Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm sick. Nothing big--just another cold. Slight fever. Didn't really sleep last night due to the fever. I'm dog-sitting for a friend, and since I was sick, I couldn't take the dog out on the hour walk I've been doing the past couple of days. So, I thought I would strap on my roller blades. That way I wouldn't have to expend much energy and the dog would get tired quickly. Well, there were several things flawed with my plan.

First and foremost, I haven't put my blades on in well over 2 years. In fact, I can't actually remember the last time they were on. Secondly, I wasn't really that great in the first place. On top of that, the last time I roller bladed, I was in much better shape. Oh, and I should mention my apartment complex has wicked speed bumps.

So, I walk the dog down the two flights of stairs and sit to put the blades on. There's a short sidewalk with an incline to the parking lot. I immediately fall down that incline and scrape the skin off my left forearm, do something horrendous to my rib (probably pulled an intercostal muscle), and smashed the crap out of my left butt cheek. If I was a bruiser, it would be bad. Well, instead of being smart and going immediately back upstairs to trade out for a pair of gym shoes, I decide to push forward. Because I am an idiot.

We go around the parking lot one time. It goes well. There's a bit of a hill, but the way the speed bumps are placed, I'm able to maneuver around them. Then we head out of the complex for Baxter to poop. Success! We come back in so I can throw it away, and I decide we should stick with the lot instead of going out on the main road. Here's where the horrible idea kicks in. I thought I would try going the opposite way, this time. Unfortunately, the hill on this side is steeper (we were going up it the last time, which wasn't bad). I'm going really fast and can't slow down and am trying to figure out what the hell to do with the speed bump that is fast approaching. Speed bump wins. I fall again. Harder. This time my knee twists the opposite way of my foot. This worries me because I have terrible knees. I scrape even more of my left forearm skin off. I land on my left butt cheek again. I do more damage to my rib situation.

It is at this point that I decide to stop being stupid, so I limp/crawl over to the sidewalk and take of my skates. Poor Baxter is not ready to go in, but I'm 90% sure I've now managed to fracture my rib. I get mail and hobble inside. My knee isn't as bad as I was first worried. It's the rib that's the problem. I'll probably give it a day or two. If it's still hurting, I'll go to an urgent care. I was already bummed that I was sick so close to Christmas. My gift to myself was to pile injuries on top of that!


Friday, December 11, 2009

I've always known I was adopted. It was never a secret or anything. I know I've written about it here before. When I moved to a new school in the 3rd grade, I met another girl who was adopted...and had almost the exact same situation. We both had younger sisters (who were also in the same grade and I think even born in the same month), and those sisters were the natural children of our adoptive parents. The difference between R and I was that she had no desire to find her birth parents. We would occasionally talk about our adoption, but I was intensely curious about my heritage where she was not.

We were close friends in middle school. Sweet Vally Twins books were really popular at the time, and there was very much a "Unicorn Club" in our lunch room, headed up by M. R was definitely my best friend in that group. I remember sleep overs and birthday parties. My 11th birthday cake even had a unicorn on it. I had permed hair. Anyway, I remember one lunch situation in particular. There was a disabled girl at our school--I can't quite remember but I think she had MS. She had a walker, but also got around in a motorized wheel chair. By the 8th grade, she only had the chair. For lunch, though, she needed someone to eat with her, take her to the bathroom after, and help her get to class. Teachers picked a student to sit with her on a four week rotation. I was asked. I didn't know how to tell my usual lunch crowd, so I said, "I need a change in friends" like a tactless prat and went to sit with A. I don't know why I didn't tell them why I was moving. I mean, I don't think it was a secret or anything. But I was in the 5th grade and an idiot and uncomfortable in that situation. To this day, the dumbest things come out of my mouth when I'm uncomfortable.

So, I sat with A and a few others who would stray to that table. She was very sweet, and I felt horrible that she couldn't get around on her own. I enjoyed my time there. But when my obligation was up, I went back to my usual table. As soon as I sat down my first lunch back, M and the other girls stood up. M said, "We need a change in friends." The entire table left me there alone and went to a different empty table. R didn't stand up right away. She just looked at me apologetically then sat at the new table. Even at that time I knew it would've been social suicide if she'd stayed, and I was just grateful that she didn't hate me. We still played together after school. It never affected our friendship. I found another group to sit with. I still had friends.

