Thursday, December 30, 2004

Banda Aceh

I just saw this photo. Doctors Without Borders sent their first team and supplies to Banda Aceh on Wednesday.

I agree with the lovely Lynn...if we all take even a portion of what we'd spend this holiday weekend to entertain ourselves, we can help so many others. Lynn suggests the Red Cross. I plan to make a donation to Doctors Without Borders. Here's a list of organizations providing aid.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Happy Birthday!!!

He's 42 today. He took the day off from work and spent it puttering around doing stuff he enjoys: building golf clubs, setting up a 'recording station' in a corner of our living room (this isn't it--this was in the studio about half an hour before the earthquake), going to K-Mart to buy a storage unit for his new mikes and gear, visting Home Depot not once, but twice. (And he hit Home Depot a third time after his aikido class. I guess for him a happy birthday = lots of trips to Home Depot.) :)

Ten years ago in Portland, I started our tradition of making birthday cake the night before. That way, we get to have it for breakfast on our birthdays. This morning I served him a big ol' slice in bed with his coffee. The boyfriend's not much for dining out--he enjoys a fine meal as much as the next guy--but it's not his first choice of what to do on his birthday. So this year I left him to his own devices to do whatever gave him pleasure, and I think he had a good day. When he picked me up at work, we went to a clothing store downtown to exchange some slacks I'd bought him...and ended up walking out with two pairs of 501's (one for each of us). We arrived home to find H. had left a message singing "Happy Birthday" to his Dad.

I gave him a set of seven pliers (he loves any tool), three nail clippers (because he keeps losing them!), this guy's new CD (they played together in college), a red and blue striped polo shirt from Tommy Hilfiger and a Tommy Hilfiger backpack (the Nike one he stole from me years ago is ratty as hell, and he uses one daily because he walks to and from work). And because every 42-year-old man needs one, I also gave him this. His eyes lit up when he saw it. I said, "I had a feeling that maybe you liked this as a kid." "Are you kidding?! It was one of my favorite toys! My brothers and I used to spend hours playing this." Of course, now he only has me to play it with him. :)

My Dad and stepmother sent him a great shirt, an orange Titleist visor and a navy cap from my Dad's home golf course (which the boyfriend has played several times.) All in all, I think he's had a good day. He's at his aikido class, and there's still cake for dessert! :)

I gave him a card that said it was for "my go-everywhere-do-everything, like-the-same-stuff, laugh-till-it-hurts, together-or-apart, have-fun-doing-whatever, couldn't-want-a-better, always-and-forever...loving companion and friend." When he read it, he gave me a big smile...and a kiss. He's my best pal, my soulmate, my partner in love. Happy Birthday, baby. I love you with all my heart. Posted by Hello

Monday, December 27, 2004

"I think Santa must be really tall..."

One of the highlights of Christmas Day was hearing my 7-year-old niece, C. in California, breathlessly relate her experience with Santa this year. She barely got out “Hi” before she launched into her tale. My sister-in-law was sitting nearby, throwing in the occasional tidbit to add to the dramatic tension. In those moments, C. would abruptly say, “Hold on!” as in, “Wait! There’s more!”

