Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Stretch Marks Mapping an Old Love

Sister #2 leaned in so her face was close enough to mine to violate all generally accepted regulations regarding personal space.

"Get away! What?! My face is dirty from riding the go carts! I tried to clean it but I haven't had any time! Stop it!" I squealed.

"You're growing a mustache," she stated simplistically with calm authority.

***5 minutes earlier***

"Look at you with your socks and long-sleeved shirt. Aren't you hot?" Sister #1 inquired as she pulled her shorts up her thighs as high as she comfortably could and pushed her sleeves up to her shoulders, perfectly positioned beneath the sun.

"It was cold this morning and I won't get home until after the concert. It will probably be cold afterwards in Detroit anyway." My only defense for the black long sleeved T beneath my aged Hip concert T on a decent weather day.

***15 minutes later***

I finished my beer and got up to go in and ruin my children's lives by informing them it was time to go.

As I walked up the stairs, Sister #1's husband: "Your shoes are gay!"

"I like these shoes! Shut up, Steve!"

Sister #1: "They are kind of gay. Aren't you supposed to look hot when you go to a concert?"


So went a brief visit with the out-laws yesterday. I love them. They're so much fun. It's truly comforting to have people to poke at who will poke right back. It's too bad I don't get to see them often.

But let's face it, I'm getting old. There's an inexplicable dark strip developing on my upper lip. The fine hair that covers my face is no thicker or darker there, yet somehow the skin beneath appears darker. The shoes I like are gay. The clothes that used to be cool to wear to a concert aren't hot.

And, sadly, the concert kind of sucked.

Loyalty is an attribute of mine that I cherish. Perhaps it's because there is nothing more important in my life than family and, while my actual relatives are closest to my heart, I believe family is found in nooks and crannies that don't always exist at Thanksgiving dinner. So it's odd that I found myself screaming "Please play something cool!" instead of "WOOOOOOOO!" at times last night.

Don't worry, it was too loud for anyone but my sister to hear my treason.

Rock concerts have long been like a dirty whore mistress for me, a truly unique experience. It's a place to go and get drunk (high, in some cases) and sweaty while dancing and screaming with other people just like me. (To be perfectly clear, I never dance, but I get so excited at rock concerts that even I bounce up and down a little.) Fans who belt out the same songs I do while they drive to work in the morning or take the long way home when one of our favorites comes on the radio, ensuring the volume of the speakers drowns out our own voices. At a concert, as an aggregate, we can't sing loud enough to cover up the intensity of sound coming from the very people who wrote the songs, we can't jump high enough to escape the feeling of the drums making the floor vibrate, we can't even pause briefly enough to appreciate the bass of butterflies in our stomachs.

Note: None of the above paragraph applies to any of the boyfriends who were kind enough to share this experience with their crazy girlfriends even though Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was on at the exact same time as a band they don't really care for was playing.

I'd like to tell you that I know where this concert went awry. It may have been the new album, consisting of some quality music that should probably have a warning label on it that reads: "Do not listen to while contemplating suicide."

Excepting one song, it's just so slooooowwwww.

And they played every single depression-inducing song on it. Half of their set (which was admirably long- 3 hours) was dedicated to the new album and it blew. I'd expect to spend more time sitting in my seat than standing at a Coldplay concert, but not at The Tragically Hip! Plus, because I prefer the kind of music that makes me want to stand, I wouldn't even buy tickets to a Coldplay concert.

I'm about to make a confession and this whole thing will start to make sense.

TTH has dozens of cool songs, songs that have arguably catapulted them during their 26 year career to be one of the top 2 bands in Canada (which is why most of my fellow Americans have never heard of them) as not many could say they're better than Rush. That's a debate for another blog.

During the second half of the show, they finally played a good number of the songs they are so well known for, including my absolute favorite which previously incited a spell of self-loathing following an embarrassing vomiting experience that caused me to miss it at the last Hip concert I attended.

But it didn't make it better.

Something was lost.

Even as I shouted out "In the middle of that riot, couldn't get you off my mind" and "I'm just a shade shy of true wickedness," it wasn't the same. The experience of seeing my favorite band play some of my favorite songs didn't make up for how much I sat on my ass in my seat during the set.

My sister and I dubbed it the worst Hip concert with the best seats we'd ever been to.

Here's the thing. I'm not sure if my less than stellar concert experience was because of a fail on the band's part in playing too many bubble-bath mood setting songs or because, for me, everything has become a metaphor for aging.

I have no problem with my actual age, it's the aging I can't stop thinking about.

Because no matter how much night cream I slather on my face before bed, there are still lines in the morning.

Because the skin above my upper lip is somehow darker, my shoes are gay, and I don't- no can't- dress hot anymore.

I shall hope that yesterday's concert was a fluke and the next concert will find me happy I paid too much money for a seat I won't be sitting in so long as I can feel the music in my toes and I'll say to myself, "I'll never be too old for this."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What if the French Had Won?

"No daughter of mine is going to look like a slut!"
-My boyfriend's mom, upon seeing that I had attempted to escape from my bonnet, in spite of its status as a required part of my costume.

"You look like one-seventh of a Utah bride!"
-Friend Ryan, visiting in plain clothes.

My boyfriend's family has been participating in the Feast of the Ste. Claire for several years. It's an annual (not exactly like a pap smear since some women have pap smears bi-annually) re-enactment of what life was like 'round these parts during the early parts of our history. As the website I linked to would tell you, the Feast represents four time periods in MI's history and has camps set up to depict each (Native American, French explorers, British traders, and American Revolutionaries).

A big part of the weekend is a battle re-enactment that takes place on both days (the Feast is always held on the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend). If you've been around long enough you are aware that, while the State of MI seems to think that I'm smart enough to teach history as I passed their "rigorous" test with flying colors, I suck at history. I wish I didn't, but I do. Also, in spite of my frequent violation of the laws governing the irritating comma splice, I passed the English test with brighter, higher flying colors.