Then high school reordered everything, as high school tends to do. I was in the band. This meant summer rehearsals (yes, band camp), after school rehearsals, Friday night football games and Saturday competitions. I also did plays when I was cast. R and I lost touch. We were always friendly with each other, but we never were as close as we'd been when we were younger. I couldn't even tell you if she played sports in school or where she went to college or what she studied. It's been years since we've talked.

The summer after graduation, I met my birth family. I *think* I remember telling R about it, but it happened so long ago that I'm not sure. We had a mutual friend in K, so she may have filled R in on the goings-on of my life. We became facebook friends in the past year, but never really got back in touch with each other. Just a friendly hello when we were friended, but nothing after that.

Until last week. She sent me a long note.

Her birth parents had contacted her adoptive parents and they wanted to meet her. She wanted to know what it was like for me, how it went, and any advice I had. It took me a while to write back to her, because I wanted to really give it some thought. The note I sent back was pretty long. I went over the details from when I met Johnny and Debbie, not remembering if she already knew them. I told her how our relationships have grown and changed over the past 13 years. How we still keep in touch, but not nearly as much as in the beginning. It was flattering that she thought of me and sought out my experience. I can only imagine what this might be like for her. She's included me in a couple of mass updates on the situation. They did meet. It went well. She's flying out to visit them soon. She now has half brothers and sisters and an entire new branch of people to get to know.

I remember very vividly the January afternoon I came home from school. My mom and I had tickets to see a play that night, and I was running late from whatever activity I had. She was on the phone when I walked in the kitchen with this funny look on her face.

"You need to take this call" was all she said as she handed me the phone. She left the kitchen to hang her coat back up in the closet. We would not be attending a play that night.

"Hello?" There was silence on the other end, and I could hear muffled tears. I knew immediately who this was.

"Ashley?" She was so very quiet.



"Wow. Hi. Nice to meet you."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I've been up for 2 hours. I need to be working. Instead? Going through old pics on my flickr account and missing the crap out of my friends. Although I wasn't a fan of LA proper, I knew some amazing people. Austin is great, but it's still really lonely at times. It's an adjustment to live by myself again. I haven't lived alone in almost 7 years.

I went through birthday photos and iO photos. I remembered the overflowing amounts of fun that was had. I remember laughing so hard at the Lonely Drew set that it was hard to take the pictures. I miss going to the beach with Buol and Sunday morning movies with Ben and dessert with Stef and amazing seats at Dodgers games with Jil and laughing with Jenn and plopping on Faith's bed whenever I was bored or singing in our cars at the tops of our lungs. I miss shows and parties at iO. I miss performing with T&A and Nugefield.

Sometimes I feel like there's a hole in my heart and it's overwhelming. I'm definitely more social in Austin, now that I'm all settled in. But it's just different. It's not familiar yet. I'm still learning where everything is and how to get around. I can't remember what it was like when I first moved to LA. I'm sure it was the same. My least favorite part about moving is having to learn everything all over again. I specifically remember a day when I was driving my usual route home from iO in the middle of the night. I smiled and looked around and thought, "This is my neighborhood. This is where I live." That was after a year of living there. I've only been in ATX for a little over 4 months. It's not home yet. It's definitely becoming home, but I'm such an instant gratification person and I'm having a hard time being patient. But Austin has fun picnic table conversations and late night food after shows and hanging out at the theater putting up Christmas decorations.

At the Oh, Science! debut on Sunday, I was filled with so much love for the Austin improv community. After their first show, the troupe sat on the stage and everyone gave speeches and they got presents and people said such fantastic things. *That's* what drew me to Austin. *That's* the reason I moved here. And I've been doing decent work in the shows I've had. So, in many ways, I'm completely fulfilled. It's just easy to forget that stuff when you wake up to a cold, silent apartment. When you can hear life above and below you, but in your room there is darkness and quiet.

I guess I'm realizing the hardest part is being alone. I'm such a physical contact person. Living with Faith and Drew...there was always a hug or conversation whenever you wanted one. Faith and I would watch TV on the green loveseat and share a blanket. Sometimes we would read together in her bed. Just being around another person is great. I thought I would love living alone. And I do...to an extent. But working from home and not having a roommate leads to isolation. I look forward to rehearsals and shows and hanging out time much more than a normal person.

Ugh. Today I am sad. If you see me, please give me a hug.