Archive for June 2009

REAL LIFE FRIEND

June 24, 2009

I have many friends I know only from the Internet, but I have never met one in person…until now.  Sure, years ago I had met dozens of pen-pals: people who I painstakingly hand wrote letters to and sent via the U.S Postal Service way back before there was an Internet.  For some reason meeting an Internet friend is a different animal.  A little over a year ago I befriended Becky Hambox via twitter & fell instantly in-like.  We both have personal blogs, so for the past 13 months we have read each other’s updates and dutifully left supportive and /or humorous comments.  Our Internet relationship bled over to email where we exchanged more banter and delved deeper into each other’s life stories.  

Becky was coming to Seattle for a week to be a part of an Improv. Festival, so this gave us an opportunity to meet in person.  I picked her up at the airport and was not nervous in the slightest.  I already knew her in near every sense except in the flesh.  I had a gut feeling we would get along like a house on fire and I was right.  When she hopped into the passenger seat I felt more like she was my sister and not someone I was meeting physically for the first time.

I took Becky to my home to meet the family, who also shared an instant fondness.  I could tell my toddler was a fan, because he kept bringing her his precious rubber balls and presenting them as gifts; soon she was surrounded by every last one.

When she & I went out for drinks to have an unencumbered conversation, I realized the difference between an Internet friend and a real life pal:  In the middle of a description of my childhood, I wanted to hyperlink to a complimentary post that would help with the back story or instantly upload a photo of my first pet.  While she was talking, I wanted to refer back to related, previous posts to help fill in the blanks.  More than once we each referenced previous blog entries and then expounded upon what we could not say to the Internet, but only in private in that darkly lit, near-empty downtown bar.

We compared our eerily similar birth order: we were both the youngest child by such a large margin, that we spent much of our formative years as the only child in the house, thus the duality of having the “youngest child syndrome” combined with the “only child complex”.  Our siblings even had similar names.  We also bonded over our tragic parental losses, love for diet orange soda and the Archie McPhee Novelty Store.

It was an absolute delight meeting Becky in 3-D Technicolor and getting to experience her brilliant humor, broad intellect & and balls-out enthusiasm for EVERYTHING.  I am proud to call her my Real Life Friend.  

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THE NOSE ON YOUR FACE

June 17, 2009

At first I thought it was some sort of unfortunately placed pimple that sat on the very top of my nose, but when the ugly red blotch was still there 3 weeks later I began to realize that it was probably something more sinister.  I confirmed my suspicions with a dermatologist who said it was a harmless pre-cancer that if left alone would eventually grow and turn into full blown cancer, but it would not spread and probably would not eat my nose off my face.  She promptly dowsed the beast in liquid nitrogen, which burned and made my eyes water.  She told me in a few days the area would look red and angry but would be cancer-free.  The angriness of the red spot peaked just as I was meeting my friend Becky from Twitter for the first time (more on this in a later post).

With my fair hair and melanin-devoid skin, some sort of epidural cancer was bound to occur and the first place I would expect would be my nose.

Like everyone born pre-UV awareness, I spent a lot of time in the sun as a kid.  I would get slathered with sunscreen on rare occasions when it was planned for, but mostly I would just run around all day long with my skin unprotected.  There were a few summers of trying desperately to tan, but only managing to get so many freckles that they connected in a way that made me just dark enough.  As an indoctrination of the beginning of each summer, I would get at least one helacious sunburn; the kind that took a full 24 hours to calm down enough to be able to lie down without screeching and would eventually result in a storm of peeling reptile skin.   My nose, which sits front as center, bore the brunt of these perpetual summer burns and was constantly in a state of peel.

One of those summer days I was playing at a friend’s house when his dad ran in the house to tell us there was a big bull frog in the yard.  My friend ran out through the screen door and I quickly followed, unaware that he had actually shut the screen door behind him.  I ran into the screen full tilt, nose first, and pulverized the fuck out of my poor little beak.  For what seemed like months afterwards, the top of my nose was covered in a green pus-filled scab.

These days I stay out of the sun as much as possible and try to keep properly covered in sun screen, hats and full body wraps, but the damage of my youth has been done and I am sure more liquid nitrogen is in my future.