“Hi. We left cookies outside for Rudolph? And he ATE them! And Santa put a gold star on top of our tree! And he left me presents!” “Oh! What did he leave you!” “I got a stereo! And he left me two CD’s!” “Yeah? What were the CD’s?” “One was (I've forgotten what she said) and I’ve been looking EVERYWHERE for that CD!” “What was the other one?” “Oh,” sounding unenthused, “it was a Disneymania one.” “And he left a note that he likes our new puppy!” (They recently got a pug which C. has inappropriately named Jasmine.) “And he said, ’Sorry I couldn’t hang up your stocking, but it’s TOO HEAVY!’ ‘Cause we have these hooks? To hang the stockings on? But (snickering) mine was so full he couldn’t even hang it back up! Hold on!…Mom thought she heard sort of a ’Ho! Ho! Ho!’ but she thought it was Dad! But Dad was SLEEPING! Hold on!…Mom thought she was dreaming. But I don’t think it was a dream--I think it was REAL!” “Gee, Mommy must have heard Santa in the house and she didn’t even realize it.” “Uh-huh. He came through the front door this year.” “Well I can understand that--he probably gets tired of getting all dirty climbing down everyone’s chimneys.” “Uh-huh. Oh! And he broke our chair! We have this chair? And it has a broken leg? But we put it back on? But when I got up this morning, it was broken! I think Santa must have been holding our puppy and he sat down in the chair and broke it. (pause) I think he must be really tall.” “Because you have a really tall tree this year?” “Yeeeaaaah, it’s at least 7 feet! And he put a star on TOP of it! Do you want to talk to Sissy (her 14-year-old sister) now?” “Sure! What did Santa bring her?” “Oh, they’re (her sister and brother) too old. They didn’t get anything from Santa. He only brings stuff to little kids.”

My sister-in-law said that C.’s wish list this year was for a cell phone (and I must really be out of it to be shocked that 2nd graders are now clamoring for cell phones), a computer (her sister and brother each have one, as do Mom and Dad) or a stereo. She explained to C. that Santa could only bring gifts that she approved of, so when C. saw that Santa had brought her a stereo, she announced to the room, “This is the gift that Mom preferred.”

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas on St. Thomas

This was a glorious day. I was awake before 7:00. Spent some time on the laptop doing some organizing in my various email accounts. At 8:15, I split for the beach to go for a walk before the place was crawling with tourists. The boyfriend was knocked out, so I left him a note. There couldn't have been more than 20 of us along a mile-long beach. I saw an elderly gentleman doing a very slow crawl in the bay...a middle-aged West Indian couple who were walking very slowly (I lapped them)...7 or 8 white women who were gathered in a circle in a clump of trees doing exercises...two West Indian women who had donned their swim caps and were starting their holiday off with a swim.

Boyfriend was awake when I got home. He was lying in bed watching a drumming video. I made coffee and caught up on some email, leaving him to get fully awake. Once he was up, we opened our gifts from my folks (the only gifts we had to left to open since we had given each other gifts all week without wrapping them!) Then we put on our bathing suits, packed up the sand chairs and headed off for a day at the beach.

We were there at least six hours. I walked some more. We had lunch and then settled in for some power lounging. We read, boyfriend listened to CD's, we swam...and dozed. We called all of my family from the beach--my Dad and stepmother and then my brother and his family (and my mother was with them.) We spoke to H. after we got home. We had an early dinner, and now we're fat and happy. We thought about going to a movie, but we're so relaxed we think we'll just stay in and either watch one of the movies on cable or one of our new DVD's. It's been a beautiful and relaxing day. Hope yours was pleasurable, however you spent it.

Here are a few photos:

Magens Bay today shortly after we arrived. The crowd quadrupled in size as the day wore on. (We had three ships in today.) This is the view to our right (toward the north). Tourists end up on this half of the beach--mostly because the taxi drop-off is way down at the end of this section of beach. This section of beach also contains all of the services (snack bar, bar, gift shop, equipment rental). Posted by Hello

The view to our left (toward the south). Locals tend to congregate on this half of the beach. We like to stake out a spot right smack dab in the middle. Aerial shots of Magens Bay show that the beach is shaped like the top of a cartoon heart. We park our sand chairs under a tree at the water's edge right where the dimple in the heart would be. Posted by Hello

This was the view from my sand chair today. Sorta cockeyed...gee, and I wasn't even drinking... Posted by Hello

We saw a lot of pelicans at Magens today. This is at the southern end of the beach that's typically deserted. Posted by Hello

Happy Holidays from the boyfriend and me! (He could have at least told me I had gobs of sunscreen all over my nose...) Posted by Hello

