- A board meeting.
- A large project.
- A very long email, in response to one from Paul, my ex. I actually tried to make it a post, but I was mostly covering my life in recent years, which you guys already know, and there was no point in rehashing his and my relationship to him, as he was there.
Receptionist - "Oh-uh, what'd I do?"
SalesGuy - "Nothing!"
Receptionist - "Thats what YOU think."
Valancy Jane - "So. Party at your place?"
Girl in Line - "Just stockin' up. It's good stuff."
Valancy Jane - "Looks good. If I follow you home tonight, it's not to KILL you."
Girl in Line - *looks scared, takes change from cashier and VERY QUICKLY leaves*
Valancy Jane - *to the cashier* I have GOT to start thinking before I speak."
VJ - "No, I didn't see it."
David - *grins* "It got stuck in his beard."
So yeah, not a very busy day.
I bought a fake tree. But I've already grown very fond of "Harry Lee" and discovered a dozen reasons to love him.
- I don't have to sit there and contemplate that he's slowly dying. I can have him every year!
- Maximus is obsessed with the long skinny box Harry Lee came in. He jumped in and tried to fill the full 4 foot length of the box by stretching out.
- It's much safer. He's more stable then those stands where you have to screw the pins in the trunk of a big heavy tree. And he's not as flamable, so I feel better about wrapping him in cheap electrical cord and leaving him home with my cats, who consider themselves to be agents in the employ of gravity.
- Even my ornaments are safer, as I can bend the ends of the wire branchs around like hooks so the fragile little bits of my childhood can't slide (or be batted by a cat paw) off.
- He was very, very inexpensive.
- He just perfectly fits on top of my table, next to the pirate legos. (Yes, I have my lego pirate island out on the table. Shut up.)
- If I'm ever in a weird mood, I can bend all his branches any way I want, like all to one side like there is a strong wind, or spelling out letters.
- Did I mention I never have to throw him away, but can love him year after year?
Because the historical museum has no velvet ropes, and lets you TOUCH STUFF.
And has an approximate ratio of 3 tour guides to each visitor.
Because the median age of our residents is a scant 31.9 years.
Because the median age of the tour guides is 1024.4 years.
Because we paint our electrical boxes with flowers.
Because at the end of November, we're averaging 75 - 80 degree cloudless, beautiful days.
Because in 1844, the only residents were cows, and it was still part of Mexico until 1848. It was open to settlement in 1869, and Levi Chase established a rancho, who's driveway was the street I grew up on.
Because its one of the few places where people moving in have brought and planted more trees than they cut down. Compare the photos taken in '37 and '87.
Because our trolley is a pretty red, like Mister Rogers.
Because it was mostly built in the 1950's, it's still very much like this. ('57)
Our valley is home to a few flocks of now-wild parrots, former pets that got loose. They are green and love to eat from the pecan trees that commanly grow in people's yards. We also have tons of wild rabbits that peek out timidly.
Because when the sun is hot, it smells of sage and eucalyptus and oleander.
When my Gramie Dude and Grandpa Patrick were here, he said something to me, a lovely compliment that I've been mulling over ever since.
He said I was the prettiest of his granddaughters. And yes, he has several. All of the others are actually his, and not step-granddaughters like me. So it was a doubly lovely thing to say.
I love him so, and he took the first picture of me that I ever really liked.
When I lived with them in Alburquerque, I learned a dozen utterly lovable things about him.
He gets up every morning, right at 5AM, grinds his coffee beans, makes himself a fresh cup, sips it, then goes right back to bed until some respectable hour.
He has about a million and a half vintage cameras, of EVERY variety, but takes all his pictures with a pinhole camera.
I would sneak him ice cream and he would sneak me liquor.
He rides his Harley out to his cabin, which he named Grimthistle.
He could happily spend the rest of eternity taking apart each of his cameras, one by one, holding each part in turn, and eventually reassembling the camera.
Valancy Jane - *long slow smile* "Hell yeah." *turns to Bunny* "Bunny, I've decided I wanna grow up to be just like you. Would YOU wanna grow up to be you?"
Bunny - *long slow smile*
ZezZee - *sees this in a whole new light, not an unpleasant one, but certainly unexpected, that she's emulating a woman who is emulating her mother*
This is one of my favorite things he's written. He tells this story at the end of the story of him quitting his job at a suicide line to go kill himself in the middle of the desert. It's actually a beautiful and uplifting story, but you have to buy the book, Maybe (Maybe Not) for the whole story.
"When I was a young man, I accompanied my father on a business trip to Mexico. We went to the Plaza de Toros in Mexico City to see the bullfights. A wonderfully terrifying experience. And embarrassing. Experiencing in public the fear and blood and death and the mad energy of the crowd was too close to images of terror and loathing I had concealed in my nightmares and fantasy. I cried.
This powerful experience has kept me attached to bullfighting over the years, though I have never again been to a live event. I've read many books, collected photographic essays, seen movies, and talked with afficionados and two professional matadors.
It is not that I like bullfighting as such. But it's the clearest metaphor I have in my mind for dealing with the dark, dangerous demon of death that runs loose in the arena of my mind from time to time.
