Posts

Featured

One Thing You DO NOT Want to Hear Whilst Camping in the Middle of Nowhere

One of my biggest complaints about the RV was that the radio doesn’t work.* It’s totally a nice-to-have though, which goes to show how little I have to complain about on this trip. If you don’t like scary, inexplicable, and very true tales, skip ahead to the next asterisk at the end of the post.

Tina and I had found our first ever dispersed camping site and were settling in after a particularly long day of driving. For anyone who may not know, dispersed camping is “dry camping,” no hookups to water, electricity, or sewer, and is done on public lands. The best part of all, it’s free! Particularly exciting during a month-and-a-half-long road trip.

hauntingsunset
Look how beautiful, one might even say it looks majestic.

We had done our research and decided on Welch Rd. an area right off of I-40 in Ash Fork, AZ. After getting about half a mile or so away from the freeway, we shut off the engine, turning on our solar-powered lamps in the pitch darkness inside the RV. I was on my computer writing until the the battery died, and Tina could only muster half an hour of playing Fallout 4 on her computer before she shut down and we both went to sleep. Before I drifted off, I mentioned to Tina how there were weird noises outside, like a clicking or gurgling.

hauntingarea
Middle. Of. Nowhere.

“It’s sprinkling, make sure the roof vents are closed,” she said, then rolled over and started snoring.

Tina can sleep through anything: earthquakes, cats stepping on our heads, loud neighbors, World War III. I routinely awaken when a tire squeals five miles away because my unconscious is preparing for a drive-by shooting. So I sleep with earplugs, and we both use eye masks, a must for any camping, especially when the summer sun is up heinously early.

Around 6:30 I woke up to pee, the sun already out. I got back in bed and laid there, drifting back to sleep, grateful for the fact that our nearest dispersed camping neighbors were a quarter mile away and wouldn’t disturb us. Both of our cell phones were by our pillows, and set to silent. Even the cats were slumbering, late for them once there was light outside. It was just so peaceful and quiet.

I bolted upright before the music even consciously registered in my brain. I ripped my eye mask off first and pulled out my earplugs second to get a better listen. A song, with a melody, and words, was playing at 6:45 in the morning inside of our RV. Tina sat up too and mumbled an alarmed question. Perhaps it was the same question that raced through my mind at that moment: how in the literal fuck was music playing, so clearly inside of our vehicle?

I couldn’t even speak before the music stopped. We sat in bed in shocked silence for a few seconds. I got up and looked around the fold-out sofa, seemingly the source of the sound. My laptop, its battery still dead, was sitting out, as was Tina’s computer, which is always turned on when not in use to conserve battery for gaming. Our phone were both on silent and next to the bed. The engine was off, the radio couldn’t have been on, and all of the windows and roof hatches, except the one directly above our bed, were closed. It had sounded as if someone had a song playing on their phone, then hit the “stop” button to end it. There was no fade in or out, no reverberation or diffusion of the sound like there would be if it was coming from a source outside.

Always the scientist, Tina reasoned that the sound could have come from a car on the freeway, and bounced into the RV through the open roof hatch. I think that was her way of trying to calm us down; even she, self-admittedly, had goosebumps. There was no way a car on the freeway, or a nearby camping neighbor, could have transmitted a five-second snippet of song with pinpoint clarity as if it had originated within the RV itself. I knew that, and so did she.

kittenprowling
Kitten on the prowl, guarding against whatever is out there.

With no way of plugging in any electronics, our laptops both off, and with an inoperable radio, there was only one plausible explanation. That shit was haunted.

*We ate a quick breakfast and headed out toward the Grand Canyon.

Featured

I Wanna Be Where the People Aren’t

Most children don’t secretly aspire to become a hermit. Most.


It was around the age of seven that I divulged to my mom my most fervent desire: to take up residence in a mountain cave, alone, and harvest herbs for sustenance.

I’m not making judgments or anything, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that her response to my confessed predilections for cave dwelling was mild compared to how most mothers would react. Ever the trained therapist, she replied, “That sounds neat. What is it that you’d like about that?” Fortunately for my career and romantic life, I ended up gravitating to the Bay Area and a career in finance; as far cry from an herb-filled mountain cave as one could imagine.

