Archive for ‘Sweet Sweet Memories’

August 22, 2011

Memory Lane

In the ongoing saga of my 10 year reunion, things are moving forward. A coordinator has been fired, another has stepped up, the price has been dropped to $60/person, and a new venue has been secured.

That venue is Dave & Busters, and the $60 includes a $15 game card and “Italian buffet”, but whatever. Apparently reunions are for pretending you are still in high school.

What, I got that wrong? Oh well, moving on.

One unexpected side effect to this nonsense came in the form of new Facebook notifications. One of my classmates had uploaded 250 photos from our 4 years. * I began to flip through the album, with a growing dread … I’d been friends with this girl in high school, and therefore was probably IN some of these photos. Uh oh.

My fears came true, and there I was. And now, you get to benefit. I took the worst one out (a photo I had no idea existed, and does not deserve to see the light of day), but here you go…

Homecoming (horrible themes come free), my sophomore … no wait, 1999 was my junior year. So, yes, I was 15 here. That’s Chris. He was the “safe” date after a really horrific summer. So safe, in fact, that there were many jokes made at his expense. I ended our psuedo-dating 2 weeks later (so, it lasted a total of a month) when I realized that the boy LITERALLY couldn’t disagree with anything I said. ** It was aggravating, to say the least.

Can I just mention … I wish I still had that dress. It had a deep back and was sexy as hell on a girl with no curves. Imagine would it would look like now, 12 years later. Hmm, time to call my mom and see if it’s hiding in her closet.

King’s Ball, junior year. This was our version of Sadie Hawkins, and the tradition held that you dressed in matching shirts. That’s Travis, a friend from church. Probably the best date I ever had at a dance … we weren’t trying to impress each other all night (not having the slightest interest in each other) and could just have fun. He also danced with one of my friends, who’d been stood up. GOOD GUY.

I also happen to think my hair ROCKED here.

King’s Ball,  senior year. No, that’s not my date. But she and her boyfriend carpooled with me and mine, so when it came time to take pictures we jumped in one together. No idea why the girl scanning had this one, not the couple shots, but whatever! Pretty girl, hmm? Too bad she went a bit psycho in the years following.

Also … the red hair? Totally natural. I’d been spending a LOT of time outside (the dance was in February … but I grew up in So Cal, remember?) and that’s what it tends to do.

Then there was this one. Senior year, I’m assuming just before graduation. I’m also assuming I was wearing a sweater of some kind OVER the leotard+high-waisted jeans combo. (What? I TOLD you I danced!) Why I took it off when photos were happening, I don’t know.

Clearly, this was staged. And clearly, I was cracking up. Less clearly, but you’ll have to take my word for it, I do NOT hold my fists like that when even PRETENDING to punch someone. In any case, that’s Jerry, Joe, and Joy. (Why didn’t I have a J name?) Joe (in the back with the greaser hair) and I had known each other since elementary school. We’d started out as mortal enemies but had become friends somewhere along the line. *** Not that we didn’t still torment each other constantly. He was dating Joy, a good friend of mine, who had a similar relationship with Jerry. At some point (I think it was Joe), the phrase “Jerry : Joy :: Joe : Sarah” was born. **** It’s written in my yearbook from that year. We had GOOD times together. =)

As an added bonus … here’s a shot of my favorite teacher. That’s Tim (we were all of 7 years apart in age, and at my sister’s graduation, I was informed I was NOT to refer to him as Mr. anymore.). He taught sophomore science, and AP Bio, and so, including the year I aided for him, I had his class for three years. No, despite the fact that he was 24 and adorable, I did not have a crush on him, I just respected him quite a bit. The man wrote my college reference letters (and was surprisingly on-the-nose regarding my home situation, though I never discussed it with him), backed me with the school administration when a vicious friend of an ex (see Chris, in the first photo) threatened me, and got me to pass the AP Bio test with a super high grade. Best. Teacher. EVER.

Didn’t I tell you he was adorable?

