Thursday, December 30, 2004

Everybody goes home for Christmas

...and another year end list from yours truly.

Well the holidays went off without a hitch. For the record, without a hitch in my family means no one was seriously injured and no one professed their sheer hatred for one another. I am becoming aware of many peoples blasé attitude toward the holiday. I for one don’t think I can ever be anything but excited for Hanukkah or Christmas. Yes, the gift giving can get a bit psychotic. Yes, all families can get a bit…much. But, I think people are starting to miss the point. December is the one time of year where everyone HAS to get together. No excuses. No backing out. Who cares if giving presents has become the mere exchange of a good for another good worth the same exact price as said gift you bought for that person. Who cares if people fight and go crazy and yell and then hug and then yell some more. The point is we are doing this together. I have three of my great grandparents left. Thank God, they are all alive and healthy but I don’t get to see them much. The holidays help that. They let me see them for however long I will still have them here.

Christmas morning Josh and I went to his family’s house. His family is one of those great “All American” families. He has three husky brothers, a bbq cooking dad, and a very outgoing sweet mother. Around five it was off down to San Diego for my families shin ding. My family comes from a slightly different world than Josh’s. To sum it up, my very large family gathering, very loud family gathering, and very comedic family gathering was held at La Costa country club. Needless to say I slept like a baby that night.

So the year is almost to an end, I have a few more days of best of lists coming but for now I will give you what, in my life, where the ten best things or experiences to affect me this year. In random order…

1. Amy and Ethan’s wedding – After what seemed like years of planning and stressing, the wedding finally arrived. Thankfully everything came out beautifully. Well beautiful yet very “Kaplan” oriented. The rings were misplaced, the rabbi told the entire congregation that my Aunt Jenna was pregnant (she isn’t), and actually made fun of my brother during the ceremony. Aside from that…no hitches! I had never seen my brother so happy before. He has had this glimmer of life in his eyes since the day he met Amy. August 7th magnified that glimmer. Those two compliment each other perfectly and there is no one else I would ever want as a sister. Sometimes I find myself stopping to think, “Wow I can’t believe my brother is married! And he is only 3 years older than me.” We are growing up and pretty soon I will grow up too. Oh yeah, getting toasted with the whole bridal party afterward was some fun too.

2. New Mexico – We took a road trip to New Mexico to catch the last show of REM’s North American tour. Besides the concert being absolutely fabulous, the experience of a road trip with cool and fun people had to be the highlight. Between playing a game of “truth” for hours in the car, sleeping in the seedy Route 66 motel, and having one surreal party, I would have to say the whole entire weekend was the actual highlight. New Mexico was a time capsule. It is now a little bubble of time to be kept in the memory bank for safekeeping.

3. The Alchemist – this book was written years ago. However, I just read it this year. This is a very thin book written in simplistic language to resemble a fable. This “fable” of sorts changed my life. I identified with Santiago, the main character a someone who, at the beginning of the book, was in the same place I was in my life. Santiago was on a journey to find his own destiny. Along the way he meets teachers who are not teachers and friends who are not ordinary friends. I do not lead a mystic life or a life of an alchemist, but this book parallels my life and gave me inspiration when I needed it most.
4. My new friends and my new relationship – Between my new job and meeting fellow REM fans, I have made quite a few new friends this year. I have to say though the best part about all these new friendships is my new boyfriend. I started out the year not wanting to let anyone in, and somehow it just sprung up on me. It was a surprise. It was something I tried to fight for a while…but at years end I have found myself in love, no matter how hard I tried to fight it at the beginning. I guess sometimes things just happen that you can’t stop. It all happens for a reason and right now I am just glad it did.

5. Coachella – This was my first music festival event. I went with my brother, brother – in- law and a few other friends. Besides the concerts being unbelievably incredible the experience of being at an outdoor festival in the middle of the 110-degree dessert was the part that sticks out. I felt like a rock n roll princess. I stood in the pit smashed up against everyone for 7 hours and eventually, yes I did get knocked unconscious. It was the greatest day.

6. REM Tour – In four days I went to three REM concerts in October. I can go to 20 REM concerts and never get tired of it. There was a big group of us who went to all three shows and we managed to party for four days all the while seeing some of the best live music I have ever seen. Michael was in top form and seemed to really just enjoy doing what he did. Besides the LA show, the crowds were awesome. And, the tailgate party at Irvine was one to remember. Well….try to remember anyway.

7. Leaving the Dance Studio – I miss the dance studio with every fiber of my being. I miss my dance teachers and my fellow dancers everyday. It was just something I needed to do to grow up. I went and got a full time job. I started making my own money. By leaving the dance studio I became a full-fledged adult. If I had to pick one thing that CHANGED my life the most, it would really have to be this job switch. I attempted to learn time management. I became used to not being able to do anything with my day. At years end I can honestly say I have become a responsible adult…well at least as much of one as I will allow.

8. Rachelle and Lyndsey – It was nice to have my two best friends home all summer. What is even more amazing is that after all of these years we are still best friends. This summer, although very mellow, was one of the best summers because all we did was lay out and watch Sex and the City.

9. The entire month of November – My birthday is November 6th. However, I took it upon myself to declare November the birthday month. I must have had about 5 different parties with separate groups of friends. I got the best gifts, including my long awaited right hand ring, as well as a Disneyland annual pass. I went to see a concert, I saw my whole family, and had a drunken night of hell raising with the girls. It was a great month

10. Harry Potter – Harry got me through the rough patches of the year. I had not given in to the phenomenon so I had all five books to read this year. The books are classic fantasy fiction, perfect for escaping the depressed days and diving into this new world of bravery, action, redemption, and infinite possibility. Add on to that the three movies I also saw this year and I have to say Harry really helped me forget those “down days”.

