Thursday, September 29, 2005

Synchronicity and Free Association

About 15 years ago I read a mystery/thriller novel about weird occurrences on a movie location shoot. I don't remember the specific plot and I couldn't name the author if you held a gun to my head, but I'll never forget that book. That book introduced me to the concept of synchronicity. My dictionary defines synchronicity as: the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection. The word was coined in the 50's by Jung.

I don't know if it's just me but I have synchronicity coming out of the woodwork. Here's an example: Out of the blue, you're joking with your husband and say in your best Mae West voice, "Why don't you come up and see me sometime?" Within the next week you happen to catch a clip of Mae West. I was playing poker last night on Yahoo and made a joke about Tara Reid. I haven't seen her on TV in ages. There she was tonight in a clip on Leno.

I wish I had written them all down over the years because they happen ALL THE TIME. When I first tried to describe it to my husband he thought I was nuts, but now, just like me, he will say "Synchronicity!" when something weird happens. And sometimes they are really really weird. Sometimes we just turn and look at each other speechless. So if you catch yourself saying, "Hmmm, what are the odds that subject would come up? I was just thinking about that yesterday." That's what that is.

I play poker on Yahoo a lot. Last night I had my first straight flush. 8 to the Queen of clubs. It was such a thrill. Unfortunately I was at one of those tables where no one speaks, so no one said a word. Later I mentioned it at a chatty table and got lots of congrats. The funny part was I won $374 on my straight flush and about an hour later I won about $348 on a pair of kings.

Speaking of congrats, after the Emmy awards, NBC was running one of those CNN type bars at the bottom of the TV show "Medium" and it said "Congrates to Patricia Arquette for Best Actress Emmy." I couldn't believe it. It said "Congrates." Seriously how many people missed that at NBC?

A bunch of the "regulars" were at Bennigan's today and ironically we were discussing other regulars. We all knew who we were talking about. I confessed that I "nickname" people. I told the martini lady that I called her that and I told Keifer Southerland guy that I called him that. I asked them what they called me and they never said. I thought that was funny. Oh and the Keifer guy kept saying, "What's my name?" I kept forgetting so I asked the martini lady so he thought I remembered. Kevin was there but not working. He's just weekends now so I have Chad back. I'll miss Kevin.

Meals On Wheels went well. I had 2 new people but they were right on my normal route. The new man gave me a "book" he wrote 35 years ago that's one of those religious "Get saved or you will go to hell" booklets." He used to be a preacher. I'm going to hang it over the bar. It actually looks like something from the 50's. I could antique it and it would look really old. I saw something funny on the road. A guy with a truck smaller than mine (Ranger) had a giant screen TV in the back of his truck. Like the base just fit in the bed and it was at the very tail end. So the giant screen was facing back. I kept thinking it was gonna say "Road work ahead."

Today, no kidding, was the hottest day of the year here. It was 104. The cold front is pushing through now. I have my window open and it sounds like bears are ripping up my shrubbery. Rip away bears! I love this cool air.

Monday, September 26, 2005

My Weekend

My Sweetie had a business event Friday night and had told me he wouldn't be home for dinner, so I asked my daughter to take me to dinner somewhere. She happened to be off work and loves a free meal. This was all decided Tuesday I think. Well Thursday he tells me he won't be home until late Friday night, so I dashed off an e-mail to Kate to see if she also wanted to party after dinner. She said she had no plans and that sounded fun.

The night started out great. We ate at Texas Roadhouse, which has some really good food. Also I found my missing lawyer. (I hadn't seen him in ages, and dropped by his office several months ago and he wasn't there. It was a whole new law office.) Well in he walked. We talked for a while until his friend showed up. I now have his new card. Kate has a semi-crush that she sees at Razzoo's on occasion so the deal was we'd go in, have one drink if he was not there, then leave. So we sit at the bar on the outer loop of the big L-shaped bar (or maybe a cursive U), she scans the bar and is crushed. So I said, "Fine, we'll get this drink and then go to Pockets." I had an urge to play some shuffleboard. So she decides to run to the restroom and turns toward me (away from the main bar) and goes, "Oh my God! There he is!" So he was sitting in one of the booths that flank the bar with his roommate.

Then we go into this retarded dialogue that I will just explain as simply as possible. I was saying just go say hello and she's saying now it's too awkward. She didn't even want to go to the bathroom now. It was driving me crazy. So she says okay, turns to stand up and one of the waitresses is sitting next to him so she panics. I said, "Geez, just walk by, say hello, and go to the bathroom!" Did I mention this was driving me crazy? Well finally she got moving, but when she came back, about 3 waitresses were hovering over the booth. Finally I was saved from all this nonsense by Norman.

Where do I begin to describe Norman? I first met Norman in February. I was replacing the faucet in my bar sink and had Kate drive me to a plumbing store. They were not helpful but I wanted to "refuel" before going to Home Depot. Across 157 from HD is a great bar/billiards joint called Pockets. She didn't want to go as she was 20 and couldn't drink, so I promised her food. We pull into the lot and it was packed. Packed! At 3:30 in the afternoon! As we finally found a parking spot, I noticed the pole. Then I noticed this giant pole was attached to large truck. Well we had happened upon some radio station's "bring in the weekend" party. I said, "If it's country music, we're not staying." Well it was a hard rock station, so that was tolerable. As soon as we settled into our bar stools, she shot out of her seat like someone that's going to run up to someone and flatten them with a hard right. I didn't know what was going on. It turns out Norman, a guy she was going to be hanging out with later was there. He came over and sat with us. I thought he was pleasant and nice looking. I guess the next time we saw him was in April. Kate had driven me to a Dr. appointment and we decided to stop at On the Border. She called Norman and he met us up there. I got to know him better this time. The next time we met was for lunch after Kate had driven me for MOW. That day he followed us home and the 3 of us played Monopoly. By the end of the game I knew him pretty well. Nice, yet ornery, smart, yet seeming to be short some shed tools. In June, my husband had a business trip during the NBA playoffs and I thought it would be more fun to watch the game in a bar. Especially since we (by we I mean the Pistons) were playing a Texas team, so I figured it would be wicked fun. I arranged for a ride home from Kate. She worked til 10:00 that night so that would work out well. I just needed to get there. So I called Norman. I think he thought it was a little weird at first, but apparently got over that. When he called that Tuesday evening, to let me know he was on his way, I said, "I hope you didn't misunderstand. I just need a ride. You can just drop me off if you want to." He said, "No, I'm going to watch the game with you." On the ride to the bar, his cell phone rang. Apparently the caller asked what he was doing. He said, "I'm on my way to Pockets to watch the game with my friend's mom." Apparently the caller found that odd, because when Norman hung up, he said, "Is this weird?" I said, "Well it's not weird to me." Anyway, he stayed the whole game and my sister-in-law joined us just after half time. Norman was pulling for the Spurs but Lisa is also a Pistons fan. Near the end of the game Kate showed up and I thought about what a motley crew we were. A 20-year-old, a 24-year-old, a 35-year-old, and a 44-year-old. I had a blast. He called me a couple of times after that to see if I wanted to go have a beer with him, but I was always busy. My husband started calling him "my little boyfriend," but
that was a joke.

Well Norman is an odd bird. Kate had told him about our Friday night out and he insisted she call him so he could meet us after dinner. She called from the restaurant before we got our check. It started out typical: Norman: Hello? Kate: We're fixing to head to Razzoo's, what are you doing? Norman: I'm at the Movie Tavern watching "40-year-old Virgin. Kate: What!!??!! You answered your phone in the movie? GET OFF the phone! That's Norman. Well I'm sure when he walked in, Kate felt he saved her dignity. I could tell she was hurt by crush-guy being surrounded by a bevy of beauties. So with dignity intact, she got up, walked over to say hi to the guy, I met him (again - I met him once before in August at the same place) and his roommate and then we were off to Pockets for some shuffleboard.

The rest of the weekend I didn't do much. I did make some kick-ass chili Saturday night. I used a large chuck steak that I cubed and simmered in minced onions and beef broth for 2 hours, instead of ground beef. After another hour and a half cooking with the chili spices, it was melt-in-your-mouth tender. We also watched Memento which I had read a lot of stuff about and thought it would be hard to follow but it wasn't at all. Actually, the way so many scenes are repeated I told My Sweetie, "What a great concept! You only need about 45 minutes of footage to fill 2 hours!" Today I mostly read. The book is The Rule of Four, and if you liked The Da Vinci Code or if you might be interested in the campus life of Princeton University students, you will like it. It's hard to believe that 2 weeks from tonight, I'll be going over last minute lists for my Vegas trip. Two weeks? eeeek.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Look of Music

I don't know why, but for some reason today I was thinking about how the looks of pop stars or musical performers or whatever they are called has changed over the years. In the 50's and into the early 60's, performers dressed like they were going to a wedding or awards banquet or something of that nature.

That's a picture of the Platters. Nearly every group that performed on TV in the 50's or 60's was dressed like that. Even the Beatles, who caused a ruckus with their "crazy haircuts" wore suits and ties back then. Then in the late 60's a hippy thing happened, which in turn led to the 70's "heroin chic" look where the performers looked like they spent all their free time doing drugs at Studio 54 and forgot to eat for the last four years. (I was gonna show an old picture of Bowie or the Stones but this site is being bitchy.)

Well then the 80's brought about an "anything goes" look. You still had the heroin chic look, then there was the new wave skinny tie look. The "how weird can I look" look (Flock of Seagulls, Devo), the "I put on the first 12 items I picked up off my floor" look (Cyndi Lauper, Madonna) and worst of all the "I'm going to drive women mad by trying to look like them" look: Insert name of any "hair" band here. Seriously, what was that all about? Tiny skinny men with giant long hair wearing skin-tight yellow satin "pants?" Leggings? I think some even wore leg warmers. YUCK! But it does explain why Springsteen became so popular at the time. A regular looking semi-buff guy in a T-shirt and Levi's looked GREAT next to those hair band guys. Not to mention their high soprano singing voices. After that ear-piercing (the drums, not the lobes) and fashion and body challenged era, we came into the 90's.

