Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Be Aware! The Vikings Are Coming! The Vikings Are Coming!

The Shetlands are quite beautiful. The weather fluctuates often: sunny one hour, rainy the next. And never really warm. They really are just mossy rocks sticking up, out of the ocean. For whatever reason, people felt they should live there. Nature is subtle here.

We saw shetland ponies grazing on flat, green pastures. We drove passed giant sea lions laid out on rocks, getting a little sun, posing for tourists, and gabbing over whether Brangelina should adopt another child so soon. During the weekend, a school of killer whales decided to attend the music festival too. Unfortunately, I missed all the frolicking in the bay cause I was with Andy who was in music promoter mode.
We ended up caravaning and hanging out a bit with one of the acts, The Hazey Janes band, a young, hip group with great harmonies-- an indie rock mixed with a bit of country-folk sound. They gave a great performance Friday night--they only act that evening to incite dancing from the audience. The Hazey Janes--nice kids. Hope to catch a show of theirs again soon. They're extremely good live. I spent a good amount of the time sitting by and watching the scene while Andy talked music shop-talk with other music promoters.

Saturday, we did manage to see the "Vikings" getting ready for their parade. There were loads of them--at least 10 different groups, all in dressed up and no where to plunder. I mistakenly thought that parade meant: colorful cheesy floats, lots of marching bands, girls twirling batons badly, and maybe some fat marshalls waving to the crowds. Hell, there should have been a Ms. Viking in some sequined dress with bleached blonde hair and bad roots!

But alas, the "parade" was the promenating of several dozens of men and boys walking down their street showing off their "I'm going to rape me a whole village of women" outfits. Oh, and can't forget there was a piper band.

After that, we did what everyone else tends to do in the Shetlands--hang out in the pub and drink. Yup. That's it. But let me tell you, the pub was hoppin'! Interesting clientele... for such a small area, I guess there's no need to have age-specific divisions for socializing. The pub had young and old alike, all getting blitz equally.

Even some Viking participants didn't bother to change back into normal garb and got pissed drunk along with everyone else.

Glasgow Jazz Festival
We flew back to Glasgow and stuck around for a couple of days to check out bits of the Glasgow Jazz Festival. Andy, having music connections all over this country, got us to see the "Homegrown Acts" Sunday night at Ramshorn Theatre. No question, all the acts were immensely talented--most of the performers quite young in age. One boy (emphasis on boy--I'm not even sure if his balls have droped yet) fancied himself a crooner. That was fine and well, I suppose, but I don't think children should try and sing songs like "Mr. Bojangles". They just have no idea what the song really means. There's pain there. There's no sound of resignation or bittersweet nostalgia in the kid's voice. But of course, how could there be? He's yet to experience life.
Anyway, groups varied from traditional trio and traditional quartet to singer with trio backup to saxophone quartet. The highlight for me was the performance of the group Trianglehead. The three-man collaboration include keyboard, sax, and lord oh lord, drums. In their own words, they are "a new forum for exciting, innovative music without boundaries that challenges the smug navel-gazing of much contemporary jazz."

In my opinion, they are full of shit. There was one point that the drummer put one end of the drumstick into his mouth and smacked his cheekto make a popping sound!

That was considered an actual note!!!

Can you understand what I'm saying??! Shall I go on? Fine then.
People, their first song from hell was 15 mins long and absolutely ridiculous to call it music. Let me explain what it sounded like. Imagine Charleton Heston, on an acid trip, wandering through the desert of the Forbidden Zone of the Planet of the Apes. Then, out of nowhere, evil flesh-eating dried apricots fall out of the sky like a tempest, descending upon defenseless apes and humans. But low and behold, the manic fruit storm subsided and out comes a young Forest Gump, who forgot to take his Ridlin and also has turrets syndrome--well, he sits out and masturbates to a feverish end with strange climatic noises.

I oscillated between shock/anger and fits of the giggles. I can't believe that actually passes for music.

There was one trio, guitar, 5-string bass, and drums I enjoyed immensely--the Alyn Cosker Trio. How they could swing. They had an interesting look too.Spikey blonde hair with highlights and slicked up shirts and shiny ties. Basically, they look like the products of a love tryst between Kajagoogoo (remember the 80s song "Too Shy") and Duran Duran.
Andy couldn't stand their look. It upset him to know that I found them rather tasty...esp. the 5-string bass player, for which Andy has a deep-seated hatred towards the instrument...though lord knows why.

