Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thank You KG

I have a basketball jones. It came to me while carrying a boy in my belly. I had so much testosterone surging through my system, I became unrecognizable to myself. It was a blessing; I found the Minnesota Timberwolves (amongst other male centric activities that I'll not go into here, slowly, slowly I'm getting boundaries and an unwelcome thicker skin))...ANYWAY,
I was there when The Kid started to blossom, that season when Malik Sealy blossomed late in his career (and sadly during the last year of his bright life)....I loved watching Kevin Garnett play basketball. I don't know much about stats, and game savvy, but I know he made me smile.
Boston, buckle up, your winters are about to look rosy. The positivity and passion and charm that Kevin Garnett brings to basketball will brighten even your grayest nor'easter days. And I admit that I was tempted to show up at every Timberwolves game I attended last season wearing a handmade FREE KG t-shirt because he was shackled to a dysfunctional family fathered by Kevin McHale. But it's hard to leave your family who loves you in spite of being messed up (what family isn't?). Looking into the sadness and frustration on KG's face the last couple of years, the years after his less principled siblings Sam and Latrell, left him high and dry to support the family on his own, led me to wish for a better situation for him.
I've been weirdly teary since I heard last night that he was leaving. Like a comfortable sweater, I got used to having Kevin around; I may've even took it for granted that he'd always be here for me on the coldest winter night. Now he's leaving for one of my favorite cites, and I'm going to miss seeing him smile, and boost his team mates, and execute with beauty and grace. Thanks Kevin, you ruled the roost with aplomb and I'm going to miss you, but you were in the center of a poorly run business, and I think happy days professionally are just around the corner for you. Have a blast! Love, Laurie
p.s. I can't believe I just wrote a sports blog.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What I'm Doing On My Summer Vacation

Sitting in the grass at baseball diamonds.
Folding and putting away an endless stream of laundry.
Buying dresses that I have nowhere to wear.
Reading from my book wherever they'll have me:
In Madison, an assortment of the casserole makers from my old neighborhood sat in the front row while I read. I did not read aloud about my adult assessment of them because there they were, proud and loyal, grateful that my first novel (the early adolescent years set to thinly veiled fiction) was never published. Marco Pogo, Madison's premier live music afficionado and dancer, was there -- his presence is a badge of honor. My childhood neighbor who was sport enough to take me to our junior prom was there with a print-out of our prom picture (even though at the time I stood a foot taller and ditched him at the after-party at Devil's Lake).
In Edina, two young women in high school sat in the front row and asked permission (permission!) to take my picture on their cell phones.
Talking to radio personalities (Lori and Julia and Jill Spiegel at 107.1 are hoots and a half) and parents of ball players.
Reading up on perimenopause, anxiety, addiction, and trying to get through the Edith Wharton bio.
Fielding corrections by the rock and roll police ("Crazy Train" was an Ozzy song, not a Sabbath song; forgive me), the routing police (we were in Iowa to get to Seattle because we decided to avoid mountain driving; Northfield is not where I said it was in my book, forgive me), and the grammar police who all attended private colleges that they feel the need to mention (the charges too numerous to list, again, forgive me).
Gearing up for back to back weekends in the nations' water parks (see anxiety).
Giving myself permission to send up stream of consciousness, ill-formed blogs.
Trying to figure out what the Minnesota Twins need to do to stay on track.
Wondering why Kevin McHale still works for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Wishing it would rain.
Hoping everyone's having a swell summer, even the haters.

