On Saturday morning, we got up early and did the March of Dimes walk. Well, okay, we did just over half of the walk, probably not quite 3 miles, but we did get up and help raise awareness and money to help babies be born healthy at full term.
It was a beautiful morning (and a beautiful day) and despite being up early enough to feed ducks, do a little gardening, and have a leisurely breakfast, we still managed to be there on time for the opening ceremony. Yes, the more time we have, the more time we can waste.
I only cried a little at the opening ceremony and Pat held my hand at just the right moment and it was good, so good to walk. The walk is an immensely emotional event for us, where all of the deferred and unreal stuff we've been going through becomes suddenly real and relate-able, and people around us are so often in the same boat or worse. To be around people who are going through the same stuff is weird... the ground drops out coldly beneath you and you are surrounded by warm human fellowship.
In the picture below, I am surrounded by coworkers and Pat is hiding behind me like a coy sun in a lunar eclipse. For those that haven't met me, I'm the cheerfully fat one in the ridonkulous hat.
We zoomed off in a pack, chattering merrily through residential streets and commercial ones. Passing firefighters honked and waved at us. We waited to cross a street while my mom obliviously ignored us, waiting to cross the same light in her car while sneaking in a few Saturday work hours. We yelled and waved and she figured out who she was looking at and lit up like a Christmas tree. Then Claudia and Ramona (the two older ladies in the photo) and Stan, Ashley, and Lauren (the three disgustingly attractive younger people in the photo) shot off like they were a collective flash and left Pat and I and Sherri (the one holding the camera) ambling along at a more leisurely pace together. We were only ever a block or so behind them. Claudia is a machine, and Ramona does yoga. That's my excuse, yeah. But I bet they didn't get to admire baby ducklings on the way (nine, count them, nine of them for mommy duck. She doesn't need the March of Dimes.)
We also hosted a water booth and cheering section (well, two: Patty and Rosemary moved it from FIRST to LAST to provide more coverage. They are in green shirts, holding mysterious purple things.)
All too soon, we were at our stopping point (pretty much next to our house... so we walked home and Sherri caught up with Claudia and Ramona -- wow!) We wouldn't have quit early, but we had a concert to get to.
Do you know the Red Elvises? Surf punk music with Russian Elvis impersonation. It doesn't get better.
We road tripped down to L.A. to stay in the very nice LAX Marriott, which was not at all the dead-hooker-in-the-boxspring experience I had been anticipating, since we left the scheduling to Ralph. Oh, Ralph. One of my several legitimately brain damaged friends, whose career as a Marine was forever altered by a butterknife to the brain. Yes, REALLY. We love us some Ralph. He says his wife says living with him is like this film.
But I digress, and he did good, and it was a nice hotel after all, and the concert was amazing. The driving part of the trip narrowly missed being an "O'Malley's Bar" singalong (Robert forgot Murder Ballads.)
Mind you, there was some hilarity. The parking garage was steep enough to bottom out Robert's behemoth car and we all got out downstairs and decided to take an elevator up from P6 to P1 and meet Rob there, so that we wouldn't abuse the undercarriage anymore. But... THERE IS NO P1. And P2 and P3 are private. So um... we fluttered around the building laughing while he drove around laughing, trying to find one another. Truly Marx-brothers worthy. Ralph and I amused ourselves by setting off the your-car-is-too-tall-for-this-garage alarm for subcompacts as they entered the garage (what?! You thought I was a decent citizen?) while Robert and Pat Scooby-dooed around. Eventually we found one another.
We eventually washed up on Santa Monica pier, talking about The Lost Boys (a movie that is positively a religious canon for our gaming group here) and looking for dinner. We were the last people in for dinner at Rusty's Surf Shack (really, really excellent dinner, too) and were buffeted about by the band bringing in equipment to assemble. How cool is it when you get asked to move your table by the band itself?
It gets cooler. Many members of the band who had quit were there, performing (Igor, all concert; Oleg, briefly; and more guests). Before, at intermission, and after, we fraternized with the band, and Ralph got them to sign his carved coconut monkey. They've been playing the venue for years and Ralph is the first to ask. Small venues are the best. The Red Elvises are supremely talented and gorgeous. And they play again in 2 months. I am SO going. We were there dancing and singing along and laughing until about 1:30 a.m.
Here are some pictures of the concert, in no particular order:
A really good time was had by all. Here's Ralph with his coconut monkey. Ralph is happier than he looks here. Then Pat and I trying to look all couple-y. Then Robert doing his favorite thing (photobombing!) and doing it damn well. Best road trip companions.
And then Tuesday night, Pat picked me up from work with a disgruntled pelican in the car, ready for transport to LAX so that she could be flown to her forever home at the Saint Louis zoo. We drove to Camarillo on Tuesday and slept in a much less nice hotel (I didn't check the box-spring) with LOUD AIR CONDITIONING while worrying about the pelican in the car. Then up early to get her to LAX. Those of you following her saga will be happy to know that she was safely picked up and hopefully will find love and friends among the pelicans and penguins she will be housed with for the rest of her life, spared from euthanasia. And for curious persons, yes, pelicans do smell pretty rank when you're enclosed in a car with them for a long period of time... pretty fishy!
My pictures of the pelican in her padded crate sure didn't turn out. But, here's the crate itself. Bon voyage, beautiful.
If you're near St. Louis, go see her. She's the sweet one that feels like a pillow swarming with mites. We've been calling her Bruce (all mitey... feel our genius!) The vet says she was probably hatched in 2006 and is definitely female.
Bye bye, Brucie! We love you, even if you do hate us and think we're Horrible People.
Anyway, great week. Busy week. I hope you're doing something exciting... do tell, if you are!