Sunday, January 31, 2010

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?

I actually really love Sundays. I slept in til 3pm and got up only to watch the Probowl on the couch in my pajamas. Somewhere over cereal for breakfast and oogling over Drew Brees on the sidelines, I decided that it was about time to get sushi with my dad. I've only been inviting him to go for like 2 months.

A few hours later with my uncle and sister in tow, I got my dad to eat raw fish and eel and then over frozen yogurt and minature gummy bears, I showed two old guys how an iphone works...the camera, the instant internet, the emailing, the fart machine, the PacMan game, Shazam, and Pandora.

I've been having a lot of conversation lately with people about how connected the generation of "kids" are today. The entire generation. This is a viral generation that literally has the power to change the world in the palm of their hands and at their fingertips. It's funny to see someone like my dad and my uncle react to the realities of such an instantly gratified reality. When my dad was a kid, he earned money by bicycle delivering wooden dentures to people. I'm.not.even.exaggerating. My dad is kind of an old guy. Seventy to be exact. So an iphone...pusshawww, get outta here!

So after googling the name of the Al Green song that played in the beginning of The Book of Eli to end the debate we were all having about who sang it, I showed a combined 137 years of life how I could instantly search it, purchase it, and play it for them. Even better, after getting back in the car, my dad pointed to his porthole on the dash of his new auxillery for a MP3 player.

So...after a night of sushi and frozen yogurt with my dad and my favorite uncle, I drove a little slower and took the long way home while we listened to an Al Green classic..."I can think of younger days when living for my life was everything a man could want to do..."

I love Sundays.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Mmmm...iphone. My electronic Mecca, my link to the world, my instant music gratification, my flashlight, my alarm clock...ugh, my alarm clock.

I recently changed the alarm clock tone to "piano riff". It's a classic blues paino riff, just like 6 notes that set up that "I'm down on my luck, love has left me, a man done stole my heart and my money, I told my job they can stick it, and grabbed my guitar and walked out kinda blues!!!"

This is how my morning started just the other day:
Duh-nah-nah-nah-naaah! "I don't wanna wake up this morning"
Duh-nah-nah-nah-naaah! "I don't wanna get outta this bed"
Duh-nah-nah-nah-naaah! "Baby turn the alarm off, I'm laying back down my sleepy head!"

I don't think I can ever change it back to a regular alarm clock sound after the other morning. Ever.

I woke up giggling and channeling my inner BB King...horizontal accapela karaoke first thing in the morning.

Seriously, when is the last time you woke up giggling when you weren't a) drunk or b) being acosted by someone who woke up drunk next to you? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Waking up singing the blues has never been a good thing until now and that's a sound I can stick with!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1 part vodka, 1 part...

Cranberry juice.
As if it didn't taste enough like fruity bile to begin with, it's even more pungent coming up than it is going down. I can't drink anymore of that stuff. Seriously, I cannot drink anymore of this stuff, I'm about to throw up.

***Edit: if you're easily offended, squeamish, or a guy who just doesn't want to know, you could stop reading now.

Today I saw the lady doctor (pause for the cheers).
No cheers? Fine, moving on.

To start my appointment, I climbed 3 flights of stairs in the wrong building to get to a receptionist who promptly said "Oh hey, I know you" as she was checking on which office I was supposed to report to for my digital probing. Good to see you sister's friend from high school. No, I don't have an STD, thank you very much.

Back out into the rain to drive across to the other building, I'm now 15 minutes late, like I am to every appointment. Walking through the halls with my wet tennis shoes, I sounded like someone was choking a duck; it was like an announcment to the rest of the hospital:
Quack (hi everyone, I'm on the women's health floor), Squeek (wonder what's wrong with that girl's vajay?),
Quack (don't see a ring, must be a single mom)...

As I arrive at the front desk to check in, there's a young girl in a wheelchair, an old guy, and some lady that looks like that woman on TV who has the 19 kids. The old guy, who is not actually someone's grandpa (who also coincidentally looks like my college Geology professor that failed me twice, I never liked him), is now at the counter yelling at the receptionist about the unreliability of computers in this age and demanding to talk to the administration. I'm 28 years old, I haven't thrown a temper tantrum since I was in the single digits, but with my nether regions tingling and burning and the urge to pee again for the second time in 10 minutes, I couldn't resist throwing myself down in the waiting room bench and muttering something about old guys having something stuck in their asses having to go to the gynocologist to get it out. At one point, I actually pointed at the sign above my head and said "this is women's health, not old guy health." Mature, I know.

