Tag Archives: family

Thailand, Kid-Ginger, and my hairdressing aspiration

2 Dec

My brother thinks we should move to Thailand and open up a backpacking hostel.

I’m not so sure I’d be able to handle that much hippy.

Not that I wouldn’t be willing to give it a try.  I’m sure the opportunity for adventure and writing material would be vast.

He’ll report back on the situation, I’m sure.  He just left this morning, so I’m expecting an email within the next two weeks casually mentioning his intentions of marrying a local.

With Kid-Ginger, anything is possible.

Plus I recommended he read The Alchemist on the trip.  What better advice to give a brother than-hit the road, don’t look back, and go make your own journey?

I can feel my father’s expression as he reads that last sentence.  It’s bothered my parents for some time that I’ve been able to -ahem-casually suggest ideas for Kid-Ginger since he was quite small.

I can’t count the amount of times my mother has stared at him, exasperated, and muttered:

“Why, why on Earth do you keep listening to your sister?  Stop it.  Just stop listening to what she tells you to do-honestly.”

She may have been on to something the day I blindfolded him and fed him anchovy paste.  But I don’t think he really understood until nearly ten years later, when I decided to give him a ‘cool’ haircut.

I’ve somehow managed to convince three people in my life that I am capable of cutting hair.

He was my first victim.

Things were going well when I shaved off the sides of his head, and let longer red locks fall over the buzz underneath.  This was the nineties and we were in Seattle, so the grungy, mohawk potential was cool at the time.

For the record, he enjoyed the modern art on his scalp for the first week.  Like a little bad-ass, he ran across the soccer field, scoring goals while donning a look my father would later refer to as ‘white-trash chic’.

bad.ass.

If my mother  hated the artwork on his head at that point, she despised it a week later when I again came at him with scissors.  We were eating sandwiches on the porch, when I glanced at my 11 year old sibling and said:

“You know kiddo, I’m pretty sure it’s uneven.  I just need to fix it-a little, won’t take long, I promise.”

The problem with making hair even when you have no idea what you’re doing-is that somehow you convince yourself to just keep going shorter, and shorter….

and shorter….

Suddenly I realized I had turned my brother into a turnip.

uhhhh..whoops?

When my mom came home from work that afternoon, she found me outside the bathroom door, trying to console her only son on what would go down in history as Kid-Ginger’s worst haircut.

When he finally opened the door and she saw what I had done to his head, I knew I was grounded.

Hours later, after he had returned from the proper hairdressers and finally stopped glaring at me, I convinced him that it was just a misunderstanding.

By bedtime, we were friends again.

Here’s hoping he comes home from Thailand.

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Wizards, fox-roaming, and a mild cocaine addiction

30 Nov

I knew she was drunk when she repeatedly picked up the receiver in the public phone booth to ask for the Minestry of Magic.

When that didn’t work, she started hollering:

“Dumbledore, Albus.  Just trying to make this damn phone booth work m’am.  Just a muggle in need.”

It was two days after Christmas.  It was cold.  My cousin and I were stalking the streets of London in search for excitement.

Being two outgoing American ladies, we managed to finagle our way into a conversation that led to an invitation for pub-crawling.

Obviously this was a good plan.

Or not.

By the time the invitation was offered, we had both consumed several beverages.  The woman suggesting this great adventure was British and judging by the manner in which she kept licking her gums and disappearing into the bathroom-I’m guessing she was a little too into powdering her nose.

But no matter, her friends were fun.  They knew a club.  We chose to follow.

It was on the trek to the establishment when my cousin and I fell behind due to her fascination with the phone booths.  Well, that and my obsession with spotting a fox.

I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out.

Wild foxes roam about London.  Seriously.

I saw one in front of the National Gallery one day that stopped traffic.  The thing was so tame it wandered up to a woman on her cell phone and started sniffing her shoes.  She glanced down expecting to see a dog, but found a red-furred carnivore lazily seeking sandwich crumbs.

So while my cousin sought out Hogwarts’ finest, I set about looking under parked cars for Robin Hood.

It took us some time to catch up to the others.

By the time we did we could no longer locate our sniffing companion.

Not that it mattered.  The club was interesting and full of characters.  I talked to a man who claimed to have seven toes on one foot.  She managed to get herself tangled up in a conversation where she attempted to convince a British chap that she was speaking with a proper English accent.

She didn’t succeed and I didn’t get a proper toe reveal.

As the club grew stale, she and I wandered back outside in search of a taxi and the warmth of our beds.  Giggling in the car, we came to the conclusion that we’d just started our own Christmas tradition.  Forget roast goose, with pub-crawling, wizard-seeking, and near fox-spotting this was true holiday bonding.

If Dickens was watching, I’m sure he was proud.

