the size of bananas!

Apparently, I was tragically mistaken. When I called my friend to brag about the elegant night out by myself that I was going to have, he should have warned me of the social suicide-hanging I was going to be committing and all the horrified spectators that would be there.

– Oh, I’m so excited. I have my book and my journal and I’m going to go to this nice Italian place and just relax and have a glass of wine.

Poor, naive, me. My spirits were at the highest as a walked to the restaurant I had been dying to try. The week had been more than rough and this, this night treating myself, was my reward. I had it all planned out. Order a gourmet pizza (eat half now, save half for lunch tomorrow), a glass of Shiraz and sink into the occasion with my book and maybe a couple joyous thoughts that burst from my fingertips to my journal.

Wrong.

I entered the restaurant to find a man much older than me, ready to escort me to my eatery haven.

– How many tonight?

– Oh, it’s just me.

– By yourself?

– Yes. Just one for dinner, please.

I’m still smiles at this point. The man looks gravely concerned for me and takes one menu to lead me to my seat. We’re passing tables of glorious dishes and my mouth starts to water as I become even more excited. But then, all tables were turned because we made a pit stop. The host proceeds to take me to the bar and turns to me and says,

– Just one moment, miss.

…with the whole “wait-a-second” finger and everything. Then, the kicker: He asks the bartender for something, I can’t quite hear, and the exchange happens and he is now carrying four magazines.

What? No, no, I didn’t want magazines! I’m completely happy about dining by myself! I knew I would be eating by myself, this isn’t a surprise for me, I came prepared. But, nonetheless, I was seated in a prime-viewing area, with my stack of magazines set before me. People look at me and now, all of the sudden, I am completely aware of my “table-for-one”ness and mortified.

The young, attractive waiter approaches and looks at me with a bit of curiosity before asking,

– Can I get a drink for you, miss?

– Gin and Tonic… Make it a double actually.

Forget wine, this catastrophe calls for hard liquor.

All of the sudden, Mr. G&T and I are playing the waiting game. How long does it take to make one pizza? I gotta get the hell out of here! People are staring and my stack of magazines is mocking me. I just want to say out loud, “I do have friends! People actually really like me!” But I don’t. I just sit there and take it.

And I might as well read these magazines because, let’s face it, I’m not about to pull out the book I brought. It may or may not have been of the Harry Potter persuasion. Not that there’s anything wrong with a full-grown woman reading Harry Potter, at all, but I felt the judgement was heightened in that dining room that night.

So, what are my choices? National Geographic, March 2009, Grazia (what the hell?), April 6, 2009, TIME, March 16, 2009 and another National Geographic, December 2008.

Well this is good. Dad’s always telling me that I don’t read enough National Geographic and if that kitchen doesn’t hustle a little bit, I might be able to get through both of these.

I scan through the magazines, while I make eye contact with my waiter from across the restaurant and give him the “‘nother one a these”, as I point to my drink glass. At least they put me next to a window, so I have some place to gaze without the disapproving, confusing look of another diner coming back. Oh, look, a runner. How nice. Running – a completely acceptable activity to do by yourself. Another runner passes. Should I be running? No, I should be drinking this newly delivered Gin and Tonic.

My delicious pizza arrived and I’m not sure if it was the alcohol that boosted my hunger or the emotional-eater in me, but I finished that whole damn pizza… by myself. I was eating by myself, in case you were wondering.

So there I am, sitting with an empty plate, my third drink and some great National Geographics, when I find myself surprisingly excited about the music selection they have going on in this place. It’s not long before I find myself singing out loud,

– Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies!

Oh man, it is time to go.

– Hey, sweetheart, can I get the check please?

The kid was more than happy to bring me my bill and get the crazy-drunk-who-eats-by-herself on out of the restaurant.

I tipped generously and made my exit as I gave the host one last, “Thanks a lot for that, pal” smile. When I found myself standing on the sidewalk, a bit more inebriated than planned, I decided it would be a good idea to hit up a coffee shop and sit for a while before the rest of my walk home. Besides, coffee shops are more than welcoming to the single attender.

I came away from my date with myself feeling like I had learned so much about the important things in life: Did you know that the Pilosaur, a marine reptile of the Jurassic period, was as big as a bus and had teeth the size of bananas?!

oh captain, my captain.

UPDATE:  Dan and Nic are down safe!  Hooray.  Thanks so much for all the encouraging words, prayers and support for them [and me].

the beast, himself.

the beast, himself.

El Capitan.  3000 feet of vertical granite.  The largest monolith in the U.S.

The Captain and I go way back:

us together via 2006.

us together via 2006.

And by “way back”, I mean all of three years back.  Look how young I was!  Oh, and The Captain… so polite to pose with me… prom style.

on top of el cap.

spesh and me on top of el cap.

Spesh was another great friend from Summer 2006.  That picture was taken on top of El Cap [which we got to via our backpacking expedition].  Our time spent on top of El Cap made for great times and very unfortunate tan lines.

[laying on top of El Cap (sans clothes), soaking it all in.]

– Spesh, do you hear those voices?

– Yeah… What is that?  A family??

– Who brings their little kids up here??