I’m not entirely sure when or how it happened, but my idea of what was important shifted. What I should do with the hours of my days was work, earn, produce, even to the exclusion of everything that seven-year-old Lindsay valued.

Years of correcting those types of silly inclinations eventually knit together Adult Lindsay, who had set aside the frivolities of her childhood in exchange for professional stability and financial security. The part of her brain dedicated to play and imagination had been reallocated to remembering nuances of various capital markets and foreign exchange rates.

But Adult Lindsay’s tightly knit life began to unravel, ironically, because of neglecting her hermit side. This is best illustrated with the below excerpt from the dramatic screenplay entitled Work at Your Desk in the Office Forever (it’s a working title).

HERMIT: Pay attention to me! I’m bored! There’s nothing to color here!

ADULT: Shut up! There are literally 15 things on fire right now.

HERMIT: I’m tired of this place, when are we gonna leave and go play?

ADULT: I said shut up! You’re distracting me! Oh my god, I’m never getting out of here.

HERMIT: (Bored and playful; notices a loose string on the hem of Adult’s jacket and starts pulling on it slowly; Hermit continues to tug and twist, giggling as she runs around and around an empty chair nearby, wrapping it in the unwound thread of Adult’s $250 J. Crew blazer)
It’s laughable to picture what my life would be living alone in a cave. The unbalance and solitude is undeniably literal. Yet somehow, the polar opposite of being constantly accessible to people seemed like a normal, respectable endeavor.

After almost 33 years of trial and error, I’m starting to get the importance of the whole living-a-balanced-life thing. Being by oneself in a physical cave is no more ridiculous than isolating oneself from the world emotionally and spiritually.  If I put food on the physical table, but don’t feed my soul, I will still die.

Adult Lindsay is still around nowadays, but Hermit Lindsay will always exist to help her recharge. A battery that’s only ever plugged in never fulfills the purpose of its existence. There’s power in being connected, even if it’s draining.


So, in the spirit of meaningful connection, but tempered with the desire to be left the hell alone, this stream-of-consciousness pseudo-journal is my way of staying linked to you, to myself, and to something bigger than us all.

And to make memes.

The Grand Canyon: So F*%@ing Grand, I Literally Can’t Even

For those of you wondering, I strategically wrote this post almost a month after visiting the Grand Canyon due to creative reasons that only an artiste would understand, and not because I’ve been too distracted by drawing and playing with my cats.

After Joshua Tree, we headed east toward Arizona and this allegedly Grand Canyon. If you ever drive on Highway 62, you’ll notice a strange attraction beckoning you from the roadside: the Rice Shoe Fence, in Rice, CA.

Aside from being a delicious side in Mexican dishes, Rice is known for its vast collection of shoes, not unlike my girlfriend.

After snapping some pictures of the ghost town’s local architecture, it was onward, ho!

Onward we ho’d, indeed.

As we neared the California-Arizona border, we saw a ton of signs warning us about wild burros running around on the road. I’m not sure why they’re not just called donkeys, but there were indeed burros galore. I’m also unsure about how burritos got their name, for that matter, but that’s neither here nor there.

I feel like maybe they should put less signs about burros and more signs about vehicular width requirements. Because ol’ Barb was too wide for the bridge over the Colorado River, we had to backtrack an hour to the route for obese RV’s (real nice, Arizona).

The extra time in the hot RV set the tone for the whole state. After that, we just had this vague feeling that something wasn’t quite right.

Fun fact: 93% of the United States outside of California is hellishly hot and humid (except during Polar Vortex, or what we in California call “winter”). To mitigate the heat, we took a slightly longer route to treat ourselves to Culver’s, the In-N-Out of the Midwest, except better and with Concrete Mixers.

After spending a night in a haunted field, we were excited to see the majestic beauty of the Grand Canyon!

Everyone should visit the Grand Canyon at some point in their lives. It’s beautiful, but its the sheer vastness of it that’s most compelling. If you ever want to experience how insignificant we are in the scope of the enormity of the universe, go to the Grand Canyon.