I don't remember exactly how the transition happened. I guess unique people like Robert Palmer, Bonnie Raitt and Chris Isaac distracted us at first. The next thing you know we had all these bands with deep-voiced singers. Now they were not tiny skinny guys like the hair band dudes. They were a little overweight and dressed like your friends would dress to come over and help you move: Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden.

Next came the big R&B and hip-hop craze. These artists were heavier than the grunge dudes. Really large men and women with giant baggy clothes. Too much fast food or something. And it was like they were wearing tents.

So here we are now at the beginning of the 21st century. Has anyone noticed that nearly every top ten artist looks like they spend EVERY SPARE MINUTE either in the gym or doing sit-ups? Well Snoop Dogg and Missy Elliott don't exactly fit that description, but when, recently, was either of them in the top 10? Maybe the DJ's say, "If we can't bounce a tennis ball off your abs, you'll get no airtime here."

I wonder what the next fashion will be. Personally, I liked the way the Platters dressed. Okay and the grunge bands, but only if they'll help me move.

MOW Wednesday

Meals On Wheels did not go perfectly today. I have it planned to be the last person there to pick up the food so I don't have to see anyone. I just walk in the front door of this church office and the coolers are in the foyer. I pack up my stuff and leave. Well today the delivery people from MOW were late so EVERYBODY was there. I couldn't put my ice chest on the stairs and do my normal routine and had to make small talk with all these old ladies. Ick.

My first stop was fine. The new man that I did not see last week was there. I wasn't sure, but I thought the cats looked different, so I asked how many he had and he said 5. One kept rubbing all over me and I love cats, but I am allergic and would have had to wash my hands if I had touched it, not to mention that I was delivering FOOD to people. My next stop was a "No Response" meaning she didn't answer the door. I also noticed those little Rat Terriers did not bark which was odd. So the routine is, first I call the client and let it ring ten times, then I have to call into MOW and they call the client's contact. Well MOW always tells you to give the meal away to another client. This was a no-brainer because it was a regular meal and I only had one other regular meal stop - the rest were diet meals. When they tell us to give it away, it's up to us who to give the extras to. I know who wants extras and who doesn't.

My third stop was that ratty trailer park with the rutted roads. Well a block before my stop was a "road closed" sign and giant construction machines. So I pull into another road and have to navigate thru this giant construction area - at one point walking on like a 20 inch space between a fence and a giant hole in the road. Oh, and did I mention that we are having record-breaking temperatures. Yes, September 21, the last day of summer and the high was supposed to be 100. It was probably only 96 at the time. Plus since I was leaving my truck so far away I had to turn it off. I always leave it running at houses and only turn it off at the one apartment complex. Now I'm pretty hot and the next stop, I pull into the driveway and just as I get to the door a car pulls up, I turn and see it is my client's nurse helper lady. Well I'm in the middle of the driveway - my truck is, I mean. So I rush in, hand her her food, grab her mailbox key, run to the mail center, run back so I can get out of that lady's way. Now I'm really hot.

And of course, the next stop is the apartment complex. That was kinda funny, because just as I walk into the breezeway, a UPS dude is knocking on her door. I said, "She thinks you're me and I always knock and walk right in." This is the lady in the recliner that I've only seen out of that chair once in 2 years, and, no, she is not crippled. So I walked in asked if he needed her to sign and made him come in. Fortunately my next 2 stops were normal.

When I finally got to Bennigan's Chad was there again. He was there 2 weeks ago, but before that I had not seen him in months. Last Wednesday Kate had joined me after 4:00 and we coerced Kevin into going to a bar with us when he got off at 5:00, so I figured we scared the bejeezuz out of him enough that he had to trade shifts with Chad. Chad said, "No, he really had to do something, but I forgot what it was." Yeah, right.

A man came in and sat at the booth behind me (I was at the bar, but it's close enough you can shake hands without leaning) and we started talking about Katrina because he was from just south of New Orleans. After a bit, I noticed the conversation felt competitive. I hate when that happens. I was thinking, "Is he trying to one-up me or am I trying to one-up him or are we both doing it?" Anyway I was relieved when 2:45 rolled around. My hair appointment was for 3:00. I got a new cut. Believe it or not, I took the picture from just below of Paul, Barry and myself and told him to do something like that. Although I'm a redhead now, it is very similar. Also it is very different for me because that was probably the last time I had that particular style. I never keep the same hairstyle very long. Those makeover shows just kill me when the woman's husband or daughter says, "She's worn her hair the same for 25 years." I can't even comprehend that. I should do a collage one day of all my different hair lengths and styles. (And shades.)

My "bad friend" Kim (her words, not mine) called from NC tonight. The last time we talked was in June. Then we watched the season premier of "Lost." Great as always. That's about it for my Wednesday.

I just ran spell check and it flagged "hairstyle" which is probably supposed to be two words, but the only suggestion the spell check had was "horsetail." That's a classic: Tyler gave me a wonderful new horsetail!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Senior Year (Part Three) Finally!

(This is a picture of Paul, Barry and me, probably taken some Saturday evening before we went out. I'm guessing by our tans it was well into May of 79.)

I realized after re-reading parts one and two I didn't really get into the whole feel of the place. In NC I lived in a dark little apartment. I had one small window on the ground floor, facing north. The whole apartment was dark and cave-like. Even our southern exposure windows were just downhill from thick woods. (Also my Dad and I were not getting along and you know, also the part about my not eating.) My room in Texas was on the second floor and the building behind us was downhill and to my right if I were looking out (we were on the left end of our building), so my south-facing windows were always open. It was like a long bank of windows almost the length of the room, starting about chest high. Also the ceilings were high. It was a sunny bright room with pecan wood furniture and a bright red crushed velour bedspread. It also had a built-in vanity with sink against a wall mirror. Every morning I awoke to the coolest radio station and morning show. The morning crew was known as "the Morning Zoo," the station KZEW was called "The Zoo." They played "Roxanne" every morning when it came out that spring. It quickly became my favorite song and to this day it makes me happy. I got along really well with my parents. I was so independent from being a "free-range" kid for so long, so I was never needy or underfoot. My Dad was always sending me money and my Step-Dad handed me twenties nearly every time we crossed paths.

Oh! The weather! The weather was incredible! Very dry breezy air - no more fuzzy hair! Something about the wind always reminded me of being at the beach in NC, so that always had me in a great mood. Well beach air without the humidity. And everyone was just so upbeat. I thrived. I was eating my Mom's wonderful home cooking, playing tennis, jogging, bicycling, and playing Frisbee at the park by the zoo. I was probably the healthiest I had been in years. Also there was a very strong underlying psychological aspect working. In my mind, this was a one-time thing. I imagined I would go back to NC, do my 4 years at UNC-G, get a job and live out my future. So in that sense, the entire 5 months had the heady feel of a vacation.

In early April, about the time I met Paul, Joy and I joined up to make a Spanish dish together for our class. I guess she found me amusing or something because she invited me to a "party" with some of her friends. Now this party was so shocking to me, I still can't believe it. It was 2 or 3 other girls. We had the house to ourselves. Seriously, we were all 17 or 18 in an 18 state. And their plan was to make brownies and popcorn, drink soft drinks, and call some boys they had met the prior summer at 6-Flags. Talk about a stranger in a strange land. It was like being in another country or an altogether different planet. I mean I had done that stuff before - IN SEVENTH GRADE! I was so bored and miserable. It was a VERY long night. Just after I turned 18, about a week later, I had Joy stop at a convenience store. She said she had never drunk alcohol. I bought 2 four-packs of Malt Duck. That was it right there. Years after I had stopped drinking that stuff, she was still buying it by the case. I created a Malt Monster. Same thing with pot. The first time she smoked with me at Paul's house, she went to lie down and was out for 4 hours, but she smoked pot for years after I quit (my freshman year in college). Joy and I had overlapping lunch periods. They went for an hour, but mine started 1/2 hour before hers. A couple of times a week that May, I was 1/2 hour late to my tennis class. That was the only class I got a B in at that school and my Mom gave me hell for years, "How could you make a B in tennis?" I finally told her one day about the Joy lunch club. Ouch that was bad. I don't even remember what I did to kill the first half hour, but when she got out, we'd drive to this convenience store, (in a small strip shopping center) buy malt duck and potato chips (or some other munchie) and sit in the car and drink and talk and laugh until we had to go back. One time she got so buzzed and paranoid, she drank perfume before her next class and ended up puking. In class. I always joked I bet it was the best-smelling puke ever.

Back to Paul. I rode my bike over to K's a few days after the skating incident and this guy Greg that had been hanging with Paul at the skating rink was there. Apparently he had his own landscaping business although he was a junior in high school. Man his face lit up and he told me Paul wanted to call me and asked if I was K's girlfriend. I said "No!!!!" I mean about being K's girlfriend. Well Paul called and we were nearly inseparable until the day I left Texas. He went to another high school just on the other side of downtown. I think we started off trying to be boyfriend and girlfriend, but it just didn't go that way. I was wild and untameable and wanted to make the most of my "vacation," so we ended up being best friends. For our 18th birthday (a Friday night!), it was just the 2 of us. We went to Dallas. He had gotten a bag of some killer pot, so we don't remember much about that night. I remember riding around in Dallas and seeing this place we wanted to go and not being able to figure out how to get there. It was really funny at the time.

Well my high school boyfriend in NC came for a visit over Easter weekend around that time. I told him Paul was a pot buddy and actually introduced them. I took HSB to 6-Flags and a few other spots and then he was gone. For some reason we had made a mutual decision not to go to the prom. You know since we were apart. Well some time in May, my Mom gave me a hard time about that. So at the very last minute, I told Paul, I'd go with him. Yeah, HSB was not so happy about that. Oh, speaking of prom time, the guy Barry in the picture above was going to take me to a concert just before the prom. Somehow his prom date found out and said she wouldn't go to the prom if he took me to the concert. It was no biggy to me, but he was practically in tears. Here's the funny part. He was SO wasted at the prom, when I walked up to their table; he just reached right out and grabbed my hip. The look on her face was priceless!