"It's a UTI" I tell the nurse as I sit down for my vitals. Apparently being the only one not in scrubs, I wans't allowed to say something so bold, she looked at me like I told her I had an arm growing out of my head. Now, UTI is not related to Devry institute, it is not where college drop outs go to learn how to calibrate a speedometer. It's the nice way of saying, IT BURNS WHEN I PEE!!! IT BURNS!!!

After the next gauntlet of questions where I didn't know if I was describing a wheel of cheese or my anatomy, I was directed down the hall to give a urine sample. I've given a lot of these samples for one reason or another and no matter what I do, I always piss on my hand. Deciding to try a different approach for the first time in my adult life, I dropped trau and got into a position that could only be compared to something you'd find on a football field. I was waiting for a hot QB to tap my ass and tell me to snap the ball, or whatever you call it in football terms. You would think after having to pee 24/7 for the last 5 days, I could eek out enough for a test strip, no. Not right now. As I squatted like a linebacker wishing myself to dribble just a little into that cup, I took one glance down at my pants and instalty heard..."pants on the grounds, pant on the ground, looking like a fool with your pants on the ground.." Thanks General Larry, thanks. Maybe you can make a sequel..."piss on your hand, piss on your hand, smelling like a bum with some piss on your hand."

Handing me the blue tarp of nudity, the nurse tells me to get undressed and wait for the doctor. Easy enough, but then I got to my socks and I leave them on? Do I take them off? Is it weird to just have socks on when you're bottomless in stirrups? I hope these socks don't smell like wet tennis shoe...just a whole conversation with half nude self in the middle of the afternooon.

My OBGYN is an older lady who is a Vegan, has natural greyish, wirey hair, wire rimmed glasses, natural stone jewelry, who always wears layers or a long dress, and looks like she could be someone's grandmother or hippie aunt. Talking to your grandmother about your sex life is not cool. Talking to your grandmother about your recent lack of sex life is even less cool. Granted its the middle of the winter and I spent the beginning of this year in a freezing car driving across the country, I will admit that the bush could use some trimming nonetheless. The landing strip could use clearing. The crops could use some harvesting. When my gyno-grandmother asked me if I was currently active, I wanted to tell her to look at the amazon and decide for herself. There's no way I would subject a man to that. Not even George of the Jungle.

It was at the point, as the tarp lifted and the speculum came out, that the doctor and nurse launced into a conversation about their kids in college and mandatory tight wearing in Pilates classes, that I decided I would rather be in a gang bang than be in that room. Honestly, the conversation would be less involved and I wouldn't feel an awkward need to make conversation to distract from the situation at hand. Really, I probably wouldn't even have the ability to talk at all which would make it that much easier to deal with.

Diagnosis: "it's a UTI" says the nurse. "Yeah, that's what I thought, thanks," as I left the office and headed for the elevator to pick up my prescription.

Quack (she's leaving the gyno floor),
Squeek (wonder if she's got something contagious?),
Quack (she's headed towards the pharmacy, must be a good one)
Quack, quack, quack.....

Monday, January 18, 2010


"Our lives being to end when we become silent about the things that matter." Martin Luther King Jr.

Today I went to a planning meeting for a fundraiser for Haiti. The teen who draw this is the older brother of 3 adpoted children from Haiti who now live here in our town with their adpoted American family. It is our city flag and the Haitian national flag, simply put, he said we are all united. We are all one.
I think this was the best way to do right by the legacy of MLK Jr.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mud Flap - picture portrait of my Sunday

I don't think I've ever heard a bad Keith Urban song. I love his voice, I love his lyrics...Raining on Sunday is one of my favorites.

Well, Keith Urban was not singing about today. If there was a song written about my rainy Sunday today, it would have been written by Phoebe from FRIENDS.

I love Sundays, they're the beginning of my weekend. I don't wake up until late in the afternoon, I light all the smelly good candles and laze about the house in my pajamas and catch up on all my recordings from the week.

Somewhere in the middle of the Golden Globes recap as I was oogling some skinny Hollywood starlet's dress, I caught the whiff of wet mud. Now mind you, as I laid comatose on the couch barely awake as the dog ran around in circles like the crazy bat she is, it didn't occur to me that she had been gallopping in the mud bog in my backyard like a gazelle on the Plains.

