Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Nose Knows

I don't do "maintenance" on my car anymore. Nor on my rental house. Not even in my office.

Maintenance these days is all about my subtly aging body. I have been hyper-aware of my age ever since I hurt my foot in July while doing acrobatics and tumbling. It wasn't that I hurt myself because of my age. But it took a lot longer to heal than I wanted.

So my adventures these days consist of making sure the rest of my body isn't falling apart: trips to the eye doctor, scheduling a time to see the dentist, and the most fun of all: mole check!

My people are fair-skinned. The German/Russian blood seems naturally averse to the sun and what it can do. So, every couple of years I notice a new spot on my skin and think, "Was that there? Should I care that it looks raised? Please, please, please don't turn into one of those warty looking growths on my neck with hairs coming out of it to make it look like a tiny tarantula lives on me!" Which neurotically sends me to the dermatologist to just shed my clothes and say, "Just look at every square inch of my skin and make sure I'm all right! If you need to cut something off, just go for it."

No need for incisions. And no, there's no cancer or anything. I just get the routine talk about the importance of sunscreen and wearing long sleeves in the sun ("even when the weather doesn't call for long sleeves"--to which I nod and think, "I live in L.A. and you think I'll wear long sleeves in July? You're nuts.").

The only blemish--if you will--is a weird red spot on the side of my nose that is beginning to make me think I had a Red Hot glued to my skin. So I keep pointing at it while I am being examined and say, "What about this? What's this? Hey, do you know what this is?"

Two doctors look at it and have a conversation with each other in what seems to be Latin before one of them picks up a can of what looks like those "cans of air" you buy at Staples. One puts a paper towel over my right eye and the other says, "This might tingle." And then I feel a cool breeze that quickly becomes a sensation I can only guess resembles having an icicle stabbed in my nose. I start to squirm. "Tingle" is not really the right word. "Totally irritating" seems more appropriate, along with, you know, "stabby."

And then they do it again.

"Wow, whatever this alien thing on my nose is, it clearly won't just die," I think to myself as I resist the urge to grab the can and turn it on them.

"There!" One of them says brightly. "It should crust over and fall off soon."

Me: "That's ... good?"

Doctor number one: "Yes."

Doctor number two: "It might turn brown. Don't pick at it!"

Me: "Do I need to, like, monitor it, or something?"

Doctor number one: "No."

Doctor number two (to number one): "We don't want him to look weird for any of his holiday get-togethers."

Me (in my head): "Well, freezing off a blemish on my nose right before the holidays sure accomplished that."

Doctor number one: "No."

Doctor number two: "If it turns another color, call us."

They leave me to get dressed, glancing at my nose in the mirror, wondering about the advice to measure all my moles and have "a friend" take photos of the big ones so I have "a record" of them.

Who wants to volunteer?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Why It Gets Better

I am spending time late nearly every night standing in the bathroom, staring at myself in the mirror and practicing the motions of running a razor blade across my wrists.

I think that I can work myself up to the moment when I'll be ready to puncture the skin and finally feel some relief. I want every thought in my head to drain away. I want the punishment of what feels like every day to abate. It seems to be the only thing that might help. I am vaguely aware that there are people who will be upset if I succeed in training myself to do this. Mostly, however, I am focused on peace. No more confusion. No more sadness and frustration.

I never did succeed, of course, in the fall of 1985 when I was only 12 years old. And when I do look back on that season these days, at 37, I often try to close out that image of myself in the seventh grade, so miserable and lonely that I saw no other option for dealing with the confusion of my own sexuality, which was forming too clearly inside my head. While my family and neighbors chose to quietly accept or ignore the fact that I was likely gay, many of the kids with whom I went to school were less gracious and understanding (and less apt to simply turn a blind eye to it). Like so many kids who have questioned or who are questioning their own sexuality, I was taunted on nearly a daily basis. Sometimes it was just a look. Other times it was a steady stream of being called "faggot" in gym class or as I walked home from school, taking different, complex routes every day in the hopes of shaking the boys that took to following me and threatening to "kick my ass." I could never adequately express what was happening to my parents, and while some teachers would try to nip the taunting in the bud, there's no way to stop the moments that happen between two individuals out of earshot and eyesight.

