Tag Archives: memoir

Sleep Talking 32: The Snake

I’m currently reading Augusten Burroughs’ A Wolf at the Table, which is a memoir about his father, and I know some people have had issues with the story because he starts with “memories” from when he’s a toddler, but you know what, I’m okay with that. But it’s a hard read, because all he wants is affection and love, and his mom has some problems with her mental health, and from what I can tell so far, his dad is insane and possibly dangerous. I keep telling Drew, “You have to be a loving father. You have to give him lots of attention.”

Anyway. I was reading last night, and then I turned off the light, and Drew said,

“Did that snake come to bed with you?”

I said, “What?!”

And he said, “The snake. On your shoulders.”

EXCUSE ME? Ew! And for the record, NO.

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Filed under Books, Drew, Sleep talking

I Got Layers

I got a haircut today, perhaps the first one in a year. And I was thinking about how it’s basically my fantasy to have a hairdresser standing behind me in the mirror, looking thoughtful, and then they say, “Would you trust me to try something different here?” I would be like, “YES!” But what happens instead is they ask what I want, and I stammer out some haircut terms I’ve heard on TV, and then I either walk out looking much the same, or maybe with shorter hair.

Today, I look much the same. But in a good way. I like my new layers, and I enjoyed the “treat yo’self” feelings of someone else washing my hair. But it still makes me think of this blog post I wrote in 2008 about getting my hair cut in New York, the first time (since the age of 6) I got bangs.

==

Hairdressers, and the Women They Laugh At

America’s Next Top Model.  Project Runway.  Tabatha’s Salon Takeover.  What Not To Wear.

These are just a few of the shows on TV now that take ordinary people who look like me or only slightly better, sit them down, and employ a professional to tell those ordinary people exactly what is going to happen to them.  Be it color, cut, makeup, or wardrobe, those people can rest assured that they are not being judged or made fun of, but that said professionals are there to help them look beautiful.  Is it really hard to believe that while watching the stylist of ANTM hack off Samantha’s long blonde hair, or give Elina a curly red weave, both of which come out looking amazing, that I can only say wistfully to anyone who will listen, “I wish Tyra Banks and her stylists would show up here and make me over!”

Alas, walking into a salon is not a screen test to get on one of these shows, and after today, I think I have nearly as high a level of Salon Anxiety as I do of White Coat Syndrome.  (White Coat Syndrome being, of course, that uncontrollable anxiety around doctors, even when they are doing the most unobtrusive of check-ups.)  For weeks – possibly months – I have been talking to myself about getting bangs.  Studying other’s people’s bangs, trying to fold my hair across my forehead looking into a mirror, and going through magazines and online articles about Best Bangs For You.  Finally I made an appointment at Nola’s in our neighborhood (it’s Salon backwards, how clever is that?) and I went down there this afternoon.

They are all legitimately Irish, which is charming as all get-out, and they’re very nice people, but I do not speak the salon language.  I had, however, spent days prepping my explanation of what I wanted, so that when she said, “What are we doing today?” (in an Irish accent), I replied without hesitation, “I would like to keep most of the length, but do some shorter layers for body, and also I think I would like…bangs.”  (Note: I had promised Liz I would say “fringe” but I was too nervous.)

She sat me down and started combing and everything was great, until she held a up a piece from the back and looked at me in the mirror and said, “How long would you like your layers?”  And I couldn’t even respond, I had no answer.  I pretty much said, “I don’t know.”  I don’t know!  Long enough to keep with the length – short enough so they are layers?  Why can I not go into a salon and say, “Make me pretty”?  I think she might have laughed at me a little bit when I said I didn’t know – I think this was the same girl I had last time, months ago, and we had a similar run in: When it was time for the blow-drying, she said, “How would you like it dried?”  And I said, “So it’s…dry?  And pretty?”  And she said, “Would you like it straight, or flips…?”  And I said, “Flips?”  And she said, “Flips?”  And I said, “Yes, let’s do flips,” which ended up being curls at the end, which looked lovely, but she did laugh at me a little bit then too.

So today she had to tell me how long she would do the layers, and I said that was great, and she continued cutting.  When she got to the bangs part, she combed them out and then said, “You’re sure?” in the way that you would confirm the first cut of any big operation, and I said, “Yes,” and then watched my blonder front hair fall into my lap.  She blew them out and sort of curled them under after she had finished everything else.

