My friend Vicki has an adorable Boxer who could be Nix’s twin. His name is Franklin. I had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time last month when he and Vicki came to visit. Nix, unfortunately, didn’t take to Franklin too kindly, but Leela was absolutely smitten. Here’s a video of them playing in our backyard, with a soundtrack of panicked barking courtesy of Nix, who was crated after demonstrating that he couldn’t be polite.
You’ll notice that it’s August and I’ve yet to post either a slideshow from #photoadayjuly or the prompts for #photoadayaugust. That’s because I finally gave up on the Photo A Day project halfway through last month. Because I’m lazy, and I’m okay with it.
So in lieu of Instagrammed images of Nixon chewing a Kong, Nixon sunbathing, and Nixon sleeping, here’s a recap of our annual California State Fair weekend.
(For the record, it’s okay to be jealous.)
Twitter was down this morning for a sizeable enough amount of time that people started to lose their minds. Here is a choice comment from my IM with Mo regarding Twitter’s downtime.
(9:20:04 AM) Mo: Tweet so hard, muhfuckasss wanna RT me
Nobody knows what it means, but it’s provocative.
I’ve been thinking about forgiveness a lot lately, mostly because I feel that I should offer it to someone close to me. But that old saying about not being able to forgive if we can’t forget rings true. And I can’t forget.
A close friend and I have been on a break for a few months. I’m not going to divulge the details of our hiatus here, partially because I’m fairly sure it would get back to her (if she’s not reading this herself), and also because it’s not important. She and I agreed that if we were going to reconvene as friends, we would do so with a fresh start – putting the past behind us and moving forward with new attitudes towards each other and the lives we lead.
I miss her terribly. I have dreams about calling her and telling her that I’m ready to try again, and I regularly find things that I know would make her laugh but can’t share with her because of this separation. The ball is in my court, and I know that I could mend things at any time. But I can’t forget.
I can’t stop being angry at her for things she’s done or said, or things her friends have done or said to me that she has condoned (or at least not explicitly condemned). I also feel that I’ve been pushed out of her life, and look at this hiatus as a way of taking that decision under my control – a sort of “you can’t fire me because I’m quitting” approach.
I don’t want to quit. But I also don’t want to compete. With the distance, with the friends she’s known since high school who seemingly dislike me for no reason, with the vast differences in our personalities and lifestyles and future plans. I want to live my life without judgment, free of negativity and fleeting comments made in jest that make me feel as though I’m eight years old again and being admonished by my second grade teacher for being a very bad girl.
I may just need more time, and I’ll continue to take it until I decide otherwise. But I don’t know how I’ll make that decision. And maybe I won’t be able to. Maybe I’ll be stuck in friendship purgatory forever.
More than month after I wrote my first letter to prison, I woke up on a Saturday morning in late December and checked my mail.
Bills, bills, junk mail … and an envelope with boyish scrawl spelling out the return address. I picked it up, ripped it open, and sat on my bed reading it. It was three pages of legal yellow paper. All handwritten, with misspelled words and half sentences etched out because he made it that far before realizing he wanted to word it a different way. It was reassuring. It was cheeky. It made me laugh on more than one occasion. And most importantly, it was from my friend.
He’s been doing well. He plays baseball in the summer. They win most of their games, and he says that it feels just like playing in high school. He emails me requesting lyrics to songs by the bands we bonded over as teenagers, and sends me caps-locked rants about “WHAT IS GOING ON WITH TIM LINCECUM??”
He’s taking a crocheting class. When he told me that, I almost teased him, until I realized that this class is not for the faint of heart. While I’m buying knitted giraffe hats on Amazon and thinking I’m hot shit for the ONE striped scarf I knitted in college, he’s crocheting his very own panda hats, mittens and all.
Prison seems almost like summer camp. With every letter, every email, I get to delve a little bit further into what his life is now. There is still work, there is still play, there are still family visits. But there is less freedom, and there is certainly more authority. And maybe that’s what he needs – regimented daily life, a structure to fall into.