 

* Someone else uploaded current photos of our classmates. Is it just me, or is it weird to see current photos of groups that all STILL hang out together, doing the same things they did in HS, with the same people?

** A friend suggested I tell poor Chris that my hair was on fire, to see if he’d clue in. So I did. His response? “You’re so right.” It ended right there.

*** Ok, crying alert … consider that fair warning:

I’m not sure why Joe and I hated each other on sight, but we did. That was second grade. Enter 6 years of teachers knowing to keep us seated on opposite sides of the classroom (which threw off the alphabetical-by-last-name seating, but was better than all out war, I suppose). My 8th grade dance was a low point. All the boys danced with all the girls … and when Joe got to me he refused. Throughout high school we learned to tolerate each other, and eventually became good friends. At our graduation (where we were seated next to each other … that alphabetical seating again … and glad for it) he gave me a big hug (his mother got a photo of it and we sent it to our 2nd grade teacher) and said “I still owe you a dance, I was a brat when we were kids. I’ll dance with you at your wedding, ok?”

Joe passed away when we were 20. At my wedding, I saved him a dance.

**** If you understood the mathematics of that you’re a better person than me. I had to look up the dang symbols!

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August 16, 2011

Guesting

Today I’m over at Bride Sans Tulle, guest posting for the lovely Sharon while she’s off exploring Italy.

Lucky, LUCKY girl.

::tries to control the jealousy::

We’re discussing the little decisions that lead to meetings that lead to community. Come join in!

August 8, 2011

We’re Too Old For This

Oh man … Saturday. Kirsty’s already made her apologies, but I’m thinking everyone should just be grateful that my drunken ramblings took the form, not of tweets, but texts … to the people I was drinking with. No harm, right?

This weekend I was up in NYC. The plan was to have brunch with my friend Margaret, meet up with Mary for dinner, and see my friend Paul’s workshop show. The remaining hours would be filled as things came up … but no real plans were made. As luck would have it, I was able to meet up with Paul prior to the show, and he requested that we grab a drink afterwards. Standard practice, and I was happy to oblige.

Now, I’m thinking Paul needs a little background. We met when I was 22 and he was 24, and became fast friends … working in the storefront theater scene in the OC leads to  you knowing anyone and everyone and oftentimes feels fairly incestuous. We never dated (though nearly everyone we knew assumed we did), and in hindsight, that’s a good thing.

Now, being in our early twenties, we were … idiots. Alcohol was easy to come by, and we took full advantage of it. This weekend we laughingly reminisced about the nights we were gather a bunch of people at his place, and basically just drink our faces off, trying out new recipes and games. One particular night involved all but three of us (me, Paul, his roommate) leaving early. Paul got trashed, got sick on the lawn, and proceeded to drunkenly hose off said lawn. His roommate got drunk, got pissy and locked himself in his room. I looked around, realized I was the only one NOT drunk, and proceeded to fix that.

Like I said, idiots.

In any case, years have passed, and we’ve remained close. I’m pretty sure I’ve only missed one of his shows (due to being on the wrong side of the country), and he’s never missed one of mine. He stuck around and helped me when I had my accident (not many people did that … nothing like a major crisis to really sort out your life), and was the ONLY person who made an effort to see me before I left California for good. He made the move to NYC in early February, and I could not be more thrilled to have him only a few hours away. This year we’ll be 28 and 30.

So let’s get back to Saturday night. The plan was to find a place we could grab a drink and catch up, but after the show, his cast decided they wanted to GO. OUT. This being the first time they’d ever done so, we were totally tagging along.

Problem #1: With one exception, the cast is all under 24.

Problem #2: Being under 24, many of them are college students. As such, they wanted to go to “this awesome bar” across the street from NYU.

Problem #3: Being under 24, and mainly female, they were not looking for a ring on my hand, and as such DID. NOT. SEE. IT. (This also held true for the many 21-year-old NYU boys in the bar. Even when I practically waved it in their faces. Honestly, I got a kick out of it.) This led to both of us having to field “Is she (are you) your (his) girlfriend?!” several times throughout the night. ::headdesk::

In any case, to the college bar we went. And started off with whiskey … as you do.* 4 hours later the following had happened:

– Upon observing the college kids, the joke “we are too old for this” was made several times.

