Sunday, January 25, 2009

this week's evening ritual:

1) return from snorkeling
2) lay on chaise lounge watching ever stunning sunsets
3) hop in the hot tub

not bad. not bad at all.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

i told you you'd be blog fodder....

traveling with my mother presents challenges and lessons in patience. she is a person of very particular and finicky desires. she is a person whose physical body limits her to a very slow pace. she is a person who latches on to disappointments and vocalizes them.


these things are all true whether traveling or not, and in the voyages we share, overcoming these challenges is handsomely rewarded. between the griping over habitual expectations unmet, there are great highs when her spirit soars more childlike and light than ever on an ordinary day. she spends time elated, and especially by the indulgent thrill of a mother having her geographically furthest and youngest daughter all to herself.

i am a rational and well-behaved adult now, but surely i wasn't always so, in the years she spent waiting on me (though my memory finds me always an angelic child--sorry, choosing honesty over modesty here). so i work on my patience.

one way that i do that is by deriving great amusement from observing her--the mother specimen. she expresses her reactions dramatically across her face. if ever you saw a face twist and contort in such a manner...well, i just bet you haven't. sometimes it appears as if she's just eaten ground up bullfrog warts. but no, you realize, it's just that particular loaf of bread she had hand-checked in the grocery aisle wasn't quite pillowy soft enough.

today we survived many atrocies--all broadcast across that expressive face. it's tough being on vacation. especially a free one. a side note, i'd like to meet whoever it was that came up with the notion of frequent whatever rewards, and much like the docile stingrays we visited, i'd like to kiss them. because a few nights ago i hustled through the cold streets of brooklyn, my face actively aching and stinging--i mean really hurting from the cold. and tonight i sit by a turtle lagoon under stars and palm trees in shorts, flipflops and a zebra striped bikini top.

oh, but back to the atrocities. we survived being seated on the airplane in the vicinity of a toddler. oh young mothers, beware the death rays coming from these eyes to your nevertheless adorably puma leisure-suited toddler. just beware.

on it was to the great black jean fiasco--the mystery misplacement. of course we left brooklyn in snow and ended up in balmy miami. wouldn't you change into shorts in the terminal? biker shorts? so the jeans ended up slung over the shoulder, naturally. personal item, check. as i deplaned at grand cayman island to the cheerful strains of synthesized kettle drums, feeling like jackie o climbing down that outdoor staircase to the runway, the woman behind me was falling apart. it started with a low muttering and turned into all out panic. MY JEANS! I LEFT MY JEANS! KITTY! WHERE ARE MY JEANS?! THEY'RE GONE!
oops, that would be my mother. i jest, yet this leaving behind of possessions is something i seemed to have picked up from her like a case of never ending dark circles. but no time to reflect, because the great jean fiasco was picking up momentum. there was a flight attendant check of the aircraft. there was the bemoaning how well they had fit. there was the declaration of a BAD MOOD. in short, the kettle drums turned from festive and chipper to shrill and abrasive.

but jeans must be forgotten because even more heinous and despicable actions were underfoot as our heroine grappled with the moral consequences of her evil daughter convincing her to dare lie and not to declare the three florida grapefruits we'd soon walk through customs concealing.

the mom: i don't want to lie

evil daughter: mom. it's just fruit.

honest mother: so was the apple.

evil daughter: that's a fairytale.

honest mother: it is NOT!

and into this little island country we burst forth with our contaminated fruit. bully.
i have sudden memories of crossing the california/orgeon border with a camper shell full of sisters, cousins and exchange students and forgetting to mention the stray apple left in the cooler. would the highway patrol chase us down and arrest us? would a storm of out-of-state locusts plague california flying in tell-tale formations spelling out K-I-T-T-Y?

ah, but the customs fiasco came only after the 'fear of crushing' crisis.

worried mother:
what if the grapefruits burst in my suitcase, soaking my clothes in juice?

unconcerned daughter: well, it would smell really good....?

worried mother: what if my bags are lost!? what if we don't get to the airport on time and we can't get through security and WHAT IF THE GRAPEFRUITS BURST?!!
unconcerned daughter: (sigh).

hmm. maybe i should be worrying more. i'm starting to feel like a pretty laid back person. her fears, on the other hand are pacing. she can't even keep up with her quick, pessimistic mind.

the face does, though. it gave away the trauma of someone bringing you a complimentary glass of fruit punch as you check in at the resort that you MIGHT NOT LIKE!

it showcased the horror of not understanding the taxi driver's thick island accent.

it screamed the injustice of the inadequate air conditioning the lovely free hotel room had to offer.

frantic mother: "i'll die! i'll just die. it's too hot. this is just the shits. and we're on the top floor. top floors are the hottest! well they are just going to come up here and fix this RIGHT NOW!"

