Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! (Who Needs a Xanax?!)

Let's talk about how Ray (my boyfriend) met Ray (my dad) on Thanksgiving and now I'm pretty sure that Ray (my dad) is going to shoot Ray (my boyfriend).*

Really dad? Like it's not suspicious you asked him to go hunting a half-dozen times? Really?

* Yes, they have the same name. I know. I KNOW.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Talk About Your All Time Slaps in the Face With A Tutu

I got up early on Saturday all excited to cash in my adult ballet Groupon and they didn't have adult ballet this weekend.


So I went to the grocery store in pink tights, furry boots and a bun in my hair.... Which is to say I looked like everyone else at Hyde Park Bigg's on a Saturday morning.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In A Name

Had I been a boy I'd have been named Clint… as in Eastwood.

My dad talks about "Eastwood" as if he's an old family friend. "You see Eastwood on TV last night?"

He even squints and mumbles and walks around enacting justice and barking orders like he's in an endless loop of Dirty Harry.

Ray and Clint. Peas and carrots. Spaghetti and westerns.

My mom wanted to name me Wayne, except my dad hates John Wayne, so… overruled.

Because my mom had already had two boys she was certain I'd be a boy. Clint it was. But just in case they decided Gina would do for a girl.

Gina, pronounced... G-Na.

Gina shortened from Regina, meaning "queen."
Or "silvery," if you're Japanese. (Cause you know, lots of Japanese girls are named Gina.)
"Garden," in Hebrew.
The pet of the Latin Virginia, meaning "maiden" and the English pet form of Georgina, meaning "earth-worker" or the Italian Luigina, meaning "warrior."

A name meaning placard I had as a kid pronounced girls named Gina "mischievous." It's the only description I've lived up to thus far.

Gina is a family name on both sides. I have a cousin on my mom's side, Gina Michelle, and another cousin on my dad's side, Gina Lynn. They both go by their middle names and are both about 12 years my senior.

I was named after my dad's niece, who he affectionately calls "crazy Lynn" because she is vivacious and fun and prone to talking out of turn and saying hilarious things.

I had a lot to live up to.

The most famous Gina is probably Gina (Luigina) Lollobrigida, an Italian actress and dancer popular in the '50s. Or Geena Davis, but she doesn't really count with the double "e"s.

But Gina G totally counts, depending on if you remember that one hit wonder from the mid-'90s. (World's biggest tragedy is that this amazing performer stopped making music.)

At work GINA is best known as the acronym for the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

G-dawg is a common variant. But mostly people call me Gina or G, depending on when you met me and how you know me. If you met me through work you call me Gina. If you met me in college or high school you call me G.

If you know me through my kin you have completely forgotten that my first and middle names are actually separate and you call me Gina Lynn, with a southern twang, as in "Gee-na Lynn, time for supper!"

My birthday was last month and as I was chatting with my mom about the momentous occasion that was my birth we giggled at her first words to me, "A girl!! What am I going to do with a little girl?! Awww, she's beautiful." Then she passed out.

Then she said, "Your dad wanted to name you Clint. I'm glad you were a girl."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Sun Also Rises

Just home from the Florida coast where I saw the sun come up. Which got me to thinking, when was the last time I watched the sun come up? Hmm... Guess I'm more of a The Sun Mostly Sets kinda girl.

The highlight of the trip was an unplanned excursion to Key West and the Hemingway Home and Museum. To be honest, I was lured in by the ridiculous number of cats I saw through the fence. Fueled by a strawberry daiquiri and a mango margarita I was overcome with a deep desire to pet them all.

But then I was surprised at how much impact and inspiration the house had on me, less because of the books and belongings in it and more because I learned a lot about the man. Hemingway has a terrific life story, full of great and perilous adventures, famous writerly and artistic friends, multiple wives and unfortunate injuries.

The stuff great stories are made of.

Later that night on a barstool I was chatting with a fishing boat captain (seafarers love me, apparently), a couple from Rhode Island and a plastic surgeon from Boston about the novella The Old Man and the Sea. The woman from Rhode Island hated it.

It's been ten years or better since I read it, but I remember loving it and thinking in spite of everything it was more a book about triumph rather than defeat, even though the only image I could conjure from the story was that of the old man coming back with the giant marlin skeleton, evidence of his luck and subsequent misfortune at sea.

I thought about reading it again to see if I'd have the same perspective but I'm not going to. I don't want to ruin it. I was a lot smarter back then; god knows how I could screw up that novel by reading it now.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

They Don't Make 'Em Like This Anymore

Presents for me are always from my mom. I open them up and my dad looks over and excitedly says, "What'd I get you?!"

In his defense, he bought me a sapphire necklace about 10 years ago for Christmas, and another time when I was in the hospital I sent him to the gift shop for a toothbrush and he bought me a very small stuffed bear. But other than that, presents from my dad are A) scarce and B) random.

Umm, thanks, Dad, for the... pliers?

I'm glad you like them. I saw them at an auction and thought of you.


But this year he kept saying he had a birthday present for me... and that it was "starting to smell."

Usually my mom tips me off to any strange presents he might send my way so my reaction isn't one of complete bewilderment.

She was silent this year when I pressed her.

Hmm... Suspicious.

Last weekend he stood beside me as I unwrapped my birthday present. When he told me to be careful cutting the tape off the box I envisioned god knows what oozing out from the puncture wound, smelling like rotten garbage and prepping for my "ooh, what a nice surprise!" face.

Then, I was legitimately surprised.

He'd made me an afghan. I'd forgotten that during the hunting off-season last winter he'd started crocheting again after a one-off afghan he made 20 years ago.

And there it was. I was smitten. He made my porch swing, has built me bookshelves and flower boxes and countless picture frames and stands. Those things are what he does. This is different.

I don't think I've ever loved a present a more. I gushed over it sincerely and even admired his color choices, black and gray, to better hide cat hair.

Initially he had plans to make all three of his sisters one, my mom's two sisters one and me one. But that was before the afghan meltdown of 2010, where stitching turned to bitching and he had to redo all of his work - twice.

He thought he was getting faster. At first it took him 40 minutes to complete a row, then 35, then 30. Before long he was down to 20 minutes per row.

But when he was nearly finished and finally spread it all out on the living room floor my mom goes, "Why is one side shorter than the other?"

"Damn it all, Gina Lynn," he told me. "I wasn't getting faster, I was dropping stitches!"

There's a sentence I never thought I'd hear my masculine old man say.

So he pulled it out and started over.

The ladies at Jo-Anne Fabrics thought he was buying yarn for his wife and adored how sweet he was to shop for her at the craft store. When they found it was him doing the crocheting they admired his diversity and told him, "Isn't crocheting so relaxing!"

"Bullshit," he said. "I can't watch TV while I'm doing it, I got two blisters and my rows got all messed up."

Then he grabbed his bag of yarn and walked out with an, "Afternoon, ladies."

I bet they are still gossiping about him.

"I hope you like it because I'm not making anymore," he told me. "I'd die of old age as long as it took me make that one." Then he added he'll be spending this winter where he belongs, in the garage sawing wood and making knife cases and porch swings.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Hot Type

Today we gave one of our cardiologists a mock-up of a newsletter with Lorem Ipsum filling in the content.

He looked quizzically at my colleague Rachel and was like, "What does this say?"

"It's filler text," she said.

"Oh! I was trying to translate it!"

We adore this doc and started cracking up... Of course he would try to translate it.

And that's why he's a doctor and we're not.