Friday, October 1st, 2010
As a native of Dreary Erie (AKA the Mistake on the Lake) I love the rain. And I mean LOVE. How could I not? For the first 18 years of my life I’d guess that the weather was overcast with a chance of rain.
Now, as an adult, there’s something about a dark and dreary day that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. It makes me feel at home. That’s why the weather forecast for the next 10 days is perfect. There is supposed to be one sunny day, and that’s Saturday. The rest of the time? Rain! Whoohoo! Looks like I’ll be making a ton of grilled cheese and tomato soup and chocolate chip cookies. Ollie and I can don our matching yellow slickers for long walks in the rain and then head back to the house to drink hot cider. What an amazing start to October!
Living on the Atlantic is a pleasant change from when we lived on the Pacific. In Coronado, every day was perfect; sunny and 70 degrees. It was torture. I felt like I could never go to the movies during the day and I felt incredibly guilty for even thinking about laying on the couch for an afternoon nap. But here, there’s lots of rain! It’s great. The only place better for me would be Seattle. Or of course, Erie!
All next week is rainy too! YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!
Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
Well, I’m officially a pregnant insomniac. Every night I get into bed and lay there for at least an hour, tossing, turning, and cursing Grey’s hot breath, before I finally pass out. Last night though, it took even longer to fall asleep, so I decided to entertain myself by looking at my old grade school yearbooks. I was NOT disappointed.
First, let me say I have an abnormal recollection of my school experience in kindergarten through eight. I can name every teacher I ever had and still draw diagrams of my former classroom seating charts. I attended Catholic school and graduated with a class of sixty, and I still feel closer to those kids than some members of my extended family. I guess spending 9 years with people will do that to you.
So looking at these yearbooks was a pleasant blast from the past. The pictures alone in these vintage LifeTouch yearbooks are priceless! The mullets. The turtlenecks. The XL plaid shirts. All such staples from the late 80s and 90s when I was in grammar school. Then there are the notes within the books. Hilarious “remember whens” and obscene references to our principal’s penis scribbled all over the fading pages had me literally crying with laughter as I flipped through.
But then of course my pregnant emotional side came out, because as much as I enjoyed my late-night perusing of these mementos, looking at them made me sad too. I found myself getting pissed I couldn’t remember inside jokes that my friends and I swore we’d “never forget” and feeling melancholy about the nonsensical nonsense classmates scrawled in the books. Plus, the blue sky background of the photos seems so sky’s-the-limit that it’s hard to imagine any of the kids in the pictures ending up as a cashier at Wal-Mart or a divorced exotic dancer with four babies with different dads. But I guess that’s what’s so great about these LifeTouch yearbooks — they capture the moment in time, not the future!!
Apparently I didn't like this picture of myself (I'm the one scribbled out on the far left).
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
While many young girls probably used Fimo clay in the ’90s to make jewelry, I turned to the malleable clay for other purposes. Like smoking Chamomile tea. I know, I know, that’s the most disgusting thing you have ever heard in your life. The thing is, my friend and I were just innocent little things ready to experiment with smoking a relaxing herb tea. It’s about as rebellious as getting a rub-on tattoo. And while we coughed and burned our throats like only smoking a wild flower does, we had a blast making the horn-like device that we smoked it out of.
Those were the days when making your own jewelry out of clay was really cool. All those handmade clay beads when strung around your ankle made you the coolest girl under the suburban sun. And while my friend Anna was amazingly artistic and made entire landscapes on her little beads, all of my would be celestial scenes came out looking like snowmen.
But the chamomile horn pipe was different. All that circumference! It was awesome. I could really let myself shine. So away I went making flowers and sunshines all in the really horrible color scheme of olive green, brown, black, and off white. And then there was the size problem. The thing looked like a trumpet. But we used it anyway. We smoked that chamomile tea with all we had. And then coughed the night away. But hey, as far as I know, smoking herbal sleepy time tea is legal in every state, so at least we kept it clean. Ridiculous, but clean.
Here is what I should have been making with my packages of Fimo clay. But I obviously lacked the artistic talent and the moral values.
Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
My little Ollie, not quite even two years old yet, has developed a funny habit: ass slapping. I realized this the other day on the ferry when he was giggling and going up to every woman he saw and swatting her on the butt. The little flirt thought it was hilarious; he’d stealthily sidle up to a girl and then spin around and slap. And let me tell you, no amount of distraction on my part could take the fun out of this new game.
