Sun 29 Oct 2006
After injesting duck liver,(see previous post), Josh and I sucked it up and made a late appearance at a Halloween party. We knew the crowd would be young and perhaps baffled by our costumes.
Josh had this idea six months ago…appear as Ricky from American Beauty:
Josh did a lot of character study in order to prepare for his role…he meticulously took notes on Ricky’s mannerisms and speech. I even gave him a plastic bag that he could throw out and videotape while reciting one of the film’s classic lines,” Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world…my heart can’t take it.” We were going to darken his eyebrows but I thought that might be overkill. Needless to say those that got it really truly ‘got it.’
I went an entirely different route. Josh reminded me about how much I love the Japanese game show dubbed over in English: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge. We set about arming me with elbow and knee pads, homemade MXC shirt, and custom painted helmet (you gotta have a red helmet).
Needless to say everyone thought I was a roller derby girl…which is cool, I guess, just not as funny as a Japanese game show contestant. I tried my best to convince people by jumping around, falling down, and navigating my way through different ‘challenges.’ Josh made sure to catch me in action:
At the end of the evening this drunk girl dressed up like Flavor Flav said, “You know, I keep saying they need to bring roller derby back.” I turned to her and exclaimed, “What are you talking about? Haven’t you heard about the Rat City Roller Girls?” I then realized I was going to have to bounce around and imitate straddling a fake toad stool again.
Sat 28 Oct 2006
Last night Josh and I went to a very fancy restaurant and ate very fancy food which resulted not in a heavenly eating indulgance but a quick-where-is-the-nearest-gas-station-restroom sort of experience. As an adult who is usually deprived of gourmet dining I really wanted to use this dinner (which we were treated to by our accompanying party) with a “I’ll try anything once” sort of approach. All said and done, Josh and I sampled the following animals: crab, duck egg, pork belly, short ribs, stergon, halibut, scallops, and the highly anticipated, extremely controversial: foie gras. Banned in California for its inhumane practice of overfeeding and engorging the liver of ducks and geese, foie gras will most likely become extinct from the American menu. Our dinner guests LOVE this fatty liver dish and manage to ignore any guilty feelings they may have over the demise of the animal it came from. Josh and I approached this appetizer with a “When In Rome…” sort of attitude.
The liver appeared atop a little waffle drenched with huckleberry sauce and I inadvertedly sawed off a sizable portion and transferred it to my delicate china plate. It wasn’t too bad, but the texture was mushier then I expected, and the huckleberries were an intense flavoring. Needless to say, I found the crab cakes and even the duck egg sitting on top of a salad to be better appetizers. Somehow I ended up encouraged to finish up the last piece of foie gras from the plate…so I had to dive in for a second round. I think my stomach tried to fight it off a little bit by rumbling, “No more food now, we have to ingest this duck liver.” Instead, I went ahead and started eating my entree of sea scallops and delicately sliced fig halves. Josh’s short ribs were drizzled with truffle oil. The plates were swooping arcs, the food was decorated with artistic smears of sauce and well placed arugala. A fancy restaurant is truly all about the presentation.
Against my better judgement, I ordered a dessert: chocolate cake with chocolate beet ice cream. Imagine my dismay when the cake arrived drenched in the same hideous huckleberry sauce the foie gras was bathed in! My taste buds were very confused with the first bite: wait, didn’t we just have this with duck liver? What’s this chocolate stuff? I pressed on, pushing the huckleberries aside and trying to enjoy the cake and the curious beet ice cream. Halfway into it my stomach gave up…I pushed the plate aside and within a few moments started to feel like I might throw up. I scolded myself inwardly: what is you problem? Someone takes you out to a fancy restaurant and you’re going to WASTE your whole meal? Since I have an iron stomach, my body decided that it would rather start passing out then upchuck, so I started swerving a little in my chair. I realized I was sweating and losing my breath, (is it hot in here or is it just me?), so I politely excused myself to the restroom. Several moments later, after I returned, Josh excused himself too. Turns out we had the exact same experience: A rejection of the duck liver combined with a wretched response to a second round of huckleberries. Neither of us lost our cookies…instead we had to ride out a series of stomach cramps.
We had to go to a Halloween party right after our three hour dinner ordeal, but we almost didn’t make it. It didn’t help that we kept talking about the dinner: “Did you see the SIZE of the foie gras I piled onto my plate? What was I thinking?”We actually drove up to the party only to turn around and seek a more private, anonymous, bathroom, say, in a gas station. Of course the party was in Bellevue where gas stations usually close at a decent hour. We attempted to sneak into a hotel lobby bathroom but decided that was too obvious. At that point my stomach could go either way so I willed it into submission.
