August 2010

Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, the keyboardist and guitarist of legendary Jim Morrison’s band The Doors, are coming to our lake for a private concert. Commenter Maggie is a friend and former coworker of Mr. W’s, and he thought this is the type of music Maggie and her husband Tom would enjoy. I extended the invitation to Maggie, she and her husband excitedly accepted. We’ll try to fit some kayaking on the Lake in there before the concert, and we’ll do a wine and food picnic for the sunset concert. It should be a great time.

I just checked the dates, and turns out, this event will take place on the same day, same time as my chauvinistic neighbor’s BBQ! And we didn’t even plan it that way. I guess Mr. W did get his wish to be “busy.” I just sent Maggie a little note earlier alerting her to this:

I just checked dates… concert day is the same day as “douchebag neighbor’s” sausagefest BBQ. He may come by and yell at [Mr. W] from the front yard again to abandon us women and join him at his house. Bring a rolling pin, cuz I only have one. 🙂

Maggie’s more on top of it than I am, because she responded:

Yeah, that actually occurred to me when you reset the date. I’ll fling my Harley helmet at him!

(I had originally given her the wrong date that Mr. W had thought the concert was, and then emailed her back to tell her the correct date)

The beauty of this, aside from the fact that it worked out without my (intentional) doing, is that the neighbor can’t say I forbade Mr. W to attend his sausagefest; this is a Lake concert that the neighbor is aware of because we’re in the same association, these are Mr. W’s friends, and who can blame a guy for choosing to go with his wife and friends to a pseudo-Doors sunset concert on a lake instead of a neighbor’s BBQ in which women were expressly forbidden? Right?!

These photos are from the American River whitewater rafting trip we took the weekend of July 24th. We left from a local meeting point after work and took a chartered bus to NorCal. The trip was organized by work’s Sheriff Department volunteers, and chartered 2 buses. Unfortunately, our bus took off half an hour late after waiting for stragglers, then one of the organizers got a phone call on the bus and made us turn around, go back to the meeting place, and wait for a couple that was almost an hour late. After they got on and was promptly booed by the crowd, we chatted, shared drinks and jello shots, and soon realized we still weren’t leaving. Turned out we were waiting for 2 girls who ended up being almost 2 hours late. They walked slowly onto the bus after finally getting there and parking, and moved through the bus to their friends unapologetically. Oh, they were boo’ed rather dramatically. It was a harsh long drive up thanks to now hitting major rushhour traffic, and we’d lost the 1st bus already. But luckily, after arriving at 1:30 in the morning, the trip went uphill from there and redeemed itself. I would highly recommend Earthtrek Expeditions for their awesome campgrounds, activities, food, guides, etc.!
So here’s Day 1, July 24. Class III rapids are safe enough (as you can see) to not need helmets. You can even swim some of the rapids, floating on your back with your feet out in front of you to avoid smacking into things with your face.

Me and the Claudio!

Me and the W!

Day 2, Sunday July 25. Me and the guide, Tony! Note his hat.

“Your hat,” I asked the New Zealand native, “Morrison Forrester?”
“Yeah! You are the only person to ever correctly identify the hat!”
Given the off-color (but funny!) jokes he told during the calm parts of rafting, I’m sure his love for the hat has more to do with what people mistakenly think it stands for, rather than a loyalty to the law firm that had once represented his wife.

Wanna see us go thru a rapid? I can’t remember which rapid this is, it’s either Satan’s Cesspool or Hospital Bar. I bet if you scroll down quickly, it’ll look animated! We put Jenny in front center (without a paddle or anything to strap her down with!) to frontload the raft for maximum splash and bounce impact. I love watching her expression changes. 🙂 (I still put a caption into all the photos, as usual. Just rest your mouse pointer over each photo.)

It was a great first whitewater rafting experience, and I want to make it a regular thing!

Proposition 8 banning gay marriage was repealed by court decision yesterday. Of course the social networking sites are abuzz with the debate. I’d stated my position long ago. Due to these debates, I did so again. Because one of the greatest things about this country is the people’s right to disagree on issues, I wanted to record these very awesome debates.

If you’ve been a long-time follower of this blog, or if you know me in real life, you know who Grace is. She walked into my life freshman year of high school where I saw her at the school bus stop for the first time. She swore I gave her a dirty look, but I give everyone dirty looks, so I don’t remember this. She insisted over a decade later that at the time she’d first met me, given how I looked at her she never would’ve thought in a million years that we’d be the close friends we were then. So since our graduation in 1994, she went on to college at UC Berkeley and I went to UCLA, and if possible, I think we got even closer. I flew up to visit her a few times and attended her graduation there. The she moved to New York for work. While there, she met the love of her life, who lived in London, so the plan was that after their long-distance relationship, she’d move to London after marrying him. I complained about her moving farther and farther away, from 5 houses away in high school to the planned move out of the country. The last part never came to fruition, however, because she died from complications of leukemia. She did marry her man in secret in New York, although her actual wedding ceremony was planned for later in the year. I was to be one of her bridesmaids. On the day of her funeral I hand-carried her bridal bouquet, made by the florist she’d selected and designed it with that morning before my flight, to New York and her husband placed the arrangement in her hands at the wake. That’s the Cliffs Notes version, which leaves so, so much untold.

