns.
  • Cowboys, ranchers, farmers, mechanics, bakers, baristas, and blue-collar people in general. So many stories...
  • The first snow of winter.
  • Wildflowers.
  • Home stores. Particularly ones in which there are oodles of adorable things that I can afford.
  • Working in the shop.
  • Bristle-y kisses and quality time from a certain Somebody.
  • Hot D Dates.
  • Writing.
  • Christmas morning.
  • Getting tan.
  • Cute shoes.
  • Baseball caps with ponytail holes.
Obviously, I could keep going.... and I'm a lot Happier now than when I started. Maybe this is my new plan to help out Happy with his joyful takeover... with all this niceness floating around, Grumpy'll probably skeedaddle of his own accord. Actually, I think he just did.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Seven Dwarves - Grumpy

In honor of it's being Monday, and the joy that comes with Mondays, (especially ones that your teacher friends have off,) I've chosen Grumpy for today's dwarf.

I know he's not the most popular one, but he's really just misunderstood, and we need him around to remind us how boring our complaints really are. After all, the air never smelled so sweet as when you come out of the feedlot, and life never looks so good as it does after an afternoon with the Grumpster. So, without further ado, what makes me Grumpy, in bulleted points. May this list inspire you with a fond love of life and growing things.

  • No caffeine. Headachey no fun.
  • When the square cup holders in Rocky rear their blocky heads and allow my coffee to tip over. Whoever engineered those was not so bright.
  • Being late.
  • Bad hair days. I have curly hair. Sometimes, I have frizzy, funky, flattish, gnarly hair. This makes me feel like dumping my head in a sink ala Freshman year and never coming out again.
  • When people randomly brake on open stretches of freeway. Are you serious?! It's called a FREEway. As in, move FREEly. As in, don't brake in the middle of it and kill us all, k?
  • Shallowness. The OC and I have a love/hate relationship. I love the gorgeous weather, great food, and the beach and mountains so close at hand. I don't love episodes like this: Me, at the Tanning salon (yes, I went tanning, and yes, I understand that this kinda shoots a hole in my tirade against shallowness... but a girl can be tan and taken seriously, right?) Somehow, my stint in Texas comes up as I'm promising not to sue the salon if I burn. The girl behind the counter gets very excited about this. Girl, wearing way too much eyeshadow and sucking furiously on a chartruese candy: "So, like, I just have to know. I'm thinking about going to college in Texas, but... are people tan there? I just need to know for myself, you know? I like tan people." I started to answer, "um... what?" but instead went on a tirade about how Texans are some of the most beautiful, welcoming people I've ever known, how most of my best friends and boyfriend are from there, and how it's pretty much a promised land of friendly people, open skies and the American dream. When I was done, Tan Girl stared at me, twirled her bleach blonde hair around her finger and smacked on her candy. "Uh... ok. So, like, your bed's ready."
  • Losing things. I lose stuff a lot - and not random stuff like my memory box from 9th grade. That I can always find. What I can't find (almost every morning,) are my keys, cell phone, sunglasses, etc. It's a curse. (I bought an organizer for the purpose of improving in this area, but it hasn't helped. Maybe it's because I don't actually put things in it.)
  • Smelling like fast food. I hate it when I go get something to eat and come out smelling like I jumped on the grill for a little afternoon simmer. Gross.
  • Cold coffee. Not like Frappucinos, but like bleh in the bottom of my mug.
  • Angsty teenage music. Every now and then if it brings back a memory or fills a void left in a particularly bad day, it's OK. Most of the time? No go.
  • Telemarketers.
  • Buyer's Remorse - or, what's more typical with me, is BR's lesser-known cousin, Why Didn't I Buy That? Remorse
  • Being tired.
  • A messy bower. Bowers should be full of fruit, candles, wine, inspirational writing and lovely music, not dirty dishes, laundry, and dog-eared papers.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Seven Dwarves - Doc (and *bonus!* a little note to the men in our lives)

I picked Doc because I feel like I need a Doc right now. A heart Doc. I've been in the weirdest funk of needing people and pushing them away and being all around confusing to myself and everyone around me that I'm starting to get desperate.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so who better to call on than a self-proclaimed medical expert dwarf with sweet specs? EXACTLY. Thank you for agreeing.

My current problem is something that men in general don't understand. Sometimes, when girls cry, we don't need you to fix it. Sometimes we just need a hug and to be told that we're still cute, although we'll act offended when you first say it, of course.

Sometimes, we do need your wisdom, though. We won't tell which one we need at the moment, and for that, I'm sorry. In our moments of sanity, we understand that clear-cut communication would make life much easier for everybody. However, when we're crying (read: insane, or at last slightly tilted that direction,) we just want you to read our minds: hug us, give us surprises, advice, a smile, or whatever it is that we really want to make us feel better.

So maybe the Doc is really there for all men who have a girl in their life. So, basically, all men who aren't monks. He'll help you out, guys. He'll pull down his specs, give you a reassuring smile, hand you a flower, and say, "Go get her, tiger. Go dry her tears. Flowers are the trick - it worked for Snow White!"

