Best. Birthday. EVAR.

Yes, even better than the birthday a beloved TV star ordered pitchers (literal pitchers) of the best tequila, followed by a separate event in which I received countless gin & tonics & a lesbian lap dance (which was not so much a dance as my lap was a bounce house for a tiny butt).

The deciding factor was of course the presence of my boyfriend, who was able to drive down for the weekend. Plus also Jesus. I shall explain.

A theme was set Friday when a beloved client popped in with this: 

 

and if you know me, you know I love me some flowers. Especially roses. My camera phone cannot do them justice & my arrangement skills are for shit, but trust me, these are gorgeous.

Saturday was my actual birthday. I turned 41, if you must know, & I happened to note about a month before that my beautiful church, Saint Thomas of Hollywood, was having a Latin vigil mass the same day with none other than LASchola. They are a choral group that sings ancient church music with such sacred harmonies that you will cry. Shut up, you will. Anyhow, a number of my friends keep making noises about joining me for a church service, as it is pretty much the only thing I ever talk about, but few have followed through.

So I thought “What better way to spend my birthday than with Jesus & my boyfriend & my family & 200 of my closest LA friends?” Out went the Facebook invite. “Come! Reception to follow. Bring cash for the plate in lieu of gifts. Jesus gives infinite plus ones, so bring everyone!” but more articulate, sort of. 

The Los Angeles rule of invites is it’s ok to invite everyone because maybe ten people will respond & of those, 5 will show up. Well, not including church friends, I bagged exactly 7! And we partied hard, y’all. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The point is, 7 of my non-church friends, plus my mum, brother, sister & her boyfriend came to a Latin mass, the most massy of all masses, on a Saturday night, when they could have done virtually any other thing with their time. I am blessed & honoured.

We always have a reception in the parish hall when LA Schola sing, so we walked up in da club to a wine bar. I am abstaining for Lent, but my friend (acolyte, vestryperson, future bishop of Los Angeles if there’s any justice) explained to me canon law & how yes, absolutely I can & in fact ought to have some wine. She then handed me a giant bunch of flowers, as did my sister (left to right, respectively):  

 

so we took over a table & piled flowers & presents & were joined by my dear church friends & talked & laughed & ate cheese & delicious gluten free cupcakes for hours. My brother signed (in ASL) that he was happy, bear hugged Father, challenged us to a mild dance off where we had to wiggle our bums, & displayed his ominous psychokinetic powers when Father turned to the exact page in his birthday book that is my brother’s birthday.

I was achy, so we didn’t stagger around Hollywood after as suggested. We eventually made it home, watched Lost Highway (one of three David Lynch films gifted to me by my roommate, which she now probably regrets), & finally went to sleep.

I awoke Sunday morning very sore, but to glorious cuddles from the boyfriend & Persephone (Girl Cat) on his chest. We decided brunch at Hugo’s was in order, & he got me my favourites: gluten free eggs benedict & almond energy pancakes. (Celebrity sighting: Jackson Galaxy). We then drove up Mulholland Drive to Outpost to see a house we had fallen in love with online. Impressed by the secure, high walls (i.e. you can’t see shit from the street), we returned to the Valley in a circuitous route taking us past unique & beautiful homes. A set of octagonal pod apartments jutting over a canyon here, a house entirely covered in mosaic tile there. 

We came home, & my roommate consented to Blue Velvet, which again, you know, she probably regrets.

The boyfriend & I had dinner at our new favourite Chinese restaurant, watched The Walking Dead finale (highly satisfying), & said goodbye to each other as he was returning this morning.

I got to spend my birthday with many of the people I love, & it was fantastic.

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The VonCrap Family Singers, or Christmas Highlight Reel

This was the best effin’ Christmas ever, people, hands down. This is even better than the time I got the bike that I did not for one second think belonged to me. My Mum loves to tell that story. I apparently walked into my parents’ bedroom (as it did not fit under the tree) and remarked, “There’s a bike in here.” It had a big red bow, & my mother said it came from Father Christmas, but I was incredulous.