After the concert, we ran up to the West End of Glasgow (the young, hip area with restaurants, shops, pubs, galleries) for late night drinks with friends. If I could move to Glasgow, I would want to live in this area. It reminds me of the East Village in NY. I definitely feel most at home here.


People, I have finally found a black Brit woman's magazine! (Sidenote: I always wonder which should I emphasize--BLACK British or BRITISH black woman's... you tell me which is better) "Aspire" should be the perfect magazine for me. According to the magazine "Majority (40%) of ASPIRE readers are between 30-39 years of age, but there is a fair representation from the under 30s and the over 40s. Majority are in Middle Management either in the public or private sector. Many are Students, Doctors and Solicitors. 39% are of African heritage and 37% Caribbean. Whilst many of you didn’t like being asked about class, the majority (52%) perceived themselves as Middle Class." I quoted directly from the magazine's website.

One More Thing...
Black History Education in Britain
So, I learned some interesting things over the weekend. The best was that Britain also has a Black History Month celebration. Over here, there can be no joke about getting the shortest month of the year--Black History Month is October! A full 31 days!!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Viking Parade and No Nightfall...here I come!

URGH!!! Just as I started to get used to the beautiful, sunny, breezy weather, the Artic cold winds and rains came back to remind me that I am not in the Poconos on a lovely Spring day. It's Scotland and that can and usually mean cold, and unpredictable weather. Look at this pic taken today from our office window. The clouds are dark enough to rain. But will it? Maybe. Maybe not. There's enough sun in the area to thwart that possibility. You just never know around here.
Yesterday was the summer solstice and you wouldn't have known it around here. It didn't get above 55 degrees (without the windchill) and believe me, the wind was a-blowin'! So you know it was cold.
And when the temps start doing a yo-yo dance, I tend to get sick. Luckily, Andy is there to offer (yet another) cup of tea and a nice massage.
He's pretty swell...the man even twists my locks for me. Since there's no one here I can go to (and I HATE doing my own hair) he's extremely helpful. Now, how many men--black or white men would do that for their ladies??

I'm telling you, I will cut a bitch that gets between me and my man.

But back on the subject of weather, it turns out, I'm going to be spending a couple of days in sweaters, coats, and scarves. Tomorrow, Andy and I are flying up to the Shetland Islands, way the hell off the northern coast of Scotland for a summer festival called Johnsmas Foy. The main reason we're going is for the music portion of the "foy" (I think that means festival or hootananey in Shetland talk). I don't think Missy Elliot or Ludacris will be on the venue. But hey, life's an adventure! The Shetlands are depicted by the black dot in this picture of Scotland. It's way the hell up there, huh?
It's a strange area. A group of over a hundred cliff-edged floating rocks..completely deforested and a long time chilling spot for the Vikings. The islands are pretty small with very few roads. In fact, no where in Shetland is further than 3 miles from the sea. Needless to say, their economy is based in fishing and salmon farming. We'll be staying in the main town, Lerwick. I don't know much else about the place except these folk can do some serious drinking and they have their own distinct dialect derived from the longtime connection with Norway. I've checked the weather forecast and we're not expected to have a day over 52 degrees. That's not terribly bad...if it's November!! And I hear the wind is a bitch! So, it will probably feel like the mid 40s during the day....lord (groan), what am I doing?

I'm not sure what else is there to do besides fish, drink, play some music, and drink some more. I know there are some prehistoric and norse settlement to see. And maybe drink there too. But that's all I know so far.

The Shetlands are so far north that they average over 19 hours of daylight. Since we just had the longest day of the year, I am told that I won't actually see any nightfall...just dusk if I'm lucky. I wonder if I'll get any sleep. I couldn't imagine being there in the winter when it's perpetually dark for months.

Besides the music festival (and no, I don't know what kind of music...possibly rock since all the folk festivals usually happen earlier in the year), we're suppose to see a Viking parade! Last night I told this to one of my oldest and dearest friends, Herman. He just laughed and said, "You're a long way from Opa-locka, Peggy."

Yeah, he's right. I've come a long way from my decrepit, poor Miami neighborhood full of crack cocaine, prostitutes, and gang violence. And I've still far to go.

