Live from DC… it’s EQUALITY!

26 Jun

copyright pithypants 2015

I was home on my couch, nestled in for the night, when I heard a rumor that the White House was rainbow-colored. So I had no choice but to change out of my pajamas (and into my only marginally more appropriate workout clothes) and walk the eight blocks down to the White House to witness history.

I may have shown up alone with only my iPhone for company (and documentation), but the crowd was INCLUSIVE. People were welcoming, joyful and celebratory, handing off cameras so strangers could help each other get better angles than traditional selfies would afford.

I saw women jumping, men hugging, and more than a few people squealing. I took my share of photos (and helped others with theirs), then stood quietly under a tree, taking it all in. There may have been a few tears as I marveled that for once we got it right.

In a week that has contained much pain, it was a balm to see LOVE come out on top.

 

See This Film: From This Day Forward

23 Jun
Title Art - created by Trisha Shattuck

Artwork by Trisha Shattuck – pending permission for use

Last week was the AFI DOCS Film Festival in DC. If you couldn’t gather it from the name, it’s a documentary film festival.

Friday night, Alan and I made a beeline for the theatre on E Street so we could screen, “From This Day Forward,” which is described on its website this way:

From This Day Forward is a moving portrayal of an American family coping with one of the most intimate of transformations. When director Sharon Shattuck’s father came out as transgender and changed her name to Trisha, Sharon was in the awkward throes of middle school. Her father’s transition to female was difficult for her straight-identified mother, Marcia, to accept, but her parents stayed together. As the Shattucks reunite to plan Sharon’s wedding, she seeks a deeper understanding of how her parents’ marriage survived the radical changes that threatened to tear them apart.

In the wake of Caitlin née Bruce making headlines, it’s a timely topic, but that’s not what drew us to the screening.

It was on my radar because – some years earlier – my sister  told me that one of the students she had become friends with through her job at the University of Michigan was using kickstarter.com to raise funds to make a documentary about her family, focusing on her father’s transgender journey in northern Michigan.

I’m something of a kickstarter and gofundme junkie because I believe there’s not enough art, beauty or understanding in the world, so if I spot an opportunity to help reverse that, I do what I can.

Admittedly, most of my gambles have not paid off – aside from Calligraphuck, which seems to be thriving yet somehow lost my donor gift of profane greeting cards so I still haven’t actually handled the product. (Probably for the best or half my Christmas list might disappear in one year!)

So imagine my joy when I learned that a film I had contributed to actually made it to the big screen! There was no way I was going to miss it – and since Alan is pretty much the best partner ever, he accompanied me without even knowing what we were going to see.

Turns out? Incredible movie. Not only did Sharon Shattuck (the director) do a fantastic job with the images and videography, she also crafted a clever backdrop for the story by using her father’s artwork and her own wedding to unravel the threads of her parents’ marriage and their family dynamic.

Early in the movie she quotes her dad, Trisha, as saying, “Sharon, whenever you get married, I hope you’ll let me wear a dress when I walk you down the aisle…” The rest of the movie then builds to her wedding day, with the suspense of the reveal (will her dad wear a dress?!) flowing like an undercurrent, subtly tugging us forward as we learn about her parents’ marriage.

I won’t ruin the reveal. I will just say this: the film is loaded with gorgeous imagery – both in the form of Michigan landscapes and Trisha’s artwork; even so, the most beautiful part of the film is actually the message – that a marriage unfolds in many unexpected ways, and love actually can conquer all.

Needless to say, I wasn’t the only person wiping at my cheeks when the credits rolled. And I’m probably not the only person now trying to get one of Trisha’s paintings in my house.

Check out the trailer here, and see if it’s coming to your city soon – you’ll be glad you did:

What Katie Couric DIDN’T show us…

9 Jun

Time for Ye Annual Colonoscopy. Which always gives me flashbacks to Katie Couric being heralded for being so brave and broadcasting hers. She makes it look simple – which the actual procedure is. What she didn’t spend much time on (and why the procedure has a bad rap) is the prep.

The face of excitement.

The face of excitement.

Since I’ve ranted about the entire experience before, I won’t bore you with a redundant entry. Instead, I’ll just share a few quick updates and observations from this year’s scope. Note: this post may be a bit too much information for you if colons (and their functions) make you squeamish, so you may want to skip it. I consider it a Public Service Announcement for people who must also undergo this procedure.