Friday, December 24, 2004

I Heart Bloggers

Boyfriend always ends work at noon on Fridays, but I was thrilled to be off at 12:00 today. I arrived home laden with goodies: a plate of cookies from the couple who are resident managers of my employer's self-storage facility (the nicest people)...a tiny box from the female attorney, which accompanied my bonus check from her...and a Christmas bouquet from my brother and sister-in-law and their kids which was delivered about an hour before we closed up. As soon as I walked into the condo, I realized the power was off. Shit! I immediately called the boyfriend (he'd said earlier he might play golf after work) and said, "The power's off." (Brilliant!) He said, "Why don't you come ride around with me? I'm just getting lunch at the 19th hole (snack bar)." So I asked him to order me chicken strips and a Coke (junk food! decadent!) and quickly changed clothes. It's been a postcard-perfect day. As he was standing on the tee at #3, which is high above a section of the course, I said, "Look how pretty this is!" He said, "Hmmm....all I see is work." :) At one point, as we were sitting on a fairway waiting for someone to finish on the green ahead of us, he said, "Listen. This is what I hear all day long. Nothing." He's spoiled! When he was midway through the 9th hole, he said, "Should we stop after 9? Let's go shopping!" (Keep in mind that I deposited all of our bonus checks this morning, so we were feeling particularly flush.) Okay! Shopping it is! We figured the mall would be a nightmare and downtown is pretty touristy, so we settled on the shopping area adjacent to the cruise ship dock. (We had two ships in today.) First stop: bookstore. I picked up a stack of non-fiction--all feel-good stuff, except for a Bill Bryson book I hadn't read. Just felt like reading some positive stuff (plus I have a stack of novels I just checked out of the library). Boyfriend picked up a couple of aikido books and this, which he's had his nose buried in since we got home. (His friend recently gave him a recording workstation. Yes, GAVE him. More on that later....) Second stop: music store. We stocked up on used DVD's and VHS tapes. Or "previously viewed," as they like to call it. We bought Igby Goes Down, Kill Bill - Vol. 1, Mystic River, The Station Agent and boyfriend bought a martial arts DVD that had three movies on it for $5.98. Merry us!! Third stop: Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream. I had Irish cream with Oreos (double decadence!) Final stop: the lottery office. Boyfriend felt like throwing a few bonus bucks to the gods of chance, just in case the Christmas gods feel like smiling on us extra hard this year. All in all, we've had a fantabulous week...and it's not even Christmas yet!

We have much to be thankful for, and one of the things I'm most thankful for this holiday season is my connection with those of you who visit this site. The blogosphere has been a source of great support and friendship for me this past year. I only hope that whatever comments and emails I send your way sufficiently express how much I enjoy and appreciate each and every one of you.

So whether this time of year finds you celebrating Hanukkah or Winter Solstice or Christmas or Kwanzaa or no special holiday at all, may you find yourselves surrounded by support and understanding and compassion and love and laughter and creative inspiration...because that's what you give to me.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

St. John

Our sister island of St. John is just four miles east, across Pillsbury Sound. It's only a 15-20 minute ferry ride from the terminal at Red Hook, an area on the east end of St. Thomas. Even so (I'm embarrassed to say), I hadn't been to St. John in a year-and-a-half. Boyfriend often plays gigs over there, mostly weddings or corporate functions. But about a month ago he signed on to play a jazz jam session every Sunday. I had yet to go to the gig with him, even though I adore St. John. Last week he said, "You have to go on Sunday. Everyone keeps asking me where you are..." So I went. And as soon as we pulled out of Red Hook--on a gloriously sunny day--I turned to my love and said, "You need to make me do this every Sunday." He told me that one of the main reasons he took the gig was so that I could go with him and 'escape' for a few hours. (Have you noticed the name of my blog?!) Below are a few photos of my time there last Sunday spent strolling...and browsing...and shopping...and just generally relaxing. I only wish I could bring you all here to enjoy a Sunday on St. John with me. Believe me, it's just what the doctor ordered for this time of year. I feel almost guilty that I'm not experiencing all of the holiday stress that I read about in other blogs and journals. Almost. :) So spend a couple of minutes with me here and imagine yourself in de islands, mon. Let all that stress just melt away...