With experience and practice, one may increase the odds in favor of triumphing over the bull. I respect the bull. I know that even the best matadors come close to death. And sometimes - sometimes - the bull wins.
My bull is the beast of self - destruction. I know he's in there, always.
But at age fifty - five, I am at the top of my form as a matador.
I'm confident in the presense of the bull.
This confidence is called ver llegar in the ring. It means 'to watch them come.' It is the ability to plant your feet exactly so - to hold your ground and see calmly, as in slow motion, the charge of the bull, knowing that you have what it takes to maneuver the bull safely by. This is dynamic stability. Standing still is one of the steps in dancing, as moments of silence are part of the music. Confidence lies in the stillness. It is the confidence that comes from many passes and many fights - you can control the bull and defeat it because you have done it before.
My bull comes at me when I have succumbed to examining my life with a microscope. Little mites become dragons under the lens, and fear makes me weak. Or the bull comes when I am hurridly trying to collect and carry all the baggage of my life and haul it up the spiral staircase that leads to nowhere, and I despair of the absurdity of my life. The bull comes then. Because he thinks I welcome him as a kind of solution.
I know him now. I can smell him, sense him before he moves. I welcome him. Yah, Toro, come on. I plant my feet and watch him come. He charges. I pass him safely by with a swing of the cape of my confidence. The crowd in my head roars. OLE! The crowd is made up of all those ancestors who passed their bulls - and they are pulling for me. OLE! OLE! OLE!"
Which I do.
Update - Thank you all for the emails, and Nick, that song was priceless!!!!
David didn't know yet how kind the internet can be.
On the bathroom mirror.
Please still be my friend.
- I'm grateful for the CD's that Jonny makes for me. How grateful? I got another this week, and I immediately put in the CD, drank too much sangria, and wrote him a drunken letter with a marker, which may or may not have contained a list of everything on my kitchen table.
- I'm grateful that Bathroom Reading told me his real name. It feels like a badge of trust.
- I'm grateful that I've made the sort of friend in 'Rez that I can call her anytime, even through thousands of miles, a couple time zones, and having never actually laid eyes on each other.
- I'm grateful that my biggest fan is Glenn, and that he always takes the time to listen to my rants.
- I'm grateful that Svennie sounds happier these days.
- I'm grateful that Col catches me off guard with her quirky humor.
- I'm grateful that Miss Kendra has promised to visit me.
- I'm grateful that Pru is making me a hat and scarf.
- I'm grateful for the memory of laying in the parking lot behind a Panda Express with Ike and Keane.
- I'm grateful that Coco and Lou make me a part of their lives, because when I see them happy and laughing, I feel I've done something right in this world.
- I'm grateful for finding old friends on myspace, and old friends finding me.
- I'm grateful that Ruan seems to know EVERYTHING there is to know about the internet and doesn't mind my constant pestering with 'help me, Ruan' and 'fix this, Ruan.'
- I'm grateful for Bunny, and words actually fail me to say anything more.
- I'm grateful for David and our new relationship that couldn't have come at a worse time, that stretches me and requires that I be a grownup, because it is SO DAMN WORTH IT. I love it when I'm wrong, because it means I'm dating an equal. I love it when he rambles on about something he is passionate about, and I love it more when I meet one of his friends who says, "Oh yes, he's talked about you." I love it when I don't understand what he's talking about, because it means I'm learning something. I love that he won't be manipulated, because that makes me trust the foundation of our relationship more. I love it when he dozes off and snores, because it means he's here and not off annoying some other lucky woman. I love that he listens to one of his friends talk about his girlfriend and then calls me for other reason than to thank me for not being a bitch. And I love it when he brings me roses that he's oh-so-carefully cut the thorns off of. I love how thoughtful he can be, when he thinks of ways to include me in his life. I love that he is in my life.
- I'm grateful that John and Dufel call me even though I almost NEVER remember to call them back.
- I'm grateful for each and every one of my readers. More than you guys will ever know.
Here's wishing you all the happy glow you've given me this year!
Tell me you're not jealous of my pirate name twin.
Engineer - "Yep."
Kind and Lovely Boss - "And you're comfortable telling the CEO that?"
Engineer - "Hell yeah. I'll tell him. Anything else need to be said? Give me a list of things to say."
Receptionist - *raises hand, bounces in seat* "Oh!!! Oh!!!! Can I make a list? Please?!?! I wanna play!!!!!"
Incidently, I've been emailing that Engineer a list. Any suggestions, lovely internet folk?
Learn how to pause."
- Sarah Ban Breathnach
VJ - "I could explain, but it still wouldn't make sense."
I thought to myself, "I don't want to be sick on Thanksgiving."
Then I thought to myself, "Why does that thought sound familiar somehow?"
Thinking back, I can't remember a Thanksgiving in the past 8 or so years, that I haven't had a cold.
QED - Turkey's spread disease. Or gratitude weakens your immune system.
But the part I find really weird?
People always, and almost ONLY, compliment me when I'm sick.
Anytime I'm in anyway sick to my stomach, people tell me my skin looks good.
The days I'm a walking snotball, supposedly I look like I've lost weight.
QED - Death becomes me.
David, after the girls at the Rock-A-Betties Salon got ahold of him before a gig.