I attended our clairvoyant Rebecca at the coffeehouse workshop last nite (with Mr. W in attendance for the first time). I asked what my friend Grace was up to. Because Rebecca first picked up on the wrong Grace, she went through a few verification details next to make sure we had the right one. She started by saying she sees a “2” and a “6.” I drew a blank. She asked how long it’d been since Grace had passed, and I quickly added 10 years to the year we graduated high school and said, “2004.”

Aside: In late 2003 or early 2004, Grace and I had been musing about attending our 10-year high school reunion together. She’d said she would only go if I go, too. When her leukemia relapsed, I had said sadly to my then-boyfriend that I didn’t think she and I would be going to our 10-year reunion together. “I have a feeling that instead of being at the reunion, I would be attending her funeral.” I had hoped to be wrong and it seemed I would be granted the gift of inaccuracy when she found a bone marrow donor match and was prepared for transplant. She and her (secret) husband made plans for after her new “birthday,” including the adoption of a child (leukemia had rendered her infertile, over which she had cried bitterly). Before new marrow can be infused, the old sick marrow had to be completely destroyed so as not to infect new marrow, and this is done by nearly lethal amounts of radiation, after which treatment the patient will have no immune system until the new marrow “takes.” Grace did not survive the process; the radiation virtually dissolved her lower intestines and she ended up with a massive infection that her body was unable to fight off before the new marrow could take root. I will never forget that phone call. On the day of our 10-year reunion, I was in New York at Grace’s funeral.

I hadn’t realized that it had been 6 years since Grace’s passing, but that would explain the “6.” I wasn’t sure what the “2” meant, and Rebecca moved on. She covered her abdomen with both hands and says she feels pressure there. Lower area. She asked what Grace died from. I said “massive bowel rupture.” We had the right girl. Rebecca said Grace is a funny person; she’d be quiet for awhile but when she said something it was meaningful and usually funny. I have clear memories of Grace on a couch or in my room, silent in a conversation with others, and then at the right time, coming in with a hilarious (often sarcastic) comment. She got funnier as she got older. Rebecca said that at the point of passing, Grace had been in a lot of pain. (True; I had even forgotten until now that the doctors induced a coma in an effort to make her more comfortable, but she still hung on for a day. It took Grace’s mom and husband, each holding a hand with her as she lay supposedly unconscious, saying to her over and over again that it was okay to let go, they’d be fine, she can go to the light, it’s okay, until Grace finally released. A friend said the mother saw one tear slide down Grace’s cheek as she left.) According to Rebecca, despite the obvious good lack of pain upon Grace’s passing, when she did finally leave her body she had thought, “That’s all? This is it? It’s over?” She couldn’t believe that her life was really over and that she wouldn’t get to go back and finish the plans she’d made. This made me sad, because I know she never gave up fighting. Rebecca said that Grace does like where she is now, however. “She says everything they say about this place is true. She keeps showing me these beautiful flowers she’s surrounded by. Really vibrant colors, red, blue, yellow…” I totally pictured the introduction of Robin Williams’ character to the Other Side in “What Dreams May Come.” Rebecca quieted and seemed to be receiving more information, and then she chuckled. “She knows about your situation at work,” Rebecca started off explaining, as I thought, What situation? “She says…[Rebecca stops and laughs then composes herself to imitate Grace’s indignant tone]…’Who IS that woman?!’ ” I drew another blank. Rebecca asked me on her own this time, “Do you know what woman? She’s with you at work, and she says, ‘Who IS that woman?!’ ” Rebecca may have said something about a “large woman,” but I can’t be sure. It suddenly struck me Grace is talking about a new addition to my work life who drives me insane with the most incredible common-senseless acts, jaw-dropping ineptitude and lack of evidence of brain presence. As I exclaimed “OH MY GAWD!” and turned to my court reporter, who happened to be there last nite, and whispered the name to her, Rebecca was saying, “She says, ‘How can you deal with that?’ Haha! But she says it’ll get better.” Which is exactly the kind of thing Grace would say if she were around in person to hear all my gripes or see this for herself. At another coworker’s strong suggestion, I had started a log a couple of weeks ago recording events in case my supervisor wanted specifics when I finally lost it. Rebecca said that Grace keeps showing her these vibrant flowers, red and blue and yellow. She says they look round, similar to carnations. I had no idea what she was talking about; Grace’s bouquet was lavender roses and babies’ breath with green belles of Ireland. Rebecca says Grace is very insistent on her telling me about these flowers to the point where Rebecca’s getting chills from the image. She almost urgently described them over and over, balling up her hands to show me size, pointing to a powder-blue purse on the table and saying the blue was a little darker than that. *blink blink* Rebecca said to tell her when I figured out what that means.

As the readings moved on to other people, I thought to pull out Grace’s funeral card that I always carried in my purse. I flipped it to the back to see the date of her passing. October *2*, 2004. There’s the “2” involved with her passing. Now, to figure out the flowers…

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