– One of the bartenders had decided she wanted one of the cast members (the only other one over 24). He, of course, second guessed that she was actually flirting, and came to me for advice. Apparently my advice worked, they let me know last night that they have a date this week.

– The object of Paul’s affection had made it clear she was put of by my being there. “Is she your girlfriend.” “No, I’ve known her for years and she’s married to a good friend of mine.”** “Are you SURE? She’s really pretty.”*** “I’m sure, don’t worry.” ::laughs:: It must be said, the girls were all genuinely friendly all night, just put off by the idea that he wasn’t single. He is, sweetie, flirt on. =)

– Much whiskey, rum, and beer were consumed.

– I was proclaimed the BEST WINGMAN EVAR, and Paul was proclaimed a “lucky bastard” for being able to reap the benefits. Reasons I gained this title included:

     1. The fact that being a straight female, I wasn’t going to change my mind and run off with the girl he liked.

     2. I was giving good girl advice … you know, being a girl myself and all.

     3. I explained the “jealousy game” to the boy who gave me the title. “You know how it goes … you think you might 
        like a girl, but aren’t really sure. Then she shows up with some random guy and is clearly close to him. And you 
        think “THAT ASSHOLE! Back off buddy!”. But it turns out he’s a good friend, or a cousin or something, and 
        therefore safe. But NOW you are SURE you like her. See what I mean? If my being here drums up a little jealousy 
        on her part, so much the better for Paul.”

Yah, that last one earned me a look of awe, and a drink. You’re welcome boy-who-now-understands-women-a-tiny-bit-more.

It was a good night.

Paul and I left at 2, as yet ANOTHER wave of students was stumbling in. (Side note … I’m from California … last call is at 1:30 … 1:45 if you’re LUCKY. What’s this 4am nonsense?) Street food (gyro and rice FTW) and 2 subway rides later, I (gracefully, of course) let myself into my friend’s apartment, inhaled half a pint of ice cream while sitting in front of the air conditioner’s window box, and then passed out.

I woke up at 12:30pm Sunday. Texted Paul to make sure he was alive (we were supposed to be getting brunch). He responded with “Alive, but definitely staying in. You?”

“I hurt. Paul, seriously, we are too old for this shit.”

“INDEED.”

Ah, growing up. =)

 

* It must be noted, we were the only ones drinking anything other than beer. I’m pretty sure our group finished the keg of Blue Moon. At least their taste in beer is decent!

** Good friend NOTHING. They’ve met ONCE. But, it helped ease her fears.

*** Ok, that was super sweet of her. Totally made my night.

**** The aftermath: I actually made it out the door, but only because I had to catch a bus back to DC. 4 bottles of water, some Motrin, and a big burger later, I was hurting less, but EXHAUSTED. Paul eventually made it out of the house as well … but I beat him by about 3 hours. Clearly, I win. ::winks::

August 4, 2011

Boxes Boxes Boxes

Around our little corner of the blogosphere in the past few weeks, there has been a LOT of moving talk. People forced to move, people thrilled to move, people contemplating moving. So, today, let’s join in al the talk.

Guys, for the first time in the past 3 years, I’m not moving. HOORAY!! But MAAAAAAAN do I have some stories from past moves … you see, I’ve moved a grand total of 11 times in my life … and no, I’m not a military brat. Lots of stress? Yes. But it makes for good story-telling.

Take, for example, the fact that it wasn’t until 2 moves ago that I learned moving is a great time to purge the general collection of nonsense that you tend to accumulate. I was more of the mentality “I’m moving from a 1 bedroom apartment into a rented room? I’ll make it fit, dammit!” Ugh. Too. Many. Boxes.

