Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Socks!

Okay, I made it. Everyone left this morning at about 4 am, and it’s back to just me and my parents (and the dogs) here in the house. The whole weekend was relatively painless, actually, though there were a few rough patches.

I was going to spend a paragraph writing about how annoying my Nanny was, but I just can’t do it. Something about the Christmas spirit is preventing me. So let’s just say that she annoyed the crap out of me, but now she’s gone, and everything is fine.

Christmas morning was nice. I got some money from my parents and Nanny, and a gift card and a magazine subscription (Women’s Health, which is cool) from my aunt. For some reason, though it’s been five and a half years since I graduated from college, my mother thought this would be the perfect year to get me lots of NYU-related stuff: t-shirts, a hat, and some decals for my car. It’s like I just graduated last year or something. She even got my dad a sweatshirt that says, “NYU Dad.” She claims I wouldn’t allow her to purchase these things when I was actually in school (which could be true), so she saw this year as the perfect opportunity. I think she was just trying to convince me that I don’t actually regret going to NYU in the first place. Apparently a few shirts will change my mind. We’ll see.

Christine comes on Friday. We weren’t supposed to get each other any gifts this year, but those promises never really work, so I got her just a little something. She says she’ll be getting me something, too, but I hope she doesn’t. I mean, it sounds completely corny, but Christine gives me so much all year (and the Dixie Chicks tickets were supposed to be my Christmas present anyway) that I just don’t see the need for her to give me something just because it’s a certain time on the calendar.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m pretty damn content in my life. I don’t need anything, and most of what I want has already been provided one way or another (like argyle socks, as you can see above). I have my complaints, but if I sit down and think about it, life is pretty awesome. And most of that is thanks to Christine. What other gift could she give me that would be better than that?

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Due to Popular Demand...

Ashlie requested a photo showing me with my new(ish) hair, so here it is. The other two, from left to right, are my cousins Nich and Erich. I don’t know how I feel about the hair, so you be the judge. Feel free to give me your honest opinions. I think I at least look fairly thin (with the exception of my hip area, which I’m working on), so I guess that’s good.

My mother’s mother, who is known (unfortunately for those of us who have to call her this--as per her request when she first became a grandmother) as “Nanny,” is arriving tonight in St. Louis. I don’t know how to explain how much I’m not looking forward to the next three days. Nanny is fine in small doses, but everyone is always set on edge when she is here. At least the boys will provide some sort of distraction, as she hasn’t seen either of them in about ten years.

I’ll let you know some of the gems from the conversations that occur while she’s here. They’ll be awesome, and will involve many criticisms and inappropriate questions. I can guarantee that there will be one hundred questions about my eating habits, my health, and my living arrangements (she doesn’t know about Christine, so there will be a lot of attempts to change pronouns from “we” to “I”). When I was younger, Nanny would send us packages on birthdays and Christmas, filled with items that we would never, ever use or wear. For instance, I can recall more than one ankle-length jean skirt being sent to me and my sister. And there were always odd food products, like cans of sardines (I think sometimes Nanny acted as though we were living through London in World War II, as she did, so she felt the need to send us foodstuffs to get us through). Finally, my mother had to ask her to stop sending packages. Our trash cans were getting mighty full every time she sent a box of “gifts.”

Maybe none of it sounds bad when it’s written out like this, but if you were here, trust me when I say you would understand the pain the other seven of us will be going through until we drop her off at the airport on December 26th.

If I had any hair left, I would probably rip it out.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Meant To Be

My parents’ 27th anniversary is tomorrow, and that’s just crazy. Twenty-seven years is a long damn time. Of course, my paternal grandparents have been married for fifty-eight years, so I guess that puts it in a bit of perspective.

They must be doing something right. And I think the good news is that, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I chose a relationship very similar to the one my parents have. So maybe that means something good for me and Christine. We’ll see.