Just a picture of a cat, that makes me giggle.
Jonny, this picture makes me desparete to know you in person.
My pool. Wanna come over and swim?
Keno, as a puppy. Tell me that's not the cutest thing EVER.
A ball of foil that My Other Homie in Marketing scanned for me, for no real reason other to show me he could scan things for me. Before this, the foil held my turkey sandwich.
*giggles* Today feels a little like this.
My Other Homie in Marketing said the picture of the foil looked like Nick Nolte's mug shot so he wanted to show me. What could I respond but, "MOHiM, lets always be friends"?
And I love this picture of 'Shaw. Just for no reason and a billion reasons.
I'll tell you when I'm 80 and I've lived a bit.
But anyway, my theory. You know people that describe themselves as hopeless romantics? You notice they're usually the same people that say things like, "I've had my heart broken so many times" or "I'm just looking for that one perfect person, even if it takes forever."
I wonder sometimes. See, I'm not in the middle of anyone's relationship, so I can't really know, and I'm definatly generalizing. But if you really think there is a perfect person out there for you, what happens when the relationship hits an inevitable snag? "It wasn't meant to be"? "He/she just wasn't the right one?"?
I think the concept of 'soulmates' is not only sappy, I think it's somewhat detrimental to the mindset of building a lasting relationship.
Lest I sound unromantic, I'm not saying relationships are all hard work, and I DO think there is a lid for every pot, in a general sense. In fact, there are prolly several lids to every pot.
My Gramie Dude, who's been married a couple of times, was once talking to me about Patrick, her husband of 15 years. She said it wasn't always easy being married to him, or to anyone for that matter. But that he "is SO worth it."
And I think that's the key. I don't think there is any 'other half of my soul' wandering around out there. I think there ARE some really lovely people. I don't think a person exists or ever has existed, that wouldn't misunderstand me sometimes, bug me sometimes, or even make me cry on rare occasion, if we were together. But I do think it's entirely possible to find somebody that is SO WORTH IT.
Bunny loaned me her three youngest boys on Sunday afternoon, and we went to Balboa Park. First stop, the organ pavillion, one of my favorite places on the planet.
Once, Bunny and her oldest, ZezZee, found a door unlocked and hastily climbed up onto the roof the organ pavillion. The boys now check every door when they visit, in hope that such a miracle will occur again, so far with no luck.
After that, we listened to pair of Indian drummers, part of a festival to highlight the exhibition of Indian art at the art museum. We made some small rugs at one of the craft booths, and petted a HUGE FREAKIN' HORSE OF A DOG. Then we went in and looked at the Indian art for awhile, then moved over to the Asian art collection, because what's small detailed art compared to a full suit of ninja armor when you're a young boy?
Then we went to the pond to see the giant koi and caught the end of the act of a pair of very funny jugglers/performers.
Then we wandered up towards the fountain, and found a clown offering advice. The boys and I used up the last of my small bills to ask him questions like, "What's the meaning of life?" and "Why do the edges of elephant's ears turn pink?" until he skateboarded off.
As we headed past the restaraunt, "Smoly," as we call Bunny's youngest, indulged a lady and waltzed with me for a few minutes to the music drifting out.
We laughed A LOT.
VJ - "No one has ever felt it necessary to encourage me in that direction before."
Anyway, according to my baby book, I was a clumsy child, frequently in need of a 'mayonaid' (bandaid). And I said that I liked my dolls "lota bunch" and my favorite saying was, "Jesse did it."
I was a very large baby at 10 lbs, 12 1/2 oz, and when I was born, I was my great-grandmother's 102nd great grandchild. Ironically, she is the only extended family member to ever spell my name correctly.
But of course, even I went through a period of writing all my 's' backwards, according to the name signed on this picture of a house, surrounded by happy flowers.
There is a small card from my Gramie Dude to me, written at my birth, thanking me for choosing this family to live in. I scoffed as I read it, but then at the end when she promised to always be my loving Gramie, I realized that maybe the idea that I would choose this family wasn't so far-fetched as all that.
There are some pictures from Sunday school that I should scan, a classic VJ moment, there is a card to my parents with a picture that was supposed to show how we all made friends, and the only friend I'm hugging is my treasured blankie.
There is another picture of me, in a mother's day card. I am posed against some flowers, and the card frames me in a butterfly shape, and you cannot imagine a more pissed off look on my face. I am sucking my thumb and look like I'm plotting evil deaths for everyone around me. Incidently, my hair looks fantastic in that picture.
My mother notes in my baby book at age two that I've named my shoes, and expressed confusion at how comman my name is.
Photos of my dedication show that I have to be handed off to my mother because I won't stop wrestling the mike away from the pastor.
There is a letter written to my Tiny Gramie, suggesting that if 'something happened' to one of the families next door, then she could live there.
I laughed at 2 weeks, and haven't paused much since then.
Most of my first words were animals.
Some things never change, my first best friend was named David, my favorite toy was a telephone, I lived on fruit, and I said "hi" to every object I came across.
Wow, what a disturbing little overachiever I was. *puts down test results* Why didn't someone tell me to get a life?
Oh, this is priceless. The schools yearly reports on me.