You wouldn’t think that someone in prison could be happy, but he seems to be. And that makes me happy. Because I’ve never been angry at him for what he did. Instead, I was sad for him, and scared for him, and worried for what his life would be both now and upon his release.
I have still yet to ask the question that’s been on my mind for over a year now. I’m desperate to know how he got involved, and why he did what he did. But I feel that if I’m meant to have that information, I’ll learn it eventually. For now, all I can do is move forward – proceeding with caution, but also with optimism for the future.
Yesterday was the amalgamation of all that is insane in San Francisco. You have, on one hand, a BEAUTIFUL San Francisco day – temperatures in the mid-seventies, not a cloud in the sky, and a sweet sea breeze blowing through. On the other hand, you have the Bay to Breakers, an annual race which couples serious runners with drunk people in ridiculous costumes. (Case in point: Some drunk girl in Ke$ha-style face paint and a hot pink leotard threw up all over some poor guy on our Bart train that very morning.) And as if those two things combined weren’t going to make the city ridiculous enough, the Giants were having a promotional giveaway – the much-coveted Brian Wilson gnome.Brian Wilson is arguably the most popular player on our team. He’s basically insane, has a disgusting beard that he refuses to shave, and constantly loads the bases before closing out a game and earning a save. But people love him, and we knew we’d need to get there early if we wanted gnomes. The ballpark holds around 43,000 people, but they only had 20,000 of these babies to give away. So we agreed to meet my friend Vicki and her boyfriend Kevin at the King Street Gate at 11:00, in hopes that showing up two hours prior to game time would reduce our wait time and ensure gnome procurement.
Dan and I were on the ballpark shuttle train when we first saw the line. Or rather, the end of the line – AT PIER 36. At first I thought, there’s no way that can be the line! We’re like five blocks from the ballpark! These people must be lined up for something else. (Isn’t denial the first stage of grief?) But as our train continued along the Embarcadero, I realized that all of these people were in Giants gear. And the line wasn’t ending. And they were all walking towards the ballpark. And OH MY GOD WHY DIDN’T WE GET HERE AT NINE.
We met Vicki and Kevin at the gate, as promised, and started walking back, back, back towards the end of the line. But we lucked out – the line had to stop at a cross-street to allow traffic through, and we snuck in behind the last people on our side of the street, just two blocks from the park, rather than five. The line was pretty fast-moving, and I don’t think it took more than fifteen minutes for us to move through the gates and secure gnomes.
Also awesome: Even though our tickets were for View Reserve (aka. nosebleed heaven), Kevin is a season ticket holder on the Club Level. So he brought passes with him that let us into the Virgin America Flight Deck, where there’s a bar that makes some of the best Bloody Marys I’ve ever had in my life.
Oh, and I got to spend a few minutes hanging out with the World Series trophy, too. No big deal.
For the remainder of the afternoon, Vicki, Kevin and I had a blast watching the game (Especially Vicki, since her team won) …
… while Dan napped quietly in his seat next to me.
I guess I can’t really talk shit, though. I fell asleep on Bart on the way home, all but face-planted into my sweet potato fries at Red Robin, and then came home and promptly went to bed …
… at 7:00 PM.
That aside, I’d call it a very successful (and VERY fun!) day.
When I was younger, my ultimate dream was to spend New Year’s in New York’s Times Square. Or at least it was, until MTV ruined the entire holiday.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to appreciate the opportunity to keep New Year’s Eve low-key. My first New Year’s Eve in Merced was spent with Chinese food and an Entourage marathon. Last year, Dan and I went out to dinner, and then came home and watched the ball drop in our pajamas. And Raeann’s Mad Men-themed New Year’s party the year before that was the most dressed up I’d been in YEARS.
So when I found out that neither my parents nor Rae and Stephen had plans for New Year’s, I devised a brilliant plan for us to all come together, eat dim sum and ice cream, and go to bed at 12:05 AM.
