Monday, January 28, 2008

I Don't Do Christmas Music

My Christmas was very mellow this year. I went to Pamala's family house for actual Christmas Day, which I think was funny, since they're Jewish. We had a really fun time, and Pamala made me this awesome scrapbook of our friendship with inside jokes. It was very heartwarming, brought a tear to my eye even. I felt a little bad, because I was like, "Here, I got you a shirt...", but it was a Hannah Montana shirt with her name on it, and she put it on right away.
Then Ricardo and I went down to Lake Elsinore to see Mama and Dennis, who were in town to see his family. We both stayed in the one nice hotel in my hometown, one Holiday Inn. I was looking forward to taking Ricardo to see the town I grew up in, because it would hopefully expel some impressions he has about me that are entirely incorrect. He seems to think that I am this delicate upper middle class white girl who has never even seen a Mexican before. This could not be further from the truth, but no matter how many times I tried to tell him, he wasn't getting it.
After spending three days driving around my hometown, however, he has yet to make any of the types of comments that he used to.
My hometown is...sort of like a conglomeration of all things trashy. There are trailer parks. There are hookers. There are crackheads. There are crackhead hookers. I used to work at a community center downtown, and one day someone taped index cards to the doors that read, "Watch out for the skinny black crackhead, she will STEAL YOUR MONEY!" I knew exactly who the note was talking about too. I once was accosted at a gas station by a three hundred pound toothless Mexican yelling "Ai, mami, call me papi!" My neighbor was arrested because he had a meth lab in his garage. My other neighbor had fried his brain with so many drugs that he used to walk around with a five gallon bucket that had no bottom in it. When my friends came to stay with me for a few days, they ended up with a used condom tied to their car door.
That is the town I grew up in people. Classy, right?
Where was I?
Oh yes. Christmas. So we saw Mama and Dennis. We got them each an ipod shuffle, and we also got them each a bigger looking, but cheaper gift. Mama got dark chocolate MnMs, and Dennis got a big bag of Cheetos. Because I'm awesome. I got some cool stuff too. Like a new ipod nano, which I love. It's so small! I'm kinda scared that I will lose it, but I got this nifty case for it, which helps a lot. Ricardo also hand made me a beautiful card that had three pages of writing in it that was so sweet and loving that I seriously cried. Because I'm a girl. I also got some nice teas from Dennis, since he goes to Thailand (or is it Taiwan? I think it's Taiwan. Crap.) for his job all the time. And a pretty watch. And a little diamond from Mama that I'm going to make into a nose ring.

For New Year's, we went to the Roosevelt Hotel and rocked out. See how cute we were?

Ricardo was there too, I promise.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bitching And Moaning Is What I Do Best

It is pouring rain and I am so cranky today. First I woke up late, which can put anyone in a bad mood. Then I could not get my hair to look right; it still looks like I was attacked by a raging crackhead. My makeup then refused to cooperate, and now I've got a touch of Tammy Faye going on. AND THEN I had to walk two blocks in the pouring rain and wind to my car. In heels. So my feet are still wet, thank you. And my boss needs to shut the fuck up today. Seriously. I know what I am talking about. When you ask me a question and I give you the answer, it is for a reason. I'm not just making shit up over here.
Deep breaths. Deep cleansing breaths.
Oh great. I just checked my calendar, and it turns out that my doctor's appointment that I thought was tomorrow is, in fact, today.
This day just sucks.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Come Together

There has been a whole lot of craziness going on in my life recently. I have started at least twenty posts in my head, but none of them have made it out of my head yet, obviously. I don't even know where to begin. I suppose I could start with a How My Holidays Were post. That seems so mundane, given the momentous changes since Thanksgiving, but I do need to start somewhere. As much as I want to dive in the middle, I know that I will backtrack continuously if I do that. So, now that I've sufficiently justified being a little boring, let's get started. This may take a few posts, but they will be coming regularly, I promise.

