It’s been a week since my last post. I have an explanation. I really do. In the last week I was in 4 states and 1 country: San Antonio, Atlanta, Miami, New York and Barbados. With that said, in between security lines and fetal positions on planes I had little time for, me. Tonight Heidi, Karli, Maryclaire and myself from Cornerstone (work) are celebrating our 30th bday. All 4 of us turn 30 in June. Super random. Super awesome. We have quite the playlist that involves many-a-jam that would get the pelvis in motion just like back at the Victory Dances at Bryan High School. To all of you who don’t live here, know I wish you were. Proud of the people I have in my life.
I turn 30 in a month and as I round the corner and leave the 20’s in my dust you start to think about what’s important around you. The people. The places. The star gazin. The laughter. The great adventure.
I’ve lived a great adventure so far in life and look forward to the new rapids I’ll ride heading into a new age bracket. As I plod on, I want to make sure I capture all the moments. Big. Small. Ridiculous. My biggest fear in life is forgetting so as I roll through more life I’m going to be diligent in remembering stories.
I promised myself I’ll write on this every day leading up to my bday to get me back in practice and doing what I love the most, sharing my adventure. So stay tuned.
I like to think that I strive live my life in such a way that one day I can sit in a rocking chair and tell the same ole grand stories over and over to my grandkids. Hell, even just to the common passersby. I hope to always find adventure in the simplest moments. To augment this story I’ll one day share. The night of August 8th, will undoubtably be added to the pages of this great tale.
This summer I did a lot of events on Governor’s Island which is off the south tip of Manhattan. A four minute ferry ride across the Hudson takes you to a small escape from the busy streets of New York City and to the squeaking of bikes and picnic baskets on the other side of the River. On this lovely breezy night on Governor’s Island, I had no idea of the adventure I’d soon embark on. Josh Ritter was playing this day and a lot of my Texas friends in the city scuttled on over to the island for beautiful music and Bushmills on flow. A kind gentleman asked me to dance in the middle of everyone backstage in the VIP area. My feet were on the ground but my heart was soaring on a cumulous cloud dangling above. A simple treasured moment.
It was time to start wrapping up the event so we start to shut down the bars and take down all the branding. The island had cleared out, but my bud Laura stayed back to help Grant and I along with my new friend Rusty in a navajo inspired tank top who was mentioned to resemble a spirited Zach Galifianakis. This imagery would thus serve as a catalyst to me referring to him as Zach for a majority of the night.
As we put some of the last boxes away in our storage unit I hear a whimpering behind me. It’s the soft muttering of the golf cart behind me, just begging for a quick spin. In efforts to not let the ole cart down, the four of us pile on the beast equipped with 1 tepid 24 oz can of Miller High Life and a half drunken bottle of Bushmills. Grant drove us south on the island along the shoreline. The further we went the quicker we diminished the hue of the city lights and embraced the nighttime fog that whipped in our faces at a glorious 1 AM.
As we’re passing Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty, an awe blanketed the golf cart as we breathed in the moment. Our awe was quickly thwarted by a new distraction. A gift if you will. There was a gigantic swing set made most conveniently for four adults with big kid hearts. Somehow the nature of the swing’s structure allowed us to soar into the stars with the tips of my sandals twinkling above me. As I was swinging with every fiber of my being I stalled for a moment to capture an internal snap shot. In front of me was Lady Liberty standing ever so stolidly in the moonlight with Ellis Island in her moon lit shadow as the resonance of my friends laughter echoed through the hollow tree lines of the island.
There is more to this marvelous story, but guess you’ll just have to take a seat on my front porch and get cozy in the rocking chair next to me to find out it’s ending. This night was a night I stepped back with open arms and welcomed a single moment that will forever be embedded in this ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book of my life. Sometimes life takes us to dead ins. Sometime it takes us through dark corridors and winding hallways towards our dreams. Sometimes life rams us smack dab into people that alter and better the course of our adventure. And sometimes we just swing towards the moon….
Lately a lot of things have made me think, sending me into that pensive mist of wondering why I trust a bus to fly in the sky and take me from place to place or why people think it’s okay to display their pajama pants in public, even if it does have a guy playing polo on them. But I don’t ponder on these mysteries today. Today is not my day to share about the bits of thoughts that churn about. Today I simply share with you humiliation.