the great thing about the atrocities, the fiascos, the injustices, the horrors? realizing (yet not preventatively) that it's not so bad. the flight attendant giving us extra empty rows to stretch out on and escape the (quiet) toddler. the hotel room a/c fixed in five minutes. the grapefruits (and suitcases) arriving intact with the evil daughter taking on the fruit-concealing web of lies. and best of all, the JEANS, the beloved black jeans showing up in the carry-on after all.

as it turns out, life is pretty good. and vacation, um, it's really great.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

introducing ivy katsue perkins

okay, this is long overdue. haven't had a chance to sift through the million pictures i was inspired to take of ivy so i tried to just grab a couple and couldn't stop. so here's a lucky thirteen.
i may have complained once or twice that i spent my entire trip to california being sick. the truth is that while that was no fun for me, my big frustration was being so close to the newborn ivy and not being able to visit. when it looked like i was actually getting close to returning to new york without this opportunity, i dragged my ass to the doctor and got antibiotics. so i finally got 3 beautiful days with the little superstar.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

swimming with the enemy

okay, so i'm not really sure how this works out logically, since everything i've been led to believe including the death of that crocodile guy is that sting rays are very scary, dangerous creatures. but here on this island, apparently they've been tamed, or what i suspected is true, that i've really fallen off of the grid of reality the biggest tourist attraction is to swim with these enormous and bizarre creatures and kiss them for good luck. when you hold them from below, hands underneath their wings, face to face, they actually pucker up their little mouth holes and aim at your lips. so strange. even having observed this custom, feeling like a foolish tourist the locals could go off and laugh at, akin to kissing the blarney stone in ireland (which i've also, geez what a sucker!), it was spooky having them swim around me, wrap their funny wings around my legs.

i had considered getting certified to dive here. it's something i've wanted to do for years, since i did a supervised dive in thailand and caught the fever. i knew it was expensive but the logic was i would splurge now while i'm basking in the luck of a free vacation. but $550? oof. i may regret it but that's just something i don't have! opinions? is it a stupid whim or am i passing up a great opportunity?

scratch that! dive isn't going to work so no opinions needed!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


came out of the caribbean water to experience this moment i've awaited for eight years. halle-frickin'-lu-yah.

Monday, January 19, 2009

can it really be sweet sixteen?

it was sixteen years ago. i was a senior at analy high school, taking finals. i knew my sister, abbie, was in labor, but it was taking forever. concentration was down. spanish verbs were not coming easily to mind. finally, i got a note from the office that i could go. i can't remember who brought me to the hospital, just that abbie had requested we pick up some tcby yogurt to assist her in her 17 hour labor.
i was seventeen years old, about to witness one of the most, if not the most incredible and emotional moments of my life. much like the movies, there was a lot of screaming and sweat, blood on my shoes (had to take a break in the hallways when i noticed that, started feeling like i'd hit the floor). and again, just like the movies, hearing "it's a boy!" and the sound of his kyle's first cry induced me to sob--a deep primal feeling sob of overwhelmed happiness and wonder. when abbie came home from the hospital, it was to our sister amy's apartment where i was also living, along with kyle's father. the wonder continued. i knew nothing about babies, and was quite terrified even to hold him. but boy, did i love him.
when i flew to new york city to start a new life i was feeling pretty stoic. excited to go, but not quite feeling the significance. kyle, two years old, chased me down the airplane's boarding arm crying, for one last hug. that's when it hit me: life, the decisions we make, kids growing up without me, missing home. future themes to come. i promised myself that kyle, nor the myriad of nieces and nephews who've been born and adopted me (or i've adopted) since then wouldn't have just a hazy feeling of who their auntie kitty is. and still that hug i get when i see my kyle after a long way away feels just like the one in that airport.
i can't believe it's sweet sixteen.

oh, and i can't let amy off the hook on this one. as kyle's impending birth drew near, she implored me to take the 80 braids i was rocking out of my hair. your niece or nephew will see this photo for their entire life! you don't want to embarrass them by looking like a freak! thankfully, im still crazy, so it shouldn't come as any shock...

Friday, January 16, 2009

cacophany of capricorns

i don't really acknowledge the confluence of capricorns in my life, until january comes and suddenly every day is a birthday. sadly, i don't have the time to devote to blathering on about how special kim is to me. and besides, i've already put my mascara on. let pictures speak.

today is also miguel's birthday. we will celebrate tonight at the bowlarama. i'll tell you a story about him tomorrow, just to draw it out a bit. i know, you're on the edge of your seat.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

wishing you a surreal birthday

to continue on with two themes, the first being 'happy birthday' and the second being 'isn't facebook a strange thing', i post the following image, taken by someone i've never met, of someone i haven't seen in years, standing just two weeks ago in my kitchen, when i was in california.
happy birthday adam! what i'm appreciating so much at this moment is Friendship. yes, friendship with a capital F. the one that can drift off into the remote pastures of life yet come back as familiar as yesterday.

