Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Rake Incident

When people ask where I'm from I say Grand Rapids. I'm really from one of those tiny, you've never heard it, hamlets that's like a 45 minute drive from Grand Rapids...but it gives the asker the ability of having some idea of the general area. If you're from a tiny hamlet, especially in the mid west, chances are you have a few trees in your yard. Well where I grew up, we had a small yard amidst a heck of a lot of trees.

On the one hand that's a good thing. Lots of trees for climbing and fort building (that's a different story), less lawn to mow (not that I ever did that), great for playing hide and seek, lots of handy fire wood...but there are downsides to it as well. I was completely freaked out by the Blair Witch Project. And don't scoff because you know you were too, for at least five minutes. I LIVED THERE!! Granted a few states away but that's basically what it looks like where I'm from. Strange noises in the night, terror that one of the big trees would come down during a storm and take out the house, or worse, my bedroom...and you know what else sucks about a lot of trees? Leaves.

We actually did have a pretty large lawn and spent a couple years raking it. One year my dad reverse engineered the lawnmower to suck up leaves so raking was history. And yes, raking was a little fun because you got to jump in the leave piles! We'd rake up the leaves into the biggest piles we could manage then get a running start from halfway across the yard. For those few seconds you felt like you were flying!!! Then the leaves caught you in a soft, cloud-like embrace and you rolled around and tossed them up and got up to do it again.

Except that's not really what it's like. For one thing, the leaves have been on the ground for a little bit so they're all kinds of wet and nasty. And there are bits of branch and bark that poke you in uncomfortable places. And bugs. Plus, if you're last in line, usually my little brother, there wasn't a lot of pile left. We had some hard ground landings in my day. And then you had rake the blasted things back into the pile so they could be got rid of.

The other danger was the rakes. Sure we had those fairly harmless green plastic garden rakes everyone has...but we had a semi functioning farm so there were rakes with metal rake bits too. Accidentally leave one too close to a pile and there goes your eye. One fall, I was maybe seven which puts my sister at nine there was an incident with a rake. In all liklihood I was still raking and she jumped into the pile. However I would not put it past me for this to have been a more sinister plan on my part to do away with her. Whatever it was that happened, I smacked her in the face with a rake. Thankfully it was one of the plastic jobs but I'm betting it still hurt.

We were never great friends she and I. Leastwise not until we moved away from each other. I went to Asia. I think that's when we started getting along. Needless to say, not being the best of buds, there really aren't a lot of childhood pictures of us hugging or showing great amounts of affection that weren't posed by my mother. In matching dresses. That is why I remember the rake incident so well...because it resulted in a picture of us hugging. She was crying and either I felt bad or felt I should feel bad so as to not get into trouble but she actually let me hug her and there's a picture to prove it.

This is an excellent copy of the photo. There were a lot more trees in the picture but I'm too lazy to draw all of them. Also we were wearing clothes mildly reminiscent of the late 70s so actually I've spared you that.

It's one of my favorite family pictures.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I'm really bendy

I've had this blog set up for a while but then never did anything with it. My idea for what I wanted to do with it never changed; funny random stories about me that in large part involve me falling down (I'm really good at falling down), but I did not want just narration. But how do you illustrate something when you not a particularly fantasitc artist and can't go back in the past to take pictures of yourself doing something amusing?

Then the other day I was trying to describe a yoga position to my best friend, SBK. This happens to be one of my favorite moves but we rarely do it in class so if my instructor gave it a name I do not remember. After 20 minutes of fruitless Googling SBK suggested that I draw her a picture. I suggested that my officemate take a pictue of me doing it and I'd text it to her instead...but even for us with a wet bar in the office, doing yoga poses in a suit seemed a little over the line. So I drew what I must admit is a marvellous picture and right there was how we hit on what to do with Andrea's Follies...stick figures.

Now, now don't laugh, well not until you've seen my yoga pose self portrait at least. My stick figures won't be as the drawings of one of my favorite bloggers, Allie who writes Hyperbole and a Half, but I think you'll still enjoy them. So, wanna see my yoga self portrait?

Ta Da!
Excellent, no? I look just like that. Well I do have a little more hair. In any case, I hope that you'll enjoy my stories and stick figures and that they'll keep you entertained.

By the way, if anyone knows what that pose's name actually is...please let me know. I never could figure it out.