Archive for July 2008

CAR CAMPING 101

July 28, 2008

We went car camping this weekend. Let me tell you what car camping entails:

Car camping is when you load all of your worldly possessions into your Buick LeSabre and drive one hour into the woods for the weekend. If you have a new baby, you will need to purchase a larger tent about the size of your first studio apartment. You will also bring an air mattress for the first time this year, because the last time you went camping you may have been 5 months pregnant and sleeping on the ground plus the constant need to get up in the night to pee made it the most uncomfortable you have ever been.

You might camp with 3 other couples, one of which might also have a new baby and a new tent the size of a 3-bedroom condo, so you will need to secure a second campsite to fit you all. The only one available on short notice is down the road a ways and around the corner from the main, waterfront site and is wedged between blackberry bushes, but you will be happy for the extra space.

You will wonder how your new baby will fare in the outdoor environment and will be amazed that he actually sleeps through the night in the tent, even though you yourself were totally freezing your ass off. When you feel that your baby’s hands are as cold as ice you will experience guilt and store that feeling in your guilt pouch that you wear near your sternum.

You will spend your day in the main camp site with the other couples and lament that your beautiful watering hole is filled with snow water and way too cold for swimming. The weather is also not quite hot enough to tempt you into the freezing water & your swim suit, towels and multi-colored raft go unused. Since there will be no swimming or showering, car camping becomes about marinating in your own filth. Your hands will be covered in grime, bug spray, antibacterial sanitizer and disease form the communal port-a-potty.

On the second day, a better campsite might open up right next to your main site near the water, so your friends could possibly carry your tent like an Easter parade float to the new spot. That might look a little like this:

It will be much easier being closer in, but the move could cause a misplacement of most of your things and days later you still won’t be able to locate your sandals or cell phone.

The four couples will share cooking and cleaning duties each taking either a breakfast meal or a dinner meal. You will eat well with sloppy Joes and an excellent sausage stew. Breakfast is made to order with egg mcmuffins, pancakes, sausage and French toast. None of the meals will be cooked over the campfire, but a 1993 Coleman double burner gas stove could be used to great success. The campfire is to be used only to spin yarns around and toast marshmallows for the S’mores. You could use the fire for Jiffy Pop popcorn, but you will forget to bring any. There will still be a great deal of snack food available for the duration of the stay.

In years past you may have used the camping excuse to drink yourself into a tizzy, but this year you drink only one gin & juice per day and almost fall asleep in front of the fire in your camp chair before 10:00pm.

You might make a fleeting comment that you hope it rains and you will in fact wake up on the last day to the sweet pitter patter of raindrops hitting the Gore-Tex. You might then be lulled back to sleep until 10:00am until it is time to cook breakfast in between rain drops. You probably will only think to bring one pair of long pants and one sweatshirt, which you will wear for the entire 3 days and 2 nights, because it will never quite get warm enough for the several cute short outfits you have stuffed in your duffle bag.

It will be a little harder to pack up in the deluge and by the time you are all packed up and your car is filled to the brim, you will be a cold, soaking, muddy mess. You might need to go to a drive through latte hut once you reach civilization. Once you unpack your car, and fill your house with piles of crap that will take hours to put away, you might need to lie down on the couch and clutch your tummy and groan for about one hour.

By the next day you might already be planning your car camping trip for next year!

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THINGS TO DO WHILE DRIVING

July 25, 2008

FLASHBACK FRIDAY!!!!
Reprinted from July 2004

1. You can dance. Mainly with your shoulders and head movements, but you will be surprised how well you can get your body moving while obeying traffic laws.

2. Eat breakfast lunch or dinner, or just have a snack.

3. Sing loud.

4. Cry.

5. Keep your eye on the road, but keep your peripheral on the look out for wild birds. There are quite a few hawks, falcons & even Eagles just flying around or sitting curbside.

