Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Tradition Continues

In no particular order, I present to you my as-yet-to-be-quantified List Of Things That Make Me Thankful. It's Thanksgiving and the cats woke me up at 5:30 this morning anyway. I figured I should do something besides drink coffee.

1. TNT's Movies We Love Marathon. Of course, there are only two movies that can even come close to being movies I love but Critters at 6am and Ghostbusters at 8? I am good to go.

21. Mmh, bagels.

45. Weddings and babies and all new beginnings

16. Wedges of ripe orange at breakfast.

5. My The Boyfriend. He rocks. 'Nuff said.

999. My family. They are why I am. In all conjugations of the verb.

65. Brand new blue jeans.

93. Designer lables at discount prices.

80. My friends. But more than just some people I know. I mean My Friends, those whose lives mine mingles with intimately. My brothers and sisters in heart and soul. You know who you are.

3. The quiet hour after I wake up and before The Boyfriend gets out of bed.

76. A really good book.

18. Rekindling old friendships.

2. In no way desiring or intending to go shopping tomorrow .

36. A well made mojito.

72. Personal freedoms.

54. 10 days til 30.

321. Sunshine on my shoulders.

9. Laundry on premises.

85. Digital cameras and online photosharing.

10. David Bowie.

678. Cute fuzzy kitties that don't wake me up at the ass-crack of dawn.

4. Coffee.

125. Knowing enough obscure movie quotes to keep up with cousin Jordan.

9654. iTunes.

73. Good job with an adult salary.

14. Every breath of every moment of every minute of every hour of every day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Fuck is it cold out today.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Most Horrible Story Ever Told

Verbatim, straight from the horse's mouth - except she's very pretty and not horsey-like at all.

The following account was taken during a phone interview. Names have been changed to protect…Oh, screw that. I’m only changing the names slightly.

As many of you know, my husband and I got married this past July. It was a beautiful day, everyone was happy, the weather was amazing, the food, the venue, etc. All of our planning really paid off. We had friends and families fly in from all over the country, including my paternal grandparents along with my dad’s brother ‘Rick’ and his wife, my Aunt ‘Rianne’. I hadn’t seen them in ages and they all looked wonderful, if a little overwhelmed as they hail from tiny, tiny town Montana. My cousins were missing from the picture as the youngest one, Rary, was preparing for her own nuptials. We were going to be absent from her wedding as it was just after ours and we couldn’t afford the time or $ to get out there. Boy, would that I could travel back in time to see this with my own eyes.
Sit back, relax and enjoy, “The Bucolic Bride and the Groom with One Hand”. And may God forgive me.

For those of you from a rural area, perhaps this won’t be very shocking. It may even be commonplace. Granted, I was born in Montana, both of my parents grew up there, but we managed to escape when I was around two. I must say this about this side of my family; they know how to entertain. I’ve childhood memories of my grandparents having tons of relatives over for the holidays, eating, snacking, laughing, etc. They are not without humor, but are certainly what I would consider socially conservative, which is what makes this tale that much funnier. While, they are all big fans of the Budweiser, they maintain themselves. Yes, there is some letting lose, but nothing drastic, and nothing ever dramatic, unless it involves my Uncle “Rick” who, I must say, has such a sack full of issues that even his tractor couldn’t pull it. I have to give props to his saint of a wife, she is one of the nicest ladies I’ve ever known. And I must also offer this disclaimer, these people are college educated and small town and but not white trash.
It seems though; Uncle Rick has some competition on the dramatic front from his oldest daughter “Richelle”. Annoying since infanthood (my brother and I once deliberately bumped her from a golf cart), married to a saint of a man, mother of two little kids and wears her eating disorder like a badge of honor. Richael, the middle brother is not so much a key player in this story, so I’m just going to say that he looks a lot like his dad.

