Sunday, July 30, 2006

for sale: slightly used death traps (3 pair, size 37 european)*

this is a pretty long recap, so for those of you who want to cut to the chase, i offer a headline-only preface.


cadiz still has all her limbs, thanks for asking
friends are now married
maid of honor not assassinated for speech
undersides of feet likened to those of cane-beaten prisoners in bollywood films
H on plane back to cali


after the rehearsal dinner (for which i feel i was overdressed; what's the protocol for that anyhow? people were all over the spectrum) we ate food catered from the place r and c had their first date and where c proposed. afterward, ale, kaiya and i took care of a little last minute shopping, i caught a catnap on kaiya's couch and headed off to pick up H.

hotel for mr. california
the sketchy hotel was just that. the area seemed seedy at 1 a.m., but the place was booked solid and there were actually some non-drugdealer looking people in the lobby. so i was fine. the room was clean, but looked like it hadn't been redecorated since 1984, except the shower, which looked pretty new. it was only lacking a few items: shampoo/conditioner, the door to the freezer part of the minifridge, a towel bar or toilet paper holder and an alarm clock. the tv had knobs, but we didn't think to check if it was color. bottom line, even though i tossed and turned the whole time dreaming i got arrested for mistaken identity in a drug bust, there were no hookers in sight and we didn't get mugged at knifepoint. H drove me to r's house at 7 a.m.

the 'dos
for 7 a.m. on the day of her wedding, r was surprisingly calm. i think the only problem in the hair/makeup session was that r lost the back of her earring down the front of her dress and had to take it off and scour the floor for it. that and i was forced to wear crocs to get starbucks and had to balance 5 coffees and bagels while powerwalking because i didn't want anyone to capture this on film. as we left, everyone looked radiant, especially the bride. but it was 95-plus degrees, humid and beaded satin doesn't breathe well.

before the bubbles
at the ceremony, things went according to plan; there were indian traditions in the mix, too, and it was lovely. as much as i say i wouldn't want hoopla for my own big deal, there is something nice about doing the God part in a house of God. afterward, they were driven off in a rolls royce silver wraith that was actually silver. i had to try not to limp out of the church because, despite my dr. scholl's gel pad inserts, the shoes we chose to go with our dresses were instruments of slow and painful torture cleverly disguised as sexy spindlyheeled silver stunners that we couldn't complain about because we chose them ourselves.

storming the castle

H was kind enough to drive me (my driving foot was throbbing from standing through the ceremony) and two other hobbling bridesmaids all the way to the castle, where we saw peacocks and some type of ostrich/emu fowl parading the premises. the castle was beautiful (you will probably see pictures if you go to ale's in the next couple days). however, the air conditioning in the hall where they were having the reception was not working.

getting toasty

everything was great; the best man and i were trading jabs about preparedness for the speeches we were slated to give. i have to admit, i didn't really want to share what i was planning (which wasn't anything concrete because i hated everything i had come up with in the last few months) because i didn't want him to steal all my ideas and then hand the microphone to me so i could say, 'yeah, what he said. to r and c!' but we figured out the gist so we wouldn't overlap. he started to get nervous and i tried to convince myself of what i was saying to reassure him, too: that he'd be fine, they chose him for a reason, and just to look at them and say what comes to mind and all will be fine if he just enunciates and speaks into the mic.

when we were called, i took my champagne glass (thanks, becky) and joined bestman at the stage. he put his glass on the music stand in front of us and it started to roll off the edge as he started his speech. i caught it and held it while he told the guests about a basketball trading card (kendall gill, rookie sensation), over which he and c didn't speak for years and had it as a prop. it was a very nice touch. people laughed and the bride and groom were touched. so of course i knew the pressure was on.

before the wedding, i had written out a speech, then folded it up and written crib notes during the day as things came to me. but i didn't look at it because as i gripped the mic and the glass, i had no free hand. besides, as the video will later show, even though my mind was pretty calm, the glass-holding hand was shaking so violently that i had to hold it against my body to keep from spilling. thank God they don't fill those things more than halfway.

i looked around and just told the story as i would have done a blog post. how r and i met, things we did together growing up, how we encountered c, how i knew there was something brewing, how she said 'c is going to be my husband' after their very first date, and how they still look at each other the same way they did in the beginning. i wished them the best. the bride got teary, so i felt pretty good about it. i was so glad it was over, i got myself a drink.

after hours
the rest of the night was great. the happy couple sang a duet c wrote for the occasion, there were lots of pictures, hand-shaking, booty-shaking (the band was excellent). even our friend who is due in six days got up for "let's get it on" (her husband turned to me and said, 'yeah, we were listening to this song about nine months ago; i've gotta find her for this one.')