Once upon a time I was a youth leader for a church in Austin, working with high school kids. My role was to become their mentor, someone they could count on when they needed a shoulder or a good laugh just for laughs sake; they ended becoming those very things to me. A perk of this “job” was that a majority of my time was spent on the lake, one of my favorite places on earth.
I am a particularly entertaining tuber given the fact that I lose all ability to hold on as soon as it starts going because I am rendered helpless by laughter. Well this one day I am tubing with 8 high school boys, 1 high school girl and 1 dude youth leader. We decide to stop in front of the HUGE rope swing on Lake Austin. This thing is truly a beast. You have to clear a boulder before you can go splashy splash in the lagoon below.
If you know me well, you know my sense of adventure and awesome responsiveness to adrenaline kicked in and reason went to hell in high water. I decide that I will just go off the lower boulder and have a nice simple dismount into the water. Well lower boulder wasn’t good enough. I needed to surmount the big guy. So now it’s time for all of us to go for our 2nd jumps. I climb up to the top of the second boulder, take a deep breath of confidence and let my inner Jane free. What happened instead was that I let a little bit too much of Jane go.
You see I had to grip the rope super tight to make sure that when I reached the lowest point I didn’t buckle so I could clear the boulder. When the rope swing took me so blissfully into the tree tops, something else occurred. As my body began to turn towards the rocks and my elbows straighten my swimsuit top began to to rise as well.
I hit the peak of the swing with my jumbly bits brandishing all about while facing 8 high school boys waiting their turn for their next jump. I tried my very best to put all my goodies together as I descended into the brisk Lake Austin water hoping maybe no one noticed. Right before my cannon ball of shame I hear Creston shout “MARDI GRAS!!” from the rocks. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so focused on the boulders below but on the ones that popped out to say hello.
From May thru July I threw a series of events for Bacardi. After weeks upon weeks traveling to 10 different cities, I became a wizard at making and drinking said drinks. It must be noted, this sort of wizard does not wear a cheesy hat. They wear knitted halter tops and Haviana flip flops; the ones with heels. I can also spot a raunchy mojito from a mile away. Well, at least a straw away.
So I was throwing a party in Chicago at this joint called the Evil Olive. I always love throwing parties in Chi-town because I get to see Taylor and Jared, and of course dance with Jared as Taylor stands to the side swaying his hips to the “beat”. And to the left…to the right…attaboy Taylor. The party was a success and K-Rob, myself and our Chicago team begin to wrap up the event. My team being Ruben, Speed, Biz and Demo.
After the event K-Rob and I were going to go to the Violet Hour to get us a schnazzy adult beverage and unwind. Ruben, Speed, Biz and Demo quickly thwart those plans. They informed me that THEY would be taking us out to see THEIR Chicago. I put down my cucumber gin gimlet in succession.
The boys take us to Divine in Wicker Park. We walk into this awesome hood club and I am immediately approached by this huge dude. He’s a rapper named Really Doe and is on Kanye’s label. I had met him in March at SXSW and he remembered me. Here is where the looks begin. He walks up and gives me a nice embrace. We chit chat for a bit and then I move towards the back in my bright yellow dress, big gold necklace and black patent leather high tops towards the DJ who was next to the lady with the large ass shaking her bidness in a cage. I couldn’t help but to think about how many calories she must burn. If you could measure calories in buckets, I’d say she sweated out about 4.75 buckets worth of cals.
The DJ is playing good sounds and keeps giving these hilarious shout outs the entire time. ”What what, it’s LaNeisha’s birthday…….What what, $2 Long Island Iced Teas!!” As the DJ is doing his thing, Ruben keeps popping bottles of champagne and sending them our way. Keep in mind I am the only white person up in this piece. Swag surfin comes on and Speed shows us the ways. K-Rob then became obsessed. DJ comes back on with his shout outs. ”What what, buy LaNeisha a drink…..what what, buy 1 get 1 free….” In the midst of the shouting I hear something in the hood wind. The DJ pipes over the mic…”what what, I SEE YOU WHITE GURL…” as I raise my glass of champage in my beacon of whiteness and yellow dress. People laughed and pointed. I resumed white person dance with side step and slight shoulder shrug. It was a night for the books.
