trippy trips

Vegas

The forecast called for 80 degree weather today and so I busted out a summer dress and then I sat in my office all day and froze because oh yeah I do not work in the sunshine and it turns out the only heat I really get is off of my computer screen. And then I decided to go sit in the sun for lunch but it was cloudy (no chance of meatballs) and if it was anywhere near 80 degrees I am a monkey’s uncle. COME ON WEATHER PEOPLE STOP YOUR LYING YOU FIBBING FIBBERS.

Still, these weather issues are all well and good because guess what? I am going to Vegas this weekend. I have never been to Vegas before and I have always had this sort of disdain for it- it makes me think about disgusting all-you-can-eat buffets and casinos full of dead-eyed people. I have only been to a casino once in my life, and granted it was a smaller one in this here state of Washington, but WOO DOGGY it was depressing to me. Just lines and lines of nickel slot machines and card tables and the people in there looked so sad and/or vacant. I was sort of appalled and could not imagine a whole city’s worth of that business. But then this work trip popped up and now since I’m going I’ve started to look into this whole Vegas thing and I’m starting to think and be scared because there are signs that point directly to “I May Heart This Place.” What if I actually love Vegas? What if this is the place I have been waiting for? Let’s go over some things I have discovered. Delightful things.

1. It is hot weather there. Have I mentioned I love hot weather and am cold whenever it is under 70 degrees? When I am there it will be in the 90s at least. HEAVEN
2. Brit-Brit is there. YOU GUYS. HIT ME BABY ONE MORE TIME. Heck, twice more. Thrice more! All of the times!
3. Boys II Men are there. Come on!
4. Olivia. Newton! John! Tell me about it, stuuuuuuud.
5. There is no #5. But 1 through 4 was pretty great for someone such as myself. You must admit.

There are also cons, though. Such as:
1. Thunder from Down Under. Ew. I do not want my eyeball rays to touch those dingos, if you know what I’m saying.
2. Casinos. I still think I shall find these icky, even the fancy ones.
3. Cirque du So-everything. Zzzzz
4. Donny and Marie. Although I did have to think long and hard about whether they belong in the pro list or con list and I am honestly still not sure.
5. There is no more Liberace museum. Vegas, how COULD YOU.

So, we shall see later this week if I like it or not. Perhaps I shall turn into crazy nickel-slots lady who throws her panties at Wayne Newton. We are all capable of surprising ourselves at any time, you know.

In preparation, I bought a pair of shoes that are gold AND silver AND glittery. They are ridiculous and I love them. This is a me-shoe. It is also undoubtedly a Vegas-shoe. So. I wonder.

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Flight Club

Ok, just a few more things about our travels and then I SWEAR I am done with airport stories.

1. So we were at the Flint airport, waiting for our little commuter plane from there to Chicago, and it got delayed, with a distinct possibility of cancellation. Of course that meant that many folks, including us, were going to miss our connecting flights in any case, and so we all got in line at the gate agent desk. Needless to say, many of the folks in that line were grumpy, as is understandable. Because the Flint airport is a little airport with a very minimal staff, the line, it was glacial. The folks there (well, the one folk, since it was just one lonely dude at the desk, poor thing) was helping people at a rate of about 20 minutes per person. There were about 25 people in line so the grump levels were inversely proportional to the rate of slowness of the line. Anyway, there was this woman behind us the entire time (we were in that line for 2 solid hours) and the way that she was processing her grump was to proceed to call EVERY PERSON SHE KNEW IN THE WORLD, one by one, and tell them what was happening to her. So, it would go like this: “Hi, Betsy? It’s Donna. Guess where I am? In Flint, at the airport. And my flight has been delayed, and I am in this long line that isn’t moving, and I am going to miss my next plane, and I have no idea how long this is going to take! ARGGGH. I just hate this.” And then maybe a few cursory small talk attempts, and then she would hang up, look at her phone, and dial again. “Hi, Frank? It’s Donna. Guess where I am?…” and go through the rigmarole again. And then hang up, and call the next person. If there is a thing that will add to the feeling of being stuck in a time loop that already exists when standing in a line that is moving at the speed of sloth, it is having Donna behind you. I swear she called 30-40 people. Nordic Boy and I started hysterical giggling about halfway through, especially after he leaned over to me and whispered “how much you want to bet that she calls us next?”

2. Why in the WORLD are airports full of tv monitors playing high stress tv shows? We are already agitated, people. We do not need to see Nancy Grace screaming at us or people being blown up on CNN or the like. Who the frickety frack has the remote in airports and if they must show something, how about Puppy Bowl or The Cosby Show or something? In Chicago someone on the news started talking about some Middle East war stuff and some lady in the gate area with us that looked a lot like Joan Rivers (this story would be so much better if it was actual Joan Rivers) lost her mind and started yelling at the screen that our President was a big liar, etc. Like, she was arguing with Anderson Cooper or whoever the feck was on the screen. THIS IS WHY WE NEED PUPPY BOWL TV IN AIRPORTS PEOPLE.

