Posts Tagged ‘The Outsiders’

Get out your bear skins and prepare the Montana Bananas because this blog post is all about a little thing I love to call “camping”.

Ok, so everyone calls it camping. Jerks.

Everything I learned about this great hobby (is this a sport yet Olympics?!) I learned from my dad.

My dad is awesome.

The great father is a cross between Jeff Bridges and a mountain man at its finest. He’s taught me many things in life; probably the best and most important have been (in no particular order): camping, fishing and swearing like a sailor (thanks dad!).

From the time I was a wee child, swigging watered-down apple juice like a baller, I was camping.

Nature is amazing, bitches.

My parents would let me climb on rocks and frolic in the wilderness (probably in the hopes that I’d be carried off by a mountain lion but that’s another story).

“Now drink the juice and just forget…”

Every summer my father would pack up me and my little sister and we’d hit the forest. Out in the Montana wild it’s beauty and awe. Nothing compares to Red Lodge or Cooke City or Forest Lake.

Bask in my beauty.

We would rough it too. I’m a true Montanan – I can go for days without a shower, sleep on the hard ground and chop wood with the best of them.

My dad taught me well. Even today I make him proud (hi dad!). At least in the camping realm. On the “lady-like” front I can’t speak to that.

Exhibit A.

So this weekend, my husband and I packed up our cache and hit the road for Flagstaff, AZ. Arizona may seem un-campable but up north are great little forest areas that could almost, almost, be mistaken for Montana.

Squint hard.

I have three requirements for camping:


I call this the “Blair Witch” pose.



The dynamic duo.

Sometimes I require a fire, but this being dry Arizona, fires are prohibited so sadly, we were unable to start one. I can make an exception. One other thing I do when camping is I always compare it to camping with my dad – something that I’m sure makes my husband want to throttle me.

“My dad always starts a fire. He doesn’t need gasoline.”

“We always would fish when we camped with my dad.”


So we arrived. And wearing my lucky Outsiders t-shirt…

We set up camp…

From this…

…to this

I had a glass of wine while the husband toiled with pitching a tent. I made a makeshift paper towel holder. Classing up the forest one day at a time.

The time on my hands astounds me.

From there we went on a walk where we stumbled upon the cutest horny toad. I really wanted to pick this little guy up and put him in my pocket.

All together now, “Awwwww…”

Eventually we settled in for the day/night. I discovered a few things in my newest camping attempt. Peeing in the woods is impossible when you’re on the GODDAMN ARIZONA TRAIL.

This is not the correct way to pee in the woods. I repeat IT IS NOT.

Yes. We camped right on the main trail where every 10 minutes hikers and bikers would come traipsing through. This resulted in a Jules, pants down around her ankles, scouring the forest, only in mid-pee have to yank said pants back on.

Now, as mentioned in an earlier post, I can shit/pee in the woods with the best of men. In fact, it was my stepmom who showed me the correct way to do this. I just do the P90X squat, with my back against the tree, and pray to baby Jesus that a spider doesn’t go skittering down my backside.

Tony Horton would be proud.

From there…more wine was poured, the music came on and I whipped up a delicious dinner of blue cheese burgers, beans and creamed corn.

Order up, mofos.

We lounged in chairs like sultans and enjoyed the beauty of the forest. Although I must say, drinking wine and watching mountain bikers drive by and their stares of envy was a bit intimidating since they were working out and I was not. I felt guilty.

I lied. I don’t feel guilty.

Darkness descended. There ensued the bright idea of trying to map the stars and constellations using only my phone and my drunken knowledge. I traipsed through the woods. Walking tipsy in flip flops was probably not the best idea but it worked out for the best. I found the big dipper – a third grade rookie move – and promptly called it quits.

The best part of the trip came at about 10pm. The coyotes started their howling.


It was all sorts of creepy, majestic wonder, making me realize that whenever I’m out in the secluded woods at night is usually the precise moment I start to regret my love of horror movies.

I regret it so hard.

Books burn! I weep!

It’s a horrible thought – books burning. Luckily we don’t live in communist China and except for the great Disco Demolition Night of 1979 we don’t have to worry too much about people lighting the objects we love on fire on purpose.

So this got me thinking…what books would I save if it came down to it? Imagine your house is on fire and you can pause time to save five books before fleeing the burning abode as coolly as Kurt Russell in Backdraft.


Eeeee, FIRE!

Think of the books you couldn’t part with.

