It’s National Margarita Day

I hate tequila. It’s Boston’s fault – yes, the entire city of Boston, Massachusetts, is to be blamed for my disdain of the blue agave based spirit. I bet you’re dying to know why.

Here’s the scoop.  It was Spring Break, 1987. I was a freshman in college and had just suffered a major life-trauma: the unexpected death of my step-mother. Actually, the anniversary of her passing was just a few days ago. It’s been 25 years since she died, which is just so hard to believe. Anyway, her death was completely unexpected (a suicide) and it left me severely shaken. Luckily, I had some awesome girlfriends (Ann and Rhonda) who were planning a trip to the East coast during Spring Break to visit our Resident Assistant, Maurianne (aka: Mo). They invited me to come along, which I whole-heartedly accepted.

Off we went. Three girls hitting the open road in a sweet white Camaro. Rhonda drove the entire way since it was her ride, Ann sat shotgun, and I rode in the back seat. Being the shortest of the three dictated that I was the wise choice to squeeze in with the luggage. Oh yeah, and my hermit crab, Alvin, was along for the ride, too. Seriously. I couldn’t leave my hermit crab at Ohio University for an entire week all by himself. Who knows what sort of trouble he’d get into?

Pittsburgh was Ann’s hometown so we made a stop there for a couple of days before making our way to Rhode Island. Pittsburgh was a lovely stop in our line of travel and certainly took my mind off what had been going on in Ohio. Then we continued our journey east. When we arrived in Barrington, I fell in love. I decided that it was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen and swore to myself that I’d live there some day. This was a couple of years before I stepped on top of the Continental Divide and decided to live there instead. 🙂 I walked the rocky beaches, saw the sites, and took comfort in knowing that I was with three of the sweetest friends I’ve ever known and still have the pleasure of having in my life.

One night we decided to go out in Boston. I brought my fake ID along  – yes, I had a fake ID – which gave me the new persona of a girl named Wendy instead of the Sarah we all know and love. “Wendy” was a newly minted 21-year-old from Marietta, Ohio. She had blonde hair and brown eyes but was approximately the same height and weight that I was. I don’t remember the specifics of how I gained this new identity but it doesn’t matter. The ID did what I needed it to do. The bouncer didn’t even look at the stats. All he asked was for me to recite “my” social security number, which I had memorized.

We were in! It was my first time in a real live non-campus bar. Some guys at the end of the bar offered to buy us drinks. Since I was really only familiar with beer, I thought I’d be cool and order a shot of the only other alcohol I’d heard of – tequila. MISTAKE! The first whiff had me gagging but I bucked up and quickly tossed back the shot before I could change my mind. Besides, I didn’t want to appear wimpy in front of our generous benefactors.

A few shots of tequila later, we piled into Mo’s mom’s Buick to head back to her house. On the way, we stopped to take a quick tour of Mo’s old school. Upon getting out of the car I saw what looked like a dog. I called out to it, making kissy noises, slapping the tops of my thighs and begging it to come to me. It didn’t. One of my girlfriends said, “No. That’s a cat.” So I slurred, “Here, kitty kitty kitty kit-TY!” Still. No movement from the animal. We started inching closer – trying to be quiet so we wouldn’t scare it away. Once we were within 20 feet of it we realized it was a freaking tree stump. We fell down on the ground crying with laughter. Something like that can only be funny thanks to the effects of tequila.

On the way home I threw up in the back seat of Mo’s mom’s Buick. Maybe it’s not such a surprise that I was never invited back to Rhode Island. Actually, that’s not true. Despite my severe faux pas I was immediately forgiven. But I haven’t been back to Rhode Island since. Stupid tequila. You mess up everything that is good.

I spent some time as a cocktail waitress when I lived in Summit County, Colorado. I always dreaded the times that a rowdy group of people would order a round of shots because it was almost always tequila. The smell of this demon juice teleports me straight to the back seat of Mo’s mom’s poor Buick. I have absolutely no love for tequila. Not even diluted into a margarita.

So, on today’s holiday, I will stick with what I should have ordered 25 years ago… beer. I don’t know why I decided to deviate from what I know and love but I do know that I will never do it again.


Happy Tu B’Shevat!

