Orange You Glad

One of the things Sean does that makes me love him more than I already do is this: when I'm angry and stressed and frustrated about something, he offers me his index finger---just his finger, not the whole hand, oh, I've made that mistake before---and tells me to squeeze. Have you ever squeezed someone's index finger while angry and stressed and frustrated? It's remarkably therapeutic. And the best part is that it's relatively impossible to inflict any damage on a person's index finger merely by squeezing, so you can squeeze as long and as hard as you want until you're spent and exhausted and feeling more than a little silly. It sure beats the hell out of punching a wall.

Needless to say, there was a lot of index finger-squeezing going on in a back booth of the LAX Chilis last night---oh, trust me, there was nowhere else---as we miserably waited out a four-hour flight delay for a journey that, had we just driven it, would have taken around six hours. I don't think I've been in a Chilis in about eleven years, and I was shocked to see how generous they were with the diet coke refills. Is that standard practice, do you think, to bring over another pint glass of highly caffeinated soda as soon as the first pint glass of highly caffeinated soda reaches the halfway point? Because wow, a person could really get in trouble like that. I mean, in so many ways! (It really isn't a good idea, for instance, to drink enough soda to kill a horse before stepping inside a flying metal tube with limited restroom facilities, don't you think?) (Yeah, I think.)

My head hit the pillow back in our apartment in San Francisco just short of 2am Monday morning, which meant that I spent the whole of the next day sleepwalking through the office in an unmatched outfit with unbrushed hair, eating most meals from the office candy bowl because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I...uh...don't deal with lack of sleep particularly well, you know, and sometimes I wonder, in fact, how I'm ever going to be able to have a child one day, or at least have a child and function. They take a lot of sleep from you, the children, or so I've heard. And I bet you can't even write them a strongly-worded letter addressing their abhorrent customer service either, can you?

Backing up, though, we had a marvelous weekend in L.A. and Orange County and yes, well, of course you'd have a marvelous weekend, wouldn't you, if you got to eat something like this:

That's a Diddy Riese ice cream cookie sandwich by the way ($1.50! Bargain of the century!) and it's white chocolate chip macadamia on one side, chocolate chip walnut on the other, espresso chip ice cream in the middle. I recently confessed a short list of my life's regrets to Sarah Brown in response to a post she wrote on the subject, and now I'm wondering if I shouldn't perhaps go back and amend that list to add one more: SHOULD HAVE GOT MY OWN ICE CREAM SANDWICH THAT ONE TIME, INSTEAD OF INSISTING TO SEAN THAT WE SHARE. Screw not applying to Oxford; that was my real mistake.

We spent the morning in Los Angeles, which meant that we flaked around enough to screw up any chance of the tentative meet-ups we'd planned with Y and Whoorl---Me: "hi, can we meet between the hours of two and three?" Them: "Uh, it's two o'clock now,"---before arriving in sunny Huntington Beach to spend the rest of the weekend with my dad, whose suitcase when he arrived was stuffed to bursting with treats sent over by my mum, and whose suitcase when he left was stuffed to bursting with back issues of Us Weekly I wanted him to pass on to my sister. (My poor father! He is like a drug mule, but instead of drugs, he carries contraband teabags and gossip magazines across borders.)

We had an absolutely glorious time, the three of us, eating and drinking and shopping (well, that was just me, the person who bought THREE GREEN DRESSES, I'm not sure why) and walking along the pier in the sunshine, soaking up the sun and the salty air and eating this delicious frozen yogurt with fresh raspberries and blueberries on top, the type of delicious frozen yogurt that just tastes like California, healthy and bad for you all at the same time.

Leaving on Sunday evening was quite the downer, of course---and this was before we even knew about the four-hour flight delay---and waving goodbye to my dad in the hotel parking lot, I had a sudden, sharp flashback to many Sunday evenings of my youth, when he'd drive me back to school for the week ahead, and I'd be waving goodbye with this horrible pit in my stomach, a veteran of goodbyes by that point, of course, but still no better equipped to deal with them.

But then, to cheer myself up, I thought about the fact that soon---in a year or so, perhaps---my parents will actually living in the same country as me again, if not the same state (imagine the luxury of being in the same time zone! Just imagine!) and while these goodbyes might be more frequent then, it'll only be because we see each other more often. And even though I'm 28 and should, by all rights, be independent enough not to care, I am not afraid to admit that I am looking forward to this---this finally having my parents within a few hours reach---more and more with every passing day.