No matter. Many bike riding years later (and now I like to take ’em through the dirt, mothersuckas!) I had the best Christmas ever with my Mum, sister, & brother. I have to tell you about it, as it was that epic. I am also going to come out of a couple of closets for the first time. And no, nothing that exciting, guys. In fact 80% of you will be sorely disappointed & probably direct me back into my closet. But screw it. I’m happy about stuffs & I might as well tell yall.

But everything in order! I LIKE ORDER.

First, my sister Caroline (cathespian04 if you’d like to follow her on Twitter) picked me up from the Ontario airport & drove me to Rancho Cucamonga. We had a discussion that I am fairly sure involved death, as she was wont to remark, “That’s what I love about you, Kellie. Your upbeat, lively conversation.” Of course there was cackling.

We arrived to the mingled scents of turkey and roast beef. My Mum gave me a big hug & informed me I was making Cuban sweet potatoes again (who knew?) and that this time, Trader Joe’s did not screw us on the cilantro. Don’t ask that to make sense. We watched a bit of Return of the King and then my mother brought me a pot of sweet potatoes to peel. Well, I supposed it was time to roll up my green sleeves and work. Caroline & I chatted while I peeled with the world’s worst knife, but no matter. We opened presents (two Thomas Sowell books from my sister, Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s gluten free book, make up, gift certificates, and some lovely jewellery from my Mum…and they opened the Benefit goodies I got them).

By the time the food was done, it was glorious. I sent some photos to Twitpics, as many of you saw, of the gluten free happiness (including a honkin’ huge slab of roast beef) upon my plate. My brother Mitch came out of his man cave long enough to help us nom on English roast potatoes (about as close to heaven as food gets). They gobbled up my sweet potatoes again (only ask me to make it for you if you love garlic more than conversing with other people), & my Mum had secured a flourless chocolate cake & gluten free ice cream for dessert. There were also fresh raspberries. It was a delight. I was able to play all the Christmas music from my iPhone while we ate, which was fun since I hadn’t really had a chance to listen to it before. I let Mitchy know I had put some gifts under the tree for him and he took off. He loved his Superman t-shirt & his Oscar The Grouch puppet. Then he went back to his man cave.

The girls then decided to play Beatles Trivial Pursuit. There are some things you need to know about my family to understand the rest of the evening. One: my mother is, hands down, the world’s biggest Beatles fan PRE-White Album. Pre. Very important to note. Two: my mother was a teenager in London during the 1960s, and worked in a record shop. She knows every original English Beatles release. Three: my mother has been sober for over a decade, so my sister & I had to polish off the bottle of sparkling chardonnay, just the two of us. Four: I can’t drink like I did in college. Five: my sister is a grad student & 11 years younger than me. Technically, she shouldn’t know anything about the Beatles aside from what Mum & I have conveyed to her. Subsequently, we kind of let her cheat by asking her the easiest questions on the cards.

HAH.

Here’s how this nonsense went down. For those of you who were playing along on Twitter with me, here’s the answer key for OverHeard:

“If you wanna throw some nuts in your mouth, feel free.” That was from my mother, who insists Caroline & I have the dirty minds since we couldn’t stop laughing for 20 minutes and my insisting on tweeting it. However, her propensity to keep bringing it back up leaves me dubious. Who talks to their daughters that way? Well, I probably would.

“Does that say Bejesus Trivial Pursuit? Oh, BEATLES.” That was me. Yep, wine had been drunk in copious amounts. But look at the question cards from afar, with dry contacts in your eyes. IT SAYS BE-FREAKIN’-JESUS.

“Oh, Americans are so crap!” That was my mother. Why? Because Beatles Trivial Pursuit was written by Americans, who apparently got a Christmas album that was never released in the UK, in addition to several weird blue vinyl compilation albums that were the answer to several questions. All of a sudden, the woman who was professing to beat us all down with her superior Beatles knowledge was sucking just as hard as the rest of us. And this is the same woman who, when asked “What blunt instrument did Maxwell use to bludgeon people over the head in ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’?” actually said, “Ooh, I dunno, a shovel?” She claims to not have heard the question correctly. My sister & I made eyebrows at each other.

