I don’t do selfies. First of all, I’m not that interesting to look at. Second of all, it’s hard to focus the camera properly when it’s pointed at you. And finally, I was informed today that it’s downright dangerous to do selfies, as some of my colleagues in CF clinic regaled me with stories of the many ways people have died while taking selfies. No worries, I’m not going to take any.
However, I know that some photos just need more than the landscape to tell a story. When my baby sister graduated from high school waaaay back around the turn of the century, I took her on an epic road trip in my Chevy Blazer. We drove from my parents house in MO and headed south to I-40. Our first big stop was Oklahoma City, where we went to the memorial to the bombing (incredible place) and to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Now, Amanda was at an age where she flat out refused to let me take her picture, at least most of the time. What to do? Cowboy Bob to the rescue!
Cowboy Bob was an antenna ball. Like this:
He was very photogenic and we’d place him in different scenes and take pics. Kind of like a flat Stanley deal. Every Walmart we came to as we drove through the panhandle of Texas, across New Mexico and into Arizona, we’d stop and run in to the Auto department to see what kind of antenna balls they had. We had quite a collection by the end, with an alien head from New Mexico, one wearing a sombrero, a football player with the UT logo on it, etc.
As I took pics in various places that we stopped in–Santa Fe, Sandia Peak in Albuquerque, Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, the Four Corners, etc, the antenna balls would often pose. Now, this was in the ancient days before blogs, but I would share our pics and adventures by emailing them to friends and family. It worked out very well and people even now, years after the trip, still will talk about Cowboy Bob and his friends.
So, knowing I’m traveling alone across the country and then driving alone for the entirety of the trip, I thought it might be fun to have some version of the antenna balls with me.
If you know me at all at work, you’ll know that I have a real weakness for the Riley gift shops. I spend way more money than I should in these places, but it’s like they know exactly what to stock to tempt me to buy things (shout out to Nancy from the Over the Rainbow gift shop in the ROC). One innocent weekend day, I was rounding with Kameel as my fellow and we came across a young lady with a stuffed animal in her room that was a cross between an unicorn and a llama. It was love at first sight. I mean, how awesome is that? Her mom told me they’d bought it at the gift shop!!! It did not take long before I had one of my own.
I already had a squirrel at my trailer, called Nutsie. This is in homage/rage at the squirrels in years past who chewed into my rooftop AC unit to store walnuts, who chewed through my fuel line in my truck, Bruce, one memorable weekend. Who chewed through my seven pin connector AND who stored so many walnuts in the battery compartment of my golf cart that the repair guy nearly fell down laughing so hard when he saw it.
After buying my llamacorn, I thought she might be lonely, so she was quickly joined by Riley, the giraffe, and a polar bear.
Neither the llamacorn nor the polar bear have names yet. This is where I need the kids (and adults) to chime in and help me name them!!
Speaking of kids, I work with some of the best. As they’ve learned about my trip and the stuffed animals, I’ve been given some very precious gifts from them. First, here is a terrific picture by Maizee of my old trailer and Bruce:
You can see how she’s included the roof lights on the truck. So cute!
Next, I got a custom painting from a wonderful kid named Cece. I had told her and her mom about the llamacorn and they went and bought one themselves. Cece then painted this for me. I’m looking for the perfect spot to hang it in my trailer. It is definitely coming to Alaska with me!!!
My most recent piece of artwork is a glorious hand drawn map of Alaska and other points, done by the incredible Silas. He’s labeled the bodies of water and even included Russia, which I’m sure Sarah Palin would appreciate.
Silas is really, really into maps. It’s too bad he wasn’t with me at a store recently. The lady helping me was very interested in my trip, but she honestly didn’t know that I could drive to Alaska. She thought it was an island. Sadly, I know she isn’t the only grown person with very little geographical knowledge.
So, please help me name my polar bear and llamacorn. I actually have more stuff to share after having a send off party last Friday from 8 West. I work with the greatest people in the world, and they were amazingly generous with a terrific lunch and some awesome gifts. But, I think this post is long enough, so we’ll do the rest of it in the next one. Follow along and be sure to comment!