May was a killer month. About once a week, I'd get ready for school and stuff a pair of shorts (shorts weren't allowed at the school) and a bathing suit into my purse and drive across town to Paul's. We'd usually go buy beer and hang out at his pool. Sometimes we'd go to Trinity Park or go by the zoo and play frisbee. On the days, I went to school; I'd get home, put on my bathing suit, and go to my pool. There were always these 20-something guys there that would share their joints with me and give me beer. They taught me how to play backgammon. Those were fun times. Also Paul had an old friend that was about 2 years out of high school that lived in the apartments across from me. He had a cool room and could do anything - apparently he and his mom had an understanding. So we'd hang out over there sometimes on school nights. This same guy introduced us to Van Halen. We were skeptical after seeing the album cover of this gay looking guy doing a jumping split in red and white pants, but we came to appreciate it.

Prom night was also not the usual. We had decided to keep it classy and simple. I wore a simple black dress of my Mom's. He wore a tux and we wore matching rose with baby's breath corsages. (If you're just reading this for the first time, scroll down to part one for the picture.) We got there and both felt out of our element. Nearly all the girls were wearing garish pastel and floral dresses – some even had Gone With the Wind type attire, and most of the guys were also in pastels - it was 1979, but still. We were a little irritated because we got there late and all of our friends were at a full round table. So we went to a long table, sat down, ate, and left. We went to a really cool club by the TCU campus. Sometime after midnight, we met some crazy guy and when he asked why we were dressed up, we told him we had been to a midnight formal funeral for our rich, eccentric uncle. We told him that when we turned 21 we would get a million dollars each. I don't know why, but it was fun. Well this guy thought we were great and he said he had pot in the car. So we went out and smoked with him and got totally buzzed. I remember it took us a while to get rid of him. The next day, we couldn't remember how we came up with that idiotic story or even why he didn't realize we were prom people.

Also that May, I had discovered the midnight "Rocky Horror Picture Show." A bunch of us went several times on Saturday nights. We'd all meet up at the theater, get our tickets and drive down the street to Trinity Park with a couple of bottles of wine. We'd stand on top of a picnic table; pass around joints and bottles of wine until it was time to go back. I still don't remember why we stood on top of picnic tables. But we really got into the show. I mean we sang and did the lighters and yelled stuff but we didn't carry toast or newspapers. Some of the regulars had EVERYTHING. We learned quickly who we did not want to sit near. I didn't see RHPS again until Halloween at a theatre just off the UNC-G campus. I was dressed as Magenta and went by myself, but sat next to a Riff-Raff so we could dance together.

Well, the school year ended, and graduation was to be on a Monday night, June 4th. Paul's graduation was a few days later, but I was flying back to NC the very next day. I felt bad that I was going to miss his graduation. And I bet it was some party. Well, the tradition at my NC high school was to wear something outrageous under your robe. At my TXschooll, they said to dress up. I wasn't going to wear a bathing suit or anything, but I sure as hell was not going to dress up. It's UNDER a robe for crying out loud. I wore nice powder blue shorts and a pink spaghetti strap top and Candies (high-heeled clog type shoes if you don't know what those are.) Joy, of course, showed up at my house in serious church clothes. We both had changes for the graduation lake party. Well we started making Margaritas in the blender. I don't remember how many batches we made, but left the house with giant plastic cups full. On the drive to the coliseum I made up a song to go with the graduation theme. It went like this: We're going to graduation, we're going today. Drink lot's of Margaritas, and everything will be okay. It was quite catchy and we both sang the whole ride.
I didn't think ahead, and spent the entire ceremony having to pee like a madman. The guy on my left was very preachy and kept saying, "That's what you get. How could you drink before an important ceremony like this?" If I ever see him, I'll push him down. It was cool when they called my name because Paul was in thebalconyy and did one of those REALLY LOUD whistles.

Our robes were rentals and we had to literally disrobe as we walked out of the coliseum. Schoolofficialss were collecting the robes as we filed out. I handed mine to the same counselor that made me take tennis instead of Chemistry II. Her eyes widened in shock at my "outfit." Seriously she couldn't have looked more shocked if I were wearing a bathing suit. We had arranged to meet Paul at a little store near his apartment. He was going to ride with us to the lake party. We changed in the bathroom, bought lots of beer and malt duck and that's the last thing I remember until I woke up on Paul's couch the next day - about 4 hours before my plane was to leave.

Here's what I found out: I passed out before we got to the lake. Joy's back seat door did not lock. Paul spent the entire night protecting me from that guy I used to ride to school with. He was dead set on getting in that car with me according to Paul. I actually went out with that guy a couple of years later but never even kissed him because of that. So my last memory of that school year was of Mom, Joy and Paul standing over me as I sat on my floor packing like a crazy person, so I could catch my plane. Myarrivall back in NC is a really funny story, but that's for another day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Senior Year (part two)

Texas was such a huge culture shock. The high school kids dressed how people today dress for church. Teachers would stand in the halls by their doorways during class changes saying hi to all the kids and the kids all said hi back. I had never seen anything like it. I was studying everybody to see if anyone looked like a pot smoker, and NO ONE did! It was like I had gone back in time to the 1950's. That cool teacher that I had 2 classes with had a student teacher. I'll call him Luke. Luke was short, pudgy and had Gene Wilder hair and a moustache. I don't remember how it started, but we ended up getting together after school. He no longer smoked pot, but would bring me a joint and we'd ride around in his car discussing psychology, philosophy and all that other goofy stuff that college kids are so into. He lived in the subdivision next to mine and eventually became my boyfriend. I think my parents were very ambivalent about the whole thing. Half impressed/half mortified. Also you may remember I did have that HS boyfriend back home. Out of sight out of mind. One beautiful Saturday in the middle of February - it must have been 70 degrees or so out, because we were both wearing shorts - we were laughing about something as we walked out of a convenience store. There, standing mute and stunned on the sidewalk, were three of the popular football players from our class! Talk about an awkward moment. No kidding it was like a frozen moment in time. Finally everyone started saying "Oh hello!," and all that sort of generic greeting stuff. We hopped in Luke's car and took off, laughing and freaking out at the same time. He was afraid he might be in trouble. Apparently they never told anyone or at least not anyone important. I certainly got some looks on Monday. One of them did say to me "No wonder you get such good grades in here." I'm sure they also got a kick out of the times Luke would ask a question and I would raise my hand.

That didn't last long, though. This school operated on trimesters instead of semesters. A girl I had met in Government class took me under her wing for "registration." Unlike my N.C. high school, where you basically just filled out a form and then they gave you something telling you what you were taking, this crazy school allowed you to pick your teachers and classes. It was first-come-first-served. So you had to RUN to the most popular teachers. This girl told me the most popular English teacher. They had us all in the auditorium, then yelled "GO!" or something then everyone dashes into the halls to sign up for their classes. I signed up for English, Spanish II, Chemistry II, and World History. By Texas law I had to have this World History class to graduate. Unfortunately, everyone in the Texas school system takes this class in 10th grade. Seriously, it was like being in a class with children. I did make friends with one chubby red-headed boy and that worked out well because for 2 summers I was able to get free chicken and drinks from his booth at Six-Flags. Oh I must mention the teacher. He was right out of central casting as the "dorky, thinks he's hot 70's guy." He had straight blonde hair in a parted on the side pageboy, big old mutton style sideburns and wore printed nylon giant-collared shirts and bell-bottomed slacks. Ouch.

The English class was a joke. I had always been in AT English classes. This was just a generic English class because, well, you know, you just go sign up for it. I had written a college level research paper in 10th grade! So, and this really kills me, she explains what prepositions are and asks people to name them. One at a time people are raising their hands. After raising my hand like 3 times already to try to speed things up, I raised my hand again and said, "Can I just name the rest of them?" I mean really. It was 9th grade stuff. And every literature assignment became a on-on-one conversation between the teacher and me. The one great thing to come out of this class was the teacher introduced us to Rudyard Kipling's "If," which is my favorite poem in the whole world. It's here if you want to read it. I actually wrote the teacher when I was in my twenties to thank her for hooking me up with Kipling.

My Chemistry II class lasted about 3 days before I was summoned to the office and told I was one trimester short of my required P.E. credits. In N.C. I don't even think we had P.E. in high school. After about an hour we finally came up with dropping Chemistry II for Tennis. That's Texas for you. English was my first class of the day. I had found out that a friendly popular guy, another Scott, whom I'd met the previous trimester lived in my neighborhood, so I asked him for a ride to school. Well he was also in my English class. I don't know if I was just paranoid but I felt like he thought I was trying to hop into the popular group or something, so every morning when I got out of the car, I'd say, "See you in class, I've got to go to my locker." I always imagined he was relieved to not have to walk in with me. Little did I know, but that comes later. Also around the beginning of this last trimester, Luke started getting WAY too serious and asked me to marry him and said he'd pay for my college if I stayed in Texas with him (he knew I was going back after graduation and had been accepted at UNC-G), so I had to break up with him. I told him I needed to start hanging out with kids my own age, or maybe I told him I was in love with my NC high school boyfriend. Whatever.

Spanish class was the most promising. The teacher taught Spanish I and II in the same room. There was a little divider board in the room and the 12 or so SII students were divided into little groups of 3 or 4 for self-study. That's how I met Joy. I'm sure my mom was relieved when I finally made a girlfriend. But the best part was there was a guy in the SI group that I JUST KNEW smoked pot. He was a year younger than me. I finally approached him, explained my situation and he said we'd meet at lunch. We had open lunch at this school. So we went out to my, well, my Mom's car which she was letting me drive to school occasionally and smoked a joint. A few lunchtimes later, he shows up with a friend, another junior. I found out this guy lived right around the corner from me. Here I should explain my neighborhood. It consisted of a golf course and country club, surrounded by really large nice homes and then there were about 4 or 5 nice apartment and condo complexes and a tiny strip shopping area with convenience store, dry cleaners and bar and there may have been a small liquor store. We were in an apartment. Everyone I met was in the nice houses. Okay so the new guy who lives around the corner invites me to go roller-skating with his church group. I had not done that sort of thing since 9th grade but thought, "Hey why not?" We get to the church and then all get on a bus. He introduces me to some really hot guys. We get there and skate and one of the hot guy asks "my date" if he can skate with me. So we're holding hands, (I'm skating backwards) and he says "You seem older than K." I said, "Yeah, I'll be 18 in 2 weeks." He said, "2 weeks?!?" I said "Yes, 2 weeks from today." So he freaks out and says "I'll be 18 2 weeks from today!"

