Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
At one point last night, I started to write down conversations that were happening at different ends of the Thanksgiving table. My favorites include my mother discussing her cleaning lady's immigration classes, Uncle Greg explaining to me how Sylvia Plath killed herself, who exactly "this Tyler Perry" is and my brother and his friends recreating their roles from their 8th Grade musical, Guys and Dolls.
I never found my documentary on the hardships of Pilgrim life, although the more I brought it up, the more I yearned to know the horrible, disgusting details of these brave men and women in search of religious freedom. Once again, and much to the "I'm such an intellectual, I'm out of touch with the conveniences of modern life" horror of my family, I found all I need to know on Wikipedia.
Here. See for yourself.
There isn't a section on "Hygiene" as obviously, I'd prefer, but we do get to read all about married life and the first Thanksgiving. Get a load of this: "During the first winter in the New World, the Mayflower colonists suffered greatly from diseases like scurvy, lack of shelter and general conditions on board ship. 45 of the 102 emigrants died the first winter and were buried on Cole's Hill. Additional deaths during the first year meant that only 53 people were alive in November 1621 to celebrate the first Thanksgiving. Of the 18 adult women, 13 died the first winter while another died in May. Only four adult women were left alive for the Thanksgiving."
First of all, that's pretty brazen to think it's a good idea to go live in the unbroken wilderness with 101 people for the rest of your life. Imagine it. "Oh, hey guys. So we found this huge chunk of land in the middle of this ocean. It sucks here. Wanna go live there. We'd have to, you know, build everything."
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Beth: Geez, that's a lot of leeks, Daddy.
Dad: I know! It seems like a lot. Even the lady at Safeway said it's the most leeks she's ever seen one person buy. (Pause.) Of course, it was the retarded lady at Safeway..."
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
...DROPPED THE TURKEY.
Said turkey was sitting in her Zip-locked brine bath, but she bathes no more. There was screaming, swearing. I thought he'd cut himself. Badly.
The mess is cleaned up, the turkey's back in the fridge and my poor father is at Safeway at 10pm on the night before Thanksgiving buying turkey brine.
My mother pointed out that Safeway is probably packed with people all holding one item. "And they're all pissed off."
We made a list of the "thing" kin is often dispatched to purchase, the lone forgotten ingredient missing from an otherwise overflowing kitchen.
Ah, the holidays. I have never celebrated a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or for that matter Easter, that did not involve my brother and I being sent to buy vanilla extract and Saran Wrap at inconvenient times.
In good news, my recent obsession with vintage Burberry trench coats based upon THIS genius ad campaign and digging through the hall closet has paid off in the offering of not one, but two vintage Burberry options. Lo many years ago, my parents were cogs in the FiDi, both of them trudging through the high-paced corporate trenches in designer, foul-weather trenches. My father's is old and ratty, the pockets have holes in them and I think it's still wet from the great storm of '84. My mother's is much newer, fits perfectly and is immaculate. I found a ticket stub from 4 years ago in the pocket, thus proving she's moved on.
I've rolled the sleeves, I've adjusted the collar. The Art of the Trench will be making it's way to my ghetto neighborhood this winter. That is, provided we don't have anymore turkeys making a break for it.
My God, the screaming...it's already started. I really think we should save that kind of dramatic family dynamic for the guests tomorrow...
My family is also very much partial to the "Cash is King" conversation over Thanksgiving Dinner, although my Uncle Ted (whom I love very much) won't be there to tell me how I have too much capitalist, unnecessary, classist crap. My brother's best friend John will be carrying that mantle for us this year. I wonder how many times he'll pull his "I was in the Peace Corps" card. My money's on lucky number 7.
There's not a lot to say when someone pulls the "I was in the Peace Corps" card because while he was in the Peace Corps, I was at the Gap. None the less, I can't reach for the Ravenswood this year so here's hoping we avoid any talk of socialized health care, bailouts or when there'll be a little grandchild running around.
I'm about to leave work soon to get my nails did, purchase the hors d'oeuvre I'm responsible for and help my mother color-coordinate everything. Word on the street is that she is going with the very "statement making" black tablecloth this year. Also, we have a Star Wars turkey as my brother seems to have procured a bird from his employer, the details of which I didn't obtain, nor do I particularly care about.
I hope to update you periodically with Spotsgiving-isms because, quite frankly, this is my only form of therapy...
Monday, November 23, 2009
Because of recent abductions in daylight hours, refresh yourself of these things to do in an emergency situation...