"[Valancy Jane] made a flag for her 'special club'."
"Only trouble with reading is limiting it, to prevent eyestrain."
"She loves to tell jokes and funny stories."
"[Valancy Jane] enjoys talking with EVERYONE."
"[Valancy Jane] reads with a pleasant voice."
"She designs and sews clothes for her stuffed animals."
"She struggles with fears of not knowing enough."
Only about a million times is it suggested that I keep a journal. I like to think they recognized a future blogger.
The best part of the whole bag?
A flip book I made in science at about 11 years old, of a monster eating a man. At the end, the monster burbs and smiles happily. I'm going to carry this book around in my wallet, it's a dose of instant giggles.
It could happen, I suppose.
VJ - *giggles*
Band Member - "What?"
VJ - "Nothing, I've just never heard anyone actually say that in a conversation."
Receptionist - "No, actually, I feel kinda rejected." *throws candy at him as he walks away*
So I was pondering this while I ate my lunch, which may or may not have also contained cranberry sauce (everyone thinks I'm weird because I stock up and eat it year 'round). (Actually people think I'm weird for a lot of more legitimate reasons too, but anyway.) Really, in a sense, I'm eating my thanksgiving dinner all week for lunch, which made me realize that while I have no trouble being grateful for a once a year stuff yourself on mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, it had never occured to me to be actively grateful for THIS meal, a sack lunch.
Groovin to Litte Feet
free music on the right
little feet sampler 1
one of the songs included is dixie chicken
christopher likes to play that
So let me get this right. We're listening to the sounds of Little Feat?
yes, its a new orleans shuffle... kinda tough to catch the changes sometimes
Is it kinda like a patter?
A pitter-patter, perhaps?
"Help, Ikey. I'm not straight."
"Can I tell people that when they ask why we aren't dating?"
"Sure. Say, Ikey, we're doing newlyweds this trip, right? That's what I packed for."
"I love it when you put it that way. Yes, I'm ready and packed to 'do newlyweds'."
"Speaking of which, that blond chick from F26 just joined that sufer-looking guy from F28 in the forward right bathroom."
"'K. One alligator, two alligator, three alligator, four alligator, five alligator, six alligator, seven - you think they're naked yet?"
"Give it just a ..................... ok. Now."
*into intercom* "Ladies and gentlemen, we're about to experience a bit of turbulance, please return to your seat immediatly."
"Ladies and gentlemen, I've been informed that it was a false alarm, as we are still on the ground, please return to what you were *slight pause* doing."
Four hours later -
"Lets stop the inflight movie and tell them all that we're now going to do a brief fitness workout, and for everyone who can't participate to have their doctor's notes ready."
"Or lets make an anouncement to the owner of the two lost snakes that one of them has been located."
*practices british accent* "Welcome to Mystery Dinner Theater Airlines. We hope you have a safe trip with us and-" *mimics flipping out light switch, followed by a faint scream*
"Or we could just take their drink orders."
"Good idea. Sort of classic, really."
Upon arriving in Denver, first stop is, where else, but the ground floor west mens room.
"Hey, what's that chick doing in here?"
"Relax buddy, I'm just checking my messages. Oh, Ikey, look! Red Crayon Guy has been here!"
VJ pauses in front of a half finished tic-tac-toe game. "Look, he took his turn!
She pulls a green sharpie from her purse and makes an O on the game.
"You know, Veaj, he's gonna win."
"Yeah. I always lose at this game. ALWAYS."
VJ writes next to the game, 'Can the loser buy the winner a drink?'
"Veaj, you know like 81 men are going to read that, and show up with a red crayon for a free drink."
"I can't think of a better way to spend my christmas bonus."
VJ and Ike then drop their bags in their airport hotel room, change and enter a corner bar, dressed as a bride and groom. Free drinks and congrats flow. Some guy named Lowell beats VJ in a pool game, and to pay up, VJ agrees that she and Ike will name their first child, regardless of gender, after him.
A drunk woman says she can sense by their auras that VJ and Ike are meant to be together forever. VJ tells her that she personally gives it about six months.
Ike and VJ jaunt out on a rather tipsy walk, because Ike has 16 new international coins, and he always drops them in the fountain outside the children's hospital, for the kids to find.
Back at the hotel, they order on pastrami on rye sandwich and exactly 18 peanut M&Ms, which they split exactly. VJ wakes up, sleeping across the bed sideways and stumbles over to Ike's rom to steal the rest of his bottle of shampoo so that they can take back one full sealed bottle instead of two drippy, half-ful ones. Ike calls down and orders coffee sent up, because VJ isn't awake enough to think of it.
On the plane home, VJ tallys the free drinks from last night, to compare to the tally of the bar from last week where they pretended to be amish runaways. Ike tried on her veil and almost forgot to take it off before handing out the peanuts. VJ convinced a woman that putting her hand up to her temple and pushing her forefinger into the side of her head very hard, was an acupunture point that would reduce her craving to smoke while on the plane. The woman spent most of the flight looking like she was trying to shoot herself in the head.
I'd forgotten to renew my driver's lisense. My renewal notice went to an old address and somehow didn't get forwarded. And who checks their own lisense? I didn't. So when I was driving and ended up in one of those random sobriety checkpoints, the cop notices that my lisense is expired. Oops. Stupid of me, I know. So I went and had it renewed.
