Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Cruelest Month

I will be relieved when August is over. Absolutely relieved. I dropped my phone today. In a toilet, while still half asleep from a back of the car nap at a rest stop on our way home from Tahoe. I spent the rest of the day pissed at myself for my own stupidity. Add that to the massive day after wedding hangover, the continuing up/down boy issues, the lost Ray Bans, and the car accident, and I am INCREDIBLY over August. Mercury is in retrograde, or so say the astrological omens, and apparently this doesn't bode well for me. I am hiding for the duration of the day until we are safely ensconced in September. (This seems to be a theme because I swear I wrote the same thing LAST August. Just not my month. [Oh yeah. A quick refresher reminds me that my grandmother died a year ago. There's a downer for you all...which might explain the increased crankiness I felt today.])

As August draws to a close it reminds me of the epic closing of another awful month ten years ago now: I was a sophomore in college, living with my party girl roommate, Jamie, in a delightfully tacky apartment in TigerLand. I had just ended a five minute relationship with the guy I had spent most of my freshman year not even knowing I was in love with because I considered him my best friend. A summer apart, I came back sophomore year, having passed on an all expense paid family trip to Hawaii to come back to school, and it began amazingly until it just...well...it ended in flames. It was the first time I ever understood that I could have a crush be fulfilled. And it was also the first time I think I was truly devastated by the end of a relationship. Keep in mind I was 19 years old at the time and still incredibly naive about anything heart related. (In all honesty, I probably still am, a little bit, anyway. And I occasionally still think about this particular guy and wonder what happened to him, what my life would have been like had we stayed together. [He's married with 5 kids, living in Louisiana still, from what I know.])

I moped around for about two weeks, which back then felt like a lifetime and which the aforementioned party girl roommate did not approve of at all. Finally, she drags me out of the house. We go to our local bar and she introduces me to some guys she knows. Turns out they are baseball players she knows through athletic training. But I pretty much pay no attention. I'm not having it. I just wanna be back in front of the TV watching sports and eating ice cream.

The following weekend we go to the same bar. I get reintroduced to the same group of guys. This time one of them piques my interest and I'm feeling a little more inclined to party. I don't know why I didn't notice him the week before.* But he's SO out of my league. Literally. He's playing minor league ball, I'm a dorky college sophomore. (This reminds me of Kathryn a couple weeks ago. "How can I be threatening to girls? I'm such a goofball!" Me, "That's how YOU see yourself, not how others see you!")

Bar closes and we head back to our place, me, the roommate, guy I think is cute, and another LSU baseball player. We're literally just hanging out watching late night Sportscenter. The other guy leaves. I still think nothing is going down. I am oblivious and totally unsure of myself. My roommate tells me the next day that she knew something was going to happen between the two of us when she got up to go to the bathroom and he said, "Oh! You're going to bed? Goodnight!" Jamie says, "Ummm. No. I was just gonna go to the bathroom. But, goodnight." I remember her saying that and still not getting it. I don't even think I was drunk, just super oblivious.

Him and I hang out for a bit longer. I remember going to the kitchen where we had cake and me sitting on the counter eating while he ate too. I had changed out of going out clothes and was in an SFPD shirt and barefoot. Then we were screwing around with these stupid little water guns we had in the house, playing like we were little kids. And that is when this gorgeous adonis of a former LSU baseball player grabs me and kisses me by the front door to our apartment. And I melted. And giggled. And got giddy and girlish. And the boy says, "What's so funny?" And I say, "It's just been a REALLY shitty month, and now..."

And then.


The most amazingly epic line I have ever been given:

"But: it's a new month."

And the haze of girlish giddiness lifts for a moment and I think, "Oh my god. He's right!" That night at midnight, the calendar had flipped from September to October. The no good, very bad, heartbreaking September was OVAAAAA! And ended with me making out with an LSU baseball player. Nicely done, if I do say so myself.

Thus I hope that maybe, just maybe, the end of this no good, very bad August will come to a close in a similar fashion. Even if it is ten years later. I'm looking at you Brian Wilson or Mike Fontenot, as the only guys I am aware of in the Bay Area fulfilling former LSU baseball player requirement. (Kidding. There's gotta be a few others that didn't make it to the bigs.)

