That is my belly. Holy crp I ate alot~
So much so that I just made a pact with Michele to join her gym when I get back (that being said I just popped a couple (ok, a handful) of good n plenty’s in my mouth…I have no self control this time of year). Between the Turkey, the stuffing, the yams, homemade cranberry sauce (did you try it?), the boxed chocolate, good n plenty’s, pumpkin, apple and pecan pies…need I go on? I am stuffed and my laptop is sitting nicely on its new shelf as I attempt to type out this update and what an update. Remember last year I swore I’d spend this Thanksgiving at home? I’m glad I was able to keep that promise. It was exactly what I expected/needed/wanted and I hope I get to experience it every year from here on because nothing else would compare I’m sure.
So, the trip up was good other than not realizing you can’t bring champagne or wine on board. I know this is silly and yet I get it so I didn’t complain. The TSA agents were all very very nice and I’m assuming it wasn’t just because it was a holiday and they were in the spirit but, because of all the bad press they got over the xray machines people have to go through or choose curtain #2 which is to be frisked like nobody’s business. I went for the radioactive option. Hell, after all the chemo being pumped into me, what harm could it do? The guy who checked the ID/ticket actually said “hello pretty lady” (which really threw me off on all levels) and wrote a smiley face on my boarding pass. Yes…I have a way with ppl I know. The other TSA agent helped me repack my suitcase and escorted me back toward the ticket counter with instructions that I should be let back to the front of the line when I come back. I imagined for half a sec how this might be the kind of treatment when you’re well known like Mat Kearney and smiled at the thought of getting that kind of treatment every time you fly. I have to say I think I could get used to it…eyup. I was so nervous at the ticket counter because the last time I checked there was $25.43 in the account (yup, it’s official…I’m a starving artist~) and that was a couple days ago so who knows and it’s $20 to check in a bag but, the champagne was $50 and the wine was $10 so I figured it was worth a shot and yes…the relief when she smiled and handed the card back along with receipt. I’m sure she saw it on my face because she gave me one of the those “I hear ya sister” winks. Because of the weather advisory (Snowed for days in Seattle) a lot of passengers changed their flights so I went from 19B (stuck in a middle seat) to 6A and ohhhh how I loved that because believe it or not even with the happy pills I am an anxious flyer and I don’t like to chit chat with fellow passengers. I just pull out the magazine and read through for a bit then nap most of the flight. Which is pretty much exactly what happened. Before I knew it the captain was announcing we were beginning our decent into Seattle and I was whipping out the camera to catch some snapshots (totally forgot the damn cable you need to download images off the camera but, I’ll post em when I get back to SD tomorrow). I love coming home. It brings back such a feeling I have no way of describing. Being a Seattlite isn’t something you can brush off over time no matter how long you live somewhere else. The moment you lay eyes on Seattle or see scenes of it in a film or tv show it pulls you in and envelops you like mom in her big winter coat.
When I was at the carousel watching out for my precious cargo my brother Den called asking where I was, I told him and he said he and Lars (my favorite brother in law in the whole wide world) were two carousel’s down. I turned to see them coming at me and like a baby huey I bounded toward them leaving a wake in my path and I didn’t care one bit. Though I think Dennis had a look of terror that I might knock him to the ground. I managed to temper myself just enough to leave them both standing as they informed me I’d been waiting at the wrong carousel (gotta love chemo brain…it just feeds the fuel of the stereotypical blonde jokes). So we got the bags, got on our way and while en route got a call from Steven saying he and Kim (his awesome better half) were outside my sister’s house but, no lights, no cars…so I said you’re at 27 skagit right? as Lars calls back to “twenty fouuuuur” and we all have a good laugh at blondie’s expense. We walked in the door and the first to hug me (and full on bear hug) was my sister :-). If you’ve read any of the past blogs that include her you’ll know that this type of hug isn’t typical. I am the hugger in the family. My sister is the Martha Stewart (minus the jail time). One by one I got through the crowd (including Max, Maggie and Jesse the family golden retreivers) and by that time I was dripping sweat from the many layers I had on to protect me from the fierce cold (hey, not 3 hours before I was in 70 degree weather so yeah…fierce it was to me). I de-layered (dumped my stuff on a chair) and surveyed the longest table in the history of our family gatherings and