after all was said and done, we piled into cars and went to the hotel to crash. the only thing that was open was mcdonalds. as i rolled down the window and stared at the menu, the freaking sprinklers went on and splashed me in the face. now WHY mickey d's would need to water the tiny speakerbox island at 10 pm, and moreover, point one of the sprinklers right toward a customer's car window, i have no idea. but it reminded me of when i was at cc's beach wedding and there was a light shower right after the wedding and the minister said it was a blessing from above. i'm going to go ahead and take that as a thumbs up from the sprinkler gods for making it through the day. and i rewarded myself with a hot apple pie.

*seriously, if you need these for a wedding party, or any occasion for that matter, they're pretty. but only for walking down the aisle and pictures. if you want to try and dance in them, don't blame me when the balls of your feet swell to the size of golf balls.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

according to plan, there will be a hitch

one of my best friends-- known her since fifth grade-- is getting married on saturday. and while my feelings are nothing like those of julia roberts in 'my best friend's wedding,' i have called upon H to help me do my best to troubleshoot.

my plan is for us to get out all the drama karma BEFORE the nuptials (just as a goodluck failsafe):

*Thursday, all day: try to stock up on sleep and do all the stuff i should have done before like haircut, eyebrows and pedicure
*Friday, 4 p.m.: attend rehearsal, dinner
*Friday, after festivities: drive to old-school 1960's hotel, the only one a person can get at reasonable equidistance from airport, bride's house and church for less than $360 a night (so much for priceline[dot]com), check in, try to nap
*Saturday, 1 a.m.: pick up H from the airport
*Saturday, 6 a.m.: get going to bride's house
*Saturday, 10:30-ish a.m.: get picked up by H to go to the church

i was, in a shocking development, running around like a chicken trying to find a decent place to stay (five hours is way too short and way too late to impose), that i failed to realize that the the hotel is actually on the outer edge of a cutesy, trendy neighborhood, a place that most people might qualify as 'sketchy.' for some reason i missed the tipoff of the bullet-proof glass/bankteller slot between me and the guy taking my reservation, as well as the iron FENCE going all around the premises. granted, that was at 1 p.m. before work and there were little kids riding their bikes. i have been reassured by people who live near there that it should be ok, but still, i'll have my pepper spray.

i'm starting to rethink that whole take a nap part, though. i'd rather be tired and have all my limbs than in a permanent state of rest.

so in any case, you may not hear from me for some time, as we will be crossing state lines to attend a wedding in a castle. hopefully i will not botch the 2.5-minute speech i'm supposed to give (and haven't yet been able to write).

but if i'm mugged and dismembered, that'd be a damn shame, because as Ale has said, the bridesmaid dress is really cute.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

yeah, and Ross made up 'Got Milk?'

"where are you?"

"i'm at the grocery store, getting some things for the weekend. oh, good thing you reminded me; i'll need a razor."

"i ate way too much at lunch. i feel kind of sick... wait a second, what did i just say to remind you of razors?"

"you didn't, i just passed by them."

"oh. i'm so boooored."

"dude, why don't you come by the blog anymore? what gives?"

"you never post anymore."

"uh, i've posted like three times in the last two days. way to keep up."


"oh, i have to get travel shampoo, too; ran out last time i was in cali."


"crap, i can't remember if i have travel-sized lotion. this is not good. my horoscope says i'm going to be in a spending mood, and here i'm putting everything in my basket... uh, hello?"

"uh, excayUSE me, but this 'optimism' post? because I so thought that up YEARS AGO, missy!"

"i don't think so, pal. i CLEARLY REMEMBER coming to that conclusion on my own. i'll give it to you that we discussed it in high school, but i--"

"i. don't. THINK. so. I SO MADE THAT UP!"

"whatever, you didn't. and even if you did, you weren't the first, buddyboy."

"and this is the SECOND TIME you've mentioned it on here!"

"awfully astute for someone who NEVER LOOKS AT THE THING."

"whatever. anyway, i'll call you later."

"sounds good. e-mail me, i'll be in the dungeon."

"okay. have fun at work."


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

mssd up splng: th nw genratn

the motorola pr department is at it again:

Motorola set to launch two new mobile phones, siblings to the Razr: Krzr and Rizr.

i don't even know where to begin on pronouncing those.


NOW motorola is going to have the Scpl, slimmer than the Razr. is that supposed to be pronounced "scalpel"? wtf, motorola, you're contributing to the spelling delinquency of teens EVERYWHERE.

