New Year

It’s 2011.

I went to bed at 10:00p.m. on New Year’s Eve. I’ll need to make up for that next year.

The best New Year’s I ever had? Hmm. A few years back I went to San Francisco. I had dinner at my parents and then a group of random friends took a train to the city. We drank too much in a pub and then wandered, arm in arm, down to the water to watch fireworks over the Golden Gate Bridge. That was pretty good. The best? I don’t know.

I’d like to have a really romantic New Year’s — like the ones that happen in movies — Like when Harry Met Sally. How they meet up in that Hotel Ballroom and dance and isn’t that when he tells her he loves her and they kiss? I can’t remember. I think so.

When I was sixteen and in love with my high school sweetheart, I went to Disneyland with all my close friends and my boyfriend. A Youth Group trip. And after we ate everything, and went on every ride, and the time was almost midnight, we ran haphazardly to a meeting point where a big band was playing on a stage. There we danced under fireworks and streamers and I got a good, long kiss. Sixteen was good. Maybe the best, because, well, it was sixteen.

Last night Shawn and I drove through old town, post Rose Parade. The city looked like my bedroom looked at 8 or the side of an L.A. freeway. Trash everywhere (no Barbie heads like I had in my room at 8). At the stoplight I surveyed the trash to see what was left – coffee cups, crumpled napkins, half-eaten food. We marveled at how much it must cost the city to clean up and how disgusting people are when they’re gathered in masses. At another stoplight I saw a group of teenagers dressed in costumes eating together. They were illuminated by the yellow lights of the restaurant and they bounced from table to table, to the trash can, and to the soda dispenser. I was momentarily envious of them and the space in time they occupied — that time in youth when all you can see is RIGHT NOW and all you want is your friends and that guy to flirt with. So fun. No car payments, no job, no school loans, no supervisors, no rent, and no sense of reality. Sitting where they sit, they think they can be and do anything they want — and it’s true– they can — there life is teaming with options.

I sound mournful of MY right now. It sounds like I regret the decisions I made that got me here. I don’t think that’s right. I think I just miss THAT space. I still dream. I still wonder who I’ll be and what I’ll do with all the years I have left to live. But of course, there’s a weightiness now to the dreams, because I’m older. And friends. That’s the real ache of it all. Friends grow up, and fend for themselves, and often move away. And that energy and community that fuels your existence in that diner, or that coffee place, or in your backyard — it changes. I am still held together by a close group of friends – but they live everywhere – Alabama. Argentina. San Diego. Concord. Ohio. Peru. Sacramento. Oregon. In my dreams, I have them all right here, gathered with me over a cup of coffee. And we are just as young as when we first met, just as free, and wild, and dreamy. We live in the same building, or still across the street, or even in the same home. We stay up late and wonder about everything – who we will marry, what we’ll name or kids, and how we’ll take care of our parents when we finally make enough money. And we’re still committed to our big, stupid plan — to start a commune on a farm, where we raise chickens, and children, and bring in crazy, drug addict poor people to live with us. And I’m a writer. And we all play music together. And we share resources because we’re perfect socialists.

It could still happen.

Not that reality is that bad.
My reality.
I have to remind myself, when I get like this, all forlorgn and prone to romanticize the past, that my reality is actually pretty terrific. What I have now – isn’t maybe what I thought I’d have – but it’s solid, and it’s good, and it’s mine, and some of it I earned, and most of it is mearly the grace of God. I have a meaningful job that I believe helps the world be a little better. There’s a good man, that shows up, and would gladly dance with me under fireworks and he likes the way I dream. And there’s good friends that give me reasons to travel and places to go. I can’t yet provide for my parents, but I have them both, alive and close. I have the space to craft words on a page. I have endless amounts of music, everywhere, in everything. I really am lucky.

Just missing a space in time.

Friends

Sometimes, right before I fall asleep, I think about my friends and I feel so damn lucky.  Can I say that?  Because I think it.  I think it all the time.  It’s a bit dramatic, I know. 

So life is hard.  It’s short and unending.  It’s complex and tragic and at times just achingly beautiful.  And the tendency I have is to get lost in the big, unknowns – the parts I can’t control, the impending feelings of doom, like everything could at any point fall to pieces.  But then there are times when I have the where-with-all to look around and see who is right beside me and it seriously blows my mind.  I think I’m privy to know just about the kindness, deepest souls out there. 

I’m thinking of my dear Jen today, with her tenacious spirit and open heart.  I’m thinking of her babies with their bright eyes and toothy smiles and how they’ve inherited their parent’s unending kindness and generosity.  Jordan, last he was here, left his toy airplane in my car.  I keep it there.  It’s now a staple in the back seat.  “Why’s this airplane here?”  “Oh that stays.  It’s Jordan’s.  He’ll get it next time he comes.”  Jen, if you’re reading this.  I don’t have the words.  I never do.  It’s deep, deep inside.  It’s some mix of gratitude, understanding, utter disbelief, and what?  What’s that final word?  Love? Hysterics? Luck? Luck.  I feel lucky.

