Those Little Stickers

Those Little Stickers

On Tuesday, November 2, 2004 I had the early shift at the coffee shop where I worked. As the early morning turned to late morning and then afternoon, more and more people walked through the door with a smile on their face and that little “I voted” sticker on their lapel. This was in the middle of Los Angeles, so “I voted” meant “I voted again Bush.” After four years of George W., it felt good to think we were coming together to get him out of office.

My shift ended at 2PM. I went to vote stinking like coffee. I went home and took a shower. I took a nap. I started to watch the news, and then, damn it, he won again. Continue reading “Those Little Stickers”

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60 Days! Tick Tock Tick Tock

60 Days! Tick Tock Tick Tock

Uncertainty can make me nervous. That’s why I downloaded a wedding countdown app, and I’ve been using it to track a couple of milestone dates, like the 60-days-before-the-wedding mark. And that’s today. It’s 4PM as I type this, which means in exactly 60 days, our wedding guests will be parking their cars and finding their seats.

Yesterday we did a walk-through at our wedding venue with our Day Of Coordinator. I really went back and forth on hiring a DOC. The friends and family of mine who used one really sung their praises, but as we started sketching out the details of our wedding, I questioned if it was a want or a need for our particular wedding, which was not going to be all that big or all that complicated. My definitions of “big” and “complicated” have evolved, and I’m very glad we went with a DOC.

We’re expecting about 100 people, which isn’t a “big wedding”, but it’s objectively a lot of people. And even though we’re forgoing a lot of wedding elements (cake cutting, a DJ, sit-down dinner), there are still so many moving parts.

That’s why yesterday, after our walk-through, we headed to Stone Tasting Room and quickly got ourselves a flight of beers. I asked my girlfriend how she was feeling and she said, “overwhelmed.” Continue reading “60 Days! Tick Tock Tick Tock”

The Vena Amoris: Putting A Ring On It

The Vena Amoris: Putting A Ring On It

(photo: our rings and a great bottle of wine on the night we celebrated signing our venue contract)

Engagement rings are a weird thing. So weird, my sweet fiancee has yet to fully grasp the concept of them. I’ve defined “engagement ring” and “wedding band” for her many times, but even so, she pulled my band out of her pocket when she proposed.

For some reason, I’ve been against my girlfriend spending thousands of dollars on a ring since the subject first came up. A caveat: my opinions apply only to us. I don’t want to judge decisions made by others, just as I don’t want others to judge us. The Golden Rule of wedding planning.

I know for some people, picking out an expensive ring is part of the fun. It’s likely the first piece of investment jewelry a woman owns, so why not go for it, if that’s something you want (and can afford).

There is an engagement ring trap, though, and it’s the idea that the grandiosity of your ring is commensurate to the value of your relationship. That’s obviously not true, but it’s an easy rabbit hole to fall down. Continue reading “The Vena Amoris: Putting A Ring On It”

On Lake Time

On Lake Time

There are three mosquito bites on the back of my right calf and they’re coalescing into one uber bite. Itchy. Angry red. Pants make it itch, so I’m rolling my cuffs way up.

When I was a child, my grandmother’s best friend (who we always called “aunt”) told me her mosquito bite remedy: use your thumb nail to press an X over the bite. Like many folk remedies, it’s a false wisdom passed through generations until it gains the gravitas that masks a sad fact: placebo.

Still, I’m tempted to scoot up my pajama pants and dig three Xs into my skin.

The bites and the remedy were given to me in Lake Tahoe. I’ve been here every summer of my life. The tradition feels anachronistic, but I’d never think of breaking it, even though the definition of summer shifts with age. Continue reading “On Lake Time”

Passover: A Short Desert Memoir

Passover: A Short Desert Memoir

I took a UCLA Extensions class called “Writing Creative Non-Fiction” a few years ago and I wrote this for that class. It’s about roughly the same period of time as Part 2 and it’s always slightly horrifying to go back and read something you wrote more than a year ago.

The sun slunk down behind whatever mountains those were and brought the temperature down with it. The heat of the day slowed its fatal pace. The sandy dirt beneath my bare feet lost its burn and felt just pleasantly warm. Next to me, my girlfriend of five months sat in a new, collapsible chair, identical to my own.

We’d wandered into the desert to go camping and so I could meet her closest friends. All of them. Dozens of them. Hundreds. Or maybe just six. Continue reading “Passover: A Short Desert Memoir”

So … What Are You Now. Part 2.

So … What Are You Now. Part 2.

Part 1 is here.

In 2006, I’d been out of college for three years and my life was starting to feel a little more organized and a little more adult. Instead of chasing several jobs around the city at random times of day or night, I had one job with regular hours. My weekends were actually weekends. I lived with my longterm boyfriend and we quickly got to that point of domesticity where you have favorite brands of products like detergent and toothpaste. I ate vegetables on a regular basis.

But as these facts of my life settled in around me, I started to feel squirrely. With a “normal” job, I felt too square. And as I inched past my mid 20s, I wondered what I had traded by staying with the same person for the first half of that decade. The question “is this it” started to insist on being answered. Continue reading “So … What Are You Now. Part 2.”

So … What Are You Now? Part 1.

So … What Are You Now? Part 1.

In my early 20’s, I lived on a diet of candy, cheetos and the occasional 1AM bacon-wrapped hotdog, but always fit into my jeans. I could work my two jobs, change shirts and head out to catch last call. I could sleep erratically for days and days without losing brain function. When I did sleep, I could sleep anywhere (couch, floor, pile of laundry). There was a great density of random, bizarre experiences.

Sometimes I look back with envy at the life I lead back then, but I never miss the person I was.

I feel like I’m part of a last generation. We grew into cell phones and social media, but we didn’t grow up with them. Our first computers didn’t even have a mouse, let alone an internet connection. Being a small town teenager before the internet made it effectively impossible to understand the size of the world — the variety of people, jobs and lifestyles, the type and amount of choices you could one day make. My parents made a point of traveling with me and my brother, so I’d seen some very big cities, but there was a kind of otherness to anything outside of my hometown that made elsewhere feel surreal and out of reach.

The future wasn’t something I thought about, because I couldn’t conceive of any pieces for that puzzle. I didn’t want to replicate the examples of adulthood I saw around me, but I didn’t know what else there was. When I left for college, it felt like I was walking into a grey mist.

I traveled with a club from my high school to UCLA, because after the campus tour, we got to go to Medieval Times and I wanted to wield a turkey leg. At the top of Bruin Walk, I looked down at my Airwalks on the red brick and I was filled with an unfamiliar feeling: I wanted to be there. I felt good in that spot. When I looked around at the students and the trees, the classic architecture and the green spaces, I felt hopeful. A kid with no concept of what the future could be, got her first glimpse at what it might hold. Continue reading “So … What Are You Now? Part 1.”