Just then, Beth Rodden walks by…

– Hi guys.

Then walks out of earshot.  I am mortified…

– Oh my gosh, Beth Rodden just saw us naked.

– Who’s Beth Rodden?

– Famous climber.

– Oh… Famous climber that just saw my boobies!

Yes, some hardasses [like Beth Rodden] climb El Cap.  It is the iconic standard for big-wall climbing.  I have never been all up ons my friend, The Captain.  I’ve crept all around him, but haven’t yet tried to climb over 30 pitches of the 5.13+ grades or his infamous Nose.  It’s daunting, to say the very least:

gulp.eff that.mmuhh.yeah, no i'm cool.
One day maybe, but not tomorrow.  Tomorrow, two of my dearest friends will start climbing The Nose.

nicky, me, dan long.

nicky, me, dan long.

I am very excited for Dan and Nic.  This is a once in a lifetime accomplishment… something that is up there with having your first child or running a marathon [I would imagine… I don’t know… it’s a big deal, okay?].  But I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve gone through a whole wave of emotions about these friends going to climb The Nose of El Cap.

[here they are, in chronological order.]

JEALOUS.
PSYCHED.
PROUD.
JEALOUS.
EXCITED.
GIDDY.
WORRIED.
TERRIFIED.

Yes, that would put me at terrified now.  And I wasn’t until I went to write this post!  Then I started looking up photos, beta, stories… and not many of them were encouraging.  I’m sitting here, looking at the topo, wondering what their plans are for the “Great Roof” and the “King Swing”, reading horror stories of going the wrong way in the dark.  “Oh, yeah, no that’s great.  Especially cuz my friends want to do this climb in a push.”  Yeah, Dan and Nic are trying to do this climb in 24-48 hours straight [without sleeping], where most people do it in 3 or 4 days, sleeping on the wall.

I was reading all about this, when I caught a glimpse of myself in a reflection off a window.  I had to laugh out loud.  I’ve been sitting here, at this café, reading like this:

we don't have to talk about my outfit.

we don't have to talk about my outfit.

They’ll be okay, right?  Yes, they’ll be fine… and I’m stoked for them.  But if you wanna remember them in your prayers, meditations, good-vibing, thoughts, etc., I wouldn’t mind.

Nah, I’m not worried about them.  They are two of the most quality climbers I know and they are more than prepared for this.  [I sent an inflatable dinosaur for them to snap photos of on the climb… hopefully I’ll get one of Bronto on “Texas Flake”… yeah, inflatable dino… what more do they need?]

I wish I were there, SO BADLY, to greet them at the summit with well-deserved treats, beers and hugs.  Dan, Nic, I’m with you boys in spirit.  Be safe, climb hard, kick ass!!  Love you guys!

going for the speed record.

going for the speed record.

on terrigal drive, in front of cornerstone books.

I saw three people litter today.

The First:

I was driving at 5:30am [I’m as surprised as you] to do the Anzac Day Run [yes, I am equally as shocked], when I saw the car in front of me throw a candy wrapper from their car.  I gave them a quick beep but it didn’t phase them… which makes sense because Australians honk their horns like it’s makin’ ’em money.

The Second:

I was walking to the beach when I saw a car leaving the parking lot throw another candy wrapper from the car.  How much candy is this country eating?  And are they all feeling so guilty about their indulgences that they have to quickly rid themselves of the evidence?

– Ugh.  I can’t believe I just ate that low-quality, high-calorie, Australian chocolate.  I am despicable!  Get the wrapper out of my sight!

The Worst for Last:

I’m pulling in to the café that I am currently sitting at, when I see this guy pulling out of the parking lot just throw a bag [like a drive-thru food bag] of trash out of his car.  I give him the “WTF?!” face and hands and he proceeds to lose. his. shit.  Honking, cursing and definitely flipping me off.

Dear Mr. Littering Man [the one from Terrigal Drive, in front of Cornerstone Books],

Really?  REALLY??  We are in an absolutely beautiful part of this amazing planet, on a gorgeous day, and you just threw a pound of trash out of your car window… with multiple trash bins within walking distance.  Yep, I’m looking at three trash bins right now.

Anywho… That, in itself, is quite unbelievable, but then I give you my “WTF” face [and hands]… and you took this mightily offensive.  Little did you understand that I was asking an honest question:  “Mr. Littering Man, what the f–k are you doing?  I would really like to know.  Would you like to grab a coffee and talk about it?  We’re right here…”

You were obviously not very keen on my invitation.  Thanks for rolling your window down so that we could communicate better, though.  It made it much easier to hear you yell, “GO F–K YOURSELF, BITCH!”  And don’t you worry, I took four years of Sign Language, so I completely understand your hand signals… You were being a bit redundant with your words and gestures, but that’s okay.  All spectators, deaf and hearing, completely got the point you were trying to get across.

Speaking of, I’m pretty sure some of the fine ladies that saw you want your number.  It’s a shame you didn’t stick around.  I told ’em that if they called the Terrigal Jail three nights outta the next week, they should be golden… I told ’em to bank on a Friday or Saturday night.  We’re hoping you live up to your stereotype.

