Saturday, November 27, 2010

*Sorry guys, a serious blog today, even though I have a fabulous Caribbean cruise to blog about. I didn't change all of the name's in this blog because, well, you change names to protect the innocent, right?*

So my 'Uncle' Michael has died.

I don't mourn his loss at all. Honestly, today felt no different from the day before, or a Friday a few weeks ago. I doubt it will be any different from next Friday.

The only sad or mournful feelings I have over this are for my Grandmother. No one deserves to lose a child. And as my cousin said, "he's proof that bad people can be born of good people." I have no children of my own yet, but I know what it's like to love a child as my own. And imagining something bad happening to them makes my stomach turn. For my grandmother, I feel sorrow, I feel pain. But for no one else.

You have to understand, in my Big Fat Italian Family, I have a lot of different 'Uncles'. I have my California Uncle, who is an amazing writer, has a killer sense of humor, asks me about school, and movies, and boys, and life, over crab nachos at the end of Santa Monica pier. He performs cheesy magic tricks for us whenever he visits. I have early childhood memories of his deep, rumbley voice, and hearing his laugh, and feeling his beard tickle me as he kissed me good night on Christmas Eve. I remember that sort of tangible childhood excitement I would feel when my parents told me he was visiting from California. He's not actually genetically related to me at all. He's just a good friend of my parents'. Yesterday he congratulated me on my recent engagement, and assured me that he'd try his hardest to be at my wedding next Fall.

Then I have an Uncle that now lives in Santa Fe, who is a good friend of my Aunt's, and again, not biologically related to me at all. I remember watching TV with him as a child. I remember him taking me on outings to bookstores and cafes as a child. He loved Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman as much as I did, and he taught me how to use a whip. I remember laughing with him over the way Microsoft Word's spellcheck tried to correct Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as our own very Italian last names. He used to give me candy coated fennel seeds to sooth my stomach. One of his houses had kumquats growing outside near the front stoop. To this day, the smell of eucalyptus oil makes me miss him.

That being said, I have two memories of my 'Uncle' Michael. Neither of them actually contain him, they just happen to take place around him. When I was about ten, I remember going over to his house with Cousinface. We played HORSE on his basketball court in the backyard, and later we played around on his pool table, though none of us kids were good enough to actually play billiards. I seem to remember one of my cousins (I think it was the rapper) showing me how to beat Super Mario Bros. 3 in only ten minutes. On the way home in the back of Cousinface's dad's red Nissan truck, her older sister Jen kept picking her nose and flicking the boogers into the wind. They always hit me in the face.

The only other memory I have is of his Anniversary party. I don't remember what the numerical value was, I just remember that I was a young teenager, and his third wife (the evil, malicious Judy) was so drunk that she forgot Cousinface's name. Cousinface's family visited Michael (her grandfather) every holiday, and sometimes for dinner on weekends in between. Judy remembered me (whom she'd met maybe two or three times before) but forgot Cousinface. I remember the crushed, hurt look on her face more than anything. And the fact that the bartender at the country club (or where ever it was) didn't know what a Shirley Temple was.

So my point is, this 'Uncle' of mine, was not an uncle at all. I would feel more over the loss of an elementary school teacher that I was close to. I have no memories of magic tricks, or snowmen, or bookstores, or Christmas Eve with this man. In fact, all I have are the stories of those he hurt so deeply.

Like how he left my cousin Jinx and her mother (his second wife, whom I consider my Aunt) by telling them he was going to the convenience store for a pack of cigarettes and never coming back. Jinx was six. Her brother was younger. He turned up at one of his mistresses house's a few days later. He never paid child support to their mother. Later, when Jinx sued him for backed child support as an adult, Michael took issue with my father. I remember him telling my dad that Jinx "wasn't smart enough" to do it on her own. Jinx is one of the smartest people I know, and one of my closest friends.

A few years ago, when some family drama broke out, and my little branch ended up sawing off the horribly trashy, obnoxious branch that contained some of his offspring, his horrible third wife sent me a letter telling me to take down my blog and 'never write again.' I hadn't spoken to or interacted with them in years, and the first contact I get in almost a decade is some holier-than-thou attempt at censorship. Based on what? The fact that he was the oldest person with our last name? It takes a lot more to make a patriarch than age.

But the most damning thing told to me was the abuse he put my Aunt Awesome through. (My father's sister.) It's not my story to tell, so I won't elaborate much. Aunt Awesome is my favorite aunt. We have a lot in common, including tastes and temperaments. So when I found out how horribly Michael treated her as a child (when he was a teenager), it spoiled him in my mind forever. It turned whatever traces of familial affection I might have had for him into burning hatred. Aunt Awesome is quite possibly the nicest person I have the privilege of knowing. So to wound her so grievously, and then try to play it off as 'something children do'... no. Unacceptable. He never denied the abuse he was responsible for, he just made a point of not apologizing for it. There are no words for how much I loathed that man.

