Happy Birthday Kim! aka "You BLEW It!"

Oh Kim, you didn’t think a little thing like a Thanksgiving food coma would make me forget your birthday, did you? No, no, no, Sweets. You cannot escape the humiliation. I hope you go to the Olive Garden and a group of servers serenades you because it is actually your birthday.

Kim and I met as freshman at the Puge, and lived two rooms away from each other. She was really quiet and studious, and it took awhile for us to truly bond (I believe there was mac and cheese involved) and discover that beneath that shy exterior lurked an 80’s music-lovin’ dancing MACHINE. If you ever have the chance to dance with Kim, do it. She takes her booty shakin’ seriously, but will crack you up.

Kim loves Billy Ocean. She was making a mix tape one night (yes, I said TAPE, shut up) and upon learning someone had some Billy Ocean she could use SQUEALED and jumped up like a damn cheerleader. It was awesome.

Kim is easily embarrassed. Pretty much any time we left the house she’d swear that was the last time she would be seen in public with any one of our group of friends. Our favorite way to torture her was to tell the waitstaff at a restaurant that it was her birthday, and have them surround her while singing. She acted all horrified but secretly loved the free dessert.

Kim is one of the most direct people you will ever meet, but in the best way possible. She will tell you if your ass looks fat in those pants, but you’ll thank her for it. She gives stright-up advice because she has zero patience for any crap. Which is fantastic.

Kim will sit with you while you hash out every detail of every date, love-life drama, whatever and will ask questions and offer hilarious commentary of her own while throwing in quotes from Adam Sandler movies.

Kim lives too damn far away. OK, Portland isn’t so bad, considering the years she was all the way out in Japan, but I would do a cartwheel if she and her husband Justin moved to California.

Kim was our designated driver/handler for much of college and I credit her with keeping our drunken, rowdy little crew safe. And for helping me find various articles of clothing from time to time.

Kimmer, I love you and miss you! This year we’ve been able to see each other far more than in past years and I hope we can keep that going in 2009.

Giving Thanks

A few people and things for which I am thankful:

-My parents. Yes, all 4 of you. Probably not obvious given all of my “you are headed for a crap nursing home” jokes but you know how I roll.

-Baby Evan walking up to me first thing in the morning, standing very close to me while saying, “I love your face.” He may have said that to get some of my Skittles, but I’ll take it.

-Old friends who I can call at 3am, drunk or sober, laughing or crying, who listen and laugh and cry along with me.

-New friends who have brought unexpected joy and perspective into my life.

Arrested Development reruns on Hulu. Don’t judge. And don’t underestimate my love for the Bluth men. Even Buster.

-Red lipstick, black boots, orange daisies, and blue cheese.

I’d like to think I didn’t take my life for granted, but I know I did. Decent health, a wondeful family and friends who bring such joy and laughter and perspective: I’ve been blessed. While I wouldn’t say I was unappreciative or expected good things to fall into my lap, I suppose at a certain point I simply got used to it.

Then life took this bizarre turn and I reached out to my parents for help. Without asking many questions, they provided practical and emotional support when I needed it. “Sure, that’s what parents are for!” you say? I feel the same way; but I know so many people who don’t have that kind of unconditional love. As much as I may joke about the burden of having four parents, it is a gift.

Friends checked in frequently and offered love, a place to stay, and many drinks. Some were friends I’d lost touch with and had recently reconnected. Some were new friends who were probably wondering if I was a drama-magnet. Some were old friends in the midst of huge life changes, taking the time out from midnight feedings and newlywed bliss and their own heartbreak to check in and remind me that while I had been hurt, there was true love all around me.

This Thanksgiving looks different than last year and sometimes I get a little sad about that. Plans and promises were made and broken, which is always hard. But you know what? I have everything and everyone who matters to me and it’s tough to feel bad when I realize that my cheering section stretches around the world. Hopefully you know that I am cheering for you, too.

Thank you.

A Cute Couple and a Drunk Redhead Walk Into a Bar…

Oh Interweb, you are in for a treat. CKD was in rare form this weekend. Katie’s boyfriend Alan came up from Santa Barbara and it was like meeting an old friend. An old friend who buys many rounds of drinks. Enjoy the photographic evidence as we progress from “slightly buzzed” to “shitfaced and kinda retarded.” Oh, did I say we? Because I meant me.

Hi Dad!

Katie, Alan and CKD still semi-sober and looking respectable en route to Bar #2.

The song “Kung Fu Fighting” came on at Banshee (Bar #3 for those of you keeping score at home) which kicked my booze-soaked brain into “idiot” and I started kicking my leg up in the air and pretending to karate chop everyone. People find this DELIGHTFUL in case you were wondering. Please note the lovely expression on my face. Please note Alan trying to restrain me.

Really, there are no words.

Uh, dude, watch that hand.

Spotlight On: Almost 21 Months (Cantilevering), Julie’s Adventures in Oz, Raising JD, and The Heff’s Blog

This week’s theme is “Baby Blogs” for my spotlight special. It’s no surprise that I love kids and I am so lucky that my amazing friends are breeding equally amazing shorties. Let’s get to know them a little better, shall we?