Sex, aliens, and courage

29 Nov

When I was ten, my parents rented a sex-ed tape from the library and made me watch it with them on the couch.

With candy.

It’s no wonder I only eat popcorn at the movies these days.

By the end of the film, my eyes had turned to the size of dinner plates.  Convinced they were from another planet, I stared at my parents in sheer horror.  Exactly 63 minutes prior to sitting on that couch, they were the loving providers of shelter, food, and buckets of presents.  By the time my father turned off the television, they had morphed into creatures from another planet who were concerned with topics I wanted absolutely nothing to do with.

Ever.

The two of them stared at me after it ended, curiously watching my response as if I were a case study.  Nervously tapping her fingers, my mother asked if I had any questions.  My father tilted his head.

By this point I was convinced that these so-called humans in front of me were alien sleeper pods.  I had questions-but you can hardly ask aliens what they’ve done with your real parents.  My knees shaking, I walked to the kitchen to get a glass of water.

The voice of the narrator branded in my head as I tried desperately to forget the phrase: ‘the sperm now travels through the penis shaft’.

Taking a sip of water, I feigned calm in front of the aliens.  My hands trembled as I mumbled the sudden need for a bike ride, and meandered towards the garage in what I desperately hoped would be a convincing act of cool and collected.

Once my feet hit the pedals, my imagination exploded.

A combination of scenes from the video and all alien movie plots I had ever seen infiltrated my brain as I pushed my bike further from the house o-extra-terrestrial parents.

Vowing to erase the images from my mind, I pedaled out to the treehouse to re-evaluate my family situation.  One thing was clear, my parents had lost their minds.  Whether or not that had something to do with spacecraft was unclear.  Further investigation was necessary.

I vowed to shelter my brother from a similar fate.  Whispering to him after dinner that night, I told him never to watch anything Mom and Dad brought home from the video store.  Staring at me from behind the red curls framing his chubby face, kid-Ginger obediently nodded.

Figuring that he was safe for the time being, I then lined up my stuffed animals to hold an open forum.  Not one of them provided much insight except Snoopy.  Being the oldest of the bunch, he just stared at me with those innocent eyes, willing me to take charge of the situation.

I had to save the human race from the aliens who were forcing children to watch this video.  Purpose of said video was unclear to me, but I was sure it could lead to nothing but tears, destruction, and the complete annihilation of mankind.

Tucking Snoopy under my arm, I fell asleep determined to warn the students of my class in the morning.  This situation was serious.

The next day, my teacher showed the video to my classmates.

As they watched in frozen horror, our loving teacher turned it off at the end and asked if any of us had already seen the tape.

Bravely, facing alien destruction, I defiantly raised my hand.  This creature was not going to shock me, no sir.   I had already seen the horror, now was the time for confrontation.

All my classmates turned in my direction.  It was clear, my hand indicated authority.  I was now the leader of these innocent sheep being sent to slaughter.

“I already saw it.  I already know what you’re going to say”.

That ladies and gentlemen, is how I became the playground expert on sex education and alien invasion.  The rest of the day, I was a celebrity on the swings, hollering out instructions on how we must unite against the adults.  My classmates eagerly hopped on board with this plan.  I was the shephard, and by God-I would not let harm come to my flock.

This lasted one day.

The next morning Joey Hunter brought in a copy of his father’s Playboy.

Turns out, the aliens knew how to get the boys attention.

The Golden Corral, a boot mug, and my childhood dream

12 Nov

When I was four I wanted nothing more than to join the rodeo.  My grandfather took me to my first one in Eastern Washington, and from that day forth I ran around the backyard in a blue t-shirt bearing a cartoon bull crossed over with an x.

No-bull was my motto.

My grandfather at one point in his life had been a dentist, but had grown up on a farm, and in later years would breed ostrich.  With bow-legs, pointy boots, and a big roaring laugh-his very presence sparked my cowboy interest.  But it was the first trip to the rodeo that really sealed the obsession.

Sitting next to my broad shouldered gramps in the stadium, coke in one hand, hot dog in the other, I witnessed the event with complete fascination, and vowed to myself that one day-I too would be a great cowboy.

Lone ranger. Image of all things awesome.

It didn’t occur to me that I would make a better cowgirl.

After that trip to the rodeo, I set about lassoing various objects in the backyard with my jumprope.  The old stump next to the fence, my tricycle, and on occasion our snoozing german shephard all fell victim to my hand.  Sticking a long piece of grass out of the corner of my mouth, I tromped about the lawn riding imaginary horses, bulls, and tipping my baseball hat at passing wildlife (birds, flies, and once again-our dog).

One evening my grandfather showed up to take us out to dinner.  I was ecstatic because:

1. My grandfather was a real-life cowboy.  Perfect for studying so I too could master the art of bad-assery.

and

2. Eating out with Gramps meant I could order soda.  The forbidden fruit of my childhood, I would have sold my soul on any given day for a swig of Coke.