I love the layers, partly because they are all flippy at the ends (see? flips).  The bangs I am not so sure on.  To my still a little shellshocked eyes, I look like a cross between Peg from Lady and the Tramp, and a 12 year old at a school dance in 1998.  Drew, who says he would tell me the truth but who I don’t completely trust in for the whole truth, says it looks like Anne Hathaway’s hair in The Devil Wears Prada.  He just knows I think she’s beautiful though.  So I am still unsure about them, although I sort of wish I had gone with my hesitant instinct and not done the bangs – I can always start pinning them back and let them grow out.  C’est la vie.

Also, why is it that no matter how much makeup I put on, I get in the chair with nothing to look at but my face and my wet clumpy hair hanging all over or clipped on top of my head – and I am always ashamed with how I look.  It must be the wet clumpy hair, but I can never prepare myself for that.

In short, please, TV (Bravo in particular), stop lying to me and making me think that hairdressers want to tell me exactly what they are going to do to make me beautiful.  Also, if there is anyone out there who is a hairdresser, I will pay you good money to be a Tyra Banks to my Lauren.  Doesn’t that sound like a good deal?  Also, Liz, I hope your wedding is themed “Full House children” because then I will fit right in.

[The best part is, I then included a picture of myself with my new bangs, which I remember thinking was so weird-looking, but it really just looks like me now, except like seven years younger. Oh, and these are the bangs that ended up growing out and disappearing. This new iteration of bangs that I have now started in 2010.]

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Filed under Beauty, Being a girl, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, TV

Parenting is a ball

Tonight we went and had dinner with Drew’s parents, his brother, and his brother’s fiancee. We were having a great time, powering through the fact that our little munchkin apparently skipped his nap today. He was a little whiny during dinner, but when the cake came out (our nearly-sister-in-law’s birthday was this weekend), B perked up and ate a whole (small) piece of cake with an adult fork. How cute!

He chased the dogs around and played with toys and looked at the fish in the pond. Everything was going so great.

Then he picked up a piece of pottery (which I suspected he thought was a ball, and would bounce) and he hurled it onto the floor, where it shattered. I attempted a time out (always tricky at someone else’s house) while Drew cleaned up. Then we got him out of there.

Once he knew he was in trouble, he remembered how tired he was, and was mad we were leaving his grandparents behind, so he was off-and-on upset all the way home and then into pajamas and then into bed. (Where he immediately fell asleep. So…)

I went to take a shower, and I wanted to do something nice for Drew, so I tried to use B’s bath crayons to write a nice, loving note on the shower wall. I used orange because it’s what was in there. I’m glad it wasn’t red.

Because no matter how hard I tried to smoosh the crayon into the wall so it would stay there, it slooooowlyyyy ran down the wall in streaks, making the shower look like a murder scene. Like if the cast of Real Housewives got murdered there.

So now there’s a drippy, orange love message on our shower wall, and I just hope he sees it soon enough before it fades into smeary nothingness.

Some days you win, some days not so much.

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Filed under Children, Drew, Family, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome

The Correct Way to Work a Holiday Gift Exchange

Tonight is our work holiday party, complete with yankee swap gift exchange. In honor of this tradition, I thought I would reuse this blog post from a few years back, which basically sums up my priorities and my wisdom in one anecdote.

Originally posted on Dec 14, 2011.

==

Alternate title: My Shameful, Gleeful Secret.

Despite knowing about my work holiday party, and the “yankee swap” type gift exchange, I didn’t remember to buy a gift until the day of the party. (Also despite browsing at Macy’s over the weekend, picking things up and wondering if they were appropriate for a holiday gift exchange.)

On my lunch break I ran to Target to pick up some boring stuff and also look for a gift. On the drive there I decided to buy a book, because I’ve talked about books with several other people here, and I thought that would be a nice diversion from the numerous bottles of wine that I was sure would be there.

I looked through the book section, but there wasn’t really much of interest. There was a wall of trashy teen romance, a wall of trashy adult romance, a wall of trashy thriller/suspense…and then I saw a single copy of Stephen King’s recent collection of novellas: Full Dark, No Stars.

