Friday, July 31, 2009

Surprise Adventure

A couple years ago, my mom and I were visiting San Diego at the same time and wanted to go on an adventure.

My sister lives in Oceanside, so she got a few friends together to take a day trip to Tijuana, Mexico. After parking on the USA side of the country border and walking into the downtown area of Tijuana, I saw a big sign for a night club and my eyes lit up with wonder and excitement. I had never been to a night club in Mexico before!

I said to the group: Oh my god, you guys! Let's go there!
Worried looks were tossed my way from everyone in my vicinity. Probably even passers-by worried for this small group of silly tourists.
My sister flat-out said no. She didn't think it was a good idea.
But I am convincing and was determined.
Come on you guys! Have you ever been to a night club in Mexico and DURING THE DAY??? How exciting! Stop being sticks in the mud. Live a little!

And so, we were ushered in by a very welcoming man who stood at the entrance, just waiting for us to make up our collective minds.

As soon as we walked in, I heard some peppy music playing and squinted my eyes to try and see in the darkened club. I followed the man from the entrance as he led us to a long bench seat against a wall on one side of the room.

I thought it was strange that we were all seated at such a long bench and just as my mom sat down next to me, I looked up and finally, my eyes cooperated to see what we had walked into.

A very young-looking girl was dancing around a pole mostly naked on the stage in front of us. My jaw dropped and my stomach turned. SHIT. I just brought my mom to a seedy strip club in Tijuana.
Just as I was about to get up and high-tail it out of there, my mother leaned over speak firmly into my ear: We are having ONE drink and then we're leaving.

Ahhhh, mom. She didn't want to cause a scene, so she played it cool. My sister glared at me and her friends laughed. Dang. They all knew how much shit they'd be able to give me for practically forcing them to go into a strip club in the middle of the day on a family outing.

When we finished our drinks, we departed and it was unanimously decided that I was no longer allowed to choose activities for the remainder of the day. Probably for the remainder of my life on family outings, actually.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

RIP Tina

An old friend of mine passed away last week.

I met Tina through one of my oldest friends, Michael. He and I were next door neighbors when we were super little- he was still in diapers when we met. Of course, I was already potty-trained and 6 months younger. Go me!

We attended kindergarten together and his mom watched her 3 boys and my sister and I every day after school for years and years. Our moms are still best friends.

Michael is... not smart. He is actually pretty damn stupid, but I love him. Flaws and all.

Tina and Michael met when they were about 20 years old. She was lots of fun to hang out with, but came from a life of being shuffled from foster home to juvenile hall to her completely fucked up mom's house back to foster home. So she was a little bit reckless.

Coupled with Michael's lack of brains and her carelessness, they made a baby. Tina was horribly sick through the entire pregnancy. She had to be on bed rest very early-on and was hooked up to a fluids IV at home. Michael wasn't a big help to her, but his mom let her move in until the baby was born so that she could make sure Tina and her future grand baby were taken care of.

Tina recruited me to help her through the delivery. She was afraid that Michael would bolt from the hospital the second she screamed at him in anger. The day came for her to finally give birth and we all rushed to the hospital at an ungodly early hour in the morning.

She delivered with the assistance of a mid-wife. Michael, surprisingly, made it to the hospital and was not looking terribly uncomfortable until Tina had to start pushing. A nurse held one of Tina's legs back while I held the other. Michael looked like he was going to pass out and mumbled something about needing to get out of the room.

I knew how important is was for Tina to have him there, so I held Michael tightly with my free arm. The baby boy was born and two ecstatic parents cooed over him and both cried with joy.

Unfortunately, the joy didn't last between Michael and Tina in their relationship. He got bored or distracted or forgot he was a baby daddy and went off to start a new relationship with another lady. Tina moved into her own apartment and relied on public assistance for her income. Michael was almost completely uninterested in spending time with their son.

Michael went on to have 2 more children with 2 more ladies in the next few years. Like I said, not so smart. He has neither the resources nor the dedication to be a good father to any of them.

Unfortunately, Tina went back to what she knew- living recklessly. Drugs, stealing, drinking, constant drama. She got tossed in jail a few times, but didn't slow down at all. She couldn't concentrate on ruining her own life while raising her son, so Michael's mom and dad stepped in and he has lived with them since the time he could crawl. Tina didn't see her son for years.

Last year, Tina was thrown in jail for yet another drug charge. Just before she was sentenced, she noticed a lump in her breast. During sentencing, she asked the judge to allow her to suspend her entry into jail so that she could seek medical attention. He assured her that it would be taken care of while she served her time. They would provide her with medical attention during her 6 months in jail.

But they didn't. By the time Tina was released, she was sick with cancer from her head to her toes. It went from something possibly minor to an all-out war against her system. She knew that this was it for her- that she wouldn't survive this attack. Tina went through every kind of cancer treatment possible to extend her time on Earth so that she could try to right some wrongs.

She spent time with her son. She stayed at her father's bedside while he died. She spent more time with her son.

Then, she died. I'm not sure if her son knew her well enough to feel the incredible pain of saying goodbye. But knowing Tina, she felt every last second of every day she didn't spend with him. If she had known that her life was going to be so short, she would have been there. She would have tried harder to be a good mother. I can't imagine the pain she went through- knowing the choices she had made were so thoughtless.

I just hope that she has found peace. That she connected with her son, who desperately needed to feel loved by his mother. And I hope that Michael, at some point, realizes that he needs to put his desires on the back burner and give his son a father.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Babysitting is not my calling

I am currently babysitting my two year old niece.

My sister is about to produce her next child. Any day now, a little nephew will join us. So, sis is running around, finishing up stuff that needs to get done prior to his birthday and I'm on babysitting duty.

Honestly, I'm not good at it, but she's still in one piece and so am I. So far.