Pulling into Cruz Bay, St. John on the ferry from St. Thomas. The Beach Bar is the yellow building on the right. Posted by Hello

"Downtown" Cruz Bay. The Beach Bar is one block from the ferry terminal. Boyfriend is the dark dot on the right at the end of the street. He was pushing his drums on a luggage cart. I stayed back to walk with S., the keyboard player, since she wasn't moving nearly as fast. Posted by Hello

Jazz jam sessions every Sunday from 4-7. Posted by Hello

I strolled around "downtown" Cruz Bay and did some shopping while boyfriend played his first set. One of my stops was Mongoose Junction, where they have a lot of great shops. Picked up a funky pink watch bracelet at Bamboula, my favorite store here. Also stopped in at Big Planet to get the boyfriend a cool t-shirt and cap. When my folks were here a few years ago, we were shopping in a nearly empty Big Planet (my stepmother was in the dressing room) when we looked up and saw Kelsey Grammer and his wife at the register. My parents LOVE "Frasier," so they were quite excited by this sighting...even though they're way too cool to gush like fans. Kelsey was born on St. Thomas; he still has family here. Posted by Hello

Holiday cheer being enjoyed by all in The Beach Bar. Because it was the first time I'd accompanied the boyfriend to this gig, when I first walked in, I heard someone shout from across the bar, "Marilyn!" It was our friend S., who's been leading Sunday jazz jam sessions on St. John for four years. It was like a scene out of "Cheers"...except for my name not being Norm... Posted by Hello

If you're ever on St. John, stop in at Everyt'ing. It's one of my favorite gift shops here...AND...they have an espresso bar. It's just across the street from The Beach Bar. We walked over on boyfriend's break and got decaf pumpkin, creme brulee lattes made with eggnog. Liquid orgasm! Posted by Hello

"Can I go home now?" Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Just now...

Boyfriend: "What do you want to do Saturday?"

Me: Frantically thinking, "Saturday...Saturday...does he have a gig Saturday night?" Then out loud: "Why? What's Saturday?"

Boyfriend: Uh...CHRISTMAS?!

Sunday, December 19, 2004


Good lord, I actually managed to post a link to my (skimpy-ass) Flickr well as a freakin' Blogroll. (Finally!) You have no idea what a major accomplishment this was for this ol' gal. Simpletons can do it, I know...but it's like I'm from the Stone Age where this stuff is concerned.

I didn't like that last template. Tried to go back to the template I originally used on my other blog, but when I republished, the whole blog was mucked up. ACK!!! So I went back to one of my old favorites and added the new stuff.

Southern Images

Wow. Check it out. What a joy to see a photoblog featuring people of color. (Link courtesy of

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Annual Reports, Pt. I

At 3 I had a tonsillectomy. I have a vivid memory of lying on the surgical table, as they lowered a mask over my mouth and told me to count backwards from 100 before the ether took hold. (How many three-year-olds can count TO 100, let alone backwards?) I can also remember standing in the crib in the hospital room waiting for them to bring me ice cream after the surgery, but it hurt my throat to eat it.

At 4 my mother began teaching me to sew. I sat on her lap so I could reach the sewing machine which was on the kitchen table. We made a sleeveless denim shift with a ruffled hem (for me). She later appliquéd a fish made of striped blue- and white-striped fabric near the ruffle. I liked sewing.