It was by the sheer grace of God and St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, that my sister was home tonight...I can only imagine all the explatives that would have been texted about her 85 lb wanna be lap dog's continuing destruction of my humble abode.

As I dragged my near lifeless body up from the couch and set foot on the living room floor, the visual of the smell hit me. MUD. EVERYWHERE. A pathway that lead from one room to the next, connecting the entire house paw print by paw print. Mind you for a good, solid 20 minutes, the dog ran past my father who was too glued to the 24 premier playing at volume 50 to even notice our house being turned into a mudslide.

Finally clued in to the commotion, after I went through turning on all the lights in the house and yelling something about the dog pound he said:

"Aaaaahhhhhhhwwww!!! What is all this!? I'll get the swifter and clean it up."
It's not a swifter, it's a swiffer.
"What? Swiffer? What kind of name is that? Do you clean with it or do you dance with it? Who names these things, Mary Poppins?"
"Are you sure we don't have more than one dog? This is a lot of mess."
BUSTED!!! Emma "Mud Flap" Coughlan

Winking is not going to get you out of this, dog!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Remember when 9/11 was just a day on the calendar?
2,973 deaths later it will never be just a day on the calendar.

Remember when Haiti was just that country somewhere over by Florida that you couldn't really pin point on a map?
Upwards of 100,000 with bodies lying in piles in the streets and mounds in mass graves.
I cannot fathom the number.
I cannot imagine the scene.

Cataclysmic: a momentous and violent event marked by overwhelming upheaval and demolition; broadly : an event that brings great changes.
God willing, we will only be witness to these events once or twice in a lifetime.

I don't think it's fair to say that the news coverage is sensory overload - as I watch it from my comfortable seat in my heat controlled room with my high speed internet access.
I don't think it's fair that I had a hunger pain earlier tonight because I'm on semi-failing day 4 of Weight Watchers. Fat American eating Taco Bell while reading stories about catastropic death and tragedy in a place that is only 680 miles away from the bustling, neon city of Miami. If that catastrophe was in San Diego, I could be there in a matter of hours.
I don't think it's fair that people have been saying that it's making them too sad so they're turning it off.
Watching horrific scenes of bodies being dumped by the truckful into mass graves, I think back to a few days ago when I was wandering through the snow covered National Cemetary in Greenville, TN reading the names behind the carefully placed Christmas wreaths on perfectly lined rows of military headstones. What a stunning contrast.

I'm not one to blame God for what happens here on Earth, but I am struggling at the thought that the humanity's opportunity to prove itself across the globe seems to come on the backs of one of the poorest nations in the world.

It's supposed to rain here well into the end of next week. We've prepped ourselves on how to monitor the creek levels and where to direct people to pick up sand and bags to protect their homes from all the water. The politically demanding calls have already begun to come in..."When are you people going to come clean these storm drains? Am I going to have to sue the city again to replace my carpets when you let the water wash up into my house? So this is like Katrina then, we're left to fend for ourselves?" Infuriating.

I'm an 40+ hour a week emergency specialist and a chaos organizer...but these aren't real emergencies and this is hardly close to the definition of chaos. In times like these, my job is especially hard.

Sifting through the pictures online, it amazes me to see rescuers from so many nations in the world: Bolivia, Israel, Ireland, Spain, Belgium, France, Mexico, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Columbia, the Netherlands, Canada, Russia, and the US working together to preserve life in a tiny country that can't seem to catch a break.

Sitting here glued to CNN, hiding tears from my partners, I found myself thinking about how I would tactically approach the relief effort in a country I just became geographically accquainted with early this week; and then...I find myself searching the job openings for the Peace Crops, the World Food Program, the Red Cross... I think I'm really starting to feel a great change in terms of my desire to help those people who are really in need. I'm just not satisfied with sitting back and watching events unfold through a camera lens. I think I'm starting to see a new path being laid out in front of me.

God be with the people of Haiti and all those men and women who are in the service of saving them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Where in the world?

has she been?