Monday, July 24, 2006

it's hard out here for a

i'd love to say i'm an optimist, but i'm not. at least to the public, anyway.

what makes it tricky is that people like me actually are optimists deep down inside -- they convince themselves that assuming the worst might "un-jinx" things. besides, there's a tiny comfort in at the very least being right if it doesn't work out. and if it does, well that's the best way to be wrong.

unfortunately that method can backfire. and it ends up being so much more of a letdown than just being a straightup optimist. because straightup optimists don't take too long to see the silver lining.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

always reliable

"i just got myself a sandwich at jimmy johns."

"what'd you get?"

"number four, Turkey Tom. the usual, except sometimes i'm in the mood for sprouts and sometimes not. today i said what the heck, yes to the sprouts."

"that's cool."

"but you know, i have to say, the service i got at this place was IMPECCABLE. and you know i don't throw around service-industry compliments lightly."

"i do. what was so great? they were fast?"

"not just fast, but it was like this girl was multitasking tripletime. she was making someone else's sandwich, got my order, got it right, at the same time took two other people's orders, made all the sandwiches correctly and i barely had time to get my drink and it was ready. then she even apologized for the wait. and she was nice too. wow, you NEVER see that kind of thing anymore. i was trying to get her name without being too obvious. because i'm sure no one ever compliments food-service workers when they should be."

"wow, she must have been something."

"yes. i was very impressed. especially because there's usually like five people back there and there were only two. if every restaurant had one worker like that..."

"probably make a difference, eh?"

"yeah... but you know what?"

"what's that?"

"she was probably on speed or something."

"now THERE'S my girl. all this while i had been wondering where my little pessimist had gone."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

surgery update

last may my brother had his seventh open-heart surgery to correct a blood-flow issue that had been putting too much stress on his liver. he also had a pacemaker implanted in his abdomen. since then, he had only been using the pacemaker to help him pump blood 13% of the time.

the kid is not a beefy guy, so in the last few months it became quite obvious that the pacemaker was no longer hiding under his ribs but poking out in what i can only describe as if someone was poorly hiding a pack of cigarettes under a shirt. it was like when people get a piercing and the skin gradually grows in such a way that it pushes the piercing farther and farther out until there is no hole anymore and the thing falls off. there were also two gumball-sized bumps on top of the bulge.

turns out the gumballs were pockets of fluid, which was building up all around the device. at yesterday's procedure they were drained for their contents to be tested. they sent the stuff to the lab, and within 48 hours we'll know if it was harmless and he will only have to worry about the leg surgery in the coming weeks, or if it has become infected (with the possibly of infecting the pacemaker and the blood that runs through it). if it is the latter, the whole matter may have to be revisited with a major procedure, which would probably get in the way of him obtaining his college degree anytime soon.

so, while he's doing well and thoroughly entertained me with his post-surgical/drug-induced antics, right now we're just waiting to see what happens.

thank you all for your good vibes and comforting words. i believe that positive energy of any kind can work wonders. and i have a snarky ps2-addicted 23-year-old in my house to prove it.

thank you all for your well wishes; the results came back negative. now we just have to worry about fixing the gusher on his leg and he'll be set to wreak havoc in the Southern U.S. come the end of August.

Monday, July 17, 2006

you know what pisses me off? III

when the heat index is 115 degrees outside, so you decide to wear the lightest-weight dress you own, but forget that you live in 'the windy city.' then you have to spend the entire evening waddling around holding down your skirt, and nasty 12-year-olds in wife-beater shirts honk at you anyway.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

he knows just how to handle it

on friday i managed to wrangle my way in on my brother's doctor appointment "with the three-headed monster": his cardiologist, his longtime surgeon and the pacemaker specialist. he absolutely didn't want my mother to go, but i convinced him that he might want to reconsider facing off against those people without some kind of moral support.

yeah, so as soon as we got to the waiting room and partook in the usual pleasantries with the nurses and staff, they called him in. and he told me to park my ass in the waiting room.

so i had trekked all the way to the faraway hospital just to enjoy the likes of 'phil of the future,' 'timon and pumbaa' and seven THOUSAND commercials for the new disney channel movie about some girl whose diary gets her in trouble, in the children's waiting room. sorry Ian McEwan, your flowery, turn-of-the-century turn of phrase doesn't stand a chance with that kind of nonstop pop going on about six feet away. (those cheetah girls have got some moves.) it's a shame we had to go just as 'that's so raven' was starting; i've heard good things about that one.