marveled at how perfect it all was…Kim joined me in the kitchen to learn the secret to the perfect cranberry sauce while Steven doted on us both and served us drinks and paced nervously wondering just how much inside information I’d spill to her (being friends with an ex is soooo much fun ;). I only gave her the good stuff. It was a holiday you know and he recently made me a pro photographer for the day so it was only right to go easy. My Pop and his gal sat around the giant island in the kitchen so they could have front row seats to all the action. I swear this man does not look or act 80. I mean he’s no Jack LaLane but, he’s quite spry and can still bear hug with the best of em. Once we were all seated and plates were filled, Lars announced the tradition of going around the table and saying one thing you’re thankful for. He starts off and then my sister who was thankful that their nephew, her daughter and Ali were able to avoid inclement weather and arrive safely. What is so beautiful about this is she called me “Ali”. Growing up I went by Alicia (and I’ve heard that name shouted more times than I care to recall). I got the nickname when I was living Japan about 20 years ago and only my father was willing to adapt to the change in title until that moment (my mother adamantly refused). Funny how that means so much. I can’t remember what I said because Steven threw me off by announcing “I’m just glad she’s here”. He meant me…and he meant “alive and on this planet”. I knew by the trembling of his lip which makes me Verklempt just typing this. Gd how I love that scruffbucket. It went on around the table…all 26 saying what they’re thankful for and not a moment dragged on. It was just beautiful. Unlike last year we were all on the same channel and it was picture perfect….a dozen different conversations going on at one time throughout the evening and some often crossing over into others and all very ebb n flow.
After dessert, people milled off to either the TV room for games or the Lars’ Den to chill and some outside to take in the night air. I opted for the Den where 4 gorgeous guitars hung (2 electric, 2 acoustic). Without much thought, I pulled the 6 string acoustic (I have no idea what to do with the 12 string) down, tuned it up and started playing. My brother David, my niece Perrin and her new guy (who we’ve decided we like), Eddy’s “friend” and I were there and as I sang people drifted in and out of the doorway. David asked me to play Shannon’s song which made Steven take off like a shot after Shannon “you must come, she’s going to play your song!”. LOL. OMG. I did. She smiled while someone to the right of me was sniffling through it. I played ‘PLus One’ and ‘By New Year’s Day’ noticing Kathy reclined and eyes closed while she soaked in the music for the first time. When I finished and was hanging the guitar back she said “I closed my eyes and I could swear it was someone famous singing those songs”…I joked and said “yeah, then you open em and see me”. At that moment I vowed to turn my statement of “one day someone will discover me and then put me on a treadmill” to the treadmill first. Again, it’s not vanity talking but, just not recognizing myself in the mirror and not wanting to be a human shelf for a laptop. It just isn’t “comfortable”. I’m not looking to be thin like Jewel or Sarah or any of those. I’m a foodie and I will always happily be. Just a more agile version of myself would suit me just fine. One that can sit the guitar straight up on their lap, not lean it out to make way for buddah. Ok, enough of that blubber eh blabber.
There were other amazing moments on the trip. Seeing 3 of my awesome friends from high school was incredible. We met up at one of my favorite spots in Mukilteo where you can see nearly the whole bay from the windows and incredible sunsets. I even went early and took some shots of the beach which I love and fondly remember my mom loading all 7 of us into the station wagon and letting us loose on the beach until we were completely worn down. I think that’s why I have such an affinity for salt sea air…anyway, these women rock. Plain and simple. and I love that though I haven’t seen any of them for at least a decade we just picked up exactly where we left off and not an awkward moment between us. I hate that we only had a couple hours which went by in a flash but, we made plans to take over my dad’s place and fire up his larger than life BBQ this summer and get everyone over for it so we’ve got that to look forward to 🙂 Family dinner followed that followed by morning coffee with Miche who surprised me by bringing along her son Evan who surprised her by coming up from Oregon. We sat at my favorite coffee place in Mukilteo and watched the ferry boats go back and forth while Evan sorted through the pics on his phone (he kept pulling back so there were many he so didn’t think were appropriate to show Auntie which I found hilarious because I still think of him as 3 when we were all housemates…looooove that kid…ehm young man, fireman in training yes yes).