Tl; dr

Arizona: 2.5/5 stars, because Lake Havasu City has a Culver’s and it’s home of the Grand Canyon

Haunted field: 2/5 stars

Grand Canyon: ALL OF THE STARS

This Test Predicts with 100% Accuracy Where on the Cat Lady Spectrum You Fall

We made it to Niles, Michigan today after strategically making it through both Ohio and Indiana without buying anything out of principle. It was still light outside until past 9:00, and we took advantage by playing cornhole outside by the RV.

As the sequence of events progressed throughout the night, I was reminded of how severe my cat-ladyism is, and I wanted to share my experience, strength, and hope with you so that you can see just how far into cat-ladydom you’ve gone, or how far you still have to go. May I present the following quiz:

Are You More of a Cat Lady Than Lindsay?

1) Kitten gazes at the outside world, longing for the sweet taste of liberty. I watch her and wonder what she’s thinking.

2) Her pitiful meows at the door interrupt the game of cornhole Tina and I are playing. She’s the saddest, most neglected kitten in the world, nay — the universe. We try not to pay her any mind so she won’t learn to meow when she wants something she ought not have. We do not succeed.

3) Guilty about depriving her, we put Kitten on her leash and attach it to a heavy chair. She sits there on the mat until a noise/a movement/Kitten’s overactive imagination sends her scurrying beneath the RV. We coax (read: drag) her out and take her back inside. We silently scold ourselves for allowing Kitten to be scared on or watch. We wonder if she will be traumatized forever.

4) Despite her escape attempt and possible PTSD, she meowed pathetically to go outside again, so we had no choice but to acquiesce. She “played” (ate grass) and watched us play cornhole (I won two out of three).

5) A tree with some birds in it piques Kitten’s interest. I take 40-or-so pictures while a group of RV campers in their 60’s chuckle at the cat on the leash and the crazy lesbians following her around taking pictures.

6) Kitten runs straight up aforementioned tree. Note Tina’s concerned face pictured at the bottom of the photo. Full disclosure, Tina is probably equal parts scared that Kitten might get hurt and worried about my wrath should that come to be.

Now count up how many of these points you empathized with, have done before, or would totally do in the future. That score gives you, with absolute accuracy, the severity of your cat-ladyitis diagnosis!

If you don’t have a cat because you’re allergic (because why else wouldn’t you have one?!), my condolences. Replace “cat” with “dog,” “horse,” “boyfriend,” whatever, and report your results in the comments!

0-1: You’re either a sociopath or an alien. Or both.

2-3: You have some real work to do to be a full-fledged cat lady (or cat dude!). I would suggest obtaining at least two cats as soon as practicable and continuing to read this blog regularly. And ask yourself, Am I willing to commit?

4-5: You own more than one cat-themed sweater and you plan hangout time with your feline friends. Might I suggest a subscription to Cat Fancy as well? I would challenge you to turn down invitations to hang out with friends in order to hang out with your cats. Be creative with your excuses!

6: Let’s be best friends! Well, second best, because you already know who takes the #1 spot.

A Tail of Two Mice

You know when you get to the end of a horror movie and find out it was the boyfriend all along? And looking back on various scenes, it totally makes sense that it was him, but the audience doesn’t realize it until he’s killed half the town? That was how it was with us and the realization that we had mice in the RV.

Skeet Ulrich is the murderous boyfriend in literally every movie.

Kitten had been perched in chicken-like repose, staring into the hollow compartment beneath the bench seats at the table. She regularly sees things that we humans do not, so I wrote it off as Kitten being Kitten.

Kitten singing.

As cats and humans alike were about to settle down for a long summer’s nap, a mouse appeared and scurried across the seat cushion in front of me and then darted behind the trash can.

Tina was in the bathroom getting ready for bed.

“Babe, stay in the bathroom…” I said with complete calmness, my voice level with the confidence of a rodent whisperer.

“Why? What’s going on?”

“Nothing. Just don’t make any sudden movements.”