I know of at least two other people in the office who like Stephen King, and he’s pretty mainstream, so I thought it would be a better gift than, you know, Twilight or The Chocolate Cat Caper or something like that. (Although, I also thought about getting Dollhouse, the book “written” by the three Kardashians.)

So I bought the book and wrapped it in a little bag, and told no one except Jonathan what it was. I deposited it under the tree at the holiday party and waited for the gift exchange to begin.

Soon I started feeling like I needed to leave the party soon – later that night Drew, Erin and I were going to a screening of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – and for a minute or two I wondered if I could get the present back out the door if I left before we started the swap.

But then we all settled down and the fun began, and I’m glad I stayed, because it was super fun. The entire thing (there were around 30 people participating) took about 90 minutes.

I was number 26 in the lineup and I had decided I wouldn’t just select my own gift, even though Full Dark, No Stars was one of the few Stephen King books I didn’t own. When my turn came, I stole a set of balsamic vinegar and olive oil from someone else, and I was very happy with that steal. After all, I could always go back to Target and buy another copy of the book.

In a few more turns, a girl sitting next to me selected my gift, and once she’d unwrapped it, she looked less than enthusiastic. No one seemed to want to steal it either. Perhaps I had completely misjudged this group – and neither of the people who I know like Stephen King were at the party.

In another few turns, the hostess of the party stole my balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and I made a snap decision to steal Full Dark, No Stars. Which I did. That girl opened another present and seemed much happier with it. No one stole the book from me after that.

When I got home, I told Drew the whole story and then displayed the book, and he said, “Well, I guess that worked out perfectly.”

And it did.

Merry Christmas!

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Filed under Awesome, Books, Holidays, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Work

tbt: Theatre Obsessions

I remember this one time, in my sophomore year of college, there was this production of Falsettos. I wasn’t working on the show but I had seen it a couple times – I don’t think we ever ran a show longer than two weekends, but I had to go to a tech rehearsal for a class. I had become obsessed with the show…an obsession that’s lasted for the next decade.

It was a Sunday night, closing night of Falsettos. I wanted to go see it one more time. But there was another show closing that weekend – a one-man show by another student. I’ll call him Ivan. The show was called Ivan on Ivan: In Reverb! Good gravy.

I had promised the stage manager of the show, a friend of mine and someone I looked up to, that I would come see his show that night. But by late afternoon I was just lying on the floor of our apartment, tormented because I wanted to take my very last opportunity to see Falsettos. I was completely torn. I was a little over-dramatic.

The moral twin of my Gemini sensibility must have been on duty that night, because I went to Ivan on Ivan: In Reverb! But I regretted it almost immediately. I mean, it was just ridiculous. At intermission, I left and went down the street to Falsettos, where I snuck into the back. Man, that’s a good show.

The thing about theatre is that if you love something, there really isn’t a way to just save it and rewatch it. Even a bootleg version of something isn’t the same as being there. And I know there’s bad theatre. I have seen bad theatre. I have peeked at my phone to see how much longer this act could possibly be. I have left things at intermission (not often, but I’ve done it). I’ve seen things out of an obligation and not necessarily out of joy.

But then there are the things that you can’t get enough of. When I saw Wicked for the first time (cheesy example, I know), it was the first time in years and years of shows that the curtain call ended, the lights came up, and I was like, “Okay, reset everything, I will watch this all again from the beginning RIGHT NOW.”

I went years without having that feeling about a show. But I am having it again. Right now. (This is not a marketing ploy.)

My work is currently presenting Sweeney Todd. I love Sweeney Todd. It’s one of my favorite musicals. This particular production has something extra. It’s addictive. I can’t stop watching it. It has been running for the last three weeks, and closes this Sunday. I have seen it five times so far, which is already two times more than I have seen any other work show. I saw it yesterday and again today. I am sitting here debating whether I should go back for the closing performance on Sunday night. The only reason I’m not sprawled out on the carpet, conflicted over my decision, is that I have a couple days to work it out. If I don’t go, I will never see this particular production, with this particular cast and set and direction again. But maybe the five times I’ve gone should be enough.