For this Thanksgiving, Mama and Dennis invited everyone to their house in Arizona. They specifically asked me to bring Ricardo so that they could meet him. I did think that it was a bit early in the relationship for the meeting of parents, but he and I were already pretty serious, so I asked him if he wanted to come to Arizona with me. He was immediately excited about it. It was adorable, really. He kept telling me things that he wanted to say to them. Now, it is not obvious when you first meet Ricardo, because he isn't fully fluent in English, but he seriously does not stop talking. I talk a lot, and I can't get a word in edgewise with him sometimes.
So he and I drove for twelve hours, from Santa Barbara to Strawberry, Arizona. Which is like smack in the middle of the state. It was a very arduous drive. We got to Mama's at about six or seven in the morning, depending on which time zone you choose, fell into bed and slept until about noon. After the cats greeted us that is. Smokey and Streak both were ecstatic that we had arrived to entertain them. At one point, Smokey jumped up on the foot of the bed. All I could see over Ricardo were her ears. She started slowly walking toward his head, and I could think of nothing else but the theme from Jaws. Right as the song in my head got to the climax, she jumped up on top of Ricardo's hip and yowled. I couldn't have contained myself even if I had wanted to; I busted up laughing. I couldn't stop for about half and hour. After a twelve hour, over-night drive through the desert, that shit was hilarious.
Once we were up and moving again, one thing was immediately apparent: it was cold. Like, colder than I have ever been. I grew up in California and am completely weather-spoiled, but I think it would have been considered cold even by normal-people standards. It hovered around forty during the day, dipping down to around ten at night. Like I said, freakin' cold.
One funny moment was when Mama finally noticed that I'd gotten my nose pierced. It took her a full hour to notice it, and when she finally did, it was great. She stopped mid-sentence and pointed at my nose with her mouth open, followed by an "Oh, my God!" Then she went on about how much it must have hurt an how she thinks I am crazy. Keep in mind, this is coming from the woman who got a tattoo at fifty three, a full year before I got my first one, which she paid for as a graduation present. I love my mom, but she often makes no sense. The best part was when Dennis came out a few minutes later, gave me a hug and then said, "So you got your nose pierced, huh?" I teased Mama about that for a long time.
The next day was Thanksgiving Day and people started showing up around 11:00 AM. We ended up with seventeen people in a double wide trailer. I was just glad that there was a huge deck out back, so there was some crowd control. It was a really good time, lots of food and love and laughing, particularly when Aunt Ann ran smack into the screen door and bounced off of it. Ah, good times.
As per usual, there was alcohol aplenty, and Mama took full advantage of that on Thanksgiving night. Mama is adorable when she's drunk, she gets very affectionate and laughs even more than normal. The next night was all about Dennis though. Normally Dennis is a very calm, easy going guy, but apparently after he's had a few, there is another, hilarious side of Dennis. I was sitting at the smaller table entertaining my cousin Julie's kids (incidentally, what do you call your cousin's kids?), when my other cousin, Alicia, came up and told me that I needed to go outside and check out what Dennis was up to. And man, am I glad she did. The man was on a roll, going on about how he was trying to keep the damn fire going, but this sunuvabitch over here (my Uncle Mark) kept messing up the wood, and when Uncle Mark protested that he was, in fact, nowhere near the fire, Dennis dubbed him The Goddamn Fire Master and informed Uncle Mark that he was being fucking derelict in his duties. Amid this interaction, Dennis would continually inquire if anyone had any Cheetos (there was a mix of snacks set out, but he only liked the Cheetos), and if they did, he would confiscate them as his Porch Usage Fee. If they were out of Cheetos, they could pay in Sun Chips, which Dennis gave to the dogs because "they like the fucking crunchiness in their mouths". But that was just the beginning. After Alicia mention that it was a good thing that her mom (Aunt Ann) had only bounced off the screen door, Dennis got to speechifying, saying "You're goddamn right it's a good thing, I've walked right through those damn doors before. If she'd a broke my fuckin' screen door, The Goddamn Fire Master over here would be getting a fucking invoice" and then he proceeded to dictate said invoice as:

You Goddamn Sunuvabitch,
For one fucking broken screen door, payments are due.
Ten Cheetos, times 5% for harassment.
In addition, provide one bag of fucking Sun Chips for the dogs, since the poor bastards can't come on the deck anymore.

He was pantomiming writing this out while he was doing it too. It was a masterful performance.
The rest of Thanksgiving was equally great, but in different ways. I got to see members of my family that I hadn't seen in years, some that I hadn't seen since they were toddlers. I also go to visit the Grand Canyon for the first time since I was like seven. It was sad to have to come back to Santa Barbara, which is nowhere near any of my family.

Next up, Christmas and New Year's!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Girl, You Got Those Hands

The other day I picked up a pen to write something down, and I realized something rather startling. In the last year, I have rarely hand-written anything. It struck me as very odd that after nearly twenty years of writing with a pencil or pen all day long, as soon as I graduated from college, I pretty much stopped writing entirely. Don't get me wrong, I still pick up a pen to jot things down, since I can't remember anything unless I write it down, but it's nothing like the amount of writing that I've done on a daily basis for the majority of my life.
On the other hand, I do type much faster than I ever did before. I've even learned to type with both hands (get your mind out of the gutter!). I'm left-handed, but I use my right hand for a lot of things, like throwing, using scissors, and various other things. But there are a few things that my right hand is useless for. Eating for instance. I can barely pick up french fries with my right hand, let alone use some sort of utensil. If I have to cut up a steak, I often sit there with the fork in my left hand and the knife in my right, then switch, then switch back, then switch again. I once broke my left wrist and had to wear a cast that immobilized my whole left hand. That was pretty much the worst month and a half of my life. I couldn't do anything. I was in junior high at the time, and we were required to do P.E., but I had to go sit in the library and write essays about sports. My P.E. teacher was continually pestering me to write more neatly. I would tell her "I'm left-handed", thinking the neon green cast on my left arm would shut her up, but no. She kept on about it. One day, after I said "I'm left-handed" to her again, she said to me "That is not an excuse for this handwriting! It looks like a four year old!" So in response, I brandished my neon green encased arm directly in front of her face and yelled "This is my left hand!" She simply paused and said "Oh." But she left me alone after that.
Where was I?
Oh, yeah. Things I can't do with my right hand. So for a long time, I couldn't get my right hand to go where I wanted it to on the keyboard. I had a typing class in high school but it still just did not work. So for a long time I used my left hand for the whole keyboard. I got pretty fast too, like 50 wpm. I know! People would see me doing that and just stare. But after working at my office job for the past year, spending the majority of every day typing away, my one-handed method wasn't gonna cut it. So I now have my right hand under control and I type like a normal person. If I type excessively, it still hurts my right wrist a lot more than my left one, but that's the only lingering effect. I don't think I could even go back to the left-hand-only method if I wanted to. Crazy, no?