Thursday, November 25, 2010

What not to do in the event of an "arctic freeze"

Mom and I sort of promised to not talk about this again. However, seeing as we are approaching what will most likely be a very cold winter (and the holidays), I feel like it's in everyone's best interest to share this story. Hopefully you'll learn something from it.

Christmas Day 2008. It had snowed for a few days, and then we got a layer of freezing rain on top of the snow. It was a mess. But my Oma and Auntie had spent all day preparing a roast, and we felt we ought to at least try to make it. To Milwaukie. From the West Hills.

Mistake #1: Dad says he thinks he can make it in the Audi. We have doubts, but go along with it anyway.

So me, Mom, Dad, and Rudolpho the Pooh all piled into the Audi. Before we made it to the end of our street, we heard a terrible scraping sound along the bottom of the car.

Mistake #2: Dad says it's probably nothing. Again, we have doubts, but go along with it anyway.

Half an hour later, we made it to Milwaukie. As Mom and I took Rudolpho the Pooh and all the presents inside, Dad inspected the car. He came inside a few minutes later and was like, yeah, the Audi's going to, uh, need to go into the shop. So I'm going to take it home now before it gets dark. Oma had just pulled the roast out of the oven. We had to stay.

Really, you're thinking? You don't understand- we're German. We had to stay. If there's a giant slab of meat, you stay. That's just the way it is.

Except Dad's not as German as Mom and I are. So he was like, I'm still going to go- you girls can get a cab home, right?

Mistake #3: We figure we better call Radio Cab and make a reservation just to be on the safe side. We do. They say they're not taking reservations, but to just call when we're ready and they'll come get us. Once again, we have doubts. But figure it will be just fine. Dad takes the Audi home.

We had our pot roast. Four German women and Rudolpho the Pooh. Around 9, I called Radio Cab back and asked them to send a car. They said it would be about an hour. No problem, we figured. And we started playing "Tick." Tick is a card game. It's a card game that, when you really just want to be home, becomes the longest and dullest game in the history of card games.

Mistake #4: We wait that hour. And then another hour.

I called Radio Cab again. Oh, you're next on the list. We were next on the list!!

We weren't next on the list.

It was midnight. On Christmas. I called Radio Cab (STUPID RADIO CAB) again. Oh... yeah, you're next on the list. I became, well, let's just say frustrated. I told Mr. Radio Cab that we'd been waiting for 3 hours and he better tell me the truth.
Um, you're in Milwaukie. Nobody's going to come out to Milwaukie right now.

So... in what I'm sure was a totally calm and rational voice, I explained to Mr. Radio Cab that he should have told me the truth when I'd called him that afternoon. And also, that he was a sucky person.

So Oma and Auntie suggested we just sleep on their couches. Neither my mom or I are very good sleepers, especially in other people's homes. We asked if they had any bourbon. No, but we have leftover roast, and could warm up some milk and play another game of Tick.

Mom gave me "the look." Kaiti, go get the phone book.

I did as I was told, and began calling every cab company in the book. They all said the same thing- none of their drivers would be willing to come out there.

And then I called Orange Cab. Not Yellow Cab, not Green Cab. Orange Cab. Ever heard of it? We hadn't either. But none of the more common colors were going to come get us. And... victory! Orange Cab said they'd come in half an hour! We waited 30 minutes. And you know what? They came exactly when they said they would.

Here's the car they brought:
It looked exactly like this. As in, no markings. Nothing that actually said Orange Cab. And two big Iranian men in suits got out.

Not exactly the cab experience we'd expected, but we really wanted to get home. And the roads were terrible, so maybe they had brought a different car than usual.

Mistake #5: We figure it's probably fine. Note: this story actually does turn out fine. But generally, this probably wasn't the best situation for us to put ourselves in. We really should have just crashed on the couches.

Anyway, we said our goodnights and gathered Rudolpho the Pooh. Our drivers didn't look pleased about Pooh, so I put him in his crate and set him in the back on top of a very nice Persian rug. There were Persian rugs on every floor in the car. As soon as we were on our way, Mom called Dad and told him which company we were with and when he should expect us. As in, call the cops if we're not back soon. Dad was asleep.

