Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The most exciting blog post ever!

Tuesday 2/27/07

Well friends, I did not write every day while I was at Playa Fiesta attending my brother and sister-in-law's wedding and celebration. The thing is, if there's an opportunity to hang out with people I like, I will take that over anything else. If there's a party, I want to be there. Sleep is optional when fun is possible. I saw this same trait in my mother this last week, which I'd never really noticed before. If there's something going on, she doesn't want to miss it and will stay up or or stick around until she just can't anymore.

Since I can't write when I'm with other people, I didn't. I did write a few of the days, and I thought about writing the other days. So what follows is either what I actually wrote, or thought about blogging about on those days.

Sunday 2/18/07

No looks so happy. I don't really know how to describe it. He just looks really really healthy. KT is beyond perma-grin and into perma-laughter.

Completing my visa application presented me with a puzzle. Part of the information the form requests is your “occupation.” I didn't want to write “unemployed” and I should have written “volunteer” but I guess I thought someone would actually look at it closely, compile statistics, and that wasn't specific enough. I wondered if I should write “homemaker” because I don't really feel like I'm doing whatever “homemaking” is (do I picture Laura Ingalls Wilder's Ma, out on the prairie making a home out of an underground sod house?). I didn't know what else would be the right thing to write. I couldn't even justify it in a global way of “By volunteering I'm making Hayward, Berkeley, and San Francisco more home-like, more livable.”

So “homemaker” it was. What difference does it make, anyway? And yet it's another word whose meaning I have to try on, like “wife,” and make of it what I will. If I have to.

Side note: A couple days after I wrote this I was discussing with a man who is another brother, who is a stay-at-home dad. I asked him what he wrote on that line and he said he wrote “House Dad” and chuckled.

Monday 2/20/07

Last night I was dancing with one of my brother's father-in-laws, doing some salsa, which he and KT's mother are really into, and showing him some basic rumba. Later Charlie, one of the bartenders, complimented me on my “beautiful and strong legs.” Wow! I feel like if I hadn't shaved my legs he wouldn't have seen them at all. It was odd to get a compliment on my legs when I've always felt insecure about them for one reason or another. I think my relationship with my legs has changed somewhat, also: Since the car accident and the resultant physical therapy and weight training I see them more as helpful machines, and as such I am more aware of what they do for me rather than how they look.

Charlie also said that I don't dance like a gringa.

I had a quintessential No experience today. He and I were going to meet a couple for breakfast at a restaurant called Spiaggia, owned by – surprise! - a friend of No's from fifteen years ago. We were going to meet at noon and left Playa Fiesta at 1230. It's not so much that No and KT are late to everything as it is that minutes aren't necessarily as short in their world as they are in ours. Plus, we were in Mexico and on vacation.

Here's something you don't see in California: Your brother drinking a light beer, before breakfast, while driving you.

Tuesday 2/21/07

Waiting for people to arrive is as fun as arriving. It reminded me a lot of the second and third year of summer camp when the parents drove the campers up and we sat around the main courtyard waiting for last year's friends to arrive. The anticipation was exciting, and I would look up each time I heard someone on the stairs. Zirpu's plane was due in at 230, and I didn't go to the restroom or back to our room and I didn't hang out at the bar flirting with Charlie so I could watch the entrance. The nice thing about Playa Fiesta was that everyone staying at the hotel was there for the wedding. If I didn't know someone when they arrived, I knew I would soon.

KT made these little booklets with a picture and a name, like a yearbook. I plan to have everyone sign mine. I know I am a dork.

Wednesday 2/21/07

Psycopat's mother and I went jewelry shopping. She has good taste and a good eye, knows what she's talking about and what things are worth; in fact she was the one No asked to take him ring shopping. Additionally, she can do the negotiating/bargaining thing very well.

I realized that I have felt like Americans coming to Mexico to vacation is a kind of arrogant imperialism (I guess too many liberals at my college, ha ha), solely based on what I thought Mexico was like. And I know Puerto Vallarta isn't representative of Mexico any more than Palm Springs or Lahaina or Fort Lauderdale is of the US, but I realized in the cab yesterday that 1) I felt that way about Americans coming to these resort towns in Mexico and 2) that it isn't true, that Americans coming to Vallarta is all part of the tourist trade, the way Japanese tourists in SF are. Which is an interesting way for me to observe my own inner prejudice or at least preconceived notions (toward traveling Americans). A dollar is a dollar and just because pesos are valued the way they are doesn't mean that I am oppressing the cab driver or anyone because I have dollars and don't really speak the language.

Side notes: I suppose this little reverie just shows how untraveled I am, especially in comparison to my many peripatetic friends.