Some choice photos from the evening:
Basically, it was perfect.
Happy 2012, y’all!
My Friday nights are normally uneventful these days. Dan works nights, including Fridays and Saturdays, so I usually spend the traditional “date nights” at home with the furbabies, wondering why I can’t tell the difference between HD and non-HD TV.
(We’ve determined that it’s because I’m blind.)
But this past Friday, I decided to try something new. I decided to write my first ever letter to prison.
I don’t think I’ve ever written about my friend Zack. I’m pretty sure he and I fell out of touch shortly before I really started blogging, but we were close for a very long time. We met during our freshman year of high school, when we sat next to each other in English. We also shared the same reg (that’s code for “homeroom” for anyone who didn’t go to my high school), and made it a point to sit next to each other every day so we could make fun of Mrs. Bogdanoff’s accent as it blared over the PA system.
We spent four years bonding over our shared love of baseball, Saves the Day, and boys. When college acceptance letters came, and he had a choice between San Jose State and Sonoma State, I told him to pick San Jose. I needed him nearby for all the concerts we’d be attending with our new found freedom and lack of curfews.
ZACK AND I AT A GIANTS GAME, CIRCA 2004.
We would take turns visiting each other, sleeping on each other’s dorm room floors, meeting each other’s friends and families and boyfriends, ordering tickets to whatever Saves the Day / Get Up Kids / Alkaline Trio / Dashboard Confessional show happened to be coming up.
I sped through college, graduating in three years, but he stayed in for what seemed like forever. He kept changing his major. First architecture, then kinesiology, and then finally public relations, which landed him an incredibly competitive internship with the Giants. This is around the time he fell off the face of the earth.
I just assumed he was busy. He was in his last semester of college, and working his internship on top of his job with San Jose State’s peer mentor program. I would post on his Facebook wall every now and again to check in, but I never got a response. After a while, I just stopped trying.
Then I met Dan, and we started dating, and a year later, we were engaged. And I realized I had always pictured my wedding with Zack there, standing up with me as a bridesman, rocking out with me on the dance floor to some music that is probably not wedding-appropriate.
So I sent him an email to check in and let him know that I was getting married, and it bounced back. I figured he had just finally changed his email address (it was ten years old and mildly inappropriate, in the way that email addresses are when they’re created by fourteen-year-old boys) and had forgotten to let me know because we hadn’t talked in a couple of years. I went to check his Facebook page to see if he had updated his email address on there, and his Facebook page didn’t even exist anymore. That’s when I started to get concerned.
I put out a call on Facebook to our friends from high school (the ones that I can still tolerate, anyway) to ask if any of them had heard from them recently. A few hours later, one of them sent me this link.
I didn’t know what to do. I IMed Raeann, who had met Zack a handful of times in college, to talk things through. I called Dan and made him take me to lunch, where I moped over my boneless spareribs. I tried to justify to myself, to anyone, how someone I knew, how my friend, could do something like this.
I didn’t want to believe it, but the name and age in the article were correct, and the information had been passed from Zack’s brother to another former member of our high school’s baseball team, who in turn told a friend of the friend who told me. Another friend told me about the Bureau of Prisons website, where I used their inmate search to find Zack in the system. This was real.
But Zack had always dated younger guys when we were in college, usually high school seniors or college freshmen. Maybe he had just gotten caught with a picture of his most recent boyfriend, who happened to be not-quite-of-age. Anything was possible, right?
I searched endlessly. I couldn’t find any details. My brain didn’t want me to. I would later find this article, which detailed Zack’s offenses, but only after Raeann found it first and – after much pleading on my part – reluctantly told me what it said.
