Sat 30 Dec 2006
Despite the sadness lingering around, we managed to have a pretty nice holiday. Below is my father and Erin’s cat “Mama” looking over some legal papers:
Gina and I huddle up at Sam’s place:
As per tradition we headed off to Ben’s house on Christmas Eve. They were putting the finishing touches on some fantastic cookies. We put our elbows on the table, drank some liquid “Christmas”, and surveyed the sugar cookie carnage:
Kris showed off his favorite:
I had to show off Sammy’s hilarious wrap job:
It is tradition for me to give Gina underwear for her birthday. I slipped this year and gave it to her for Christmas instead…only to make sure to attach a warning on the box:
We left the quiet peace of our very grown up Christmas and went to Josh’s sister’s house for a full on, kid-action, Christmas. Paper flew everywhere, the gumballs were flowing, and the madness of six children was in full force.
Thu 28 Dec 2006
The funeral is on Friday.
In other news, we went snowboarding on Tuesday, the legendary busiest day of the year. It was snowing, which resulted in some driving challenges for my brother. Unaccostomed to snow, he bravely trucked along in his Honda Accord, dodging idiots who haphazardly parked in the road leading to the parking lot to PUT CHAINS ON THEIR ALL WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLES. Their stupidity pained Josh and I, well-weathered Coloradoans for five years, who plowed through many a snow storm in our tiny, squirrely, Honda Civic. Granted, Sam had chains in the trunk on the rare occasion that the snow reached a slipping level that merited us getting out and pulling the monstrosities onto the tires like a pair of chain mail pants. Josh was really excellent in coaching Sam along the turns and I noticed that my bro does something exactly like I do when he’s nervous: Break into song. (“I’m paaaasssing this big truck, la-la-la! I’m speeeding past this big semi, la-la-la!”)
Anyway we made it to Mount Hood Meadows where we performed the getting ready ritual in the parking lot while listening to nearby teeny boppers blasting their music out of their shitty cars and swear and smoke weed. It was funny only because there was a time when Josh and I were known to crank up the punk rock while we prepared for the mountains and maybe drink a beer, but those days are certainly over and I was kicking myself for not bringing my latest cd crush: “Mr. Party” by Chuy Jr, a spanish rap artist from LA. Singing “Mr. Party” would have definitely made us some enemies in the parking lot of Hood.
Here comes the inevitable: I realized the difference between Colorado snow and Oregon snow. Back in CO the term ’snowing’ means that the mountain is gently being covered by a light blanket of fluffy white powder. Everyone is cheered as they ride the lift because they know their descent will be rewarded with banks of light snow; the flakes rest on your shoulders before sailing off into the abyss. In OR, ’snowing’ means a hard mixture of ice and rain combines to make the fattest, meanest, flakes you’ve ever endured. Pelting us like merciful fists, the snow attacked us as we bravely put our heads down and rode the lift into the clouds. The snow did not bounce off us, but stuck to our clothing and melted, leaving us wet and sopping. I’ve never been super into the “Pow-Pow”, preferring my trails to be well groomed and soft. Sam and I battled the powder inexpertly, frequetly catching the nose of our snowboards and falling into the icy fluff. Sam actually cheered me on as I dug myself out of an impressive drift, swearing, and getting snow down the back of my pants–I envied Sam and his new snowboard bibs.
This ties into what I used to make fun of, now seems to be very reasonable and practical. When I first started learning in the tightly knit Summit County community, I wanted to purchase a pair of snowboard bibs, the kind that go all the way up to your arm pits but Josh wouldn’t let me. Getting snow down your butt is a right of passage, he said–or maybe he implied this. At any rate, I didn’t get bibs and I learned how to snowboard without falling every five seconds, thus avoiding the snow-down-the-pants syndrom. This leads me to the second thing I used to scoff at: leashes. They hook onto you boot and board so that you don’t loose your equipment.
Which comes to the meat of my story. While riding the lift up midway through the day, I suddenly felt my board shift and slither away ONLY TO FALL INTO THE SNOWY DEPTHS BELOW ME. That’s right: I lost my board. My bindings were loosened before I got on the lift to prevent my right foot from having the circulation cut off and my board simply slipped out from under me. Let me tell you, it’s the most horrible feeling in the world. You expect when you loose a heavy peice of equipment like a snowboard to hear a crash and/or boom. But I have to report that it was the most silent and creepy experience ever, feeling hardly anything and then suddenly being stuck on a ski lift with nothing attached to my boot. Sam was riding behind us and barely saw the board land in a powder of snow in an abandon part of the trail near a tree. Of course, I’m lucky I didn’t take anybody out below me, or that the board fell and took off down the side of the mountain to end up God knows where. At any rate, I had to jump off the lift when we arrived at the top and run straight to the lift operator’s booth. Josh took off on an imediate search for the board leaving my brother to watch me fret and freak out while waiting for the ski patrol to join the search for the lost board. The lift operator felt bad and gave me a piece of candy. I became distraught at the idea of my husband plowing through the uncharted forest looking for my lost board. I envisioned Josh wandering through the roped off sections of the run and falling into a tree well. I called him repeatedly on his cell, leaving him threatening, “You get back here right now” messages. Finally, he called me back and said, “I have your snowboard.”