It’s worth noting at this point in the story that when I was but a young kitten myself, I caught a mouse using nothing but my hands and wits. It had gotten into the break room at the Borders bookstore I worked at (R.I.P. Borders) so I caught it and put it outside on the loading dock. There was a 20-minute video on YouTube of the whole ordeal, but I don’t know what happened to it. I mention all of this because #foreshadowing, duh.

Poor Tina was displeased by the fact that we had the unexpected guest. I had her open the bathroom door all the way to seal off the bedroom (it’s butts up against the shower when fully opened) and stuff a towel under the door. Thank goodness for the towel.

“It’s behind the trash can. I’m going to move it and try to grab it and put it outside.”

(Muffled whimper): “Ok.”

Fun fact: house mice can jump like mofos.

“I’m coming for your family and everything that you hold dear.”

If you’re like we were that night, you’re probably wondering how this little guy could be running around with Kitten chasing him without having been maimed or eaten by now. Welp, to answer that, here’s Kitten after she fell asleep, literally mid-groom, in a toe-touch position. Her feline instincts are more Hello Kitty than Lion King.

She fell asleep in the same position that Peter Griffin ends up in when he falls down the stairs in Family Guy.

In other words, Kitten is more decorative than functional.

Back to the jumping mouse. I pulled the trash can away from the wall and the little bugger ran straight toward the bedroom, which thankfully was air-, or towel-, as it were, -tight. So picture Tina yelling from behind the door while me and Kitten clumsily pawed at this tiny, slippery, jumping mouse.

Finally, I managed to scoop it up with my hands (which were covered in dish towels as primitive hantavirus protection), Tina opened the RV door, and I tossed it out as gently but far away as I could.

Can I just point out the relationship between the words “hantavirus” and “haunted?”

Phew! What an exciting adventure, right?! We figured that we must’ve picked up the little critter in the haunted field we had stayed in a couple nights before.

We finally completed our nighttime routine and went to bed. I was nearly asleep when I felt the RV moving. Though Tina was finishing up in the bathroom and causing some of the motion, I had a sneaking suspicion and got up to check things out. There was Kitten, leaping and diving near the sofa. It was as if… she was chasing something.

Lo and behold! Another mouse!

Without any time to prepare our defenses, the mouse slipped past me and Kitten and under the bathroom door. Never before had I heard screams like that, as if someone was being kidnapped by clowns.

She looks friendly.

I opened the door, snatched it up, and threw it along with the last kitchen hand towel outside into the night. Slamming the door shut, I collapsed on the sofa to catch my breath.

Those were the only two mice that we encountered that night. To prevent Tina from having a nervous breakdown, we bought mouse traps. At first, they were the catch-and-release type, and when that didn’t work, kill-traps.

We ended up killing one mouse which made me sad. After all, the poor things had just accidentally made their way into our living quarters and meant no harm.

But there’s an old adage that I reflect on which helps give me perspective on the situation and makes me feel better: happy wife, happy life without her setting the RV on fire and leaving you to join a nunnery.

Happy National Lesbian Ambiguity Day (aka National Girlfriends Day)!

The Internet told me that today is National Girlfriends Day. I didn’t realize what it actually celebrates until after I made these for Tina. Talk about a flashback to high school lesbian ambiguity problems.

This goes out to all my girls who have ever cringed when you’ve introduced your girlfriend and the other person said, “Oh so nice to meet a friend from school!”

Note: I drew this in the back of the RV while we were driving through Alabama aka Land of the Potholes, so don’t judge too harshly.

Note #2: The word “girlfriend” began appearing in 1859, according to Merriam-Webster. The Online Etymology Dictionary notes that it was used to describe “a woman’s female friend in youth.” Before that, the term “she-friend” was used beginning in the 17th century.

Can we please bring back the term “she-friend?!”



Austin is my Baby Daddy

(The city, not some dude… I can’t have my lesbian street cred ruined)

So… We’re in Austin, TX and it is *children, cover your ears* fucking amazing. I’m about 907.5% ready to move here. I know I’m skipping a couple stops in the coverage of our trip (Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Albuquerque, Roswell) but I just had to talk about Austin real quick, because just look:

It’s beautiful here, even with record-breaking high temperatures this weekend.

The shopping is fantastic. It actually reminds me a lot of Oakland.