Incidently, my new picture, in which I attempted to smile pleasantly, I look so freakin' stoned. I look like the picture was taken just at 'pass' in 'puff, puff, pass,' with the joint just outside the frame of the picture.
Anyway, I went to traffic court about a week ago, but their computers were down, and they rescheduled me. I batted my eyelashes and pretty-pleased and got in for Night Court, because I really didn't want to take any more time off work.
Last night I went in and the lines were almost non-existant, they were so short. I go in, show the judge that I've since fixed the problem and he dismissed it entirely, I only had to pay a $10 dismissal fee. I was pretty happy about that. I mean, it was my fault and I'd been careless, but that ticket really wasn't how I wanted to spend my money. After that, they headed me through a side door to pay the clerk. In that side room there were signs everywhere, tell you to turn off your cell phones. I reached for mine, and realized I'd left my purse in the courtroom. I couldn't go back through that door, so I just had to sit there and wait for the bailif to usher the next person through, PRAYING that no one would call my cell while it sat there. I just had this mental picture of them looking around as they were interrupted by the sounds of "Good Vibrations" coming loudly from my purse. Fortunatly the bailiff brought it to the door, joking that he'd wanted to keep it, but it didn't match his shoes.
Anyway, as I left, I felt this huge feeling of relief. I get paranoid in those sort of situations. I'm convinced that I'll accidently stab a security guard with a nail file while putting in a tray to go through the x-ray machine, or that I'll fill out a form wrong, somehow marking option 4 - "I robbed a bank," and then I'll sign it. I'm certain that the judge will be the person I accidently cut off on the freeway, on my way there. I'm sure they will all turn and say, "We know what you did," when I walk in, and even though I won't know what I did, I'll flush guiltily and they'll lock me up forever.
So as I left, I was feeling pretty good. I decided to take a little stroll through a nearby store, one that rents booths to small business type people. One woman runs a small pet shop. I don't like her operation, she breeds for volume, not health. Her birds are always overcrowded, and often look neglected, occasionally sick. I don't really like to support her back yard breeding, but one little parakeet caught my eye. It's easy to pass off an animal when it's young and cute and has no signs of the neglect yet. This one looked like he'd missed that. His tail feathers were ragged, his beak looked somewhat translucent and his legs lacked the healthy color of my birds. No little kid was gonna pick him out and beg their mother for him. He was still pretty young and seemed to be the most laid back in relation to the other birds in the overcrowded cage.
You see where this is going, right?
Yes, I bought him and named him Mick.
Gillian needed a new buddy, she was going nuts with loneliness since Augustine died. I hadn't heard her sing once since he died. And there were no adoptable parakeets in the area, yes, I checked that first.
Gillian and Mick seem to be getting along famously. I feel good about my choice to buy Mick, on about 8 different levels.
The movie, As Good As It Gets, made me wanna write screenplays. It also gives me temporary moments of despair, of ever being as good as I wanna be.
The taste of pumpkin pie made me wanna cook.
And Rembrandt might have impressed me with his talent more, but it was Picasso made me realize I wanted to show the world how it looked to ME.
Julia Roberts' laugh made me wanna act, and Jann Arden sang songs that made me wanna have a voice.
And my best friend in high school, Lissy, was the one that encouraged me to really dress any way I please.
Pick up your cat and bury your nose in the fur on his neck. They all smell different.
My friend has a cat that smells like a new car. Really. It's cool.
Maximus smells like a snack vending machine, vaguely of Fritos.
Dulce, true to her name, smells like over-sugared coffee.
So if you're feeling like that, don't worry, it's still me.
Its me, in slightly less danger of being dooced.
See, I realized that my life was begining to compartmentalize between work and blog. I didn't like living with the fear of what would happen if my boss every found my blog. I wanted to have a blog I could defend to him, that I could say, "This is personal free speach, not a threat to the company." I figured it would be easier if it didn't actually refer to work in it's very title. And I'm certainly not emailing the link to him and all the board members, but I'm a lot less worried it. I feel freer knowing that if the worst happens and he still fires me for it, I can say to myself that at least I tried, and I wasn't stupid about it. I feel freer, because I'm prouder of my actions. It's a good feeling.
I realize I've choosen an odd title, so I thought I'd tell you how it came about. It's from a phrase in a Robert Fulghum book, a phrase that always jumped out at me, "a wonder, wander walkabout" which refered to a leisurely trip around the world he and his wife took. It felt like such a great description of my life. And was there ever a more poetic word than "Walkabout"?
The photo was taken by the highly talented Ruan, to whom I am deeply grateful for letting me use it, and for helping me set it up. Ruan, you're a prince.
The pink elephant is Belinda. She wanders. If you see a pink elephant some day, it's prolly her, so say hi, and email me to tell me all about it. Preferably add pictures.
Cowboy - *drawling accent* "Oh no, darlin'. I'll leave those." *eyes VJ's cup with it's overflowing mound of mini marshmellows on top* "More for you, Hun."
We stocked up on all the crucial food groups, saltly, caffienated, deep-fried, sugary, artery-clogging, cancer-causing and of course, Jamba Juice.