Oh, and don’t worry about that trash… I got it.  Your words towards me were so inspiring and uplifting that I thought I would do something nice for you.  Was that it?  It was either that or the fact that if I took pride in nothing else than being the opposite of you in life, I would feel accomplished.

Well, I hope your noisy departure down Terrigal Drive led you to all your heart’s desires.  [more fast food, maybe someone else to litter with, more people to curse at… all the finer things in life.]  Maybe our paths will cross again sometime… hopefully with law enforcement witnesses, you scary son of a bitch, you.

Toodles,
Rachel. [aka the girl on Terrigal Drive, in front of the Cornerstone Books, that gave you the “WTF” face/hands after you littered.]

magic presents strike again!

Alright.  This is incredible.  You [all the subscribers out there… who will one day get their subscriber complimentary tote bag] might remember my post about magic presents.  Well, the magic present force is getting stronger… or at least quicker…

Coincidence (?) Package #3:

This morning I woke up absolutely pining for lemonade… it’s something I do.  I LOVE drinking lemonade in the mornings… I just crave it when I wake up.  I know it’s weird… I know… Anywho, bad news bears for me because Australia doesn’t even have lemonade.  Yeah, that’s right.  They call Sprite “lemonade”.  Not awesome.  You can find real lemonade in certain restaurants, but anything else is a mixer… if they even have that.  [And yes, I could make my own lemonade… I’ve been meaning to… but I haven’t yet… lay off.]

Back to this morning.  I woke up seriously craving lemonade.  My mouth was so icky and all I wanted was lemonade… it makes everything better!  So I threw on my robe in a panic and ran downstairs to see if we had anything resembling lemonade.  There was cranberry/apple juice… so I had some of that… but it really wasn’t anywhere near the same and I still wanted lemonade.

I even put this on my Facebook status this morning!

i know, i know... #1 rule of fb is you don't talk about fb...

i know, i know... #1 rule of fb is you don't talk about fb...

But alas, no lemonade.  Then I’m sitting here during Bink’s morning nap [around 9:15] and the postman comes to the door with a package.  It’s from my dear Jackson Hole friend, Brian… or “Crazy Dancer Brian” as he is better known.  He is infamous for his dance moves and amazing outfits…

last day at the village 08.

CDB and myself celebrating the last day of the village 2008.

Yeah, so unexpectedly I get this package from CDB.  And what’s in it?…

what the? how? what in the world? seriously?? how did he?

what the? how? what in the world? seriously?? how did he?

Seriously.  Seriously.  A little bottle of lemonade [in a plastic bag for protection] sent all the way from the United States of America.  And it’s my favorite kind.  I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT.  I still can’t believe it!  That’s just incredible!!

He also sent treats…

cookies and gummy bears... which is very convienent because i have already eaten the gummy bears K$ sent.

cookies and gummy bears... very convenient because i have already eaten the gummy bears K$ sent.

my FAVORITE girl scout cookies.

my FAVORITE girl scout cookies.

And then of course he has to keep me up on what’s going on in JH…

CDB... lookin' as good as ever.

CDB... lookin' as good as ever.

But yeah… back to that lemonade.  Crazy, huh??  Coincidence?  I don’t think so… but what???

And seriously, how did he know I needed a new toothbrush??

so strange.

so strange.

Thanks so much for the package, Brian.  It was unbelievable.

the lips that press back.

Sometimes you need to pull out your Go-Tos.  When your heart hurts, or life throws frustration in your face, or you’ve run too far ahead before you realize you don’t know where you’re going, or things get too stagnant, or you find yourself in a foreign country and you need some you-ness… quick…

When the rest of it all is jerking away and giving you looks of confusion, the Go-Tos are the lips that press back.

Let me introduce you to a few of my Go-Tos:

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.

One of my very favorite movies.  If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest it.  It’s amazing… in my opinion.  Old roommates can attest to this being a very popular Go-To… I think I’ve watched it over one hundred times.

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.

constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.

Go-To #2:

billy collins.

billy collins.

Poetry is such an easy Go-To…. with a quick flip, a quick fix.  Billy Collins is one of my favorite poets.  His smart-assery paired with his beauty always brings me back to warmth.

Here is one of his more popular poems:

Litany

Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine…
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and–somehow–the wine.

….


And then you have to have music:

Patty Griffin has been a Go-To for such a long time… I can always count on her.  This video is especially special because it’s a taping from Austin City Limits.  Drive around, listen to some Patty Griffin, maybe smoke a clove cigarette… all is right with the world.

But the best way to remember who you are is to Go-To your old journals.  I found this thing that I wrote about three years ago and I smiled at myself, like I would to an old friend that I was so happy to see.  This is a bit embarrassing, but here we go:

:is it bad that i want to dance?
this song tickles my soul when i’m not paying attention.
loudly whispers, “hey… rachel, come shake your hips with me.”
and i look around.
then laugh and say, “okay, maybe.”
throw my arms slightly above my head.
sing loudly.
and shake my [damn] hips.:

And those are a few of my Go-Tos.

…I am making a birdhouse.

…I am the sound of rain on the roof.

…I think I broke the wings off that little songbird.

…and I do want to dance.