The topics of my being bullied were spoken of occasionally by the small circle of friends I did have who would come to my defense, often just telling anyone who threw an insult my way to "shut up." I was even part of a school group that was supposed to counsel our peers on how to deal with the pressures that come with this maelstrom of developing bodies and school. But every night when I got home, I'd sink further into what felt like quicksand in my head. "Why me?" I wrote in my journal. "What did I ever do to them? I hope they die." They didn't, of course, and the irony became that if it was going to be them or me, I figured it might as well be me.

It's impossible to not think of this as I read news reports of the four boys and young men who have killed themselves over the last two weeks--all of them bullied or shamed in some way related to their perceived sexuality. In 1985, of course, it was rarer for boys of 12 or 13 to announce that they were gay--at least in my working-class neighborhood where there were no openly gay adults, and where the only mention of homosexuality might come from a disparaging remark or someone happening to mention a news story about AIDS (which, of course, equated being gay with being dead).

Watching the video that Dan Savage and his partner of 16 years, Terry, recently made and posted on YouTube and reading the letter that my friend Rick Andreoli wrote to his young self in a series titled "Writes of Passage" on, I can't help but wish I had things like this available to me that fall, instead of a school counselor who was unable to talk to me about anything other than why I was "mad" and suggesting to me that I needed to take up hobbies that would make me develop "good kinds of friendships" with other boys.

Society has evolved drastically over the last 25 years, and gay kids have so many more resources available to them on a local and national level, especially with great organizations like The Trevor Project, which counsels LGBT and questioning kids. For many of us now in our 30s and older, it sometimes feels like even kids who are being picked on or harassed should just instinctively know that there are resources out there for them. This is the Internet Age, after all. Surely they can connect with others like them who can help them out. I/we made it through. Clearly, however, they do not, whether by virtue of geography, socioeconomics, or the fact that the areas in which they live are infused with politics, religion, and rhetoric that teaches them to hate themselves.

I cringe inside, still, when I read a news story about a young person who has taken his or her own life because of harassment based on their perceived or actual sexual orientation. I have that moment of wishing I could have swooped down and spirited them all away to a safer place and taught them what their lives can look like if they could only go on living. It's hard for these kids to see the future. It's even harder for them to understand what it's like to no longer feel trapped.

As Dan and Terry point out in their video, it gets better. But there are so many reasons why it does. It gets better when you begin to learn to love yourself in even the smallest ways, to find a way to help yourself when it seems like no one is there for you, to foster those friendships and family relationships you do have (even if it's only a very few) as best you can, and express your feelings to those people--to acknowledge you are afraid and find a way to move past it. Yes, plenty more could be done to combat bullying, whether through schools or, more importantly, within families who don't see the harm with the terms "boys will be boys" and "you know how kids are." And of course, making any kind of counseling or mental-health services available to kids with practitioners who are sensitive to issues of sexuality would be productive, if not outright transformative (and further illustrating the need to overhaul this country's way of dealing with health care).

It was the presence of two friends in 1985 that made me finally stop drifting into the bathroom to practice cutting through my skin every night. One of them, I am no longer friends with; the other is still a part of my life. They didn't provide me with any concrete help at the time per se. How could they, being only 12 and 13? They just knew that they liked having me around, reading my stories, and that we made each other laugh. I knew it wouldn't end what was happening to me, but--for better or worse--I decided I needed to see what would happen next year, the year after. I wasn't going to be in middle school forever, I realized. If I "succeeded" one night in the bathroom, I would never know what life beyond that would be.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Self-Discography #15 : "Whatever's For Us" by Joan Armatrading


"You came into town with your big ideas/You'll find out that life just ain't that way. ... Settle down, city girl, make life what it should be/Lots of laughs, all you want, that's how it ought it to be. But don't take my word, just sit back and you'll see."

