Archive of ‘Family’ category

Thank You for Being a Friend

With less than four weeks until my cross country move, I have been sifting through my belongings, determining what is worth moving (all my issues of Sassy, the seminal 90s teen magazine… obvi) and what to donate (old college text books… seriously, how do I still have some of these?). While I’ve pondered setting the whole place on fire rather than go through this time consuming process, it’s nothing compared to saying goodbye to friends. This is especially true of saying farewell to my friends at The Laurel Foundation, where I have had the great fortune to work for ten years. Rachel_Camp_Collage At The Laurel Foundation I honed my professional skills while working to support the needs of kids living with HIV/AIDS. But what this really means is that I got to go to CAMP!! Camp, for those not indoctrinated into this crazy world of songs, costumes, and wigs, is first and foremost a family. The staff of camp counselors and medical professionals are all volunteers. And miraculously, they return year after year to create consistency for the kids and each other. Camp is an emotionally and physically intense experience, but its magic combination of heart and camraderie creates an incomparable sense of friendship and family. I am proud to be part of this family. Over the years, I have been fortunate to meet and befriend some of the most inspiring, encouraging, loving, patient, loyal, genuine, creative, intelligent, and fabulous people on the planet. Friends from camp have become my confidantes, partners in crime and costume, and inspired me take this journey with my family in New York. Rachel_Camp_Collage_2 After attending every single one of the 37 camps that have occurred over the last ten years, it hurts to leave. And while I have a new family to discover in New York, it doesn’t make saying good-bye any easier. Where else can I wear a giant afro wig with a bird in it and be accepted? Most of all, I can’t imagine wanting to be accepted any place else.

To you, my fabulous camp friends, I dedicate the great GOLDEN GIRLS theme song, Thank You for Being a Friend! I hope to see you at camp very soon.

Project Nova | Fixing Up a Chevy Nova with My Dad

Chevy Nova

This total disaster is a 1969 Chevy Nova and my future car. Those who know me would most likely wonder how this is possible, seeing as I barely understand how to check the oil level in a car let alone know where to begin in repairing this Chevy Nova. Lucky for me, I have an expert who wants to teach me everything he knows about cars. This expert is my dad.

My dad is a car guy. He has bought, sold, repaired, painted and wired just about every car you could imagine. Some people rescue abandoned animals, my dad rescues broken down cars and nurses them back to health. This sad little Chevy Nova has been sitting in my dad’s garage for several years waiting to be put back together, and I can’t wait to chronicle our progress here at 3 Eva Court!

More than just a car guy, my dad is an artist. He built his own hot rod, a 1941 Willys, seen here in his garage. This photo does not do it justice. It’s the most glorious shade of purple you have ever seen.

1941 Willys

While this move across country often feels petrifying, I can’t imagine a more meaningful experience than working side by side with my dad in his shop. Obviously, this Chevy Nova has seen better days, so it’s going to require many hours before it is in drivable condition. If it turns out half as cool as the Willys, I’ll be one lucky girl.

Can’t wait to share our progress. Now, I just need to learn how to drive stick!

Cross Country Move Limbo

I’ve decided to make a cross country move from Los Angeles to a small, country town in upstate New York so I can get to know my dad. I’m known by friends to dramatize and exaggerate pretty much everything, but to say this is the biggest decision of my life is not hyperbole. I have enjoyed the mild weather of Southern California for 25 years and I assume that I loved city life even in utero. With a community of friends and a fulfilling career, I never before considered living anywhere other than Los Angeles, let alone making a cross country move to a small, rural town. Then, in October, the blank space under “father” on my birth certificate was filled in. As it turns out, I did not just gain a name for my birth certificate, but I won the dad lottery. No one could dream up a dad who is more caring, kind or thoughtful as the one I got.

My Dad wants me to do a cross country move!

My dad during a trip to Los Angeles

In the beginning, I envisioned our lives filled with endless Skype chats and countless cross country visits. That seemed like a sufficient method to get to know my father. But when your dad leaves you notes like this, how do you say no?

cross country move post-it

I certainly tried. It seemed too dramatic, too fast, too scary a move to consider. I resisted and avoided thinking about it until it was all I could think about. Somehow this cross country move came into focus as the only possible option. While it still feels risky and terrifying, I know not leaning into this experience with my dad would go down as the one great regret in my life.

Now, I find myself in this strange space in time between the decision and the move. It’s sort of an angsty limbo. Life in Los Angeles is coming to an end, but it hasn’t quite begun in New York either. It’s hard to make plans when I’m not sure where I’ll be living or what my life will be like. There are so many yet to be answered questions– Where will I get my lattes? What if I don’t make any friends? How will I handle the snow? When will I feel settled?

In movies, this limbo is conveyed with a well paced montage with soaring music. Sure, there might be some pratfalls, but it glosses over the uncomfortableness of change to the point that it seems amusing or glamorous.

It’s like in Dirty Dancing when Baby learns the mambo routine in a scant 3 minute and 30 second montage, which conceals the enormity of what she is under taking. Baby is not just learning a dance, but also developing the strength to stand up for what she believes in. She is defying her father (not to mention the law) in helping Penny. That’s got to require more frustration, anxiety and self-doubt than is displayed in this sequence.

I would love to skip the angst and live out a light-hearted, glossy montage of preparations for this cross country move with breezy moments of boxes being packed, celebratory drinks with friends, my last day at work and loading a moving truck. But then I wouldn’t earn the change or the growth that this experience will allow. So, I’ll stick with real life and hopefully survive this cross country move!

Candy Colored Vintage Typewriters, Oh My!

My mom always had her trusty 1960s Smith Corona typewriter ready for any occasion that necessitated a typewritten note or letter. I loved plucking away at the keys and watching the rhythmic click click of the typebars even before I could spell. I associated typewriters with being grown up and mature. So, at age 12, I didn’t ask for a Nintendo for Christmas like all of my other friends. Nope. I wanted a typewriter.

On Christmas morning, I was beyond excited to open up my very modern typewriter (its memory could save maybe 200 words). I typed everything on that– short stories, papers for school, college applications, and who knows what else. Though I now do all my typing on a MacBook Pro, I’m feeling some nostalgia for vintage typewriters like my mom had, especially ones in a candy colors like these…

 

My First Father’s Day Card

This is the first Father’s Day I have ever celebrated. Growing up, I never had a dad or even a strong male role model. I was raised by two amazing women, my mom (my great-aunt who adopted me) and my great-grand-mother. Father’s Day was never a date of significance to acknowledge. I did not know when it was coming or if it had passed. As a child, I made art projects for my mom on Father’s Day, and that never seemed strange. I lived a blissful ignorance of that date.

This year is different. On October 11, 2012 I found out I have a father. And not just any father, but an amazing one who cares deeply for his daughter. In the past eight months, we have enjoyed three visits in his home town and on in Los Angeles where I call home.

And so assembling this very first Father’s Day card was a special moment.

My First Father's Day Card

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