When I was working on The Last Samurai in late 2002, I was a P.A. in the costume department. It was a big department, and all of the women (and one man) were awesome. One day, a woman everyone referred to as “Chrispy” came in to visit. She was apparently friends with all of these women. I only saw her from a distance, and so we never officially met. A year later, I met her when I started working in the costume department on Lemony Snicket, and a few months after that, we were dating. About six months into our relationship, I was showing her some pictures I had taken on The Last Samurai. One was of my friend Nancy holding a puppy that one of the extras had brought in to the shop. And guess who was in the background of that shot, talking with someone else? Miss Chrispy herself. I had a picture of my girlfriend a year before I ever met her. That’s creepy. And perhaps a little sign of fate.

I would never imply that Christine is perfect, because we all have our flaws, but I don’t have any doubts that Christine is perfect for me. And, dare I say it, I’m perfect for her. I’m never certain where I fall in the debate about fate vs. free will, but when it comes to Christine, given the way in which we met, a year after standing together in the same room, I’m pretty damn positive that we were meant to meet.

Those of you who don’t know Christine probably don’t know what it is that makes us work. Those of you who do know her probably wonder why someone as great as she is would ever bother to put up with me for so long. And I don’t know the answer to that, so you’ll have to ask her. To be honest, I’m also not entirely sure what makes us work. I asked Christine the other day if she thought we would look good on paper. Meaning, if someone actually took the time to describe each of us in detail, would anyone reading those descriptions think that Christine and I belonged together?

We never got around to figuring out the answer to that question, but I’ll say this: if we were to go by statistics and what we write down on paper, the Yankees would have won all the championships in the last six years (instead of NONE of them--ha!). But they don’t play ball games on paper. And it would be pretty boring if they did. The same goes for a relationship, as far as I’m concerned. Half the fun is not knowing what will happen next, and I’ve discovered that even if you really know a person well, there is always something surprising that can happen. Christine will do some pretty ridiculous things just to make me laugh, and I don’t see me ever getting bored by that.

If I had written that list three years ago and decided that Christine and I didn’t belong together, where would I be now? Where would Christine be? I guess it’s a good thing we gave it a shot. So maybe the thing about fate is that it only works to a certain point. Fate comes in and says, “Okay, here’s this person you should get to know. You figure it out from here,” and then heads out the back door. Maybe the really great thing about life is that we actually get to live it. And not just on paper.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My Dirty Mind

We’re doing a lot of home improvement here at my parents’ house. It’s normal for them to spend a lot of time and effort on every one of the houses they own, but this is extra important now because they’re selling the house and moving to Seattle in three months. So, we’re painting and repairing to make sure it looks perfect for the sale.

We’re doing some work in the bathroom today, where we are forced to use a product known as “caulk.” Perhaps you’re familiar with it. And if you are, then you know that it’s pretty hard to pronounce that word with the “L” in it. Which means it comes out sounding more like the way you would refer to a male rooster, or something way more vulgar.

The point being, sometimes the conversations involving this product are ridiculous. For instance, here is an actual exchange that just occurred with my mother, regarding how best to cover the area around the tub where she had just put a dollop of caulk:


Me: Don’t you want to use more caulk?

Mom: No, I think the finger works better than anything most of the time.


I can’t begin to tell you how hard it was for me to not respond with “That’s what she said.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blue Christmas

So, here I am in St. Louis, visiting the family. My parents are here, though they both work so I have spent the last two days alone with the dogs (my dog, Jack, and my parents’ dog, Elmo) in this freezing house. The good news is that my parents have a home gym, so I can at least work out. The bad news is that all I want to do while I’m here is eat. Let’s hope there’s a balance somewhere.

Christine is still in Los Angeles, and tomorrow she will be flying to San Antonio to spend Christmas with her mother. Then, on December 29th she will fly up to St. Louis to spend a week here, and we will drive back to L.A. together. It’s exactly the same thing we did last year, and it worked out well.

Of course, the inherent drawback is that I will not be with Christine on Christmas. Two years ago I flew back to L.A. on Christmas Day and arrived at about 8 pm (the picture above is of our apartment that year), but that’s the closest we’ve come to actually spending Christmas together, which pretty much sucks. We’ve been together almost three years now (March 17! Have a green beer in celebration of our anniversary!) so we are obviously absolutely committed to one another. We just have an issue with Christmas. I’ve never spent a Christmas without my parents, and I really don’t want to. Meanwhile, Christine’s mother doesn’t know I exist, so that presents a bit of a problem. This is not something that should reflect negatively on Christine, though. I won’t go into details because it’s not really my story to tell, but let’s just say that there are very compelling reasons for Christine’s mother to not know about us, and I’m fine with it.