*The postscript is that the reason I didn't notice him the week before is that I was introduced to him when he was WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND. A minor detail no one pointed out the following weekend. Whoops. He WAS a good kisser though...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


On a Monday, no less. It started this way: WITH SUN! It was sunny! In the Sunset! Hot, blinding, awesome ball of orange in the sky. I woke up got home* around 11 a.m. and decided, "Well, the house keeper is coming so I need to be out of the way anyway. I'm craving a burrito. And the beach house? It's fucking awesome." So I packed a towel, my laptop, a bottle of water, and headed West. As far West as you can get without being in the Pacific Ocean. But not before stopping to pick up a messy wet burrito at Burrito Express. I walk into the beach house and am like, "Huh. Angela's computer is still here. The dogs are gone. Hey! Everyone's home! They're walking the beach." In the meantime, I enjoy my burrito, a Dr Pepper, and some classic rock. Combine that with the sun and it is one freaking awesome Monday.

*I was at the boys. Most of you know about the boy. Some of you may not. I'm still playing it incredibly close to the vest because it makes me anxious for about a kabillion different reasons.

But then it got better! Dad came home with the dogs and Angela, who had the day off. After he got in the house because I locked him out by instinctively hitting the locks when I entered, they joined me in the sweltering backyard to tan and enjoy some food. Dad mentions, "I was going to text you today. I got tickets to the game tonight. Angela's cousin's club level seats. You interested?" As my idiot brother would say, "Does a bear shit in the woods?" FUCK YEAH! A baseball game where I don't have to wear a sweatshirt? I know those of you in any place but San Francisco will be shocked by this but this does NOT happen in SF. It was college before I understood the concept of shorts at night.

THEN! My dad starts making margaritas! Best. Monday. EVER! I'm sitting in a bikini in my own backyard talking to two people who crack me up, drinking in the middle of a day on a Monday with plans to go to a baseball game that night? All you people at work yesterday?Buahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

I head back to my house to rinse off at 5. Dad picks me up at 6. We head to Pete's Tavern for a free drink from Rachel, the friendly bartender. We are heading into the game when we see our brother on the back ramp at Momo's (where else?). We have a beer there. We chat with him and his friend for a bit. We get another beer but Dad wants go so I just hand mine to some random girl. She was thrilled. We go up to club level. We get beers. We eat food. We laugh hysterically. Hanging out with Dad and Angela never ceases to be super fun.

I do, however, idiotically, smash the hell out of my big toe in the bathroom. Okay, here's the deal: women sit. Duh. But we also flush using our feet. No one touches the handle of those toilets. I am wearing flip flops, which I almost never do when out in public. I've also had a few drinks. So when my super coordinated self goes to flush with my foot, I manage to catch my big toe on the corner of the mounted garbage can for feminine hygiene disposal. Just nail it. Giant blood blister and bruise almost immediately. I'm awesome.

We head back to the ramp after the game. I'm pretty toasty. I don't recall those last three runs being scored. Although they were the equivalent of a garbage time TD. I chat with Doug's friend who I find out is some sort of something at Bar None. I like Bar None. I get in trouble at Bar None because it's Doug's bar. But now I know this guy who thinks I'm awesome because as Doug's blondetourage fawned over him, I stood against the railing making fun of how ridiculous they are, he is. He was totally ignoring his friend. I was not. I *may* even have been flirting. A little.

Then Dad and Angela drop me off. As I'm getting out of the car, Angela says, "By drop off you mean she's gonna get more beer and meet us at the house, right?" I say, "Since I'm not going to Mountain View** tonight..." Dad says, "What's in Mountain View?" "Uhhhhhhhhh. Nothing?"

**The boy lives in MV. I figured at some point Angela mentioned the boy to dad because I mentioned it to her but apparently she did now. So much for playing it close to the vest, I guess.

And that's my oh so very close to perfect Monday. Followed by a completely and utterly useless Tuesday. When there are so many decisions to be made and things to be done, I somehow manage to do none of them. Here's to a much more productive and busy Wednesday. Which it really won't be because I'm going to yet another baseball game. Suhweet!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

SoCal will eat your soul!