There was no "a ha!" moment with Joan Armatrading. Not really. And yet I found myself drifting back to this lyric--the centerpiece of "City Girl." She seeped in somehow, like a lazy rain that soaks you before you even know you're wet. I first heard this, her 1972 debut, when I was in high school on a copied cassette my sister had brought back with her from college. At the time, I was dipping my toes into a kind of folk stream, testing the waters with Tracy Chapman, 10,000 Maniacs, even Phranc--many of these same artists, again, offered up to me by my sister, who would obligingly let her music-obsessed brother waltz off with her tapes and copy them. I was immediately drawn to what the album wasn't: It wasn't as spare as most folk albums I'd heard up to this point; it instead seemed to bounce off genres, with some tracks sounding almost like vintage Elton John and classic rock. It was not whiny, and yet it also wasn't entirely sure of itself. It wasn't political per se. It wasn't anything I'd heard before.

I was already in love with the sparklingly fierce piano of the lead-off song, "My Family," though I conceded immediately that I wasn't sure if the family in question was some hippie-ish extension of "everyone around you." Joan's voice comes in soft yet assured and then soars by the first chorus, embedding itself in your head. Or in mine at least. But I really wasn't prepared for "City Girl," and it was this song that nailed home the twin sensation of envy and understanding with just one line: "There's such a lot of pretense in this world" before launching into its chorus, which demands that life be enjoyed and not simply left to pass by.

Sitting on a scratchy carpet in my bedroom listening to this powerful voice, I learned a bit more about why music mattered. It made me feel. At least something. At last something. Coming on the heels of years battling depression, it felt good to feel anything again without it being accompanied by the fear of hurting.


I forget about "Whatever's for Us" for spells because I no longer have a copy of it. A few years slip by and then suddenly a lyric pops into my head, or the guitar and piano strain of a song, like the countrified strumming that starts "All the King's Gardens" which then nearly explodes with the vitriolic line: "Well you try to break me up, but I write it down as experience/Once bitten twice shy, but I'll make my comeback."

This is the song that ends the album--forceful, nearly mean in its story, and so not the kind of shy, shrinking violet folk singer paean that was in the ether at the time this was made. It crawls back into my brain now, in college, so I track down the CD via Columbia House. It's a poorly transferred copy, but the old tape is long lost and I listen to it late at night in my room as I type papers and stare out at the desolate blackness of the Vermont night. I discover the less immediately appealing songs that I skipped before, like the rollicking blues of "Mean Old Man" and the weird psychedelic sitar on "Visionary Mountains," which sounds less a song than a poem that might drift away into nothingness at any moment.

It feels like I needed to find it again. I've gravitated in the years since I first heard it toward more alternative rock, which can be so blatant in its forcefulness. I feel the nuance again, of seemingly simple music that still moves me, even if there really isn't a reason. I tell my sister that I bought the CD. She says: "God, I'd totally forgotten about that album."


Suddenly other people I meet know "Whatever's for Us." Friends I've had for years share with me that they, too, love it. We talk sometimes about what a gorgeous album it is--how it's stood the test of time. Cliche. Yet true. I feel an odd solidarity in revealing how I cried the first time I heard "Gave It a Try" as a teenager because it seemed--somehow, so unexpectedly--to say everything I wanted to communicate to my family. I chuckle quietly when a friend puts the sweet and gentle "Conversation" on a mix CD for me. And I've finally come to love the album's title track, perhaps the sparest, most traditionally folk-like song on the album with the obtuse lyric "Do what you will, say what you must, 'cause whatever's for us, for us," which seems to say to me, "What's happening--what will happen--all of it is exactly what's supposed to be."

I hear now that Armatrading herself doesn't even play the songs from "Whatever's For Us." I suspect it has much to do with the woman she co-wrote most of the songs with, who disappears from Armatrading's career as suddenly as she appeared. I find myself a bit sad that I'll likely never hear them live. I bristle when I run across old, dismissive reviews of the album, as well. But I also know now there are just some things that you never need to explain. I owe no one an explanation as to why this album has endured throughout so much of my life. But it seemed like I needed to say it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

20 Things Recently Noticed, Learned, Revealed

1. Back handsprings performed at age 37 do not feel the same as those performed at age 12.

2. A cool summer in L.A. is great at night, but on the weekend, I miss going to the beach.

3. I have extended periods of laziness.

4. I daydream.

5. I abhor fleas.

6. I can pull off multiple shades of pink.

7. It's more fun to talk about buying a unitard than actually buying one.

8. I probably should have been a psychologist. Maybe I can still find a way to earn a salary by quickly deconstructing the reasons why people do what they do.