First – surely they can do better than the 3 Liter jug of GoLytely they prescribe as part of the prep. In fact, I happen to KNOW they can, because about 10 minutes after I started drinking it on Monday night, I had multiple people ask why my doctor hadn’t prescribed the new 1 Liter option that apparently everyone but me is using. My short answer: because he is a sadist. My more considered answer: I probably earned it because I ate an entire bag of popcorn before my last colonoscopy.

Second – I finally figured out a method that makes the prep a wee bit less traumatic. I took the entire jug, a tumbler of ice and a lemon lime Vitamin Water to the loo with me. I normally would NEVER advocate eating/drinking in a bathroom (unless you are in the bathtub with a book), but this method both reduced the amount of wiping needed and the constant “I’m about to shit my pants” feeling that are hallmarks of the prep.

Ready for it? The trick is to sit ON the toilet while pounding the GoLytely so it can just shoot through you. Break it up with a few sips of Vitamin Water so you don’t throw up from the horrible taste, and VOILA – you will be done with the GoLytely in one hour and out of the bathroom in 90 minutes. Using this method, I was actually able to crawl into bed and get six hours of sleep before the second round of GoLytely hit.

Also: I draw a face on the jug so I can feel as if I have a companion there in the trenches with me. It happens to be my enemy, but a companion nonetheless. I think the word is “frenemy.”

GoLytely Face - (c) 2015 pithypants.com

Third – because I am too cheap to take a cab, or too hell-bent to get my 10,000 steps in, or too stubborn in general – I decided it was a good idea to WALK the 1.25 miles to my appointment. This, only three hours after completing the GoLytely. Let’s just agree: probably not the wisest decision. I arrived at the office making a beeline for the bathroom before even checking in. It was my way of playing, “Guess What I’m Here For” with the other patients in the waiting room.

Fourth – turns out, doctors don’t find it funny when you quip, “Guess I’ve flatlined” when they remove your heart monitor and the bleeps turn into one long BLEEEEEEEEP.

Fifth – if I were a nurse, I’d want to work in the recovery room. Because people coming out of anesthesia must say some pretty hilarious stuff. I can’t remember the FIRST things to come out of my mouth after they woke me, but I do remember some of my early sentences being, “Tell me, did I make a big mess in there?” and “Remind me, do I need to fart or something so you can spring me from this joint?” And I really wasn’t trying to be funny. I can only imagine what’s on “best of” reel.

Sixth – everyone should have a sister like Alicia. I went to bed relatively early on Monday night, having completed the first half of the prep and hoping to sleep as much as possible before Round Two commenced at 4am. When I woke at 4am, I found that she had filled my Facebook Feed with anything funny she could find on the topic of colonoscopies – just so I’d have some early morning entertainment to get me to the finish line. Example:

Someecards.com

Finally – everyone should have a partner as awesome as Alan. Not only was he there to collect me and whisk me home at the end of the procedure (helping me navigate since I couldn’t quite walk straight), he showed up with two juices and a box of chocolate bon bons for me to snack on immediately since he knew I’d be thirsty and starving.

Even better – as we walked up the sidewalk to my building and I said, “Um, I think I might be leaking – can you see anything on my skirt,” he just said, “Here – let me walk behind you,” instead of directly answering the question on the table. That’s a keeper, folks!

Poked, prodded and probed – all in all, I’d still say I’m a pretty lucky lady.

There goes my Uber score.

25 May

Image Source: Groupon April Fool's Joke

The sun is setting on Memorial Day as I write this. I imagine most people feeling relaxed, rested and reflective after a nice three-day weekend. Not I.

I spent the day agonizing over whether I should take Miss Moneypenny to the animal hospital or wait until my vet’s office opens tomorrow morning. Because when I woke this morning, I discovered that my cat was pacing laps, alternating between peeing blood, licking herself and crying out in pain.

A quick Google search revealed that she likely had some sort of urinary tract issue that – according to the internet – could spiral out of control if left untreated.

I dialed the animal hospital to ask if I should bring her in or if I should hold off and take her to my regular vet on Tuesday. “You can schedule an appointment later this week,” the unhelpful girl at the desk told me.

I called Alan. “What do you think?” I asked, knowing it was unfair of me to pin my cat’s health prognosis on a recovering lawyer.

“Get a second opinion,” he offered.

So I called another animal hospital out in the boonies and reached a more helpful person (and cat owner), who said she would probably be fine if I waited a day, but that if it were her cat, she’d probably run it in.