Obviously, I won't be seeing any people of color. So, I'm lowering my standards for this one. If I find one person, just ONE white person with a tan (not redness due to windburn), they shall be my brother or sister for the weekend. Wish me luck, my people!

Thankfully, we'll be back on Sunday and hitting a jazz festival in Glasgow!

We'll see what I have to report when I get back, eh?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Workouts are Aw(e)ful!!

In an effort to better myself, I signed up at the local gym/club. (By the way, I hate the term "club" because it just reminds me how much those places are pick up spots)
You can look in the mirror and think, 'hey, I'm not so bad. Maybe I'm no model, but I'm not in a motorized wheelchair or worrying how long it will take the men to cut a hole in my house so they can carry my Jabba-the Hutt-sized body out when I die. No one would stop and gawk at me while walking down the street."
Sure, that's true. But I can't eat or drink everything in sight and think there won't be hell to pay. I'm not 21 anymore and haven't been for a long time. Weight seems to pack on a lot easier these days and damn it, it's taking a hell of a lot longer to come off. And what's worse is when you hear that after age 35, everything on your person starts going to hell; a woman will lose 1-1/2 pounds of muscle every year, to be replaced with fat. And of course, if the muscle mass is going, then you know bone strength and density are getting on the bus as well.
That crap scares you.
Well, maybe it doesn't hit everyone but, it scares me.
I've spent enough time around overweight family members and friends who are diabetic, overweight or worse, with heart problems, blah blah blah, you get the point. I've spent enough time in hospitals with inconsiderate, uncaring, health care professions to know that it's a bad way to go when it's your time.
I hate hospitals. I've never seen doctors and nurses who break their backs, do cute entertaining skits, hell or even just TALK to you like a human being the way I've seen it on "ER", "Scrubs", "Grey's Anatomy" and every other totally implausible hospital show. I'm sure they exist, but maybe for the rich or something. God forbid you find yourself at the county hospital. Case in point, my mother. When we knew it was near the end, she decided she wanted to die at home. The doctors told my father that she had to take these medications for conditions that were spoken in Doctortalk (you know...all those weird, half-Latin, 20-syllabled words created to make doctors feel even more superior than necessary).
"Have her take these pills two or three times a day," Dr. Jerk instructed.
At this, my temper started to boil.
"Which is it?" I asked.
The doctor, for once, stopped looking smug and actually seemed human when a look of confusion appeared his face.
"Excuse me?"
"Which is it?! Two OR three pills. We're not giving her Flintstones chewable vitamins here!" I said in a tone just below seething.
"Oh, well. Two will do."

What the hell?! This supposed savior of people from their ailments, who has attended how many years of higher education, medical school, internships at various hospitals, could only non-chalantly toss out an IDEA of how much medication my mother should take.

The best way to avoid jerks like that taking care of you is to take care of yourself first.

So here I am, taking almost as many individual pills as my mother did in her last years. But mine are preventives: multivitamins; cod liver oil tablets, spirulina pills, iron pills. And oh yeah, I gotta hit the gym 3-4 times a week. I know I will never get a body like Angelina Jolie (hell, even when I was at my fittest, at 5 '2", I was still something of the Middle Earth hobbit version of A. Jolie). But I must exercise to maintain fitness and health.
And I HATE working out. It's merely for the purpose of working out. Sports, I love. I have fun; the endgoal is sooner--must score points to win. And yeah, I get a workout too.
But I hate the health clubs. There's always someone in there to intimidate you. Sunday, I had the creepy men who pump excessive amounts of weights and their gaze alternates between their reflection in the mirror or the cutey, sorority-like babes that walk around in the tightest, most color-coordinated outfits.

Today, I had the crazed obsessive-compulsive young housewife. You know those kinds: she's under 5'5", doesn't weight but a buck o' one when fully dressed and soppin' wet. And she's on the damn elliptical/cross trainer machine pumping away for at least 40 mins, at top speed with that glazed look in her eyes. You know she's competing. Doesn't matter who: she's competing against you, slugging along next to her, or the machine itself, or herself for not figuring out that she married a bonehead.
I don't know what she's crazed about...but it makes me really uncomfortable.

I can't workout near them.