Well that was Paul. Paul's the one in the prom picture down there. But it's not like you think. Part 3 will be about my time with Paul and how I was a terrible influence on Joy.

Well don't I feel Stupid

So at dinner last night, I told my father-in-law Bill, that he should have a blog. He asked me what a blog was. I told him. He said, "Well I have a "book" on the internet. I've been working on it for 2 years." So, yeah, he has a blog. It's pretty fascinating. It's I didn't even know he had met all the original astronauts (the Right Stuff guys!) He even asked me again later what blog meant. It kills me that he's been blogging for 2 years and didn't know what a blog was. Seriously, that just kills me.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Senior Year (part one) and how it changed me forever

(First, I have to make a comment about this picture. If you consider that the year was 1979, you should be duly impressed that we do not look like people in a picture from 1979. As a matter of fact, I was horrified by the pastels and florals that the poor souls at the prom had draped themselves in. That being said, I'll begin this story.)

I wasn't doing too well in my senior year at high school. I took a ballet class on Thursdays and also worked selling "shoes" at Montgomery Ward. And I NEVER ate food. Oh and the pot. I smoked a lot of pot. My weekday routine was: wake up, shower, get dressed, have about 6 oz. of orange juice, take a vitamin, pack my little glass bong with ice chips, grab my stuff, pick up HS boyfriend, smoke some bowls on the ride to school, arrive at school, tolerate school, get home, smoke more pot, eat a large cup full of ice chips, got to work or if it was Thursday, I went to ballet around 7:00. My Dad and I never really discussed this but we got in huge fights at meals because I would eat about 2 teaspoons and say I was full. I got thinner and thinner and even lied to HS boyfriend's parents when I went to their house for his birthday dinner in mid-November. I claimed that I had forgotten about the dinner and had had a HUGE sandwich just 2 hours prior.

As you can imagine, between the pot and the lack of nutrition, my brain became pretty much glop. And I don't mean glop in a good way. By mid-December I had become so out of it, one morning in my first period Psychology class (ahh the irony), I thought the teacher was fucking with me because it was like the Charlie Brown teacher. Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah? I was looking him right in the face and saying, "What?" (At least I think I was.) After I asked him "What?" a couple of times, he gave me a look of disgust and moved on.

I guess soon after was Christmas break and I really don't remember that Christmas. It must have been the weekend of the 7th/8th of January 79 when I called my Mom in Texas, in tears, and said, "Can I come to live with you?" I had not lived with my Mom since 9th grade. The next part nearly broke my heart into a thousand pieces. She said she would have to talk to Ted and she would call me back. That was a very long 20 minutes. I cried the whole time. Well, she called back and said "Okay." Ouch. Now came the hard part. I went into the living room and asked Dad to come into my room. That was weird enough, because I had never done that. So Dad walks in, sits beside me on the bed and I said, "I want to go live with Mom." So Dad says, "Okay," then gets up and walks back to the living room.

Then I got mad. I walked out there and said, "Get back in here! That's hardly a conversation!" Well, he came back, we talked, he called and made the airline reservations for the 15th. I figured a week was good to get organized. He even came home that Monday with a trunk for me. I love that trunk - it's my daughter's memory trunk now. Well I had planned on hitting each class that Monday to say goodbye. My first period class the psych teacher sees my withdrawal note and says, "Well goodbye, you don't need to be in here." He was such an ass. So I think I hung out in the bathroom until the bell rang and then didn't give the teachers my withdrawal slip until the end of each class.

So the whole week was a party every night with my friends. When my Dad and HS boyfriend said goodbye at the airport that Sunday, I cried like a baby for like an hour. I got some strange looks. Plus I was holding a GIANT yellow stuffed bear. My Mom says that when I walked off the jetway that day I looked like a 12-year-old. I think I weighed 99 pounds.

So it took us a couple of days to find my school and get my shots and all that so I ended up having a free 2-week vacation from my senior year. Oddly enough, I wasn't really that terrified of the new school. I was so tired and burnt out (and not knowing anyone, nor them me) it almost seemed like a vacation. The first day, this guy that looked like the actor in "Greatest American Hero," except with longer hair, was told to show me around and to my classes. I got really lucky. First off, this school had trimesters instead of semesters. The classes were longer but there were only like 4 a day. Secondly, I had 2 classes, Sociology and Government, with possibly the coolest teacher ever. My first day, I had to go up to the front of the class, pull down the map, explain where I was from and describe it. Because I didn't know any of these people from Adam, I wasn't nervous at all. I described the Research Triangle of Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill and talked about the intense rivalry of college basketball in the area. When the teacher asked the students to ask me questions, a really pretty blonde asked, "Isn't it really cold up there?" She wasn't paying attention and thought it was North Dakota. That was funny. Oh and by the way, I was REALLY enjoying my Mom's cooking.

I think I'll continue this later. It IS a long story.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Free Association for only a Dollar

Meals on Wheels this past Wednesday was pretty uneventful. I didn't see my new guy from 2 weeks ago -it's one of those knock/yell "Meals on Wheels"/let yourself in/leave the food on the table set-ups, but I saw his cats. Nice-looking big cats, and no human to be seen. I kept thinking that when I left, they would jump up on the table, tear thru the cellophane and have their way with that man's lunch. Kate called around 1:30 to see if I would still be at Bennigan's at 4:00. I eat lunch at Bennigan's every Wednesday after MOW and even sit in the same spot at the bar. About 4 times someone was in my seat and it threw off my whole day. I used to go to Friday's but we had a falling out. I can't say why because it was based on politics (more or less) and I made a vow to never discuss politics on this blog. Let's just say that this November 3rd will mark my one year anniversary of the Bennigan's lunch. I digressed as usual. So Kate called and I told her that I had no idea. Sometimes I get bored and leave around 3:00 and sometimes I will sit there until My Sweetie calls between 6 & 7 wondering where I am. Well I was in story-telling mode with Kevin the bartender and was there when she called back. Kate showed up and we had some drinks blabbing to Kevin the whole time. Somehow, we decided that when Kevin got off after 5:00 that we needed to continue the party and the 3 of us met up at Bellbottom's, about 2 miles away. Oh and I forgot about the weird "jewelry salesmen" that had been at Bennigan's before Kate arrived. These were 2 guys about 24 years old, dressed alike in plain white cotton T-shirts and dripping with chains, bracelets, watches and rings. The alpha dude bought me a shot of Jaeger. He also proclaimed my watch to be nothing short of spectacular (my words, not his) and also said my emerald (ring) looked fake. Well Kevin the bartender is really funny. After Kate arrived at Bennigan's I was telling her about those 2 guys and I said, "Kevin, what was that guy's name?" Kevin shrugged and said "Coke dealer #2?" That really tickled my funny bone. I think I laughed about that for 2 days. I don't remember a lot after I got to Bellbottom's. I know I talked to some other people at the bar. I had that prime corner seat. So (and don't tell anybody) I ended up driving home with one eye closed. Then I took a two-hour "nap."

We got the 6th season of Frasier this week and have already watched every single one of them. Today (Saturday) we had a sort of Frasier marathon. Also my friend Jeanette from my last blog called. That's always a treat. She lives in Atlanta and I'm trying to talk her into a visit for Thanksgiving. We haven't seen each other in so long we will probably have to do something odd like wear "Where's Waldo?" caps so we can find each other at the airport. Tonight we watched "Mean Girls." That movie had a few serious belly-laugh moments, but was mostly just interesting. I knew it would be a good movie because it was written by Tina Fey. This afternoon I caught the last half of a movie which I think was called "A Walk on the Moon," with Diane Lane, Liev Schreiber and Viggo Mortensen. It was supposed to be set in 1969 and some of the clothes were driving me crazy. I may have been only 8, but I was alive in 1969 and I pretty much remember the clothes. The worst part, tho, was a scene where Liev's character, in a rage, pulls up too fast in a car and stops quickly. The sound effect was "the screech of brakes," and well, he was on a dirt road. In case you didn't know, "the screech of brakes" sound has nothing to do with brakes. It's the sound of rubber on asphalt meeting in an unpleasant manner. Oh well, if you think about those things too much it can make you crazy. It was a cute movie but I would only recommend it if you are a giant Diane Lane fan. Viggo was not so impressive in the movie what with those 70's (yeah I know it was supposed to be 69) sideburns and all.

When Jeanette called this afternoon, we started talking about stupid people. I do not like stupid people. Jeanette, being a very tolerant person, I had to try to make my point. By stupid, I don't mean uneducated. I mean people who form opinions based on false assumptions. I mean, assumptions in any form are bad. One should never assume ANYTHING. In my Oxford American dictionary the definition of assume is "suppose to be the case without proof." Without proof. Now don't get weird on me here. If you're sitting there thinking, "Well if there were a choice between being beaten and thrown in mud or having beer and pizza, I'd assume people would choose the beer and pizza." No, you KNOW people would prefer the beer and pizza and if there were people who'd pick the first choice, they don't count. Because they are retarded at best. And by retarded, I do not mean the 70's psychiatric definition. I mean the modern slang definition. Also stupid can just be stupid. I have an example taken from today's paper. It's from Hints from Heloise. Here is the hint:

Dear Heloise: I have a cat who helps herself to anything we leave out on the counters. I use a dome picnic net that goes over food on the table. She cannot get it off, and our food is safe. --Patti Spencer, Remington, VA

Seriously, I don't even know where to start here. Okay, why have you not trained your cat to stay off the counter? I've had cats all my life and not one of them got on the counter, on tables, on the couch or where ever I trained them not to go. Next: Why on earth is food sitting around on your counters? If you are going out to the garage to set up this tent thing, just cover the freaking food and put it in the fridge! Who the fuck leaves food sitting around on their counters? And lastly, and this was something I was trying to explain to Jeanette that makes me crazy: This person thinks they are SMART. They wrote a hint to Heloise for crying out loud. AND NOW Heloise has printed it. So this stupid person thinks they are smart. aaaaaaaarrgh!!! So Jeanette, if you read this, that's the kind of stupid person I do not like.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we are meeting My Sweetie's parents for dinner. We are taking them out for both their birthdays as they are on a fixed income. They are both true "characters." That's the kind of people I like. Actually it's his step-dad, but has been in his life since he was 10 or so. Bill, the step-dad is a true Texas character. He has pictures on the wall of himself with Willie Nelson and other famous Texans. This man can tell stories. He's been mentioned in the paper a couple of times and is thanked in the forward of some Texas book about cowboys (not the team, actual cowboys). I think I'll try to talk him into starting a blog tomorrow. He loves the internet. He's 72 and he calls his internet friends "pen pals." How cute is that?