I was torn. On one hand, the thing that would give me peace of mind would be taking Miss Moneypenny to the animal hospital. But I didn’t want it to turn out like when I took her in for eating the Christmas ribbon, when they looked at her and sent me home instructing me to “keep an eye on her and bring her back if anything changes.”

If I owned a car, this might be a no-brainer. But since I don’t, I have the added complication of figuring out how we will get to and from the vet. And Miss Moneypenny hates being in her carrier, so she is guaranteed to scream the entire time, making it traumatic on both of us.

Should I go? Should I wait? I was truly torn, so I decided to give it a bit of time to see what happened. Good news: Miss Monepenny eventually stopped pacing and took a nap, so I used that opportunity to run to Petco and get some remedy that is supposed to relieve the symptoms of a UTI.

All was well until Miss Moneypenny awoke from her nap and went straight to her litterbox – where she began howling, then pacing, then licking, then howling, then repeat. And repeat some more. Indefinitely.

Since it was looking like it would be a long night for both of us, I decided to bite the bullet and take her to the animal hospital. My driver on the way there was awesome – very understanding and sweet about the fact that he was transporting a cat. He went so far as to call himself a kitty ambulance, though he got a bit uncomfortable when he asked what was wrong and I told him she was peeing blood.

I guess that IS something of conversation stopper.

All was fine at the vet – they gave me two different medicines to get her started on immediately to help with the pain. And while I hadn’t spent my afternoon at a cookout, I’d only spent a few hours at the ER, so I was willing to consider it something of a win…

Until I had to get home. I was so relieved to have the worst behind me that I’d forgotten that the Uber ride is part of the trauma. Without thinking, I summoned a car and hopped into it. As soon as I set the duffel back containing Miss Moneypenny on the backseat, she let out a Volume 20 MEOW.

The Uber driver (named Cynthia) let rip with a blood-curdling scream and almost ran us into a telephone pole. “I’m sorry,” I began, but before I could finish, she interrupted, “What IS that?”

“It’s my cat,” I started to explain. In fact, I usually warn Uber drivers that I have an animal before getting into their car and ask if it’s OK. This time, however – probably because Cynthia had exercised a splendid lack of respect for other motorists and stopped for the pick-up in the middle of the road with a line of impatient cars honking behind her – I’d decided to just jump in for the sake of efficiency.

“Where IS it?” she yelled.

“It’s here – she’s zipped in this cat carrier,” I said, pointing.

“I hate cats,” she yelled. “They scare me. My ex-mother-in-law had cats. They sneaky. They all quiet. Then they just be there. Looking at you.”

“Well,” I offered, “This one isn’t quiet. She won’t sneak up on you.”

Miss Moneypenny hadn’t stopped howling from the second we’d sat down. Just then, as Cynthia turned around to look at us and confirm everything was manageable, Miss Moneypenny’s head came exploding out of the carrier. Cynthia screamed. I grabbed the duffel, somehow managing to halt Miss Moneypenny, who by that point had gotten both front paws out as well. Apparently the vet hadn’t zipped the carrier completely.

“Get that thing back in the bag!!!” Cynthia screamed at me.

I was doing my best, but if you’ve ever tried to force a cat to do something, you know it’s a lesson in stubborn wills. It felt like time stood still as Miss Moneypenny and I fought the containment battle. I finally prevailed, but had clearly lost Cynthia’s trust in the process.

About this time, we almost got hit by a bus because Cynthia pulled out into traffic. “My nerves!” she exclaimed.

“I’m so sorry,” I said. “I don’t want to stress you out. Do you want to drop me off here and I’ll call a different Uber?”

“Naw,” she said. “We almost half-way there now. Just keep it in the bag.”

I assured her I would.

About this time, she started scratching herself wildly – her arms, her legs, her head.

“Are you allergic to cats?” I asked.

“Only when I see ’em,” she responded as she scratched.

Throughout all of this, Miss Moneypenny continued to shriek, making sure that no one forgot there was a cat in the car.

Finally, when we were a block from my place, we hit a red light. “I’ll jump out here,” I offered. “I feel so bad that this has caused you stress – I can take it from here.”

Cynthia didn’t argue. I just saw my door lock flip open. “Thank you so much,” I said, pulling the carrier from the car.

Without a word, Cynthia flipped a U-turn – at a red light, from the right lane – and burned rubber as she left us in her rearview.

You know I felt compelled to give her five stars. Out of guilt. Somehow I don’t think she had the same compulsion.

 

Let’s see… did you really need to be there?