Aside from the freaks, I'm still not happy. The super nice health club assistant come by and ask me if I'm enjoying myself. I always answer, "No. Not at all." They always smile with a half-laugh that makes me think I'm the first person to answer honestly.
Workouts are aw(e)ful. Why does working out have to suck??! I've got to be wrong here because far too many people do it every single blasted day for HOURS!! I find them awful while something else is going on with everyone else. Something's making these people feel good when they come here.
I've heard of this endorphin thing--how you're suppose to feel so good after a workout and that it's to be addicting or some bullshit like that.
I don't know. I haven't found it yet. Maybe I'm defective.
All I know is after working out for 45 mins to an hour, I just want some damn barbecue flavored Pringles! And I'm not even into junk food.
Or at least I wasn't until I started working out.

Someone's gotta help me out with this. Why do I not have access to the workout high?
In the meantime, I better go wash my workout clothes so they can smell nice and fresh before I get them stinky and sweaty again.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Food Bites: On Summer Drinks and Bbq

Punch Drunk
After days and days of planning, shopping, cleaning and cooking, our first cocktail party went quite well. No one ended up throwing up out the second floor window, but it was good. And you all know me…I had to make some of my tasty dishes like my mushrooms with duck confit stuffing topped with pomegranate molasses.
I couldn’t find p. molasses at the stores so I just had to make it. As it always is, I preferred homemade to storebought.

Back to the point- besides the usual whistle-wetters of wine, whiskey and beer, we featured two homemade drinks: Caribbean rum punch and a Catalan inspired punch made with Cava (Spain’s version of champagne).
For those who don’t know, Cubans with their mojitos aren’t the only ones who make a tasty mint drink with cheap booze to help you forget that you hate where you work. All of them are easy recipies: simple syrup or sugar with crushed mint and lime juice, ice, and your choice of cheap white rum. I prefer a little spice to my drink so I substituted dark rum for white.

Good rum punch is a drink to savor slowly, just like the knowledge that your boss’ wife has been cheating on his arrogant but ignorant ass for years and he doesn’t know it…yet.
Most islands have a similar version. When one lives in hot, humid climates, it’s the drinks with mint, ice, sugar and rum does the perfect job of refreshing you, while cooling you down and mellowing you out.

The Spanish punch was inspired by a tapas dinner we had at a Spanish restaurant in Glasgow some weeks ago. Our version incorporated Cava, apple juice and cassis liqueur (since we couldn’t find the Basque cherry liqueur, Pacheran as the original recipe required). The punch was topped off with floating raspberry and blueberries.

Bbq and the Brits

It’s June. Temps are rising just a little every day. The smell of bug spray and sunblock lotion is everywhere. It’s barbecue season-- but not just stateside! In the last 10-15 years, bbq has not only become quite trendy in Britain but it’s a little controversial. Everyone with even a swath of yard space has a grill. But apparently, they do more burning then barbecuing. In general, the British have a culinary history of bad food and some are trying to change that. However, the attempt to mimic the US and their Aussie cousins without truly paying attention to the art of barbecue has brought on the fury of cranky Scottish chef Gordon Ramsey.
This man is as famous for his blunt, outspoken rants against bad culinary endeavors as he is for his cantankerous look and manner. In this month’s issue of British gastronomic magazine, “Olive”, Ramsey’s article on men and barbecues quietly begins with “What is it with men and barbecues? It so frustrates me. Why do men feel they have to be the one in charge For god’s sake all you men, leave the barbecue to the ladies and go and sort out the drinks instead. You are pretty much all useless.”

Well, at least he’s to the point. Now, I think we can still jump around, dressed in our best video-hoe outfit and sing “My bbq brings all the boys to the yard. And they’re like ‘it’s better than yours.’ Damn right, it’s better than yours. I could teach you but I’ll have to charge”. But there are some interesting new ideas on barbecue dishes that we Americans could find fun and different for a summer party.

“Olive” provides American, Australian and British favorites that sound delicious!
For example: bbq leg of lamb (in a butterfly cut), tandoori-style lamb cutlets with minted potato salad; soy-glazed tuna steaks, and prawn skewers with peanut dipping sauce.

World Cup Madness

It’s the sixth day of the World Cup brew-ha-ha-splth!!*! and we’ve only got 5 more weeks to go! Woo hoo!

God, it’s insane. I suppose I’m already sick of it. I’ll admit that technically, I may have watched, really watched…um…10 minutes cumulatively of all games combined. I did see the US team get spanked.
But the damn British television (particularly the ones controlled by English networks) had me exhausted a full week before the games actually started.