Later it turned out that that trip into downtown caused a lot of my Spanish to come flooding back. By the time I got back to Playa Fiesta I was able to have entire conversations with the (mostly bilingual) staff in Spanish without having to repeat “Una mas, despacio, por favor” after every sentence. I could only communicate in the present tense, but I could communicate pretty well, and I could definitely understand. I am particularly proud of completely understanding the salsero at the fiesta Cubana even though I thought at the time maybe I hadn't.

Thursday 2/22/07

I had a long conversation with Saj, someone No and I grew up with – and “grow up with” we did, as I remember, kind of, when he was born – I definitely have memories of him as a toddler. No and he were inseparable as kids. He came late to the wedding because of a family health issue (about which we, too, are concerned), but come he did. I've always thought of Saj as a very quiet person – none of my memories of him as a kid include him talking. But Thursday night he talked to me for maybe even as long as two hours about relationship issues. That sounds so evasive and incomplete, but it's not my story to tell and I don't think Saj would appreciate it if I were more specific. I've always told people Saj is quiet, that he always hangs back and listens, participating quietly in whatever is going on. Part of that conversation was me thinking, “He's not quiet at all. I'll have to change how I describe him” and “Not only is he talking, but he's talking about women. Hmm.”

To me it sounded like a lot of drama, probably caused by all parties, even ones outside. I'm sorry that Saj's women troubles are making him sad (or mad, or confused, or whatever) but it did cause me to have a When Harry Met Sally -type moment with Allan the next morning:

Marie (Sally's best friend): Tell me I'll never have to be out there again.

Jess (Harry's best friend): You'll never have to be out there again.

It's not about the other people at all. It's about recognizing and appreciating what you have.

Friday 2/23/07

My most chilled-out bridesmaid experience ever. The wedding was scheduled for 530; I got out of the pool at 330. Since I don't have any hair, and I wasn't going to be required to wear makeup, all I needed to do was put on my dress, and I wanted to wait until the last minute because I was going to be wearing a corset underneath and thought I would cook in it. I see KT all the time so I figured the other two bridesmaids, who live in NYC and Bakersfield, and she would want some of their own time together.

I cry at weddings of people I don't even know. I've said this before and I'll say it again: Look at the hope! Weddings are all about the future. When Zirpu and I got married, for me having a public ceremony was about telling my community that I was imagining my future, my far future, making a promise in front of them that my future would include this man. By bringing all these people from all over the US to Mexico, KT and No had created a wedding party community.

I won't bore you with how wonderful the ceremony was, but I will tell you that No and KT didn't write their vows and they came out very smoothly. Their part of the ceremony was totally unrehearsed and practically undiscussed between them. In one way this is typical of them: Wait so long (six years) that everything is hurry-up, and it comes off great anyhow. One of “the boys” acted as the officiant, and he said, “If there is anyone here who believes in this marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace,” which updated the old version so well, and allowed us to cheer and express our support for their relationship.

Because I was in it and Allan was taking video, I don't have any pictures of the ceremony (yet anyway). Don't they look happy?

Saturday 2/24/07

Last night the toast from which I learned the most was that given by Psycopat. He and No have been friends for over 25 years, and much as I recognize that he is one of No's best friends and must have redeeming qualities, I've always found him rather obnoxious. Even if it is an act, it wears on me pretty quickly. Pyscopat's loud and funny, but I find a lot of his humor to be at others' expense and the things that come out of his mouth at times are extremely sexist and awful. Even though we've known each other for such a long time, I don't know him very well.

I made up my mind about Psycopat's character years ago. I believe he is such-and-such a way, with no soft spot in him... even though in the last few months I've come to see him as having a little bit of sensitivity in him.

Psycopat said two things during his toast that changed how I think about him. I still think he is obnoxious but now I see there's more to him than the bluster. One was that he mentioned our dad in his speech, said that Dad was present with us that day and that he (Dad) is proud of Noah. This especially moved me because Psycopat came into our lives years after Dad passed away, and doesn't have any memories of his own about him. The other thing that he did was say that he had this long quotation on his wall that he thought important to share with people, and among other things, that he wanted his (future) children to learn it. He then recited “Desiderata”:

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Sunday 2/25/07

It is still a beautiful world, with love in it.

No and I have wedding anniversaries very close together, and for the same reason – reflecting the calendars of our respective industries' high seasons.

More coincidentally, each of us married into families with two sets of parents. KT's folks and Zirpu's folks all remarried years and years ago and now both No and I, who haven't had a father of our own in person, have two fathers-in-law as well as two mothers-in-law and our own amazing Mom.

Our family gets larger, the pie gets bigger, the world becomes smaller. The doors are open – come on in.

Monday 2/26/07

Did I mention Pia's baby was due on the 24th? He has arrived!

Welcome to the world, little one!

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