But here are some of the highlights … if only to make you all feel better about your moves…

1. Moving from one rented bedroom to another in the same house.

Somehow, though I had 2 weeks to shuttle all my stuff, oh, 20 feet down the hall (I was taking over the master bedroom in an effort to rid myself of a shared (with 3 guys) bathroom) I managed to be sitting, in the middle of my bedframe (the mattress having already been moved) surrounded by little bits of randomness, at 10:30pm the night I HAD to be out of the room (the new guy was showing up at 6am to move his stuff in). A friend came over to help (read: brought booze), and ended up making a game out of how much he could carry the 20 feet without dropping it … you know … as you do with a load of laundry when your basket is nowhere to be found. Stray socks anyone?

At one point (while sitting in the middle of the floor) my best friend called to break up with me. I shit you not. I sat there on the phone, slightly drunk, while she went on about how she needed to “reevaluate our friendship” because the guy she liked liked me instead. (Said boy was the one who was currently moving my belongings down the hall.) I remember going “well, ok then”, hanging up, and continuing along with the booze-and-moving-games routine.

This would be the same move where I electrocuted myself by being a GENIUS and not turning off my  power before installing a new light switch. Note to all the geniuses out there … bare live wires are not for touching. ::nods::

2. Moving out of my apartment a week before heading across the country.

The movers came to take away all the large pieces of furniture, and (of course) I was not ready. Things were not packed. (Do we sense a theme here?) So as they took my furniture, I was running around, throwing things in boxes, to be trucked across the country. Somehow, that got done.

Or almost. They left, and I realized I had 4 large boxes hiding in my closet. Well, crap. Enter the shiny new fiance who’s come over to help me load the car for our trip. 6 hours later he says it’s not going to fit. I’m adamant it will. He can’t get everything to fit. I tell him he’s doing it wrong.

Fighting ensues. 20 minutes later he looks at me and says all weepy-like “Happy Anniversary.”

Oops.*

3. The cross-country move.

A week of family vacation after the above mentioned anniversary debacle, we repacked the car to head out to DC. This time my dad and I did the arranging. EVERYTHING FIT. ** Barely, but it fit.

Barely, in this instance, means that when I bought a bag of chips at the first gas station, I had to hold it on my lap, because I had no other room. Oh, and whoever was in the passenger seat had to sit with their legs up. For a 2,600 mile road trip. Hrm.

Told you … the tea/bags? The box wouldn’t fit, so I had to start shoving little things everywhere.

The overexposed bit? That was the blanket covering my knees, since I had to keep my feet up.

We were such healthy eaters.

The drive itself was … exhausting. 5 days in close quarters with your shiny new fiance can go really well, or really poorly. In our case, we fought. A LOT. BUT … we came out on the other side feeling like we’d accomplished something big together. So all in all … win.

Then the truck didn’t show up for 3 week and we had to sleep on the floor, waiting for the bed.

You win some, you lose some.

4. The most recent move – 2 miles.

Moving 2 miles sucks. It’s close enough that hiring movers is stupid, but still far enough that you need to have a friend with a truck. Luckily, I had a friend with a truck. =)

We got the keys to our new apartment 1 week before I left for California for our wedding. I spent the first few days painting the walls, and then moving things over bit by bit (dishes, clothing, etc.). The furniture and final boxes, however, had to wait for the truck.

So, we started out bright and early, on a clear, warm day, 3 days before I left for Cali. We determine it’s going to take two trips, but no big deal. We get the first done, no problem. (Though it did involve a friend hanging out the back window of the pickup truck, holding up the bookshelf that was too tall to lay down in the truckbed. I was following along behind, FREAKING OUT.)

The second trip is lighter, and takes much less time to get everything packed into the truck. The bedroom furniture, all the lamps, and various boxes. Easy easy. Jason (the truck owner) and I decide to head up to the old apartment one last time to see if we missed anything. I head up first.

Suddenly, the power goes out … and now Jason is stuck in the elevator. NO GOOD! It comes back on a minute later, only to shut off again right away. This happens for about 2 minutes.  Finally he makes it out of the elevator and we do our last sweep. At one point I go to look out the window, for a final look at the view.