Would you believe that for WEEKS (not for 1 program or even a few days), Brit-a-vision has been airing shows like “Best goals made by players with mustaches”?!
I’m not kidding people!
Other segments have highlights like “best Afros on Caucasian players” only to be followed by “Best goals made by Caucasian players with Afros!”

How ridiculous is that?!
Listening to the BBC Radio Scotland on Friday showed me that quite a few people are pretty sick of it too. Two hours of bitching in various Scottish regional accents about how much they are so sick of hearing about the World Cup and how England is going to win again just as it did back in 1966.

So because of weird reasons that bore the hell out of me every time Andy tries to explain it to me, the Scots are not backing England, their colonizer, but rather Trinidad and Tabago. Why? Cause some Trini named Jason Scotland (can you believe that name??) plays for the local Perth team, St. Johnstone. That's his pic right here.

My opinion on the matter: As my Afro-Brazilian galpal, Raquel suggested—“Just watch the games for the hot men, running around and sweating.”
Well, I have stronger political views than that, people! I’m backing any black or brown team. Third World Solidarity, damnit!! So, like the rest of Scotland, I'll be cheering for T&T.
Besides, John Scotland is really cute.

Go Trinidad and Tabago!!
Get yo flag and wave it…Wine yo’ waist, man!

Weekend recap

Friday night’s cocktail party was well worth all that damn work we put in. The party was attended by coworkers of Andy’s. Not much eye candy for me but, I found them to be very nice people (if not the wildest bunch). And I swear, one of them came right out Middle Earth’s Shire. Just the tiniest person without being considered a dwarf or midget! Technically. I think.
The music was eclectic and jamming (god bless the Ipod). People mingled and couldn’t stop drinking the homemade punch. Andy felt the tv should be on in case anyone was interested in watching the opening ceremonies and first game of the World Cup. Interestingly enough, for all the yap-yap about the World Cup, no one played any attention to it. So, off went the tube.
During the party, I learned that Scotland’s equivalent to the New Jersey is the town of Dundee. Everyone not from NJ talks much smack about the state, and Jerseyites hate it. Dundee people are no different.
A sweet young woman, Fiona, gave me a 50 pence coin stuck in a champagne cork (a Scottish tradition) to welcome me to Scotland and for luck. In all, I received several invitations for lunches and outings with the ladies. I truly appreciated that.

The next day, Andy and I drove up with his older brother and wife (John and Gillian) to spend the weekend with Andy’s parents (Bert and Margaret) in the highlands, for his dad’s 66th birthday. What a lovely time. I was good about alcohol but I did smoke quite of few cigars. Not to worry about the lungs, like Bill Clinton, I too, did not inhale. It’s amazingly beautiful up there. Instead of crickets as background field noise, I got sheep. Laying in bed with Andy, we’d hear the occasional “baaah” and Andy would jokingly say “ah, the voice of my first girlfriend”.

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Sat. evening in the highlands started with a cocktail party in the backyard. All of the neighborhoods of the other 3-4 cottages came. The best part for me was having a conversation with their neighbor Bob. He told me about how he was born in a dirty railway car—his mother, alone to deliver him by herself. This man, now in his 80s, has had quite a life: lied at age 15 to enlist in the Navy and fight during WWII. The ship he was on was attacked and it sank. Most escaped. He later ended up in Kenya working on coffee and tea estates. Bob told me some horror stories like the one with a woman in labor who, crawled to his door for help. He whisked her into his car and tried to get her to the hospital on time. She ended up giving birth in his car, blood and afterbirth everywhere. After all this time, I could still hear a tone of guilt when he talked about how dirty the back of his car was…obviously not expecting to create a sterile environment for any reason.
When he got her to the hospital, the attendants begrudgingly took her in, but took no care to handle the woman or her baby with much care. The medical aides made no attempt to even help the woman hold her newborn baby in her arms.
Bob said that her baby with the umbilical cord was still dangling between the woman’s legs as they took her away.

Talk about not judging a book by its cover! There were more stories that I took away but nearly as much as I wanted to hear. To look at him, it’s easy to think him a rickety shell of a man, with death breathing down the back of his neck. He could just be like any other old man, living out the last of his days in the same place where he was born, a beautiful but quiet glen in the mountains. And yet, the little time I spent with him demonstrated that this man has enough real-life experiences throughout the world to make at least 3 best sellers.
His wife, Thea told me that he wasn’t interested in writing any memoirs. Such a shame, I think. So much we could learn from him. I didn’t get to talk to Bob for more than 15 minutes or so. But I’ll never forget him.