3. When we got on our flight from Flint to Chicago, our pilot got on the intercom as we were getting seated and said in a not-unconcerned voice: “we will be experiencing a lot of turbulence on our way out and upon landing today.” Which, when I am on a plane that is the size of a minivan, does not make me feel great. THEN, a few minutes later, the flight attendant gets on and asks if 2-3 people who are sitting in rows 1-3 can get up and move back to rows 4-8 because the weight distribution is unbalanced. Which, WHAT. I do not like the sound of that at all. I am not a nervous flyer but that shit made me a little queasy in the kneesies.

This concludes Airport Stories. I hope Donna made it home safely, and if she calls you, tell her I said hello.

Someone please invent a transporter

Friday night, I got home from work around 8pm, ate a hasty dinner of take out pad thai, packed some stuff, slept for a few hours, got up at 3:30 am (why do those cheaper early morning flights seem like such a good idea at reservation time?), flew to Chicago, found out our connection flight was cancelled because the pilot just didn’t show up for work (which, wow, I guess that happens, but the fact that they just balls out told us was surprising), was told that we could not be routed to another flight because one simply did not exist (which, wow again, flat out S.O.L. for us), argued for the airline to give us SOME alternative and finally got them to spring for a rental car, drove two states over to Flint, and now here we are.

Whew!

The kicker on the lack-of-reroute was that the next day the airline cancelled our return flights, which we wouldn’t have even known about had it not been for Travelocity telling us. When we called the airline to see what was up they were all “your reservation was cancelled because you never showed up for your Chicago-to-Flint flight” and we had to be all “Sucka please. YOU did not show up for that flight.” And they were like “oh yeah.” And re-booked us. We shall see on Sunday whether (a) they actually did rebook us and/or (b) the pilot shows his/her face. At this point there seems room for doubt.

I fear I am veering into Nobody Cares territory, because travel/flight mishap stories belong in the same category as traffic stories and dream stories (and by “category” I mean “garbage pile”) but all of that was to say that I was ready to maybe sit down a minute once I got here.

Thankfully I have had some sit-down time to talk with my mom a lot, and also some running around time as we get a list of projects done for her as well. We’ve yard-worked and auto-mechanic’ed and plumbed and organized and cleaned. We murdered that to-do list and it feels pretty good. It’s sad in this house without my dad, though, which doesn’t feel so hot.

That’s been my week. Next post, I hope will not be about travel logistics. I’m not promising.

Get a load of these two pals.

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Little pink houses for you and me. Or really, just me.

I got a message from my friend Rachel (who I met  like 5 years ago or something, thanks to this very blog), who lives in California, and she said she was going to be in Portland for a few days this week. I am legit swamped at work lately, but you what: who isn’t? And you know what else: who cares? FUCK IT. I booked a place to stay over night, gassed up the car, and drove down there to see her. How’s that for decision making? Falling behind with responsible grown up things…or ROAD TRIP? Answer: vroom vroom suckuhhhhhz.

When I really think about it, some of the best decisions I have ever made in my life were made with the sentiment: FUCK IT. I feel like this is a strategy that works well for me.

I went in to work on Tuesday, busted out as much as I could for a half day, then was all PEACE OUT and drove the 3 hours from Sea-town to Stumptown. It has been years since I have been on a solo road trip, and yes, I understand that 3 hours isn’t that far, but still. I forgot how fun it is. You get to drive fast and belt out as many Velveeta-covered songs as you want (Backstreet’s back, alright!!!) and eat junky snacks and feel like you are just leaving whatever shit you want behind. It’s frigging delightful.

When I got to town I checked in to a nutty little studio that I found online for rent. It was a hot pink one room house with a sleeping loft which: awesome and ridiculous. Honestly it was perfection, other than the fact that in order to get to the sleeping loft you had to climb a ladder. Not stairs. A ladder. This is a litmus test for adulthood: is climbing up and down a ladder to get into bed (a) fun or (b) a pain in the bootango? I wanted it to be “a.” But when I had to get up to do a 3am Number One (another sign of being an old) I was not feeling so charmed by that ladder. In fact, I felt like that ladder wanted to murder me. Also, the sleeping loft had a slanted ceiling so I kept bumping my head when I would get in and out of it. GRANDMA CAIN’T FIDDLE FADDLE WIT ALL THE UPSY DOWNSY OK?

