Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I had a lot of living to do.

This blog has been quiet for a few weeks.
 Don't worry -my life has been anything but.

And amidst all the chaos and excitement, I did something I haven't done in a long time: I unplugged.

I left my phone in my purse, I didn't check my email, I slept when I was tired and ate when I was hungry and spent long lazy days sitting in the sunshine and riding bikes and hunting for sea glass and jingle shells and horse shoe crabs. I watched hours of derby, ate at least a pound of chocolate, wore a pink flannel vagina suit to MC an awards ceremony, rocked a face tattoo, attended class in a sequined tuxedo, driven a bitchin Camaro down the Vegas strip, and been motorboated by an 80 year old - and that all just happened in the last 3 days. By any measure, it has been a perfect vacation, and exactly what I needed. I was reminded of how important it is to step away and actually live the life you are blogging about every once in a while. I took a few pictures - but not many. I spent most of my time just being present for my friends and family, and for myself. Every so often I would pick up my phone and inevitably I would have to put it down because I was laughing too hard (or running too fast) to document what was going on. And even at quiet moments when I have a chance to sit down and open up the laptop, I am finding it really hard to start writing about what I've been up to. Sometimes it seems too private, sometimes too boring and sometimes too embarrassing to recount. The days are rolling by and I am just rolling with them.

(But that vagina suit was fucking AMAZING. I really suggest you bookmark this site or follow me on facebook or something - because if I remember even half of this stuff correctly, the photos are going to be ridiculous. Though I have to admit that I am hard-pressed to remember - never mind explain - what has transpired. God knows I'll do my best.)

After 10 hours of flights and some fairly unpleasant hours spent sobering up in tight quarters with re-circulated air and minimal access to water, we drove to my mom's house from the airport late last night - racing south on I-95 (adhering to all posted speed limits, of course) under an almost-full moon and clear skies, singing along to the radio with Sam's hand on my knee. Even at 2am when we were tired and filthy and wearing yesterday's clothes, it felt good to be driving the familiar roads, to be heading back to my kids, to have another week of vacation stretching out before us to spend together as a family. I was relaxed and reflective, and I have a lot to reflect on from the past few weeks.

Three weeks ago my nephew was born. My first nephew is a healthy, handsome boy and I had the distinct pleasure of bringing him and his awesome mama home from the hospital, because his father - my younger brother - was at Comic-Con.

I told you his mama was awesome.

Because really, let's be honest. I can't think of another woman who would be totally cool with her husband jetting off to work Comic-Con 3 days after she had a c-section. My brother and I both clearly scored big time with our respective spouses.

His lets him go off to party with a bunch of folks wearing cartoon t-shirts while she is still in the maternity wing of the hospital.

Mine just spent 4 days with me in Las Vegas. Nary a cartoon t-shirt to be found in this crowd:

Actually, we were remarkably short on shirts in general. And pants. But we were totally covered in the masks and capes department. We were at Rollercon, and trust me - there will be more on that later.

But the birth of my nephew, and a high-speed 2am drive home from Rollercon were just bookends for things that happened in the past few weeks that totally blew my mind.

For example: 2 weeks ago I saw a friend I hadn't seen in 20 years. 20 years is a long time.

20 years is enough years that when she knocked on the door and my cousin answered, she wasn't 100% sure if it was me or not.
20 years is enough years that, after finishing the first bottle of wine, we went out and bought a pack of cigarettes to smoke with the second bottle.
20 years is enough years that we had to catch up on my first AND my second marriage.
And most importantly, 20 years is enough years that we were able to laugh about shit that was definitely NOT FUCKING FUNNY in high school.

That one evening was so cathartic. It healed at least 20 years of regrets, for starters.

I would never advocate attending your 20th high school reunion - because who really wants to accept that they graduated from high school more than half a lifetime ago? I mean really? I remember my MOM'S 20th high school reunion. And I certainly have no interest in eating crappy banquet food, drinking at an over-priced cash bar, and revisiting at a hotel that I certainly never had sex in 20 years ago (hi mom!) NOT THIS GIRL. But I have to really strongly encourage everyone in this age of facebook and Linked In and whatever other networking crap is out there, to go find someone from high school - someone that you liked and admired - and call them up. Go have a drink. Bring some photos. Take some photos. But spend the time together actually talking and connecting and being present in the moment. They will remember things very differently, I assure you. And they will recount with chilling detail life-changing events that are forever burned in their brain that you cannot remember at all.

