Asides

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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My Surly Punk Rock Phase

Check out this photo that I discovered of myself while I was at my mom’s last week.

 

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This is the baddest ass in the motherfracking west, is it not? Is she not PISSED? Have you ever seen such a punk rock attitude on a little half pint? THE HAIR, DON’T CARE. The pants, THUG LIFE. The zipper, FUCK OFF DO I LOOK LIKE ZIPPING IS IMPORTANT TO MY LIFE? This is the face of someone who wants to give the next knucklehead who looks at her the BEAT DOWN.

I do not know where this was taken. I do not know what the hell I was so mad about. I have lots of photos from my childhood, and it is vastly documented that I was a cheery, smiley, happy child. I do not ever recall seeing a photo of little me looking so bent out of shape. I love it so much.

The day I found this photo was not a good day for me. The day was total garbage, in fact. But I found this photo, it made me chuckle, and so I posted it to Facebook. And then, just a few minutes later? My friend Josh (of Maiden Metallurgist fame) posted this back:

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Gritty Foreman (Forebaby) keeps tabs on the workers. She shoves them off if dissatisfied.

And also this:

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Batman and Batbaby are so sad. No one understands us so we must go avenge something.

And my personal favorite:

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Don and Joan are so happy about the leaves. It’s sad, though, because Surly Baby will soon murder them.

You guys. Such a bad day I was having and this turned it all around. Some days it doesn’t take much.

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.

One year later

 

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This past weekend was the one year anniversary of when my dad died. It has been quite a year for me, and I have learned some stuff  about myself. Maybe a million stuffs. I will not spew all of them, but here are a couple few.

1. I learned that I don’t care that much about the fact that it’s the anniversary.  Maybe not too much of a surprise, since I’m not really much of an anniversary person in general- I don’t tend to have a ton of ceremony around dates or build up a lot of emotion that is centered on a day. I know that certain markers of time can be hard for grieving people– like I have friends who have lost loved ones that say that Christmases or birthdays can be hard. For me, I haven’t felt that way so far.

2. I have a dear friend, L, who lost her beloved dad a few years ago. I was talking to her about it and she said something to me that I never forgot. This may sound weird to some, but Ima tell you anyway. She said that when she gave birth to her kids, during labor, there was a complete and utter letting go of all of the control that she had because there was nothing to do but let it happen. She didn’t care what she looked like, she didn’t care who was watching, she didn’t care what she sounded like, how much she cried. She was just totally immersed in the experience of birthing her child. She then said that the only other time she felt something similar to that was in her grief for her dad. She went through a period where she did not care a wit about what she looked like, sounded like, or who was watching. She was just in it. I have never given birth so I can’t speak to the comparison she was making, but something about that description felt more in tune with what I was feeling than just about anything anyone has said to me all year. There was a period of time there where I was just IN IT, I felt like it was super hard but also the most natural and right thing in the world, and I didn’t give a flying fuckbucket what it looked like to anybody. Is it weird to talk about the birthing process in comparison to the grieving process? Sorry. Blame my friend L if you must.

3. That being said, I also learned that there’s a time when it’s best to suck it up and wrap up the Eeyore tendencies. This is one of the harsher things I learned and it’s actually hard to say, but I’m being as real as the STREETS right now, homeys. There are maybe one or two people, if you are very, very lucky, that will hang out with you as long as it takes for you to get all that sad stuff out, no matter the timeline. But for the most part, people– really loving, wonderful people– can’t hang with you like that for too long. They have their own lives and things they need to do and they need you to get back to being a more equal person in the relationship. They need to talk about their stuff and not just listen to your stuff. I may have even gotten some straight up CUT THAT SHIT OUT NOW I AM DONE HEARING ABOUT IT here and there.  Sure, hearing that can be a lesson learned right in the nuts, but I can’t be mad about it, because I know behind the frustration, there’s love there, and none of us are perfect. Well, besides Beyonce, obviously. So as much as I have learned about letting my grief fly and letting myself be in it, I have also learned when it’s time to fold it up and put it away.

4. Even though I would have said, before this happened, that Nordic Boy and I were closer than peanut butter and jelly in a Goober jar, this year has shown me that it was possible to be more connected, more solid, more joyful together. We jibber jabber about ev-er-y-thing, we laugh a lot, we cannot wait to hang out together. We are just horribly sickening.

5. I have learned that there’s a sort of secret society of grievers out there. People who have lost someone too, and who will reach out and help.

6. There was a time, when I was 23 years old, where some really not-so-hot stuff went down in my life. After that year was over, I felt like a changed person. Obviously there were things that remained the same about me at my core- I am not saying I changed my whole identity like a movie psychopath. But the way I related to the world changed that year more than it ever had before or since. My goals changed, in terms of what I wanted to do with my life. My relationships changed, in terms of how I socialized and with whom. That was the year I really committed to my relationship with Nordic Boy, even though we had been hooked-up-sort-of-friends for some years. After what I had been through that year, I saw him differently than I did before. I saw my friends differently than I had before, some for better, some not. Most of all, I saw myself differently. Whenever I think back on my life thus far, I think about the events that led up to that year as the Events That Changed Everything. A crossroads year, not outwardly. Inwardly. I think we all (or maybe most of us) have an experience or two that splits your life into Before That Happened and After That Happened. Now that I am one year out from losing my dad, I can see that this time feels like another one of those times. I feel so different than I felt before, you guys. It manifests itself in a lot of small ways that may not be noticeable to anyone but me, but they are numerous and glaring to me. If I had to boil it down into an overarching idea? I care about some things SO MUCH LESS than I did before, and it feels EFFING GREAT. I have never been a high-pressure person to begin with, but now? The level of not-caring about dumb stuff is at an all time high. Maybe this is a short term feeling, but dang, I hope it lasts. Someone didn’t call me back for some minor work thing? DON’T CARE. This friend or that friend hasn’t gotten in touch for a while? IT’LL BE FINE. Oops, I got another parking ticket? WHATEVS. I’m not saying I don’t have stress– I do. I worry about big stuff, for sure. But the day to day? Rat’s asses are not being given, people. And on the other hand, things that really matter to me feel really heightened right now. I love my dude so much. I spend much more time doing and seeing art, which really, is the thing I love doing most. And I love myself and more than I ever have. I think that, for me, having the right perspective between the DON’T CARE things and the REALLY CARE things is a huge mental kielbasa I wrung out of this year, and it may not last but for right now, the DON’T CARE list is actually quite long, and although the REALLY CARE list is spare, it is way, way deep. I feel like that’s a good place for me to be right now.

I don’t even know if any of this makes sense to anyone out there. But honestly? DON’T CARE. It makes sense to me.

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.