Well, I guess I'm done. Be sure and send me that dollar.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Love? What does it mean?

I was thinking today about the concept of love. I mean really: What the hell is it? Some very heinous acts have been committed in the name of love. And then you have people like Mother Theresa. And what's with all the husbands and wives beating the hell out of each other. (Sorry If I'm starting to sound like Seinfeld.) I use the word loosely myself. I can be at the state fair, have the perfect buzz, the sun is setting, casting a beautiful pastel orange glow on a perfect October evening and I will loudly proclaim, "I LOVE THIS!" And I do. I've said it about food, about songs, about smells, well about almost everything. Last night Jodie Foster was on Letterman. I kept oohing and ahhing and My Sweetie kept saying, "You love her," in a teasing voice and I kept saying, "Yes. I do!" But as far as people go, I'm not sure where I stand on the issue. Practically everyone I'm supposed to love, I have felt no love for at all at some point in time. That includes all family members and all 3 husbands. And unlike normal people, when my love turns, it does not turn to hate, but a cold detachment. My mantra has always been "I can't possibly hate you because hate requires passion and I have none for you whatsoever." Yeah I don't know what that's all about.

So then I was wondering if there were anyone that hadn't pissed me off and made me stop loving them (if only temporarily) and I could only come up with 4 people. It was an odd list: Miss Lane (my second grade teacher), Mrs. Howell (my sixth grade teacher), Jeanette (the best friend to beat all best friends), and Bill (my best guy friend). Although Bill came close in my hotel room after the 20 year high school reunion when he sat there quietly as his loud annoying wife kept, well, being loud and annoying. She did fall down though, and that was good. So, thinking this list over, I'm thinking the teacher(s) thing makes sense, as we didn't really know each other. Jeanette and I haven't seen each other since maybe 1979. And Bill, well he's just Bill. He's probably never annoyed anyone in his life except maybe his shrew ass wife who would complain if the sky were too blue.

So now I want to talk about Jeanette. The summer after 5th grade was a particularly hot summer. My parents worked 8 to 5 jobs and my brother had his regular summer job that we called "puttin' in tobacco." I was always home alone and this was the grand old year of 1972. So basically I think there were 3 or 4 channels on TV. I thinks that's the summer I read "The Exorcist." I lived just across a dirt road from the country store. It faced Highway 117, which was one house away from us. Well, one day I saw these two strange girls walking to the store. This was a very TINY community so I knew they were strangers. Also they were unusual in that they both had hair down to their butts. I saw them again a couple of days later and realized I needed to investigate. So one day when I had some energy, I took off down the dirt road into the neighborhood. Well I saw one of them, the brunette, playing at the end of the big ditch that ran behind my house. She was playing with two little kids at catching tadpoles. So being the elegant sort, I think I walked up and said "Who are you?" But it was more like who ARE you? So she says her name is Kim and swings her arm around to a house I was familiar with (Timmy Mims used to live there!) and tells me they recently moved here from Raleigh. Kim was a year younger than me. I honestly don't remember when or how she introduced me to her sister Jeanette, but she obviously did.

If there is a definition for "instant rapport" it is Jeanette and me. She was the Tom Sawyer to my Huck Finn. Her mom was a stay-at-home-and-watch-your-every-move type and my parents couldn't even correctly guess my age (this is true - the dry cleaner guy asked my mom how old I was and she got it wrong). I always wanted to go on adventures, build reed forts by the railroad tracks, explore the woods, etc. We would get away when we could, but her mom grounded her a lot. I don't think she trusted me. I mean I get it now. I was the kid that was barefoot from April to October that the other kids would say "But mom, she's barefoot!" That didn't fly with Jeanette's mom. Her idea of barefoot season was from the day school let out until the day school started back.

When school did start back, Jeanette had to take the bus to the junior high. Kim and I walked to the elementary school together and got to spend some time together at recess. Every afternoon, like a puppy, I was waiting by the store for Jeanette's bus. We had so much fun together. You know that rib-hurting laughing? That's when I first experienced that. We laughed A LOT. Jeanette got grounded quite often which irritated me to no end, but I could go to her house. They had cool stuff over there like a unicycle and stilts. We were a regular Cirque de Soleil. Also we were into cartwheels, cheers and all the regular stuff for girls of that age. Oh. and Barbies. We were Barbie freaks. I must have had about 8 Barbies and skippers, some Kens and 2 G.I. Joes. We had an entire soap opera of Barbie life running all the time.

The summer after 6th grade, Jeanette's parents finally agreed to let her go to the beach with us for a week, but that is another story. At the beginning of 7th grade my Dad was looking into a new job opportunity. He had worked for a tobacco company all my life and was trying to get a job as an insurance salesman. He was working a night shift at the time. I remember walking into the living room one afternoon and asking, "Dad how's that job thing going?" He was kinda slumped over and said, "They're not going to hire me. I'm too old." He was 37. And they did hire him. The job was in Durham N.C. and I had lived in Goldsboro my whole 12 years. I was kinda freaked out but also excited. Jeanette came over on my very last day. The house was emptied out, my parents were ready to go. I walked Jeanette to my backyard (we had a shortcut). We had said goodbye a million times already. Finally I ran after her, threw my arms around her and said, "I love you!" Then we jumped apart and screamed simultaneously, "I'm not a lesbian!" and took off running in opposite directions. I got in the car and we headed to Durham and I think I cried the whole way.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Myrtle Beach, The Pill, The Beer & The Face Fire

Every year in Durham, NC, just as soon as school lets out, a massive migration takes place. Teens aged 15 to 19 (and lots of college kids) head to Myrtle Beach, SC for a week of drunken debauchery. At least they did back in my day. My first time was the summer after my junior year. My high school boyfriend insisted his was going to be an "all guys" house and I would have to make other arrangements. My only real female friend did not run with my crowd, which was all guys, so I was in a tough position. Using my powers of persuasion I talked 3 girls from my girl's chorus class into going in on a room with me. As this was all pre-internet, I honestly wonder now how I went about arranging for this room. But I did. My guess is someone probably gave me the name of this well-located motel and I just called information. It did end up being VERY close to the boyfriend's cottage. And of course, I only slept there the first night. I have a very vivid memory of being in the room alone that first afternoon. I was sitting on the floor and reached into my powder blue hard-sided Samsonite for my very first ever birth-control pill. I took it with a gin and sprite I had made. Even at that tender young age I appreciated the rich humor and laughed aloud (something I still do A LOT - laugh out loud I mean).

I don't have many vivid memories because of all the drinking and pot smoking but I remember a few things. I remember one night Chief and I were cleaning the guys' cottage. I don't know why we were and I don't know where the rest of the guys were, but somehow we got on this cleaning kick. I was a big drinker, although I smoked pot, but that was all I did. Chief however was doing speed and was moving around the cottage like a hornet. I was mostly cleaning the kitchen and cackling like a crazy person at Chief's rapid fire conversation (monologue?) I think we really bonded that night because for years we would ask each other, "Why were we in there cleaning up?" Neither can remember.

The biggest event from that trip happened one afternoon. I'm guessing I had run up to the room to P. Another good guess is that I was probably now out of gin, because I was empty-handed. It was a 2-story motel and we were on the second floor. The room door opened to an outdoor "porch" that ran the length of the building with metal railing. There was one stairwell at the end that led to the ground. One of the more popular guys from my school met me halfway as I was descending. He blurted out, "You like beer?" I did not like beer. I was a typical girl and drank weird shit like gin and sprite or Malt Duck. But because it was this particular guy and I was hot and thirsty and losing my buzz, I said, "Yeh." He handed me an ice cold beer. I think it was a Schlitz. I took a big swallow and thought, "Hey this is alright!" That was the day I became a beer drinker. I'm drinking one right now.

Another big event happened one night on the porch of the guys' cottage. This guy from another high school that we all knew from pot smoking or buying or whatever was sitting on the porch about to do a "Flaming Whore." This involved filling a shot glass with 151 proof rum, lighting it, and drinking it. There were probably 10 or so people on the porch. So this guy, I think we called him "Bones," lit his glass, tossed it back and basically threw the burning alcohol all over his face. Screaming commenced. That wasn't the interesting part. The interesting part was the response from the crowd. The guy sitting next to Bones, Bill, (still a friend), and Wells, (also still a friend), immediately went to his aid. Bill pushed Bones' face down into his lap and Wells threw a towel over his head. Everyone else ran screaming into the night as if being on fire were highly contagious. Except me and one guy, that is. We did absolutely nothing. I remember feeling as if I had turned to stone. My boyfriend was standing to my right and he too had frozen solid right on the spot. We talked about that for years. Although we were totally worthless we still felt we had the right to laugh at the people who ran screaming. I'd like to think that today, I would help out. And thanks to Bill and Wells, I know what to do. Bones was okay. He had 1st degree burns and spent the rest of the week peeling his face and staying out of the sun.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Big Apple

From the end of 9th grade until the middle of my senior year, it was just Dad and me. We were major Duke fans and had season tickets. Dad was also a member of "The Iron Dukes, " which was, I'm guessing, an expensive fan club. Sometime in 1977 we went to a dinner for fans. The guest speaker was Red Auerbach. Somehow at this dinner I met Jim Spanarkel's mom. I think she and I were 2 of about 5 females at the whole big event. Although she was from Jersey and I was an NC girl, we really hit it off. She was a bit tipsy and I was used to that from living with my Dad. Jim Spanarkel was new to our team (this was all pre-season stuff) but Dad had told me what an asset he would be.