We like Jamba Juice, ok?
"WOOOOO-HOOOOOOOO!!!! We're off!!!!!"
"Girls, where are we going?"
"Yay! But I meant, um, WHERE exactly is the concert?"
"So, we don't know, is what you're saying?"
"Wait, does it say on the tickets? *checks* Well it says it's on Fifth Ave."
"We'll just drive from one end of Fifth Ave to the other. It'll be an adventure!"
Once we found it, we began the Great Parking Spot Hunt.
"That looks like a spot!"
"No Parking Any Time
8AM - 6PM
Third to Eight Weds."
"But the little sign next to it says -
Construction Zone - 10/30 - 11/11
And the curb isn't painted."
"But the little sign over the meter says "Two Hour Parking, Anytime."
"Lets just roll the car into the bay. I'll report it stolen after the concert and buy another one."
Eventually we got lucky and found a lot in a safe part of town, only a few blocks up. On the way to the concert venue, we passed a homeless man sleeping (we thought) on the sidewalk. I'm ashamed to say I joked about it and suggest we lay down a few feet away and see how he reacted when he woke up. When we made a trip back the car ten minutes later, he was surrounded by ambulances, cops and firetrucks. They had him on a respirator and we loading him into the ambulance. Needless to say, I felt like the worst kind of human EVER. We'd walked not more than two feet away and not realized he needed help.
We spent the rest of the afternoon waiting in line outside the concert. We sat along the wall of a 7-11, which was GREAT because of my love affair with their coffee bar thingy. We read magazines and doodled on each other and made friends with a girl who turned out to have a pathological hatred for people with any kind of a VIP pass, and another girl who went off about how Jessica Simpson was the most talented artist out there. *eyeroll*
There was a guy playing Switchfoot songs on his guitar and singing.
He did not -
a). know any 50 Cent songs, nor did he
b). appreciate my asking if he knew any 50 Cent songs.
We finally got in at 6:30, and charged downstairs and into the mosh pit.
Rules for Getting to the Front of a Concert
Act quickly when you get in. Give yourself as much a headstart as possible.
Make friends with a couple of tall guys near you. Make a pact to help each other.
Have the guys be the 'bad guys' and start pushing you forward. You can blame it on them, and they are insolated by your bodies.
When that fails, work diagonaly. If the people in front are aggressively defending their space, you need to make this look natural. Say this is you -. Say this is the person in front of you *.
Now, swing your hip around, as if you're being jostled.
Then shift as if that foot is tired.
Then pretend to get jostled again.
Presto, you're in front.
If you hit a true standstill, there are a few ways to prey on people in mosh pits natural propensity for hysteria. If it's still an opening act, simply point to the dark wings and scream as if the shadowy figure of a stagehand is the big star. This will prompt everyone to look and scream. Use the distraction to your advantage.
Or, you can begin dancing more enthusicastically. Those around you, we can assume they're huge fans of the band or they wouldn't be there, will be very easily caught up. If your movement is more purposeful, you have an advantage.
And when the star comes out, or simply moves closer to the audience and everyone crushes forward and tries to touch them, move diagonally toward the front but away from the side everyone is heading. The star will move, he'll come to your side eventually. It's a great way to get past those couple diehards right up at the rail, that won't relinguish their spot easily.
There you go, some tried and tested methods. Ask my happy customers, Coco and Lou, who were totally acknowledged but the singer and the bass player. Oh yeah. We ARE that loud.
So I told her that yes, he'd gotten me thrown out of a mall once.
Which isn't entirely true.
I got myself thrown out, really. With the help of his bodyguards.
See, Bug and I were in the mall one day, and I guess Jensen was there to do some sort of promotion for Days Of Our Lives. So we pass the crowd of panting, fanatic girls, waiting for him, and we briefly consider joining them. Mass hysteria can be great fun.
But we decided to pass.
Anyway, we're walking away from the crowd and who do we see coming, but Jensen and his two HUGE bodyguards, in this formation, towards us.
Bug and I exchange a covert glance. She KNOWS what I'm about to do.
We continue our leisurely pace, letting no sign of recognition pass across our face. The bodyguards are aware of us, but far more concerned about the approaching crowd. Mentally, they've classified us as a non-threat. We continue moving toward each other.
When we are exactly even with each other, I suddenly launch my body directly sideways.
This was the move that got me thrown out by his bodyguards. I had just enough time to oh-so-cooly and detachedly say, "Hi" in the same tone I might have used had he thrown himself at me, before I was tossed over one the bodyguards shoulders and take a safe distance away.
The look of shock/annoyance/vaguely-impressed-that-I'd-managed-it on Jensen's face as he held me in a dip, PRICELESS.
"Hi kid. Welcome to life. You've got a good shot that you're gonna spiral into depression and wanna stick your head in an oven like you great-grandfather. You're going to deal with random crippling fears like your grandmother and mother. You're gonna have to fight everyday to maintain a healthy relationship with alcohol. You'll probably never sleep. And you'll hate your father. We all seem to. Have a lollipop."
I told Adam that I just didn't live with that kind of fear anymore.