however, the best entertainment during those three hours was the nonstop parade of little kids. there were chubby ones, hyper ones, sleepy ones, drooly ones. bored big brothers, snotty sissies and, of course, the wanderers. i began to realize how comfortable i have become in those waiting room situations. i grew up frequenting those joints. and i started to see a little bit of me and my brother in each of those kids; you can tell the ones who've been around that block a couple times already. they wait patiently through the paperwork. they'll share turns at the little ship-steering wheel mounted on the wall or bust out their coloring books and crayons. and you can always pick out the patients by their resigned lack of activity and abnormal attachment to a parent. everybody knows the score. they know that resistance just makes the whole thing harder for all.

it's crazy that something like a visit to a cardiac surgeon could become routine, but i think a lot of it has to do with my brother and his attitude toward life. basically, he takes shit as it comes and makes the most of it. he doesn't waste time secondguessing, feeling too guilty or wondering what could have been, because he's going to live his life, dammit, and no one is going to make him do anything he doesn't want to do. i sincerely believe that spirit is what has kept him kicking so long. and i hate to admit it, but if roles were reversed, i probably would have given up and succumbed in round one.

when he came out of the consult room, i carried the white box with the telephone hookup for his pacemaker. with it, he can put the little bracelets on and plug into any phone, anywhere, and they can get a reading on how the thing is working for him. he nonchalantly says that he told them he didn't have time for a chest x-ray, he'd get it later. and most likely there will be two surgeries before he goes back to school in august; one to repair the vessels in his leg and reroute them to bigger ones that can handle the load, and the other to adjust the pacemaker placement, which his body has decided looks better protruding out from his chest in a big bump.

at that news, i started showing the beginning quivers of freaking out. he cut me off at the pass very matter-of-factly with a 'let's get out of here, i'm hungry,' then he took me out to a fabulous sushi lunch.

i'm not sure what the age is when the lines between big sibling vs. little sibling get blurry, but i'm pretty sure we're past it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

no good. terrible.very bad.

monday was such a good day. first off, i didn't have to work. i slept in and watched three movies (even though you were right gg, 'Saturday Night Fever' was depressing). most importantly, i made a cameo at my old dance class with cc -- i hadn't been able to attend in almost a year -- and you know it was that great and i am that out of shape because two days later i'm still hobbling around like someone who's lived for a century.

when i got home, i was so wired from the adrenaline of floorwork that i couldn't sleep until 7:30 in the morning. maybe if i had known then that it was going to be the beginning of what alexander could describe in a few choice adjectives, i wouldn't have gone to sleep at all.

at about 9 a.m. tuesday, my brother (who is home on college break but taking summer classes) was screaming for me to help him. a vein near his left shin had burst and he'd soaked through an entire towel before he could wrangle a bandage on there tight enough to hold it back. of course i was in so deep an exhaustion that i didn't even hear him. finally he limped into my room to tell me to make sure the blood and bleach were completely washed out of the bathtub and went to class.

then, on my way to work, i tuned into newsradio to hear that some sort of terrorist group bombed seven train stops in Mumbai at rush hour. two of which are the stops for some of my relatives. i called my dad, who was trying to get a hold of his people but because there was such chaos he couldn't get through.

after i got to work, i tried calling my mother to ask about the family, and got no answer. however, she called me shortly thereafter from the emergency room, where she had to rush my brother after she got home from work. it seems when she went to check his bandage, the blood started gushing out -- this is actually what she said, as she showed me her pinkie finger to demonstrate the thickness of the stream-- "like a watergun" and she was unable to stop it. my mother is a nurse.

then my father calls to say that his sister had gotten off at the platform in Bandra on the train directly before the one that blew up. if she had been running late, she would have been in the compartment with the bomb. at that point, the death toll was at 160 people and is now at more than 200.

someone comes in the office to say that right here in Chicago, the Blue Line 'L' train derailed, causing a fire and the subway to fill with smoke. after the news from the motherland, people were freaking out. everyone was safe, but shaken up. some 150 taken to hospitals for smoke inhalation. things got way behind at work because everyone was standing around the tv to find out what happened.

on my way home, i had made it about 12 miles onto the highway when the steering wheel and the rest of the vehicle began to shake violently, accompanied by a rubbery, flapping noise that i had never heard before. it became hard to steer, but i made it to the shoulder where i found i had blown a tire. no big deal; i knew how to change a flat even though i had never had to actually do it before. when i got the car years ago, my father walked me through the process. no sweat. however, double semi tractor trailers rattling by at 85 mph make it tricky to concentrate. and because i could barely reach over to fasten the seatbelt without 14 sore muscles whining in protest, one can only imagine how fun it was to empty the trunk and remove the spare tire.