Today is Tu B’Shevat, which is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the New Year for Trees. Jewish culture dictates that you’re not to eat fruit from a tree that is less than five years old. So, today was created to celebrate another year of life for our dear friend, the tree. I suppose today could be seen as a Bat Mitzvah of sorts for the world of Dendrology, as long as the subject that is celebrating has achieved at least five years of growth.

I really don’t have much more to say about that. See, I’m still waiting to celebrate my own Bat Mitzvah. I’ve been waiting a long time to become a woman. Had I been born a Jew, I could have celebrated this milestone when I turned 13. However, being a Protestant of sorts, there is no age requirement – or limit – on when one becomes an adult. So, I’m still waiting. In fact, the only “growth” I’ve experienced recently is the hair on my legs. THAT forest, my friends, is VERY mature. In fact, if you fell one of my leg hairs, the rings will dictate that they’ve been around since the birth of Jesus. I have no plans to cut down Sarah National Forest. At least not until summer. I guess I’ll use today to celebrate my leg hair since, unfortunately, I’m not a Jew.

This week is also International Friendship Week. I do have some International friends. One of my dear friends is currently sailing around the world with her husband. She’s American, but she’s currently International. That counts, right? My college roommate recently moved back to the States from Singapore so I guess I can’t count her any longer. Hmmm. Who else do I know Internationally? My friend, Wendy, is moving to Alaska. That’s pretty close to Russia, which counts according to Sarah Palin, right? Never mind. I guess I’m not as worldly as I thought. I know God, though. That’s International! Heck, that’s Intergalactical. So, I suppose I’m “other-worldly.” How very “X-Files” of me (YES, James. That was just for you. The truth is out there. Your tapes, however, are probably not.)

Actually, I just watched a movie called “Letters to God.” It’s about an eight-year-old boy who has cancer. I usually steer away from these movies because they are very rarely accurate. I like a good fantasy picture now and then but since I’ve lived this experience I can be very cynical when it comes to depicting this particular topic. “Dragonfly”, for example, was a piece of garbage. Another Lifetime movie had a little girl who needed a bone marrow transplant for her cancer therapy. Her dead-beat dad abducted her because he wanted a ransom for her AND his stem-cells that would save her life. She would occasionally cough and say “I have the cancer.” It was ridiculous. I usually get disgusted and bitch about how inaccurate the portrayals are, yet still watch them through to completion. I guess I ultimately like to complain. Anyway, this “Letters to God” movie was VERY realistic. The little boy was without hair. Check. He even lost his eyebrows. Check. His brother was mad at the boy for being sick and felt like he wasn’t as loved as his brother. Check. The mother was struggling with her relationship with God and how could He possibly be doing this to her son. Check. And all of his school friends rallied around him, yet one classmate made fun of the boy for having cancer. Check. It was extremely realistic. The family even went to Give Kids The World for a Make-a-Wish trip. We did that. It brought back a flood of memories. Anyway, the little boy maintains his faith in the Big Guy Upstairs and even writes Him letters talking about his thoughts and feelings and fears. The mailman, who is going through tremendous personal crises of his own, doesn’t know what to do with the letters and ends up reading them. He eventually becomes very close with the family and his relationship with the boy transforms his life.

I bawled my eyes out. Trust me, I wanted to be cynical. I wanted to say “that’s not how you do it.” I wanted to throw it out as an unbelievable piece of garbage that has nothing to do with the world of pediatric oncology. But it does. It was beautifully – and accurately – portrayed. I highly recommend the movie, even if you don’t believe in God.

I used to keep a journal that was dedicated to my writings to God. I recently re-read them and was fascinated to find that my struggles then are very close to my struggles now. The situations may have changed but the feelings have remained the same. I came to realize that this life is just a long dress rehearsal for a story that is never going  to be aired. I don’t know what I’m waiting for. I don’t know why I’m just not getting on with it already. The situations will change. Sometimes they will be better.
Sometimes they will be worse. And as Andy Dufresne said in the “Shawshank Redemption”, you gotta “get busy living or get busy dying.”  I’m choosing the former even though I sometimes feel like doing the latter.

Life is hard. Right now it’s really flipping hard. But I’ll think about that tomorrow. After all, (as stated by Margaret Mitchell’s character Scarlett O’Hara) tomorrow is another day. In the meantime, I’m going to go inventory my leg hair. And maybe write a letter to God.