It’s the simple things that really make my day. Here I am. Sitting on the subway. Tapping my right foot. Thinking about how it smells a little like the person who was sitting where I was just ate a falafel. And there I see her. This sweet little gem that made my day.
My best friend from high school, Susannah Lipsey, would go with me to Post Oak Mall in College Station, Texas and we’d sit outside the food court and watch people pass by. We made up a game. The game was to find what animal people looked like. We knew how to blissfully entertain ourselves. Becca, Susannah’s sister, labeled me a 3 toed sloth. Thanks Becca. That’s specail. Must be fun being a wart hog. I kid. She’s an earth worm.
So this day, my sweet lil gem is sitting across from me holding her goods tightly and peering around at everyone nervously in her hosiery and SAS sandal combo. I had to hide my smirk because a comet of awesomeness struck me with blunt force and goes…”you’ve found her animal” in a deep baritone comet voice. Lil miss paranoid was none other than the wife of Splinter from the Ninja Turtles movie. Not the cartoon. If you don’t know the movie, you won’t laugh. You’ll just be royally confused. Sad you’ll be missing out on laughter. Now google Splinter.
Today my dear friend Jess Rotter sent me an instant message stating “I’m gonna STAB u later”. Yes. Stab. So in response to this message I googled a picture of a shank. Instead what came up was a picture of this lovely woman who goes by the name of Mrs. Shank.
Jess believes I have a silent power alter ego that withholds information purposefully. Maybe, it’s that I like to make people work properly to gain access to the wellspring of information I have whirl pooling around my head. Nonetheless, this is now the new name of my apparent alter ego. I’d like to introduce you to Mrs. Shank. Now smile for the camera big girl…
It was midnight and I was standing in the waiting line to go through security at the Phoenix airport for the red eye flight back to New York. I had just finished throwing the 3rd FADER/Bacardi party in a row and was super tired and ready to sleep in my bed. Given the frequency I travel, I have quite the system for checking in and going through security. It’s clockwork. Little did I know this day would be different.
I place my stuff on the trays on the conveyor belt, go through the metal detector with flying colors and wait for my goods to emerge on the other side. Not sure where they find their midnight shift security at the Phoenix airport but these guys are, how do I put this, detailed. The man, who had this odd New Orleans meets West Coast accent, informs me that they need to check my bag because my jewelry looks weird. I told him it was just because my bobbles were awesome and if wanted to see them, he need just ask. I start to get annoyed and am ready to just get on the plane and begin my hours of discomfort. I was sitting in a “non-reclining” seat. 9F. Awesome. Yay.
I begin to gather my stuff and as I walk away the airport security duder shouts at me. This is how the conversation went…
mr. airport security of the year 2009: miss!! miss!!
me: (insert annoying look)
mr. airport security of the year 2009: miss!! your pannnies!
me: (insert look towards my lady part to make sure my panties aren’t all over the place)
mr. airport security of the year 2009: your pannnnies!!!
me: EXCUSE ME MISTER??? (laughter begins)
mr. airport security of the year 2009: you forgot your pannnnies.
me: what the….
mr. airport security of the year 2009: miss, your pannnnnies (as he points to 3 PENNIES in my tray).
me: OH!!!!!!!! (as I double over with laughter and disappear into airport terminal haze)
Last Monday I attended a funeral for our dear friend Glenda Cole. She was one of those types of people that became part of your family. Someone you expected to grace your doorstep in the best and worst of family moments. For those that do not know Glenda, she was my mother’s keeper. You see, Marilyn Youngkin has what we call a fear of being home alone. She hates it. So, whenever my dad goes out of town on a hunting trip, Glenda packs her “Going to Grandma’s” suitcase and stays at the Youngkin Inn. Papa will leave money for them to go to fun dinners and movies while he is out of town. Starting to sound like a friendship retreat. She loved my mom and our family.