9. I love good dance music.

10. Hands peel a lot when you aren't building up the callouses on them.

11. I am upset that Target gives money to organizations that support antigay candidates. Yet no one has showed me which major corporations/stores from which we buy things don't do the same thing.

12. At the same time the media is reporting the above, they are shoving details of Chelsea Clinton's wedding down our throats, despite the fact that gays still can't get married in 90% of this country.

13. I remain optimistic.

14. I believe I am supposed to keep learning.

15. I am destined to do something that helps others despite my tendency toward misanthropy.

16. I miss my childhood pets.

17. Gray hair isn't visually upsetting. It's the texture and unruliness of it that upsets me.

18. I want you to keep up with me.

19. I need to be less afraid of what might happen.

20. I know the release dates of movies that I have never seen.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Body Is Made to Move

It is, isn't it?

That's what it feels like, at least, as I begin to re-motivate myself physically, since doing so mentally feels a bit too taxing right now. With my body in movement--at the gym, hanging from a trapeze bar, tumbling across a mat--I know exactly who I am in that moment. I feel the endorphins, the fear, the thrill of discovery, the awe that all of my joints, tendons, and muscles can coordinate and tell my brain not to stop, to try it, to just keep moving through the space and trust that I know how to spot the ground.

There are far too many metaphors that hover around this train of thought, and maybe I should pay more attention to them. There's simply something about the air, about the feel of shuddering from exertion, of inducing muscle memory in my nearly 37 year old body. My thoughts may drift to glucosamine now, but this is the closest to living in the past I've come in a long time.

When my parents enrolled me in gymnastics at the age of 8, their motivation was likely to get me out of the house and blow off some of the proverbial steam. I was already practicing my own form of tumbling in the neighbor's yard, after all--convinced somehow that the laws of physics did not have to apply to me. I was taken to Peninsula Park in North Portland to a gymnastics class...where I was the only boy in a rickety old gymnasium overrun by girls in leotards who could execute moves that I'd only seen on TV. Even in this rundown working-class neighborhood, there was an effortless grace and athleticism on display that I found alluring. Maybe this was a world I could live in that felt OK? Maybe this would be a bubble in which I could do what I wanted?

Because I was the only boy at the gym, however, it meant that I competed on "girls' apparatus," so I dutifully learned how to vault, how to maneuver on the uneven bars, how to keep my steadiness on the beam when I cartwheeled, and I quickly adapted. No one batted an eye or ever made a comment. I was simply encouraged to keep going, to keep trying, to push my body into the air, on to the ground, and over obstacles. All I knew is that I wanted to learn a double back somersault in the air and how to actually execute twisting motions while upside down.

I gave up the gymnastics bubble by the time I was 13. My body didn't seem to want it anymore. My mind certainly didn't (puberty can be so fun). The money also wasn't there to keep sending me to the Oregon Gymnastics Academy, which was so far away from home--and where I couldn't seem to learn all the men's apparatus; I was seen as a boy who could execute a perfect back handspring but had no concept of what the hell a pommel horse was. I didn't have the discipline and the right frame of mind. And the encouragement I had gotten from that rag-tag room of girls and my female coach in North Portland was gone.

Tumbling--what I always loved most--would still rear its head over the next few years, however: at friends' summer parties; in college on the lawn after I'd had a couple of drinks (always a good idea); every once in a while until my mid-20s, when I became too scared to do it--when I no longer trusted my body and became afraid of physics.

And yet here I am quickly approaching 37--two years into working out on the trapeze and silks and reacquainting myself with what it feel like to hurtle my body through the air in acrobatics classes.

Why? Why not?