6. Make mental lists.

7. You can smoke, but you will later die from complications from smoking, so I do not recommend it.

8. You can talk on the phone, but I also do not recommend it.

9. Yell obscenities at the idiot who cut you off, did not use blinker, and/or is driving like an asshole.

10. You can get a speeding ticket.

11. If you have a passenger, you can talk about the state of the world or just shoot the shit.

12. You can listen to NPR.

13. You can think about your next diary entry.

14. You can play I-spy or look for Hawaiian license plates.

15. You can drive somewhere fun, like Niagara Falls or New Orleans.

16. You can drive into the ocean, but may not be able to drive out.

17. You can drive alongside a train.

18. You can park and make-out.

19. You can take your friends to a drive-in movie or a drive-through restaurant.

20. You can spin out in a gravel driveway or hydroplane on a rainy day.

21. You can drink water, but not vodka.

22. You can roll your hair up in the window.

23. You can touch yourself (for Greg).

24. You can brake for artesians.

25. You can honk at drunk drivers.

26. You can reflect on your life so far.

TO SLEEP PERCHANCE TO SLEEP

July 23, 2008

I am so tired I can’t even cry much less muster the gumption for a decent post. Here is an anecdote as proof: I was at the grocery store the other day, toiling through the aisles, painstakingly selecting my food items. After about an hour of shopping, I was almost done, but I needed to find where they keep the bags of ice. You see, my sister and her husband were coming for a visit and they demand ice for their rum and cokes and the ice maker in our freezer has been busted for 3 years. Anyway, I left my cart by the frozen vegetables while on my quest. After finding the ice, I retrieved my cart to pick up dinner at the stores salad bar so I would not still have to cook when I got home. While I was selecting the dinner items, I noticed someone rummaging through my cart, taking out items and tossing them willy nilly. I said excuse me that is MY cart and she said excuse me but it is MY cart, LOOK! Sure enough, my bag of ice was mixed in with foreign food items. In my exhausted delirium, I had somehow absconded with someone else’s cart. But where was my cart? I looked everywhere to no avail. This just totally wiped me out, so I dragged my sorry butt up to the cash register, paid for the ice and left for the confines of home where I cuddled up with this to make it all better:

FLASHBACK FRIDAY

July 18, 2008

Every so often, I might drag an old post over from my original diary. I hit the random button and came up with this little bit of history:

25 ROOMMATES, NOT INCLUDING MY PARENTS OR PETS

Sam & Lisa: my first love & his ex-girlfriend in Queens, NY. Needless to say, with the ex-girlfriend there, things got a little ugly.

My sister, her family & another couple in the Sunset district of San Francisco: The other couple were theater people, very loud & dramatic.

Jacki, Mary Beth & Julie: First real apartment in Haight/Ashbury. Jacki was my best friend from high school. Mary Beth was a hilarious dead head who started dating a heroin addict who would nod off on our couch all the time. Julie was a very pretty blond, who was quite sweet at first, but she hated my cleaning style & thought I did not know that you have to sweep before you mop. It turned out she was an ex-junky, but you never would have guessed it. We all went through the earthquake together. The plaster was cracked on all our walls, but since we were moving out in a few months, our landlord let us draw & paint pictures all over the apartment walls.

Laaura & Amy in the Western Addition, SF. Laaura was my oldest friend & Amy was an orphan from Chicago. Her mom died of cancer & six months later her dad dropped dead of a heart attack. Needless to say, Amy was a bit of a wreck. We became very close, but then something snapped. One day when returning home from being out of town, I was greeted by a trashed apartment and blood splattered on all the walls. Amy had a breakdown and came very close to killing herself. She eventually moved in with her girlfriend.

I lived with some hippies for a while before leaving the country.

Chris & his Mom in Portsmouth, England: They took good care of me, feeding me, darning my clothes & driving me everywhere.

My Brother & his friend John in the Sunset district of SF: I kept catching John in the nude watching porn. My brother & I shared a wall that was really just a thin piece of sheet rock. Eventually my boyfriend Brian moved in with us & thus began the embarrassing phase of having to hear my brother have sex with his chick & vice versa.

Brian & I then moved into a South Van Ness Apartment with Joe Franke & his girlfriend Angela. Joe was the creator of a brilliantly hilarious zine called Life is a Joke. One night we dropped acid & the cat talked to us.

Joe and Angela moved out & Carl moved in. Carl was a seriously depressed, fucked up guy that smelled like rot. He had no stuff, so he just slept on his bedroom floor with one of our old blankets.

Eventually Brian & I moved into our own place in the Mission District. When our relationship went caput, I moved into the Duboce triangle with Michael & William. Michael was a Mennonite pack rat who loved to wander the apartment in just his underwear. William was a really nice man who had come in second once on the game show Jeopardy. He had a tendency to have sex with anonymous men in the park.

This is when my friend & I spontaneously moved to Seattle. We shared a one bedroom apartment in the Capitol Hill district. Hangover Sunday’s were the best when we would sit around in our robes trying to help each other piece together the night before. After just over a year, she told me she wanted to get a place of her own. I was a little hurt and not sure what I was going to do. I ended up moving into my own tiny studio apartment & was blissfully happy everyday for two years. I then met & fell in love with Sasha who immediately moved in with me.

That is hopefully the last of my roommate stories.

