Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Let's hear it for the boy

I went into this weekend as I do most weekends, and certainly long holiday weekends - with a certain amount of dread. Always, the eternal question - how on earth am I going to entertain two small boys? I can't wait until we can all do the same things. But that is many years off - and actually may never happen, considering my hatred of sports, roller coasters, and other boy-friendly activities. Sigh. Well, I'm their mother, not their playmate, right??

Anyway, I am slightly ashamed to admit that I decided the best way to tackle the long weekend was to mostly spend it without the children, for my own sanity. Saturday was out of necessity as I had my friend who recently died of cancer's Celebration of Life service which was the entire day and not at all kid-friendly (and we were all a basket case all day so hardly "fun" other than stuffing my feelings with uncounted guava pastries from Porto's). Then Sunday I sort of last minute cobbled together a 1920s picnic for me and a friend - there's an historical picnic at a local homestead museum every year which I keep missing; this year I managed to go, and had a blast.

I'm not really a fan of the 20s because I find the styles pretty unflattering (and you pretty much have to wear modern clothes because real 20s stuff has disintegrated) but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Something about vintage reenactment has always fed my soul, ever since I was a little kid. I'm not sure if it's the romanticism or the escapism or what, but it works.

Memorial Day we had a "family fun day" at a local very popular beach. The beach parking lot was tiny, and after about twenty minutes some of the cars waiting for spots behind us got antsy and decided to drive around front and cut the long line and steal any new spots that opened up. Why people think it's ok to do things like that, I'll never understand. The Boyfriend, god bless 'im, jumped out of the car and started confronting the cheaters and directing them back to the back of the line. Most turned around in shame although a few did not. Later when I asked what he said to them he said he just pointed out that there were people ahead of them and what they were doing was not cool. I really commend him for standing up for us like that. God knows I wouldn't have had the balls. 

We were able to have a really enjoyable time on the beach even though I spaced out and neglected to bring food, sand toys, enough water, or proper clothes. We went to dinner after and the boys were very well behaved and even actually ate something and we finally got them to bed by 11 (kind of an ongoing thing lately...boys rarely go to sleep before 10 but then don't wake up until 10 AM, either, which suits me just fine). So all in all a really nice day. Don't think I could have hacked more than one of those in a row, though!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Show me show me show me

Last Christmas I bought the BF box seat tickets to see The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl. After a five month wait, we at last went to the show last night. Other than crazy traffic making us about a half hour late, it was a magical show, and reminded me how much I once loved that band. 

Thank God for the Bauhauses, Cures, and Smiths of the world that gave voice to teenaged depressives like me. I figured if thirty year old British men could feel just like me, then I'm not totally alone.

Also, I did some serious teenaged making out to songs like "Close to Me". I hadn't realized until last night just how instrumental that band was to my adolescent sexual awakening.

In other news, the BF started the patch today. After the abject failure of the vaporizer, I got him to call 1-800-NO-BUTTS and he did, getting himself set up with a counselor and free nicotine patches. He says he hates the patch and says it never worked for him before - but also admitted to me that he has never quit for more than a few days in the past. Will we be enough incentive for him to finally quit this life long habit??? Only time will tell!

In other news, kids are doing well - I am delighted by how well they play together in their room and how little tension there is between them. There are minor squabbles but for the most part they seem to have a nice rapport. The preschool teachers tell me when they cross paths at school they hug and kiss each other. How awesome is that?

Friday, May 13, 2016

My podcast aired!

Yippee! I got an email out of the blue last night that my podcast would be airing this Friday. This was the one I recorded last April that I thought would never see the light of day. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. It is very accurately titled "religious abuse" and my name on it is Hilary A. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


One of the most bizarre facts of modern life is the fact that you can wake up in one country and that night go to bed in another, several thousands of miles away. I did this on Monday. Now it feels like I had this crazy dream that my band went to Seoul and all the dancers were amazing and everyone cried when I sang "Georgia". It's hard to believe any of that happened except that I have the pictures to prove it.

It was such a perfect experience, and perfect experiences are extremely rare in life, so I am going to bask in that. I know even if we go again next year it won't be the same. There can never be another first time, you know?

Re-entry has been smooth. Kids are fine, tackling tons of projects (I hauled three giant boxes of hardwood up to my house today - they have to sit and absorb our smells for two weeks before we can start the laundry room/half bathroom extravaganza), exterminator came today to stem the tide of giant waterbugs invading my bathroom (don't even talk to me about that), made an appointment to get a suspicious mole on my neck checked out (with all the deaths around me lately, I am not messing around with this shit). 