Stay tune for Halloween party pictures…
Thu 26 Oct 2006
I watched a girl do the whole pull-the-stool-out-from-underneath-her-friend manuever at the girl’s school yesterday. Yikes…I haven’t seen that trick done effectively in years…her poor friend was completely oblivious and her face was written with utter shock when she plunged to the floor. How totally embarressing, I thought, even in a private all-girls school seventh grade is still a bitch.
Last week I asked the girls what sort of stereotypes people have about their age, gender, etc. They had so much to say, it was really interesting. One girl said, “People think if you’re thirteen you’re super giggly and girly and that all you care about is boys…” Another girl said, “I’ll tell you the truth, going to an all-girl school, people think we’re all gay.” And yet another girl said, “Sometimes my friends say that going to this school will make me white, you know, make me act like someone I’m not…which is stupid.”
Wed 25 Oct 2006
We went down to the Couv last weekend primarily to check out Gina’s art show and Sammy’s newly purchased house. Two very exciting events in both my siblings’ lives so of course I felt compelled to check them out. Sam received the keys to his new place the day we drove down. Here he is draped over the now defunct realty sign:
Gina’s show is at the PNCA art gallery if anyone wants to check it out…this picture does little to justify the enormity and awesomeness of this piece of work–which was painted on a 4 ft by 5 ft piece of wood. If you look closely you can see the ‘motion lines’ of the limbs as they climb up the hill:
Gina’s buddy Matt in a snazzy yellow coat:
Ever since I was little I’ve admired the old horse rings that line the Portland streets. Imagine my delight when I spotted a tiny plastic horse tied to one of these rings:
It was inevitable: Josh and I ended up lounging in Chris’ fire engine red living room. Somehow I found my way into this authentic Mexican wrestling mask (notice how creepy my smile is):
(By the way, I’m holding an origami box that Sam made for me…very cool).
Fri 20 Oct 2006
A horrible cold has kept me from doing, well, pretty much anything but the minimum. I have slogged through the week, eagerly waiting for Friday, wonderful Friday. I have planned, scheduled, and organized this Friday a week in an advance simply because I can enjoy an expanse of time. Hurrah for Friday!
In addition to shopping today (on a Friday instead of my usual trek to Trader Joe’s after dance class on Saturday), we will be driving down to Portland to check out my sister’s first art installation at a gallery. Needless to say, the days of casually perusing my sister’s studio for cast off paintings and classroom art may be dissappearing. Her work is now commanding decent money and it might get awkward if I pressure her to give me something for free.
In other news, our rug finally showed up looking NOTHING like the pictures on overstock. NOTHING. However, the rug is passable and fits well into our living room decor. Instead of bright colors the whole thing is sort of an earth toned mess…I think the colors are vegetable dyed, so a certain level of inconsistancy in the tones and shades were expected. At this point the rug serves as shelter for the bamboo floors and that’s all that matters. We had our first dog visit the place last Saturday, and the floors fared well.
When the sky isn’t hanging low along the horizon, real autum colors have appeared. The city has slowed down. The Rolling Stones were in Seattle on Tuesday and it was if traffic stood still….The traffic was so terrible that buses put themselves in neutral and pulled up the parking break. Cars sat through traffic lights as they changed again and again with no movement on all four sides. The traffic will eventually be the end of me…it will for certain drive me out of the city. That and we haven’t seen our yard waste bin, even though we’ve asked for it twice from the Recyclers. Our mail stopped forwarding and ended up in a huge clump in Kris’ mail box. Thank goodness he hung onto it for us. What’s wrong with basic services? This is when I feel the city at its most massive. Gone are the days of Fort Collins when we had milk delievered to our door, I knew the mail man personally, and you could call animal control about a barking dog and they would come. Now, if you’re interested in narking out a yapping chihuhua you’re encouraged to “talk it out first, understand that cities are loud and you’re just going to have to deal with a certain degree of noise.”
Thu 12 Oct 2006
I’ve been noticing some small differences in Seattle children versus Fort Collins children. Some of them are fairly obvious, I saw more rural kids in CO, children who don’t sit in traffic, schedule playdates, and easily attend public school. Colorado kids always came with their mothers in tow, siblings right behind…Seattle children are more saavy, more privy to adult conversation and ideas. There is a sophistication in children here that seems almost odd, they use big words and say rehearsed babble like, “Well, it’s nice to meet you Mara”–which sounds ridiculous when a child is only two. I recently learned that one in four Seattle children attend private school. I’m sure the fact that I’m exposed largely to upper-class white kids plays a huge part of my seattle kid impression. Therefore, I see a lot of nannies, organic baby food, and well-scheduled children.