I don't think anyone who isn't from Northern California can really understand the contempt that some of us denizens of the fog have for anything below, say, San Jose. Southern California is the 8th circle of hell. It's as close to the 9th as one can possibly get without BEING it. Oh sure, you may laugh. But I grew up hating the Dodgers, smog, and the freeway culture that exists down there.

However, every so often I forget this and think, "It can't be ALL bad. Like a eleven billionty people live down there. There are sunny beaches and al fresco dining and the chance to run into celebrities. Let's give it a try!" This is what led me to go visit my adorable 22 year old ex stepsister in Long Beach for my post bar trip. And holy mother of god, was I reminded that L.A. was not meant for me. So many lessons learned, so much money spent, it really would have been a better idea to just go to Europe. And probably more affordable.

I drove down. On this drive I realized that at the ripe old age of 30, my selective memory is already starting to kick in. I thought to myself, "This is the longest solo drive I think I've ever taken." All my trips back and forth to Louisiana were accompanied by others. But as I rolled down 101 I suddenly remembered, "Oh. What about all those times I drove Baton Rouge to Fort Worth to visit Chris?" Ah, how quickly we forget about our pasts. (In fairness, I made Chris drive this far more often than I did, but I did do it.) This was certainly my first solo trip to SoCal, but not the longest I'd driven alone.

My memory immediately got selective again when I finally arrived in Long Beach at my stepsister's apartment and we walked to her local drinking/eating establishment, Panama Joes (seriously, the 2.5 Yelp stars should tell you EVERYTHING). We walked in and the bouncer and the bartender and the waitresses were all like, "Yo! Kathryn!" And she told me about the ones she'd made out with and how it's her "SUNDAY FUNDAY!" place. I thought, "Damn, wish I'd been cool enough in college to have a place where everyone knew me and remembered my name. Sigh. I guess that's just reserved for cool, outgoing people like Doug and Kathryn..." It was a full five minutes before it dawned on me: Rotolo's. When I was Kathryn's age, crazy chick I was friends with at the time was dating the bartender. We drank for free. We stayed after closing. I may have maybe perhaps hooked up with the other bartender. And a bouncer. As with most things in college towns, Rotolos isn't even in the same spot it was when I was there, but for one glorious summer and fall, I owned that place.

Mostly being with a college kid in a predominantly college area brought up a whole flood of memories from when I was 22/23. I was jealous of her super cute apartment. "But she has WAY better stuff than I did in college!" And through no fault of her own, I was a little angry. Angry at her mother for being an uberbitch when *I* was in college, and my dad not kicking in cash/standing up to her. But ya know what? That's ridiculous. My apartment was twice as big and cost half as much. And it had it's own personality with the three couches and flower lights over the bed and the Power Puff Girl sheets. And I knew how to cook. Her fridge, on the other hand, was empty. She didn't have ketchup. I can't fathom not having ketchup. Then again, she's borderline anorexic and I could stand to skip a few meals...

When she went to work on Thursday, I made my way to the grocery store. I stocked up on stuff for us to eat. Well, for me to eat, because Kathryn barely eats. I have started making a trick out of discovering what she will eat and gorging her on these things. One of things she will eat is guacamole. And I make excellent guacamole. I bought us stuff for roast chicken and caesar salad. And beer. Truth is though, I left and most of it was still in her fridge. I was going to give into her way of life way before she came around to mine. Because despite an intention to make dinner that night, we ended up eating chips and guacamole and going out. Her guy friend came over. They went to the liquor store. They started drinking straight from their bottles of liquor. I drank beer. I may be older but this makes me wiser and staying away from hard liquor is always a good idea.

We were going to go to Panama Joe's to start but Kathryn's guy friend was wearing Dickie shorts and apparently those are verbotten at night. Wha? Way to discriminate. We went to the other bar down the street. Second Street is basically the strip you find in any town. Cute boutiques, restaurants, and college bars. Liquor was vastly cheaper in Long Beach than it is in SF. Immediately upon being in a crowded bar on thirsty Thursday in SoCal I was reminded of it's differences to Nor Cal. While Nor Cal is generally laid back cool, with a splash of pretentious trying too hard not to try Mission Hipsters and Marina douchebags who are all from IN, OH, and TX anyway, SoCal is all hair product, tans, short short skirts, and general cheesiness. Nothing about the place is genuine. Nothing. Especially the breasts. So as Kathryn's other friend showed up and she flitted around, I told her guy friend to not dare leave my side, lest I be swallowed by these masses. Um. Yeah. Choose your words carefully, dumbass. We drank giant beers in giant cups. Her friend Jen joined us, who was hysterically funny. But it just...doesn't quite fit, ya know? I am not So Cal. So Cal is not me.