19 Apr

Image Source: http://www.quickmeme.com/img/91/912e90c02b8f22e482183f1940c9972ed6633bf2ecefd2907920777c81f05f8c.jpg

OK. So here’s something that provided HOURS of comedy fodder to Alan and me during our recent trip to Hawaii. I think it will be categorized as, “guess you had to be there” but I’m willing to test-drive it on an audience before sending it to an early burial. Here goes…

On our flight from Seattle to Honolulu, Alan left his Kindle in the seatback pocket of the airplane. Nevermind that the flight attendants TOLD us to check the seatback pockets for any belongings. I guess Alan was fairly confident that his contained only used napkins and drink stirrers, which would’ve (in hindsight) been about 90% accurate.

Also? He may have been under the influence of a Mai Tai (or ten) when we landed, so some of the instructions were undoubtedly ignored.

Fast forward two days, to our first opportunity to camp out in the sun and read.

“I can’t find my Kindle,” Alan informed me.

Before I could even suggest places for him to look, he said, “I’ve already searched everything and I’m pretty sure I remember tucking it into the seatback pocket on the plane.”

Doh. Fortunately I don’t enjoy reconstructing events to job people’s memories, so I wasn’t miffed.

Alan was somewhat calm about having no reading material, but I knew why: he’d had his Kindle for years and it was both clunky and glitchy, providing more headaches than smiles. He’d been planning to get a new one for some time and had only stalled out of convenience. He might not like not having a book to read on vacation, but he would certainly look forward to replacing his device.

“I bet you can replace it today so you have something to read on vacation,” I suggested – only partly altruistically since I knew Alan would be bored facing the ocean without something to read.

He immediately latched on to the idea, so we did a quick search to see where Kindles were sold. It was a surprisingly short list, made even shorter when you consider retail options on Oahu. We decided to give “Toys ‘R Us” a try since it was on our way from the North Shore to Hawaii Kai.

When we entered the mall, we couldn’t find Toys R Us. That was somewhat surprising since it’s usually large enough to be an anchor store, but we turned our sites to the directory and found that it was a “Toys ‘R Us EXPRESS.” We groaned, knowing that the “express” meant it probably had limited stock.

As we approached it my mental track sounded like playing the game show “Press Your Luck,” where I kept hearing the phrase, “No Whammies, No Whammies, No Whammies, Stop!”

Upon entering, we found one salesperson  – presumably a local high school girl – working the cash register, utterly bored but not looking for an interruption.

And here’s where we enter inside joke territory…

“Excuse me,” I said, hoping to save time. “Do you have any Amazon Kindles?”

She stared at as blankly, her mouth hanging open as if my words had caused her jaw to lock. The only thing that moved were her eyes, which shifted between Alan and me, more slowly than a metronome set for a kindergartener.

After a suspenseful pause (during which Alan and I had both scanned the shelves behind her) she said:

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhm… … … …. …. 

No.

Alan and I looked in opposite directions as we swallowed and nodded our heads, trying to formulate a question that would politely allow us to do our own search for a Kindle without insulting her.

Because clearly, she didn’t even try – she didn’t glance around or ask clarifying questions – she had just stood in place, staring at us before taking one full minute to say no. I’m pretty sure that she was trying to mentally riffle through the filing drawers of her mind to recall if she’d ever seen a Kindle, and was finding that each drawer was shockingly empty, as if she were an Enron employeed and we’d just announced an audit.

Alan beat me to the punch. His diplomatic response (as I stood shaking with quiet laughter) was, “Cool. Can you show me your electronics section then? I might find another reader.”

After fumbling for a key, she zombie-walked three feet to a locked glass door just to the right of the counter, pushing aside a rolling ladder that blocked the way. “See anything?” she asked, gesturing to row after row of LeapFrogs.

My giggling intensified, as I imagined saying, “Sorry – we’re looking for a READER, not for something to help us LEARN to read.”

Fortunately, Alan ignored me and pointed. “Hey, I think that’s an {Amazon Kindle} Fire! Could I take a look at that?”

She obliged, allowing Alan to handle the EXACT ITEM we had come in to purchase – the SAME ONE she had just said they didn’t have in stock – as long as he called it something different.

As she rang him up, we couldn’t even look at each other. We both kept making guttural, “um no” noises, the way she had told him they had no Amazon Kindles for sale. We sounded like a retail version of Slingblade while we checked out, then thoroughly lost it in the car.

For the rest of the trip, it only took one of us saying, “Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… No?” to crack the other person up.

 

 

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