I didn’t know how to be angry with Zack for what he had done. More than anything, I was heartbroken for him. For him, for his lost potential, for the friend I could never have back. I thought about writing to him, but I didn’t know what I would say. And I wasn’t sure I saw the point of trying to keep up a friendship with him after what he had done. There was, is, and will be no feasible way to have him in my life. By the time he’s released, Dan and I will likely have kids. And not only will it likely be a violation of his parole for Zack to be around them, but as a parent, I don’t want him around my children. I care about him as my friend, but the person he has become is not someone who can be trusted.
It’s been months, close to a year, since I first found out. I finally had to tell my parents, who knew and liked Zack immensely. And my dad, who is, by all accounts, very socially conservative, surprised me with his reaction.
“You should write to him,” he said. “I bet he could use a friend.”
So I did.
I kept my letter simple. “This is how I found out, I just got married, I wish you could have been there, I have a million cute pets, write me back because I miss you.” I addressed it, I stamped it, and on Saturday morning, I put it in the mail.
It almost feels like closure. But in reality, it’s just the beginning.
Dan called me a few months back to let me know he had been offered free tickets to a San Jose Sharks game, and would I be interested in going?
Until Monday, I’d never been to a hockey game before. In fact, I’ve never been to any professional sporting event that isn’t baseball. No football, no basketball (even though I used to play it), and most definitely no hockey.
We invited Vicki and her boyfriend Kevin (who I met for the first time at our wedding in spite of the fact that he and Vicki have been together for as long as I’ve known her). They’re both Bay Area sports fans (Kevin is a Giants fan and Vicki is an A’s fan, but I don’t hold that against her), so when Dan asked me who I wanted to bring with us, there was zero question in my mind. They’re also relatively new to hockey (it was their second game ever), and I’m sure our questions and banter back and forth annoyed all of the more seasoned fans sitting around us, but it was sort of nice to be there with people who are as clueless as I am.
You guys, hockey is a BLAST. Why did no one tell me about this sooner?! (I know Shannon tried to, but you can’t talk to me about other sports during baseball season.)
At first I felt sort of like an alien. Most of the music is the same as at baseball games, but there are different customs. Like doing The Chomp before a power play (of which I can’t find a decent video, and didn’t take any pictures, but it’s basically people making their hands look like crazy shark teeth that are eating the other team). I had no idea what the fuck was happening the first time the crowd went crazy with that. Also, the Sharks enter the rink THROUGH A SHARK. Like, WHAT? And then there are the rules of the game, which I still don’t fully understand. Your players are just allowed to mosey over to the dugout (or whatever it’s called – the bench?) and have other players relieve them in the middle of play? How can baseball sign up for that?
ANYWAY. I had an awesome time, as did Dan. I think we’ve found a sport we can finally compromise on and share, which is fantastic, because I can’t listen to him complain about baseball anymore and I’ll be damned if he thinks I’m going to sit through a Niners game.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter probably saw the #girlsweekend hashtag attached to all kinds of crazy tweets this weekend. That’s because Raeann and Meghan came to visit, and we spent the weekend drunkenly organizing my kitchen and basking in the insane glory that is Bridezillas.
The best part of the weekend was our shopping trip to FoodMaxx, where Raeann shopped for the gourmet dinner she would be preparing for us that evening and Meghan and I helped ourselves to … whatever the fuck we wanted.
We came home, reorganized my entire kitchen, unpacked the new china that Dan and I got for our wedding, and ate what was truly my first home-cooked meal in the new house. (Boiling pasta doesn’t count, as much as I’d like to think it does.)
The next morning, we discovered what is by far my new favorite breakfast place. The Vine, located in Fremont’s historic Niles district, was the cutest and most delicious restaurant I’ve been to in a LONG time. They have ricotta pancakes on the menu, and OF COURSE I ordered them, and OF COURSE it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. Meghan ordered sweet potato waffles, which will be the NEXT best decision I’ve ever made in my life, and Raeann ordered something with eggs and ham and etc. that I didn’t eat because I didn’t feel like dying.
I give this weekend two bottles of Jack Daniels Honey, bottoms up. Thanks for an awesome time, ladies!