it was 12:30 a.m. there weren't any streetlights where i had stopped. to keep pretenses light, i called H with a preview of the ridiculous story i'd tell at dinner parties of my pathetic attempts to change a flat when i could barely tie my shoes. for good measure i threw in my location and key phone numbers in case the line went dead and my body was found dismembered and buried in a shallow grave in some nameless forest preserve in the suburbs. but i was more scared of getting clipped by a drunk driver or sleepy trucker.

it was all good; i was already practicing how i'd nonchalantly announce to my father, who despite trying to teach me these things doesn't really believe i can do them (secretly hopes i can't) without his assistance. after several minutes i realized the jack was not coming out of its cute little compartment. i didn't have a secret decoder ring, magic key or password. nothing was working. H was trying to explain that there was something to twist, pull, unfasten or unlock, but it just wasn't happening. mostly because i was blocking what little trunk light i had by holding up the carpeting to get to the compartment. it was looking like i'd have to get dear old daddy out of bed after all.

but my pops could sleep. some kindhearted soul must have seen my pathetic ass struggling and didn't want to read about some girl chopped to bits and buried in a forest preserve because they called the highway help guy. he pulled up, changed the flat and said with a nod, 'just be safe' when i asked him if i owed him anything. i also asked him what the secret was to removing my own car jack and he just laughed. i said 'they're supposed to be easy to use.' and he said, 'yeah, if you manage to get them out.'

when i finally got home, my brother was up to make sure i was ok, with his crutches leaning against the couch. he's going to have to have surgery on the leg. he convinced me to watch 'The Longest Yard,' which i didn't find to be terribly entertaining. i was especially disappointed in Chris Rock.

but maybe i was just in a bad mood.

Monday, July 10, 2006

something blue

when you set out to paint a picture
there's an image in your head
you choose those closest to share
their talent and creativity
and add a mark to the masterpiece

after you've handed out the brushes
and loose guidelines
they interpret it their own way
they don't exert the effort you'd hoped
but instead
they surprise you
but not in a good way
they attempt to please you
and end up all wrong
they let you down
more than you'd ever expected
and suddenly your work isn't what you wanted
at all

it's become tainted
foreign, somehow
you do your best to salvage
corral their ideas
there once was a lot of love to draw from
but all that's left is disappointment

you wonder what you were thinking
back when the canvas was blank
you want to give up
quit, start again without their ruin
but things have gone too far
and you only get one shot

gripping expectations so tight
you can't see what's in your own hands
or what's being choked in the process

all you can do now is shake your head
say 'just wait till you go through this'
with a knowing smile
a gentle curse for things to come
just veil your disappointment
dance as the paint dries
but remember how things ran amok
and keep that in your pocket for the future

because things will never be the same

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

everyone's starry-eyed on the fourth

'whatcha doing?'

'dungeon. you?'

'driving home from my parents'. we had a little barbeque.'

'sounds great.'

'yeah, i had some corn on the cob for you. delicious.'

'mmmm. one of my favorites.'

'geez, there is so much traffic out here tonight.'

'well, it's probably all the people straggling home after fireworks and festivities.'


'but it's pretty early, no?'

'this is worse than any rushhour traffic i've ever been in. God, just drive, people, drive!'

'what do you think the holdup is?'

'maybe they've got a checkpoint set up or something.'

'well, i guess it'd be a good night to catch drunk drivers and seatbelt offenders.'


'what happened?'

'nah, i'm just looking over to my left and i see some ferris wheels, all lit up.'

'that's cool.'

'yeah, but i think i just figured out the reason we're all locked up here. everyone is tripling traffic time JUST TO CHECK OUT A FREAKING FERRIS WHEEL.'

'figures. you past it yet?'

'yep. flyin' by now. i'll be home in 2 minutes.'

Saturday, July 01, 2006

too bad they don't sell time in a bottle

several people very dear to me are going through some bad emotional relationship crap, all in the span of about a week. i can't explain it. but i have been there and know how much it royally hurts; it's like having something pointy stuck to your back, but right in the middle where you can't reach it, and the only thing you can do is try to distract yourself with bad habits, talk about it incessantly or fight the urge to throw yourself off a cliff just to make it go away. unfortunately, waiting for it to dry up and fall off is the only thing that actually works.

however it upsets me that i can't do anything to make it go away faster for any of them. except sit here, wait for reports, and hope it gets better. real soon.