And as much as I feel ridiculous and insecure and way too old for this shit when in So Cal, Kathryn does more so (except the old part). Which murders me. She's equally as funny as I am. More innocent. Ridiculously gorgeous, although she needs to gain a good ten pounds. So when she says, "I have a love hate relationship with the beach because I love being here but it makes me MORE insecure!" I want to both smack her and force feed her a cheeseburger. "But!"

Recently, when talking about male/female relationships with a friend and my dad, my dad said, "You're schtick works." I didn't question it at the time but since then I've wondered, "What IS my schtick? What did he mean by that?" I've come to the conclusion that what he meant is just me being me. So Cal makes me insecure. Everyone is very pretty. Artificial, as mentioned, but pretty. Tall leggy blonds everywhere you turn. Many of you received texts or were bombarded with my use of gchat on my cell phone about how all this prettyness made me feel. Special thanks to Andy for putting up with neurotic me for six days and the regular ass kickings. When I get past that and remember to be just me, things tend to work better. Sure, I may be surrounded by leggy blonds, but can they say anything interesting?

This, however, all turned into a shit show. The night of drinking on Thursday. Mimosa's at Schooner or Later on Friday. Very little sleep, very little food. Veronica Mars marathons. Balboa Island. Mutt Lynch's. SUNDAY FUNDAY! (Kathryn doing jager shots before 1)...I thought of blogging a play by play but frankly, it's just way too much. And way too much that has to be redacted. Let's put it this way: if I ever run for office, a lot of what happened over the course of the last week would be enough to seriously help the opposition. I lost my Ray Bans in Disneyland. For the second time this summer. Lost my sweatshirt somewhere. And probably a good dose of pride and dignity. I bought carmel apples at Disneyland (a tradition). I was twenty minutes on the freeway getting the hell out of Southern California before I remembered they were in Kathryn's fridge still. Awesomesauce.

I was definitely feeling the burn after awhile and hating that my karma/chi/place in the cosmos was all out of whack in Southern California when Andy reminded me: It's not like you're a child soldier. I literally laughed out loud. He was right. Shut up and be glad you GOT a vacation, even one with quite a few hiccups. So it was a damn good time. A crazy time. A liver murdering time. At times frightening. This kid is going to KILL me in a month in New Orleans/Baton Rouge. I am going to start preparing now.

Some highlights:
1. "Booze and bad decision tour 2010!", Kathryn. Booze and bad decisions is my phrase for whenever I am hungover and the dog is sniffing me like crazy. "What? I know, I smell like booze and bad decisions." Angela even jokes about it with me now. "Oh, booze and bad decisions?" Kathryn has turned this into her motto. She wants to get a tattoo that says B'N'BD (as we've decided that is it's acronym). I am making t-shirts for New Orleans. If you can't beat 'em...

2. Friday, early afternoon at Schooner or Later, after all night Thursday drinking:
"Do you want a mimosa?" - K
"Not really...okay fine." - me
"A bottle or just one?" -K
"OMG! Just one!" - me
"It's $14 for 2 or $18 for the whole bottle..." - bartender.
"Fine, the whole bottle." - me (We would consume two bottles.)

