40 Days to 40: Day 9. Random Year Memory: 1984.
Still playing catch-up. Writing Weds 9/16’s post on Fri 9/19. While attempting to rock the baby down in the Bjorn.
Back in the days before kids bullied on social media, they used blackboards.
I am forever proud of the unthinkable slur the girls wrote about me, over and over again, in chalk, on the blackboard of my 4th grade classroom.
"Alison loves Luke."
Was this some mortifying outing of a crush sworn to secrecy? Did I quietly pine for a brooding 10-year-old boy named Luke, only to have my feelings discovered and put on the cruelest of blasts? Did said little boy Luke tease me mercilessly once he learned of my perverse intentions?
No, my Luke was never that sort. He was more interested in simple pleasures, like helping his uncle around the farm, gazing at the moons, and browsing the various power converters at Tosche Station.
I went to an all-girls school. I told someone I loved Luke Skywalker. I’ll never know which girl set off that train of chalk dust torture, but she’s 40 now and I’ll hazard a guess she fronts like she’s really into Star Wars.
40 Days to 40: Day 10. Random Year Memory: 2011.
I’m catching up on a week’s worth of these, but I’m retro-dating them because I’m a big liar.
In 2011 I got married.
A few random facts that come to mind here in a middle-of-the-night-nursing-my-second-born haze:
First off, it was supposed to be a lunch. In Chicago. With local folks only. Then we’d have another thing in New York for all the New York / East Coast people.
It ballooned into a wedding. Matt had always wanted a bridal party. I got on board. And you do the math. Wedding. 40 minutes north of Chicago in a barn. Two months later I got pregnant and so the NY thing never happened. Yikes. I mean yay, but yikes.
Planning: I got deep into BLOGS. The dark arts of wedding crafts. Etsy type shit. I think this was before Pinterest or I would probably have lost a limb.
I DIY’ed wayyyy too much. Blogs convinced me that if I felt tinges of envy while gawking at shallow focused photos of homemade rustic ring pillows lying in fields of wildflowers it must mean I know how to sew. I didn’t. I am only just now learning. Our chuppah fell apart, and so did our cupcake stands (in the kitchen — the caterer saved them). But these are the charming things we can laugh about. Sort of.
One time I spent 3 hours in Joanns just picking a photo booth backdrop and trying to learn about foam board.
I wanted that mason jar look without mason jars — more ecclectic — and so I “thrifted” a ton of glass bottles and jars and stuff. WHO WAS I?
I ordered chuppah poles from a farm in Wisconsin.
Did you know that PVC pipes sitting in cement in four planters can make a perfect place to put four chuppah poles? The project only takes four days.
I was so busy and frazzled with all the various ridiculous crafts projects, bridal party gifts, vows writing and and out-of-town bags, etc., that I didn’t make time to get a mani pedi. For my own wedding.
On our wedding day, both the Yankees and the Cardinals played. Mariano Rivera had a save against the Angels and Pujols (who was then still a Cardinal and still loved by my husband and in-laws) hit a home run against the Cubs.
We had beautiful weather.
The food was phenomenal.
We had a blast at the party.
I still love my husband.
It was supposed to be a lunch.
40 Days to 40: Day 11. Random Year Memory: 2010
In 2010 I got engaged. So here’s that story.
The Finish Line
We were in New York visiting my family. We went out for the day, and Matt had the ring in his pocket. Unbeknownst to me, of course, a comedy of errors ensued as he tried to hide this from me. Trying on jeans in SoHo, I offered to grab his pants out of the dressing room for him and he said “NO!!!!” On the subway, him standing over me as I took a seat, I actually tapped the ring box in his pocket and asked what it was. I had no idea. He said it was change.
We went out to dinner with friends in East Midtown. Then he asked to walk home through Central Park. I said no, you don’t do that after dark. We walked West along Central Park South. At Columbus Circle, he said, “Look, there are people with little kids in strollers in there. Can’t we go walk through the park?” I said OK. But first I had to pee.
We waited in line at the Starbucks for an eternity as Matt sweat bullets. Then I said, “Honey, I’m tired. If we take Broadway from here, it’s a diagonal leading to my parents’ place. If we go in the Park it’s out of our way.”