As far as I'm concerned, a Deadbeat Dad, Philanderer and Child Molester died yesterday. He may have had my last name and some of the same genetic material, but for all intents and purposes, I might as well have been watching the evening news and an announcement of a prisoner's execution. There was no sentimental connection for me, just a sense of relief, because someone horrible is gone from this world. So if you are sad that your loved one is facing his final judgment, fine. Go be sad. Somewhere in your corner of cyberspace. I'm not invading it and telling you how I feel, I'm just voicing my opinion from my own little corner. I am entirely entitled to have my own opinion and state it however, where ever and whenever I want to. You are the one that decides to read it.

Tonight I raised a glass, and clinked it among friends and loved ones. Yes, I celebrated someone's death. And if you have a problem with that, I have a problem with you. Feel free to ask me why, and I will explain it, in the simplest terms necessary for your feeble mind.

A Monster died yesterday, and I am happy.

Friday, November 12, 2010
I have this habit of taking notes in my phone. Funny things that are said (these notes are particularly funny after a night of drinking), to-do lists, my AAA member number, ideas for stories or song lyrics. Recently, when I tried to jot down (and by jot I mean type in) some wedding invitation ideas, my phone told me that the memory card was full. I know this to be perfectly erroneous, as I still have plenty of room for pictures. So the allotted space for notes is full.

So I need to get rid of them.

The Friday before Halloween, Future Husband and I (he was still technically Boyfriend) had an impromptu date night. We went out to run a few errands, and ended up having dinner and going to a movie. We wandered around the mall near our house (neither of us had been there before) and people watched and window shopped, some of our favorite activities. After we stopped at the Halloween Express and Hot Topic for last minute costume supplies, we headed across the parking lot to Olive Garden for a garlicky, seafoody feast. Since there was a movie theater in the mall, we decided to throw financial responsibility to the wind and go see 'Easy A.' (Really good! Totally recommended!)

As we were heading up the first set of escalators to get to the third floor Theater, Future Husband said, "It looks like we could go left or right."

"I think right is shorter." I was observing the food court, and going around to the right was definitely the quicker way to get to the second set of escalators.

FH, in a completely serious, deadpan voice, said, "Probably. But we could go left. If there was a bear, or something. We have that option."

I burst out laughing. I couldn't stop thinking about turning the corner in the super shiny, Ikea furnished food court, and just seeing a giant bear there.

No, the bear is not flashing us.

If there had been some sort of terrible, bear-escapes=from-the-zoo-and-takes-a-bus-to-the-mall scenario, I would hope that FH had his Concealed Carry permit by then. Because then I would be safe, for sure.

I got lazy with the bear.

Ok, well, maybe not. Because as FH explained to me only a few days ago, (while he was explaining why he is terrified of bears) that bears have ridiculously thick skulls that most bullets won't puncture.

Which means that we would have to resort to something one of my recurring dreams has been preparing me for, for decades; hand to hand combat with a giant predator.

My recurring dreams are not like the ones in movies. I don't know how they stack up to everyone else's, but mine are more like recurring themes. They always take place in different locations, with different people, but have the same predicament. There are the natural disaster dreams, where I'm trying to get various loved ones, friends and/or family to safety and they won't heed my warnings. Then the flood/tornado/tsunami strikes and I have to try and save everyone as they're scattered. Then there are my weird high school dreams, where I go back to Xavier to have 'traditional' high school years. I always end up slacking and staying home, and then worry that I'll get kicked out, but I don't really care. The last time I had this dream, one of my teachers asked me how many times I was going to come back and drop out. Or the driving across an insanely high and poorly built bridge, usually in a large vehicle like a van or my old Buick, and usually over water. That one always wakes me with a jolt.

And then... there are the giant predator dreams. Usually it's a lion or a bear. Once or twice it's been a tiger. Once it was an alligator. I haven't had one of these in a while, but what always happens is I end up somehow trapped by some giant, bitey monster that wants to eat/destroy me. I always manage to land a couple of punches, and then I realize that claws and teeth will definitely win out over my weak little arms and clawless hands. Inevitably, I have to trick the beast into losing sight of me, so I can sneak up behind it and strangle it.

Yep - strangle it. In all of my dreams I either hold my own, or defeat the beast by putting it in a choke hold. And since I'm on its back, the damage they're able to inflict with their sharp bits is minimal.

So had there been a bear in the food court, impeding our journey to the movie theater, I totally could have taken it down.

You know, since Future Husband is terrified of bears.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Within a week of Boyfriend and I becoming 'Boyfriend and I' last September 9th, we knew we were altar bound. Just a day after we finally got our act together, he happily told me, "We have a lifetime of Scrabble ahead of us."

