Thirty-One

Birth: My mom was eight days past her due date when she finally felt like something was happening. She told my dad not to go to work and they headed to the hospital. I was born about eight hours later, early the next morning. My mom said she already knew I was a girl from the dreams she had, and exactly what my name would be.

One: My grandfather was recovering from open heart surgery and my mom was too worn out and emotionally exhausted to plan a party. From the pictures I’ve seen it looks like there was a cake and I still had very little hair.

Two: Looks like we had some family friends over to my grandma’s for cake.

Three: I was sick, we didn’t really do anything.

Four: I was sick again, but my mom was tired of me not having a proper birthday party. A bunch of people came over to our house, but in every photo I look feverish and miserable. Most of the kids have given me a good three feet of space since they can tell I am an incubus of plague.

Five: I had pneumonia and missed a month of school, but I got some new Barbies for the Barbie dream house I received at Christmas.

Six: We had cake and a small “party” at my kindergarten. I was healthy enough for school, which was nice.

Seven: I had pneumonia AGAIN and missed about a month of first grade. Kids from my class sent get well notes.

Eight: My friends Amber and Ashley came over for cookies after dinner. We were sad about the Challenger explosion the previous day and were scared from all the news footage that was shown every two seconds.

Nine: Straw Hat Pizza Parlor party with classmates and friends. I didn’t like traditional cake or frosting or chocolate so my mom got me a cheesecake with fruit on the top, which was the best thing I had ever tasted in my life.

Ten: Elisabeth got to spend the night and we watched Sixteen Candles for the first time ever. Needless to say, it was a life-changing experience.

Eleven: I think Elisabeth and I were on the outs or something at this point…But my friend Chalis got to spend the night and my parents took us to the Hard Rock Cafe in San Francisco for lunch. Chalis gave me a crimping iron.

Twelve: I do not remember this birthday at all.

Thirteen: My grandpa had died a month earlier and I refused to celebrate. My mom finally convinced me to sit down for dinner with her, Dave, my dad and Grandma. I spent the meal being a petulant brat. Welcome to the teenage years. My mom gave me a beautiful garnet necklace. This did little to raise my spirits. I’m still in shock she didn’t ship me off to boarding school on the spot.

Fourteen: I think there was a small surprise party and sleepover at Elisabeth’s house? I don’t remember.

Fifteen: Elisabeth, her mom and her Nana took me to see Guys and Dolls in San Francisco. We went to Coit Tower that night to look at the view and I knew at one point in my life I would live in the City.

Sixteen: My mom pulled a completely serious, unintentional Sixteen Candles and forgot it was my birthday until halfway through the day. Much like Samantha Baker, I was less than amused. She made up for it with gifts of jewelry, so we were good to go. Elisabeth and I were allowed to take the train to San Francisco by ourselves and spend the day up there. We shopped, ate root beer floats at Ghiradelli Square, rode a cable car and took a terrifying cab ride. That night my friends and I went out to dinner and had a sleepover while most of our high school went to the Winter Formal.

Seventeen: Went to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show dressed up rather…provocatively. For still being underage and all that, I mean.

Eighteen: Spent about two weeks celebrating this one…My mom and Dave took me to a fancy-pants dinner and gave me a pair of diamond earrings. Various dinners and movies out with friends, culminating in a surprise party for me at my friend Martha’s house. I was so excited and touched I almost cried.

Nineteen: The first college birthday! My roommates and friends took me to Pizza and Pipes, where the organist made me stand up while he played Happy Birthday and everyone sang. We requested “Ragdoll” because thought we were hilarious. Come to think of it, we kinda were.

Twenty: My roommates took me to the one decent Mexican restaurant in Tacoma, the Tortilla Factory, I think? I’m sure at some point we ended up at Sigma Chi, getting drunk.

Twenty-One: Went to the Family Tavern for my first legal drink in a bar at midnight. Free drinks on my flight from Seattle to San Francisco. Cable car barhopping party complete with bartender ON THE CABLE CAR. Almost got kicked out of a biker bar for being too rowdy. Threw up all over the inside of a cab and Eileen had to pay the driver extra to let us stay and take us back to her place. Woke up the next day and couldn’t find my pants. My mom and Dave gave me a Hawaiian heirloom ring with my middle name, Kaaihue, on it. I didn’t wear it that night out of fear of losing it. (See aforementioned pants incident.)

Twenty-Two: Went to karaoke with friends and drank myself illiterate. Long Island Iced Teas+Microphone=Idiot. My mom was this age when she had me. Weird.

Twenty-Three: I threw a surprise party for a friend…not knowing another friend had arranged it so that it was also a party for me. Surprise! Brought my new boyfriend to meet my gang of friends and got the thumbs-up. Elisabeth sent me a gorgeous scarf from France.

Twenty-Four: Got food poisoning a few days prior, so I was remarkably slim after days of puking. My dad and stepmom met up with us after dinner and my stepmom bought us a round of tequila shots. This guy I had a crush on showed up and hung out for awhile. He is married now.

