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Remember how I said, like, just last week that even though I wasn’t a religious person, I could easily get behind the beliefs of those who are religious? Let’s keep that in mind, and remember that I am sometimes open-minded and loving, and accepting of the beliefs of others.

This, however, is not one of those times.

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From the moment Rand told me about the Salton Sea, I wanted to go.

I’m probably one of the few people in the last 50 years to have had that sentiment.

Here’s why:

The Salton Sea is not a hot getaway destination, or even a particularly nice place to kill a couple of hours, but it used to be. The sea was created by accident at the beginning of the last century. Engineers goofed up an irrigation route from the Colorado river, and flooded an area of the Coachella Valley which then became known as the Salton Sea.

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There has been a lot of talk lately about Rand’s facial hair. And not just by me. Other folks have been blogging about it, too.

He started growing it out after Thanksgiving, just to see what it would look like. And it looked pretty much the same as it always did – a bit shaggier perhaps, but that was it. But then, after a few months, the whole thing started to curl.

I, personally, thought this was hilarious. Rand was not as much of a fan. I remained fascinated at how much his look changed. Some days he resembled an old-timey-prospector …

There’s a joke here … something about how he could pan my river anytime …

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I know it isn’t Wednesday – I didn’t blog yesterday because I spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon downtown, participating in the largest gathering of people in Seattle, ever. It was strange and crazy and a bit magical.

And as I was flipping through my photos from Palm Springs, I came across a photo that was strange, and crazy, and a little bit magical. I took it in Niland, California, outside of the United Food Center. We were coming back from Salvation mountain (which is also strange, and crazy, et al, and I will be sure to tell you all about it next week), and I pulled into a parking lot so we could our bearings.

Rand saw him first, and as is his fashion, was able to distill the situation down to its essence in just a few words.

“That is clearly the greatest human being who has ever lived.”

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This is a cherimoya:

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This is NOT how you eat a cherimoya:

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The thing that I love about humanity, besides Thai food and the tendency to dress our young up as animals, is our commitment to the arts. That as a species, as soon as our basic needs are met (and even if they aren’t) we all hellbent on writing and composing and painting and sculpting and carving and decoupaging and etching and crocheting and just making things.

We are the species responsible for the Bedazzler and the Eiffel Tower, which is just kind of wonderful to think about.

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I’m sorry for the lull in blogging, and the long delay in recounting the highlights of our Philly trip. I promise to get back to all of that tomorrow. Today, though, I wanted to tell you about something that happened during our weekend jaunt to California. Because I think the full force of it hasn’t hit me yet (pun not intended). 

A member of hotel staff tries to figure out what the hell happened outside of our room.

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I often have odd reactions to things, both emotionally and physically. To me, they make sense, of course. But anyone else would think I was a bit strange.

I have slow reflexes, and my flight or fight response is clearly broken. I once saw a car careening towards my friend Lauren, and my response was to rush over to her, put my arms around her and … stand perfectly still. So, you know, she wouldn’t be alone when the car hit her. That was my way of protecting her, I guess. (Spoiler: we were fine.)

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He has no idea what he’s getting himself into.

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When I was a kid, my family went out to eat approximately never. My mother will tell you that it was out of frugality, because my family was broke (not in a depressing, Charles-Dickens sort of way, but a charming and somewhat hilarious let’s-throw-a-blanket-over-the-kids-so-we-don’t-have-to-pay-for-them-at-the-Drive-In kind of way).

I’m sure our reluctance to eat out also had to do with the fact that restaurants don’t like patrons who sit around the table for three hours after the meal is finished, yelling at one another about nothing. This is a part of Italian culture, and if you think that I am over-generalizing, then you have never had dinner with an Italian family.

Seriously, my family can fight about what time it is, if you let them.

I find it all rather hilarious, and I often just sit back and enjoy the conflict, occasionally stoking the coals (“Don’t forget about daylight savings!” I’ll innocently add, and another hour will be lost to the yelling). Sometimes I even make a bag of popcorn and nibble on it as I watch the show, and they don’t even notice.

Before you judge me on my choice of entertainment, I will kindly remind you that it’s in my blood: the ancient Romans used to watch people tear one another apart in the Colosseum; by comparison, our family dinners involve fewer casualties, though there is just about as much sword-wielding and yelling.

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