We went outside to play a little while ago and I couldn't really stop her from having a great time, splashing around in the bit of water that was left in her kiddie pool. And then putting a bucket kinda dripping wet onto her head.

I mean, she's pretty convincing with her adorable language that only she understands, you know? And after playing at the park for awhile, I was a tad bit tired. Now, she's watching Barney (thank goodness for purple dinos) and tearing apart a package for a stuffed animal that she dropped in the dog's water bowl earlier.

That's okay, right?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

And now, for pictures of South Africa

My host and favorite new friend, Marcia. She did not actually roll in the grass. Just rested like a proper lady.

Dear Patrick, It's winter. The water is freezing. Love, Tabbie.
Dear Tabbie, I don't care. The ocean calls me. Sincerely, Patrick.

Apparently, penguins bite. I did not verify this with a science-based approach, but I believed the warning signs.

I didn't notice how gorgeous this was until I saw it on the computer screen. Funny how that happens, huh? This is the beach in Simonstown, where the penguins are.

Some rules were not made to be broken.

Petting cheetahs is A-ok!

I stopped rolling around on the grass, laughing til I snorted, to snap this. Trees! Sky!

Lunch at a vineyard?- Yes, please. More wine, please.

Le Meems sent me on a mission to get a bottle of Cap Classique. And get it, I did.

Local wine from the cafeteria atop Table Mountain

The tippy top of a mountain and the sea from the tippy top of Table Mountain


Friday, July 10, 2009

You can't choose your family

I was just reading something that one of my cousins wrote and was offended. I should know better than to pay attention to what she says, but I kind of can't help it. She's family and I want to know what's happening in her life.

But... She's so cunty. It's just how our cultures collide, I guess. I'm one sort of person and she's- well, Mormon. And not even a good one, but she acts all holier than thou. My other Mormon cousins have pretty much the same views, but the walk the talk. They live the values that they are taught. And they're really damn sweet about it.

Then earlier, I was thinking- hey it was my dad's birthday a few days ago and Fathers day recently. I didn't give a shit about him enough for even a phone call either time.

How sad is that? On the one hand, I have some super spectacular family that warms my heart. On the other? Some of my family can totally suckit.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Home, sweet home

I don't feel like crying anymore.

I've had the giggles all day. Even when I went for my torturous waxing this afternoon, I was giggly. Deanna is working at a new salon that hands out WINE for every client. THANK YOU, SALON!!! And she said it's really slow lately, so I should drop by just to chill, have a glass on the patio overlooking the marina, and chat. I love my waxer.

So- I am not unpacked yet, but I should probably do that tonight. We have some couch surfers coming in, but I forget who they are/how many they are. It's been awhile since we said they could come. Whatever- new people, new adventures. We shall see if they are rad, hmm?

I talked to my mom on the phone for the first time in a couple of weeks today and it took me about 15 minutes to give her a whole rundown of my trip to Africa. Most of it was stories from dance floors. Guess that's just the way I prefer to spend my time. Also, I broke my foot from so much dancing. Lame!

Mom told me my sister is having some issues with her pregnancy- she's at 35 weeks and her mucus is gone or something and she's dilated. I don't know how long babies are supposed to stay in for, but mom says it's too early for my nephew to meet the world. I'm thinking I should shoot down to San Diego for at least a few days to help my sis out so she can rest. She's working until Friday, then she's off to put her feet up and keep the baby in for as long as she can. I'm pretty sure my niece won't mind me being around either- we have super lots of fun together.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Traveling is hard.

I'm finally at a point where I can't wait to be home.

I've had a spectacular vacation and made some great new friends. Saw penguins on the beach, pet a cheetah, drank far too much wine. Rolled in the grass laughing, stayed at a backpacker, was blinded by strobes on a dance floor. Attended a FIFA world cup final, played with kitties and a dog. Met an interesting character or two or three.

All I want now is... rest. Cuddling with my puppy, laying in the bathtub, swinging in the hammock on my roof, and a good long cry. I'm a cryer- it makes me feel better.

40 hours or so from now, I'll have exactly what I want.

Friday, July 03, 2009

African Dance

Last time I was in Africa, I visited villages and saw how the locals spent their downtime. Dance routines and songs and all of the family members are involved. We enjoyed being able to witness the talents in such unlikely places.

This time in Africa, I'm in the city. No villagers with routines here, but there is dancing. Oh my, there is quite a lot of it.

Two nights ago, my Couchsurfing host Marcia and I went to a gay bar called Bronx in Cape Town. The music was loud, the dance floor was welcoming. We shook our asses to the beat until 2am. Ehxausted, we left.

Last night, we met up with the wonderfully gorgeous and sweet Sid (wish I could insert a link- but I'm on the iPhone). She reads & comments on Le Meems blog "Hallelujah". As soon as le meems heard that I was coming out here, she messaged Sid and told her (not asked! Bah!) to take me out while I was here.

We had 1/2 price cocktails then went to a fancy place where they were giving Salsa dancing lessons. Unfortunately, we were just a tiny bit late for the lessons, so we watched the last hour or so. The music came on at the end of it and a few of the ladies with us went out onto the floor and did some impressive Salsa moves, considering we'd missed the class.

I wanted to shake my groove thing a bit harder, so Marcia and I made our way out and to a nearby club called Jade. Hot, sweaty, packed. They played Michael Jackson and hip hop and we climbed over a couch into the VIP area. It's just how we do. Too hot, too packed though. So we went back to Bronx.

As soon as we walked in, we were specially greeted by a few men we'd met the previous night. They were happy to see us back. After leaving at 3am, hopping in the nearest cab, and getting home, I slept til after noon.

My feet hurt, but I'm feeling happy. A little joy does wonders for the soul.