A semi-Jewish girl at Christmastime

December 9, 2008 at 6:43 pm (Uncategorized)

December is a good time for me. First, there’s Back Fence PDX tomorrow night. And all of you should buy tickets because its going to be George-Clooney-in-his-underpants-amazing.

The second reason why December is  great: my BIRTHDAY. Its the day after Christmas, which was rather difficult for me growing up as an only child, because I couldn’t understand why all of MY friends had to be with their families on MY birthday and that they couldn’t come to MY party. This is  MY day,  I would think to myself while sharing my birthday cake with my stuffed animals and weeping. Well, to make up for those lonely birthdays, I have decided that this December will be my birthday MONTH. Which brings me back to my first point, Back Fence PDX. You all have to come to it, if only to wish me a happy birthday month or else I might regress into dismal memories of childhood birthdays spent alone you will find me clutching a stuffed rabbit in an alley somewhere, eating cake and weeping. Do you really want that? Have you seen how big and glossy my eyes get when I’m weeping? Buy tickets now.

Thirdly, December is great because Hanukkah is (usually) in December. And I’m kinda-sorta-almost Jewish. True, my mother is technically a Catholic, and my father, while born into a Jewish family, is a self-proclaimed Atheist. But I had a Bubby growing up who pinched my cheeks. When people come to my house, I force food upon them until they beg for mercy. I have a roman nose and a deep affection for Woody Allen movies, lox, matzo and eggs, leopard print and Oi-ing. And Hanukkah is just a great holiday: candles, booze, gambling and the mother of all foods, latkes, potato pancakes deep fried in chicken fat and then drenched in sour cream and apple sauce. FOR EIGHT NIGHTS. Oh, and there’s a bunch of history and praying in Hebrew and stuff too.

And for Christmas, I get to go out in my lumberjack pants and cut down a REAL tree this year. Did you know you can get a tree for $10 if you cut it yourself? In Las Vegas, the trees were sold out of mall parking lots, cost $60 and looked like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, though not nearly as charming.

So, in a word, excited. Buy tickets. Now.

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Bubby

November 18, 2008 at 10:28 pm (Uncategorized)

My Bubby died on Saturday. She was 83 and we knew it was coming, but it still hurts.

Oh, and for the gentiles reading this blog, Bubby is the Yiddish word for grandma. If I called her grandma, she would use a not-very-grandma-like explicative.

For someone so closely related to me, I don’t know a lot about Bubby. I wish I could have known more. I know she was born into the Great Depression, that her parents were rabbis who immigrated from Israel to the United States at the turn of the century. I know she met my Grandpa, a cop, when she was living in Chicago. I know their first born son was named Eugene, and that Eugene would later meet Debbie, and Debbie would give birth to me. Bubby also gave birth to another son, Steven, and two daughters, Laura and Ellen, my aunts and my uncle.

There was some mystery surrounding my father’s birth; my grandpa didn’t believe that my dad was his. As a result, my grandpa beat the ever-living tar out of my dad (and sometimes my Bubby) for most of his childhood and adolescence. And my dad really doesn’t resemble the rest of the family. My dad’s family is loud, dramatic, flamboyant. At the end of my Bubby’s memorial service, for example, my Aunt Ellen threw herself over the coffin and wept. They kiss you with wet, loud, smacking kisses and pinch your cheeks and want to know who your people are. They ask inappropriate questions about your sex life after you haven’t seen them in five years. They want to know how big your boobies have grown. Things like that.

My dad is quiet and sensitive. He didn’t need to have rhinoplasty to rid himself of a Roman nose, like so many of my relatives did to fit in. He doesn’t look like his brothers and sisters. He doesn’t pinch cheeks and he doesn’t raise his voice, unless he’s very angry.

The memorial service was in Phoenix, Ariz., with its sprawling freeways and Saguaro cacti that reach out of the parched earth like ancient hands. There was a coffin strategically placed at the front of the funeral home service room. It was so small, smaller than I remembered my Bubby being, but she had been sick when she passed. I kept wanting to ask the funeral director if she was in there, but at the same time, I didn’t really want to know.

Everyone told stories. Great stories. Back Fence PDX-worthy stories. It was strange to watch people I had never met talk about her life. Like the 45-year old woman who lived in the same condominium complex as my Bubby for fifteen years, and considered my 83-year-old grandma to be her best friend. The consensus was that my Bubby had a filthy mouth and an insatiable sex drive. That she was generous, especially when it came to feeding others. If you walked into my Bubby’s house, first she’d have a spread of bagels with lox, deli meats and cream cheese. After you finished that, she would offer to make you a cheese and tomato sandwich, all the time chiding, “You’re so thin. You’re so thin. Let me feed you.” I do that too.

