'Tis the apex of Holiday-Orama. I just recovered from some weird twenty-four hour stomach bug that was pretty unpleasant. Fred too. Even Emerson had some little nannyboosky situation in addition to her newly ever present runny nose. But, it's now Christmas Eve Eve, and we all three seem to be prepared for the big day, full bore. Go Team.
As an adult you don't really consider your friends' parents a whole lot (do you even know their names?), but as a kid, they can potentially have about as much impact, as much influence as your own. Especially if it's like your BFF. Countless sleepovers, after school times that run into dinner times, tagging along on family trips, our friends' parents had to feed us, care for us, love us (or pretend to), discipline us, very, very often. Think about it, on sitcoms there is almost always the omnipresent neighbor or friend who is part of the every day fabric of the protagonist family.
The simplest, most pared down things allow the tiniest details to shine. If something, a wall, bedding, a dress, is all white, you will immediately be drawn to the shadow, the texture, the fabric, the delicate stitching, or the little button, and likewise, the flaws. The negative space is equally important as the 'relevant' space. I have so much reverence for confident restraint. I wish I had it.
One both wonderful and maddening thing about living in a part of the world with four distinct seasons is that by the end of each one I am waiting with bated breath for the next. The anticipation and preliminary elation over the change of each season is thrilling and, in my book well earned. That's the wonderful part. But the being like so over a season before it ends is a bummer.
This past week I had a really weird day. Wednesday, over my morning coffee and email catch-up, news broke that a reporter and photographer for a Virginia news affiliate were gunned down, killed. It happened near the town where my parents and some close friends are from, where a good deal of my family live, and a place I've spent my whole life visiting. Each time these almost commonplace gun massacres occur, I've been thrown and emotional, but this one was closer to home. Both literally, and maybe because of the whole media sphere association.
A few minutes later I got a call from the doctor informing me that the results of my very recent mammogram came back and a couple things didn't look quite right. That sinking feeling. I was able to make a same-day appointment so the doctors could take another, a closer look.
I still want to do everything. Though I have Emerson and I'm not yet willing to spend a single night away from her, I still want to do all of the things. That I want to do. Within reason. My late nights partying in heels and stand and model clothes are gone. And I am happy – relieved – about that. Most evenings my preference is to eat in, watch my stories on TV and go to bed early. But the wanderlust, the hunger to travel, explore, adventure, that's still there. As long as Emerson can go with me.
So when my friend, Jess, recently asked me to zip off to Atlanta for a couple of days, primarily to check out a tomato festival there – and Emerson was totally welcome – the answer was a pauseless yes. It sounded perfectly reasonable. A few days out of town, a little road trippin' with a friend and my baby girl, a tomato festival – all on my old turf.
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I'm going to be brief today, but I want to give a big nod to the history we've made in the past few weeks here in the US of A. Healthcare and marriage for everyone! Punching it in with Cuba! BP has to eat it, big time! And a birthday! No, it hasn't all been positive. Some extraordinarily sad stuff has happened as well. But the optimist in me is hoping it all leads to a Greater Good. Movement forward. For the first time since I entered college, voted in my first presidential election and had my vote count (when Bill Clinton won his first term), I feel hopeful for, and a little proud, of my country. I feel like I'm a part of it; a rare emic approach to my United States. Doesn't it kind of feel like we're in the middle of a “Mercy Mercy Me” or “Turn! Turn! Turn!” video? Like, it's all happening. Now.
Man alive. Crack an egg on the blacktop because Summer is here, folks. This past week it's been far too hot – even with the air conditioning – to consider using the oven, also too hot to step out into the elements to grill. Plus, The Mosquitos are coming. Since my visual cooling aid, Game of Thrones (its Winter hath finally cometh), has wrapped things up for the year (RIP Jon Snow), I may very well have to seek out some Dr. Zhivago. All three and half hours of it.
I'm not complaining. Well, I am. But also, I'm not. I love Summer. I love all of my memories of Summers. But the thing is, those impressions I recall, when I really dissect them, were all before age twenty-five. Every damn one. The wistful recollections of cicada-filled dusks, leaping off twenty-foot high rocks into the river at night with reckless abandon, sitting out on my back deck in a tee shirt and cutoff shorts watching a thunderstorm, scampering around a field of grass at dusk trying to catch fireflies, camping with my friends in the woods, on the beach. I was wild and free. I know the smells, sounds and sights of those Summers like I know my own reflection.
The day after college graduation – the middle of the night, actually – my boyfriend and I packed up our dorm room, our then everything, loaded my car and drove to Atlanta to begin our adult lives together. We were a couple through most of college, lived in and backpacked throughout Mexico, traveled to Philadelphia to protest in support of Mumia Abu Jamal, to Cleveland to protest against the Contract With America, to anywhere we could see De La Soul, The Roots, Poor Righteous Teachers, and the like. We journeyed.
After about a year or so in Atlanta, we were pretty settled into our new post-college, kind of grown up lives. We lived in a sweet, little duplex, got a kitten we named Milo, and a plant or two. We had lots of good friends, and his family; a network. I worked in a so, so cool video store, and his DJing was picking up traction. We had the perfect, fun, action-packed and inspired early-twenties life.
I was recently in Chicago for a few days. My friend, Emma, was there for a business conference with her baby, Samuel, who happens to be precisely one week older than Emerson. Emma and I attended college together, which included a three-month 'co-op' in LA. She was a nanny in the Pacific Palisades. I, despite everyone's best efforts, could not get a paying job. So I crashed on the futon-couch-thing at Emma's friend's apartment in Brentwood – a stone's throw from where Nicole Brown Simpson had only just been murdered (the police tape was still up). I ended up working for free doing script coverages for Oliver Stone's production company, and was even an extra in Nixon. I played a sleeping hippie on the steps of the 'Lincoln Memorial' who was oh so rudely awakened when Nixon and whoever James Woods played walked past me. Regardless of being in so so shiny Heidi Fleiss-y LA in my early twenties, the intrigue of being in such close vicinity to the most humongous murder scene since Manson days and the seemingly cool Hollywoody-ness of the Oliver Stone/Nixon stuff, I was miserable. By the end of that Summer, I vowed never to return to the vapid cesspool commonly referred to as Los Angeles.