I am not so lithe anymore. Nor as light. My body doesn't feel rubbery and unbreakable. I count my blessings that the only thing I've ever broken was a pinkie. And yet I stare down a mat once a week with a new teacher speaking to me, telling me how to launch myself into a no-handed cartwheel (or side aerial, if you will); how to achieve a bounce off a round-off back handspring; when to think about opening my body from a front pike off a mini trampoline. Only a month into this routine, my body remembers 1981. It sets me up exactly like it did when I was 8, whether I can now complete the motion or not. And it thrills me. Still. I once again don't want the laws of physics to apply to me. But I know now why I do it. Not because I used to and I have to prove I still can. It simply makes me happy. Or high. Or both. It hardly matters when you are above the ground looking to stick the landing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

OK, I Think I Am Ready to Have My Mind Blown

I have never been to Asia, but in 10 days I will be there, likely in awe, with a bit of exhilaration and confusion thrown into the mix. I am alternating between feeling totally ready to be surprised and the lingering thought that I'll just be overwhelmed.

The long haul flight starts in L.A. and lands me in Seoul, South Korea, for a few hours before I transfer to Shanghai (top photo above) for my friend Steve's 40th birthday celebration. After 5 days there, I fly back through Seoul to Tokyo (below photo) for a week, where I will see my friend Nate, who is now living there. I've been talking about this trip since last year. And suddenly it's the end of April and I need to pack and figure out last-minute details before heading to the airport.

I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to do this right now. I promised myself a few years ago that I would do one major trip a year as long as I had the money to make it happen. It's not every day that your friends celebrate 40th birthdays in distant cities or happen to live in one you have always wanted to see, so it's best to take advantage, right? Most definitely.

Contrary to some people's thoughts, I am not exactly the best traveler. Oh sure, I appreciate wherever I go. I am open to simply wandering and finding my way around and being surprised by what is shown to me and what I discover alone. Yet I have a tendency to get a bit stressed out about it all. I always relax once I get to where I need to be, but the transit part tends to make me feel a bit crazy. A control issue, to be sure.

Right now, however, it feels very much like I need to be kicked in the ass. I need the utter surprise of being somewhere almost completely alien. I likely need the shock of very different cultures. When it comes down to it--underneath the planning and the nervousness about the small "what if"s--I know that I need to be taken out of my head, my element, my routine.

To that end, I say "bring it." Show me something new. Show me something I may not be able to see again. There are many reasons to travel. And those are what I will keep in mind when figuring out subway maps or street names. Sometimes you just need to get lost.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Self-Discography #14 "Troy" by Sinead O'Connor

Places to listen to this song as a teenager:

--In your old, breaking-down car, driving as fast as possible in the middle of the night when you can't sleep, on a car stereo that crackles whenever the strings surge.

--On a darkened playground in the stifling heat of a summer night with no wind, with your Walkman's volume cranked so loud it may do permanent damage to your ears.

--Walking around downtown Portland after school in the rain, sun, or wind, feeling melodramatic and self-pitying.

Perhaps my first experience of musical catharsis, "Troy," ostensibly, shouldn't have had much to do with me. It's a song--built from quiet whispers to full-throttled screaming--about a relationship between a man and a woman (or a boy and a girl). Yet it is also a song about youth, memory, loss, and hatred (both projected outward and internalized). It made me wish I was truly brash, maybe even violent--that I could lash out and finally, physically, express everything that felt so crammed and twisted into my head.

To be aware of all of that at 16 going on 17 ... well, I suppose that's something to look back on and in which to take some pride. What's more difficult to feel is the memory of the pain I was obviously in and how it was brought to the surface when I heard this; it reminds me every single time I listen to it, even now when I can actually appreciate its musicality, vocal prowess, and emotional power.

At the time I discovered this song, I was in the midst of figuring out if I could legally emancipate myself from my mother. I was still mourning my father. I was working so hard that I was up til 2 a.m. or later every night to ensure I saved money and got the best grades to get as many scholarships as possible so I could get the hell out of Portland and go far away for college. I was anguished over the fact that one of my best friends in school was a girl whom I also called my girlfriend (and thus confused her and myself even more). I was bubbling with the fear of actually being gay (since you, know, in the late '80s, being gay meant you had sex and died soon thereafter). And what all added up to was that I was very, very angry--with no way to express it.