This is for you and for you to share with your wife, your children, everyone you know. After reading these 9 crucial tips, forward them to someone you care about. It never hurts to be careful in t his crazy world we live in.
1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do:
The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!
2. Learned this from a tourist guide.
If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you. Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit, doing their chequebook, or making a list, etc. (Chicks, man.) DON'T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun (heh) the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat, they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.
5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor and in the back seat. (I totally do this. What I would do if I saw someone crouched in the back is beyond me.)
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars. (Most serial killers in movies, that is. And books written by Thomas Harris.)
IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. And better paranoid than dead. (It is also more fun and interesting to be paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT! (Except that the next episode of Oprah tell you to always park as far away as possible and always take the stairs because it burns calories. Thin = dead, apparently.)
7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern! (And like a crazy person, don't forget. All I can see is myself running down a deserted alley in a zig zag pattern, much the way I ski.)
8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked 'for help' into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim. (No one has EVER accused me of trying to be sympathetic. Although, I have to admit if I saw a guy in a cast trying to load a loveseat into a van, I'd instantly know he was a serial killer.)
9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird.. The police told her "Whatever you do, DO NO open the door." The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, "We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night. (What the FUCK? This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard.)
10. Water scam! (I thought you said 9 crucial tips?)
If you wake up in the middle of the night to hear all your taps outside running or what you think is a burst pipe, DO NOT GO OUT TO INVESTIGATE! These people turn on all your outside taps full ball so that you will go out to investigate and then attack. (Okay, I take that back. THIS is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Crying babies? Sprinkers? What if your Christmas lights suddenly come on or all of your garden gnomes explode at the exact same time?)
This e-mail should probably be taken seriously because the Crying Baby Theory was mentioned on America 's Most Wanted when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana. (So, you know...)
I'd like you to forward this to all the women you know.
It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle. (What the hell does that mean?)
I was going to send this to the ladies only, but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc., you may want to pass it onto them, as well. (If you don't love your mothers and sisters, tell them to take the stairs.)
Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it's better to be safe than sorry. (I feel like these helpful tips lose credibility when they end with bitching about all of the "crazies" out there. I get the feeling they're talking about Democrats and homosexuals.)
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Nothing makes me more nervous that Gavin Newsom in a really, really bad mood. The best/worst part of this interview is when Channel 5's Hank Plante accuses Gavin of having temper tantrums.
Ha! Says Gavin. That's "beyond laughable."
And then he kinda has a temper tantrum.
He might as well have kicked a chair over and screamed, "Temper tantrums? That's fucking bullshit! Fuck you! Fuck ALL of you!"
I was with cranky, eyeroll, moody Gavin all the way until Hank finally asks about the budget, which we know the Mayor really wants to talk about because he's all about "tomorrow." And by the time CBS Hank finally gets around to asking, "Okay, okay. So, this budget..." Gavin was like, "Ugh, I don't even wanna talk anymore. Yeah, it's a big budget? Are we motherfucking done?"
Also, who is Gavin looking at over there on the side? I could not feel worse for that guy. I have been the employee that gets the, "Thanks a lot, dipshit" look from my boss and it is not a good feeling.
Why, I wonder, did the Mayor even agree to an interview?
I'd just like to point out, if the Mayor was a woman, someone would ask if he was on his period. Because I don't get what he's so mad about. I need examples of this questionable reporting.
Here. This'll make you love him again...
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Here's what I'm watching these days:
The Biggest Loser
Tim the Trainer got me hooked on The Biggest Loser. I used to roll my eyes at this show because it struck me as both stupid and too close to home. Turns out, it's fucking fabulous. Trainers Gay Bob and Icy Gillian are all well and good, but the real glory of this show comes in the form of humiliating challenges for the contestants. I mean, the producers work in cupcakes and spandex. Also, everytime these folks have to weigh in, they're forced into bikeshorts and sports bras. And Gillian, whom I love to hate, does this thing where she'll come up to someone in the middle of some really intense cardio, lean on the treadmill as they sweat all over the place and ask, "So, what's it like to be raped by your uncle when you were 4?" She's all about confronting demons. It's sick. That being said, if anyone wants to send me to The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge, I'll gladly write about it. Fitness Ridge, by the way, is the actual Native American name given to the region. What a coincidence!
Parks and Recreation
The absolute best reason to watch this show is Aziz Ansari. Right?
The AMAZING Race
This is the most accurately named television show in history. It IS amazing. It's fucking amazing. As I've mentioned before, I am hell bent on getting on this show with my brother. I think Alex and I could take this thing. I've been a little bummed since Team Asperger got eliminated, so right now I'm rooting for the Globetrotters, whose names are apparently Big Easy and Flight Time. I love how the Amazing Race gives the team little captions as we watch them race around the globe. For example, Sam and Dan are sometimes captioned as, "Dan and Sam: Gay Brothers." Because they're brothers. And they're gay. Also, what country is Phil from? He has the most random accent ever.
Everyone's watching Glee. Everyone. For Sue Sylvester. Sometimes, it takes the bombardment of weekly television to really drive someone's talent home. Jane Lynch has been in movies for years, but suddenly, Sue Sylvester (and her retarded sister, OMG!) is the hottest ticket in town. I love her! And I love the gay! And I love Puck. OBVIOUSLY. Last week was the absolute best episode ever (wheelchairs and retarded people? Oh yeah...) so tomorrow night has a lot to live up to. Can. Not. Wait.
Really, it's quite a glamorous life I've got goin' on...
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Many thank to the fabulous folks at Rye who made me my own mocktail, the Beth 2.0! Apparently, the terribly clever were ordering a Beth 1.0, which is the above with vodka. And thank you to SF Citizen's Jim for already covering the Soberversary right HERE.
I have to admit, I was terrified to read my story. The fabulous Mark Leno spoke beautifully, Melissa introduced me and then, the next thing I knew I was standing on this leather ottoman thing and sharing the intimate and dicey details of my treatment for alcohol addiction. The story I read, "Rehab Jesus" isn't something I'll publish here, mainly because it's part of a book (!) I'm working on (very slowly.) It's a really personal, hopefully funny story about the night I fully, completely lost it in rehab. And when I did my myriad of practice reads for my friends and my bathroom mirror, I was really nervous. Like, shaking nervous. And I was certainly scared shitless standing on that leather ottoman thing. But I have to confess, it was really, really fun. And when I finished my (admittedly long) story, my myriad of friends went nuts.
As I mentioned in "Rehab Jesus", you've got to take the moments when the universe provides them. I had a packed house giving me a standing ovation. I had to take my moment. I actually reconsidered it for half a second and then thought, "Fuck it."
I deep the deep bow, the arms-extended curtsy. I did the huge, Evita air kisses to all ends of the bar. I milked that applause like crazy and I make no apologies. It was my montage moment. In my crazy-person, Precious-esque fantasy world, that moment standing on the ottoman in front of all of my friends would be edited to my hella gay Soberversary song with images and video from the past year, like me hiking through the hills around rehab or crying in group cut with me and my big curtsy a year later. Ridiculous? Perhaps. I don't really care. If you went a year without drinking, you'd get through it by occasionally visualizing your life as a Nora Ephron film too. Whatever it takes, right?
Monday, November 16, 2009
Doesn't that sound dramatic!?!
I can assure you that it was. And so here, on the one-year anniversary of my sobriety, I’ll tell you about that day because quite frankly, you've earned it.
I spent the night before at my parents’ house, a duffel bag at the foot of the bed and a glass of wine on the nightstand beside me. I’d had my last martinis with Hastings at Mill Valley’s Balboa Café and needless to say, I did not sleep a wink.
Very much like sleep-away camp, I was emailed a list of things to bring with me. A toothbrush? Yeah, I got it.
I’d gone to the Gap Body the day before and purchased what I deemed a “rehab outfit” of blacks and greys. I had lots of sweaters one could wrap around oneself as Sandra Bullock had done in the film, 28 Days. But as I got closer and closer to actually checking in, I didn’t care about the toothbrushes or the sweaters or the gigantic Queen size down comforter and coordinating pillows I got to take with me. I stopped caring about the fabulous magazines my friends had packed me and I didn’t care about the journals my family in Pennsylvania had mailed me, where I’d write down my funny stories and chronicle my courageous struggle.
On that morning, I really, really, really would have done anything not to go.
My parents and I got in the car at 11:30am and I don’t really remember if we talked that much on the hour and a half drive to St. Helena. It was horrible. Just imagine it. My parents had to drive their 30-year old daughter to fucking rehab. We finally got there and parked right in front. I think someone said, “Here we go.” It’s all a bit of a blur. Honestly, that drive and that moment of arrival were so painful, I kinda want to stop trying to remember.
I do remember walking up the stairs of St. Helena Hospital and to the front desk of the rehab unit, where we were met by my favorite counselor, Jim. “Well look who showed up!” He yelled at us.
My mother tried to laugh. I thought my father was going to have a heart attack. He didn’t know where to look or what to say. Jim kept talking. “I have worked here for 20 years and I have never seen anyone bring this much stuff. Leave it here. You need to go downstairs to the business office and register.”
Rehab, just like everything else in America, is a business. It costs as much as a Ford Escort. Jim called downstairs and assured us someone would be up in a moment to escort us. It is in moments like these that God always tries to make the situation a little bit worse, just to drive the point home. Much to my horror, the guy that came to escort us to the business center was gorgeous. He was just my age, preppy, cute and speaking very softly as he asked me about my emergency contacts and how I’d like to be paying. My emergency contacts peeked their heads into the business office and passed me a credit card.
“You guys can go back upstairs now.” He said. “Do you want me to walk you?”
“NO!” I screamed it more than I meant to, but no. I did not need Jim Halpert to see any more of me on the worst day of my life.
Back upstairs we went, to Jim at the front desk. “Okay, my dear. Paperwork is good.” He looked up at us and smiled. “Mom and Dad, let’s get this over with. We don’t like the family to hang out. We’re going to need you to leave.”
My mother, my father and I all started to pretend not to cry.
“She’ll be running this place before you know it.” Jim said. “You say your goodbyes and I’ll go rent a moving van to transport everything Beth owns.”
The moment before I had to hug my parents goodbye was worse than actually hugging them goodbye. But the entire experience was sad and horrific and emotional. We hugged, we cried and they left.
I have no idea how they handled their drive home, but I hope they went and got a drink.
The absolute first thing that happened, now that I was all alone and officially in rehab, was that Jim said, “Let’s take your picture!”
I thought he was kidding. But no, they take one’s picture as a means of keeping track of who’s who. So with tears streaming down my face and onto my Gap Body rehab ensemble, Jim made me stand next to elevators while he took a Polaroid.
Instinctively, I smiled.
Next, I went into this small, private office with Jim where he asked me a million questions. Like, how much I drink, what I drink, do I do drugs, what drugs… and he kept saying, “I’ve heard everything. You can’t shock me. Just tell me the truth.”
So I did. I was really honest about what I was drinking and how much, which was everything and constantly. And I managed to convince him that I wasn’t into drugs, which is true. I would much rather kill myself with a cocktail than anything else. Once we were done, a nurse came in and did a bunch of medical tests on me. They took my blood pressure (which was through the roof, I was so freaked out) and they gave me a blood test, where they apparently checked for “the works.” I was incredibly healthy, they said later, except for my liver. My liver was in really shitty shape.
Jim had asked me when I’d enjoyed my last drink (he may have put it differently) and as it was within 24 hours of my checking in, he decided I should head up to detox on the 4th Floor. I was told to hang out in the lobby for awhile and they’d let me know when my hospital room was ready.
I think I read magazines. The time seemed to fly because the next thing I knew, this big orderly had piled all of my luggage onto a wheelchair and instructed me to follow him. Detox is just like a regular part of the hospital. There were phones and TV’s, both of which were forbidden in rehab. I was given a hospital gown and told to watch TV until instructed otherwise. I was too much in shock and horror to really pay attention to anything. I remember I just kept thinking, “I’m not going to die.” I had to keep telling myself that (seriously, I really did) because I just could not imagine anything worse than where I was right then and I had no idea what would happen. I was absolutely terrified.
“I need to go through your things, honey.”
Yeah. They really search your stuff for drugs and booze. And it’s not a half-assed search, either. Everything was unfolded and then shaken, as if tiny bottles of Absolut would tumble onto the bed and my jig would be up.
“Alright, we’re done. You have so much stuff!” She smiled at me. “We’re going to give you some Librium. It works much the way that alcohol does in that it’ll take the edge off.”
She immediately handed me two pills and a cup of water, a la One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and I could not have been more delighted. “I’ll be here ‘till 8 and then Paul comes on for the overnight. We’ll give you Librium every 4 hours, but if you need more, just ask. I’m right down the hall. Here’s a menu. You can order whatever you want. Okay?”
I put my huge comforter over the bed and pulled the hospital gown over the Gap Body separates. I placed my magazines on the nightstand and called my brother from the bedside phone. I read him the hospital food menu and we decided I should order the chicken salad sandwich on a croissant, mainly because it came with couscous. I looked out the window and watched dusk hit the vineyards. (The Librium was kicking in.) I turned on the TV as my food arrived and sat on top of the bed, with one of those hospital dining table things in front of me and clicked the channels through to CNN.
Miraculously, I had managed to check into rehab on the 30th Anniversary of Jonestown. And CNN was giving this exciting and tragic mass suicide the full treatment.
That evening, in my own little hospital room, on what was a pretty goddamn horrible day, I slowly started to learn the first lesson of this journey.
Because I could not have been more thankful for CNN’s vintage coverage of Jonestown that night. Jackie Spear and her gunshot wounds discussing lying on a landing strip for 22 hours? Not only was this distraction fascinating, it kinda put my situation into perspective. And that was it. Day 1. November 16th, 2008. A year ago. Today…
If you’re around the City and County of San Francisco this evening, my (amazing, incredible, stunning and brilliant) friends will be helping me celebrate my Soberversary at Rye from 6-9. And I think I'm going to read a story (at around 7) about the night in treatment I had a total meltdown and tried to punch a hole in the wall! You are more than welcome to swing by and join us. In a bar. Gasp.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Dear whomever saw Precious at 9am this morning,
I love you.
Brock and I are going tonight and we invite to entirety of San Francisco to join us. Some people line up to see Harry Potter at midnight. Some people can't wait to watch a movie about a 16 year old impregnated by her father. It takes diff'rent strokes to rule the world and I'm happy my stroke involves Mo'nique's star turn...
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
But one cannot, I am horrified to report, listen to San Francisco police shit online.
With whom do I speak regarding this appalling and sad state of affairs? Who has a scanner or CB radio anymore? Not me. You know what I do have? A goddamn laptaop. And you know what I wanna do with it? Listen to the po po.
Don't my taxes pay for things like this kind of necessary transparency? This is San Francisco! Shouldn't our police force be equiped with the most up to date advances technology has to offer? Shouldn't I be able to be the 21st-century version of the old dude on the porch listening to the police scanner while widdling something handheld out of wood?
Can we get this on a ballot? I'll campaign the shit out of it, I swear. Until then, hello criminals of San Diego!
I will, however, be telling a story.
I love telling stories around the dinner table and across the cocktail table. But standing in front of a bunch of people and telling the story of the absolute worst experience of my time in rehab scares the shit out of me. Last night, I practiced in front of Melissa and The Brians and even then, standing before my closest friends, I was shaking.
So, if you'll be joining us on Monday night, and I really hope you do, please be kind. I'll be sharing "Rehab Jesus" which is the day that the rehab shit hit the rehab fan. I really hope people think this tale of woe is funny, although after I told it to Mel and The Brians, they were all teary, rubbing my shoulders, "Awww Bethy" at me.
And they'd heard it before.
I've been waiting a long time to share the juicy details of my 28 day adventure. So come hell or highballs, in front of 5 or 50, I'll spill. I can't get drunk anymore. I've got to get my kicks somewhere else. And a public performance of Rehab Jesus is pretty much the equivalent of base jumping as far as I'm concerned, so here goes!
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Monday, November 02, 2009
Before we hit Le Club, Brock came over to my house to get ready, bringing with him candy which we planned to pass out to the little children in my hood. I threw on a wig and a dress and painted Brock’s face for his “Deconstructed: Ghost.” We took an offensive amount of photos of ourselves and listened at the window for the pitter patter of tiny costumed feet. Each time Brock would hear a child, he’d race out the front door with a big bowl of candy. And every single time he did, the children would walk right past him. Brock was literally shoving candy in their faces and they rejected him.
Okay, the rejected us.
Those kids had no problem stopping next door, no problem hopping from house to house taking candy from everyone else. They simply had a problem with us. We ended up giving our candy to my neighbors who graciously accepted and implied that we were being rejected because the kids didn’t know us.
“Most people giving out candy on this block are old families that have been here for a long time.”
So basically, we’re snubbed by children on Halloween because we’re gentrifying the neighborhood. Fair enough, but it’s still free candy. We weren’t making (loud) razor blade jokes or anything. Don’t kids love candy? If yuppies were passing out free burrata on rustic bruscetta or salted caramel anything, I’d be all over it.
But Brock trying to give a 6-year old a Butterfinger? No thanks, enthusiastic man in a weird white outfit. We’ll pass…