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NO FEAR NOR LOATHING

June 11, 2009

Desperate for a few days away from dishes and domesticity, I decided on a trip to Las Vegas, because it contained everything I thought my trip away required: A nice pool, a comfy bed, a deep, clean bathtub plus plenty of spectacle and ridiculous alcoholic beverages.  It also called for a good friend for bonding and girl talk.  This is where Jacki comes in.  The glitz and controlled fakery that is Las Vegas is not really her cup of tea, but she knew I needed a quick escape and agreed to be my cohort.

Going on 25 years of friendship, Jacki is a quiet, shy friend I met in high school who was somehow always game to share in my displays of teenage silly antics.  As kids we would drive down the main street of our small town in her white VW Bug blaring Nitzer Ebb to drown out the country music playing in every other car.  In the Denny’s parking lot we would engage in what we called “Fake Fighting”, where we pretended to pull each other’s hair and wrestle while yelling obscenities at each other, all the while laughing hysterically as people stared.  At school dances we would dance free-style, mocking the other too-serious kids with our wild swaying and fanciful swirling.

We are now physically separated by a few thousand miles, but still see each other often and keep in close touch.  Jacki keenly picked up on the queues and selflessly agreed to meet me in Vegas.

The plan was a perfect one.  I would fly in from Seattle and she would fly in from San Francisco; our flight arrivals separated by a mere 8 minutes.  Of course she being the Good Samaritan in this scenario meant her flight was delayed by almost 2 hours.  I was on my own to get the car, and somehow got bamboozled by the town in the very first minutes of being there.  The smarmy car rental guy talked me into paying for an upgrade and buying the gas from him.  The gas seemed like a great idea, because it was actually cheaper than the pumps just outside and now we would not have to worry about filling up the tank before returning the car.  It did not occur to me until a day later that there is no way in hell we would be able to use a whole tank of gas in a weekend unless we changed plans to drive down into the Grand Canyon and back.  To balance out my snafu, I expertly refused to buy any of the three extra insurance packages the guy strongly suggested.  He ended up making me totally paranoid that I was going to crash the car and owe him $30,000 plus a kidney before the end of the weekend.  Despite this, I ended up picking out the silver PT Cruiser for our weekend car.  I figured it would be the most fun for me and the most likely to embarrass Jacki, but a weekend in Vegas called for the mini hearse.

Once getting the car I realized I had directions to the hotel from the airport and not actually from the car rental place, so I had to wing it on my solo drive.  Luckily I could actually see the gold monstrosity that was our hotel from there and worked my way over.  I found the hotel and the valet parking, but not the self parking and proceeded to prove myself to be the biggest dork on the planet when I required the help of the bellman because I could not figure out how to open the trunk of this new-fangled car.  I was massively confused and unnecessarily gave the Bellman my suitcase to store plus a crumpled wad of one dollar bills totaling about three bucks.  I am sure he was very impressed.  Of course as soon as I figured out where to temporarily park the car, Jacki called from the baggage claim.  I rushed in to register and then to take a gander at the hotel room even though I did not have my bag to leave in there.  The room was approximately one mile away from the front desk and I ran all the way there like I was 4 years old.  I took note of the nice room with a mini flat screen TV in the bathroom and sweet view of the multitude of swimming pools before sprinting all the way back to the car.

I somehow found Jacki at the passenger loading and thus began our weekend.  Back in the room we inspected the honor bar and the fun little beverage items we had no intention of consuming.  I could not help but take out a beautiful mini bottle of Belvedere vodka and then looked to see that it cost $45.  I quickly returned it to its perch, but later Jacki discovered that if you so much as breath on the bottles of booze, there is an automatic charge on your room bill.

We spent the first morning and afternoon at the pool.  Our package deal came with $50 off food & beverage at the pool, plus $50 off a cabana: a little tent you can rent with chaise lounges and a TV.  We called ahead to rent one and Jacki bet me that the cost would be way more than the discount, but I scoffed.  How could a tent rental cost more than $50?  Luckily they were sold out already, so we avoided the awkward moment of having to back out of the rental, because the pool guy said they went for $350 to $1000 per day.

