The blue angels are practicing. I hate them. Call me unpatriotic, a noise-freak, etc. but screaming military jets messing up our skies bug me. Today the little boy I take of on Thursday was enjoying his swing when the jets screeched across the sky over his house. The poor little guy almost shit his pants (‘almost’ because I checked). He started shaking in his swing, his little heart pounding. I tried reassuring him, “Don’t worry, they’re just loud,” I tried reasoning with him, “They’re like a big noisy plane.” I tried empathy, “Are you nervous?” He looked at me with watery eyes, “Yes, they make me nervous.” I pulled him out of his swing and we went inside. “I not scared, I nervous,” he enunciated, clearly thrilled with his new word. He looked out the window warily. It was interesting trying to communicate with a two-year-old about fear. Clearly, he was disturbed by the noise of the blue angels. However, his lack of language left him helpless to communicate exactly what he was feeling. When I tried to talk strategy with him (“next time they come we’ll put our hands over our ears and look up”) he seemed distracted. Finally, the little guy curled up against me and we read book after book. I’ve never seen this kid slow down long enough to snuggle. Every time the angels went over the house he shouted, “I’m nervous!”
Thu 31 Jul 2008
Wed 30 Jul 2008
Is there anything more rewarding then home gardening? I don’t mean to sound like a touchy, feely, NPR-listening, hippy shoe wearing, latte drinking, eco-friendly, nerd but I just grew my first cucumbers. I went to the farmer’s market today. When I went past the cucumbers I thought with great zest, “Nope, I don’t need THOSE…I have them growing in my backyard.” The same goes with jalepenos, which, ok, so they aren’t quite big enough but I still picked one anyway. I planted yellow peppers…but the pepper growing on the plant is green–and getting bigger and bigger, (did they make a mistake? Or do they start out green and turn yellow eventually?) My mint is out of control and delicious in mojitos. My tomatoes are bountiful, stubbornly green, and I am impatient. Finally! One of my “early girls” is turning slightly orange–which means soon I’ll have a ripe tomato. Somehow I’ve collected four full grown tomato plants and six baby tomato plants that I stuck in random places because I couldn’t bear to throw them out. (I grew them out of a free seed packet that came with my Burgerville happy meal). I know that marveling over one’s garden is cheesy. However, it’s simply expounding on the little pleasures in life…and right now growing my own food in spite of looming recession, housing crisis, and war is remarkably satisfying.
Tue 29 Jul 2008
By now we’ve all heard the song “I Kissed A Girl.” I can only imagine the throngs of adolescent boys casually slipping this song into their ipod for their girlfriend to listen to in desperate hope: “See, SHE kissed a girl and she LIKED it.” It has to be a sign of progress (?) in this country when the majority of responses to this song are the following “this song is so awesome, i love it, i mean, come on, half the chicks here have to have kissed a girl once, even if it was just on the cheek or whatever… so yea, its pretty cool” –Courtesy of the youtube comment feed.
Remember when the first same sex kiss appeared on Melrose place? It was May 18, 1994, edgy gay character, Matt, shared an intimate moment through a kiss near the pool with guest-star boyfriend Rob — except it was only implied because a threatened advertiser boycott forced Fox to shy away from the actual lip lock. Wading into same sex kissing waters in the 90’s was quickly picked up on by recently outed “Ellen” (liplock between Ellen and best friend Paige ), the super square “Party of Five” (Julia Salinger engages in a short-lived lesbian affair with a professor ), and most hideously: “Ally McBeal” ( In a much-watched episode in 1999, Ally McBeal and fellow lawyer and co-worker Ling Woo (Lucy Liu btw) engage in a 21-second-long kiss). By the way, did ANYONE like Ally McBeal? I HATED that show.