You always knew you could count on Glenda. When I called her up the week of Chi Omega’s halloween party Owl-O-Ween and asked her if she could make a gigantic Frosted Flakes box, she did so without hesitation. And yes, that would mean my date was a Frosted Flakes Box and I was Tony the Tiger. She helped out with all of those school projects my parents couldn’t quite wrap their creative fingers around. They’d send us marching to Glenda’s. And when I suddenly got a fear of Zarape’s, my family’s mexican food post-church sunday glutton delight, they would drop me off at Glenda’s and go anyways. Just so you know, the fear was created due to David Nobles telling me there were worms in my beans and me throwing up said beans on the table. I refused to step foot back in that place. Glenda took me in. My parents tarried on without me.
The best story of Glenda being there for our family was when my family left me at the gas station in Tyler, Texas on Christmas night on our way to my grandmother’s funeral. Glenda kept watch on the house and dogs while we attended MeMe’s funeral. I’ll spare you the details, but my family straight up left me at a gas station. After about 10 minutes alone at the gas station I realize they are not coming back for me and take action. I walk out in the freezing cold to the pay phone and make a collect call to my parents cell phone to tell them they are nunu heads and if they turned around they would notice I was not in the back seat. Collect calls cannot be made to cell phones. Operator refers to me as an abandoned child. Plan B emerges - I call Glenda at the house and inform her of my lil sitch and tell her to go upstairs and get on our “Teen Line” and call my parents to report their missing child. They had gotten 35 miles away before Glenda was able to inform them of their, uhh humm, mishap. Thank the Lord for Glenda.
Glenda is going to be deeply missed. I think it’s going to hit us all most at the Christmas Eve service when we’ll be looking for her to fill the church with candles and poinsettias and then make me go around with her at the end to blow them all out. I’ll miss her and her awesomely large Elton John-esq glasses which she took the liberty to bedazzle them bad boys herself. Rightly so, she was burried with them on and will be resting in style. I can imagine the look on St. Peter’s face seeing her walking up to the Pearly Gates with Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” resonating throughout the Heavens….and fittingly I can imagine her witty response. As sad as I am to have had to say goodbye to our friend, I am so thankful that she did not suffer more than a week with her cancer. That she was taken quickly and with little pain. I’d rather her non-suffering any day to my lack of a “goodbye”. We will all get to remember her as fiesty, witty, artistic and one of the most loving and giving people we’ll ever meet.
Death is interesting. I sat at in my office in New York with tears dripping on my desk for hours upon hearing the news from my mom shortly after her passing. But in the midst of it all, death is a great reminder of love. We can go thru this life trying to avoid pain and lacking in close intimate relationships to avoid sadness, but it’s the pain that reminds us of love. It reminds us that we have people in our lives who have meant so much to us, that the thought of their simple smile not being around anymore breaks our hearts. But I’d rather live with the pain of loving than the pain of having nothing. I’d rather live knowing I loved with a big and open heart and that upon the passing of each great life, the beautiful pain of their absence as a reminder of the great history they’ve created in my life. Glenda Cole will forever be part of my history and the history of many.
For some reason she loved butterflies. My mom always gave her a butterfly something or another for every birthday. And every birthday Glenda loved it. So, next time I get a glimpse of a gorgeous butterfly (which will likely be when I’m not in NYC) I’ll imagine Glenda hand painting each one and sending new and more beautiful butterflies our way as a reminder of her presence. Glenda, you will be missed but thru our unending stories of your greatness, you’ll never be forgotten.
This halloween, we attended Vice Magazine’s 15 year anniversary party. It was held at a warehouse located 2 blocks away from our apt. Justin and I had a few people over to our place beforehand, which somehow turned into 30 people prancing about our place in their costumes. Sort of the norm for our abode.
The Vice party reminded me of those underground clubs in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle the movie…the non-animated movie. Quicksilver came and built a skate ramp and there was small hipster skater boys going back in forth on the pipe. Thanks to our “skip the line” wristbands we got in fast. Unfortunately for the 1000 in line waiting…they had to wait their turn.
The party had a 1994 theme to it. I was Tonya Harding and spent a total of $6 - which was the purchase of the “club” (a pipe from a hardware store) to beat knees all night. While at the party I ran into a Nancy Karrigan who asked me to take a photo with her beating her knee (pic above). Justin and Darius were Kris Kross. They got corn rows in their hair at an awesome african american beauty parlor - that was after they were denied by 6 before 1 agreed to do their hair. Justin’s hair wasn’t long enough so the lady gave him 3 little extensions on each side which resulted in a total of 6 corn row bangs. I couldn’t walk I was laughing so hard.