The temperature was an unseasonably perfect 75 degrees.  Jacki lounged by one of the many swimming pools while I tested out the Lazy River pool that pulled you along in a lengthy, meandering circle at a fairly rapid pace as you dodged other swimmers and waterfalls.  I loved it.  It felt so damn good to just let go of my responsibilities and the thousands of tiny worries.  Next I experienced the wave pool, which was nice and warm.  It had a coveted deep section that was fairly empty where I managed to just float and tread water for a good amount of time as I let the fake, ocean like waves pull me back toward the fake beach shore; the gold hotel glistening in the background.

Soon I joined Jacki on the lounge chairs and just soaked it all in. With tropical drinks in hand, we girl-talked to our hearts content which felt to me like a perfect moment.

There were several more perfect moments to follow:

 -The bottom of the Shark Reef aquarium was decorated like a sunken ship and really did make you feel a bit like you were at the bottom of the ocean with the crazy sand sharks and a giant sea tortoise.

-The blissful feeling I got toward the end of that first night after one too many drinks as we reminisced in the bar in the middle of the casino surrounded by all the clichés of the town.

-The recollection of all the bands we had seen together over the years: New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen, Gene Loves Jezebel, Love & Rockets, The Sugacubes, Ween, King Missile, plus a thwarted show of Throwing Muses that we had to miss because the last BART train was leaving.

-The road trip to Red Rock Canyon and getting caught in the sudden torrential downpour of giant drops of hard rain.

 -The waitress named Barcy, which was short for Barcelona.

I could have used one more day at the pool and I never did fulfill my quest of drinking a 5 foot long container filled with frozen lemonade and vodka, but the girl weekend in Vegas was a lovely success. Thank you to my dear friend.  Let’s dance free-style together into old age.

OLDIES

I MISS THAT BUG:

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PARTY GIRLS:

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VEGAS:

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RED ROCK:

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SHARK!

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BABIES FIRST HEAD WOUND

June 4, 2009

Today, the day after I spent 5 hours in the ER with my son, I am leaving for Las Vegas for a girl getaway weekend and will be leaving him for the first time since he was born 20 months and eight days ago.  Talk about mother-guilt complex.  I was going to write a whole post about how daycare called me yesterday and told me that: “Finn is fine, but he fell and needs stitches in his head” and how I rushed him to the doctor who said: “yup, he needs stitches, now take him the ER” and how I almost smacked her for not just telling me to go to the ER on the phone when I called her to tell HER that he needed stitches and can I have my $20 co-pay back please. But I now lost a day of work and I am so swamped trying to catch everything up so I can run and catch my flight to take this trip.  It feels like I had to swim across the ocean in order to get a weekend away, so DAMN! 

 I will say that the ER was not as bad as I thought.  There was a small part of me that almost did not take him because the idea of a toddler in a germ-infested waiting room for many hours sounded closer to one day in hell.  The gouge in his head was not that bad and actually appeared to be the shape of a small lightning bolt, which is cool, but I really don’t want him getting the Harry Potter nickname in grade school.  Plus, if he wished to later pursue a modeling career, I would hate for my decision to allow him to have a little lightning bolt scar on his forehead hinder his career in anyway.  Even though the ER was right next door to the clinic, I decided to go home first and get his stroller so I could make sure he was strapped down and not able to run the halls of the hospital.  I packed a bag full of food and toys and headed to the ER which was in the very same hospital where he was born.  Flashbacks of our time in the NICU filled my head as I parked the car.

 Anyway, they were able to glue the gash shut, so no need for stitches after all, thank god.  After the numbing solution kicked in, they wrapped him up in a sheet like a burrito, held him down and irrigated the wound while he screamed bloody murder.  His screams of: Owie owie echoed the halls.  A bit of glue later and we were on our way.

 Please enjoy documentation of the wound via camera phone: Bandaged (he’s asleep), post bandage, numbing solution on cotton ball I had to distract him from tearing off his head good luck & finally glued shut.

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I am off to Las Vegas with my wonderful girlfriend who does not normally DO Vegas, but she knew I needed the R&R.  Think of me this weekend lounging on the fake beach & swimming in the fake river.  Maybe we will even go to the topless pool and say hello to all the fake boobs.

7 YEARS SINCE I HAVE SEEN YOU

June 1, 2009

I miss you every single day.  I think of you most when I am singing and dancing.

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