Friday, May 4, 2007

I'm Sad About Bonnie

I didn't really know Bonnie. She was the lady behind the checkcashing/stamp-selling counter at my favorite grocery store. Bonnie's counter sat across from the coffee window so she saw everyone who ordered coffee. Bonnie had these insane hot pink dragon lady finger nails, and a short dyed blond mop that looked like a wig. A couple of years ago she got a perm that looked slightly poodlish, but I complimented her anyway. Her face suggested a couple of trips around the block, and she favored peach cake make-up and had tired blue eyes. Bonnie cackled at everyone's jokes, knew everyone's name. Sometimes her work friend Marilyn joined her behind the counter and they'd call out to regulars they liked like carnival hawkers. "How's your little boy?" they'd call out. "Big!" I'd say, and they'd reminisce outloud to anyone within earshot about how large I was when with child. Bonnie's counter was her stage, her co-workers her family, the customers her audience.
In the dead of winter, I'd see Bonnie standing outside in subzero temperatures smoking a Virginia Slim in a thin red quilted coat. Bonnie had that subtle hardcore vibe that, for better or worse, I can relate to. She wore big costume jewelled pins, turtles with fake emerald spots on their back and the like. I wondered if she lived alone and watched tv when not working, which I had no business wondering. Everyone has a few Bonnies in their life. People they see more often than their closest friends because they work at the businesses you haunt almost daily. Bonnie weighed and stamped countless manuscripts and grant applications for me. "I think this one's lucky!" she'd say encouragingly adding an extra "priority" stamp on the front to make me feel important.
She was one of the first people I told about selling my first book, and she reacted the way I wanted everyone to; "Oh, I'm so proud of you!" she said with glee while calling over her co-workers to share our good news. Every subsequent visit solicited, "How's the book?" I explained it wouldn't be out for a year or two upon selling which never deterred Bonnie from asking "How's the book?" several times a week.
Last fall I asked how she was doing, and she said, "Not so good." She went on to tell me that "they'd" found cancer in her jaw and she would have to undergo chemo and radiation and hope that it hadn't spread. "I'm scared," she said. So honest, so not a thing we say to the people we should be saying such things to. "You're gonna be fine," I told her because I didn't know what else to say. After radiation she had a nice glossy ash blond wig, but Bonnie didn't look well. "How's the book?" she asked. Then she was gone for a while, and was back right before Christmas and she had a ropelike scar running from her jawline to below her collar. She was diminished to less than half her solid size, her eyes were lost, she shouldn't have been working. I walked up to her and hugged her hard and said "Merry Christmas" and didn't ask her how she was doing, but wanted to make sure she had lots of friends and family around her. "Oh ya..." she trailed off. I embraced her hard, and cried in my car.
Then I didn't see her. Finally in February I asked Marilyn how Bonnie was doing. "Oh honey, no one told you? She passed on three weeks ago. I can't believe I'm never going to see her again." Marilyn put on her game face because at their very fancy grocery store, you do not burden the customers, but Marilyn was struggling. They weren't supposed to talk about the time Sal, the most popular cashier in the joint, mysteriously quit or when Marcella had a stroke. I always tried to break them down and get the story; occasionally one of the ladies would quickly get me up to date under her breath. Bonnie always told me the scoop. Upon hearing about Bonnie's demise, I quickly went about my shopping and by the time I got to the coffee section late in the order of things, I started crying. I cried through paper goods, toiletries, candy, and frozen foods. When checking out, I told my cashier, "I'm sad about Bonnie." "Oh, I know. The poor dear," she said because that's about all they're supposed to say in order to keep up the appropriate customer/employee boundaries. Bonnie didn't have those boundaries, and I'm grateful. I need those daily check ins and small talk and sharing of trivial information and life changing with relative strangers. My book comes out next week and I wish I could tell Bonnie it was finally out.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Afternoon Callers

I have been dragging my heels about blogging: The kind, patient lady who designs web sites for me keeps gently nudging me and saying, "Now would be a good time to blog."
So I find myself wanting to write about something I hate talking about: Yesterday afternoon our front doorbell rang. No big deal; it was a Saturday afternoon, perfect for a pick-up game of baseball in the park across the street. Yet, I hesitated. I hesitated because I looked like crap having been bedridden for a couple of days. But I thought the better of it and opened the door. The neighborhood boys don't seem to notice when you're looking like crap.
There stood the sweetest, freshest virginal nubile teenage girls. They smelled perfumed. They wore pastel eyeliner and freckles. They were darling.
"Hi," I said gruffly looking a lot like Baby Jane Hudson.
They tittered and said nothing. "What can I do for you?" I continued.
And they whispered in unison, "Is Paul there?"
Paul is my forty-seven-year-old married rock star husband.
"Who should I say is calling?" I asked, not knowing what else to say or do, not wanting to help or hurt them.
"Fans," they sputtered.

And this is the part where I'm not sure what to do because I'm bombarded with so many options; do I slam the door? Call the police? Tell them they're invading our privacy? Call a realtor? Go find Paul and make him deal with it? I don't react quickly or well to challenges so I stepped outside feeling like I looked like I had a colostomy bag hanging from my hip, and said, "You guys, it's not cool to come up to the house. This is where we live with our child. We should be able to be private here. It scares our son when he thinks that strangers know where we live."
I wish I could've invited them in for lemonade and been as kind as can be, and pulled out our family photo albums...no, actually, I don't. I know that however I react to this situation, I'll be perceived as a bitch. Just being in my position makes me a bitch whether I am or not. And I know I can be. For sure.
I'm grateful he has fans. I have a very nice life because of it. But that doesn't mean you get to come to the house to discuss the matter. I'll tell you sometime about the soccer dad who came to the front door with his terrified-looking daughter.