3. Disneyland, text from my mother: "Are you okay? I haven't heard from you." I text back that I am fine, thinking, "OMFG, I'm 30. I haven't talked to you in four days, if I was dead or in jail, you'd know." I get a text from my brother a half an hour later. My brother who never ever texts me. "Call your mother, she's worried about you." Dude, you're kidding me right? I text him back, "Already did." In the mean time, my father who is pretty in the loop and who I have been talking to all week, I text saying, "You have GOT to be kidding me!" He says that yes, it's ridiculous, because my brother just called him OVER THE POLICE RADIO to get a 910 (well being check) on me because mom was worried. The whole SFPD now knows I haven't called my mother in four days and they were scared. There, fine folks, are your tax dollars at work. City wide services to track down one 30 year old for not calling her mom. Who, btw, I didn't live with through most of high school and only sporadically talked to during college. What does she think I was doing then? And who would NEVER pull something similar on her son. Oh, double standards, how awesome are you? Hysterically enough, my stepsister's twin sister texted her the previous day, "Call mom. She's worried." In fairness, maybe they should be worried. But still: Seriously?

4. There were these super skanky vivid video girls dancing with the guy in Mutt Lynch's I thought was GORGEOUS. We walked in and were at the packed beach bar and I saw him and went, "Holy geezus." He was in the military. He HAD to be. There was no way he wasn't. I eye him. I talk about him. I am WAY too sober/chicken to talk to him. I notice he's wearing a Ravens hat. I know football. I have an in. I use my fabulous resources (Andy) to find out about the scrimmage the Ravens played the night before and some quick stats on the team. I make sure to go over to THAT area of the bar to order my next drinks. I say something to the bartender. I say something innocuous to hot guy. I say how I can't possibly compete with Vivid Video girls. Bartender says not to give myself such short shrift. I say, "Oh, I'm the smartest girl in here. I just don't look like THAT." He laughs. And I strike up a conversation with super hot Marine guy. OH yeah, he's a Marine. I ask him what he does, and here's our conversation:
"I'm a Marine."
"Yeah, you couldn't have said a less shocking thing. So...you're an officer?"
"How'd you know?"
"I'm wicked smaht...actually, you don't look dumb enough to be a scrub."
"You're right. I love my guys, but they're pretty dumb. Yeah, I'm an officer."
"What do you do? Are you a pilot?" (leading question, in hopes)
"No, wasn't smart enough to be a pilot...I'm in charge of guys who blow shit up."
Turns out he went to VMI, is a Michigan fan, a Ravens fan, and spends every weekend coming from 29 Palms to hang out at the beach. I may have used my amazing powers of observation to read his name off his credit card. Sometimes having cop parents is good for something. (Although I have completely forgotten it now. Damn you, Newcastle!) And Vivid girls may have looked like they did, but I got guy excited by talking about football. He left though. Alone.

But I think *that's* what my dad meant by schtick. I stop freaking out about what everyone else looks like and thinks and I get by on just being me. Sure, I can be a little brash, a little difficult and demanding. But that's why y'all love me, right?

So there you have it. I call uncle. You win, Southern California, you win. I will not make the mistake of trying to visit you ever again. IF I do, I will stay safely ensconced in the Disney compound. But I'm claiming Santa Barbara as North. Just in case.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Travel Anxiety

I am driving to Southern California tomorrow. I am suddenly anxious about this.

I think, occasionally, I like the IDEA of traveling more than the ACTUALITY of traveling. I realized in contemplating how to find some unsuspecting male to check my tire pressure (something I promised my mom that I would do that I am sure if I don't actually do will lead to a flat tire on the middle of the freeway and thus ample embarrassment) that this is the longest solo adventure I have ever taken. Hysterical this would suddenly make me anxious when at one point early in the summer I was going to do the entire Western U.S. solo.

It's more a lack of a plan that makes me nervous. I am not a go with the flow traveler. I would like to be a go with the flow traveler, full of spontaneity and letting the wind take me where it may. I was actually pretty close to this way in Europe. But this trip? Suddenly there was a "To Vegas or not to Vegas" debate that still hasn't been resolved. I am suddenly paralyzed to make a decision. I HATE when I get like this! Just pick one and let the chips fall where they may! I know it will all ultimately be fine. I am a picky hotel stayer. (Yes, I'm a freaking princess, bite me.) I'm suddenly concerned that my student loans are going to run out right this second and I'll be SCREWED (I just paid my credit card off. Oompf, that was a punch in the gut.) So what say ye of the Vegas debate? I'm suddenly not sure I'm up to that level of debauchery. But on the other hand it might be good for me? I'm willing to leave this up to a last minute decision and see how we feel say, Thursday night/Friday morning. (God love the internet and the ability to make a last second hotel reservation.)