“When I’m in my time of trouble, Motherfucker comes to me speaking words of wisdom. Let it be.” No, that WASN’T me though I have been singing it ever since. That was my MOTHER. The same woman who yelled at me for using that exact same term repeatedly. How did that happen? The question was “What name did Paul sometimes substitute instead of Mary?” I shit you not. My mother came up with “fucker”. Mother Mary, forgive us. *blinks repeatedly*

This OH I have to script:
Caroline: “It’s like a shape.”
Me: “The Palindromes!”
Caroline: “That’s not a shape.”
Me: “Yes it is!”
Caroline: “Seriously?!”
Me: “Oh wait. I meant Parallelogram.”
Caroline: “Well, none of that crap is right.”

I don’t even remember what the question was.

My mother kept singing “Band on the Run” at random times, and then she insisted that rather than hum tunes, we go “da da da” because Beatles songs go “da da da” and not “mmm mmm mmm”. Yah. And Caroline & I kept singing “Octopus’ Garden” to the tune of Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova”. Also we had to practically sing “Back in the U.S.S.R.” to my sister to get her to answer “What Beatles song has a former nation in the title?”

DESPITE this, she won! I got all my pie pieces first, then my mum, and then my mum said that Caroline professes to not know things but that “that slut always ends up winning.” My sister then refused to give my mother any more hints as she called her a slut, which I agreed was very traumatic for a child to hear from a parent, & my mother said she didn’t mean it like that, which was nice of her.

Caroline got her pie pieces LAST, and got her very first middle of the circle question RIGHT. Seriously. Eff me!

At some point the next day Caroline and I engaged in a number of political discussions mostly spurred by me checking my iPhone & going, “Oh, Adam Baldwin’s getting into it with some other octotard!” and my sister asking what Adam said on Twitter. I would repeat it and we’d talk about it. We discussed education, how everybody sucks now because American education is starting to cater to the lowest common denominator, and somehow this led to the assertion that agriculture is responsible for whininess, the logical conclusion of which is Communism.

No, stay with me here.

Back in the day, you hunted & gathered or you starved & died. Then we figured out we could plant wheat (horrible, horrible gluten WHICH, you might note, makes one out of eighty of people wobbly in the head, including me), and we decided to sit around planting heinous, heinous wheat. Once we started sitting around planting wheat & not having to go anywhere to get food, a subsection of the population, who would normally die on the tundra by age 17, were now sitting around wondering when would come the glorious days when they could stand in line for bread & toilet paper. Hence, agriculture leads to Communism.

Little agrarian collectivist yuck farms!

Look, it makes perfect sense when you go through the whole hour long explanation.

All my Righty Whities (some of whom are black and/or transgendered) get it, dontcha?

Anyhow, eventually my mother sat down with us and we talked about Jesus. *big breath* I have returned to Christianity. This was coming for a while, but several things have happened recently and bam, here I am, the two Big Cs again…conservative and CHRISTIAN. Yes. This won’t be even remotely a shock to some of you, as you have accused me of being morally Christian for some time. This will be a big flaming shock and disappointment to some of you, who entertain the idea that I am this big fun loving whore who sacrifices puppies to Kali. Not so much. I like fun, but no matter how many times I tweet that I will kick a puppy, I’ve never sacrificed one to Kali. I’ve never even kicked a puppy. I stepped on my mum’s dog’s ear by accident, and also dropped a 400 degree pan on his head, but that’s it.

My mum is apparently also a big Christian! We talked about Jesus for a while. I told her about my talks with Consigliere5, whom you should follow on Twitter, and one day I will post my emails to him here on this blog, as it’s funny seeing my thought process on returning to Christ. He was very patient and sweet with me. But anyhow, my mum credits God with getting her sober & keeping her there. I do, too, but I also think my mum has a little something to do with it.