Good Health vs. Good Shape

Sunday, John (Andy’s brother) wanted to take us up the “hill” to an unrecorded Roman fortified site. “Possibly 2500 years old”, John said excitedly. “You’re an archaeologist, you should find it interesting.”
Actually, no. I don’t know anything about Roman sites in Britain. Not that interested either. But one must be polite. Besides, you never know!
“It’s only up part of the hill; not terribly far to go,” John persisted.
“Sure, I’ll go,” was all I could say with any sincerity. Besides, I needed some exercise.
I threw on my sneakers or “trainers” as they are called on this side of the pond and off we went.

Ok, so the climb was a f-ing bitch! Yeah, it was pretty and majestic, and all that shit. But damn!! I was struggling to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I mean, damn! How high were we going?!

“You doing ok? Can you keep going?” John kept asking me all these questions, as he was damn near TROTTING up the fucking slope. What the hell?!
I could only make hand gestures because all my concentration was centered on taking in as much oxygen as I could with every inclined step. Right foot, step forward. Breathe in. Left foot, step forward. Breathe out. Repeat.

Fuck. These “highlanders” are half mountain goat!
There’s no way one can get fat if you had to go up and down these damn mountains all the freaking time.
To keep going, I rotated various fantasies in my head: Me beating John and Andy to a pulp for making me do this; watching these boys struggle to not get shot in my Miami neighborhood; how nice it would feel to lie in a Jacuzzi while being fed pitted cherries by that hot black actor on the "Grey’s Anatomy" show; Ok, maybe the boys do get grazed by a bullet or two while being chased down in my old neighborhood.

And when we finally got to the site, all one could see was a very large circle of fallen rocks. Mind you, they were big rocks, obviously set there for some reason. But that’s it.

After farting around up there, we decided to trek back down. I figured this would be the easy part, right? Downhill is always better. But what I learned was that it doesn’t always mean easier.
A hill that high and that steep is still work, when walking downward. It was a strain on my knees and thighs. Then I started getting really itchy on my stomach and back. I had to stop and have a full 5 mins stratch-a-thon! I freaked out a little and yelled to Andy, “I think I’m allergic to something! Something got on my skin and I’m breaking out! Oh, shit, my stomach’s on fire!!”
Well, turns out, I didn’t get anything on me. No allergic reaction. All that itchy sensation was due to my back fat and stomach fat forced to move for the first time in god knows how long!
Now, no one would say I’m fat, but I’m no anorexic chick either. I could stand to be in better shape. I’m in great health but I’m in lousy shape! And my body was definitely screaming at me.
Thankfully, my treat came the next morning.
John was in the kitchen making tea. “Did you guys sleep ok?”
“Yup, we slept fine,” I answered. “Why?”
“Oh. Just wondering.”
Turns out, John had trouble sleeping because his legs were giving him trouble. “Must have been climb yesterday.”

Friday, June 09, 2006

Cocktail Parties and the World Cup!

Alright y'all. Unfortunately, I don't have time to write a real post....yet because Andy and I are hosting a cocktail party tonight. We've been working on it all week so there will definitely be some things to report next week. Also, tonight is the start of the World Cup and damn, I'm already sick of it.

Much to say about that in the upcoming blog. Interestingly enough, the Scots are not backing England (rise up, we Colonized!) and instead will support Trinidad and Tobago!
You should see the stores with all this T & T paraphernalia.

This weekend, we're heading up into the Highlands, near Aberfeldy, to hang with the folks and celebrate Andy's dad's b-day. Did someone say bbq? Yup, had to make my Drunken Love bbq sauce for the event. With the amount of whiskey drinking to come, I expect to lose quite a few brain cells and at least 3% of my liver. The things I will do for my father-in-law to be!

I'll be writing you soon, esp. on my confusion as to why Andy loves that damn Hanson song, "Um Bop". Somebody help me...

PS--I have seen at least 10 black folk walking around Perth. Unfortunately, they always seem to be heading in the direction of the train station and I never see the same person twice.