At 5 I arrived late for kindergarten almost every day. I have inherited my mother’s inability to get to work on time. Since she was always running late, she’d feel frenzied in the mornings. I had fairly long hair that I wore in a ponytail, held together with a rubber band. I don’t mean a cloth-covered rubber band, I mean a rubber band like you'd find wrapped around a newspaper. I have really thick hair, but it’s also very fine and it tangles easily. For some odd reason, she’d let me sleep in my ponytail, so every morning I’d have a rat’s ness of tangles wound around the rubber band. She’d be trying to rush and grabbing my hair harshly and pulling on the tangles as she tried to brush it out the next morning. I have a very tender scalp, so I’d invariably start whining and crying. Once the tears came, she’d bop me on top of the head with the plastic hairbrush and yell, “Stop crying!” (Yeah, that oughta do the trick.) I have vivid memories of her dropping me in front of the school after everyone else was already in class. I felt self-conscious that my eyes and face were all puffy and red from crying. I’d turn to her before opening the car door (a baby blue Buick with tail fins) and ask, “Can you tell I’ve been crying?” And every morning she said the same thing, “No, you look fine.” Liar.

At 6 I was a ballerina in the circus staged by my kindergarten class at the end of the school year. Becky H. (who I later knew in high school) has home movies of us dancing (if you could call it that). She never let me forget that I was haughtily letting the other ballerinas know that they were not dancing in time. I’m not exactly sure how I got the message across, but I don’t doubt that I did. My boyfriend in kindergarten was named Clark. He had a crew cut and was hell on wheels. The fact that he got in trouble nearly every day--which typically resulted in him getting a paddling in the principal’s office, before corporate punishment was illegal--was a major turn-on...the trouble-making, not the paddling. (That came later.)

At 7 I began 2nd grade with my least favorite nun of all time, Sister Mary Bosco. She was short and pudgy and a bitch. She told me I was bossy. Yeah? Takes one to know one.

At 8 I was my mother’s beauty pageant assistant, tutoring the less graceful contestants in how to properly perform their swimsuit and evening gown modeling routines. I’m sure it did wonders for their self-esteem to have to take direction from a painfully thin dorky 3rd grader with a Prince Valiant haircut. This was also the year some old family friends invited me to visit them in the Bay Area during the summer. They drove up and picked me up and I returned by air--my first solo flight. It was on Pacific Airlines (which pre-dated Hughes Airwest ,which pre-dated Southwest Airlines) and it was what was commonly referred to as the ‘milk run.’ I barfed every time we came in for a landing--which meant that after leaving San Francisco, I tossed my cookies coming into Sacramento, Marysville, Chico, Redding and Eureka. By the time we arrived in Crescent City, there wasn’t anything left to throw up.

At 9 I was forced to play the organ at church during Sunday mass. I could barely sleep Saturday nights from all the anxiety. The organ was in the balcony and I lived in constant fear that I’d make a mistake and everyone in the congregation below would turn around and crane their necks to see who the hell was screwing up the hymns. I could barely reach the frigging pedals. My anxiety level was ratcheted up significantly by the presence of Sister Mary Ancilla who stood next to me the entire time I was playing. Jesus, lady, have a seat…you’re givin’ me a heart attack here.

At 10 I was typing radio logs for the AM station on a manual typewriter, hunting and pecking with two fingers. The forms were in triplicate (that means there were two sheets of carbon paper for you young people) and this was pre-White Out. There used to be these old typewriter erasers that had a wheel of eraser on one end and a brush on the other end. My mother was the office manager and often didn’t finish her work during her allotted work hours, so she’d bring the logs home for me to type. So by age 10 I understood what it meant when someone said they did “traffic” at a radio or TV station.

At 11 the nuns at school chose me for the honor of cleaning the church every single fucking day after school. I was the lucky 6th grade girl who got selected. Julie C. was the poor 5th grade girl who had to do it with me. Some friggin’ ‘honor’--who the hell wants to spend their afternoons cleaning a church?! Okay, it wasn’t actually cleaning, per se--it was tidying up and preparing the sanctuary for the next morning’s Mass. I’ve always had a huge appetite even though I’m stick-thin. I quickly decided that the only way I was going to survive church duty was to shovel whole handfuls of hosts in my piehole to take the edge off my after-school hunger. Julie was initially horrified, until I explained in my older 6th grade manner that it wasn’t sacrilegious--they weren’t officially ‘the body of Christ’ until the priest consecrated them during Mass. At the end of the school year, Julie and I received a gift for all of our work--a cheap-ass statue of the Virgin Mary. Thanks, nuns, that really makes me want to join the convent.