Jesus spent a big fat while getting me back, much as one looks for a stupid cat in the snow. Again, there’s a lot of stuff between “I’m an atheist!” at 14 to “Er, I’m a Christian again” at 35, and it’s very much like looking for a stupid cat in the snow. A cat who thought climbing into an old pile of tires and then an engine block would be a good idea rather than go back to the house, but again, this IS a stupid cat we are talking about here, and of course by “stupid cat” I mean me.

My sister then told us that she figures she’s Christian, but there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense and also the crushing guilt. I told her I totally empathized, that I couldn’t reconcile the crushing guilt of being human with Christianity & it’s probably why I went the circuitous route through Wicca & then Buddhism to get BACK to Jesus, but C5 showed me some passages in John we weren’t exposed to in Christian school, oddly enough. I talked about God’s grace, & Jesus’ responsibility to keep us, and how it didn’t give us a license to be dicks, but it did take into account the fact that we’re just people.

I explained it thusly. Feel free to use this. “Jesus is like a crazy cat lady. Yes, the cats climb the curtains, they pee on stuff, they knock a bag of Doritos on the floor. The cats are little jerks. But Jesus loves cats, and in fact keeps getting more despite what little assholes they are. So if you think of Jesus like a crazy cat lady, you realize He loves you anyway no matter what mischief you get into. He’d rather you were a good cat, and he will give you treats if you’re a good cat. Cats who eat Doritos don’t get treats. But He still loves the cat who eats the Doritos, even though that cat sucks. He just loves Him some cats.”

I really hope this is not blasphemy, but it’s the best way to explain Grace to myself. And my sister, apparently.

We also agreed that most church is too early in the morning.

Some of you have been suspicious of my mysterious happiness lately. Don’t be suspicious any more. I’m happy because I finally know what I’m doing, I know why I’m alive and I know why things are happening the way they are happening. God really does work in mysterious ways, and I’ve stopped questioning it. He knows what He wants from me. He knows I can give it. I used to think I could use the elements of the universe to do my bidding. Now I realize all along that I was supposed to be used, and not in the way I was allowing myself to be used. When Jesus uses you, it’s not like, you know, frat guys.

It’s more like being a Desert Eagle. Jesus is going to use me to blow giant happy holes in your heads. You’ll see. But, like, in a good way.

Ok ok…the gun analogy is not going to work, I see. Ah yes, Crazy Cat Lady. Jesus is going to take You Tube videos of His little cats. I’m the one that rides the Roomba & goes “Surprise!” He’s going to use me to make you happy. No, it won’t be with porn, like some have suggested. Well, who knows? But somehow I don’t think it’s porn.

Surprise!

Another fun thing…on the way to dinner Saturday night, we were all in the car, myself, Mum, Caroline, & my brother Mitchy. “Ave Maria” came on & we all sang. You have to keep in mind, my mum & sis & I have beautiful singing voices and do three part harmony spontaneously. It’s lovely. My brother…has Down syndrome. And is his father’s son. However, the Von Crap family, as my mother described us, sounded glorious, the girls in three part harmony & my brother sounding like an incredibly happy barge.

It was wonderful.

Left of Mother, Right For You

I talked to my Mummy yesterday!

You’re looking at me funny.

No, you don’t understand. My family don’t talk. We are not talkers. We don’t “keep in touch”. We are adrift in a sea of memory misery.

I’m always floored by you folks who say that you talk to your moms every day or every week or every month or every fiscal quarter. I think it’s great! If I manage to adopt a child someday, I sure hope she calls me, too. I would of course call her, or at least text her to see how her smoodgie face is doing. But this has not been my world. There are several reasons for this, some of them are of course my fault, unless you believe that your parents shape your behaviour, and then I am absolved of responsibility. Muahahaha!

But the point is (there’s ever a point?) I am ECSTATIC I talked to my Mummy, & we made plane reservations and for the first time since I was in college, I am spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with her, my sister, & my brother. YAYZ times four gazillion million!