It’s like they are speaking directly to my soul.

Get out of my head, Austin.

And of course, the omnipresent crab symbolism.

And Our Lady Barb the Immaculate oversees it all, and has deemed it good.

Words of wisdom, y’all (as they say), in regards to the 1.5 million bats living under the Congress Bridge:

Stay weird, Austin.

21 Pictures That Will Magically Transport You Along on Our Badass Road Trip

Let me give you the past week and a half in a nutshell:

My partner Tina was offered a job as an emergency medicine physician assistant in Fresno, so we’re moving from Oakland to Fresno, the land of my upbringing, at the beginning of September. But only after…

 

…our 6-week Shavekorn Super Road Trip! It’s a 10,000 mile journey starting on the California coast in Monterey and ending back in Fresno at the end of August. We’re hitting 30 points of interests along the way, so follow along here! 

    We kicked off the adventure on my 33rd birthday. It’s a lucky number as 33 was also my basketball jersey number in high school and college. 

      Speaking of high school, my gorgeous sister-in-law was attempting to convince me of how awkward she was then. Then apropos of awkwardness, she sent this perfectly timed picture. This is a carousel at Casa de Fruta, en route to a family gathering in Monterey, part one of our journey. 

      Ummm….. I have questions about this.

      We stopped at Blackwell Rest Stop where I hung out with Granny Linzelby, aka myself in 40 years. I actually have a secret talent wherein I can impersonate faces. I used to do it all the time with book covers when I worked at Borders (R.I.P.). 

      Took this picture to be funny. Turns out the joke is on me.

      Eventually, we left, but not before a near-altercation with the below sheep. A single sheep in a herd of them in the back of a pickup truck was staring at me, as if she knew a secret I did not, and was laughing at me. 

      You don’t know my life, sheep!

      After we two of us had words, we headed out to the Monterey Bay Aquarium with the family. These guys are my third cousins. 

      We’re all crabby. Ha.

      I gave some broad a dirty look and informed her, “No flash!” when she disturbed my octopus friend. I’m pretty sure she was flirting with me (the octopus, not the rude photographer).

      Put those arms around me, girl. All eight of ’em.

      Side note: I’m obsessed with jellyfish now. 

      They look like the inflatable LED lamps we bought for the trip.
      I photoshopped those kids in front of my line of sight.
      Beautiful, but dangerous. Just like me.

      All of this talk about jelly made me hungry. On to our next stop we went to get settled in and have some lunch. Behold Indian Waters, Indio’s finest RV resort!

        Indio is about half an hour from Joshua Tree National Park, which all the cool kids go to and do hipster things like wear a long, flannel shirt, have man-buns, and play solo guitar in the wilderness (this really happened). 

          Don’t let the water fool you, it was fucking hot. That’s totally a mirage.

          I’m pretty sure that’s what it feels like to be on the surface of the sun. It’s actually pretty comparable to Fresno, weather-wise.

            Some magical plant that still survives despite the hellscape that is Joshua Tree.

            Do you know why it’s called Joshua Tree National Park? Hint: it has nothing to do with U2.

              This one lost an arm in a YMCA dance off.

              It has Joshua Trees.

                Just a few.

                  “Hi Joshua! It’s Joshua!” “Excuse me, are you talking to me?” “No, my friend’s name is also Joshua.”

                  ALL OF THE JOSHUA TREES!

                    Joshua Tree National Forest aka Solar Flare City caused my pasty shoulders to turn a subtle shade of third degree lobster. I started getting a little loopy, so we decided to call it a day. The heat makes people do crazy things, like craft what is presumably a vagina worship station.

                    Fact: Joshua Tree’s indigenous people were lesbians.

                    It was so beautiful, we didn’t want to leave. Everything looked as though it was part of a movie set. Totally unreal.

                      That mountain is clearly made out of paper maché.

                      On our way back to Indian Waters, we decided to stop at an outdoor art gallery. We saw a rather dusty dildo bouquet, or dildoquet, if you will. 

                        I thought long and hard about what to get you for Valentine’s Day.

                          I told you, the heat makes people do crazy things.