My friend Leslie Harpold died a few days ago.
When she heard about the baby, Leslie sent us a care package because she thought an email wouldn’t be enough of a celebration. It contained:
-Punk Rock Baby and Hip Hop Baby, lullaby versions of punk rock and hip hop classics
-Two bibs, one that reads, “Notorious B.I.B.” and another that says, “Mutha Sucka”
-A onsie that says “Mama ain’t rasin’ no fool.”
-And mittens to keep the baby from scratching. One says “LOVE,” the other “HATE.”
Those mittens, especially, made me feel like a mom for the first time. They got me thinking about tough little baby hands.
Years ago, I wrote a quote on our hallway chalkboard that said, “What you are thinking about is what you are becoming.” Leslie read it and cringed. “That’s hideous,” she said.
I wish you’d known Leslie. And if you did know her, wasnâ€™t she something?
As you may know, I rarely do this stuff. For some reason, it makes me feel cagey. But Heather so rarely asks for anything. When she does, you kind of have to do what she says. So, this is for you, sweets.
Four jobs I’ve had:
Bead store clerk
Silkscreen shop owner
Volunteer coordinator, Kerry Campaign, DNC
Four Movies I can watch over and over:
Four Places I’ve Lived:
California my whole life, except for a month each in:
Four TV shows I love:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I Shouldn’t Be Alive
Four places I’ve vacationed:
Four of my favorite dishes:
Lemon blueberry pancakes
Fried potatoes with bacon and wilted spinach
Four sites I visit daily:
Four places I would rather be right now:
On the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk
In a dark room with a Christmas tree that has white, blinking lights.
Tucking in to breakfast at Zazie.
Four bloggers I’m tagging/slightly alienating:
Bryan who has to love me by law.
Sarah deserves a healthy prompting.
Andrea who is good at introspection.
Lori who is always game.
In the shower, I realized that I remember the entire theme song from Fight Back with David Horowitz.
FIGHT BACK! Don’t let anyone push you around
FIGHT BACK! Stand up and hold your ground.
And so on.
This got me thinking about other useless things that take up space in my brain, and I started humming theme song to Small Wonder, the witless 80s sitcom about a girl-robot, Vicki, whose family tries to keep her robot identity top secret.
Then I wondered if there was any useful stuff up there, which led me to what I remember from an entire year of high school geometry classes:
If a=b, and b=c, then a=c.
If a+b=c, then c-a=b.
Then I thought, Aveda soap smells just like Fruit Loops.
So, months and months ago, the big plan was to be napping drunk in a hammock in Guatemala when I turned thirty. What with shuffling for work schedules and natural disasters (Please ease up for a while, God. Amen.), we decided to head for Belize instead. We’re leaving tonight.
While I’m gone, you’ll find posts about our visit to Australia that I was too damn lazy to post about when we got back.
Australia! They have giant rats that carry their babies around in tummy pouches. Aussies! Very similar to Americans, except more in touch with their mortality due to the myriad poisonous things surrounding them. Stay tuned.
I turned thirty today. To celebrate this, my best birthday ever, I have a story for you.
When I was 17, I got a summer job and saved up a modest amount of money for a car. I was searching, fruitlessly, for a VW bus that didn’t smell like pot or konk out on the test drive, when I happened upon an incredible, candy-apple red Karmann Ghia. My stomach hit my shoes.
I’d never been interested in cars, beyond their practical applications, but if I were a car, this was the car I’d be. The thought of owning it made me want to go-go dance in the parking lot, yodel from atop the highest peak, grab startled strangers and kiss them on the mouth.
My mom said no.
She called it a little, red, moving coffin. I pleaded, reasoned, cried, and finally wandered around forlorn for a week or so. Then she had to take an unexpected trip, I had no car to get me to school while she was gone, and she acquiesced.
As I’ve often said since, when you’re a seventeen-year-old girl with a red sports car and a matching cheerleading uniform, there is very little you can’t have. I drove the car through high school and into college, replacing practically every part along the way, until a tree branch fell on the top and broke most of the windows. I was way too broke to fix it, so I sold it to some guy for $400 and fought nausea when they towed it away.
To this day, I recognize the distinctive putt-putt coming up a street, and I make Bryan stop and watch them go by. Then I wipe a single tear from my eye, and we continue on our way.
This morning, Bryan and I decided to have a birthday breakfast together, and he went to fetch our car, which was parked several blocks away. He came upstairs to get me, and as we descended the stairs, he asked if I wanted to drive. “Not really,” I said. We opened the front door, and he said, “Are you sure?”
I remember sitting in class as a child and thinking to myself, “It’s 1981, I’m in kindergarten, and Ronald Reagan is president.”
I didn’t know then what being president meant, and President Reagan was a symbol to me, like our flag. I associate him with the part of me that still tears up when I hear the national anthem, and the part of me that knows I am fortunate to have been born here–even as I cringe at how our actions as a country have alienated much of the world.
President Reagan was the first president I remember, and I thought of him as a five year old thinks of her parents: benevolent, wise, infallible. I now know that isn’t completely true, of him or my parents, but it’s the memory of that feeling I miss, as much as the man.
Ronald Reagan was my president, and I adored him. I’m sorry he’s gone.