Bobby made me a cute picture and card for The Day That Shall Not Be Mentioned, and The Boyfriend bought me a lovely vintage clock, a book on 1920s music and a card. What a guy. We've really been in a terrific groove lately. For a long time I wondered if he would ever stop feeling like "the other" - partially because he's a man, partially because he's a native Califiornian and I am so not as much as I love it here. But we've been in sync lately. I hope this continues on through to our trip to Hawaii in two months. Ten months together in just a few days. Crazy.

Not much more news about my uncle's tragic death. I am hoping we can all converge when I'm in Boston next month and grieve properly. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

I should have danced more

I am in my hotel room in Seoul, preparing to pack up and return to the states tomorrow after a whirlwind three night gig here singing with my band for a dedicated group of lindy hoppers. To say it's been spectacular would be an understatement.

We have been so well taken care of by the organizers, who have looked after every detail, taken us out for lavish meals like this (always with lots of vegetarian options for me):

They took us sight seeing:

...and while we played were by far the most enthusiastic audience we have ever encountered - often stopping dancing just to stand and watch us with rapt attention, even crying as we ended our final set. I spent all weekend taking pictures with fans and signing autographs. It's been nuts. And wonderful. The Korean Lindy Hop scene kicks some serious ass.

As always with these events, I leave only wishing I had danced more.

Unfortunately I am returning to an utterly bizarre and heartbreaking family drama that began the morning I left. My sister called me in tears to tell me that my beloved uncle, husband of my late aunt (mother's sister), had driven out to the gravel pit behind his house and killed himself with a shotgun. I was stunned and grief stricken. I called his two sons to express my shock and condolences - one was angry and confused; the other was sad but believed the suicide note he had left which stated that at eighty years old he felt it was his "time" and he did not want to get sick and be a burden to anyone and so decided to be the "master of his fate" and just end it.

I suspected it was a side effect of the cocktail of anti-depressants he'd been on; that no person in their right mind thinks their kids are "better off without them". Most involved parties agreed.

Then tonight as my sister and cousins were leaving his empty house in rural Connecticut where they had gathered for the weekend, they happened upon a strange note referencing a YouTube video about suicide. Upon investigation, it turns out my uncle had been very deep into one of these super crazy "law of attraction" cults that encourages its members to kill themselves when they feel like it's time - using language like "Source decides when it's time". He had stacks of books on the subject and had been watching hours of videos by this group. 

What the fuck is it with our family and these crazy cults???

Now we're all reeling trying to process this new set of information. My sister is beside herself and wants to see if we can sue this group for wrongful death. I think my younger cousin who was at peace with this may be going through a major crisis at the uncovering of this new information. I still can't even wrap my brain around it.

Well, I've got about a twenty hour travel day to ponder all this. Never a dull moment.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunrise, sunset

I went to visit a dying friend yesterday. She is about my age and had been battling ovarian cancer for several years. We all were rooting hard for her - I gave her my spirit award at my event a couple of years ago - but a couple of weeks ago she announced she was going into hospice care. She was still sitting up and chatting a few days ago but by yesterday she was unresponsive. I went with a friend who had seen her in that state already and told me to be prepared. I was prepared. Death is an ugly thing, especially in the young. But I managed to not completely fall apart as I held her hand and told her how loved she was and how she wouldn't be forgotten. It was heartbreaking.

She was just one of these lovely, kind, gentle people. When she goes - which could be any moment now - there's going to be a huge ripple of sadness across the dance community. People much closer to her than I was were there yesterday and I felt a little awkward about imposing on their sad moment - when a popular person dies, they sort of become a commodity and everyone wants a piece of it - but I tried my darnedest to just be quiet and respectful. 

All we all want is to live a long, healthy life. That doesn't seem to be too much to ask, but sometimes it is.

There was a lot of talk about heaven and God yesterday. I so wish I could believe in those things, but I can't. I thought about how death of loved ones is pretty rare for most first world types these days - but for many people in the world today, and certainly for generations before us, death was commonplace. My great grandmother lost one of her children in infancy 100 years ago, and I bet most women at that time had that experience. How did people go on? I guess you just do, because you must. 

I take the tactic that life is short, you never know when your number's up, so take your pleasures where you can. It's not exactly Viv from Spinal Tap's philosophy of life, "have a good time all the time", but it's close.