And it has absolutely nothing to do with that second bottle of wine. Probably.

So stay tuned for photos, and a very special edition of "What's in my bag: The Rollercon Edition" which is vaguely like Mighty Closet but with hotpants, sequins, and pasties. What happens in Vegas is currently jammed in the trunk of my car, but I'll have to deal with it eventually.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crabs. Better on your pants than in them. Allegedly.

We are spending the summer on the coast of New England. A lucky girl indeed, I am wearing seersucker and learning to drink white wine with ice cubes in it. Preferably in a monogrammed glass, or better yet one bearing the flag of my yacht club.

Sadly, I am working at a disadvantage, because I do not have a yacht club.
Because I do not have a yacht.
Or Topsiders, which I think are mandatory. More on that later.

One of my favorite things about summer in New England is the long evenings spent outdoors, eating lobster and steamers and hotdogs in their special New England style rolls, a sweaty drink in one hand with the ice cubes clattering, the strings of lights overhead, lounging on Adirondack chairs, the waves crashing in the distance. It's pretty fucking epic.  These are my people. This is where I come from. But every summer, I return to the fold, and I always worry that I don't fit in - that maybe I never did. For starters, no one at the yacht club would describe anything as "pretty fucking epic". But I really am trying to blend in a bit because for some reason I really really really want to (at the very least) not look like I am trying so damn hard. Oh, irony.

The thing about being here is that, without even realizing it, I become incredibly uptight - a fact that was pointed out to me last night by my incredibly NOT uptight friend Zard, who has known me since I was hiding kegs in bushes and sneaking out of the house after curfew to drink them. She manages to live here and remain totally true to herself - and I wonder why I can't do that. Instead, I feel like a chameleon trying to blend in. It's not a conscious decision - without even realizing it I begin to clench my jaw and revert to my ancestral Puritan self. I find myself doing, saying, and wearing things I wouldn't even think of "in real life". I pine for a Volvo station wagon and a monogrammed tote bag. I ride a bike with fenders and a wicker basket on the front. I order Dark and Stormys and carry a lobster pick in my glovebox.

I feel like a fraud - but here's my conundrum: Is my New England self the authentic me? Or is my Maui girl the real deal? In Maui, I have no worries about embarrassing my family or fitting in. Everyone there is so unique, so totally their own person. I have never felt pressure to conform, and certainly never felt like I needed certain material things in order to do so.

It's just......different for me here.
Here in New England, I wear one piece bathing suits to cover the tattoos.
I go to the salon and get subtle blonde highlights.
I wear sheer pink lipsticks and shimmery eyeshadows.
I go out for the evening sporting dresses in shades of lime and stripes of navy.
I leave the stilettos at home - I am on the hunt for a pair of these fancy sandals that are, apparently, de rigueur for the ladies.
I even bought some special red shorts.

 The other night, I crashed a yacht club party and lounged on the deck in my cute dress, barefoot (no heels!) and sunburned. And then I looked to my left and saw THE SHORTS. This man was leaning against the railing in full glory: his polo shirt and Topsiders, RayBans and.....the shorts. The shorts to end all shorts - and all conversations about shorts. Shorts, covered with tiny little embroidere- "Does that guy have crabs on his shorts?" Zard leaned forward and nudged me with her elbow, tipping her glass in his direction. "Um, yes. He certainly does. What the fuck is that all about?" "Well," Zard said reasonably "better on your shorts than in them." "Can't we just not have them at all?" "No. You need to have crabs. Obviously." You see the problem I am facing.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