Answer: here, there, and everywhere. (read between the lines, on the couch asleep for the last 3 days)

As I sit here choking down steel cut oatmeal on my first day of weight watchers (gag & sigh), waiting for my newly installed hard drive to load on my bum laptop (@#!&^%$ thing better have not lost ALL my picture for the last 2 years), listening to John Mayer LIVE (Perfectly Lonely, yeah I dig it) play for the 3rd time this morning, I can't believe it's already January 13th. What the?

Granted, I spent the first 7 days of this year in a heatless van with 1 hubcap driving across the country in the worst Arctic freeze in 40 years (many, many backlogged adventures to come, I promise!), the 8th day on a SouthWest airplane flying OVER the artic cold death freeze of 2010, and then the next 3 days asleep on my couch drooling, unable to move from the sheer exhaustion of putting in 6,000+ travel miles in 2010 right from the get go.

I'm here. I'm alive. I'm already overwhelmed. I can barely manage to get my laundry done, but I have seen 3 movies this week, turned down 1 blind coffee date, suffered through a friend's 5am crisis at hour 5 of the New Year, got a senior citizen safely across the country, and broken a brush and a closet door in a mini-rage over yes, again, dog hair and mud.

What do I want for this new year? What do I always want?
To look like a hot supermodel by Summer
To pay off all my bills and shout from the rooftops "I'm debt free!!!"
To see more of the world (check)
To be happy much more. I like the way my calendar is shaping up. Not to say that life lives in the calendar pages of your planner, but I'm putting this year to work. I am.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Maryland or Bust, day 1 - Big Moon, Blue Moon

"I live in a van down by the river." - Chris Farley

I wish I had a film crew, but I had the next best thing: Me in all my tech-girl glory and my always passenger: my SLR with the wide-angle, the zooom lens, the portrait, and the good old standby stock lens. I had the handheld camera, the portable GPS, and the laptop (in it's geratric state just before it's suicide)...AND most importantly, I had my new, back from the dead, iPhone.

Blogging from the road, in a van with no heat, during the worst cold front seen in this country in 40 years, in the snow from coast to coast isn't an easy feat, but I kept notes. Would you expect anything less?

I'm not quite sure when I volunteered for this National Lampoon's trip across this frozen land of the Free and home of the Brave, but I do recall thinking it probably would never happen. Rewind: Christmas Eve afternoon standing in Pier 1 with a basket full of breakables...

Ring: "Hello Ma'am, does that offer still stand?"
"Ok. Well then we're driving to Mary-land on the 1st."
"Ok then."

Betty: family friend, church friend, friend of friend's, work friend, good mother, great grandma, 64 years young, a kick in the pants, a Godly woman, a street smart lady, someone you want to have in your corner, my own personal Madea.

We vaguely decided we would leave at noon(ish), New Year's Day. Hmm...yeah, post New Year's Eve in the city with The Roots at the Warfield, a visit with the last man standing crew in the backyard of a friend's house until nearly 4am, and then a 5am drunken crisis, come 11am and I'm still not packed. I live in California, I don't know how to deal with snow...I got stuck looking for a jacket. A real jacket. Little did I know.

"Betty, how much room do I have for my stuff? I was going to pack a blanket and a pillow."
(and I quote): "Don't worry, I have plenty of both."

Finally at 1:22, my chariot arrived. (insert): A dark green 1998 Plymouth Voyager with approximately 1 hub cap, and peppered with dents, scratches, and rust. As close as I'm getting to a covered wagon. I dig it. I grew up with a 1988 two-toned Ford Aerostar, I can hang.

Circa 3:10pm, we're just leaving town. Count it, 3:20, our first stop for lunch - Betty is diabetic, there will be a lot of stops. Note: this is also when I started my list of Things That Don't Work in Betty's Car
1) driver's side window

4:56: We're in Santa Cruz...yeah, check the map. It's ON the Pacific Coast. (sigh) We're never going to get to Maryland. Go, go, gadet GPS.

In the next few hours, after successfully finding 101 SOUTH, as we rolled through the artichoke capital of the world, and past prison after prison, under the full moon, we discussed all manner of things: Michael Jackson, Tyler Perry, mutual friends, the economy, music, technology, relationships. Betty has this thing - every time she see's a full moon, she calls each of her 3 kids and sings "Big mooon, blue moooooon" It makes me smile...that's something my mom would do too.

Having sucessfully made it far enough away from home to not be able to return for the night, it felt like we were getting somewhere and we settled at Super 8 for the night, determined to make up for the time lost by getting up early.