Sometime later Dad told me about an idea he had for a fun trip. He said that Duke would be playing at Madison Square Garden for a holiday double-header and thought it would be a fun Christmas trip. I hadn't flown since I was 12 - and that was the only time - plus I had never been to New York City. In North Carolina, we all said "New York City" as one word. I was pretty excited about the trip.

I spent most of the plane ride staring out the window. Once, when I reached for my Pepsi, I nearly spewed all over the plane. Dad had poured some Scotch in my Pepsi. I was pissed, he thought it was the funniest thing ever. I don't remember much about the hotel or it's location, but I'm pretty sure we were in Manhattan near Times Square. From what I remember we were there between Christmas and New Year's eve.

On our first afternoon out we stopped in a classic bar. The kind that's one long thin dark room: a bar on one wall and some booths on the opposite wall. Before we walked in I said, "I can't go in a bar." (I was 16.) Dad said, "This is New York, just be cool." So this classic New York Bartender, probably 50 or so, asks for our order. My Dad orders his bourbon and Pepsi. I said, "You've never hear of what I want." The bartender said, (and picture this with a classic NY accent), "I've been a bartender hear for 30 years, there's nothing you can order that I haven't made." So, I'm thinking "cool" and said "I'd like a Galliano and 7-up." He froze in his tracks and just looked at me and said, "Okay, you got me there." Then he made it for me. (It was a drink I made up when I used to babysit, I'll tell about that later.)

At game time we show up at MSG. We were surprised how empty the place was, but you have to remember, Duke was NOT a winning team back in those days. Hell, we used to sit holding our breath just to see if we got invited to the NIT back then. So Dad and I are walking around looking for our seats and thinking about moving down farther when we hear "Geeeewits!" Well Jim Spanarkel's mom is calling my name. By this time, we LOVE Jim as we have already seen him play. So we go over to where she is sitting with some people and sit just above them. She introduces us to her buddy, Mrs. Tripucka and tells us her son, Kelly Tripucka, who's a year behind Jim, is going to follow him to Duke. So I looked like I fool the next spring when his name came up and I told everyone I met his mom and he was coming to Duke. He went to Notre Dame.

The next night (and New Yorkers would laugh at this) we grabbed a cab and Dad just told him to just drive us around. We hadn't been riding long and we saw the sign "Dangerfield's" with a line drawing of Rodney on it. Dad told the guy to drop us there. I was wearing my "suit" a black polyester vest/pants jumpsuit with matching jacket. I thought I was all grown up looking. I don't know if you've ever been to Dangerfield's or if it's even the same, but it was a very intimate setting. Not a bad seat in the place. We were seated on the wall facing the stage which was about as far away as you could get and we were probably only 30 feet or so from the stage. I must profess here that I suck at distances. I'll just say that if you were that close to a movie screen at a theater, you would have been WAY too close.

Well Dad, being Dad, kept saying "He just owns this club, he's not going to be here. He lives in Hollywood." So they introduce some cute broad and she sings. Then a young white guy (who knows maybe he's somebody big now) came out and did some stand up. Then some John Davidson looking guy comes out, plays the piano and sings. I was having a blast. I was in "NewYorkCity" and they were bringing me screwdrivers as fast as I could drink them. Well, all of a sudden in a booming announcer voice it was something like, "Ladies and Gentlemen you've seen him on the Tonight Show and blah blah blah, Ladies and Gentlemen RODNEY DANGERFIELD!"

We just looked at each other, both thinking, "I do not fucking believe this!" So Rodney comes out and talks to the crowd. He asks everyone where they are from and then refers to them as "Wisconsin" or whatever. My dad pulls out his camera and sets it on our table. A scary looking guy runs up and hisses, "No pictures!!" So in a lull as Rodney is addressing the crowd, my Dad says, "I don't get no respect in here." Rodney says, "Hey that's my line, whattaya mean you don't get no respect in here?" My Dad says, "I pulled out my camera to take a picture for my daughter and one of your goons threatened to break my arm." Rodney says, "You want a picture with your daughter? Come on up on the stage." So we walk up there. The stage lights are in my face. Rodney says, "Your daughter, eh? Back in my day we called 'em 'my niece'." The crowd cracks up. Rodney throws his arm around me and Dad takes the picture.

About 7 years ago I sent that story and the picture to Rodney's website. I got a nice response from him. He was a really great comedian. I still can't believe how lucky we were to randomly find that place and have such a great outcome.

New Orleans (Part 3)

Trip 8 to New Orleans has a weird backstory. My sister-in law Lisa and I had never had a great history. We first met in 95. Shortly thereafter we had a "getting to know you" lunch where we exchanged horrible in-law stories and she promised to be my friend. Yeah, that didn't happen. I'd have to say it was a constant downhill progression peaking (I guess bottoming out makes more sense) at Christmas of 2000. It boiled down to the fact that I am not a morning person nor have a giant interest in seeing someone else's kids get their Santa gifts at 7:00 am Christmas morning. By this time my daughter was 16 and I had had a lifetime of Christmas morning for kids. I thought it would be better to swing by later that afternoon to bring our gifts. About 4 days before Christmas we were "disinvited" to do that. Basically if we weren't coming for the crack of dawn thing, we couldn't come at all. So we didn't. I was pretty mad, after all, we had just married about 2 1/2 weeks earlier - I was officially family now. My Sweetie (MS for short) finally called and put his foot down about her unreasonable behavior. After that we were just coolly sociable at family events. I don't know what happened on her end, but about 3 years ago she finally decided to make an effort to get to know me. She would come over alone and hang out with us. The walls finally started coming down. Spring of 2004, she called me and asked me if I would go with her to New Orleans. I was kinda anxious at the idea, but we made plans for Thanksgiving.

I think I've mentioned several times that I drink a lot of beer. In all the earlier years Liz never drank around me at family events but would occasionally call MS and talk about her great buzz from Margaritas or whatever. That was another thing that irritated me. Well what happened was somewhere in there, (fall of 2001 or so) she and her husband split up. I guess that's when she started spending more time with us. Especially after she met her current husband in 2002. We started doing a lot of stuff together. I guess she wanted everything to be different this time. She would drink and laugh and was pretty funny. So anyway, we had gotten used to each other and I knew my husband was tickled to death about our new "friendship."

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but with only 3 exceptions, I always stay at the same hotel every time I go to Vegas. Conversely, when I go to New Orleans, I always stay at a different hotel. This time I picked the Monteleone on Rue Royal. They even have room service, which in case you didn't know is not that common in the French Quarter. We left Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, and came back on Sunday. It was very interesting. I just decided to be myself and have fun. We had some good laughs like the time the bartender at that little bar across from Cafe du Monde asked how we knew each other and I said, "She's my husband's wife." I do that A LOT. When my brain has two thoughts at once such as "I'm her brother's wife," and "She's my husband's sister," things come out all mixed together. The bad part was Lisa does not know how to drink. Actually I should say "did" because she not only no longer drinks, but even goes to AA all the time. So I just drink beer all day (slow and steady wins the race) but not Lisa. She would wait til around 3:00 and then start kicking back Crown Royal shots. Fortunately I was able to water those down with some Peach Bellini's and some Bloody Mary's, but by ten or eleven at night she was pretty much a goner. I am a night owl. Thursday night I sat in the room and watched TV for a couple of hours, but Friday and Saturday night I was alone at Harrah's. Now that may sound fine and normally it would be. I've even gone to Vegas by myself twice and one of those times I had a broken foot. But if you know New Orleans, Thanksgiving weekend is the Grambling State Bayou Classic. I didn't know they would be closing the streets after the game. Lisa crashed about 7:30 pm. She said it was just a nap and to call her around 10:00 and she would meet me at Harrah's. I took a cab, no real problem. I called at 10:00 and got no answer. I waited until 10:30 to call again. At some point I remembered I needed to take my crazy pill at 11:00. She said she would see me there and bring my pill. Finally about 11:30 I went out to go back to the room. The streets were crazy. There was to be no taking of cabs. I figured she found this out and changed her mind. I walked quite a clip up Canal St. to the room through the teeming masses of crazed football fans. I got to the room and Lisa was sound asleep. I was quite revved up from the walk, took my crazy pill and decided to walk back to Harrah's. It was about midnight and I was alone. So I took my Swiss army knife and held it in my hand in my Levi's denim jacket pocket and walked briskly down Canal, singing and talking to myself the whole time. I was trying to look like a crazy person and I guess it worked. I played some more poker, won some more money and then made that crazy walk back up Canal St. around 3:00 or so. The crowd had thinned and that was actually scarier. We left the next day. That was my last trip.