At 12 I was forced to be on the girls’ basketball team at school. There were only 7 girls in our class, so everyone had to play whether we wanted to or not. (And believe me, I did not.) I finally understood what a zone defense was. It’s kinda comical that it took me this long to understand it. My father was our high school’s varsity basketball coach for 20 years and when I was a wee one, he’d lean down before every game and ask me, “Man to man or zone?” I thought ‘mantoman’ was one word and since I thought it was a cooler word than ‘zone,’ I almost always chose that. But every once in a while I’d say “zone” just to change it up a bit.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Late-Night Ramblings...

It's late, but I just woke half an hour ago from a 3-hour nap...this may or may not be coherent...

* My father begins 7 weeks of radiation next Monday. He and my stepmother will be staying in an apartment associated with the hospital Monday through Thursday evenings during that time. The hospital has agreed to give him afternoon appointments on Mondays and early morning appointments on Fridays, to accommodate their 2-hour commute each way. So at least they'll have weekends at home, but it's still a helluva way to spend the holiday season.

* The boyfriend and I spent some time last night going through our CD collection looking for tunes he can sing with the rock/country trio he sometimes plays with. Their previous drummer did a lot of vocals. I opened my big mouth to the guitarist one night at one of their gigs, telling him that the boyfriend can sing, he just doesn't like to. He was flashing me an evil "SHUT UP!" look. But he's finally relented. So last night he downloaded a bunch of tunes we'd fished out and he listened to them while he was at work today. I might just sit through a gig if I can listen to him sing. It's been a long time... :)

* I got my passport today. I haven't had a valid passport in almost 15 years. Now, if only I had someplace exotic to travel to...

* My mother picked up some silly Santa stocking toy in a store the other day that plays the sound of a little girl laughing, ending with "Merry Christmas!" She bought it only because it sounds exactly like my 7-year-old niece. She called me and played it and I thought she was playing an outgoing message from my brother and sister-in-law's answering machine. It sounds EXACTLY like C's laugh. Funny.

* After dinner I laid down on the couch, watched a little TV while boyfriend looked at the photos we'd taken in the studio on Saturday...and then let myself succumb to sleep. That 3-hour nap felt good and I was dreaming like a madwoman. Of course, it won't be easy to get back to sleep, but I think I'll manage. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Rockin' and Rollin'

Boyfriend had a 12:00 recording session today, so I scheduled a massage for 12:30. We only have one car, and the massage therapist I was using is downtown, as is the studio. I went with him to the studio first, and by the time we loaded all of his drum gear into the studio, I was ready for some bodywork!

The massage was wonderful. I've rarely treated myself to massages for a good decade now. This from a woman who used to get a massage every week when I lived in San Francisco, and at least once a month when I lived in Marin County. Shame on me! I deserve it, right?! The woman who gave me the massage has a room she uses upstairs from her retail shop. I didn't even feel like I was in St. Thomas. I don't know why, but I kept thinking I was back on the West Coast. She had a bamboo shade covering the window that looked out over downtown rooftops and a pedestal fan that rotated a calming breeze over me. It was almost as good as being massaged outdoors. Afterwards we chatted and exchanged phone numbers. I promised to call her for another massage and we might get together for tea. (She's only lived here a year.)

Then I went to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. I'm not a big fan of HRC's, but I was in the mood for a Chinese chicken salad, which is the only thing I ever order there. Then I walked back to the studio and just before I reached it, I ran into J., who was producing the tracks. He said the boyfriend was getting ready to do another tune, to make myself at home at the studio and that he was off to teach a piano lesson. When I got to the studio, I discovered that, three hours later, they'd only finished one tune (and he was scheduled to lay down drum tracks for three), the engineer, D., had gone out for some food and the boyfriend was sitting on the couch reading a magazine.