Back on the music front I got 2 new fans this week on facebook and both ghosts (friendly) from the past. Pete I knew since grade school and the memory that sticks out the most is when he brought his snake in for show and tell and we got to see it eat a mouse. I asked the girls about him when we were at happy hour. I just can’t believe how much we’ve all changed. I brought up my memory of grade school and they did of middle school and then I remembered a moment at our ten year reunion when we were down at the bar…Kurt was on my right and I looked at Peter with his dark, moppy curls and suddenly realized “damn…he’s handsome” and I remember getting lost in his doe eyed deer eyes for half a moment before my over active brain skipped on to something bright/shiny…The girls laughed and went on about Kurt. Seems everyone had a crush on Kurt but, no one ever did anything about it. Hear that Kurt? You were a heart throb and you didn’t even know it ;). Then I checked yesterday and I was so happy to see another friendly ghost I used to know as Keith but, like me he’s adopted a name he feels better suits him (I suddenly get how hard it was for my sister to transition). We were theatre pals along with Shawn. You know I’m sure there are plenty of people that would just asoon not ever make contact with anyone they knew in high school. It’s not like I had a stellar time back then. I wasn’t queen of anything. I was more or less back in the folds somewhere but, even though I didn’t a lot of time with some of these people I find it amazing who they’ve become and not one of em would I not want to spend a day with. They all have such good hearts and interesting lives and once again I am counting myself lucky that they found me and reconnected. I am soooo looking forward to my trip back up this summer (and you know how much I love having something to look forward to :).
What else…my oldest brother and I took a walk through Howarth Park and down to the water front and reminisced about how it was the place to hang when we were younger. I think Sharryn and I actually climbed on top one of the trains for photo op once. I do remember right around graduation that some of us went there and I actually ran into the icy bay water levis and all on some silly dare (being superhuman has its advantages). Then back at the house Debbie brought now grown daughter Brie over to visit (whom I haven’t seen since we were neighbors and she was like 4?) again like no time had passed we were laughing our heads off and hugging away. Then I had to race off to meet up with my sister who insisted on treating me to this herbal foot/shoulder massage (I knooow, right??). That was quite the experience. I totally love massage. Huge fan of it. I walk into the oriental themed placed and escorted into a dark room filled with about 20 velvet recliners and most filled with people with towels over their faces and nothing but soft whispers and I see my sister and I’m thinking…has she been here before…is this one of those happy ending kind of places? I was starting to wonder but, no. It was amazing and I was a pile of puddy when it was done and so was she and it was one of the nicest gifts ever and I loooooove my sister~ who I hugged big time before racing back to Pop’s to make good on a promise to cook dinner that night. I love to cook. when I came up for the summer (4 1/2 years) to look after him when my mom passed on I decided the best therapy was to cook him into a coma so we wouldn’t feel sad. It worked pretty well until we both tipped the scales and decided to face the loss and drop the pounds. Was an incredible time. But back to this week…Perrin and her guy and my brother and his wife were there decorating the tree and making the place festive while I took command of my old station in the kitchen. I couldn’t quite tell if it was pork or chicken I was cooking at the time but, later discovered it was both and for the first time in ever the pork turned out great (thanks Bren for the tip~). I was just so pleased with myself 😉 As Steven would say “Pet, if you were a Spice Girl you’d be Easily Pleased Spice”. It’s so true. It’s the little things that make me happiest, no doubt. I’m looking around the basement now and soaking in the sights and smells for in about an hour I’m being picked up and shipped off to my amigas in Seattle to have our traditional 3 amigas night before I head off back to sunny San Diego. Honestly…if I could one day afford to live in both places whenever the mood struck me I would be the most contented person on the planet. It doesn’t have to come true for me to be happy, I’m just sayin…would be nice…
So, I guess its time I got out of pajama mode and got ready for the next chapter in this story…oh, and forgot to finish saying…I did some research on promoting your iTunes music and finally figured out how to create an iMix which is apparently a must do. So, if you haven’t already, check it out, rate it and pass it on and thanks as always for listening~
PS, yes my sister let me make my own cranberry sauce and as she set out bowls and I was pouring the sauce in…I notice her opening a container with what suspiciously looked like homemade cranberry sauce…to which she looked at me with wide eyed innocence and proclaimed it wasn’t how it looked…well yes…it is cranberry sauce and she did make it but, it was very plain…mine is fancy and this is “just plain” in case anyone wanted just plain “that’s all”. Gd I love my sister and you know why? Because we are more alike than we ever imagined what with me just having to make my own recipe of cranberry sauce or I wouldn’t be able to relax and enjoy the meal…yes…two goddesses of different domains who are learning to share the territories…
and with that I say ciao for now and next week….next week I’m pondering whether to bite the bullet and search for a guitarist to collaborate with and start performing…together…thinking on it…