So I had 8 trips that actually happened and the 2 that did not. I was supposed to go on the 29th of October, 1998, with my Dad. It was going to be our make-up trip for when he had broken his foot. He died on the 9th. And if you read the earlier post you'd know my daughter and I were going to go October 10th. That one will also not happen. Hurricane Katrina has suggested we go to Vegas instead. The picture above is Liz and I (in blue) at the Besh Steak House at Harrah's. We made friends with that couple at the next table and talked away at dinner and then never saw them again. That's what vacations are all about.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

One Strange Cat

Eight years ago when my daughter was about to turn 13, I offered ear piercing as a birthday gift. For some crazy reason she turned that down and said she wanted a cat. We already had 2 cats. Sammy was clearly MY cat just as Jake was My Sweetie's cat. It was perfectly obvious that Kate would not be a good cat owner. For some reason we caved and my Mom told us about a little pet store in Arlington that had a few poor kitties in cages. I called and the idiot teen that answered the phone could not answer a single question without putting me on hold for each and every question and the questions were: 1) How many cats do you have? 2) How many are female? and 3) What colors are the females? We had to get a female because the our two were male. He finally got back on the phone and said they had two females: one white and one speckled. He was clearly not a cat person. I don't particularly like white cats, but we drove over there anyway. Well the "white" cat was the beautiful cat in the picture which we believe is a Seal Point Ragdoll - - so we fell in love and brought her home. Kate named her Lilly. We set up everything for her in Kate's room for the adjustment time before introducing her to the other cats. So a typical day went like this: Me walking into the living room to see Kate lying on the sofa reading a book. Me: "Kate why aren't you in your room keeping Lilly company." Kate: "I don't know. This is more comfortable." So I spent hours at a time in Kate's room playing with the new kitty and teaching her to use the scratch post. By the time we made the introductions amongst the cats, Lilly was MY cat. My Mom believes she was a breeder "throwaway." Her little blue eyes constantly dart back and forth, side to side, almost like a weird vibration. The Vet said she was probably brain damaged, and she's always been very shy.

My husband and I are very casual. We eat dinner every night sitting on the floor at the coffee table. Under the coffee table is an 8' x 5' area rug. Generally the cats stay on the carpet, just off the area rug, in what I call the "bunny sit" which is all paws tucked underneath. On occasion when one of them ventures too close, we rattle a newspaper at them and yell "Not on the rug!" About a week ago, I was engrossed in whatever we were watching on TV when I noticed that Lilly's nose was practically on the coffee table, just to my right. For some reason, instead of grabbing a newspaper, I said (in a very loud voice), "Hey! Rug rule!" She walked to just off the area rug and "bunny sat" on the carpet. My husband and I just looked at each other in stunned silence. She's done it two more times since then and it is not any less weird. How is it that our odd little brain-damaged cat understands "Rug rule?"

I've read lots of blogs and usually at this point people say something like "If you're not a cat person, sorry for boring you." Yeah, I'm not like that. If you don't like cats, I just feel sorry for you. Cats are cool. Lolo took a picture of me with a cat in the courtyard/cemetery behind St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. I've thought about that very friendly cat a lot in the past week. I hope he's okay.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

New Orleans (part 2)

After my 3rd "annual" October Vegas trip with Lolo, I was getting kind of burnt out on Vegas. Our last annual trip was October 2001. I used the excuse that my daughter was graduating (May 2002) and that all my money at that point would go toward her college. Kate graduated with about every honor she could get, was 12th in her class, and was awarded the President's Scholarship from Baylor. It paid $7,000 per semester. That left me with about $8,000 per semester. So basically I wasn't lying about not having money for Vegas. But what happened was, Kate did not show up for school after Christmas break (this was January 2003). I will condense like crazy here because I'm saving this whole part for another story. Anyway, I tossed her out on her ear, so now all my money was mine again.

After a couple of months of feeling blue about that whole thing, I called Lolo and offered her a trip to New Orleans for May of 2003. I told her I felt bad that she didn't get to experience N'awlins in style the first time, and that this time we would do it right. I was also going thru a museum phase and wanted to see the New Orleans Museum in City Park. I booked a room at the Ste. Helene in the French quarter and arranged with the lady there to have us a limo for Monday for a tour of cemeteries, the Garden District, and Lake Pontchartrain. The museum was closed on Monday so we had to do that on Sunday. I believe our trip was Friday thru Tuesday, so Saturday was to be a "casual day" of recovery and wandering around. On Sunday we went for lunch before heading out to the museum. As we headed back to the hotel to brush our teeth and stuff before our museum trip we saw a limo out front. I honestly didn't think a thing of it. When we walked in, the desk clerk said, "Here's your limo driver." I said, "No. That's tomorrow. Today is the museum. The museum is closed tomorrow, that's why we are doing the limo tomorrow." Well SHE freaked out and insisted I was wrong. Anyway, I walked the limo guy out, apologized profusely and promised him that he would be well compensated the next day. So she just glared at us the rest of the day. The museum was okay, but nothing compared to the Corcoran in D.C. and the Kimbell here in Fort Worth. And it is HARD to get a cab out of City Park. The next day we are ready and waiting for our Limo driver at 2:00. He was so cool. His name is Peter Batiste and if you've been to Jazzfest you may have seen him with the Batiste Brothers, although he is actually a cousin. The three of us got on so well, and he actually told us he was glad the day was wrong before, because they had had a gig Saturday night and he had been up very late. I also had him run us by The Old World Inn I had stayed in the first time. I got out and went to the door and it was locked. There were some people on the balcony overhead. I said, "Is this the Old World Inn?" They were very rude, I don't even remember what they said. I said, "Oh, this was the first place I stayed in New Orleans years ago and I wanted to show my friend." They said, "We'll let you in for $20." I think I either said "Fuck you assholes!" or "Kiss my ass!" and jumped into the limo and told Peter to drive away quickly. Maybe the flatulent Dutch guys bought it. I also used this trip to take lots of scenic and architectural pictures and have some framed here in the house now. It was a great trip. (The pic is us at Lake Pontchartrain.)

I think I'll save the last trip for later. After being so teary-eyed watching the news lately, it's nice to remember the good times about my favorite city. I wish her a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Labor Day Weekend

Holiday Mondays always disorient me. It wasn't until 5:00 today that I realized it was Monday. I always wash the sheets on Monday, so I was finally making the bed tonight at 10 pm. On Sunday we went to my Mom's for a good ole' Labor Day weekend type event, which is odd because none of us are generally traditional about holidays. I just thought it would be fun to swim in the pool. We have a large outdoor spa, but it's not the same as a regular swimming pool. My daughter Kate went with us. She's 21 and lives on her own. I never even mentioned it to her because I assumed she would be working, but my Mom had e-mailed her. We stopped by a dollar store on the way to get a ball to play with in the pool. She went in and got a blow-up Barbie pool ball. I don't know why but we all thought that was hilarious. It was the usual sort of gathering for my family: The 3 generations of the female persuasion consumed mass quantities of beer and yapped non-stop. My step-dad made one tiny appearance after a couple of hours. He stayed inside to watch golf. My husband mostly hung out with us and made occasional witty comments. Because of my parents and my daughter all "starving to death," we ended up eating about 3 hours earlier than my husband and I are used to. It was fun though, we had the standard holiday fare of hotdogs, potato salad and coleslaw. After we ate I experimented with frozen peach Bellini's. I really trashed my Mom's kitchen but they were pretty good. I'll probably be sore tomorrow from all my "swimming." I just hope I don't wake up, think it's Monday, and wash the sheets again.

Friday, September 02, 2005

New Orleans

The first time I went to New Orleans was Thanksgiving weekend back in '90 or '91 (I'm terrible with dates). I was with my second husband, henceforth known as H2, when we decided to plan a trip there. This was pre-internet, at least for us, so I called the New Orleans COC and asked for information. They sent me a nice 4" X 8 1/2" glossy booklet with pull-out maps. H2 was rather miserly, although he made good money, so we were looking for something very inexpensive. We settled on The Old World Inn, which had a nice write-up. It was located in the Garden District, on Prytania, which is only one block south of St. Charles between Thalia and Erato. Neither of us had been to NO, obviously, so we were very excited. Well the inn was basically a large OLD house. Our room was basically a very small bedroom with a bricked over fireplace, a tiny closet, a tiny bathroom, a bed, and a chair. There was a locked door just to the right of our entry door that we discovered was the "dividing wall" between our room and the next room's bathroom. So basically we heard every single sound that the two male Dutch travelers made while in their bathroom. Sometimes it was really gross (I guess spicy food did not agree with the Dutch) and sometimes we just tried not to laugh out loud. The first day we took the trolley (running on St. Charles) into the French Quarter, but for some insane reason, the next day, we decided to walk. DO NOT attempt walking from the Garden District to the French Quarter unless you are one of those athletes that likes pain. I don't remember how we got back that day. It was late afternoon and H2 had to take a nap, so I took my ice chest down to the common room to sit and drink beer. Some guy came down and tinkled with the piano. I offered him a beer and found out he was from Essex. It took me forever to understand his accent. We talked for several hours before H2 came down and joined us. Billy (the Brit) was so entertaining (and was there alone) that we asked him to join us for the evening. This time we took a cab into the Quarter. We also spent the next evening with him. We kept in touch for years thru Christmas cards. That's about all I remember from the first trip.

Trip 2
My second venture was a trip with my Dad. We loved to travel together. Dad lived in N.C., I was in Texas so naturally we missed each other. We were both party animals. Our trip was planned around Halloween of 95. About 2 weeks before our trip Dad calls to say he broke his ankle. He was roller-skating with a girl younger than me. He insists he still wants to go. I'm greeted at the airport by my Dad in a wheelchair holding his crutches. An airport person is pushing him around. Okay remember the Old World Inn? This time we have a suite with a full living room, dining room and kitchen and private courtyard. Dad gives the bellman $100 to get us a couple of cases of beer and some snacks. It was the St. Marie on Toulouse. It was on the corner of Bourbon St. and our suite was ON Bourbon Street. Every morning the street cleaner woke me up. A very loud machine. I slept on the couch. That window was on Bourbon. Dad was nestled cozily far away in the bedroom. We never went very far because of Dad's crutches. Halloween night, he put out an extra effort because the crowd was crazy. My costume was Tonya Harding from the famous broken shoelaces event. I was quite thin because I had just stopped dancing that year after 4 straight years of ballet, modern, jazz, and dance aerobics. I wore a little red outfit with skating tights and some rollerskates without wheels. I pulled my hair straight back into a ponytail (it was lighter red then) and the topper was using mascara to make fake roots on my hairline. It was practically a cheap site gag with Dad being on crutches. You can imagine the comments. Dad used to love to tell people that he heard someone walk by and say, "That IS Tonya Harding!" I didn't hear it but it wouldn't surprise me. It WAS New Orleans. Oh, and by this time I was a big Anne Rice fan. One afternoon we found a cab driver that drove us to the house that was on the cover of The Witching Hour. That was cool.