Still, the difference between the two populations is so subtle that I’ve been trying to pinpoint it for some time. The above paragraph is only a start…
Sun 8 Oct 2006
As we approach the Fall, (which, due to years of schooling, feels like the ‘beginning of a new year’ even though it’s technically not), I’m accessing and tinkering with my schedule. What I miss the most about Fort Collins was the incredibly normal, well-scheduled life I had going on there. I rode my bike a few blocks to my house, I was a well-established teacher, I fit pointe shoes and ordered dance clothes, I had a theater I worked with closely, I choreographed annually, and even though we were finanically strapped our expenses were low and we dined on happy hour food and went to the $3 movie theater.
In Seattle, nothing has been consistent enough for me to ‘find my groove’ so to speak. I’m also realizing how totally monopolizing teaching at the private school truly was. People I haven’t seen in a while at the improv theater are like, “Where have you been?” or worse, “Who are you?” And I find in the theater/dance world people fully expect you to be totally overwhelmed by your craft: “Oh, me? I’m in several shows, performing with mulitiple companies, and writing a play…” and I squeak out, “Oh, well I put my life on hold to teach kindergarten.” Which may sound honorable but isn’t much of an excuse…so I tend to follow up with, “It was really overwhelming and I was horribly sick most of the time.” This is usually a joykill in any situation, so I typically turn the question around and ask what so-and-so is up to.
The thing is, I feel like I’m running out of time in a small way. So much to do and see in the big city, and I’m having a hard time getting off the couch. The last time I lived in Seattle I did nothing but college, theater, socialize, etc. The constraints of a shitty job were still in my future as well as the “quarter life crisis.” Staying up until three and then rolling out of bed at nine was all part of the life style. I had millions of acquaintances, cast mates, and folks I spent years furiously flirting with.
HA HA, you’re thinking, now you’ve had to grow up…gone are the sex object days of yore. Now that you don’t have to waste time finding a soul mate in a bar (and not just any dive, but the now defunct AroSpace, home of the Miss Cherry Bomb contest–I used to break dance in a black mini skirt on the dance floor and earned the name “White Panty Girl”–what was I thinking? There’s no way I could have found Josh there). As I restructure my life to account for new jobs (yup, 1.5 years after moving to Seattle and I’m on job #3), marriage (yup, it takes up time too), and bills (dear God, so many bills), there’s a part of me that’s eternally rebellious. No way am I going home tonight after work, I’m going to go downtown and walk around and then take class. Laundry? Hell, no! Even if we are sleeping in a mound of what appears to be flea poo, I’m putting it off until the weekend! My rebellion is usually rewarded with a big cold from lack of sleep. (WHY or WHY does my body insist on 9+ hours of sleep a night? When the hell did that happen?)
I find myself working multiple highly demanding jobs at very little pay while competing with an insanely high cost of living. OK, so at least Josh is not currently in college working part-time at a hardware store. But you know what? We really NEED a rug…my Dad tracked in a rock off the street and it scratched our bamboo floors. Eff it, we’re spending the bucks on a rug…and when it came down to spending a couple hundred on a crappy rag or risking it all and taking the chance on the one-of-a-kind Iranian rug we found on overstock, well…what would you have done? Sure, I really wanted a $10,000 oriental rug, but we have to make do. Here’s hoping the pattern isn’t too terrible and really will ‘tie up the room’ nicely.
This post is just a bitch session…nothing more. That is all…for now.
Mon 2 Oct 2006
This weekend was….exhausting, exciting, frightening, emotional, and all sorts of other crazy words. It started off well, with my parents coming up to check out our brand new digs. Josh and I were tired from a week of a commuting and working, our phone wasn’t working, Josh’s uncle was dying, and our neighborhood seemed unusually active.