It was pouring.

We raced downstairs (not ABOUT to trust that elevator again) to find the 2 other friends who were helping wildly tearing everything they could out of the truck bed … which had by then (5 minutes tops) collected almost 2 inches of water. We all set to work, and get almost everything out before we realize it’s just too late. The mattress, luckily, hadn’t yet been loaded, so it was dry. But the dresser, nightstands, and several boxes? Drenched.

These amazing people helped me load everything into the smaller cars, and take it over to the new apartment … where they also helped me unload … even though we all looked like we’d jumped into a swimming pool. The dresser was beyond help (I’d had it since college, and it was cheap Ikea pressboard. The thing just cracked up the side), and the nightstands had some nasty water damage. Only one box was beyond help … and of course, that was the one with all our tax records. ::sighs::

It was not a good day.

 

So yes, I’ve had my share of nightmarish (even if they make me laugh later) moves. Which is why, when faced with the idea of moving into the city this year, we spent a whole 24 hours thinking about it and looking at renters websites … and decided to extend our lease.

Thank goodness for home.

 

* This is definitely not the first, or last time I’d been particularly vicious on a happy occasion. For example … I gave him HELL about not saying he was ‘in a relationship” on FB while he was at school on the opposite coast (What? You know you’ve been there.). ROYAL HELL. On the day that he’d decided to do it … to surprise me. ::sighs:: This apparently runs in my family, as my sister gave her fiance hell about not feeling like he was committed to their relationship … the day AFTER he bought a ring he’d yet to give her. At least we’re idiots together.

** My dad and I ROCK at the packing-a-car game. I think it has something to do with the hours upon hours of Tetris matches we played when I was younger. Spatial awareness FTW!

July 19, 2011

Life Shattering

It recently occurred to me just how many of my readers (that sounds funny, I’m just going to refer to you all as “you all” etc.) I’ve known less than a year. I mean, yes, there are a few of you that have been around for a LONG time (Hi Skye! Hi Christy! Hi Paul!), but most of you have no idea who I am and where I came from.

In the comments yesterday I mentioned that I’d danced 22 of my 28 years. And I used the past tense. 22 years is a LONG time to be doing something to give it up, right? Well, there’s a story behind that.

 

That photo was taken at a pick up rehearsal for the show that would 3 months later get me a job offer … dancing professionally (and teaching in my spare time!), no audition required. A freaking DREAM job, if I’d ever had one.

That show closed, and we began to prepare for the next one. This time I was backstage, costuming and deck managing … and being the general cast mom and support system against the crazy director.

Somewhere in the course of rehearsals we got into the ritual of gathering a bunch of the cast and crew on Sunday nights for margaritas. Being the one with a 5 seat car and a generally higher alcohol tolerance than most, I was often the one shuttling people around. One Sunday in particular, we started early, and I had more to drink than usual. Being responsible, I decided I’d stay an extra hour or so to fully sober up before heading the 20 miles home.* The two others who’d driven with me decided to catch other rides.

I headed out about 10:30 that night, and started for home. Getting on the freeway (one I’d gotten tickets on in the past, and so was always diligent about watching for cops), I turned on the radio to discover the boy I was currently dating had cued up a cd for me. Smiling to myself over the thought of him picking out this song, I continued to drive.

About 30 seconds later, SOMETHING slammed into my car from behind. The force of the impact sent me spinning across 3 (thankfully empty) lanes, to hit the concrete divide along drivers side of the car. The jolting and tipping I, at that point, thought was the car going over the divide turned out to be the tires blowing out on one side of the car, and then the other. Once they had all blown, the car took off spinning again, this time hitting the guard rail along the passenger side, before spinning once more and stopping, in the same lane I’d started in.

The song I’d been enjoying not even a minute prior was suddenly not so amusing. I remember hitting the power button to make the radio shut up and having the presence of mind to turn off the car and take the keys out of ignition. The door was jammed shut, so I kicked it open, and ran over to the shoulder … at which point I collapsed, and realized I couldn’t stand back up.