Twenty-Five: I had a cold and my mom and Dave took me to dinner. They gave me a pearl necklace. It was my first birthday without my grandma, and I had just gone back to school at CSU Chico.

Twenty-Six: Zero recollection of anything remotely remarkable happening, which leads me to believe I probably had another goddamn cold.

Twenty-Seven: Went dancing with some friends in Chico. Almost fell off the stage at LaSalle’s. Not because I was drunk, but because I am THAT uncoordinated and spazzy.

Twenty-Eight: Accepted a job offer at Edward Jones in Pacifica. Jumped at the chance to work and live near my new baby brother.

Twenty-Nine: Freaked the fuck out over turning 29. No idea why.

Thirty: Eileen came out from New York to celebrate, which is kind of shocking (see Twenty-One) but was so touching nonetheless. Took a trip to the wine country with friends and felt like I was on the brink of an exciting beginning to a new chapter, rather than a sad end to one.

Thirty-One: I didn’t wake up needing Sudafed or antibiotics, so already I’m feeling pretty good. I spent the last evening of 30 scaling a fence after locking myself out of the house, and I am surrounded by wonderful people and good wishes. But I kind of miss getting Barbies.

UPDATED: Katie called me at my desk to serenade me, and is taking me to La Comida for lunch. La Fucking Comida, bitches! Oh, hellooooo chimichanga with extra sour cream and guacamole. Come to Mama! I have also managed to flash my bra at half of my office, despite wearing a camisole. It’s official: I am a special type of spazz.

UPDATED UPDATE: No chimichanga, but I thoroughly enjoyed my enchilada. The server tried to give me Diet Coke and I think it’s a sign of my maturity that I did not pull a knife on her. Also, Katie alerted Campus Police that’s it’s my birthday and one of the officers announced it over the radio. Fantastic.

Speaking of Geeky Pursuits…

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I had (OK, maybe still have) a big ol’ honkin’ geeky-ass crush on Commander William T. Riker of the Starship Enterprise. To clarify, I do not have a thing for the actor who portrays him, Jonathan Frakes, nor do I really seek out any of his other work. My dork-love is directed at Riker. Because, you know, that is totally normal.

My crush dates back to the early 90’s, when my mom would watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, we only had one television, and I decided to watch it with her once. This is probably more than a little odd considering I was 12 or 13. I mean, there was a more age appropriate character on the show – played by Wil Wheaton! – and I’m all up in Number One’s grill? Yeah, I’ll just let a few of you armchair psychologists ponder this one for awhile.

In my defense, I found him hottest when he grew the beard, but before he started packing on the pounds. But even aging and a little weight gain didn’t diminish my love. I’m crazy, not unreasonable, remember?

Behold the object of my affection:

Come on…kind of attractive for an uptight white guy? Maybe? No? OK.

Still not convinced of how awesome he is? Watch this little clip and tell me it’s not a total panty-dropper:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvY3jVJJKEI

Anyway, I guess I’m kind of excited to share this because recently I’ve found kindred spirits in unlikely places and I’m hoping maybe some of you will open up about your semi-embarrassing crushes, past or present. Let’s hear them. Oh, and I know I’m opening myself up to ALL KINDS of harassment and mockery, but the heart wants what it wants.

Let’s Give This a Try

I’ve seen this on a few sites I read and think it’s a nice reminder that there are things – sometimes small, silly or seemingly insignificant – that can bring us happiness in the midst of chaos. It’s called “Grace in Small Things” and many people list 3-5 items a day. If you can find a few each day that make you smile, it’s a nice way to inject a little “serenity now” into your life without going all-out Pollyanna.

Grace in Small Things: 4

1.) Discovering friends who share your affinity for geeky pursuits (I’m looking at you, Cappa and Judi) and embarrassing junior high crushes.

2.) Healthy babies being born to my friends. Congratulations to the Kurtz, Swanes, Alvarez, and Kopscak-Yeung families!

3.) M&M’s fresh from the vending machine at 10am. South Beach diet be damned!

4.) Advil.

Sake It To Me

At some point I will post while NOT under the influence but for now y’all are gonna have to indulge CKD.

There’s an upside to having a super-chatty stepdad: he makes friends with EVERYBODY. Seriously. The mailman. The recycling guys. The dean of his department. And most importantly: restaurant owners.

We are favorites at the local sushi place, which means Rock Star status at their special VIP events. Tonight we took part in a special invitation only sake tasting event which capped off what is now known as a Rough Week for Our Family. The sake was to die for, the food was delicious and the laughter was constant. I really, truly enjoy the company of my family and only wish more people had that experience. Yes, they make me crazy sometimes, but they also make me laugh so hard I can’t breathe and THAT IS A SERIOUS COMPLIMENT.

Want some proof? Here is a sample of our conversations and drunken non sequiturs. Bet you can’t guess who said what.

“I like bold flavored meats.”

“I tend to download a lot of porn on my work computer.”

“Pour me a glass of sake and let’s watch something on the telly!”