"I remember it. Every restless night. We were so young then we thought that everything we could possibly do was right...I wondered where you went to. Tell me, when did the light die?"

The words are whispered into the microphone in the beginning of the song, sounding like something that should be uttered only when you are in your 40s, not when you are this young. But wasn't "every restless night" right now? I was acutely aware that I was not acting my age. I was an old man already, looking back over only a few years of my life like decades had passed. Where was my childhood? Where was this time where I was supposed to, supposedly, feel carefree?

By the time the full orchestra kicks in and it ratchets up the drama, O'Connor's voice borders on unhinged. It's a transcendent moment of defiance and bitterness. It was also what I desperately wished I could do with everything sitting inside of me--scream it out and make it stab at someone else, as if to say "This is all YOUR fault."

"There is no other Troy for me to burn. You should have left a light on, then I wouldn't have tried and you'd never have known...Oh but I know you wanted me to be there, ohhh...Every look that you threw told me so. But you should've left a light on. And the flames burned away, but you're still spitting fire. Makes no difference what you say, you're still a liar."

In my listening, I was the liar. Me. No one else. No "partner." No guilty accomplice. I couldn't make anyone else hurt instead of me. I had only one choice: Say something.

It didn't happen that quickly. I was exceedingly hard on myself for many years, never thinking that I was actually expressing myself well or authentically, fearful of what someone else might say about who I was or the mistakes I made. Now, of course, it seems like a necessary part of being 16 going on 17. It's not unusual to feel like your head cannot handle all of the thoughts inside of it. It's certainly not rare for teenagers to struggle with their sexual orientation. Luckily, I had the tenacity to wait out my own melodrama (not to mention a handful of awesome friends who patiently waited for me to catch up with myself).

I've made jokes over the last 20 years with a few friends that "Troy" should be a song performed by an ice-skater. Can you imagine? I still secretly dream of someone choreographing all six and a half minutes and doing it--and acute adolescent angst--justice.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Change? I Got Your Change.

I had about, oh, 15 different ideas for a blog post. Something about current events, my eyes glossing over from watching the Olympics, the weird insanity of hosting a garage sale for the first time as an adult. But then I stumbled across an old journal of mine from 1993 as I was packing boxes and I found myself intoxicated by the sheer horror of reminding myself what it was like in my mind 17 years ago.

As time seems to speed up the older I get (my mother was right!), I actually don't take much time to look back anymore. I am not that nostalgic. I am more than happy that I am not that awkward, fey kid who was busy getting harassed and thinking that there was not much chance of being authentically happy. I am not even particularly nostalgic for pop culture moments from my youth, save some of the music.

Young adulthood, however, was somehow different in my mind. I would pine for it occasionally, remembering the feeling of freedom I would get at moments in college, the feeling of my mind opening up, the sense that I was searching for what mattered to me.

Re-reading parts of my life as I narrated them in this particular journal in my hands, I had to rethink that view of my life then. My life on these college-ruled, spiral-bound pages was small, intense, and, too often, sad. I didn't seem to record anything but that which freaked me out, made me self-hating, unsure, nervous, and despondent. Looking at this portrait of myself in 1993, I marveled at the fact that I was still alive. There was nothing positive in the way I told my own story. Nothing at all. I was sad for myself.

In a way, of course, it was all fiction. There were good people in my life--friends and teachers who wanted me to succeed. So why couldn't I believe it? Well, that, in itself, is a boring book I will not ask you to read (now). But in that moment of realization was the calming flood of thinking that everything happening right now, in 2010, was so far removed from what was scrawled across those notebooks.