Luckily, most books are replaceable except for the ones that hold a soft spot in your dreary, sentimental soul.

And because I’m a big fan and get hot for odd numbers, let’s put a cap on this to FIVE books. Yes, you heard me. Just five.


My choices to save.


Book porn right here.


All mean something to me. All have an explanation.


1. The Very Scary Almanac by Eric Elfman


I remember the moment I got this book with perfect clarity. My dad and I were in a drugstore, it was nearing Halloween and he said I could get a book. Dad knew me well.

The Very Scary Almanac was on a rack as well as another Halloween-themed recipe book. And so I was torn between how to make grapes feel like moist eyeballs or learning about The Bermuda Triangle.

I chose wisely.

11 year-old Jules approves.

I have no doubt this book set me on my path of freakiness, gave me my current love of the odd and paranormal. To this day, I’m still amazed and fascinated by the weird.

Subjects dad did not frown upon.

Every October I still read it.

I’d save this baby from a burning building any day.

With tips like this how could you not?


2. The Outsiders by SE Hinton.


Let’s do this shit for Johnny.

This book made me a writer. I read this in seventh grade I think and instantly I knew I wanted to write. It’s stuck with me. This copy is my original. Weathered and battered, it’s been mine for a long, long time.

I’ll never loan it out to anyone.

I read this book to my little sister when we lived in our grandmother’s basement (yes, make a story out of that true fact) in North Dakota. Every night I’d read her a chapter, curled up in bed together, and giggling over the dreamy boys on the cover.

nothing says teenage angst like jacket vests and cuffed sleeves

It’s still my favorite book. I’ll probably be buried with it.

clearly vandalizing books is my forte


3. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I realize this is an odd choice since this book is pretty replaceable. However, I got this book on one of my best trips ever. New Orleans. Read the post here.

I loved that trip. I did everything on my own and still get warm fuzzies thinking about it. I visited about three old bookstores and decided to pick up this Gaiman book. It’s the first one I ever read of his and I started reading it in NOLA.

And it smells oh so good. Dear god, I love the smell of books.

Even now – just yesterday in fact – I picked it off the shelf and breathed in its musty scent. Yes, I’m that creeper. Invite me over to your house and you’ll find me sniffing your books.

It smells like my trip. It smells like memories.

It’s $5 to smell me. $20 for the fancy stuff.


4. McCall’s Guide to Teenage Beauty by Betsy Keifer

Everything I am not.

This was my mother’s book. I found it in the attic of my grandmother’s house. Originally published in 1959, the edition I have is from 1965. It sold for 50 cents. 50 CENTS.

Is your blood boiling yet?

The McCall’s Guide to Teenage Beauty is a delightful flashback to vintage nostalgia, but it also is a true look at what women’s roles were back then. Sure, we hear the stories, but seeing it in print and literally asking aloud, “Is this for real-real?” is like a punch to the ovaries.

I remember reading it as a 10 or 12-year-old and being unsure as what to make of the beauty and exercise tips. Happily, I didn’t put too much stock in it. Deep down I think I knew it was amusing.


I mean, sure, it did help in some aspects back when I was a kid. Nope, I don’t have scoliosis, yep, my face is definitely oval-shaped, meaning “any coiffure is becoming”.

Now looking through it I realize I break all the rules. I could never be a 50s housewife.

-I do not wear clothes like a model

-I slouch like a mofo

-Elbows on the table is common practice

-Showers are an afterthought

Ahem…so getting off the topic of my slovenliness… it’s just a book I’m proud to have. And again with the whole sentimental factor. Plus it’s awesome vintageness and with pictures like this you can’t get much better than that.



5. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

The big ‘R’ makes you know it’s serious.

Dear god, I love this book.

Again, this is another of my mother’s book. Found in the attic. As I type this I realize I really need to write a story on all my attic treasures…

This is the 1968 edition, selling for 95 cents.

The spine is ripped and broken but it’s still staying together somehow. I’ve only loaned it out once (to my sister who I threatened repeatedly to get it back) and it smells so lovely.

I love this book because of Levin’s writing style. Sparse, to-the-point, I’m never bored with the description. He paints a clear picture and it makes me want to be there. Well, not frolicking with devil-worshippers but you get the idea.

no really, frolic.


I also love it because it was my mother’s and I’ve had it for a long, long time.

Those are my answers to the five books I’d save from a fire. Sorry to the remaining bound wonders in my bookcase but these are my beauties.


What are yours? Do tell.

Henry demands it.