“Let’s drink this and watch Godzilla!”

“Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.”

“Isn’t this what Iron Chef drinks? If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.”

“And we can use the bottles as Molotov cocktails if there’s a riot.”

Thank God I don’t have to be at work tomorrow. I can almost feel the hangover now.

I love them so much and want to squeeze their faces!

Remember That Time I Didn’t Update for a Few Days and Then Finally Got Around to It After I Had Been Drinking? Yeah.

Hey there…didn’t mean to leave the “Woohoo Obama” post up all week as some sort of statement or anything. (Although, OMG how much do I LOVE MICHELLE OBAMA? And how amazing is it that our president has just GOTTEN DOWN TO BUSINESS and is making shit happen?) Just been a wild and crazy week in the life of CKD. And not in the good way. News this week was of the “major job changes” and “serious health issues for family members” variety, which put me in a funk. Throw in a phone call from a certain three year-old informing me he misses me and has been waking up crying in the middle of the night and well…let’s just say I have a carry-on packed for my guilt trip.

BUT! This week has not been all gloom-and-doom. I saw the San Francisco Symphony here in Chico! Next week I see Second City (former home of TINA FEY and Steve Carrell) which will be hilarious! I have plans to go to the wine country! And probably the most thrilling news of all: I got three new lip glosses for free! THREE ENTIRELY UNNECESSARY BUT TOTALLY ADORABLE AND DELICIOUS NEW LIP GLOSSES. God bless gift cards and the parents who put them in your stocking. Sure, the new glosses aren’t that different from each other (truthfully, not that different from the 400 I already own) but I don’t care. They are shiny and flavored and have disgustingly cute names and that makes me happy, OK?

I think some other stuff happened the last few days? I don’t know. I am operating under the spell of Cabernet, which is a potent, magical thing. It’s made my underwear disappear before. True story.

The Day We’ve Been Waiting for Since January 20, 2001

Happy Inauguration Day! I know some of you aren’t thrilled about who is being sworn in, but come on…you have to admit we need SOMEONE ELSE in the White House. Anyone. Plus, I put up with your guy for eight years. Time to switch it up here.

I had an interesting conversation with Evan. He was on my lap as I was looking up the official start time for the Big Event and he pointed at Obama’s picture and asked, “Who is that?” I explained that he was going to be our new president, and we were really excited about that. “Why?” (It should be noted here that “Why?” is a common, automatic response to anything anyone says ever. It should also be noted that this is freaking exhausting.) “Well, because every four years we get to elect our president, and this man was elected.” I went on to try and give a civics lesson to a toddler, which may be completely futile, but whatever. Obama will likely be the first president he remembers (Reagan was mine – how about you?) and this is a big deal. At some point he will understand the historic nature of Obama’s victory, and how so many people have a renewed faith and energy with a new administration. Plus, I seriously think Evan could be president* one day (I mean, why not?) and I’d like him to grow up with an awareness of how our government functions and the possibilities for his future.

A friend of mine pointed out that our elections really are a thing to behold in terms of a peaceful transfer of power. No bloodshed (unless you count the time I fell in the parking lot of my polling place and was bleeding from the leg, which, uh, wasn’t really THAT big of a deal but dude, could I be a bigger spazz?) or violence. It was simply time for the people to cast their ballots, we did, the end. I have been able to respectfully disagree with people in my office, in my neighborhood and in my own family without fear of being harmed. Remarkable, really.

So I hope that no matter your party affiliation or thoughts on our new president, you can at least take a minute to reflect on that and be grateful.

*Not that I am pushing him to do or be anything he doesn’t want, just trying to be supportive.

I Saw Willie Nelson in Concert. What’s New with You?

*Warning: Completely random, disjointed post ahead. Proceed at your own risk of developing ADD right along with me.

Y’all really bring it when it comes to the fashion advice and assurance and I expected nothing less from my fabulous friends. I think this week’s resolution to switch it up and step it up (Sounds like a commercial for an exercise video, no? Switch it up! Step it up!) was a success. I was snapped out of my rut by the unseasonably warm weather, of course, and even made small changes like wearing necklaces and eyeshadow. Yes, I understand that most 14 year-old girls can handle that but I think we all know I’M JUST THAT SLOW.

In other news, Coffee Guy’s last day at Cal Java was this week. Aloha…and mahalo for the early morning pseudo-flirting. The words “soy latte” will never be the same again.

You know what’s kinda fun? Having a friend place bets on how quickly you will get drunk at a party this weekend. You know what makes you feel like a frumpy hag? Discussing body fat percentage and cholesterol levels with said friend.

If given the chance to see Willie Nelson live, do it. Even if you aren’t a huge fan or whatever. I was fortunate enough to see him at a small venue, which I think always enhances the exeperience, don’t you? Anyway, I have fond memories of listening to his music with my dad on long car rides as a wee girl. It was funny how many of the songs I knew, and he did some pretty fantastic covers of other classics. Plus, the man can jam! Seriously, he wails.