AND.

My father apparently asked why my mother did not request his presence (which is rich because the man can tell you the date of every battle in every war in the history of human civilisation, but he cannot remember birthdays or holidays). My mother stood up for me. STOOD UP FOR ME. She told him, “I want to see my daughter for once.” And he said, “Is she still cross with me?” Really?

And my mother (my mother!) said to him, “Cross with you? She never wants to see you again for as long as you live. How much more clear should she have been?” He said, “Oh.” (Well DUH.) He then said, “If she was in some sort of trouble, you would tell me right?” (RICH.)

My mother (MY MOTHER!) said, “No, I would not. But rest assured she is doing better now than she has ever done in her life, and don’t you dare jeopardize that by contacting her again.”

MY. EFFING. MOTHER.

ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!

This is kind of huge. This is kind of wonderful huge for me. This is kind of safe and loving and epic. If I didn’t have a migraine, I would feel exceptionally faery light right now & possibly dance on my tippy toes. I feel like somebody’s daughter and I can’t wait to see her and hug her. Also I might cry. Good cry.

But here’s the funny part:

So we talk briefly about the food bit of Thanksgiving, since I am now an unholy nightmare of food limitations & an incorrigible pain in the arse to everyone who wishes to feed me. She asks if she has to do anything different and I say not really, most of her dinner is from scratch. The roast potatoes don’t need to be modified, and neither does the turkey…

“Oh, unless you use one that has fluids & stuff in it.”

“Oh,” my Mum says. “Well, sometimes I inject it with stuff.”

“Oh,” I say, “Well, just let me know what the ingredients are. If there’s any MSG, I can’t have it. Also some thickeners & flavourings have gluten in them, especially gravy mixes. But I can make a gravy from scratch for you if you like. I don’t want to be a pain in the arse.”

“Ok, we’ll talk about that before you come down.”

“And of course I can’t have anything that’s been remotely near a crumb of stuffing.”

“Oh, you don’t like stuffing any more?”

I blinked. “Um, well, I can’t have stuffing. Bread.”

My mother gasped. “YOU CAN’T HAVE BREAD?!!!”

*palm/face*

“Mum, I have celiac disease.”

“Is gluten in bread?”

“Mum, gluten is a protein in wheat. So yes, it’s in bread, Yorkshire pud, gravy, crusts, some drinks even. It’s effing everything.”

“Well fook me, no wonder you’re losing weight!”

“Oh, and I can’t have dairy.”

“What?”

“Yup.”

“No clotted creme for you then, mate.”

“NO NO I can have creme. Well, a little. I can’t have milk, yogurt, ice cream. No lactose. No milk sugar. It’s like Atkins. The more cooked it is, the better. So like I can have cheese a bit.”

“Oh that’s good.”

“Oh and I can’t have peanuts.”

“Christ.”

I am laughing while typing this. It’s so NOT ENGLISH to have things wrong with your belly. Stiff upper lip and all that. But I explained that if I have a hint of a portion of a crumb of gluten, I will have dysentry (as Rick describes it). Also I will be bloated for a couple of weeks & my weight loss will be stalled at least a month as my system fixes itself again. So I think she realizes this is a big deal.

But it’s ok, because I can help cook. I can make lovely things. My Mum said she wishes I was coming earlier so I could shop at Trader Joes with, and I told her about the Trader Joes gluten free list. Now I think things are happier.

I also discovered my Mum does not like goat cheese. Caroline does. We must get it from my father, which makes sense because the Mongolian/goat cheese loving blood (type B) comes through the Slavic bloodline. This is per my doctor & Google.

I’m up to a bunch of wacky writing/thinking/publishing type nonsense, but more about that at another time.

Also I wish Posterous would let you post a SMALLER header photo. Lame.

Oh, by the way, NOTHING should be named “tunnel of fudge.”

*today’s blog title brought to you by “Left of Mother” by Curve, off the album ‘Cuckoo’