The boyfriend and I spent a few minutes taking some pictures of him in the booth. (I'll post one later if I remember.) When D. returned, they started work on the second tune. D. asked if I'd like a pair of headphones so I could sit in the booth (there was a small couch in there). I said, yeah, okay. So I sat there and listened to the boyfriend play and play and play the same tune (I'll probably hear it in my sleep tonight). And then suddenly...the earth started shaking. As someone who's spent 40 years on the West Coast, I'm very familiar with earthquakes--and they're not unusual in the Caribbean either. (I wish someone had warned me of that before I moved here.) There was a speaker on a pedestal stand right next to the couch where I was sitting. I looked to my right and it was shaking and swaying, as was the rack of headphones and cables. I kept thinking the shaking would stop after a couple of seconds, but it didn't. I looked through the window to the mixing board and saw D. run for the door. That's when I ripped off the headphones and leaned forward to grab the back of the boyfriend's shirt. HE WAS STILL PLAYING!!! He looked momentarily confused, like, what are you DOING?! I'm recording!! I said, "We're having an earthquake!" because everything was still shaking. He ripped off his headphones and we stood up to head for the door of the booth. He started yelling, "Open the door! Open the door!" I said, "I'm trying!!" It had been closed with a bungee cord (there's no knob on the door and that was to keep it shut), but I didn't know that. He reached around me, released the bungee cord and we hightailed it out to join D. on the balcony. That's right: balcony. We were bungee-corded inside a recording booth in a third floor studio. It was only after we were all on the balcony that D. realized he'd run outside without opening the door of the booth first. (Needless to say, he took some ribbing about that when J. returned and we were all talking about the quake.) I just checked the USGS site. It was a 5.1 quake and the epicenter was about 25 miles northeast of us.

We were at the studio for several more hours, but I took up residence on the couch behind the mixing board after the earthquake. I felt a little less claustrophobic knowing I wouldn't be sealed into that little chamber with a bungee cord in case there were aftershocks.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Christmas came early...

Last evening, I was curled up on the sofa under a blanket (I may have been dozing) and the boyfriend was across the room on the laptop...when the phone rang. The boyfriend answered it. "Speaking...this is NOT (blankety-blank)...stop messing with me!" he said, sort of chuckling. It was a good friend of ours. A friend who vanished from our lives three years ago.

We've known this man for years, and like all of his other friends, our feeling has always been, "He's SO talented...but so fucked up." We care about him deeply, but it got to the point where I simply had to stop being nice to him. His addictions were completely out of control and I couldn't handle being around any more of his drunken/loaded behavior. It was just too hard, and too sad. I felt bad shutting him out, but his downward spiral was so deep, I knew I couldn't help, so I had to walk away. The boyfriend is a much softer touch and never stopped being kind to him.

The boyfriend arranged to have him come here to give him a chance to try to start a new life...and he fucked it up royally. He abused every friendship he had here until it got to the point that no one would help he went to one of our sister islands, but his time there was fairly brief. One day three years ago, I picked up the phone to call him there and his roommate said he was gone. Not just 'out,' but in back to the States. As tough as I had tried to be with him as he got worse and worse, I was still crushed that he'd leave without even telling us. And that was the last we heard from him...until last night.

I know that it took a LOT of courage for him to pick up the phone to call us last night. I know that because he told me how ashamed he is about everything he did while he was here. He's been living with his mother in Washington state. I had suspected all along that that might be the case. We've always had her address and phone number, and we'd thought about calling her to find out where he was. But we knew what kind of pain he'd caused her in the past, and if he was still fucking up we didn't want to upset her even more. So we never called her, but that's where he's been. He's had a lot of health problems in the last few years. He told me I wouldn't recognize him--that he has severe scoliosis and walks bent over like a 75-year-old man and that he walks with a cane. Then he said, "But I still look like the same guy--I just walk bent over." He was trying to brace us, so we wouldn't be shocked the next time we see him.