LONELY NIGHTS

July 16, 2008

It is nothing to be embarrassed about, it happens to all men at one time or another. It has been happening more and more often to Sasha, however, almost five times out of seven and I am getting a little sick of it. Falling asleep on the couch is nothing to be ashamed of every once in awhile, but nearly every night? And once he is out, there is no waking him, so off to bed alone I go again.

Sasha has the knack for being able to sleep anywhere anytime. I do not have this gift and am very jealous of his ability. Early in our relationship, after we had only been dating for two months, he invited me to fly to his home in Wisconsin to attend a friends wedding and meet the family. I was nervous and excited about such a trip and the implications. It should have been a red flag to me when he fell asleep on the plane while we were still on the damn tarmac and had not even taken off yet.

I can always predict when I am in for another night of sleeping alone. The perfect recipe is when we settle in to watch a movie and Sasha lies prone on the couch and I am relegated to the stumpy loveseat. I always warn him that he will fall asleep again and ask him to please sit up in a safer position, but he promises he will remain awake. As sure as rain, he is out before the movie makes it to the climactic middle. One time he was asleep before the opening credits.

In the beginning I used to try to wake him up and coax him into bed. This was always fun, because he sleeps so soundly. I would start with rubbing his feet and gently calling his name and would end with pounding on his chest and yelling full volume: WAKE UP! Every single time he would wake up with a start, never knowing where he was and would actually yell out in fear. For some reason this always made me laugh. I would then plead with him to come to bed and he would always say he would be right there, but then would inevitably fall back asleep on the couch and be there for the duration.

I then went through the phase of making sure he was covered with a blanket and as comfortable as possible before I wandered off alone in the night. Now I just go to bed without a second thought and leave him blanketless thinking maybe the cold will compel him to come to where it is warm and cozy. Sometimes it works, but mostly it is just me and the cats in our California Queen.

I would like to think that his nights on the couch have increased exponentially this last year due to being new parents and the exhaustion that comes with taking care of a baby and not because he simply prefers the couch to my tender bosom. As soon as we get a little better at balancing childcare with getting enough sleep, I will have my husband back in bed with me full time. Now if we will ever have sex again is another matter entirely!

ALZENHEIMER

July 14, 2008

Shoot, I forgot to update today.

I hope this snappy photo of this guy waterskiing will tide you over until tomorrow when I tell you about how my husband does not sleep with me anymore.

I AM A DJ, I AM WHAT I PLAY

July 11, 2008

There is a really cool radio station based in Seattle called KEXP. I started listening to it soon after moving here in 1996 and immediately got a crush on the morning DJ, John Richards, or John in the Morning. I would listen to him while I got ready for work each morning and his pleasant and kind demeanor, not to mention the kick-ass tunes he played, always helped to start my day off in a good way.

One day John announced to his listeners that his birthday was on that Friday and he was going to be at the Nitelite bar downtown if anyone wanted to come down and buy him a shot. I do not know what I was thinking, but when Friday night came along, I headed on down to the Nitelite by myself. I had no idea what John looked like, but when I got there I saw a group of about 8 people that looked like they could have been there for a birthday celebration, so I sat in a table across from them. After a few minutes, I recognized John’s tell-tale DJ voice and knew it was him.

My favorite drink at the time was vodka sours and the Nitelite sold them for just $3 a piece back then, so I methodically drank about 5 in a row while watching John’s table like a complete loner reject. After the fifth drink I finally got up the nerve to approach his table. I did not know what I was doing, it was all very weird. Yes, I had a crush on him, but it was more a fan appreciation crush; I knew he had a girlfriend and it was not about that. I kind of crouched down next to him while all eyes at the table were on me and, I swear to god, I whispered in his ear: “I am a listener”. The idea makes me laugh so hard now. When he turned to look at me, I could tell I waited too long to say hello, because he had already drank 4 too many birthday shots and I am sure I was just a blur. I mumbled my appreciation for bringing good music to my mornings and then I scampered on out of there to find the next bus home.

A little while later I heard that John’s Dad had died and that he had worked a Saturday night at the station playing music in his Dad’s honor. I was sad for his loss and regretted that I missed that show. I did not think about it again until my own mother died of lung cancer a few years later. I ended up writing John an email and asked if he had a recording of that show, because I thought the songs he played for his father might help me in my grief in some way. He wrote me an incredibly heartfelt response wishing me condolences and his regrets that he did not have a recording of that night. It was before the station started archiving everything and I hoped I did not cause him any distress, because he said listening to it now might have helped him, too.

Unbelievably, a short time later, John lost his own Mother to lung cancer. It was like a punch in the stomach to hear what he was going through. I wrote him one final email extending my sympathies and reminded him that he helped me through my own maternal loss. He wrote me back a two word email where he said simply: Thank you.