On this particular eve, I asked my him what his favorite restaurant was.  His response would rock my already cowboy-infested mind.

The Golden Corral.

Where real cowboys fill up.

The dark walls, the western theme, and the good-old fashion American cuisine made this establishment my grandfather’s favorite restaurant.  So of course, I was happy to pretend that I too, had spent my four years on Earth loving the Golden Corral.

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the cowboy themed restaurant.  The emotion was hastened by an item that would become a part of my upbringing. An item filled to the brim with that delicious, sugary, caffeine-infested cola my young brain so desperately desired.  An item that was refillable, gloriously shiny, and best of all-mine to take home after the meal.  Let me introduce you ladies and gentlemen, to the boot mug.

Beverage receptacle of choice for the true cowboy.

For anyone unfamiliar with the joys of drinking out of a glass mug when your four year old mind has already convinced itself that you are a real-life cowboy; let me sum it up in one word:

Perfection.

Sitting there at the table, I could barely wait to get the mug home and drink everything I would EVER drink in my future out of this mug.  I vowed that all milk would miraculously taste better out of the boot, that juice would never be so glorious, that even water would somehow become exciting.  Picturing myself sitting on the lassoed stump in the backyard, backwards cap, no-bull -shirt, and mug in one hand-I was sure to send a cowboy message to the neighborhood.

Flies and birds beware, there was a new sheriff in town.

Begging my mom to clean it the next morning so I could use it, I quickly discovered the greatest feature of the boot mug.  I had failed to notice at the restaurant because I had been swigging my Coke from a straw.  The next day in the backyard however, the mug sang to me.  That’s right-it sang.

Well, burped really.

I discovered as I casually meandered the lawn in search of wandering cattle, tumbleweeds, and bad-guys; that when I drank from the side of the glass with the handle-the mug would loudly bubble.  Which, when I closed my eyes, could easily be interpreted for the sound of gunshots.

Instantly the boot-mug became my joyous dinnertime companion.

Bubbles of milk spattered my freckled face as I chugged for the satisfaction of hearing the pop.  Gasping for breath at the end of each swig, I’d giggle in delight as my parents sat sighing at the dining table.

It was the missing piece to my cowboy persona, and from then until six months later when my profession of choice changed (that’s another post), the boot mug was my best-bud.

I haven’t been to the Golden Corral in years, but for the sake of all young budding cowboys, I really hope they still give away the boot mug.  It is truly the accessory of choice for anyone willing to repeatedly lasso their tricycle.

Demonic cookie breath, sundress, and my love of burritos

11 Nov

Last summer I was haunted by a demon.

I know what you’re thinking.  My imagination is ridiculous, I’m overly-dramatic and prone to campfire-style tales likely to scare no one but myself.  I’m not saying you’re wrong-I’m just saying that last summer a demon in a floral print sundress followed me.

Ok, not in total abundance, more like a two-sighting occurance.

But still.

It started when I went out to lunch with my cousin Molly.  We went to a Mexican restaurant to catch up over chips, salsa, and burritos.  Things were going fine until I left to find the bathroom.

The restaurant is located inside a near-vacant strip mall.  In fact, I think the only thing in the mall is the bathroom, and the lone bench sitting next to the door of said rest-stop.

That’s where I first saw her.

No blinking. Just eye contact.

Sitting on the bench, floral church-going dress, long, wavy blonde hair framing her beautiful face.

I started towards the bathroom, when her eyes locked with mine and I knew something was off.  Mostly because she was creepily chewing on a Nilla Wafer while fiercely maintaining eye contact.

Demon fuel. Dude.

Holding it to her mouth, she nibbled away on the treat while never looking away as I worked my way towards the door.  The torn box sat on her lap, eagerly providing her with cookies while she sat with no apparent purpose other than to stare.

Let me point out how weird it is to be eating Nilla wafers this close to a Mexican restaurant.  I can’t pinpoint the exact reason, except that the sweet cookies are most likely mass-produced from the tears of children.  Enchiladas on the other hand, come from a happy place filled with sombreros, ponchos, and laughter.  Given the two options, obviously a demon would choose the cookie.

That was my evidence of her being a demon by the way.  Cookies next to restaurant + creepy eye contact + sundress=demon.

Since I am brave, I just decided to pretend that I hadn’t noticed our eye contact and went to the bathroom.  On my way out she had upped the creep-factor.  Now sitting so that her body faced the bathroom door-whereas on my way in-she was facing the Mexican restaurant-she continued gnawing away on the tears of children.

Obviously, I hurried back to my burrito.  I tried to act casually, but knowing me-the glancing over my shoulder definitely gave away my fear.  Not that it matters, demons can smell that stuff a mile away.