An intimate moment in the ladies at MOMA

We're on the East Coast for our annual celebration of freedom, explosives, and lobster (not necessarily in that order).
To get here as quickly as possible, we have to fly overnight from Hawaii. And it is physically impossible for me to sleep on airplanes because I am absolutely terrified of flying. If I fall asleep, how am I going to clutch the armrests and will the airplane to stay aloft with the power of my mind? RIDDLE ME THIS.
We arrived into New York City's JFK airport at 5:44 am. As we approached the runway, I saw a light flashing outside. I assumed it was a light on the wing, visible in the pre-dawn shadows. But it wasn't flashing in any sort of predictable pattern, and at the very last moment, as the ground was rushing towards us, I saw a huge bolt of lightening across the wing.
The ground crew had retreated inside, and so there we sat, in a metal tube, on the runway, as lightening flashed around us and rain pelted the windows. It was totally not scary AT ALL.
When we finally got off the damn plane, we made our way to an apartment I had rented for the weekend. By 8am, the temperature had passed 80F, and the apartment didn't have air conditioning - it was probably 10 degrees hotter inside. I was not pleased. The kids were wide awake, and it was way too hot to nap, so we decided to clean ourselves up and go to the Museum of Modern Art, which may not have beds but at least has air conditioning. We got a little lost en route, getting on express trains, and local trains. and trains that had labels that were the same color and shape as the train we needed but a different letter, which I guess is  the most important part - I can't explain it, exactly, except to say that we spent almost 2 hours trying to get to 53rd and 5th Avenue, which apparently is only accessible by the E train. Or something.
All was forgotten when we exited the subway and saw the beacon that lay before us, a shining light that made everything okay. The lack of sleep, the extreme heat and humidity, the 90 minutes riding the NY City subway back and forth like idiots. It was all going to be okay. It was all worth it. Because of this. Because it brought us here, to this magical place.
Of course I am talking about Dunkin Donuts.
Anyone reading this who was raised in New England is nodding sagely right now and saying to themselves "Ah, yes. That's good. Dunkies."
I stood on the ramp leading to 5th Avenue holding my first iced coffee of the summer between damp palms and closed my eyes for just a moment, enjoying the feel of a 32 ounce plastic cup of goodness. The weight, the cup sweat, the 1/4 inch of sugar on the bottom......it was perfection. And as we exited the subway I saw the MOMA flag off to my left. My parents were walking full steam ahead towards the entrance, and my father had no intention of waiting out in the heat for us to nurse our beverages and engage in whatever bizarre reverie I was enjoying. Which explains why I chugged a large iced coffee in about 3 minutes flat and immediately felt kind of sweaty and sick. We bought our tickets and headed to the second floor, but I could feel the waves of nausea rising. After a few moments I leaned in and said to Sam in a low voice "I'll be right back."
The women's room was almost empty and I leaned back against the stall door as I locked it behind me, hoping that I was not really about to get sick in a public toilet, which is just not something that my OCD can handle. I decided that if I *was* going to get sick, I had to be careful not to touch the toilet in ANY WAY and to stand as far away from it as possible. I couldn't risk a splashback, not even in a classy place like the MOMA. I waited a few moments with a hand over my mouth, trying to postpone the inevitable. As soon as the last voice faded and the door thudded shut, I leaned forward and let go. "Hoooooagh!"
Simultaneously, there was a noise from another stall. "Blaaaaaaaagh". I froze mid-heave, grabbed on to the toilet paper dispenser to steady myself, and waited a beat. Had I just imagined that?
Screw it. My stomach heaved and I leaned forward again. This time, I heard it, clear as day.
Someone was taking the dump of their life a few stalls down.
And there we were, engaged in the most fucked-up duet possible:
"Hoooagh!" "Blaaaaaargh!"
"HOOOOagh" "BlaaaaaaarGGGH"
I finally straightened up, grabbed a wad of paper, wiped my mouth, and ran to the sink. I splashed water on my face, pulled a handful of towels out of the dispenser, and made a beeline for the exit just as I heard the lock on the other stall clicking open.
There was no way I was making eye contact. No way.
I slipped out the door and disappeared into the crowd, vowing never to return to that bathroom again.
And also, to savor my iced coffee next time. That was $2.78 I am never gonna get back.