I merely bring up television because, well, one has greater chance of seeing a same sex kiss by accident in the convenience of their own home versus screening themselves away from it via movies. For example: Don’t wanna see hunky Heath Ledger (R.I.P.) get all gay in Brokeback Mountain? Don’t go to the movie. Television, however, is so accessible that when it comes to truly liberating same sex kissing, you can thank the boob tube. And, luckily, there have been some really legitimate same sex kissing on TV, you know, for political and personal reasons (not just voyeuristic). In “Will & Grace “: An episode in the 2002-2003 season featured Will liplocking with his best friend Jack while “The Today Show’s” Al Roker and the rest of the New York crowd and TV audience look on. While researching the pop culture same sex kiss phenomenon I also learned about the controversial “Dawson’s Creek” smooch in 2000 — It’s considered the first romantic gay kiss between two men on TV. After a season of teenage angst and longing, Jack McPhee, who came out the previous season after briefly dating Joey Potter (a nubial young Katie Holmes), shares an on-screen kiss with former friend now turned boyfriend Ethan.
It’s been over 15 years since “Melrose Place” introduced an openly gay character to their cast of angsty, twenty-something, beautiful people–AND let him join in on the action (because really, “Melrose Place” ended up being so trampy, why get all huffy over a little same sex lovin?) Now we have same sex SNL characters dressed up in drag smooching each other in semblance of hetero love. We have entire sitcoms based on gay characters (thank you very much, “Will and Grace”). So getting back to my point: How in the world is the song “I Kissed A Girl” even relevant? And can I say for the record: Who hasn’t? I mean, really…ladies if you haven’t gone out and smooched your best friend drunkenly at a party then please go out and do so before you die. This is such a small measure of edginess these days, a valuable part of coming of age, and, thankfully, it’s become an acceptable part of our society. Oh sure, there are conservative Christians out there who shudder at the thought, but c’mon…most women I know have lapsed into same sex curiosity somewhere a long the line. Some of them were just ‘tri in college” (I’ll ‘tri’ anything), some of them were lost and looking for answers, and other’s were legitimately gay.
I know that female on female action is widely more accepted then male same sex kissing (despite the “Melrose Place” debut). If Katy Perry was, say, a man, I doubt her song would have the same ring. The fact that she’s writhing around with a tube of cherry chap stick in her music video certainly lends to the sexual exploitation of the whole sensationalizing of a pretty accepted behavior.
Is Katy encouraging social experimentation? Is she merely perpetuating a sexist, female on female, porno-type expectation? Is she opening the hearts and minds of a new generation with her encouraging bisexual lyrics? Will she dwindle into the One Hit Wonder category? Perhaps we’ll simply associate Katy Perry with other goofy songs that resulted in silly outrage. Like Joan Osbourne when she sang “What If God Was One of Us” (What?! How dare she say that God is a slob!) or the “Thong Song” by Sisqó (What?! Thong undies are so uncomfortable, why would anyone sing about them?!). Either way, I’m not impressed.
Sat 26 Jul 2008
A few extra details about our trip. It was Kimberly and Justin’s wedding/10 year anniversary party that prompted us to make the trek to LA in the first place. I met Kimberly pulling coffee at The Bucks on Capitol Hill eight years ago. We discovered we both had matching degrees: major in Drama/minor in Dance. Hurrah! I recruited her for the show I was working on, we danced (contemporary), eventually Justin ran our lights, and they became our best ‘couple friend’ while living in Cap Hill for the summer. Then we moved to CO and they moved back to So-Cal.
The inside joke of the party was by far Kimberly’s blog reference to signing their marriage license under the lines Party A and Party B (to reflect the recent gender neutral licenses distributed in CA). No Husband and Wife terms for them! (Which suits them perfectly). Their ceremony was 5 minutes, led by a mutual friend, and very touching. There were no exchanging of rings, no vows they had written, and no wedding cake (but not to worry, I had spotted large cupcakes in the kitchen!) The ceremony wrapped up with a a simple “Do you take this person?” and a “I do” from Justin and a “I totally do” from Kimberly.
The room exploded with cheers and in the following chaos Josh started casing out the lime tree in the backyard. Wanting to help out the bartender (a friend of K and J’s who was super sweet and made me a humongous martini in an equally sizable plastic cup), Josh managed to extend his long arm up into the tree and extract a lime. How cool is that! How ‘California’ to have fruit trees that produce lemons and limes–I had no idea!