The drivers chatted with us a bit, then cranked up what appeared to be one of their favorite songs. Do you girls like Arabic pop music?

Mom shot me a very knowing look. Then, in her sweetest voice, said well to be honest, I haven't heard much of the Arabic pop music, but it seems very nice!

Oh God.

They chuckled, and then turned up the music even louder.

The next stretch of the "cab" ride was actually pretty easy. They had put our address into the GPS, so we all just kind of stayed quiet, perhaps pondering the differences in our music tastes. But then we got back into the West Hills. Unless you've lived in the West Hills, it's hard to understand that there are only certain roads you should take when it's icy out.

So when they started to turn onto 27th, Mom and I both told them to take Hamilton instead. It's one block further, but far less steep. They discussed amongst each other, then went ahead and turned onto 27th.

They thought we were trying to mess with them.

We made it halfway up the hill, then slid all the way back down. After two more attempts, our drivers finally turned around and asked what is this "Hamilton" that we speak of. We directed them to the most favorable streets. After getting stuck a couple more times and having a group prayer to Jesus for strength (yes really), we finally made it home. It was like 2 in the morning.

We had made it!

Mistake #6: I go around to the back of the car to get Rudolpho the Pooh, and Mom gleefully prances into the house saying she's going to go grab some cash. I, knowing we needed to pay our drivers but also not wanting to stay out in the cold with them, followed Mom into the house.


Our drivers were not happy.

And then I realized, they had just taken us on what was probably the most treacherous drive of their lives, and now they thought we were going to stiff them. I would have been pissed, too. So I set Rudolpho the Pooh down in the snow and waited with them. For... a really long time.

It was so awkward.

We discussed, um, the weather. And the holidays. And then the two of them turned to each other and talked for about 5 minutes, signaling towards the house and towards me at various points in the conversation. What were they saying? Did they hate our holiday decorations? Did they hate me? Or should I have invited them inside for a nightcap?

And after a very long time- we have decided we like your reindeer.

The red neon light-up reindeer in the window. Did this really require 5 full minutes of consultation? I didn't question, just thanked them for the compliment.

Mom finally came back outside and gave these guys their money, and a very generous tip. They were good guys, yet the language barrier between us and them had made the whole situation very tense. And it made me feel like kind of a jackass for doubting them, when they were the only company who came through for us.

They handed me a huge stack of cards- you go out for New Year's- we take you.

I didn't call them, but I still have their card in my wallet.

And Mom and I? We went inside, and without a word, poured 2 bourbons.

My army

It's Thanksgiving.

Brutal truth: if you'd asked me one month ago where I thought I'd be today, I would have told you I'd be warm and cozy with my partner, planning a wedding.

I'm not.

We don't need to get into why today, because that's not what today is about. It's about taking stock in the beautiful things your life is filled with, not the ugly. So here's the thing I'm most thankful for- as soon as I made my decision about my relationship, an entire army of friends and family rushed to my side. They offered everything from hugs and kind words to bottles of vodka. But the most important offering was the thing that every one of them said- you did the right thing.

I did the right thing.

Not one person questioned my decision, or even asked me to think twice about it. They gave me the constant, unwavering support that helped me understand there would be something amazing waiting for me on the other side of this experience. Without them, I think I could have easily slipped back into a life that wasn't mine.

So on Thanksgiving, I'm calling out to those of you who have been standing next to me this last month. You know who you are. Today, you are what I'm thankful for. And I'm going to show you how thankful I am by living the life I was meant to live. Moving, no- running forward, and not looking back.

"The world is round
and the place which may seem like the end
may also be only the beginning."
~Ivy Baker Priest

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Do you believe in signs? I do. I've always asked for them when I'm not sure what to do. Or even when I am sure. Always.

I asked for a sign about my relationship. I asked for one every day. And you know what? I totally got one every day. In the form of avoidance and lies. Distance. Reservation. They were backwards, but they were still signs. And somehow, I didn't think this was obvious enough. I ignored what God, or the universe, or... what HE was telling me.