Cantilevering (Almost 21 Months) is all about Sam, son of my friends Stephen and Cabrelle. Stephen and I met while working together when we were young single twentysomethings. It’s funny to think my old drinking and dancing buddy is now a daddy, but looking back, Stephen had the makings of a good dad. Much like a toddler, my moods could swing from a-OK to freaking the hell out, so he’s had some practice at the whole soothing a flipped out kid gig. Luckily for his parents, Sam seems to be a pretty chill little guy, and they clearly cherish every experience they get to share with him. I love all of the photos and the captions are priceless. If you like your baby blogs on the “funny” rather than “precious” side you’ll dig this one.

Julie’s Adventures in Oz comes to us from the Land Down Under! Julie and I go waaayyy back. How far back? Our moms have been friends since the first grade. So yeah. She and her husband Don relocated to Australia with their son Makoa when he was tiny, and it’s great fun to read about their adventure. I miss them terribly (they lived in SF when Julie was pregnant and when Makoa was first born) but love the idea that I have a place to stay in Sydney. This has been an ideal way for Julie to keep friends and family at home updated on Makoa’s milestones, as well as share some of the fun quirks of living abroad.

Raising JD is the long-awaited follow up to Rico’s Dirt Sailor. Happily home from Iraq, Rico is back with his family: Attractive Wife Beth and little boy Joaquin (Jack). Young Jack is almost three, full of personality, and quite possibly the most mellow kid I’ve ever met. Now, we haven’t spent a great deal of time together, but I have never seen him act up or even remotely cranky. Maybe he got the memo that his parents will send him to Gitmo if he dares step to them? Well-played, Alvari!

The Adventures of Moco and Bubba makes me laugh every time I read it. Yeah, the stories Cece tells about her daughter Memphis (Moco) and Grayson (Bubba) are funny. BUT for me, the entertainment value is in seeing a college friend being all…Mom-like. Don’t get me wrong: she is an excellent mother and her work/home life balancing act is a thing to behold. Still, it kills me that someone who used to dance against a wall to Biggie in the Sigma Chi basement is taking the Brownie troop to the movies on Friday nights. If you’d like a study in contrats (ie what happens when the two kids spawned from the same womb are total opposites), this is the site for you.

The Heff’s Blog follows the adventures of Mary, Brian, baby Francie…and Baby Number 2 on the way. Mary and I went to high school together and reconnected at our reunion. This is basically an online baby book…that will put ANY baby book to shame. Seriously. Each post features a ton of photos and a who’s-who? in the Simonson/Heffernan family. I feel like I know every member of their family, as well as many friends. Which, if I ever meet them in person, is going to be a creepy interaction. “Oh, hi there. You’ve never met me, but I saw every picture of you last Halloween. What’s up?” Mary is an amazing photographer and manages to capture great photos of both special occasions and every day events. Also, they have a bounce house, so I’m moving in with them. Surprise!

Hey, Remember When I Used to Write About More Than Food?

We are in the midst of a severe vending machine/snack industry crisis.

First of all, what brain trust came up with chocolate Skittles? I have finally come to terms with blue M&M’s, but chocolate fucking Skittles? That shit is outside the paint.

OK, fine, Skittles. Make your damn disgusting new flavor. But why in the name of everything holy are they in our vending machine? WHY? What’s wrong with the regular Skittles? And who made this genius call to switch it up? Oh, let me guess! The Shittles (not a typo there, I’m just 100% certain that chocolate Skittles are horrific) were discounted or something? Yeah, there’s a reason: they taste like garbage. The thing is, EVERYONE knows these will be gross, so no one’s buying them, thus damning us to an eternity of the chocolate Skittles taking up space in the vending machine for YEARS. Possibly DECADES.

In other news: I am crazy.

On Runs to the Border, and Being a Classy Lady

Would you think less of me if I told you I went to Taco Bell tonight in my sweatpants, Van Halen 1980 Invasion t-shirt and slippers? Oh, and a Chico State sweatshirt since it’s a little chilly out? Would your opinion be any different if I told you that I hit up the drive-thru, so no one saw the slippers?

I also feel it bears mentioning that I did wear my pearl earrings on this outing. But even that may be canceled out by my decision to go commando and freestyle.

Hey! Guess Who Ate Two Full Lunches within One Hour of Each Other?

If you guessed CKD, you’d be correct. If you also guessed that I was the one shaming iron workers for only have one serving of food and making jokes about taking off my top in front of my mom, you’re on a streak.

Let me explain.

Today was the “Topping Out” for my mom’s project, which means the final steel beam was placed (or, as I shouted, “The steel is erected, people!”) which is kind of a big deal. There was a big lunch for everyone on the project, my mom got up and gave a speech and damn it if she isn’t the cutest thing ever in her hard hat! I always call this the “Topping Off” and my mom always corrects me so I called it the “Take Off Your Top” and apparently she felt the need to share that with a bunch of iron workers, who in the construction hierarchy are like the Great Big Badasses of the entire crew. They love me.

So after finishing my tri-tip, beans, salad and roll, I announced I was off to our office Thanksgiving lunch.

“You’re going to eat MORE?” one guy asked.
“Uh, yeah. This was just my base layer. If you’ll excuse me, I need to show my department how it’s done.”

After almost killing a student assistant who was taking too long at the mashed potato station I retired to my office to inhale more food in peace. Round two included turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and Katie just brought me pie so I didn’t have to get my ass out of my chair. I’m not sweating yet, so I don’t think I’m all that full, but yeah, we may need to schedule that angioplasty sooner than later. Or at least some sort of intervention.