Cut to the morning of the wedding. It’s a very hot, very sunny day. My dad is the only one in a suit. (That is very typical in Montana). They arrive there in time to watch the groomsman, et al march in to the church sporting white tuxedos with black shirts, and suffer through a mass with no air conditioning. The ceremony itself was “unremarkable”, as reported my reliable source.
Post ceremony, my dad and Susie (dear stepmother) go back to the hotel to dress down, why should they suffer in suits and hose when no one else is? Besides they had a good four hours before the reception at the rodeo grounds. Most people I know have a hard time with that ceremony reception lag time. What the hell do you do? Especially, in rural Montana? Well, what you do is start drinking. Granted it’s about 1:00pm, but it’s a wedding celebration after all. So, Uncle Rick, and the grooms dad (let’s call him Vinnie) had decided to invite everyone to the venue though the reception wasn’t set to begin. It’s a nice consideration for all of the out-of-towners, many who are older relatives of mine. So, when people start arriving at the venue, they are pleased to see that the bar was already open. There was, however, no food in site. So, let’s do the math. Up at 9:00am, maybe you had a muffin or coffee, go to wedding, wedding done at 1:00p, don’t have lunch, head to venue, and start drinking.

I have to mention that the groom is part Hispanic, so Vinnie and Rick had ordered cases of Patron tequila for the reception. Before you could say Salud, the bottles get broken open and the wedding party, including Vinnie and Rick start taking tequila shots. I mentioned earlier that my family was big fans of Budweiser. They can drink it all day long and not get drunk. Booze is an entirely different beast. It lies dormant in our genes until provoked and once it is woken up, you can’t get it back to sleep. You must ride out its wrath and perhaps piss a few people off in the process.

Cut to 4:00pm, reception time. You can imagine how drunk the wedding party was at this point. And, because no one wanted to mess with their buzz, the food remained untouched by those that needed it most. Most of the other guests, including tried to enjoy the food and ignore the fact that there were slobbering, loud, sweaty people walking around with tequila bottles trying to get people to do shots. Half of those bottles poured out onto the floor as those carrying the bottles around when there motor skills were not really up to task of carrying anything full of liquid. Not to mention that the floor was fairly littered with trash because, well you try making a basket in to the can when you’re half in the bag.

It was getting to be a little much for Susie to handle so she went outside and was watching cousin Richelle’s two little one’s as Richelle was busy on the phone with her therapist having a hysterical crying fit about not being able to handle giving the toast or being at the wedding, or something just that ridiculous. Where’s a golf cart when you need it? No, seriously, she was doing this right in front of many, many people while her for-sure-to-be-messed up kids were in Susie’s care. Eventually she calmed down enough to make her way back inside to give her toast.
So, inside, it’s half loud, rowdy and drunken and half polite chatter. Unfortunately, no one was really eating and a ton of food was going to waste. Cousin Richelle (this was not even an eating disorder joke, just serendipity) got on the mike and announced that “She had to outdo the toast her sister had given her on her wedding.” (It was a poem that she’d written.) Richelle, hell bent on topping the sisterly poem, decided to take a popular song and write alternate lyrics and sing along to the back up music. Well, whatever heartfelt sentiment penned in the song was overshadowed by choking sobs and heartfelt (misguided) emoting. I have to say this, she has, to my knowledge, always been a terrible singer. I recall in 1982 at a family reunion, she getting up in front of the entire clan and singing a song about this dinosaur (which she made me listen to over and over and then told me how cute it was going to be.) It wasn’t .It sucked. I imagine this was like the dinosaur song but a million times worse because, she’s not 4 anymore and she’s a flied out loon. There was not a comfortable person in the house.

But, yay, now it’s time for the first dance. This can be a pressure filled moment for some couples, but not these two, Rary and Ravis. No, they were feelin’ fine. So fine in fact, that when they fell down drunk on top of each other during this one and only first dance, they just laughed it off. Now, there’s a couple who can get through anything.

Typically, the rest of the guests would begin dancing after this. Unfortunately, no one did. The music, while pleasing the bride and groom, did not really take into the consideration the population of big banders that made up 70% of the guest list. Just as well I suppose, what with all the tequila spill, trash, condom wrappers, and vomit, great aunt so and so could have taken a nasty spill. I know that the wedding is about the bride and the groom, but even Marie Antoinette told the people to eat cake. These poor people didn’t even get cake because the hosts were too drunk to cut it, or they just forgot.

It was at this point when my dad, Susie and my brother decided to leave. Susie went outside to track down some family to say goodbye. Just as she walked out the front door she sees a shirtless man sitting on a bench next to a pile of what appeared to be his own vomit. She confirmed that it was his vomit as she saw what remained on his face. Turns out it was Vinnie, the father of the groom. Not wanting to embarrass or deal with him, Susie goes back inside, mortified, and noticed the back door open and Uncle Rick just outside of it vomiting his guts out too. Well, that’s just perfect. Both my dad and Susie were, I believe pretty ticked about the whole thing. Flying to Montana is hella expensive. Though they may’ve gotten their money’s worth had they stuck around for the grand finale.