And maybe it will. You never know... dwarves are pretty sharp like that.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Seven Dwarves - Sneezy

I picked "Sneezy" as my dwarf/mood of the day, because he's obviously the most off the wall, and it's Wednesday, so I need a little levity.

Also, I've felt like I've had an acre of grass clippings up my nose all day, and it's getting a little old - so I can kind of identify with poor Sneezy.

So. Things that make me Sneezy, and (bonus!) a few random nose stories, since I'm not allergic to anything, and this list will soon get boring and very short:

  • Bleach. Every time I clean my bathroom I sneeze like crazy. This kind of happens a lot, since I kind of have a clean fetish.
  • I was probably 8 years old the last time I stuck a marble up my nose. I think I had some vague recollection that it had been "fun" before, (in the way that squirming, sitting on your bathroom floor and desperately trying to get a large, round object out of a small nose can be fun... I guess.) At any rate, I think my schnoz had grown a bit since the last time I'd tried this trick - let's just say it ended with a combo of tweezers, pliers, my dad's strong hands, my mom threatening to go to the ER, and many tears on my part.
  • Laughing so hard that you get whatever you're drinking up your nose can be very painful. This summer, I did it to such an extreme in one instance, that the thought flashed across my mind: "You could die laughing. Just like this." It's a good way to go, I guess.
  • One time I caught a bug in my mouth and sneezed it out my nose. I feel like a 6th grader on the search for cool points, but it really happened. True story.
  • When other people get in sneezing fits, I get in hiccup fits, ALL THE TIME. But scaring me won't make it stop. I promise.
  • I've always been really grateful that I'm not allergic to dogs, cats, horses, grass, hay, open skies, sunshine, coffee, good books, Mexican food, candlelight, good-smelling soap, warm hugs, star-gazing, apple pie, Life cereal, rivers, daisies, the ocean, good exercise and wonderful people. Because I love all these things, and allergies would just mess it up.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Seven Dwarves - A Week in Moods

I got the idea for this week-long theme from friend. Every day this week I am going to take on a dwarf-like persona and explain what makes me that way. Or I might just use it to create an interesting title and then write about something completely unrelated. But I will try to keep up with the dwarf theme anyway, because who doesn't want to emulate short men with beards and great singing voices? Plus, they're kind-hearted miners, which seems to be a rare thing in these troubled times.

I know I should have started this on Monday, but I was preoccupied, so my week is off. This has made me Dopey.
(Editor's note: We know that Dopey was a pretty carefree fellow, but we are using Dopey in the "somewhat detached and out of it" context.)

Other things that make me Dopey are:
  • Too much of a good thing, such as cookies, pizza, or wine.
  • Late nights - you never know whether I'll be stupidly sleepy, falling-over style, or so tired that I lose the filter and tell you things you shouldn't know, but you will be entertained.
  • Too much TV. My eyes glaze over after a few hours - especially with stuff like talk or game shows. Stop clapping already and go outside, audiences.
  • Not being heard. If you talk over me, I will eventually give up and just stare at you with a mixture of dopeyness and distaste.
  • No caffeine.
  • Wearing glasses instead of contacts. When I wear glasses, I feel a lot dumber and sleepier. Maybe it's the fuzzy people around my peripheral vision or the spots that I can never seem to wipe off.
  • MySpace. Facebook I can understand, but MySpace? It's just so skanky and glitzy. Every time I go to someone's page they have some loud new song or sparkly teddy bear waving at me in a creepy animated way. No likey sensory overload.
  • Long lines.
  • Not having a plan. It's a paralyzing feeling for someone with several lists, five calendars and a mental note of every "to-do". Sometimes it's good for me, though. I'm learning.
  • A dirty face. I love washing my face, and have been known to give up on make-up halfway through the day just to feel clean. This can go for my hair too, although I'm less likely to try to tackle that in the office sink. :)
That's all that Dopey can handle for right now... he needs another Diet Coke.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Selling Myself

I did it. I bit my lip, held in my screams and wrote about myself. I know all of you are thinking that I'm not only narcissistic, but crazy, since I clearly write about myself all the time on this dang blog. I know, I know. Such is the great contradiction of the creative soul: we can write about ourselves ad nauseum, but can't market ourselves worth a darn. That's why we're all starving, living in attics and writing for free.

Anyway, I digress. The larger problems of writer-hood cannot be solved until we hold our noses and dive in, so this was my attempt. It weighs in right at 60 words, which I consider a minor miracle, as holding to word counts has never been my strong suit.

Here you go:

Dani Linthicum

I am an artist of language. I love pulling people into new perspectives and making the mundane pieces of life extraordinary either with humor, spunk or a fresher, deeper look.

I love the outdoors, horses, interesting people, mountains, strong coffee, good jazz on rainy days, the color green and good excuses for eating poorly.

For more, visit:

Would you visit? Please say yes. Or just pat me on the head and distract me with something shiny and/or covered in caramel. That works too.