I headed out for dinner with Rachel and her crew of fun ladies that she brung with her. It was a Christmas-in-April miracle because it wasn’t raining, so we sat outside in this food truck table area (how Portland of us) and shot the shit for a while and then went to a little deli place for dinner. The dinner place had trivia cards on the tables so we teamed up for a two-on-two trivia game. I never did keep track of who won, but I did learn that I do not know the names of more than 2 cities in Vietnam (embarrassing), and Rachel made an amazing deductive guess about shrimp fishing in Greenland. I also learned about a thing called “Operation Cat Drop” that happened where, in order to combat a rat infestation, cats were parachuted into Borneo in the 1960s. Cats in parachutes! Wikipedia says that this is maybe not a thing that really happened, but the trivia card said it did.

After that we walked a bit and talked some more, and then I took myself back to my little pink rental. The next morning we went to brunch and then walked over to one of my favorite shoe stores in Portland, where everyone bought something except for me. The highlight of that leg of the trip was the fact that we saw a dude that looked exactly like Laird from Girls. Doesn’t it seem like Laird should live in Portland? I think so.

By midday I was back on the road, headed back to normal life. It had been a while since I had seen Rachel and I’m so glad I went, and I am happy to have met two more fun people in the bargain. It can be a little daunting to show up to a situation where your friend is hanging out with their friends who you don’t know. There is always a little bit of  8th grade me that is nervous about that sort of thing. But the thing about Rachel is this: she is so delightful, so goodhearted, so welcoming, that she just overpowers everyone with it and makes everything easy. There are a few people I know that have that openhearted, un-self-conscious warmth. My friend Allison has it. Nordic Boy’s mom has it. I wish I had it. That Rachel- she’s a ball of outwardly radiant awesome. Just a joyful person. Like a storm of cuddly cats parachuting around you. Only real.

20140418-172115.jpgI told you it was pink.

 

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 View from prime head-bumping position.

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 The ladder that tried to end me.

Two week blergness

Is this thing still on?

I have been away from the bloggie because I have been away from home for the last couple of weeks doing something super not fun. I don’t want to get into the details of not funness but suffice it to say that it involved travel, and a sick loved one, and hospitals, and the whole thing from beginning to end was awful. Sorry to be mysterious, but talking about it will just give me the voms at this point.

Instead, I shall talk around it by giving you some various thoughts I had over the past two weeks, without context. Wheee!

1. I have somehow avoided travel to cold climates in winter for many years now, and had forgotten what zero degrees feels like. MOTHERCRACKER zero degrees is not even RIGHT. It burns your lungs, and makes it feel like you have icicles in your nostrils, and it shrinks up your ballsack even if you do not have a ballsack. I remember that when I first moved to Seattle, I told people it was because I couldn’t stand one more winter, and I had forgotten that I was actually telling the truth. Cold. YEE-ICK.

2. I was standing in the ICU while some serious shit was going down and I noticed that the ICU muzak was playing “My Heart Will Go On.” Am I wrong or should that song not be played in the ICU, ever? Like, ever, ever? Majorly inappropes, dudes.

3. I didn’t have time to read, look at tv, listen to music (“My Heart Will Go On” notwithstanding), or get any news for 10 days. I now feel like I am coming out of a bubble. Olympics what now?

4. Hospitals are food deserts, at least this one was. That cafeteria had all kinds of soda and candy but fruit? Not so much. One day there they actually stocked some yogurt cups and I almost cried.

I have been thinking about help. What do you do when someone you know needs help? Like, not just easy help. The kind of help that is inconvenient, where you may actually have to make some effort, go out of your way, make a sacrifice? Do you hesitate? Do you say “I wish I could do more, but…” I was talking to someone yesterday about how I was surprised at how few of the people around this current situation had made a big effort, and the person said back to me “well, I can understand people not feeling comfortable with that.” Not feeling comfortable helping? Not feeling comfortable getting involved? Are we really that way? Afraid to get involved, even with the people we love? This makes me profoundly sad.

Today my loved one was in a compromising situation, and I am already back in Seattle and not there to help. I reached out to my pal Alli, who is a well-known helper in my life, to see if she had any ideas on what to do. She told her mother-in-law about it, and her mother-in-law is now on her way to my loved ones house to help. This woman doesn’t even really know me, and has never met my loved one in her life. But she is showing up, inconveniencing herself, getting involved. Don’t you just love that woman? Don’t you just want to BE that woman? Next time you think you can help someone, think of Alli’s mom-in-law and please just do it, even if it’s messy, inconvenient, or intimidating. Isn’t that the world we want to live in?

We’re Going

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up, grabbed my phone, and looked at my blog reader. One of the things settled in there, like a glowing taunt on the screen, was a little article about the fact that Baryshnikov was going to be doing a run of a recent show that he produced and starred in in California. I had read reviews of this show, and was fascinated with it in a way that I can only describe as an ache. Chekhov short story? Yes, please. Dance? Come on, who you talking to. Innovative staging? Yeah, buddy. Elements of film, music, and visual art, all woven together? Gimme. Themes of love and loneliness? YOU SPEAKETH MY LANGUAGE. Add freaking Baryshnikov to the whole thing? It is really too much. Too much!