Anyhoot, keeping in mind that I suck at history, you will give me some latitude in my attempt at explianing the battle re-enactment. The boyfriend could do it better.

On Saturday, the battle occurs as the British are trying to win territory from the French. The British win as is historically accurate. I'm not sure if the re-enactment is of one specific battle or a generalization of the outcome of a series of struggles in the area. In any case, in spite of its historical inaccuracy, it is the tradition of the Feast to allow the French to win on Sunday.

Because the men of our family were with the French navy, our camp was located in the French settlement area of the Feast. The camps must be historically accurate. The food we made had to be cooked as it would have been in Colonial times and had to consist of what was available then. Anything that can be seen by the public has to be as it was during whichever time period the camp represents. This means that we had to turn our backs to pour our beer or Diet Coke into our mugs and hide our smart phones behind baskets on the table as we were checking the score of the Red Wings game.

"You need to have better control of your woman! You don't see Melissa running loose, do you?"
-Scott to his dad, upon discovering that his mom had skipped out of packing up duty on Sunday evening and went home. It was probably one of the funniest things I've ever heard.

This is how I'm punished when Scott catches me "running loose."

Overall, I had a great time. It was something different to do. Don't get me wrong, we had a lot of downtime and got bored easily. The worst was when Scott found my first gray hair. I should have kept my bonnet on.

So, for all of you history buffs, I ask you: What if the French had won?

Bonus video:
What Scott Does to his Women When They Get Loose

Monday, May 11, 2009

My First Golf Trip, a Photoblog

My friend Maranda works at the golf course that her grandparents own. I decided that this is my year to become a golfer. Here are a few of the things I learned on our first trip:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Graduation Day

Like every other major event in my life, my best friend was there. It was probably the first big event in my life she was there for, something like 22 years ago. We weren't there because it was about us, though. We were there because we were the family, the extended significant others.

In spite of being an extended significant other, along with my little brother and sister, I felt so removed as I saw my mother standing tall among her classmates.

I remember looking down at her sitting there, listening to the speech intently, even though her mind had to be wandering.

I remember her friend Mark jokingly looping his honors tassel around the both of them because she didn't have one.

There was a little reception after the ceremony where all of the graduates and significant others smiled and laughed over refreshments and I felt so proud.

My mother was so radiant the night she became the first college graduate in her family. She was positively glowing, the most beautiful and inspiring person in the room.

She's always been some separate entity, as though she were a picture in a magazine.

I hope that Lori felt the same when she looked at her mother that night and I hope she still remembers it just as I do, because she's about to be that woman to another little soul.

Happy Almost Mother's Day, Lori. And a very happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mother.

Monday, May 4, 2009

On Evolving Into a Biker Mama

I have a few best friends. Today I'd like to talk a bit about Maranda.

Maranda's fiance, Matt, has a Harley.

When I first started following Maranda around, I got the distinct impression that she wasn't too keen on the bike. She's certainly keen enough on her fiance, she'd just prefer to follow him in her car to whichever destination he's racing toward certain death. I actually think it's less fear of death and more hatred of wind, bugs, sitting still, boredom, etc.

As I got to know her, I began to be of the opinion that she looked at riding as Matt's thing, a way for them to maintain separate identities in their future shared life. He could have his Harley, his paintball and she could have her Harry Potter, art museums. They could continue to share their love of WOW and Renaissance festivals, etc.

I think it was easy for me to take this stance because I hadn't been on the back of a bike since I was very, very small and my great uncle Jack would take me around the block on his.

I've since been pretty apathetic toward bikers.

The noise has never bothered me, I've only witnessed one motorcycle accident, I simply have no opinion of this pasttime. It never had anything to do with me.

Until Scott came along.

I guess I'm not allowed to blog about Scott so I can't link to his page, but you can find him easy enough. If you do, don't let his adorable little Taylor Swift obsession scare you off. I'm pretty sure he likes me better. *crosses fingers* He simply has a better than average appreciation for hot girls in yellow.

Scott has a few man toys, his Harley being the newest. I actually found myself getting rather excited to be a passenger on the bike as the weather got warmer. The first time he took me out was to test out the sissy bar he'd just installed; I didn't have a helmet yet so it was brief.

That first spin around the neighborhood sold me. Even though I clenched my eyes closed as tightly as possible as the bike leaned further and further toward the ground around corners, it felt amazing. Giggle because you're a little bit scared amazing.

But I'm not scared anymore. Nope. I jump at every opportunity to straddle Scott (Bahahahaha!). There's no longer any need to close my eyes or hold my breath.

Last Saturday, we organized our first biker gang. I skipped the chain of command and called Matt to ask him if he wanted to go out. It didn't work, he handed the phone to the boss immediately. But she agreed, though I think she may have shot me a dirty look or 20 once we arrived at Matt's. So they called one of their friends, Scott called one of his and we went out in a gang of four.

It was a bit windy but that didn't steal from the perfection of it all in the least.

So, I have to make Maranda share the bike thing with Matt.

Because the open air and sun is glorious. Because I feel like I could sit back there with my arms around Scott for hours. Because it makes me laugh when he playfully ducks down and the wind smacks my face or he pretends my knee is an armrest. Because there are so many opportunities to smell freshly cut grass. Because when we're pulled over for a break and other bikers go by and wave, I get it. Because life is good on the back of a bike.

My mom used to ride with her ex and offered up her fringed leather vest. I declined. I'm not ready yet.

Maybe I will be by the end of summer.

And so might Maranda. Matt, undoubtedly, would think she's the hottest biker mama on the planet.