A friend wrote in her blog entry today how she is happy to consider her girlfriend her immediate family and how they couldn’t imagine not spending Christmas together. I think there’s very little chance that this was some sort of dig at me, but it sure felt like one. Does us not spending Christmas together in the same state really make our relationship inferior? Does it mean that we don’t count as a family? I don’t think so.

Very soon (within the next two years if I have my way--and I usually do), Christine and I will have a kid. So that will add another layer to this mix. At that point, we will be a family in every conceivable definition of the word (unless, of course, the person defining us is a member of the Christian Right), and hopefully Christine’s mother will know about her own grandchild. About then, I’ll be complaining that we have too many places to spend Christmas together, and the issue will be deciding which grandparents get to see their granddaughter (the power of positive thinking--we really want a girl) first. Here’s to those days.

Meanwhile, I miss Christine. Ten days and counting.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Are You There God? It's Me, Erin.

Two major parishes in the Episcopal Church have broken off from the main group because, shockingly, the leaders of the Episcopal denomination have decided the best thing to do when claiming to be Christians is to actually BE like Christ. You know, trying to follow the actual tenets of the Christian religion, which, as I understand them, have a whole lot to do with love and acceptance.

But these two churches (and four other smaller ones who have done the same thing, plus six more who have voted to do it and two who are about to vote) don’t see things my way. In 2003, the Episcopalian church voted to allow a gay bishop to serve. Since then, all hell has broken loose in the Episcopalian/Anglican world. Churches are breaking free, parishioners are screaming, and because of this one gay bishop, hundreds of heterosexual marriages have ended. He’s destroying their families!

Okay, I’m obviously joking about that last part. But it’s not that far-fetched, is it? The Christian Right has a problem with homosexuality because it will destroy the sanctity of marriage. They really care about marriage. That’s why you hear so much about them fighting against the 50% divorce rate in this country. Oh, wait. I guess they’re only yelling about the gays.

I read this story on the news page on AOL, where they have a poll going. As of this writing, 150,816 people had voted on this question: “Do you think gay relationships violate Scripture?” The total is 67% voting yes, with 25% saying no, and 8% saying they’re not sure. So about 100,000 straight people (and maybe some self-hating gays) voted to throw the first stone from their glass houses.

I have no insight into this whole thing. I just don’t know what to think about the world when it presents things like this to me. There are things out there, like abortion or the death penalty, where I can say, “Okay, I don’t agree with you, but I hear where you’re coming from.” This gay thing is not one of those issues. It just doesn’t make sense to me, no matter how much I try to wrap my brain around it. Why is it such a big deal to be gay? Why do I find myself worrying sometimes that these people are right and that I will spend eternity in hell?

I don’t know what I believe anymore, though I was once convinced that I believed in God. The older I get, the worse things in the world get, and I find it harder and harder to believe that some benevolent power would just choose to let it all happen. But I think I really resist believing because as hard as it is to believe in the existence of an all-seeing, all-powerful being, it’s harder still to comprehend how these people who call themselves Christians can reconcile their beliefs. On the one hand, they preach that Jesus was about love and compassion and doing unto others. But on the other, they take one passage from Leviticus and use it to create an entire order of thinking. I’m sure you’ve all seen the letter to Dr. Laura regarding the selective way in which Christians tend to read the Bible, but it makes me laugh every time, so follow this link-- Dr. Laura letter.

Here’s the best part--the Episcopalian Church did a good thing in allowing gay people to be able to do the same things the straight bishops were doing. But now, the “Anglican spiritual leader,” Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has an idea of how to keep his church together. In an attempt to prevent any further splits, he wants to create a two-tier system. This means that any church that allows gays to be ordained will automatically be given a lower status in the church hierarchy. Good thing the church isn’t doing anything like judging people, because they believe that’s for God to do, right?