Every parent passes on genetic weakness of some kind to their children, anything from a disease that will kill them at the age of 12, to a receding hairline, to simply their own mortality.
A parents job is to teach their children how to take care of themselves.
And I can do that now. I didn't drift into mental health. I worked every day for it. I treat myself kindly, I eat well and laugh often. I surround myself with people that treat themselves and me and the world the same way. I've got a million tricks up my sleeve, and I sure can teach 'em. I will work so hard, do anything I have to, confront any demon, so I can show my kids how to live as whole people. And if my kids grow up to be just like me, that's not a bad fate to wish on someone.
Plus, they'll have one thing I didn't.
Jefe, right before almost setting the Spiderman astrojump on fire.
Well, Eric always says, "It's not a party until something is on fire in the middle of the street."
Receptionist - "Ok, I'll tell people the usual cover story, that you're in rehab again for glue sniffing."
Lovely and Kind Boss - "Ok. Wait, what?"
Receptionist - "I said, 'I'll tell people the usual cover story, that you're rescuing puppies and kittens'."
Lovely and Kind Boss - "Right. Ok."
......... a new coffee stirrer, since I found the mate of my odd chopstick.
......... a new spine. Mine is slightly spiral shaped, which you might point out is more interesting, and you'd be right, really. But after almost 25 years, the novelty is gone now, and I want a regular straight one, 'cause this one causes me pain.
Lou - "Ah. Back to VJ's car."
Coco - "Which smells like .............. hmmmm."
VJ - "Best not to examine that smell too closely, I have the HORRID habit of forgetting old jamba juice cups in the backseat cupholders."
And the part that makes me REALLY old? The whole thing started because he thought I was flirting with him, while I was just trying to brush his shaggy hair out of his eyes because if he could see properly then maybe he's STAND UP STRAIGHT, FOR PETE'S SAKE.
........... what would happen if I bought a breeding pair of rabbits and let them loose in the building here at work.
I mean, I KNOW what would happen.
Tell me that wouldn't be cool, if there were cute widdle fluffy bunnies everywhere and we are all just used to it and treated it like it was normal.
"Be aware of the bunnies" signs on the doors.
"Yes, I'm sorry the bill we sent you had the total chewed off the bottom. It was supposed to read ......."
"Check his tag. The receptionist names each one."
"You recieved your product and there was a bunny in the box? Yes. It happens."
"Thank you for touring our facility. Have a bunny."
Incidently, in looking up pictures of bunnies, I found that there is actually a company called Web TV, that keeps a rabbit as an office pet.
VJ - "No, one is fine."
David - "Come on, have another."
VJ - "Naw, I'm good. I'm a pretty easy slut while sober, when it comes to you. And I'm a pretty sloppy drunk. So you've got nothing to gain, and plenty to lose, by pouring expensive alcohol down me."
David - *sleepily* "What?"
VJ - "I don't really know. Something. I just don't exactly know how to say it. Sorta like, I like you. Times eight."
David - "Oh."
VJ - "Hmmm."
David - "What?"
VJ - "I'm just really glad I'm here. In your apartment, in your life."
Fish Shop Counter Guy - "Live worms."
Customer - *SHUD"ohmygosh"DER* You did that so ............. matter of factly. To me, that would have an emotional experience, with me standing over the tub of live worms for at least 20 minutes before I screwed up the courage, and feeling like such a hero afterwards."
But Sven's blog shows up three times before that, and Bathroom Reading twice.
Are you guys posting nude pictures of me? And more importantly, do I look good?
You don't remember, do you?
Sally, remember the time we tried to sneak into that club 'with the band' and the bouncer saw us and came around to check our ids so I hit you lightly on the head with a cymbal and you pretend to be hurt, to distract from being asked for our ids but it totally didn't work and we got slung out on our butts?
Ikey, remember the day at the beach with sandwiches from Trader Joes, and me molesting you a bit to make sure you were properly covered in sunscreen?
Keane, remember that I owe you dinner?
Jordan, do you remember that time we were driving through Minnesota, and you were bored and goofing off with the backscratcher, like it was your hand, and the truck driver behind us was laughing so hard he started swerving and ran a Jetta off the road?
Mavi, remember at Christy's bachlorette party when we realized that for the second time, we'd gone out and bought the model of car as each other?
Devin, remember the time we were driving home and some teenage boys pulled up next to your car and yelled to us, "Show us your boobs!" and we yelled back, "No, YOU show US YOUR boobs!" and we followed them across town until one of them flashed us some scrawny teenage boy nipple?
Jonny, remember in another life when you were named Edgar and we lived in a lighthouse and had two dogs both named Frank?
When I watched a Charlie Brown Christmas, I felt that finally, someone understood.
Now, I know I've tried before to explain neurotic I can be about projecting emotions onto inanimate objects. Christmas trees were no exception.
To this day, I deliberately choose the one I think no one else will choose. I kiss my fingers and touch the others, a silent plea for forgiveness at not being able to take them all.
One year I asked my mother if we could take all the leftover ones on Christmas Eve. She asked what I would do with them, where I would put them. She meant it as a rhetorical guestion, but it inspired a vision in my head, of propping them all up in a circle in the yard. I dreamed of deeply breathing the pine scent, dancing in the seculsion of my little grove of christmas trees and feeling myself to be in very fine company.