Hey, who knows? Maybe someone lives around here besides me.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

My Friends are Bruce Lees

This is a view out one of my windows. It’s a gorgeous day here in the Shire. Weather is sunny with scattered cumulous clouds, 66 degrees. And, wait… hold on! I think Julie Andrews spinning around on the top of a nearby mountain.
The sun’s been up since 4 a.m. (don’t think I’ll ever get used to how short the evenings are in the summer) and it isn’t going anywhere before 1-2 a.m. In fact, it’s been nice all week.

Wonder how long it will last.

Its days like this…cool, bright and so perfect; you’d have to work hard to break even a bead of sweat. These are the days I miss my friends the most. These fleeting, peony-sweet days when we should be running around having waterbomb fights while tipsy or arguing over which black exploitation film from the 70s should have been made into a musical. Or should Foxy Brown be made into a musical now? Should the actor who played Steve Urkel from Family Matters have a big role or a minor one?
Anyway...you get the point.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I am privileged to know some of the most amazing people and they call me friend. It doesn’t matter what’s going on; what I’ll say or do either. They are like family. These are my people.

“So, you really like gay male porn?”
I cheerfully answer, “Yeah, I do.”
“But you’re not a gay man. And most women don’t go for that kind of stuff either, Peggy.”
“I’m not most women.”
“Yeah, that’s true.”
Pregnant silence.
Did I alienate them? Is it just too much for someone to hear? Did the joke go too far? Should I have kept that to myself? Shit. What was I thinking?

And what a relief to hear them laugh.
“Well, Peg, guess that’s just how you roll. Ok, whatever then!”

My friends truly accept and love me.
This blog’s whininess was brought to you today by my listening to Brit folk-ish band, Nizpoli. Their cult hit, “JCB” (the British brand name of a backhoe company), is about one of the band member’s memory of his father as his hero during those tough, bullied, early school years. It f-ing just breaks me down every time. It draws the kind of emotion that makes me want to hide in the bathroom, so noone (even if the house is empty) knows I’ve been crying.
Although this song is about a boy’s idolized thoughts for his father, it reminds me of my friends.

If I need my friends, they are always there.
It doesn’t matter.

Sometimes, it’s the little things--I just a need a drink or to have lunch with them. If they have to spend 3 hours straight convincing me that I do have something worth contributing to archaeology, they do it. Have done it. Hell, still do it!

When I wanted to have a “Thank God, I still have my Uterus Party” a few months ago, noone batted an eye over my theme! The night of, the house was packed with people ready to eat, drink, and dance in celebration that my surgery turned out ok.

Friends dancing the night away during my "Thank God, I Still Have My Uterus" Party

They are the people that spent the night with me to make sure I didn’t die of blood loss several months ago. They are the ones that flew across the country, or drove across town to take me to the hospital for emergency surgery at 5 a.m. When I was ill and needed medication but had no $, they got it for me.

They flew to Paris with me when I wanted go and didn’t have a boyfriend to take me. They fed me when I couldn’t feed myself. They are the ones to yell at me when I was getting in the way of a potential beautiful relationship. They’ve sat on rooftops with me, getting drunk and playing with my really badly made voodoo dolls of co-workers that sucked.

When I’ve been viciously attacked professors, and was told I’m “worthless”, I’ll never “amount to anything”, and told that I “have no real friends; they’re just too scared to stand up to you”, it was my friends to stay up night, eating greasy Chinese food and watch Diana Ross overact in “Mahogany” with me.
Well, cause if Diana’s lack of acting skills didn’t stop her, why should anything stop me?

And when that doesn’t work, they hit with the tough love, tell me to "stop the fucking crying and handle [my] business."

I gotta stop playing this damn Nizpoli song. It’s only making me miss them more.

Damn those lyrics: “And we’re holding up the bypass, me and my dad having a top laugh…
I’m sitting on the toolbox. And I’m so glad I’m not in school, boss, I’m glad I'm not in school.
I’m Luke. I’m 5. My dad’s Bruce Lee, he drives me ‘round in his JCB! I’m Luke. I’m 5. My dad’s Bruce Lee, he drives me ‘round in his JCB!”

And if the simple yet heartfelt lyrics and melody don’t get you, the ridiculously cute animated video, made as if it was drawn on lined schoolbook paper, will rip at you. There are no survivors.

Or maybe it just gets to me because I didn’t have that kind of a relationship with my folks, especially not with my father. It was quite the opposite.
But I do have that relationship with my friends.

All of them…they are all my Bruce Lees.

But hey, maybe I’m just pms-ing.