I, and many people I know right now, are in the midst of a huge amount of change. I am up to seven friends who have, are, or will be leaving Los Angeles to move elsewhere. Some of us have new jobs. Some of us have lost them. We are moving, making plans, being forced to reassess our lives. In so many ways, it's exactly what we wanted. 2009 felt like a year of being held hostage, of hedging bets, of being afraid to do anything. It seems to make sense that now the energy would be propelled forward. The tangents its taken in all of our lives has been something to behold, even when I am not necessarily happy about where it takes some of us.

To be sure, it's not all "positive." I have just as often been confronted with friends who are losing loved ones, of my own family in flux, of uncertainty surrounding what comes next. I still find myself nervous and anxious here and there. But it's not 1993. I am so much more mentally equipped to deal with all of it. I am, simply, so much happier. With me. With everything. In fact, the challenge right now of figuring out what I will do next--of watching my friends do the same--is something I embrace. I shy away from it some weeks. I sidestep it some days. But then, when I roll up my sleeves to sit down and take action, I feel like it's good work. It's honest. It's meant to be.

I will remind myself of that in the coming weeks and months, as I pack up my current life in boxes to move it across town. As I learn how to garden in my new yard. As I say goodbye to more friends. As I help others figure out what's next for them. Perhaps instead of throwing away those painful slices of my past self, I should simply keep them in better eyesight.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What Can I Tell You?

A month goes by. A new year materializes. I apparently have very little to say or share. I think my brain shut off for a while.

And because my brain now compartmentalizes thoughts, here's my recap of everything that's happened over the last month

--Anxiously getting ready for xmas. Ran to the Paul Smith store to get socks for Ryan and argued with someone about the color schemes available in store vs. online.

--Decided I really have too much wrapping paper. Note to self: Moratorium on buying wrapping paper.

--Hide presents in my closet in a bag. Almost forget to dig them all out for everyone.

--Ooh and ah over Lissa and Tom's presents to us: new baking sheets, coffe, magazine subscriptions. Must bake something before it's 90 degrees again.

--Head to San Diego for 4 absolutely awesome days with Leslie, Nikki, Justin, and a great Xmas night of Chinese food and local gay bar with Steve and Rick, who were in town, too. Dance drunkenly before hitting Jack in the Box and giving a big tip to the awesome drive-thru woman.

--Ryan gets me a TV for xmas. Yay! I can FINALLY get rid of the Fry's electronics TV from 1998.

--Score incredible lamps and mirrors at a thrift store in Poway. Yes, Poway.

--Head home in a funk because it's all over.

--New Year's Eve at a gay piano bar with bad showtunes. Ryan and I drink our fill. I stop. He continues. Meet up with friends and their friends for more drinking and late night house parties. Sober at 3 am, I drive Ryan home, fearing he might be hungover Jan. 1.

--Watch Ryan be hung over Jan. 1. Poor guy.

--Back to work. Jessica is gone to NYC and I am in her office. Everything feels the same but different.

--Post New Year's funk. Now what? Get back on the trapeze. Try acrobatics class. Manage a no-handed cartwheel for first time in 15 years. Hurt neck on backward roll. Oh, right, I am 36, not 13.

--Start piling up things to sell in the dining room. We want this crap outta here. Theme for 2010 seems to be: get rid of what's really unnecessary. Keep what matters.

--Make Lesley watch "The Ice Pawn." Feel some regret. But she's seems entertained. Phew.

--Make plans to meet with L.A. Youth, a local nonprofit organization and newspaper written by teenagers. I'll talk with them about their social media plans. Excited to be doing something new and different.

--Download a slew of new music. Geek out over YACHT. Then have that immediately replaced by Kristin Hersh's new album. Fierce.

--It's been a year since I was in Mexico. I'd go back to Tulum in a heartbeat.

--Buy plane ticket for trip to Tokyo and Shanghai. What the...? YES.

--Watch it rain 5" in one week in L.A. and pine for the snow and the Pacific Northwest. I don't miss the sun too much yet. I miss real weather.

--Social plans. Drinks with friends. Birthdays. Outings. Enjoying the changes and challenges now that the new year funk is past.

--Finally nail the elusive Hip Circle maneuver on the trapeze. Spinning around and around the bar in the midst of a downpour I can hear outside. I feel like I could go forever, bruised forearms and all.