Trip 3
Finally my significant other at the time (now my husband) was talked into going to New Orleans. That was Thanksgiving '97. Being the big Anne Rice fan I just had to stay at Place de Armes which is mentioned in Interview With a Vampire. It's really nice and I would recommend it to anyone. It's on St. Ann which runs to the west of Jackson Square and is only a half block north. Also, as you step out of Place de Armes and turn right on St. Ann, there is a grocery store just up the street. On this trip, the gambling riverboats had started up, so we went there most nights. One night we went to that really upscale strip bar on Bourbon Street. We kinda wanted to hurry back to our hotel after a bit (now why was that?) and were feeling very good. Although I'm terrified of horses, I was in a great mood and reached out to pet one of those carriage horses and it chomped me on my right forearm, just above the elbow. I didn't let it break my mood at the time although it freaked me out. I was wearing a Levi's denim jacket, thank goodness, but for a bout a week I could barely move my fingers and I had GIANT bruises on my arm. My Sweetie (henceforth known as MS) still teases me about that.

Trip 4
This one is weird because I have very little memory of it. I know why now. I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress and did not know it. My Dad died in October 98 at his retirement party and I witnessed the whole "CLEAR" thing they do with the paddles and all. I guess I thought New Orleans would soothe my soul. We went in March '99 just after Mardi Gras. The good part about that is the decorations are still everywhere but EVERYTHING is on sale. I could probably figure out where we stayed if I searched the net. It was nice and large. Maybe on the corner of Bourbon and Dumaine. I think they even had room service which is rare in NO. It had a large inner courtyard. About the only thing I remember clearly is there was a constant light drizzle, so we just bought hats and trucked along. I think Harrahs was there now also, so I'm sure we gambled a bit. Yes it was. I remember they used to do a parade thru the casino. It was wild and they would throw beads.

Trip 5
Okay this one sucked. Not because of New Orleans. NO was my saving grace. It was my brother. We had gone through a lot together because of losing our Dad. I thought it would be a great time to reconnect. He lives in N.C., I'll call him Jack (short for Jackass). So we meet up in NO in April 2000. It started out fine. The very first morning he starts asking when I'll be ready. Remember that I have this anxiety disorder and do not "go about" until I've had lots of beer. So I'm telling him to go out for a bit and come back. Oh no, he has to wait for me. At this point I had had several trips with Lolo who is a girl in her 20's and had no problem wandering about on her own. So for a tall man, that's older than me to not be able to go out on his own seemed ridiculous. After watching him pace about over and over I finally got moving. We were at the Royal Sonesta which has a whole block (Bourbon, Conti, Royal and Bienville are the streets around the hotel). Very nice, but no room service. I get ready, the afternoon starts out fine. We stop in at one of the nicer places - actual glasses instead of plastic cups. I see him write on a matchbook and hand it to the bartender. What was that? He tells me he's looking for coke. I was furious! I finish my beer and walk out and he tells me he's going to "a place" to get some coke and I was like, "Well I'm gonna sit in this bar and drink." It was one of those bars with the wall of frozen drinks swishing around. So he comes back after about 20 minutes and I'm madder than a badger in an alligator pit. His search had fallen through so we decide to drop the subject and try to have fun. We go to this really cool bar on Bourbon (the one with 3 for one) and sit, people watch, and even dance. He was was always a great dance partner. So we go to Harrah's. After like 20 minutes he says he's not into gambling, so he leaves (OH now he can do something by himself). About 2 hours later, I'm thinking I'll go back to the room, take a nap and hit Bourbon Street later. I let myself into the room (which is in my name, by the way) and he freaks out. "What are you doing here?" Uhm, I was gonna take a nap. "You have to leave, I'm having a hooker come here." I asked "How the hell did you meet a hooker?" He says, "I found her in the yellow pages." Okay now my adrenaline is up and I'm not so sleepy. I catch a cab and go back to Harrah's. The next day, I'm still trying to just have fun. We go back to the cool 3 for 1 bar that afternoon. After a bit, he leaves our table and walks to the end of the bar near the door to talk to some shady looking guys. After 20 minutes or so, I walk over there. One guy has like 4 teeth. Jack says he's going with them to get some coke. I'm like "Are you INSANE!!??!!" He says meet me back here at 6:00. I go to Harrah's, start running a little late, get back to that bar at about 6:10. I sat there from 6:10 until about 7:30 thinking the whole time that he was dead and that his kids would never forgive me. I was drinking like a madwoman because I was so tense, so I finally decided I had to go back to the room and nap. I walk into the room and they are smoking pot, cutting lines and drinking MY beer. Yeah, with that adrenaline burst, the whole nap desire thing goes right out the window. I had to pee and walked right thru the room with my purse and my beer to the bathroom. So I'm in the bathroom, just furious, thinking "Okay all these drugs are in this room in my name. It's my fucking room and I have to take my purse and beer with me into the bathroom!!??!!" I walked out and said "I'm going to Harrah's. Don't drink my beer." So about 3 or 4 in the morning I let myself into the room. I shake my ice chest and it feels very heavy. For some reason I look in. It is full. Of ice. I went berserk. My idiot loser brother was snoring away on his bed and I just started screeching at him. He mumbles, "I'll go get your beer right now, SNOOORE." So I go back out on the street in a rage. Hail a cab and tell him to take me to that grocery store on St. Ann. He thought I was a local. That was funny. I get into the store and my brain goes all TIVO on me. Our first day here, brother was an ass at one bar about what beers they offered. I played the whole conversation back (funny what rage can do) and I remembered he said "I'd rather drink piss than drink Coors Light." So I bought Coors Light even though it's not my beer, hopped back into my cab, went back to my room and slept like a lamb. It was our last night. His plane left about 3 hours before mine (Nelson says Ha-Hah). I heard him get up and get ready and acted like I was asleep the whole time. When he opened the door to leave, I pretended to groggily wake up. We said goodbye.

Trip 6
This one was just goofy as hell. Lolo and I had decided to make a tradition of going to Vegas in honor of my Dad. We would call it his Deathaversary. If that freaks you out, you obviously didn't know my Dad. I met her at my Dad's. She had known him since she was 16. She lived about 3 houses down (actually, up, hill-wise). She was even our driver to my Dad's retirement party. We really didn't know each other but had a connection of some sort. When we got to the retirement party, and I'll never understand this, we found out our dining room was non-smoking. In North Carolina. So she and I kept going to the bar to smoke together. Well the rest of the night was a blur what with my Dad dying and all. I want to save that for another entry so I'll move along. Lolo was one of the first to call and ask if I needed anything. She brought me food. She took me to the mall to get my clove cigarettes (yeah we can laugh now. what was I thinking?) She was very helpful. Also on a later trip back to do the estate sale she came to my hotel to visit. I'll move along. I called her probably July of '99 and basically said, "Hi this is geewits, Jack Senior's daughter, (although I must make it clear that my dad was not a jackass, but since I named my brother that and he was named for him yadayadayada) Okay so Lolo was like "Yeah?" I said, "I've been thinking and I think I'm gonna lose it on my Dad's deathaversary so how about we go to Vegas together. I think He'd like that." Well instead of being freaked out she was all for it. We had a killer time -> for another post. Anyway, what happened was, on this second Vegas trip she brought her friend from NC. Her friend was seriously addicted to her boyfriend. I'll call her Beth. Beth's boyfriend's name is Jessie. So every 20 minutes when Beth would feel the need to call Jessie, Lolo and I would sing "Jessie's Girl" If you don't know this song, you are lucky. Well what happened then was Beth couldn't stand being away from Jessie. I wasn't really paying attention until Lolo showed up at the Nile Bar at the Luxor to meet me and was freaking out because Beth had left. I'm thinking that was a Wednesday and we were leaving on Friday, but don't quote me. Well Lolo was seriously pissed. So whatever day we left Vegas, we were pulling into the airport in our cab and I said, "When do you have to be back at work?" She said, "Monday." I said "Do you want to go to New Orleans?" Lolo was VERY hungover. She was like "Whut? I said, "let's go to New Orleans!" The cab driver cracked up. Lolo said to the cab driver, "You're laughing but you don't know her." Then she said okay. I was pretty buzzed so I don't remember all the dealing with the airlines. It wasn't that bad. The bad part was trying to get a hotel room. I was in an airport bar so all I had was a cell phone. I made about 9000 calls. I finally got us some place that I couldn't tell you today where it was except it was next to a raised highway that emergency vehicles really like to use. And when I say next to the highway, I mean it was like 20 feet from our window. If we were not buzz cats, we would have not gotten any sleep at all. So we wake up in the world's loudest hotel room and realize all our clothes are dirty. I don't remember this part, but we ended up at a laundromat - except they do it right on Bourbon Street. Maybe our cab driver knew. I don't remember. So we drop our clothes and walk down Bourbon and it's like a ghost town. This is like 1:30 on a Thursday afternoon. Okay this part cracks me up. We go to a restaurant on a second floor balcony on Bourbon St. I keep saying, "Seriously, by 8:00 tonight this street will be insane." She so obviously did not believe me. hee heee. Man I got to tease her about that forever. We picked up our clothes and headed back to Hell Hotel but we were so happy to have our clean clothes. For some insane reason, I decided we needed to do a Riverboat ride. We made reservations and then of course partied like loons the night before. We actually made it there and all I wanted was more alcohol. She's not like me and wanted food. The boat started up and we spent about an hour talking about what our hangovers felt like. Maybe less. I finally convinced her that alcohol would make her feel better. She got some food and a beer. I got beer. We were sitting right on the rail of the boat and we both love water. At some point I noticed these Japanese men were giggling their butts off. I watched and realized they were taking turns sitting at the table next to us and the other ones would take pictures. Basically, they were setting up the shot so that it looked like each guy was sitting between us. I thought it was hilarious and told Lolo and for some reason it made her crazy mad. She ran them off. That's about all I remember from that trip but it was fun.

I have 2 more New Orleans trips but I have run out of steam. So I will do part 2 later. I'm so heartbroken over the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, but it's nice to remember the good times.