This is nothing short of a miracle. It also made Josh a total hero in my eyes. He had waded through waist deep snow, taking one deep step at a time, until he reached the tree where my board had landed. Only an inch of the nose was peeking out over the snow, the board was sticking straight into the ground, and only a keen eye would have been able to find it. I never, ever, expected to actually find my snowboard. I considered it lost forever. I fully intended to take the “lift ride of shame” back down to the lodge. Did I mention that it was a brand new snowboard and that this was the first day I rode it? Or that my bindings were only a few months old as well? I still rode the lift down to meet Josh at the bottom of the run and I advised any and all snowboarders who passed me going up to wear their leashes. My stomach was still in twisty knots throughout the day, the feeling of sick still creeping up on me even as Josh handed me back my board. We rode the rest of the day until our clothing gave in and became sopping wet.
Valuable lesson learned: wear a leash. And if you do lose your board, hope that Josh is with you.
Sun 24 Dec 2006
As I write this, my husband is at a hospice facility with his family as they await the inevitable death of his grandfather. It is Christmas Eve and the death of the patriarch has been long coming and yet it’s terribly sad. A second father to all of his grandchildren when they were growing up, Josh’s grandpa will be greatly missed by his enormous family. We spent two hours at the hospital yesterday sorrounded by strange smells, deathly ill patients, and the odd sounds of the oxygen machine. It was strange to pass by the birthing center as we made our way through the building, a little reminder of birth and death, all the woo-woo stuff you start thinking when confronted with mortality. While I wrap our presents alone and wait for the fatefull hour to cue the funeral planning, I cling to Christmas and my own family. When we packed for our Portland trip, we packed clothes for a funeral and clothes for a wedding–Josh’s youngest cousin is marrying on Thursday. Such a strange moment upon realizing that one cannot double the outfits, clothing for a wedding is not suitable for a funeral, right? We asked ourselves this as we packed, late into the night. Early Friday evening when we returned at 10:30pm from a play, Josh and I discovered our Costco size laundry soap jug had tipped over and released its entire contents on the laundry room floor. While I cleaned up the sweet smelling mess, Josh learned from his Mom that we were needed right away, despite feeling so unready for everything: Christmas, travel, and of course the inevitable death of his grandfather.
Thu 14 Dec 2006
Last Saturday we found ourselves once again driving down to Portland. My own dear little sister turned TWENTY-TWO last Friday! Due to her new found love of anatomy and anatomical drawing, I purchased her these spiffy skeleton finger gloves:
I thought these lemers were kind of cool and scary:
Gina brought an Italian beer to Sam and Erin’s housewarming party. Josh sloppily poured it into a plastic cup and I chastized him: BAD JOSH! I artfully poured a beer doing the whole slanted beer cup trick. As you can see on the left, my beer is substantially less foamy.
Sam enjoyed the beer too:
Josh ran across the biggest match he’d ever seen:
Tue 5 Dec 2006
I was hanging out, working the box office at the improv theater with the house manager. She’s a super crazy cool girl, the kind of person that makes you want to shed all your inhibitions, take a shot, and start an impromptu dance party. Recently she revealed one of the coolest things ever: her legal name change. It’s so awesome and so funny I just had to take a picture of her license and share it with you all:
Supposedly, her older sister asked her what it would take for her to legally change her middle name to Nippletweaker: “I told her I’d do it if she gave herself a really horrible old lady perm and styled it like a comb over.” A judge denied Vanessa her name change request in court three times until she finally got a judge who mispronounced it Nipplay-tway-ker–which is almost as funny. I think I admire Vanessa’s drive and determination the most out of this story.
Sun 3 Dec 2006
Josh and I attended the wedding of my close friend Sam and his partner Ian at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma this weekend.
This was my first same sex ceremony and I have to say it was simply lovely. Void of any sacharine wedding schmaltz the evening was well organized, concise, and to the point. I’m sure this had a lot to do with the fact that both the grooms are in show business, one is a renowned choreographer, director, and performer and the other is currently the lead singer in a well known local band. We helped load in the reception before the ceremony and it was remarkable how fast and easy it was to set up a bunch of tables and wrap christmas lights all over the place. Josh was concerned because he was the only one in a tie. Luckily, after we set up several attendees retrieved ties from their pockets and put them on for the event. Here they are, Josh, Ricky, and Marty (the chap who wed the couple).
I’m sure there were more ties in the crowd, but overall the atmosphere was very relaxed and casual. I didn’t even cry during the vows, preferring to watch them say “I do” with an enormous smile on my face. During their first dance as a married couple Sam had prepped me earlier by requesting that Josh and I join them part way through the song. Despite the request, the audience preferred to ooh and aah over them until finally Sam gave me a desperate wink and nod for company on the dance floor.
I found myself leading the toast. I relied on my expert improv skills and rambled on about meeting Sam the first time he went to college (which became a running gag) and his purple hair. The emotion was thick in the air as I described Sam attending our wedding way out in Colorado and here we are now celebrating his own union. I almost forgot to include Ian who I have come to equally adore. Here we are as two married brods flashing our rings:
Somehow I ended up eating four truffles in a row which left me very little room to eat the cake. This isn’t the greatest photo but look how excellent that cake looks!
I adore weddings, I really do. With all the tragedy in the world it’s great to come together and celebrate something truly wonderful. It’s also great excuse to dress up, laugh at old stories, and eat cake.