I’d broken my back.

What they say about adrenaline doing funny things to you in times of distress is true. From the time the car stopped to the time I fell over on the shoulder, I had no idea I was injured. I ran, kicked, and jumped … all the while  having an injury that led to me not being able to stand. It also seems to have held off the shock, which definitely set in once I was out of harms way. Once it did, I got to experience first hand just how nasty shock can be. In my case, I started screaming uncontrollably. I knew I was safe, I knew I needed to stop, but I couldn’t. It took almost half an hour for the paramedics to calm me down, and once they did, I cried for the next 4 hours. It was completely out of my control.

The driver who’d hit me? He’d been in a little black car without the lights on, doing 95 to my 60.** Without street lamps on the freeway, I never saw him coming.***

He was blazingly drunk.

And other than needing his stomach pumped, was completely unscathed.

The incompetence I experienced at the hospital that night isn’t worth going into. It’s enough to say that the x-ray tech was the only medical professional I saw there who seemed to know what he was doing, or seem sympathetic.**** Luckily, the friend whose house I’d left not even 10 minutes prior to the accident was seeing a chiropractor, who offered to do an evaluation for free (and then demanded to treat me for the next year.).

The morning after, my dad mentioned he was going to go get what was left of my belongings out of the car. I decided I was going with him. My mother fought me on it, but I needed to see what I’d lived through.

 

It’s important to stress that you can’t see the extent of the damage to the car. The trunk is in the backseat (the white bag handles you can see in the first photo through the window? That bag was in the trunk). The driver’s side was crushed in about 6 inches … I’d kicked through the front door, but the back door required a crowbar. The passenger side was crushed in almost a full foot. The crack you can see in the first photo along the interior of the front passenger door? Not a design element. The suspension was ripped from the back wheels, all 4 tires were blown out, and my back bumper hung out on the freeway at the scene of the accident for nearly a month. Somehow, no windows broke.

I have no doubt, this car saved my life.

It’s been 4.5 years since that accident. The first year of it was spent healing and rehabbing, but there, of course, were unavoidable consequences: first and foremost, my back will be messed up for the rest of my life. There is a block of scar tissue about 4 inches across, just chillin’ in my lower back. Thanks to this, I do not have the range of motion in my back or hips that I used to have. I (decreasingly, but they are still there) have “bad days” and get muscle spasms that have nothing to do with how I’ve slept. I had to turn down the dream job due to the fact that I COULDN’T WALK (I think I cried harder when I got that offer than I did when I found out how badly I was hurt). Due to the other driver not having a LICENSE, much less insurance, 90% of my medical bills came out-of-pocket. Which means 1. I’m broke and 2. my credit is shot. I had to re-learn to walk, and now do so much heavier and slower than I once did.

I can’t dance.

My friend Jenna once referred to the accident (and a similar one that she’d had) as a “body shattering accident”. Over the years I’ve come to think of it as more LIFE shattering.

But, we pick up the pieces and we try to move on.

Next year is the 5th anniversary of it all. Five years is a LONG time. By then, hopefully, I’ll have run my first race. And just maybe I’ll find a way, though I’ll never dance at the level I’d trained so hard for, be able to find the speed and joy of it again … in another way.

But on January 21, 2012, I intend to celebrate.

Who’s with me?

* It must be noted, my blood test came back with my blood alcohol level at .003. I was VERY sober.

** I usually drove closer to 75, but was paranoid about getting another ticket. It’s a cruel irony that had I been going my normal speed, I probably would have just smashed the car and been fine.

*** Due to my accident, the city council voted to spend the money and install lamps along the freeway. It’s made a huge improvement in accidents along that corridor.

**** X-rays of my back had to be taken with me laying on my left side. As my left side had been crushed against the door of the car, this was VERY PAINFUL. The x-ray tech was a quick and gentle as he could possibly be in both shooting and positioning me, and held my hand and wiped my tears while I continued to cry. I still wish I knew his name, but I have faith karma will come back to him in a lovely way some day.