Oddly, Ollie is not the only guy in my family that has a strange predilection for booty attacks. My brother will probably kill me for writing this, but as a young tot, he too, had a thing for touching strangers’ backsides. However, whereas Ollie likes to slap asses, my little bro liked to pinch them. We’d go to the grocery store and there he’d stand in the canned good aisle — goosing female store patrons. One time, my mom toted us out with her for a bra-shopping expedition (oh the fun of childhood) and he hid in the racks of lingerie and randomly popped out and squeezed unsuspecting woman’s butt cheek’s in his pudgy little toddler hands. Strangely enough, every single one of his victims thought it was adorable. He was the sweet baby bum pincher. Aawwwww, precious.
It’s the same story with Ollie and his ass slapping. Women think it’s darling. Ollie smacked one lady’s enormous booty on the ferry the other day and she athought it was so adorable that she took pictures of him with her camera (or maybe this was for a police report, I don’t know). I had to laugh when one male passenger astutely observed this situation and piped up, “Bet you wouldn’t think it was so cute if I did that!” Touché, sir, touché. Oh well, my philosophy is, work it while you can, kid!
Ian takes Ollie out for a tricycle ride when we were in Erie last week. I suspect this quiet walk was when Ian explained the joys of booty attacks to his nephew.
Monday, August 9th, 2010
On this, my 30th birthday, it seems only right to thank the wonderful people who brought me into this big bad world – my parents. My parents are amazing for many reasons. One, my mom birthed me in August in Washington, a disgusting time of year to be pregnant. Two, my parents never let their worry keep me from l.i.v.i.n.
When I told them I wanted to live in Asia after college, they thought it was a great idea. When I hopped trains around the middle of nowhere, they just asked for an email from time to time. And when I wanted to try out every activity a kid could ever be interested in (trumpet lessons, hang gliding), they paid for the lessons and hoped something would stick. Second only to their unconditional love of course, I really appreciate how much freedom they gave me and how much they trusted me.
Neither of my parents is American and have both traveled and lived around the world. So if they had ever tried to tell me to stay put, I could have pulled out a picture of my mom in front of the Taj Mahal at 20 and put up a fight. But it never came to that. They have been the most supportive, generous parents a girl could ever ask for and I’m eternally grateful.
The kind, benevolent and p.a.t.i.e.n.t 'rents.
Sunday, August 8th, 2010
It’s the last day of my TWENTIES!!! Where is the opium pipe? Take the pain away! I can’t let go. I am going to fly into different time zones and make the day as long as humanly possible. I don’t want to turn the big 3-0!!!!
Okay, breathe. Inhale, exhale the thin Katmandu air.
I did a heck of a lot in my twenties. I’m gainfully employed, have no criminal record, and am still about the same weight I was in high school. These are things to cheer about! So let’s just sit up out of this fetal position and stop crying.
I have to say, with 30 looming a few minutes away (we’re a few hours ahead here in Nepal), that I really, really, really enjoyed my twenties. I traveled to about 35 countries, made amazing friends, did stupid things which I rather enjoyed, wrote articles I was proud of, fell in love, swam naked in the moonlight, was the girl who handed you an enormous check at a film festival, learned to be more patient and compassionate, started this blog with Stacey and of course…figured out the power of positive thinking and the importance of giving thanks.
Yes, I did some dumb things in my twenties and had some hurdles to climb, but looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. So bring it on 30! I’m ready for you and can’t wait to see what the decade brings.
My 28th birthday I came across this mysterious cowboy.
Wednesday, July 21st, 2010
I have had the same guitar for 16 years, which implies that I am good at playing the guitar. I am not. I kind of suck. While I have owned a guitar for a decade and a half, I haven’t played it that much, even though I toted it around the globe with me. It was there when I lived in Tokyo, there when I worked in Belgium, and now stands proudly in my living room in DC.
I remember sitting in my parents’ backyard with other choir dorks belting out “Uncle John’s Band,” while I strummed away on the guitar in high school. If I had just kept up that act, I bet I would be pretty good and have mastered doing a B chord without grimacing from pain. But I didn’t. In fact, the number one thing that has kept me from being good at the guitar has been vanity. I just hate chopping off all my nails so I can strum away. Isn’t that sad? It’s like a girl not wanting to be a ballerina so she can have beautiful feet. Or not reading because you don’t want to strain your eyes. Basically, I am a narcissistic gal who plays bad guitar.
But that’s all going to change. I’m turning 30 in 19 days and I think it’s time I can embrace short nails and strum my days away. Or at least a few minutes a week. Maybe I can increase my repertoire from three Indigo Girls songs and a Joni Mitchell tune I sang at camp, to well, a whole Indigo Girls album. I’ll finally become the folk guitarist I should have blossomed into in 1995. It’s never too late!
Here I am looking rather horrific with my prize guitar. I stink at playing it but man do I love it!
Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
Why did I spend many hours last night jamming on my couch to “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss?” Like many hours. Then I followed it up with PM Dawn’s “Die Without You,” and then a lot of Boyz II Men ballads. Then I had to practice my junior high slow dance, the kind where you sway back and forth with your arms extended and randomly mash your pelvises together at strange moments.
It turns out that two of the bands I slow danced with passion to from 11 to 13, aren’t half bad. I mean the guys from PM Dawn and Boyz II Men actually have good voices. If they went on Saturday Night Live they could croon it out with no thoughts of pulling an Ashlee Simpson. Plus, they wore matching hats.
I did so much slow dancing to “End of the Road,” in Junior High, I’m surprised I can’t recite every single word on demand. And “Set a Drift on Memory Bliss,” still resonates with coolness. I’m pretty sure my brother introduced me to that gem. Some of the music I listened to from 1991 to 1993 is just darn embarrassing. Like I owned a cassette with “Baby got Back,” on one side and “Baby got Back, the remix,” on the other. I also had a thing for Stone Temple Pilots and ironed on an STP patch to my backpack. Vomit. Vomit. But! after YouTubing the crap out of PM Dawn, I wear that 12-year-old memory with pride. Ummmm dah dah! Set a drift on memory bliss…
Man do I miss the ridiculous clothes of the early 90s. PM Dawn sure could dress the part!
Sunday, July 18th, 2010
Today, I celebrated my 30th birthday with my parents. While I don’t actually turn 30 until August 9th which is soooooo long from now, I’ll be in Nepal for the big day so we decided to ring in my third decade a little early. There are many things I absolutely adore about my parents, but the fact that they are great birthday present givers is right up there. They have always made me feel like a queen for a day and today was no exception. My mom even gave me a sparkly purple headband with a burst of feathers coming out of the top to wear as a princess crown. 30 is the new 6 after all.
Along with some much needed financial support for my upcoming trip, my parents wrapped up new copies of my two favorite books from childhood – Eloise and Eloise in Paris. If you are female or have female children or have been to the Plaza, you probably know who Eloise is. She’s that ever so entertaining little rascal created by Kay Thompson, a woman I absolutely idolize (Think Pink!). But what would a story like Eloise be without illustrations? That’s where Hilary Knight comes in. A scion of illustrators, Knight is now 84, lives in New York, and is still illustrating. My dad had the pleasure of meeting him at a book festival and nabbed his autograph in one of my Eloise books for me. It’s kind of on par with having Elvis’ autograph for me.
Another thing that my parents unearthed for my birthday was a very early Karin Tanabe attempt at writing and illustration, a captivating story I wrote when I was about seven called Sally Tall. Sally looks like a transvestite with no nose and I repeatedly spell the word “once,” with a U in it, but it was a wonderful gift to receive at a time when childhood seems like a zillion years ago. And then I read Eloise and am guaranteed by my parents that I’ll always be their baby, and it’s all okay. 30 might not be the end of the world after all.
Clearly I was not an art protege, for Sally Tall has no mouth or arms, but I guarantee it's a very compelling story.
Mr. Hilary Knight surrounded by his masterpieces, including my favorite, the wonderful Eloise.
Sunday, July 11th, 2010
This seems to be my weekend for rekindling my love affair with the television. While we haven’t had much quality time together in the past two years, we really hit it hard and heavy together the last couple days. Tonight, after a thrilling viewing of the “Bodyguard” (Whitney Houston, you were so pretty before the crack), I topped it off with some “Say yes to the dress,” and then took in a rerun of “Saturday Night Live,” with musical guest Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam.
I actually saw Eddie V at the Kennedy Center Honors this year and didn’t recognize him. My friend Cynthia had to point him out and remind me of his hotness before I made some comment about an overgrown skateboarder crashing the Honors.
While all the gals from my junior high in Bethesda were drooling down their shortalls for Eddie, he never really got my 13-year-old blood boiling. No, no, I was into a less cute, less famous guy. I was hot for Evan Dando.
Who is Evan Dando you ask? Well he is (was?) the frontman of the Lemonheads, which happened to be my first concert sans parents. Clad in my flannel shirt and some nice markered up converse all-stars, I rocked my tiny ass off to the musical stylings of songs like “Big Gay Heart,” and “The Jello Fund.” Now, the fact that I was in love with a man who sang a song called “Big Gay Heart,” probably was God’s way of telling me I would have lots of homosexual friends in my future, but I didn’t think a thing of it at the time. I just embraced my love for Evan and flannel and rocked it out in suburban Maryland. The memories my TV brings out! I will have to court it more often.
I really loved a long-haired emo rocker back then. Especially in a corduroy jacket. Rrrrrr.