After we finished eating, Molly had to go to the bathroom.  I said I’d wait for her outside.  Happy to discover that the woman had left, I sat down on the bench while awaiting my cousin, breathed a sigh of relief, and was just convincing myself that my imagination needs a make-over when I looked out the strip mall door and saw:

Demon woman standing outside glass door, about an inch away from the glass, still munching away on the Nilla Wafer, and again-holding eye contact.

Needless to say, this was not a highlight of my afternoon.

Regardless, I sighed relief when Molly emerged from the bathroom, and we got into her car and left the scene of what I’m sure was about to become a Satanic-epicenter of evil.  Who knew such things could happen outside the Happy Taco.

Skip ahead two weeks later, when I flew to Madison, WI to be in my best-friend’s wedding.  On the morning of the big day the bride-to-be and I stopped in a pharmacy for some things before getting ourselves ready.

We were waiting to pay for our items, when suddenly, P.J.(bride) noticed that the woman in front of us was acting a bit-odd.  I didn’t notice because I was too busy debating the pros and cons of eating skittles before squeezing into a bridesmaid dress.

Zilla bridesmaid fuel. Sweet.

Regardless, the woman left the shop before P.J. had a chance to comment.  On the way out of the pharmacy, the woman-who I then spotted just outside the door, was a blonde in a sundress, creepily holding eye contact with me.

Even though she wasn’t identical to my Mexican restaurant demon, she had those same eyes, and this time she got worse.

This time she walked up to me, got way too close to my neck and whispered:

“Stop doing that.  It’s hurting me”

She then proceeded to hold eye contact with me while backing away down the sidewalk.

P.J. laughed pretty hard, but I knew deep down-this demon woman was stalking me.

So if you happen to see her lurking in the cookie aisle of your local grocery store, be careful.  I clearly didn’t receive her message and I’m sure she’s just waiting for the right person to receive her Nilla-wafer whispers.

As for me, I’ll be in the Mexican restaurant.  Look for the girl hiding under the sombrero.

woes of a clumsy ballerina

7 Apr

If you’ve never had massive amounts of bobby pins scraped against your gel-laden scalp while wearing a tutu then you’ve never lived.  If you haven’t, then consider me jealous of your childhood.

Mine as I’m sure you’ve gathered-involved ballet.

Seven years of it.  That’s a long span of public humiliation.  My mother was behind it.  She had this image of me as a graceful, thin, elegant blonde dancer.

I am many things, but dancer and elegant are not amongst the adjectives that first pop into mind when considering my own character.  Nevertheless, mothers are blind to certain realities, and so it was that I suffered through my slipper, tights, and leotard donning prison sentence.

The British Dance Academy was run by a herd of strict, sadistic ballet instructors.  Think Nurse Ratchet does dance.  If Iraq had called for a dance-off, these women could have ended the damn war by drafting in their troops.  Any child between the ages of six and eighteen who had passed the most recent bi-annual exam would have kicked the sand with their pointed toes in time to brise it back home for dinner.   I don’t think I would have made the draft, but that’s a direct consequence of my relationship with the exams.

They were horrible ordeals involving a panel of stone-wall faced women.  Each trembling ballerina was sent in solo, to perform her duties to the judges.  Being as graceful as an elephant, this was always a problem for me, but when I was nine-it was especially horrendous.

The night before my exam, I prepared my tights, slippers, leotard and went to grab my skirt out of my dance bag.  Only children between five and seven actually wore the tutus, once we reached eight-we were upgraded to satin wrap around skirts.

Which is where my demise occurred.

Somehow during the last rehearsal, I had mixed my skirt with another girls, a girl in my class who was far, far bigger than myself.  Her exam was not until a week after mine, and as I had put off preparing myself until the last minute, there was no time left to inform my mother of this mistake.  The skirt wrapped around my tummy with FAR too much extra fabric.  So I did what any girl would do.

I put on my MacGyver thinking cap, and went to work coming up with a plan that would allow me to wear her skirt and finish my exam without telling my mother of the problem.  I would fix it myself.

Which is why the following morning, I showed up to my ballet exam wearing a total of fifteen pair of cotton panties underneath my tights and leotard, which were underneath the sweatpants I wore over them on the car ride.

Hence, my mother could not see what her genius daughter was up to.

I strode into the examination room, faced the judges, and by all accounts looked like a girl in a diaper.

And then of course, I danced.

If youtube had existed back then, I am sure I would have become an instant sensation.  Luckily for me, I was sent out with strict instruction to relocate my own skirt, and a long-winded lecture explaining that my solution was preposterous, undignified, and a disgrace to the world of ballet.

To be fair, I’m pretty sure that with or without my extra undies, I was forever doomed to be a stain on the world of dance.