I knew they would die, I wasn't THAT crazy. But shouldn't someone love them before they go?
And some day-after-christmas, if you pass a little house with dozens of drying christmas circled in the yard, with the sound of someone belting out "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" drifting from inside the circle, and you have a really high tolerance for Crazy, go ahead and squeeze on in and we'll name them each together.
If your Crazy tolerance ain't so high, I understand. Just join us on the beach on New Years Eve, for one roaring heck of a bonfire, as we send them off in high style.
Anyone want to find out with me?
I fell a bit more for David the day his voice drifted out of the bathroom saying, "Q-Tips are pretty great, aren't they?"
Nothing new to discover there.
I actually feel sad now.
Valancy Jane - "Oh, *cringes* this never comes out as a compliment."
*sigh* She was always the pretty 'sister.'
Growing up we told everyone we were sisters. We also told people about accidently stealing a police car in Thailand and that we were Irish immigrants who'd never seen a movie before. We were compulsive liars/'spontaneous actresses.'
Oh the stories we told strangers.
"No, Leonardo DiCaprio isn't as tall as he looks in movies. 'Cause I remember when I walked in on him kissing you while we were all on Stallone's yacht, and he wasn't bending over much."
"I call her Bug 'cause her first job was as an exterminator. Do you still have one of your cards, hun? She specialized in rare and exotic infestations."
"No, sorry, we don't speak english." *in perfect unaccented english*
"Lara Croft was actually based on her." *gestures toward Bug in her Lara Croft Halloween costume*
"Actually the judge ordered that I'm not allowed to 'socialize' without her. Its part of my parole."
Is it any wonder she grew up to be an actress?
Coco called me last night, utterly overwhelmed with giddy possibilities.
She supposed to hand out programs at her school's production of Romeo and Juliet. They're giving her all those programs to hand out. Unsupervised.
The more mischievious of you out there are already giggling, aren't you?
Suggestions people. We need them.
I'm thinking crytic notes should be tucked in at random.
"They're watching. Slip out and meet me in the janitor's closet under the stairs. Bring the envelope or else."
"Will you marry me?"
"The person next to you has a gun. We think. We're not sure. Could you ask?"
"You have won a raffle prize of "Line In The Play." During the balcony scene, just after Juliet goes inside for the second time, please stand and shout, "Romeo hath a small knob!"
Oh, and did I mention her skeezy ex that cheated on her, he's playing Romeo?
Lets see if we can do something with that.
Bunny - "Well, someone took her seriously and since then she's never quite .........."
Valancy Jane - "-Leveled out?"
- make guacamole
- sit outside the starbucks in Rancho San Diego with Adam and Lissy, and drink hot cider (actually Adam's idea)
- buy a bottle of wine and split it with Bunny, in her cozy kitchen
- kiss David
- feed a horse and kiss the little velvet tip of its nose
- stand on the beach and let the wind whip over me tearing my hair into a 'fro, seeing the whitecaps reflect the lights of the city
You don't put up a bilboard for your country radio station with a lyric from a Keith Urban song, "I'm alive and I'm free" up right outside a prison, in full view of the windows.
Tell me that JR wasn't really such an asshole on the phone to me, that my bird didn't die, that my mother doesn't have a myspace.
And the artist who simply carved small star like shaped designs into the sides of vegetables from her organic garden, who wanted to be my friend, sadly, that was a dream.
And he'd been less energtic lately, not sick, just more subdued, like a clock slowly widing down.
It was hard to find him passed on today, apparently slipping away while I took a nap.
But I found peace with some thing I'd never admitted publically before.
I stole him.
Not long after I found him, scared and hungry in the gutter of a four lane street, I DID find out who his owners were, and I deliberately did not return him. They never once went to look for them, and pacified their little girl with another bird, teaching her that pets are disposable and not to be looked for. The neighbors said they would leave poor Augie in a cage on the porch, in the scorching hot Californa sun. The little girl handled him at will, without supervision or instruction. Augie showed signs of abuse and neglect. I had some serious pangs of conscience, deliberately keeping 'property' that didn't belong to me, but in the end I decided that my responsibility was to the innocent party, poor Augie.
And I gave him everything he should have, a large cage with a swinging tent, more toys then he could play with, millet, and most of all, Gillian.
Augie was so tramatized by humans, I knew that attempting to hand tame him would destroy him with stress, as would loneliness, so I adopted Gillian from a woman closing down an aviary.
Augie loved her with all the untapped devotion in his little bird heart. Every instinct in him, to love and bond with another creature, went to her, instincts long repressed for lack of anything that he could trust.
And when I think about the happy end I gave him, I know I'd do it again.
I can think of a million and one reasons that I'm glad you're my friend, but here are the top ten.
- How easily you laugh.
- The fact that you can name every old movie star EVER.
- How generous you are, even when no one is watching.
- How generous you are, ESPECIALLY when no one is watching.
- How you always give me the haircut I SHOULD have asked for.
- That you never hesitate to dance.
- That you appreciate honesty.
- That you appreciate Boones Melon Ball.
- That you make sure no one ever feels left out.
- That you accept people, just as they are.