Highlight costumes from the party: the new years eve ball (1994 of course) and a building, Pee Wee Herman, R Kelly, Wayne’s World and Pulp Fiction characters EVERYWHERE.
It was one of those halloweens I’ll remember for a life time. Somewhere in a warehouse in Brooklyn. Dancing my ice skating derelict heart out.
It was a beautiful day in Brooklyn. My friend Jess Rotter and I were on a usual walk around the hood (the kind where she shouts in my window and asks if i want coffee) with Stella to grab some of the best coffee in the world from my favorite polish joint Euro Cafe. It was just one of those rad fall days were you inhaled the cool air extra long - so long you risk getting a crisp yellow fall leaf lodged in your rib cage. Who cares, it was pretty. I say to my friend Jess…”it’s pretty, let’s go upstate.” She agreed. We scooped up my old danish roommate Caroline Mie Hansen who was visiting us from Denmark and away we went in the Jeep. We hit the 87 N to Mountainville, NY where there is a sculpture garden called Storm King.
Storm King cannot be fully described. It’s one of those places that needs to be experienced. for a new yorker, just being out of the city is rejuvenating, but to wander a field and see interesting sculptures, coffee in hand, with good friends….it just doesn’t get better than that. It’s the stuff that satiates a tired city soul. I could go on and on about this place, but if you want to know the true deets check it out here: http://www.stormking.org/
On our way home we pass a silly looking flea market type sign that says “Wine Tasting”. We laugh and drive on. about 1/2 a mile away, a make a u-turn telling my friends we had car troubles. Our car troubles were my curiosity getting the best of me. We enter the parking lot for the vineyard, a typical process, yet somehow this one was more like entering a 3rd dimension. We got the biggest laugh out of the gift store which had items on sale like hats that said: “how merlot can you go”. It was amazing. we then proceeded outside with our new bottle of wine, cheese/meat platter (aka prosciutto wrapped around a pretzel) to the live band outside and locals ready to get down. This band was exactly what we needed. It was a band called Groovy Tuesdays that played music from: The Beatles, Crosby Stills and Nash, Americas, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and much much more. There was a 77 year old woman that just danced her little heart out. She goes to me…”you ever seen a 77 year old move like this?” Nope. I was inspired.
I’ll have to admit this was one of the better days in my life. I believe I bursted with “I’m so happy” about 100 times. I live for days like this. Happy and cramped from laughter.
My dear friend Rebecca Silverstein, who I call REBA, asked me to drive her to COSTCO so she could get new contacts on the cheap. Keep in mind, going to COSTCO in Brooklyn is like when old ladies throw bread crumbs for the pigeons and they all come at once; dive bombing for a crumb. Why, must they do that?
So we go to COSTCO, top off Jeep. Reba gets her contacts and we march our merry feet towards the parking lot pondering which song we’ll sing next in the car. Our plans were quickly thwarted when I open up the car door and eject from the car immediately when I saw what was waiting for me. Without even knowing what was going on, Reba stood in the handicapped space next to our spot screaming. Anyone who knows me well, knows this is where my laughter began.
Lil birdie and I have a moment with one another. I look at the bird and the bird looks up at me and goes…”ummm, not a tree?” - “nope birdie, not a tree.” I did everything I could to get the bird out of the car but couldn’t. I tell Reba to get in the car and that maybe it’ll just fly out. Insert more banshee like screams. Apparently ole Reba has a fear of birds. An old man walks up to the scene of me crying I’m laughing so hard and Reba screaming b/c this bird may or may not decide to choke her with it’s lil birdie grip. He releases the bird, tells us we’re cute and gives us a business card. Hmmmf?
Reba and I jump in the Jeep and for about the next 10 minutes both sobbed with laughter. It was hard to even drive I was laughing so hard. Such fear ole Reba Joy had of this lil bird. I have a greater feeling birdie was the one struck with fear; the teeth chattering kind. Fly bird fly…