The boyfriend told him that sometimes he pulls out the live CD's they recorded together here..."Man, you were killin' it!" I, too, sometimes pull out those CD's just to hear that soulful voice and keyboard playing. He's a very, very talented man. He's gigging. He said he's got a standing gig at a club up there that he's been doing for about a year-and-a-half.

But the best news is that he's been clean and sober for a year. We've been through several clean and sober times in his life, so I know that that's only good news..for TODAY. This man has a much deeper bottom than most. Mugged? More than one night? Nope, that didn't do it. Have your car stolen? Nope, that didn't work. Sell all of your possessions (including your prized music gear) to buy dope? Not gonna make a dent. Have all of your friends push you away? He'll just try to make new friends. Go to jail? Well, you'll get out eventually.

Addiction can kick the shit out of some remarkable people. I just hope it stops beating up on him...because we'd like to have our friend back.

Lately, as this year draws to a close and we look forward to '05...which means a huge fucking milestone birthday for me...and a new chapter in our lives together (if we ever figure out what that's going to look like...ha!)...I've had this feeling...that 2005 is going to be a good year for us. And I have to say, getting that phone call last night? made me feel like the good times might just be

Monday, December 06, 2004

Who's on first?

As usual, I spent way too much time at the laptop before work, to the point where I had to literally run around to get ready to go. Nothing new, that's pretty much my daily routine. All the while I was doing my typical weekday grousing..."I hate that job. Stupid job. Why can't I just work at home?!" (In those moments it doesn't matter that I have absolutely no idea what I would actually do if worked at home. The whole point is just to avoid having to go there.) I've showered and am frantically sliding hangers back and forth, desperately searching for something unwrinkled because ironing?...yuk. Keep in mind that my non-casual Monday through Thursday wear would be too casual for casual Fridays in the States. So baggy t-shirt, baggy drawstring pants and flip-flops later and I'm good to go. Add some minimal jewelry, a quick dab of lipstick...and oh yeah, I guess I should brush my hair. (Vanity, thy name is...not me.) I've gathered up the overdue library books, put some leftovers in Tupperware and head out the door laden with my handbag, a large straw tote filled with all sorts of crap, Tupperware, cell phone, keys, coins for the newspaper. I walk out the screen door onto the balcony and as I open the front door and glance up the stairs, I see a frightening sight...our parking space is empty. I immediately panic that our car has been stolen. STOLEN! Then I tell myself: don't panic yet...maybe there was someone in our space when the boyfriend got home from his gig the night before...maybe it's just parked somewhere else. Besides, it would have had to have been stolen in the last hour...because surely he would have noticed it was gone when he left for work. I head up the stairs with a pounding heart and frantically look in both directions on our dead-end sign of the Honda anywhere. I open my cell phone and call the boyfriend at work and ask in a worried voice, "Where's our car?" "What do you mean, where's our car? I TOOK it." "Why would you take it?!" (He typically walks to work.) "What do you mean, why did I take it? I had to go do WORK!" And then he hangs up on me. I'm standing in the middle of our street, holding all this crap, screaming at him because he's left me stranded without a way to get to work...and he's hanging up on me. Why that motherfu... I run back into the house to call him on the land him the benefit of the doubt despite my fury...cell phone coverage is crap here...maybe he was just cut off. But before I can reach the phone inside, my cell is ringing. I answer it yelling, "WHY would you take the car?!" "What is WRONG with you? I told you, I had to go to WORK!" "But I have to go to work!" "On Sunday?!" "What?" "What day do you think this is?" "Um. Oh. What?"

That's right, boys and girls, the woman who detests her job more than any human on the planet woke at 6 am yesterday convinced that it was Monday. Jesus, no wonder I ran around getting dressed thinking that the weekend had really flown by.