All these thoughts also have me nervous about LSU in September and that as of this second I am going on that adventure solo. Book your flights, people! And I have to book the BR hotel! And car rental. And get game tickets.

There is the I5 v. 101 debate. 101 is a bit longer but I think prettier and has less traffic. So not a debate?

There is the "What are we actually going to DO?" debate. I mean, really, I should be fine sitting on the beach in Long Beach and doing nothing. I should be thrilled to see sun, something that has been completely absent from San Francisco all summer. But we ended up doing nothing productive in a week of New Orleans and I don't really want a repeat of that. I'm just feeling...antsy. Maybe I'll be better when I get on the road tomorrow?

There is also the "My stepsister is gorgeous and I'm a troll by comparison and thus am going to have to watch her flirt in bars while I feel like chopped liver" silliness. It's silly. And yet even knowing that I start to ponder it. But I shouldn't because she's amazing and funny and we have a good time together. I do have to remember that she eats like five pieces of lettuce and can survive for a week so I will either not eat, as well, or need to remind myself not to feel odd when I am actually in need of food. She'll also probably push me on my work outs. That should be good. Something about the Mardi Gras half marathon in February...

There was the potential for someone joining me this weekend in L.A. and I think, if I'm really honest about it, there are feelings of disappointment from that and that I would rather, on some level, stay up here and see that person. But also reminding myself that I hate when I turn into a chick and do stuff like that (in the name of a boy) and that I need to have my own fun. (Yes, that's all perfectly vague. Whatever. You should all be smart enough to read between the lines at this point.)

So really I'm just writing this all out to get at the root of it and hopefully get beyond it.

Now I can go back to whittling down the 10 pairs of shoes I feel it is necessary to bring to a more manageable 5.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Aloha oye

My mom has decided we're going to Hawaii for Thanksgiving. It's a free trip to Hawaii and even with that in mind I'm hesitant to go along. I know, I know, I might as well reinstate the "not a princess" tag right now. It's just...well, it's my mom and brother and stepdad. They love me. But they don't get me.

But then I thought: I will either have just found out I passed or just found out I failed the California Bar Exam. Getting the hell out of Dodge would probably be a good thing. And I'm old enough now where going off and doing stuff by myself sounds fantastic, not terrifying. Hike Diamond Head solo? I can handle that. Sit at a bar, drinki Mai Tais and write in a journal, which people generally find fascinating? It'll be fine. All I really need is an iPod, a journal, a book, and a beach chair and I'm set.

And then I hear her on the phone trying to find somewhere to stay. The woman needs three hotel rooms. Because she refuses to put my brother and I in the same room because she knows how little we get along. Her grown ass, adult children. Buahaha! I mean, it's accurate. I even thought about telling her, "I'm fine with sharing a room with him, it'll be okay." Then I flashed back on all the shady, annoying things my brother does. And his general slovenliness. Yeah, if she's got the cash and feels like doing it, three rooms is JUST fine by me.

She has said we can "bring a friend", like we're little kids, all they need to do is pay for their flight. I just can't imagine she'd be okay with any of the friends I would bring. And it's more about limiting the cross over between the world that is my mother and that is my friends. We like to keep these circles as separate as possible, thanks.

So here's to the always entertaining family vacation, coming your way in November. The last time we did this? I have no idea because it always goes so horribly. And yet she insists on keep on trying to make it work...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Bar Exam

I haven't blogged since late July. I'd be lying if I said this wasn't driving me a little crazy. I have all these thoughts and no where to put them. Well, not nowhere, but paper and pen doesn't have quite the draw you might imagine it would. There's no feedback. No audience. No one to read it and go, "Hmmm."

But I needed to hit the reset button. And I am glad that I did. I'm back now. The title of this blog might be temporary. I'm not sure yet. I'm thinking this reset will be more generalized and broader subjects. Less specific whining about family, friends, life. More public content. Hopefully more travel stories. I don't know...I haven't really sketched it out yet. Let's just roll with it and see hot it goes, shall we?

So a lot has happened. Mostly the several meltdowns leading up to the bar exam. Then the bar exam.

About that hell, for those of you interested: