Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Where I Foment Scandals From Afar

If you ever meet me, you'll notice a few things: I have a fondness for red shoes and red lipstick; I am vain and I love big earrings. My parents did their best to quash all of these characteristics when I was growing up. I remember my mom once asking, "Where do you get this from? I don't wear jewelery or make-up. But this?!"

I may have solved the mystery.

My grandmother was visiting me for a week. Knowing she is going back home to attend my cousin's wedding, shopping was on our itinerary. There was also a long list of family members who had asked for dresses/shoes/accessories for the same wedding, "if I came across anything". Honestly, we did our best. We visited just about every mall, outlet and store I could think of from Carlsbad to Downtown San Diego. We couldn't find anything that fit the styles, budget and tastes of the people involved. I incorporated shopping into our sight seeing, meal times and social calls. I had deep conversations with friends as I skimmed racks and racks of clothes that were entirely inappropriate for my purposes. I actually exhausted my grandmother on Saturday after whisking her from one mall to another.

The thing that bothered me most was that my grandmother had seen my various red shoes--and she commented on them. The shoe loving woman who wore high heels and corralled a gaggle of grandchildren on her long walks wearing a chador loved MY shoes. Every time I wore one, she'd start giggling with joy and say, "What pretty shoes!". I was determined to find her a pair she would wear.

Finally on Tuesday, on the way to the airport we stopped by Marshalls. I saw a pair of red sandals that she clearly liked. I grabbed them in her size and kept walking. Slightly behind me, she was trying to keep up, saying, "I can't get those. I can't take them home, it's not becoming. *giggle giggle giggle* Your mom will not approve. *giggle* Maybe if I wear them when I have company over." I was already at the register paying, if for no other reason than to hear her giggle like that all the way to the airport. And perhaps wait for the call from my mom, asking me what I was thinking buying my grandmother red shoes. We bonded over our love of red that has always been a mystery.

We stopped at the next store, where I moved on to phase two of my unintentional plan to upset the balance of proper dress amongst the women-folk in my family. My new sister-in-law will also be attending the wedding, and had hinted that she would like a dress. My parents are of the modest dress mentality. So much so that half the things I wear (shorts, sleeveless shirts, almost any formal wear) scandalizes them and results in a polite but firm request to 'see what else I have to wear'. My sister-in-law apparently is not so fond of these suggestions (and I don't blame her one bit). So imagine my glee when I saw a lovely green dress that may have lacked sleeves and may also have been low cut. The good news: 1. It will look great on her. 2. She loves green 3. She will practically be obligated to accept the dress because I got it for her. 4. It was almost 60% off! The bad news? I will be getting a number of scandalized calls, wondering "What I was thinking?! Had I forgotten who I was shopping for? WHAT WAS I THINKING!?!"

I blame it on the math. With two purchases, I made three people very happy--maybe more. I did some very good deeds. I may have thought of doing this on my own, but would never have gone through with it without encouragement from a slightly mischevious friend. Now excuse me as I adjust my halo. It may get knocked off soon.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chest Crushing Goodness

I had so much fun on my Torrey Pines run last Monday, that I decided to go back. So much is going on with me right now, that I need every drop of hope and relief I can get. I had a plan--run the trail, wet toes in ocean, clear head and go home. Of course, things didn't go according to my plan but they did get a little better. As I turned into the parking lot of the Torrey Pines golf course, I saw Anthony. I almost crashed my car into a tree.

Anthony is one of my teammates this season. While he's technically not my mentee, he had been running with me and listening to my stories on Saturdays. Two months ago, he casually mentioned that he would miss seeing me (yes, I was flattered, sue me) for a while. He was scheduled for chemo--4-6 weeks of it. It broke my heart that I had run with him for weeks, and he took his last run to tell me. I offered to help with whatever he needed during his treatments--food, reading materials, whatever. He asked me to email and keep him up to date on the team's progress. This was familiar. I had done this before, I could do it again.

So for the next few weeks, I would send him team updates and stories. Crazy, random stories. He'd respond days later with a charming comment and a promise to try to make it to the next week's session and visit. He never could because apparently chemo is a life draining form of liquid torture.

And that's why I almost crashed my car tonight as I drove up and saw him standing there with the group for a weekly run. It was his first time back and he wanted to see how far he could make it. I jumped out of my running car and wanted to welcome him to the group. He hugged me so hard I could barely breathe. I wasn't expecting the kiss either, but apparently I was missed. Once I found my feet and greeted everyone else, I became the butt of the car handling jokes which have followed me from last season. I wasn't bothered. I have gone too long this season without being openly mocked. Plus, my teammate is back and he looked great. He couldn't run at all tonight; his muscles weak from almost two months of chemo and his lungs out of practice. But he's back with the team. His mentor and I walked the trail with him; I never made it to the ocean and I didn't clear my very muddled head. But I saw a friend who is on his way back to health and that was lovely.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Meeting the Kings

I got back from the Kings of Leon concert. Apparently good music played really loudly coursing through every fiber of your body can be theraputic. I screamed till I lost my voice, danced till my legs were sore and generally surrendered my body and mind to the music. I was so quiet after the concert, M asked me why we went if I was going to hate it so much. Amazingly, he missed most of the action mentioned above so he mistook the joyous trance for apathy.

The thing that caught me off guard? My reaction to one of their songs which I don't actually like much. This one made me cry.

I don't know the first thing about music, but I like this band and they were amazing live. If you have the chance to see them, go for it. If you need a spaztic partner to go with you, call me.

Death By A Thousand Paper Cuts: Bad Influence

Just when I thought I had run out of places to ache, I have found a couple of new ones. Right before a concert I have been looking forward to for months. If only this were a body slamming kind of event, it would all balance out and possibly make me feel better.

Also, it seems that during our time together today, I have taught my grandmother a new word in English.

"What is that word you keep saying?"
"Which one?"

It seems I'm a bad influence on the elderly.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Death By A Thousand Paper Cuts: Reality Bites

Looking back at my previous posts, I've noticed two things: less and less frequent postings and a distance from my original plans for blogging. The frequency, I blame on a few things, mostly Facebook and keeping up with/harassing unsuspecting people that way. As stabby as FB makes me sometimes with its disconnections and finicky chats, I can't help but appreciate its role in my life recently.

The tone change in the blog is due to my lack of creativity and general mood. Turns out, I haven't got a creative or funny cell in my body when my mind is where it has been for the past nine months or so. I have been battle the need to say something--anything--to lighten this load that is on my chest and of self-censoring before I say too much. Being a private exhibitionist is not as easy as it seems.

I've been up for the past two hours (after 'sleeping' for less than two), staring in the dark and willing calmness upon my mind. Nothing is working. Yoga breathing might help if I didn't catch myself holding my breath for what seems an eternity sometimes. All of the baseless medical symptoms that have bothered me for the past month or so are still bothering me, now with the added bonus of feeling the acid in my stomach spill over and course through my body. The fire and knots from my stomach are taking over and officially robbing me of what few hours of restless sleep I was getting a few weeks ago.

I had a brief moment of reprieve on Monday: I went running at Torrey Pines and felt an almost out of body sense of joy, despite the physical pains. It reminded me why I loved running and what I love about living in San Diego. I was forced to breathe the ocean air, feel the evening chill crawling on my skin, battling the fire just beneath the surface. For a brief moment I felt so light I thought I would evaporate. During the run, I felt something that had been missing for so long I had almost forgotten it existed in me. And I want it back, even if it breaks me in the process.