Drum roll, please… honor of the wedding celebration, Rary had purchased fireworks to light off in the parking lot. (Give them a break, its Montana, sometimes there’s nothing left to do but blow stuff up.) As the reception is ending, Rary begs Ravis to light off the fireworks. Ravis was against the idea and they had a big drunken fight. But because it was “MYYYYYYYY WEDDING!!!!!!!!!!!” Rary got her way and the wedding party proceeded to the parking lot with bottle rockets in hand.

Ravis, who I can only assume was not a novice blower upper, held the rocket in his hand by that stand like part at the bottom. He then lights it as everyone waits for the magic. No one was disappointed because the bottle rocket magically blew up and magically blew apart Ravis’ hand. The drunken ass wedding party races to the ER where Ravis goes into emergency surgery. Because they were so drunk and disruptive, the wedding party was kicked out of the hospital.
The next morning, my dad and Susie awake to this story of the blown up hand. Being the nice people that they are, they go visit the hospital. Apparently, they couldn’t use anesthesia on poor Ravis as his blood alcohol level was sky high. More frightening, his future as a chiropractor may be in question. Post hospital, my dad and Susie, go to the venue to help clean up.
Seriously. I can’t believe them. I think they felt bad for my aunt and my grandparents, who were probably mortified. So, my dad is mopping up the floor, of what I can only picture is like post Motley Crue concert 1987. My aunt is on her hands and knees scraping up vomit with a putty knife. They won’t get their deposit back unless the place is clean. Oh, and if anyone was hungry all the food was left out from the night before including the uncut cake, which had melted into a pile of sugary daisies.

The centerpieces, meant to reflect the chosen theme of “Golf and the Beach” met a sad end. A bunch of straw and grass, with glued on golf tees, surrounded a beer mug with gold fish. The children of Richelle, anxious to take one home as a pet, were horrified to see each and every little fish belly up in their beer mug homes. Uncle Rick, was no use to anyone following his Patron orgy the night before laid on the floor that my dad was mopping and passed out. Oh, little brothers.

While, I felt bad for the majority of the guests who traveled and spent money to be part of this day, there was a part of me that found great glee in this. It wasn’t even because our wedding was better; it was mostly because I’ve been fairly removed from that side of my family. There’s always been a sense of resentment toward my father, who wanted more out of life than small town living. We still saw everyone on visits and my brother and I loved going there as children because they had a jar of candy corn, mini cereal boxes and cans of grape juice. My mother and I found the small town, decades behind the time lifestyle absolutely hilarious and a great source for endless mocking of polyester fashions. Ashton Kuchter would’ve have killed for Uncle Rillie’s trucker hat that said “Official Hangover Hat”. Pettiness aside, we did all have a good time there.
Though, when my parents divorced and my dad moved away, my mother wrote my grandparents and told them that she’d do everything she could to make sure we saw them and didn’t get out of touch. Well, as it is in small town existence, everything you need is right there and if it isn’t there, you don’t need it. So it seems. Since then, we write and exchange gifts on holidays and birthdays. I see them once every five years or so. I’m not as resentful as I once was, and regret not having an adequate amount of time to spend with them at my wedding, but then again, I didn’t have time for anyone really. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Uncle Rick, Rianne, Richelle, Richael and Rary live nearby the grandparents have daily communication and are extremely close. About as opposite as the relationship they have with me and my brother. That nasty, petty, resentful part of me felt a sense of sweet justice that my wedding was so much better than the grandkids of Do No Wrong, Montana.

Meeeeeeooooowwww. Slap me cuz I’m bad.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this tale, and I hope that any of you who plan on having a wedding have learned a little something.

So What's The Deal?

you know, when you - purely by coincidence - track down an ex on a site like myspace or friendster?

are you supposed to avoid them? can you taunt them? haunt them? track their every online move?

i am sorely tempted to send some sort of communication but i can't guarantee it's going to be a NICE that "wrong?"

opinions welcome.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Best. Entrance. Ever.