Somehow he convinced me to go to into the frikkin Park. At about 66th street on the inner loop, I told him, “This is where they put the finish line for the NYC marathon.” He knew right then, that was the perfect spot.
He hugged me, said sweet things, got down on one knee and proposed. I said yes, we called our families, and my parents (he’d asked my dad that morning) busted out the champagne when we returned home.
And that’s how it happened.
40 Days to 40: Day 12. Random Year Memory: 2002.
2002 was my last full year in New York. I had a job down on Wall Street in the legal department of a major investment bank you’ve definitely heard of. Most of the others in the negotiating pool were afraid of our female boss, but I thought she was really cool and down to earth. She hooked me up with a job in Chicago when I decided to move.
My job was negotiating a standard online trading contract, and conferring with the attorneys when the clients pushed back. I liked those conferences. One guy had pictures all over his office of the island to which he planned to retire. Another was The Professor, who’d give relaxed and thorough lectures on the history of indemnification over the course of an hour or so in his delightfully cluttered office. When the train fares went up, he said “You don’t lose money on big things. You lose money on everyday little things.” That always stuck with me. Another one always had the best dirty jokes, another sone sought relationship advice, and another one gave me Vicodin freely the week my back went out. There were free tampons in the bathroom.
One other thing that stuck with me: The amazingly deluxe cafeteria with a stir-fry bar and a view of the harbor. This is where lowly legal department cubicle-dwellers like us mingled with the business side. For fun, we’d pick up random receipts from the ATM just to look at the six-figure balances these players kept liquid.
40 Days to 40: Day 13. Random Year Memory: 1990.
1990 was my last year at the life-altering summer camp I called home for 5 summers.
To refresh my memory of that particular summer I just visited the closed alumni Facebook group and got sucked down a rabbit hole of aching nostalgia.
And yet not one story, not one memory, pops into my head at the moment as distinctly 1990.
I think that is the year we performed in The Importance of Being Earnest. I was Gwendolen and I remember the line:
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”
To anyone who blames our society’s navel-gazing on the Internet, I present this prescient observation by Oscar Wilde.
40 Days to 40: Music Catch-Up Edition (Days 16, 15, 14). Random Years: 1994, 1982, 1986
Obviously I’ve been super busy and have a lot of catching up to do. On Monday I did three days. Amazing how quickly a day will go by, and then another, and then …
But isn’t that the whole point of this exercise? I had 40 days until turning 40 and wanted to grab a net and catch as many fluttering, winged, scattered pieces I could of all the seconds, minutes, hours and days of the almost-40 years I’ve lived. Catching. It’s all about catching.
So. Catching up.
(And, to review, I’m “spinning again" if I generate a number that’s been used already, which means a lot of clicking because I’m over halfway done with the 40 days).
A game: For each year, I have to come up with a song that was released that year, off the top of my head. Then I’ll fact check to see if I’m right.
Tuesday 9/9: 16 Days to 40. Random Year: 1994.
Guess: “Cornflake Girl” by Tori Amos. I first heard it while riding in my friend’s car in college and thought it was Kate Bush.
Wednesday 9/10: 15 Days to 40. Random Year: 1982.
Guess: Something is telling me “P.Y.T.” by Michael Jackson. I dunno, I was 7 going on 8, but this is what I think of when I think of that year. In my neighbor’s apartment with her big brother’s records.
Answer: CORRECT! The album Thriller was released in 1982. (“P.Y.T.” wouldn’t drop as a single until 1983, but the song being on the ‘82 album is what counts here — I was definitely listening to “P.Y.T.” in ‘82, because we were playing the whole album over and over).
OK, 2 for 2!
Thursday 9/11: 14 Days to 40. Random Year: 1986.
OK, whether it was released in ‘86 or not I can say Howard Jones Dream Into Action was the soundtrack of this summer for me. It was my first summer at LL Camp (referenced in my 1988 post) and “No One Is To Blame” reigned supreme.
Answer: Well, if I want to be right I have to turn the previous standard on its head. Dream Into Action was a 1985 album. Meep, merp. However!! The “No One Is to Blame” single came out in 1986. And listen, I was not one to go out and buy a Howard Jones album prior to that single release. SO … I think I’m right here in the spirit of the law. "No One Is to Blame" became my jam in ‘86.
I remember playing this in our bunk every morning, as I watched my counsellor style her spiky hair.