The Newport Beach breezes picked up as we dined on vegetarian lasagna (reflecting Kimberly’s vegan tendencies), drank wine from the care free bottles of red and white that had been placed tactfully on each table, and met other arty/drama-y friends from the K and J community. Champaign was passed around at the end for toasts and rememberences. Josh had been happily drinking beer all night, drank his champaign, and then cheerfully added the glass of red wine I had poured for him hours ago (for dinner). This resulted in a very Sick Josh the next morning in the LAX airport (who has since then swore off champaign for the rest of his natural life). That combined with a nerve wracking 45 minute wait to get through security, no food, and a packed plane led to both of us melting down. To top it off we had an inexperienced mother sitting behind us with two screaming, screeching, complaining, whining children…one was about a year old and the other was barely three. It was so bad that the stewardess came over and said, “The seatbelt sign is off, now would be a great time to walk your baby up and down the aisle…here I’ll take your three year old.” Did the mother walk her baby? No, she sat like a lump in her seat while her child emitted a series of painful yelping noises. I couldn’t even sit back in my seat because my chair was being mercifully kicked the entire time by an impatient and pissed off toddler. Worst Flight Ever.
But all that aside, the wedding was a delightful highlight to an otherwise somber weekend. Hurray for Kimberly and Justin!
Thu 24 Jul 2008
My second cousin took this really nice picture of Josh and I. We’re sitting on the patio, at grandpa’s house, eating spaghetti sauce that we had pulled out of the freezer. My grandpa posthumously fed twenty people that night.
Wed 23 Jul 2008
Tue 22 Jul 2008
My grandpa was a prominent member of the SLC Italian-American community, was responsible for getting the SLC Opera where it is today, and was a ‘real fox’ according to one of the ladies who spoke at his Rosary the night before his funeral. In order to convey the experience I’ve come up with two lists.
–What made me cry:
1) Ave Maria. Don’t know what it is, but I end up in a little puddle every time I listen to this Schubert aria.
2) Mention of my grandfather’s incredible love for my grandmother who died suddenly 17 years ago. None of us, not even the steeliest of cousins, was immune to the incredible passion my grandpa carried for her year after year in solitude. We all openly wept when the priest acknowledged grandma, many of us visualizing the two of them shopping somewhere in heaven together looking for bargains.
3) Entering and exiting the church with the casket. It was like a crying parade with me somehow always ending up in the front. The finality of bringing grandpa in and then escorting him out was so heartbreaking I blubbered until tears came off my cheeks, down my chin, and fell into my cleavage.
4) Red roses on the casket that we plucked for pressing.
–What made me feel ok:
1) Watching Erin hold a little umbrella over the terminally ill priest who was not doing well in the hot cemetery sun.
2) Joining hands with ten family members as we hauled the heaviest casket ever across the cemetery and to the grave site.
3) Connecting with my Great Uncle who looks so much like grandpa it was heartbreaking, (imagine going through the entire day thinking, “Grandpa! Oh no, wait, that’s just Uncle Rocco who looks like grandpa from behind”).
4) Making garlic bread with my cousin for a large dinner the eve of the funeral.
5) We gathered all the left over spaghetti sauce in the freezer that my grandpa had made, put it into a large pot, and served twenty people with it. What a bittersweet meal: the last time my grandpa would ever feed us with his signature sauce.
6) Taking pictures with people who share the family nose, the family temperament, the family “worry about getting to the airport on time” trait.
7) Making plans to return in October to watch “Madame Butterfly” at the SLC Opera. They plan on dedicating that particular opera to my grandpa and I plan on being there, (and crying I’m sure).
Picking out several ties–specifically a unicorn tie for my sister who couldn’t be there and a snazzy red patterned tie for myself.
9) I also arranged every sweater he owned by color and pattern on his bed. His sweater collection was enormous and we kept finding sweaters in various hidden locations–some still in their plastic wrappers and many of them purchased on sale. The family spent hours going through his sweaters and trying them on. None of us are the square shape my grandpa was, having inherited my grandma’s height, but many of us picked out sweaters anyway out of love and the need to be closer to grandpa. I took one sweater that I’ll make into a pillow and one to wear around the house.