On September 14th of last year, he asked me to tour with his band. Turned out it wasn't even his idea. G and D suggested it, and of course, Boyfriend (and then I) enthusiastically agreed with it. That night Boyfriend told me he loved me for the first time. Within a week of that, he was telling me about the Domestic Partnership he had with Crazy Ex #1 from a few years ago. He said, "I have to get rid of that so I'm free to marry you."

Ever the self doubter and over thinker, I couldn't quite believe I'd heard him right, so I didn't ask him to clarify. That's what girls are supposed to do, right? Not talk about commitment, cause boys are afraid of that? But a few days later I jokingly referenced what our children might look like, and he called them, 'inevitable.'

It blew me away. I've been in love with Boyfriend since I was 19 years old. I never thought we'd actually be together, and the few times I allowed myself to actually think/fantasize about that, I never thought we'd make it for the long haul. I always thought we'd have a few happy years together, have a lot of fun, and then decide we wanted different things. I thought I'd go start a family, and he'd continue to live his rock 'n roll lifestyle. We would've stayed friends, of course, but it would have just been a fun relationship. I never thought I'd fall as hard as I did (or rather, didn't realize how hard I'd already fallen). But as soon as Boyfriend mentioned babies and marriage (and he brought them up first) I finally accepted how deeply I loved him.

On my birthday last year (which was epically awesome) after a couple rounds of Jell-O shots, I pulled my mother away from her palm reading station at the party and said, "I want to tell Boyfriend I want to spend the rest of my life with him. Should I?" Mom just laughed at me.

Later, in the bouncy castle (yes - there was a bouncy castle), Boyfriend and I were snuggling. The aforementioned Jell-O shots gave me enough courage to pull him close and say, "I want to spend every day with you. For the rest of my life."

His response? "I thought that was the plan."

Told you there was a bouncy castle.

Since that night last October we've occasionally mentioned forever. At some point over the last year we somehow arrived at a conclusion for the date. I thought it was awesome that we got together on 9-9-09, and jokingly said, "We should get married on 11-1-11. Then our rehearsal dinner could be a costume party."

"And that would be a super easy anniversary to remember!" Boyfriend said. (Even then, when he told his mother last month, he told her it was the 11th we wanted. Silly boy.)

Our second night out on my first tour, as we were walking to a party after parking the van a few blocks away, Boyfriend lamented, "I don't know how to introduce you to people. You're not my fiance yet, because I haven't gotten a ring, but you're so much more than just my girlfriend." He then changed the subject to what kind of ring I wanted. Smooth, that one.

The only hold up so far has been telling his folks. My parents have known since I knew. I'm extremely close to my parents, and tell them everything. Boyfriend, however, while he loves his parents and is close to them, he's not as friendly with his parents as I am with mine. And my parents have known him for six years. Boyfriend's parents met me last Christmas. His original plan was to tell his father he wanted to ask me to marry him, but things kept coming up, or getting in the way. It's adorable, really, how much he admires his parents. Even at 26, he's still worried about making them proud and not disappointing them. When we were in Arizona last month on the way back from tour, Boyfriend finally worked up the nerve to tell his mom. When Boyfriend told me the story, he said he was trying to lead her to the subject, and she brought it up. When she told me the story they next day (while we were getting our toes done), she said she told him he had to marry me. It's a disagreement I'm happy to let them have.

I jokingly told my future sister in law that even though we knew we were going to get married, and had picked out the date, we weren't 'engaged' because Boyfriend hadn't asked and there wasn't a ring. The GBF said that I couldn't call myself 'engaged' until Boyfriend made it 'facebook official.' Either way, though we've been discussing our wedding party, the menu for the reception, and where we want to honeymoon, we weren't referring to ourselves as engaged.

Until now.

A few days ago, while we were shopping for Halloween Costume accessories, a cheapy ring in the thrift store case caught my eye. (When we discussed rings, I told him he wasn't allowed to spend more than $20 on my ring. They're just symbolic anyway, I'm clumsy and bad with jewelry, and we can use the extra money to have a longer honeymoon.) Boyfriend said, "Hey, we're getting married a year from Monday, huh?" I answered positively, and he said, "We should change our facebook status."

Sunday night, a few minutes after midnight, Boyfriend left the couch, grabbed my laptop, and pulled up facebook. He went immediately to the 'Relationships' page, changed his status to 'Engaged to,' nudged me and pointed to it. I looked over and he asked, "Eh?"

I smiled at him, said, "Sure!" and he clicked save.

So 363 days from now, I'll be in a white dress in Arizona, celebrating with my closest friends and family, and calling my dearest friend 'Husband.'

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Seattle, United States
During this course of study, you will come to learn much about the strange eating, sleeping and mating habits of the Instrospective Lori under stress. We will observe as she moves halfway across the country to start a life with her own Captain Wentworth, takes a year off of work to pursue a writing career, and incessantly references Jane Austen.
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