On Saturday on our way back from Kubota Gardens, (just a mere two blocks away), some woman yelled from inside her house something to the tune of “you white folks get off my block.” Which almost seems funny when I write it now, but at the time it was shocking and deeply hurtful. OK, so maybe we were gawking a bit at the dilapidated houses on the block, wondering what they might look like if someone who cared took the time to fix them up. Sure, the four of us stuck out in our polar fleece and athletic shoes. But, we’re already pretty sensitive to the fact that we’re a minority in the neighborhood, that our presence is a little awkward. It sucked to have someone justify all our deepest fears, make us feel hideous, like we needed to pack up and leave…that maybe it’s true, we made a terrible mistake in moving here. Speechless, Josh and I went home and tried to make sense of the comment. (My parents were incredibly unfazed). I think it really hit us where it counts; we’re already kinda vulnerable, having just purchased this ridiculously priced property in a neighborhood that doesn’t at all feel like home. Sure, we have the Seattle address but we’ve been battling huge commutes, navigating our way through strange streets, trying to avoid the weird blocks to find a decent trek to the water only to find the entire beach COVERED in goose poop (sorry, Mom and Dad). All these little agitating things building up and BAM, someone yells something incredibly racist and we’re totally undone. Of course, we concluded, we’ll continue to walk up this woman’s goddam block to go to Kubota Gardens…we’re certainly not the only white folks in the neighborhood, much less on ‘her’ block. We’ll resist finding out what house she lives in and pick a fight, defend ourselves, further agitate the situation. Maybe she’s crazy, maybe she’s old and seen too much and the last thing she needs is her block gentrified. Maybe I needed to experience what racism feels like for a day, what people feel in a life time. Either way, it put a damper on our spirits.
Things improved when we went to dinner at St. Clouds. We avoided the interminably ugly Rainier Ave. by going north by way of the gorgeous Lake Washington Blvd. We ooh’ed and aah’ed over the lake view, the huge houses, and I fell silent…longing for the funds to live in such beautiful neighborhoods. To compensate for my lousy mood I ordered the biggest and the best: encrusted prime rib. It’s the dish that Sammy always orders that I can’t afford, and it was truly delicious. We went to Cup Cake Royale and, surprise, they had a ‘happy hour’ going on: 6 cupcakes for 6 dollars. We took advantage and loaded up. We cruised south on Lake Washington Blvd, winding through Mount Baker and then to the bottom of Seward Park. Suddenly we found ourselves pulling over several times to let cop cars whiz by. We crept down Seward Park to where the street intersects with Rainier Ave. The corner was swarming with fire trucks, cop cars, and people standing on the corners with their mouths open. A cop was hurriedly blocking off a large part of the street with yellow police tape. “OH NO,” I said, “Oh my God, what is it? Another shooting? I don’t think I can handle another shooting.” Somewhere in the dark we saw the outline of a horribly mangled car and gleaned that it must be some sort of terrible accident. Our street was blocked off by a cop car, so we had to wind our way up side streets to make it back to our house. When we got out of the car I noticed how dark it was, “Hey, didn’t I leave the porch light on?” The power was out…all up and down our street the houses remained black. I felt incredibly uneasy. We crept inside, lit candles, and I called Kris, hoping he could tell us if there was breaking news. He couldn’t find anything, which made me feel a little better. A big shooting would glean at least a little front page news, right? That’s when we heard the helicopter circling overhead. People were milling about, bored inside their homes without electricity, the huge sounds of fire trucks, sirens, and the helicopter magnifying the situation. My parents actually took a flash light and walked up and down the street, trying to find out who had power and who didn’t. Turns out our entire neighborhood was dark.
Josh called his sister, who looked up the Seattle city electric website and determined that 2500 people were out of power because of an accident involving a car and a utility pole. The details of the crash are so gruesome, I won’t repeat them here. Let’s just say it deeply disturbs me that something so heinous happened so close to where I live. The electricity returned for all but 400 residents–us included–and we spent the evening listening to American Band Stand on public radio while my parents dozed on the couch. Sometime in the middle of the night Josh and I awoke to hear a series of POP POP noises, which I assumed were gunshots but Josh ruled it out as the electricity eeking through broken wires. Our power returned around 3:30am.
The next morning we walked to Safeway with the guise of buying coffee and a paper but also to scope it out. Work crews had been up all night, trying to clean up the broken wires, debris, and glass. Strange piles of rubble littered the street, the pieces appearing to be melted pavement, perhaps the result of the electricity reaching the ground. The trolley lines that propel metro city buses hung low and haphazardly across the road. The sun came out, and lit up the place in an eerie, cheerful, fashion. We walked past a woman and her two dogs working in the yard–Take THAT, another white person!–and we petted her animals and admired her garden.
Inspired by the sun, we sat outside on the porch and tried to feel the normality of the day: