Lately I’ve been waxing nostalgic about my high school years. It’s been because of a couple of things. My 10-year reunion is this year. N. and I were planning on attending, but the committee didn’t get around to organizing the event until it was too late to have it during the summer. Instead of attending the reunion, E. and I are flying to Washington tomorrow to visit family. I’ve been making a mental list of the people I want to visit and the places I want to go. The other reason I’ve been feeling nostalgic is that last week was the birthday of my best friend from high school. Kristen would have turned twenty-nine, but she died five years ago.

We were pretty much inseparable during high school. Kristen was witty, kind, snarky, and curious. She was always up for anything: signing up together for taekwondo (and quiting after a month), riding scooters along the beach, renting foreign films, going to concerts, trying new ethnic restaurants, or going to West Coast Swing night at the local ballroom (and getting hit on by hicks). There were so many small events in our lives that we shared. And now that she’s gone, I’m the only one left who remembers these things. As far as the world cares, they might have never happened at all.

I’m the only one who remembers when she picked me up in her car at 16, a freshly-minted licensed driver, to go for a spin. I remember the sheer terror we felt as we realized she had mistakenly turned the wrong way onto the freeway off-ramp and how we collapsed in hysterical laughter as soon as we were safe again on the road.

I’m the only one who remembers how she gamely went along with me to draw silly pictures and write non sequiturs in chalk on the driveway of a crush’s house. And how we were surprised in the act by said crush and his mother driving home and how we ran away in a panic into the thick underbrush to escape apprehension and got all scratched up.

I’m the only one who remember the time we decided it would be fun to try and go sledding in a bare inch of heavy wet Pacific Northwest snow and how afterward we lay muddied on the soggy hill and talked about what we thought God was like.

Ever since we were high school freshmen and she first tried to take her life, the spectre of her death was always there, stalking her. Sometimes months or even years would pass and it would seemed like it had been banished, like she had escaped and would be free to live a normal life. But then something would happen, some banal trial of life or some emotional event known only to her, and it would become cruelly apparent that it had never left at all. And then one day her death took her away for good.

So going home for a visit is bittersweet for me. I’m reminded of Kristen almost everywhere I look: that infamous off-ramp, the coffee shop where we hung out and played at being sophisticates, the furniture store where we went couch shopping with her mom, the Big Tom’s drive-in we would stop at for shakes, the paths we would ride our bikes along. But now these places are changing. Trees have been torn down and new stores and houses built up in their stead. Life in my hometown stubbornly goes on without her and without me.

It makes me feel old. It makes me miss her.

Two Bits

Yesterday I got a haircut. I had planned to post before and after pictures of it today, but there was sadly little noticeable difference. It’s my own fault – I want to do something different with my hair but I’m not sure what to do yet. So yesterday I stalled and only got it trimmed. Does anyone have any good ideas? I need to find some pictures to take with me next time.

So here’s a picture of E. sleeping in his crib instead (I love how his hands are up by his head):

Also, I wanted to congratulate Marissa (a former college roommate of mine) on her engagement. Congratulations!


It looks like E. and I have picked up the same bad cold. I’m surpised by how fast it developed. Hopefully that means that it will be over soon. On Wednesday we were over visiting a friend who had recently had surgery and her baby was congested and had a drippy nose. I tried to keep E. away from her, but yesterday there were onimous signs: E. was overly tired and cranky and my throat was a little scratchy. Then this afternoon E. started randomly bursting into tears and my head felt like it’s stuffed to bursting with cotton. Being sick or having a sick baby is no fun by itself, but both at once can make me feel overwhelmed (and also whiny–did I mentioned whiny?). I’m grateful that at least it’s a holiday weekend and so will be around to help out. I have to admit that I miss the pre-baby luxury of taking a sick day and being able to sleep all day uninterupted.

I hope your weekend is better than mine is shaping up to be!

I’m the Decider!

So, we were recently selected to be a Nielsen family for a week. I don’t know how the selected us, but N. received a phone call asking him if we’d be willing to record our TV viewing for a week. Nielsen said we’d even get paid $30. We’re both kind of suckers for surveys and so N. agreed to do it. A couple of weeks later a envelope showed up containing a paper diary, instructions, and $30 in cash. We were both surprised when the $10 and $20 bills fluttered out of the envelope and onto the table. It just seemed odd–I thought they would send a check or send us the money after they received the journal. Nielsen: proud supporters of the honor system!

I sadly neglected to scan or take photos of the TV diary before we had to send it back. But this guy has scans of the diary if you’re interested. It was all very retro feeling. You’re supposed to write down the channel or call letters of the station you’re watching, the name of the program, and which members of the household are watching/listening to the show. The diary tracks things in by 15-minute increments. If you’re watching something that you recorded on a DVR, then you also have to write down when it originally aired. Yeah, it was kind of a pain.

Nielsen is really on the ball, though. The day we received the diary they called to see if we had any questions and then they called again to reminder us to mail the diary back on time. I think that Nielsen is probably pretty successful with getting the diaries returned due to the reminder phone calls and the guilt factor of having been paid in advance.

We only tracked the shows we watched for a week but writing everything down definitely got old after a few days. But the power was intoxicating! This was our chance to strike a blow for our pet shows that get low ratings. (You can thank me later, 30 Rock.) Other times, it was a little embarrassing to have to write down what I was watching (I’m looking at you, back-to-back episodes of The Dog Whisperer!)

Super Bowl Party

We went to a Super Bowl party at our friends Earl and Judi’s last night. E. was a trooper and his good humor lasted almost through the whole game. The game’s ending was pretty exciting. I really wanted the Giants to win (or more accurately, I wanted the Patriots to lose) but like most of the country, I didn’t think it would happen. Historic record or no, there’s been something very off-putting to me about the Patriots this year ever since Spygate. They were never apologetic and they acted way too entitled for my tastes. But the Giants? C’mon! Eli Manning looks like he’s still in high school and he often acts that way, pouting and throwing up his hands in exasperation.

But you have to give him credit. He really got it done in the 4th quater. Way to go Eli! Now maybe Archie will love you as much as Peyton!