Thursday, July 30, 2009

3521 Farnham Avenue

I can't talk about my high school years and not talk about the place that was the single most important and influential place of my life at that time: 3521 Farnham Avenue in the City of Long Beach California.

Between approximately 1977 through 1981, when the parents finally divorced and sold the Old Homestead, 3521 Farnham Avenue was the equivalent of Eric Foreman's basement in That 70's Show. It was THE place to hang out. If the front door was open, and it was ALWAYS open, that meant everyone was welcome to come on in and hang out, stay for dinner or even for a couple of months. Nobody knocked and if someone actually rang the doorbell, we knew it was most likely a saleman or religious organization wanting to spread the Gospel.

Life at 3521 Farnham Avenue during those years was so crazy and active that it can't be described in a single blog entry. No, this will take several to chronicle the Memories of 3521 Farnham Avenue.

Coming soon: Chapter One.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

High School Photos: The Missing Years

Last week, the Hot Topic for several of my favorite blogs was High School/Teenage Memories. And since I do suffer from Writer's Block at times, I would jump on the High School bandwagon.

Since photos are the accessories of any good blog, I knew it was time to dig up photos from my high school days, which turned out to be easier said than done. Sister Tracie has boatloads of family photos so on Sunday I headed to her house to pore through hundreds, if not thousands, of photos that are meticulously archived in paper grocery sacks that are then stuffed into cardboard boxes which were then shoved into a cabinet in the garage.

Both of my sisters high school years were amply represented, from their cheerleading days to Graduation portraits to the fancy Pre-Prom party complete with champagne and hors d'oeuvres that my parents held in their honor. Our house was filled with about 50 formally dressed teens who were getting their pre-game buzz on before driving off to whatever hotel the Prom was being held. Two years later, when I went to my first Prom, not only did I not get a fancy party, I had to wear a borrowed dress, do my own hair and makeup and only my dad was home when I was picked up by my date (Bitter Moment #82).

After going through hundreds, if not thousands, of family photos to find my high school photos, I pretty much came up empty-handed. Oh, I did find a few that I had in my own stash of family photos:

JV Yell my sophomore year. Note the lovely perm.

This was taken the last day of school my sophomore year. I was wearing the latest in Cool Surfer Wear with my OP shirt, Lightning Bolt shorts and I'm pretty sure I had baby-blue Vans. My perm had grown out quite a bit. If you look real close, you can see my most prized piece of jewelry: my sterling silver Lightning Bolt bracelet. I loved that bracelet and wore it until it snapped in two.

I couldn't find a single photo from my Junior year and not one school picture from ANY year other than my senior portrait but I did find a couple from my Senior year including my Varsity Yell portrait. Obviously, this was pre-PhotoShop days and I'm rocking yet another perm. I had a love/hate relationship with perms. I kept getting them and I kept hating how they turned out. It took years before I was strong enough to Just Say No to perms.

Christmas Dance with Tom Colunga, a Younger Man (Junior to my Senior).

Most other schools call it "Winter Formal." Not Artesia High School. It was the "Christmas Dance" and was a Sadie Hawkins dance where the girls ask the guys. Tom was just a friend and I was comfortable with him so I asked him, after I found out another girl was planning on asking him. Uh, I don't think so. I loved that dress. Peach Qiana with a leg slit almost up to the hip. I felt so Sophisticated and Sexy. And Cold. Our Christmas Dance took place at the outdoor restaurant of Movieland Wax Museum, down the street from Knott's Berry Farm. It was December and I froze my ass off but hey, I looked good and that's what was important.

Next to my wedding portrait, my Senior portrait was probably the best picture ever taken of me and either the studio did some major airbrushing or I really was 100% zit-free that day:

That's all I've got. High School photos - The Missing Years.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wanted: A spine and a new computer

I've always prided myself on not caving in (much) to the demands of my kids. I tell them there is a difference between a Want and a Need. Oh, I'll admit, sometimes a Want can be a kind of Need but I don't go out and buy them whatever the Want O' The Day is. If they want something that isn't a Need, they can either buy it with their own money or wait until Christmas or their birthday. If they have something and then lose it or break it due to their own negligence, they're shit outta luck.

So. With Thing 2 entering high school and Thing 1 going into his Senior Year (I'm SO not ready for this), I realized that there was going to be a Problem with doing homework. Several of their textbooks are on CD-ROM and there will be lots of computer-based homework. Where's the problem, you ask? Well, we have two computers in this household. Computer Number One is my six year old iMac with the non-working disk drive and Swirling Colorwheel of Death. Computer Number Two is a newer Windows laptop that I had to have for District 37 race scoring. With only one fully working computer, homework time is going to get ugly, very ugly.

TheManTheMyth agreed that for the sake of a peaceful household, another computer would be necessary for Thing 2 since Thing 1 has pretty much appropriated my laptop and my beloved iMac is on its last legs and we can't afford the cost of a new Mac computer unless I sell a kidney. Or a child.

So what does this have to do with needing a spine, you ask. I'll tell you. Thing 2 went online and found an all-in-one for the low price of $399, available only online. After adding in sales tax, shipping, a recycling fee and some necessary software, it was closer to $600 than $399.

Here's where it got ugly. *I* (and everyone else) felt it would be more practical, not to mention more affordable, to just go to our local BestBuy and get a laptop. We'd still have to pay California's sky-high sales tax but we would avoid the shipping fee and we'd have our new computer today instead of whenever it gets here some time this month. And it would be portable, unlike the Desktop she wanted. However, Thing 2 didn't agree with me. She (Who? Her. Huh.) didn't want a stupid laptop, she wanted the All-In-One, even though I emphasized that it would not be HER computer but a computer for the family. That's fine, she said, but it didn't change her mind.

We went round and round and up and down and I could feel myself weakening under the onslaught of her arguing. When Kaylyn wants something, she will (metaphorically) sink her teeth into you and shake you until you cry "Uncle!" She doesn't scream or have hysterics; she just wears you down with her pugnacious arguing skills. Thing 2's other nickname is the Pit Bull, for obvious reasons.

I finally offered a compromise. She could get the computer she wanted instead of the more practical laptop IF she was willing to pay the shipping, tax and recycling fee. Anyone who knows Kaylyn knows she "collects" Cash Money and would rather gouge her eyes out with a spork than part with any of her "Collection." She quietly got up and walked away. I was silently congratulating myself on winning this fight when she walked back in, slapped the cash down on my desk and barked, "Order it."

I was so shocked she was parting with her cash that I couldn't think straight and act like the parent and have the final say.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. So if anyone has a spine they'd like to send me, feel free.

Game. Set. Match.