Plus, as the car was pulling away and I was craning my head out of the window, waving and waving and waving, I also thought about how it wasn't exactly like the Sunday evenings of my youth because at least I didn't have to rush upstairs to my dorm as soon as I've waved goodbye to my dad and tackle the French homework I'd neglected to do all weekend because I'd been too busy watching Party of Five. And, you know, that made me feel a bit happier, too.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you, by the way, for the absolutely amazing Chicago suggestions you were all kind enough to contribute, both in the comments section and by email. (And if you emailed, I'm so sorry I haven't written back to you yet to thank you personally for your lovely long lists of ideas. My mother will be apalled!) I am slowly putting together an itinerary for our trip there later this week, and my only problem is that I think we should have scheduled four months there, rather than four days. Our daytrip on the Saturday, by the way, is going to be into Michigan: to Holland, Saugatuck, and maybe even Kalamazoo for some thrifting. Honestly, Wisconsin would have been great, but the lure of driving through Gary, Indiana---NOW I JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE---was really just too good to pass up.

1
Sher
Apr 21, 2008

That's great your mum and dad are moving closer. Any chance of persuading your brother and sister to go to uni in the states too - 5 Burns on one continent imagine (has it ever been done before?)

2
Boulder
Apr 22, 2008

I spent lots of visits in my youth in the Holland vicinity, and while it has been far too long for me to offer up any suggestions, I have to envy you if you're going to be there at anytime near the tulips. (http://www.tuliptime.com/) I still vividly remember going to the DeKlomp wooden shoe factory and watching the shoes being made. And the delftware too. I'm sure the Euro version is more noteworthy, but to a kid in the US circa 4th grade it was pretty cool.

The beaches farther north (Pentwater & Luddington area) made a more profound mark on my memory than near Holland or even Grand Haven, because the water was simply so blue and on a good day the waves were body-surfable. All without the salt-water.

Have a marvelous time in Chicago - it is in my top 10 US cities to visit (depending on the time of year).

3
Caroline
Apr 22, 2008

The last time I said good-bye to one of my parents, it was to my Mom on her way to Narita Airport outside Tokyo. Even though I had my life-sized cardboard Elvis (photo session with the greasers outside of Yoyogi park!), it was definitely lump-in-throat producing. That's great that you'll be near your folks again. Having an awesome adult daughter-parents relationship is definitely one of the highlights of my life (definitely not a regret!).

4
janet
Apr 22, 2008

I went thrifting in rural PA last weekend, sort of on accident, and it was one of the highlights of my weekend. So is it weird that out of your whole Chicago trip, Chicago being a city I desperately want to visit, I am most excited about your trip to Kalamazoo?

Also, I'd like one of those ice cream sandwiches right now please! :)

5
Janssen
Apr 22, 2008

I live two time zones away from my parents and although I don't dwell on the distance much when they're away, my heart breaks back into a million pieces when they come to visit and then leave again. It's the worst.

6
whoorl
Apr 22, 2008

Just be glad we didn't meet up - Wito was fresh off a week of grandparental spoiling and IN A MOOD.

(Next time, though! Next time we will make it happen!)

7
Quyen
Apr 22, 2008

You'll absolutely love Saugatuck. Save your money for some art!
ps Gary doesn't smell THAT bad. Although it is very sad and run down.

8
emily
Apr 22, 2008

Oh, Saugatuck is great! You're going to feel tempted to by all sorts of great things that normally you wouldn't even dream of buying for your home, just because they're there! I haven't been in about three years, but I remember that there's an AWESOME kitchen store that's sort of like a non-corporate version of Williams-Sonoma.

You should bop to the next town over, South Haven, too, because it's really beautiful. Michigan is so pretty, wonder why the hell anyone lives in Illinois. Seriously, if we didn't have Chicago, this would be the crappiest state ever.

9
Anne & May
Apr 22, 2008

Crap! That ice cream sandwich has made me so hungry I'm going to have to go and hit the candy bowl at work. And it's only 9:34.

I'm a little worried about you, dearie. You're just going, going, going. Go home and go straight to bed tonight.

10
miguelina
Apr 22, 2008

"delicious frozen yogurt that just tastes like California, healthy and bad for you all at the same time."

Has anyone ever told you you're good at this writing thing? :)

Glad you had such a nice trip!