Geico spies?

I have this friend who has a problem, let’s call her Franklin.  So, Franklin has a newish house and lately she’s been finding an influx of lizards IN HER HOUSE!!  Including last night – while I was on the phone with her – she found one on her bed and she screamed like someone was trying to murder her and also yelled, “Why do they hate me???”   These are the facts:  She has screens on all her windows and there’s no major or minor cracks in the wallsAnd sometimes the lizard is big and sometimes the lizard is small.  So people, what do you think, where are these lizards coming from?  Some theories:

1) Shower Drains

2) Chimney

3) They use their little lizard hands to unlock doors and open them.

4) They’re representatives of Geico working to seduce Franklin into changing her car insurance and so they’re breaking into the house using lizard spy technology. 

lizard

Friends don’t scare Friends.

I’d like to change this caption to, “Friends don’t hide around the corner from other friends because it’s totally scary and not cool.” 

image007

Being scared makes me say mean things like, “I don’t like you!”  I used to think it was funny to scare people – so I’d hide under blankets and in closets-  but then I realized it made me kind of a bad person, so I stopped.  This one time, my roommmates and I were hosting a birthday slumber party for some high school girls and a few of their boyfriends snuck over and turned our power off.  Mass hysteria ensued – screaming, running, falling.  When the lights came back on, there were girls standing on tables and couches and I was perched by the door, holding a baseball bat.  I didn’t even know we had a bat in the house.  Julie, my roommate, was pointing at me and crying from laughter, saying, “You have a bat!” and I’m yelling, “Why do we have a bat in the house?  Whose is this?” None of us played baseball or softball. 

This other time, Julie and Connie (same house), hid a doll in my room.  It was a talking elmo doll that had old batteries in it.  It was motion sensitive, but instead of having the high-pitched, harmless Elmo voice, it had this scary, slow, murderer voice.  And guess what it said?  Peek-a-boo.  I know, right?  So I come in from work, open my door, and am greeted, in the dark, by a deep male robotic voice saying, “Peek-a-boo!”  Scared me half to death.  They got such a kick out of my responses that it became their passion in life to freak me out.  Once they hooked up an old, salon heat lamp to my light switch(see photo).  PibbsTl931%203%20Headed%20Heat%20Lamp%20ChromeI came in from work, house pitch dark.  I walk in my room and flip the light switch, but instead of my overhead light, I am met by these three blaring red lights, omitting heat rays.  There was also this frightening noise they were making, like a deep man hum.  And I swear to you I immediatly thought I was being abducted by aliens.  I screamed so loud. 

So, friends don’t scare friends.  I am just as guilty.  I have hidden under beds, under stairwells, in closets, in the backseats of cars.  But then one day I woke up and thought, “I’m either gonna get murdered, or scare someone so bad they die.”  Neither of those options seem like a fun result.  So, friends don’t scare friends.

Bukowski

My friend Steph had this quote posted on her site today.  I liked it very much, so I pass it on to you.   Steph was also the one that introduced me to the song Homesick by Kings of Convenience (a song for, someone who needs somewhere to long for).  We lived for a short time together in West Africa – she still lives there now – then, our beds were next to each other and there we’d talk for hours about restlessness and the idea of finding a place in the world that felt right. 

I’ll attach the song too.  It’s a good one.   Thanks, Steph.   Sometimes I think of the friends I know and my heart just swells. 

there is a place in the heart that will never be filled . a space . and even during the best moments and the greatest times . we will know it . we will know it more than ever . there is a place in the heart that will never be filled . and . we will wait and wait . in that space . -charles bukowski

Homesick: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oll6UfK6iUg&feature=related

Silver Spoons

My friend Julie has a Wii and a pool/spa.  I decided today that she’s kinda like Ricky from Silver Spoons (you remember the show from the 80’s, don’t ya?). Or the Rickster.  Which I guess makes me Derek Taylor (the character Jason Bateman played.  the one Ricky always got in trouble with and also learned valuable childhood lessons alongside). 

Meet Julie: 

ricky-schroeder-silver-spoo

White Russians

My roommate Andy has returned from his romp in Europe (where he got engaged!).  There were times while he was gone that I thought I was enjoying the perks of living alone.  But now that he’s back and the house has another voice, the voice of a friend, I remember that I love having a roommate, or maybe I just love having Andy around.  Last night we spent an exorbitant amount of time discussing colon cleansings. 

Tonight we are reinstating White Russsian Wednesday sans Wednesday.  Actually, this night, it shall be White Russian Friday Game Night.  And I’m really hoping that Monopoly can be the game of choice. 

white-russian