I handed the phone to Nordic Boy and made some sort of whiney remark, and then we got out of bed, got ready for work, and went. It was a cold (ok, I know, east coast and midwest, I KNOW it’s not that cold), soggy, sloggy week. I just felt drenched and clammy, physically and otherwise.

 A few hours after I saw that article, Nordic Boy rang me up while I sat desoggifying in my office. “That show? In California? We’re GOING,” he said. Plane tickets, show tickets, done.Whu-hutt!!
 That very weekend, we jumped on that plane, we busted out into some glorious, delicious California sunshine (no coats!), we wandered around Berkeley, had a lovely dinner, and then went to the show. Front row, even!
I have had the privilege of seeing Baryshnikov perform in person many times in my life, as a child, as a teen, as an adult. I’ve even had the (absolutely nutso) privilege of having him see me dance one time during a rehearsal of a show he was affiliated with, once upon a time in a life that doesn’t seem like mine. So aside from the brilliance of the show (and it truly honestly for realsies was brilliant), I have a lot of personal nostalgic stuff all deep in my guts for that guy. Add onto that that my dad loved Chekhov stories. Add onto that that my sweet fella looked at me so tender as the lights went down at the start of the show. There were several moments that made me cry, a lot, during that show, because my feels were so feelsy. Too much.
After the show, we strolled the streets and then had drinks at the hotel bar and talked and talked about what we’d just seen. If there is something that’s better than seeing good art and then gabbing about it with Nordic Boy, I don’t know what it is.
The entire trip just makes me think about the things we talk ourselves out of doing. Granted, not everyone can afford to do shit like that, and we can’t afford to do it much either, but this time, instead of saying no, Nordic Boy helped me to say yes. And it was a weekend that I’ll remember forever. Art and love, my two favorite things. Perfection.

Decembhair

Hey you want to talk about my hair some more? Because we’re gonna. So, I recovered from bad Haircuttageddon 2013 and I went to Michigan to visit my mom. While there all sorts of things happened, and one of them was that I took a box of my Dad’s things and mailed the box back to Seattle. When I packed it, I thought, hey, as long as I am mailing this box, if there is room in here I might as well pack some of my heavier items that would have gone in my suitcase, because Nordic Boy and I packed super tight (one week, one small carry on suitcase between the two of us LIGHT PACKERS AWARD) so why not take advantage of this mailed box and stuff some shit in there, thus alleviating the suitcase burden? I put in a book, and my boots, and a sweater, and my hair dryer. I was not thinking about the fact that it would take a week to get to Seattle. More than a week because of the holiday, actually. Which left me Hairdryerless In Seattle. Which meant that even though I had a good haircut again, I now had ugly non-blowdried hair for days.

I am so sorry to discover this about myself. That I am such an effing pain in my own ass about my hair. But I am so vain that that song is totally about me, you guys. Ugh. WORST.

I am vain, but not vain enough to go out and buy another hair dryer for a week and a half, so that says something, I guess. I will say that I did a happy jig when that damn box was delivered today though.

You know what else happened? I was paying my automo-bills (Destiny’s Child, wut wut) over the weekend and I discovered that while we were in Michigan someone here in Seattle was running amok with our credit card number. SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH OF AMOK. It’s that sort of discovery that makes you not worry about your hair for a minute. It seems like our credit card people are going to be cool about it, but that was a jolt to the old ticker, I tell you.

Oh yeah, and there was that whole Giving of the Thanky Feelings Day that happened too. We had Delium and Biogirl over for the vittle times for that. The rest of the weekend was spent going to a movie (Hunka Hunka Burning Shirtless Thor 2), snuggling up at home, and turning up the furnace.

I solemnly lemon pledge to you that we will not talk about my hair again for a very long time.

Winterize, Flinterize

We’re in Michigan for the week to visit with my mom (how weird to not say “mom and dad” there) and help her hunker down for the winter months ahead. We have been taking her car in for maintenance, raking leaves, pruning trees, getting firewood ready, cleaning house, changing furnace filters, fixing little things around the house, etc. She still has lots of things that were in both her and my dad’s names so we’re helping her get everything into her name, and we’re supporting her as she starts the gradual process of getting rid of my dad’s stuff. Today we went through his closet.

Yeah, so. That’s what’s happening.
It’s been a while since I’ve been back to Michigan at just this time of year, and it makes me remember why fall is so awesome. Fall in Seattle is a much less vibrant affair- things never really stop being green there for the most part which can be nice in its own way, but this is pretty rad.