10) Finally, and most strangely, I got around to asking my Uncle Tony why I gasped for air right before I was put under anesthesia for my ear surgery. Being an anesthesiologist, he explained that there are two drugs: one for knocking you out and one for paralyzing you so you don’t move during surgery. Normally they knock you out first and then paralyze you while you’re sleeping. Sounds like they didn’t wait long enough between drugs, administrating them one right after the other, and my lungs were reacting to the paralysis setting in. Someone fucked up big time.
Sun 20 Jul 2008
Travel At The Speed Of Sound, So Fast, Barely Any Time To Catch Up, the Air Barely Settled On Us and Then We Were GonePosted by MS under Family
Two months ago we thought we were going on vacation in mid-July. This was the furthest thing from a vacation. Four flights in five days, hideous airport smells, a funeral smack dab in the middle of the pre-wedding festivities. WTF? Despite the reroute to SLC we still had some fun in LA. Some positive highlights:
1) In and Out burger. We were driving back from the airport through Modesto, CA around 11pm after a looong day. We needed some food. The burgers were excellent, amazing, tasty. The atmosphere was festive, the placed packed with kids and families (guess little tykes get to stay up late for In and Out burgers). I still prefer Burgerville, but I have to say these were almost ‘restaurant quality’ burgers in their own right.
2) Taco Mesa…that translates to “Taco Table.” We showed up there the day after the funeral, beat, tired, hungry, I think I had been crying. The food was blissful. I have yet to encounter Mexican food this good, not since my job at Los Tarascos in FC–which still holds the gold standard for Mexican food. Granted, the family was from Mishocaun which uses mostly fresh ingredients, spices, and black beans so it’s hard to compare to the standard Mexican-American fare that dominates the states. At Taco Mesa the sauces were obviously fresh and available for sampling in little cups, the meat grilled, crisp little salads on the side, it was heavenly. Offhand, we didn’t have a single poor meal in So-Cal. I was really impressed with the food.
3) We found a beach right next to the airport on a whim. Actually, we finally broke down and bought an LA map since our teamwork navigation that had carried us throughout the day was starting to fail. We had a little extra time before we had to load up and go to SLC so we pointed the rental car toward the direction of the water and wahlah! Beach. It was empty, just a few drunken boogie boarders and us (later one of the boarders drunkenly changed into a different pair of shorts–treating us to full frontal nudity). Airplanes sailed dangerously close overhead, disappearing into the haze of the watery horizon. Josh took his shirt off and tried to even out his magnificent farmer’s tan. I took my shirt off too, the laid back attitude of CA giving me permission to rock my black bra like a bikini top. We crinkled our toes in the sand, played in the water, dried off in minutes and headed back to our long arduous journey. Here’s a self-portrait from the perspective of the sand:
4) I loved Venice Beach. I loved the oddity, the art, the strangeness of the whole thing. The air was fresh; we were there with friends; my shoulders got ridiculously sunburned. Josh bought a wild black and white belt for 10 bucks from a street vendor. There were scrunchie trees, a dog with sunglasses, and fake boobs. Highlight: coming across a shooting for Californication and catching a glimpse of David Duchovny!
5) Of course there was also the wedding in Newport Beach…which I’ll post about later.
Wed 16 Jul 2008
My grandfather died. He loved opera. Because of this I love opera, have always loved opera. Today, I listened to the following piece from La Bohème–one of my favorites–and sat on my floor and cried. In a rare gesture of compassion Hobbes showed up and licked my knee in comfort. Perhaps my grandpa sent Hobbes…here’s what I listened to:
I’m going to the airport right now…
Tue 15 Jul 2008
When it rains it pours.
The incident where the man was punched for putting a traffic cone in the street in order to water a traffic circle? 8 blocks away from where we live. That man died in the hospital a day later.
My grandfather, the one I visited less then a month ago, has slipped into a coma. Not expected to live for much longer (read: the next 48 hours).
I’ve become an advocate for my sister. I’ll leave it at that.
The sun is shining mercilessly, forcing me to turn the other cheek. I found a beautiful top at Anthropologie two days ago on sale that I didn’t buy. I didn’t have the money. The same day I received a check in the mail for some jewelry. Now I have the money. Now I must have that shirt. It seems silly, but I think that shirt just might make me feel a little better.