And she was always doling out complements; even the most homely grandchild was a European supermodel in my Bubby’s eyes. She was a gambler, and when she would visit my family in Las Vegas, she would pout until someone dropped her off at the casino. She ate bacon and eggs for breakfast every morning. She smoked like a chimney until she was well into her sixties and she drank like a fish. Johnny Walker Red Label or vodka with club soda, never tonic.

She had a full head of platinum blond curls and wore her nails long and pink. A clothes horse, she once made me sneak into a women’s dressing room to try and apprehend the last, small, black pant suit from a woman who was trying it on.

“There’s no way that will fit her,” my Bubby said.

Anyway, she was a special lady and I’ll miss her a lot. I only hope I look as good as she did when I turn 83.

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Election day

November 4, 2008 at 8:33 pm (Uncategorized)

It was 2004: my second year of college, my first absentee ballot, the first blissful months of my relationship with Jacob.

We were sitting at his second-hand wooden kitchen table, eating green curry with chicken off of plastic wear while his old radio rattled off the vote counts, state-by-state. We started out laughing. We made a couple of cocktails and listened, knowing that this time we would win. How could anyone make such a bad decision twice? The male disc jockey had a low, official sounding voice that vibrated the table we sat at as he droned on into the evening.

We sobered up. The dishes were washed. The votes were still being counted but we began realize that we might lose this thing. Again. Another four years of the same old bullshit. At 9 p.m. we were still hopeful. At 10 p.m., neither of us spoke to the other, we sat, rapt with attention, waiting for a miracle, a recount, something. At 11 p.m., Jacob turned the radio off. We went to bed; there was nothing more to hear.

I’m about to go drop my ballot off and I’m feeling that same hope that I felt that night in that kitchen in Corvallis, OR. Here’s to a more successful election night and I hope that you voted, for all of our sakes.

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The Summer Flu: The ultimate in evil

August 6, 2008 at 6:50 pm (Uncategorized)

So, I have the flu. And its summer. And I don’t understand why I have the flu in the summer because its sunny and not rainy and cold. What the hell, immune system? So, I tried to console myself with a werewolf movie called Cursed that stars Christina Ricci.

This may or may not have been a mistake. I am still deciding through my flu medicine induced coma. I’ll have my postmortem on that tomorrow. In the mean time, please please please come to this event.

I am currently interning for the lovely Melissa Lion and Frayn Masters and assisting them with an amazing project called BackFence PDX. BackFence PDX is a bi-monthly, evening event in which six people each tell a six-minute, unscripted story based on a theme. This month, the theme is True Colors, like the Cyndi Lauper song. This month’s storytellers include Mercury news reporter Matt Davis, fashion designer Adam Arnold, IFCC creative director Adrienne Flagg, Reuben Nisenfeld, radical feminist Frances Miller and short story writer Frank D’Andrea.

Basically, it is going to be off the hook. Or, a real hootenanny, if you are more comfortable with that. Did I mention there’s booze? And food? And its only $7?

Oh, and if you are one of the first 50 people to register here for the event, you get a sweet-ass button. Plus, if you come I’ll give you a kiss. No tongue though. I am a lady.

BackFence PDX
Wednesday, August 13 @ 7:30 p.m.
Urban Grind East
2214 N.E. Oregon Street
$7

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Horrifying: Mission statement

July 23, 2008 at 3:03 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I’m writing this blog because I thought it would be a good way to get myself to write every day instead of saying “I’m going to write today!” and then falling asleep with a glass of gin in hand watching a scary movie.

So, I decided to combine my love for horror films, gin and all things goose-bumpy with something that will keep my 20-something attention span focused on a single project. And hopefully, it will attract other people who love zombies, witches, vampires, wolf-men and she-wolves (In a completely non-creepy, non-furry, non-black-vinyl-cape-from-Hot-Topic way) and maybe it will save my boyfriend from having to hear me lecture on why films like The Amityville Horror and Burnt Offerings focus on the anxieties of young, recently married couples with children coping with managing a household on their own for the first time, yet again.

That plot sounds familiar to me, if you replace marriage with cohabitation and the kids with two obese felines and the creepy old mansion with a creepy suburban apartment where the cabinets fall off their hinges regularly and the carpet smells like mold. I’m moving in a few weeks, did I mention that?

Anyway, thanks for being here and here’s hoping this thing lasts beyond two blog posts.

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