There were so many signs. I asked for them, but wasn't really looking for them. Now I see.

So after all this, I've resolved to keep my eyes open. To go where the wind blows me, if you will.

A couple weeks ago, I began pondering the idea of moving home to save money for grad school, or wherever I end up going. That day, my doorbell rang. It was a man, who asked me if anyone in my complex happened to be renting out their condo. Aha! The slap in the face I needed!

...Actually, I think at this point maybe God was trying to comment on my inability to recognize subtlety in the ways of the world.

But anyway, I knew if I didn't rent my condo to this guy, I may never find my true path in life. Done deal. Him and his wife are moving in next month.

And me? Selling all my stuff. Downsizing in a major way. In a few months, I might get into school. Or I might just start traveling and not come back. But either way, I won't be sorry I gave up my home and my belongings. It's what was supposed to happen.

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Bubbly" Bath

Did you know Marilyn Monroe once took a bath in champagne?
350 bottles of it.

I suppose it's wasteful, but... I'd really like to do that.

What are the terribly indulgent things you've always wanted to do?

Monday, November 15, 2010


This might sound a little scandalous, but it's innocent, I promise.

I love bed time. I love being cozy in my bed. PJ's. Reading, or doing a crossword puzzle. And most of the time... I really love sharing my bed.

Yeah, that's the part I knew you would think was scandalous.

But really, it's just nice to share the whole bed time experience with someone- regardless of whether they're a platonic or romantic friend. I love to share my favorite bed time book- Eloise in the Plaza. Or take turns reading the words of my dear friends Mr. Cummings or Ms. Browning. Just talk and be warm.

Rudy (or Rudolfo the Pooh), my aunt's jack russel/pug/chihuahua, spent last weekend with me. I let him sleep in my bed. He gets as close to me as possible, then curls up like a potato bug and doesn't move all night. It's so endearing, and helped take the edge off of the loneliness. This is his bed time picture. He loves blankets, being warm, and cuddling, just like me.

I've always been a terrible sleeper- I just lay there and worry. I think sometimes it helps to just have someone there, to know someone is at peace in my presence. It inspires me to calm down and sleep, myself.

That's what I'm missing most right now. I'd like to say goodnight to someone.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Texas hold... let 'em go.

Regarding my relationship.

Or end of relationship. My best friend summed it up like this- "You went all in. And you lost."

That's exactly how it went. Except for one small thing. This whole time, I thought we were playing on a team. Together. Now I know it was exactly the opposite.

When you bet everything you have, and lose it all, the very worst thing someone can do is ask if you want to play another hand. They don't even realize you have nothing left. They've taken everything, and still assume you're going to come up with more to throw in. You've been holding on for so long, one more hand, and another, and another. And after awhile they don't think you'll ever give up. That's when people start taking advantage. They can't believe it when you finally walk away.

Here's the thing about gambling. You never know who's going to hustle you. You just hope it's not the person you love.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Excess weight comes in many forms. It's found on the body. Or in a home filled with things- a bookshelf that needs to be filtered through, an extra chair that crowds the room. It's found in the form of a person who lets you give all of your love, time, promises, yet withholds theirs.
It starts to build up. Time flies by, and suddenly you realize you've gained 30 pounds, acquired clutter, and spent years giving priority to people who are emotionally unavailable. A life full of things that keep you occupied, but don't actually fulfill.
These situations don't just occur on their own. They happen when you don't want to believe what's actually going on. You have to recognize the signs and deal with them early on. Cut your calories after you gain the first couple pounds. Clean out your closet. Say goodbye after the first promise is not kept. That's the easy way.
When you don't accept it in the beginning, it's just your own fault for letting it happen. Excess weight doesn't go away by itself- you have to make the decision. And at that point, all you can do is go forward. Learn how to avoid the same mistakes next time.

2 months ago I began giving away my clothes and counting my calories. Today I am 10 pounds lighter, not counting the clothes I got rid of.
In another month or two I will have no excess weight left, in any form.
Although I might keep my hair long.