Roxanna

11
sally
Apr 22, 2008

OOh take the Skyway over to Indiana/Michigan. Good views and the toll booths are very cool looking. Strange, I know. I dont know if Gary smells as much as there will probably be a cloud of pollution hanging over it.

After 7+ years of living across the country from them, I now live 2 hours away from my parents. When I was 15 I would have told you that you were crazy that twenty years later I would *enjoy* living this closely to them.

12
Melanie
Apr 22, 2008

Gary does smell that bad. You can test it if you dare - it only lasts about 10 minutes.

Be careful on the drive to Holland because the cops LOVE giving tickets. We were married in Grand Haven and my husband kept getting speeding tickets when we'd go back for planning. You're generally safe if you stay within 5-10 miles over the limit, or with traffic.

Have a great trip!

13
Gretchen
Apr 22, 2008

Hey, HB pier! Awesome. Haven't been there in an age. I remember when the end of it, where the Ruby's restaurant is now, was washed away in a winter storm.

Finger squeezing sounds reassuring. My friend's little brother used to hold her foot when their family watched TV together at night. She said it was the most comforting feeling on earth, and you know, it really is. I hold my kids' feet regularly.

14
Chiada
Apr 22, 2008

Any time my dad held his index finger out to us and told us to pull it, it was because he had some gas brewing and was saving it up for just that moment when we "pulled his finger".

And I'm like you as far as needing sleep else I turn into a whining, crying, grumpy, emotional wreck. Especially if I'm PMSing at the same time. Then I'm pretty much worthless and need to take a day off work. And I totally worry about being a terrible wife/parent/employee if I ever had kids and had to deal with that whole lack of sleep thing. I don't know how working moms do it.

15
sarah
Apr 22, 2008

you're going to be so underwhelmed by gary. it's not really the kind of place you get excited about going to!

also, if you go to kalamazoo, check out bell's brewery. i hear it's fun.

16
erin
Apr 22, 2008

You'll love western Michigan --- so glad you'll be checking out Saugatuck. Have fun!

17
Rachael W
Apr 22, 2008

Southern California is great, isn't it? I used to live in the South Bay Beaches area -- now I'm in the eastern part of L.A. County -- and I go back to the beaches every chance I get, screw the price of gas. I'm so glad you went to Diddy Reese, and the yogurt with fruit on top of it? Was that, by chance, from Pinkberry? Or Kiwiberry or O-Lime or any of the offshoots of the original Pinkberry store in Pasadena?

18
pixelpi
Apr 23, 2008

Well, you'll certainly SEE Gary on the skyline before you smell it. And if you wear contacts, you just might want to consider glasses for a few miles.

The Art Institute in Chicago (www.artic.edu)is not to be missed, especially if you want to look at "American Gothic" to your heart's content and contemplate that one, just one, little strand of hair falling from her bun, and count all the three-shaped images repeating the pitchfork.

The beaches at Saugatuck and Holland will be fairly chilly still. Saugatuck has tons of stores of the fairly expensive variety, but Holland has a Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop (have you TASTED Creme Brulee yet?). Holland also has Hope College, which has a small but excellent art museum almost impossible to find on campus.

And you could drive inland and check out Grand Rapids and OUR new green art museum (www.gramonline.org).

Otherwise, if skies are clear, just look for the urine-colored stain in the sky that heralds Gary. And by the way, no matter which way you drive, getting in and/or out of Chicago will take forever.

19
jdg
Apr 23, 2008

woo-hoo, vacation in dutch country!

I'll e-mail you my best top secret stuff.

20
Diane
Apr 23, 2008

How exciting for you that your parents will be closer to you! Mine live 3 hours away and it is a comfort that if I really need to go home and be someone's daughter for a few days (rather than be an adult with responsibilities) they are just a drive away.

Great post Holly! I am now going to eat all the food that I can find as a substitute for what looked to be the most delicious ice cream sandwich on the planet.

21
Datingatforty
Apr 23, 2008

What, no pictures of the three green dresses?

22
Boulder
Jun 07, 2008

I love SoCal!!! I moved to Denver from LA last year and miss it terribly especially all the food choices, Diddy Reese and the recent frozen yogurt explosion.

Like Rachael W said, was it a Pinkberry you went to? I'm not a huge fan, but like Cefiore so much better! They have better flavors like Raspberry-Pomegranate and Acai and more fresh toppings! I suggest you try one if you come across one during your travels...http://www.cefiore.com

Cheers!

23
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Aug 14, 2008

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