adam was coming to nyc with his girlfriend. i would have loved to see adam, and i'm so happy he contacted me. turned out i would be busy in california sick as a dog. yet still, he made the appearance (and some supposed gang signs--is this an homage to brooklyn?) in my kitchen.

and today is adam's birthday. happy birthday old friend. so glad that life seems to be good for you!

photo by jodie ross, poached from facebook

oh, and props to emre for hosting two strangers in my absence. i knew they'd be lovely guests, even if they are obviously pc users and couldn't find the 'eject' button on the keyboard for the dvd player...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

a belated birthday (gift) story

a year and a half ago i bought a gift for my sister amy. by now, that gift, which still remains ungifted, seems pretty stale. so why bring it up?

because my sister amy turns FORTY today. apologies to amy for totally freaking out that my sibling is OVER THE HILL. because that just means that i'm right behind her, way past base camp, stumbling up the slopes of old age. hey, wasn't i just a teenager a couple years ago? i suppose i would feel bad for saying all this if she didn't actually look so damn beautiful.
but anyway, we have amy to blame for this here blog, which began in its infancy as a roundabout way of sharing photos with her without emailing them. another blogger that i read, who shall remain nameless in order to protect a tiny shred of surprise attached to this gift, wrote a book, which i ordered as a christmas 2007 gift for amy. i prided myself on allowing enough time for the book to arrive before christmas, checked the 'yes, i'd like an autographed copy' box, and smugly awaited this perfect gift's arrival.

little problem though. when i opened to the title page i found the following inscription where i expected to simply see the author's signature:
oops, so much for holding back the surprise. amy: you are absolutely forbidden from googling that name. until you get your book.

for a moment i got so excited about the lovely inscription, i overlooked the fact that it totally destroyed the gift. i was busy imagining maggie, whose blog i read regularly, whose life i know far too much about for never having been in the same room with, braiding my hair and trading lisa frank unicorn stickers with me. in other words. she was my new best friend, clearly expressed through her clever and flattering inscription.

oh shit! i realized--distracted from my fantasy--it was way too late to order another book. i even emailed my new best friend thinking that she'd get such a kick out of me mistakenly not mentioning the 'gift' status of the book and rush me another one. guess she was busy braiding some other girls response.

so amy didn't get her book that christmas. several visits to my 'buddy's' blog in the subsequent year yielded only apologies and 'SOLD OUT' error messages. would i have to part with the beloved inscription? seemed too tacky and tragic to pass on.

and then, just in time for christmas 2008, i found the book on amazon. there would be no inscription, but maybe that would be safer anyway. again, i allowed enough time for shipping before trekking to the west coast. i'm good. um. even though the book was a year late by then. but to my defense, she had no idea any of this was going on anyway--i had substituted other things for the book.

problem was, as i packed for my trip, i couldn't find the damn book anywhere. surely i'd placed it somewhere 'logical' so i wouldn't forget it. but for the life of me i couldn't find that damn replacement book! so another christmas passed.

today is her birthday so i've decided to be tacky and send along the inscribed copy as a loaner because I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE--i want her to have it! surely as soon as i do that, the replacement will pop up and we can swap copies. amy's pretty responsible with her belongings. afterall, she is the OLDEST!

seriously though, happy birthday to my dear sister. your gift will be hand delivered later this week by abbie. have a lovely birthday!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

mustard mustang va va voom

strolling through the marshall's parking lot with my sister and nieces, i stumbled across a canary yellow mustang that beckoned to me with it's license plate.

being on vacation in california and all, i was feeling it. some attitude was definitely called for. i mustered up this one, though not convinced it was appropriate. maybe i'm just unsure how to interact with yellow mustangs bearing my moniker. or maybe it's that my california isn't really about palm trees....

wait! could this be the "fucking mustard" emre once referred to? definietly evokes french's.

photos courtesy allyson ahlstrom and her cellphone.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

since i'm clearly shirking my posting responsibilities in favor of holding babies, i'll share with you the above tidbit from ames, always quick to send witty responses to my posts.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

facebook pet peeve number seven

(drawn from a random swirling list of gripes that i can't bring myself to care enough about to order or classify, but enough to scrape together a blog post):

getting email messages that say: "so and so thinks you may want to be friends on facebook with what's her nose".

except you really used to hate what's her nose because she dragged your heart through the dirt when you were a teenager and now that you're supposedly an adult you delight in not having to run into really or think about anymore what's her nose, thank you very much.

and in comes facebook and suddenly i must devulge every detail of my life to anyone who ever walked on the same street as me, even if i don't recognize them past kindergarten. jeez, why don't they just read my blog?

i am, of course, poking fun at myself, but really, can't these people just keep my grudges straight and stop trying to push people on me?

okay, that's off my chest now. back to vacationing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

new year's company

the most intriguing thing at the sf zoo today. and by the way, not sore at all. feeling amazing.