The last wedding of 2005. Hallelujiah. Praise be to all Saints in Heaven.
As an event, it has had a momentous build up over this year.
It did not disappoint.
In fact, it was quite the wild brouhaha.

Thirteen groomsmen, not including the four-year-old ring bearer, accompanied the groom. They secluded themselves in a dark-wood paneled conference room.

Three doors down; the bride, three bridesmaids, two junior bridesmaids and a flower girl.

As one of the ambassadors between these two rooms, the bathroom and the hall where the congregation was gathering I can tell you that the South Shore Cultural Center is huge and that excitement was palpable throughout.

Everyone looked perfect. Storybook even. All fourteen of these men oozed adjectives. Debonair, dashing, sophisticated even. It was a bit of a shock really. All of them all in one place, looking their best. Not just well dressed but on best behavior too. These are all boys I've known going on five years now. Slept on their couches, shared our psychoses, neuroses and melodramas over coffee, assorted liquors and games of Risk. Currently truly, madly deeply for one of them. And here they were, as so many of my favorite boys have been this year in ceremonies all across the country, looking so handsome I had to catch my breath.

The bride, my sister Wonderwoman, was ravishing. Every bride I've seen this year has been beautiful and perfect. Wonderwoman was the happiest I've ever seen her. Radiant and blushing, she ran down the hallway just for the joy of watching her dress billow out behind her. A princess at her very own ball, surrounded by her gorgeous ladies-in-waiting.

The officiator, uncle to the groom (and a dead ringer for The Boyfriend's father) was kind and infused with a generous sense of humor. Some of the groomsmen and I were discussing the signal system set up for the ceremony. When all of the men were in place around the alter, Howard (the priest) was to signal Wonderwoman for her entrance. None of us had the heart to explain that she had asked him to flash her the devil's horn. You know, the whole index finger- pinky salute made popular by metal-heads and punk rockers around the world. Yeah, THAT was the signal. We let him continue thinking it was the Texas Longhorns team symbol. Safer that way.

The groom led his personal procession in to bagpipes. Followed by the pairs of bridesmaids and the three men standing up with the groom. Or, standing closer to the groom as the thirteen attendants stood in a semi-circle around the couple.

When the flower girl and ring bearer had found their places in the crowd at the front of the room, every thing went silent for a moment. And then the thunderous strains of Slash's solo, the opening chords of Sweet Child O' Mine, roared through the hall. The crowd was on it's feet. The groomsmen hollering, the congregation whistling and cheering as Wonderwoman and her father walked down the aisle.
Genius. Brilliant. Magnificent.
The tone of the evening was now set in place.
By the end of the night we had all partied like we were in high school again, drank the open bar out of a number of items and fell in love with love watching the bride and groom dance each other around the room.

The end of my official Year of Weddings. It went out with a bang, that's for sure.

The one main idea I have come away with from this year of travel, ceremony, caterers photographers, music and love is that a wedding is anything you want it to be. I think I have seen it all this year. Classical, religious weddings on sprawling lawns and gardens. Rock and Roll parties, bohemian ceremonies overlooking oceans. Fancy dress up prom night soirees and castles overlooking scenic, urban vistas. A wedding is anything and everything.

When I was younger, the idea of wedding thrilled and frightened me. It implied, in my mind, being the uncomfortable center of attention. Dancing stiffly to songs my parents would approve of and having to be a gracious, rushed host. Well, it ain't necessarily so folks. This year has inspired my faith and hope that whatever sort of wedding I eventually end up having, no matter where, no matter when. And no matter how many things seem to go wrong, if it's a good time to me it will be a good time to everyone. I have seen how friends and family truly do come together for celebration in a majestic sort of way. It doesn't have to be anything special, the nature of the occasion makes it so.

In a Thorton Wilder sort of way, the witnessing of a marriage has the power to restore faith, mend wounds time seems to have forgotten and bring us all together for a brief moment (geologically speaking) united under the spell cast by true love.

So, that's what I have to say about that. And, despite my earlier warning, I already have three weddings I know of to attend next year. Not a single one of them within cabbing distance of my apartment. But, after this year and all of the good times I have shared in, I cannot complain. I can only look forward to more adventures.

Next Time: A guest contributor recounts the tale of the most disastrous wedding I've ever heard of. Thankful I wasn't required to attend it. But I can't let the story go untold.