This time, instead of missing out on a student-written one-man show, I would be missing out on precious weekend time with my family. I would be driving all the way down the peninsula a whole extra time. But I would be helping out by filling a seat, and I would be getting one more chance to bask in the pure joy that I experience while watching a show about an insane guy who kills people, and his girlfriend who bakes them into pies. “God That’s Good.”

I think I might have my answer.

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Filed under Awesome, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Theatre, Work

The Weekend of Rachael

I have this story to tell, but I started writing it a week ago, and then I thought, “Wouldn’t this be so cool if I did it to the tune of the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air?” And then I never got around to writing it, and now it’s been a week, and I’m afraid if I don’t just tell you, it’ll be too late anyway.

So. Here’s what happened last weekend (as in 10 days ago).

No, I have to go back a little farther. I’m in this Facebook group for moms. It’s been going strong for almost 3 years, and I joined way back in April of 2012, when I went public about being pregnant with B. A coworker invited me to this group that her friend had started, which was, at the time, about 20 women around the country who were all pregnant. It was a fun group of people, and I liked it.

As fun, likable things do, it’s grown considerably. At present count, the group boasts over 100 members, and is relatively drama-free. (You might laugh, but consider what I just said: it’s over 100 women, mostly semi-hidden behind the anonymity of the internet, all engaged in parenting: the activity that turns you into a hormonal, defensive, stressed, confused, second-guesser.) But the group is supportive, it’s helpful, we send each other outgrown Halloween costumes and do Secret Santa gift exchanges and get together when it’s possible and tell each other what HFM/blocked tear ducts/normal diaper rash looks like.

One of the women from the original group (let’s call her Rachael) lived in Nebraska with her husband and her one child and her pregnant belly when I first e-met her. She was one of the women that I really took a shine to. We talked outside of the group, sent each Christmas cards, etc. This summer, she moved to Nevada with her (now three!) kids.

And last weekend, on a complete whim and a prayer, she hopped on a plane and flew to the Bay Area to meet a bunch of other moms in real life for the first time.

See, I had invited the Bay Area contingent of this group to come see the show my work is currently producing. We were going on Sunday afternoon. Jokingly, Rachael started talking about flying out to come with us. We egged her on and offered our couches, and the next thing I know, there I am at the airport picking her up.

Earlier that day, Drew had asked me if I was at all worried that she was catfishing us. I didn’t think that was likely, as it has been 2 1/2 years and that’s a very long con. But when I was waiting at the terminal, and she texted and said, “I just walked outside,” and all I could see was a tall guy standing on the curb – I did have a moment of “Uh-oh…” Luckily, then I saw Rachael a little further down and everything was fine.

It turns out she is just as lovely in person as she is online. She stayed over at my place on Friday night, then on Saturday we did brunch and hung out with some of the group in the East Bay, she stayed with another friend on Saturday night, and then a third friend on Sunday night. I hope it was as fun and casual as it all sounds – it was certainly gutsy to fly somewhere new to stay with a bunch of strangers, and I really hope that it paid off for her.

It did for us – it was awesome to get to meet a pseudo-celebrity, for one…I was a little star-struck. But for another, well, we Bay Area members have historically put a lot of planning into each meet up. Having this last-minute weekend happen where we pulled it together for multiple meals and hanging out – well, maybe it taught us to loosen up a little bit. Also, most of the hanging out didn’t involve children (ironic, since that’s what brought us all together), so maybe it also taught us that we can be friends based on our actual relationships, and not just based on the fact that we all have kids.

At any rate. It was an awesome, whirlwind, crazy weekend, and it all went by too fast. I had an amazing time. I hope we can do more stuff like that in the future. So thank you to Rachael for kicking it all off and taking a chance on us! And thanks for not being a catfisher or a murderer!

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Filed under Awesome, Being a girl, Celebrities, Friends, Nonfiction, Travel

tbt: Moving to New York (2006)

We moved from Davis to New York EIGHT YEARS AGO. It’s backwards to do the tbt post of “moving back home” before the tbt post of “moving out there,” but that’s the way it happened. (By about three weeks.)

It’s a little Dear Diary, but here’s what I posted on my LiveJournal eight years ago today.

==

We started out this morning before even false dawn.

Drew and I woke up before the alarm, but neither of us is sure from what. We made it all the way out into the car (about 4:40 am) before I realized I couldn’t find my wallet. Half an hour (and 2 frantic calls to my parents, and 2 frantic calls to Erin’s parents) later, we discovered it had somehow gotten into the bag of stuff for Erin. By 5:20 we were on our way to Oakland. The security was not bad, my carry-on was randomly searched and it was discovered (drumroll, please) that I was carrying a contraband stuffed dolphin apparently belonging to the security guard’s daughter. After asking me some rough questions (“You have my daughter’s dolphin, what are you doing with that?”), he softened up and I found out she was 3 years old and collected plush marine life.

We boarded the plane; the flight was uneventful; Bravo (in its first big act of betrayal against me) showed a marathon of people playing poker, rather than the Project Runway marathon I’d hoped for. (JetBlue gives everyone little TV screens and like 30 channels, or something. Nice, but there was really nothing on. Maybe because it was stupid o’clock in the morning.)

We landed; we got a cab; it cost us $50; we made it to our apartment. I am so not afraid of living here. Honestly, it seems like the people are faking the Jewish thing. Because EVERYONE is so stereotypically “Jewish” looking. And they speak Yiddish to each other. I love it. There’s a little market on the corner (a couple blocks down) that will probably be good for quick stuff, and we went to Target tonight to get some things we thought were missing…and it turned out everyone was just really thirsty, so we got a lot to drink.

The apartment is SMALL. I was expecting this, but not necessarily the fragrance of…we think it’s authentic Jewish cooking. Mixed with the smell of small apartment. I’ll go through room by room.

The KITCHEN is really the foyer: you enter the apartment through it. There is a fridge, a stove, a microwave, and a surprisingly deep sink. I don’t think we’ll use too many dishes, though. I think it’s gonna be paper plates and paper towels for us.

The LIVING ROOM is not bad. The couch, I feel, is comfortable (although I haven’t yet tried the pull-out bed). The overhead light is very white, not yellow, which is nice. There are 2 fairly large windows covered in horizontal blinds. There is a nearly empty shelf to put things on.

The BEDROOM is also not bad. The bed is firmer than I’m used to (and I think Drew is going to hate it). The window is covered in lacy white curtains, which seem like a recent afterthought. There is an A/C unit in the window that doesn’t seem to be cooling everything off much. There are shelves and a full-length mirror, which are both nice, and in one of the two small closets we discovered a rack of pull-out wire drawers, which will be very nice when we decide to unpack.

Let me not forget to mention, the BEDROOM has no door.

The BATHROOM is through the bedroom. It’s nice, albeit small. The floor is black and white checkered (yay!) and the shower is actually pretty nice (it has good pressure, and it gets nice and hot and nice and cold, depending on what you want). The toilet flushes like a railroad train…by which I mostly mean “loudly.” There’s a window that opens. Oh, also there’s a shaving mirror in the shower, and I was absolutely fascinated by making my hair into different shapes while it was all shampoo-y. Something I haven’t done since I was in baths.

So we brought our stuff here, and feeling slightly disheartened (mostly by the smell, I think), the 3 of us called our homes and left messages saying we were safe. Then we set off to buy Metro cards (30-days, unlimited rides, $76) and explore. By request of Joe (and because there was a sign suggesting we were close), we went to Coney Island…which I think is cool, that we went to Coney Island. We ate Nathan’s hot dogs and watched a guy shoot paint balls at a “freak,” which was less interesting and more disturbing than I was expecting it to be. Then we came home and I discovered the merits of the shower, and then we went out again, to discover Target and perhaps a BofA ATM (which we never did). We bought food and drinks at Target and then explored the subway some more.

And we came back from Target and that’s been our day, pretty much. The end.

PS. We want cable and a router so more than one of us can be on the internet at once.

==

Little did I know then, am I right? And I think this post was kind of falsely cheerful. I realized later how hard all three of us were trying, because flying in to JFK and driving to Brooklyn is not exactly the prettiest, most culture-filled and exciting part of New York City. Especially in August. I’m glad we stuck it out, moved up in Long Island, and made it our own.

I’m reliving August of 2006 on my LiveJournal now, while I whisper “Long Island” with a Long Island accent (hard G) under my breath. Miss you, New York!

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Filed under Beginnings, Dreams, Drew, Memoir, Nonfiction, Sentiment, Travel