I have no idea what this next year will bring me. However, like I said before I am now happy living with the questions, instead of always striving for the answer. Hopefully next year will bring more happiness, health and love to my life and to those around me. I have a slight feeling it will be a good year…just as long as we don’t behave too much.

Friday, December 24, 2004

It's Christmas time...

It is Christmas eve as I write this. I have just gotten home from a nice stressful day at the mall. Yes I know, I did my shopping late. I had finals and then the busiest week at work, so get over it.

However, I am finally done with my gifts. All I have to do is wrap. AND I can finally just sit back and enjoy the holiday. OK not so true…

Tomorrow I have two, yes two family Christmas parties to go to. In the morning I am going to Josh’s parents house where his whole family plus many friends will be there. Oh yeah not stressful at all. I have not even met a single member of his family yet. Stressful is not the word I am looking for…. just a little nervous maybe.

Then for dinner we are off to San Diego for a four-course Christmas meal at the La Costa country club. My entire west coast family will be there and they are a piece of work. There is a new person coming to dinner and I have no doubt they will all be on him like a shark on a nice cold raw slab of bloody meat. My Grandpa can be scary to new people (think of the Godfather) and the women in my family are worse than I am. The women in my family are what I will be in 40 – 70 years… Yeah picture that. I feel bad for the boy already.

This morning Josh and me decided to go to the mall right when it opened in order to beat the crowds. It is something I like to call wishful thinking. We got to the mall after he dropped off his car and the parking lot was already full. Now me in a mall is like a kid in a candy shop. Josh had to stop when he would realize I was 100 feet behind him staring at a new lip-gloss. I wanted to go in every store and kept getting the usual, “ no honey we are on a time limit.”

I am happy to say that we survived the two malls and three stores we had to attend today and, like I said, I did manage to finish all my shopping.

So I am surviving Christmas.barely. But in reality I have to say I am one of those people who just LOVE the holidays. I love giving gifts. I love getting gifts. I love all the moods everyone gets in. I love the food and the joy and just the all around warm fuzzy feelings.

I hope this finds everyone in the middle of a crazy but joyous holiday. Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah. Merry Christmukkah…

Lets have many more…

Sunday, December 19, 2004

End of the year..Beginning of a new life…

Reflections on 2004.

Life changes pretty damn fast if you think about it. We started this year with me at a crossroads with every aspect of my life. My brother was not yet married. I was still coming to terms with his engagement and to say I was an ice queen is an understatement. I had lost my passion in 2004. At the start of this year not much affected me. There is merit in being unaffected by anything but too much of it and one can become hollow. I did not let anybody in and I was content with being alone. I wanted to be alone. I find myself at the end of the year in a complete opposite direction. I have let in a new sister. I have let in a new man. Scary as it may seem, I am happier than ever before. Much of what happened this year is a direct result of my way of thinking. I have found that the way we think directly results in what becomes of our life. Think happy and happy happens. Think passion and passion happens.

I said I would deliver my best of 2004 lists and I think I will have to start with the 10 best concerts attended this year. For the first time actually, I went to enough concerts to actually merit a 10 best of list in that department.

10. The Darkness – hair cheesy metal is back and in full force. These guys brought the fun back into rock n roll. With a full wall of amps, it was hard to hear the following day but a falsetto “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” while wearing a chest baring body suit more than made up for it.

10.5 – Britney Spears – Staples Center. I know this can totally get rid of my music credibility but hear me out. I am a dancer and when seeing a pop show like this that is what I judge by. Britney can’t sing. She lip syncs. Britney’s music is straight from the box teenybopper pop music. Music by numbers I like to say. With all that aside she still knows how to put on a show. The dancing and choreography was awesome. Her stage presence is that of a seasoned veteran. There were a few shocking moments involving dry sex on a bed and various makeout sessions with dancers, but it just added to the pure shock value of the night. Only a dancer can understand.

9. Fleetwood Mac – Irvine Meadows – The biggest reason I was in love with this show was Lindsey Buckingham. I always have considered him one of the best guitar players out there but this night even he shocked me. He was given a lot more solo time and for that I was extremely grateful.

8. The Shins – Wiltern. While the audience looked like they came straight out of The OC, The Shins were anything but trend of the moment. I was slightly worried how these guys would pull off a live show but it was awesome. I was in the worst mood going into the show that night. Why I was is a long story but the point is they got me out of my mood in two seconds flat.

7. Franz Ferdinand – Wiltern. – One of the only concerts where I was dancing the whole time. Franz Ferdinand are not as artistically unique as many make them out to be. They are basically a combination of many eighties bands. But they know how to put on a fun and entertaining show.

6. The Cure – Curiosa festival. I remember standing there with Ian when Smith began the opening chords to Fascination Street and thinking, “ahhh yes and this is one of those moments you remember.”

5. – Travis – Wiltern - Fran Healy speaks we can’t understand him. “Amy what did he just say”? Amy replies, “Does it matter.” Yeah Fran has that sexiness about him. However, they also put on a great live show. The highlight was when Fran unplugged his guitar and did an acoustic (not even a sound system) version of Flowers in the Windows. Just him and his guitar with an eerily quiet audience and everything fell into place.

4. – Gomez – Ventura. I have been a fan of Gomez for a couple years now, ever since Liquid Skin came out. However, they are a completely different experience live. Gomez are one of those bands that are truly a “live” act.

3. – Radiohead – Coachella music festival. This was on Saturday, the day I did not get trampled and knocked unconscious. We were hot and in dire need for water. I was with four boys and in need for some “no testosterone” territory. BUT the show was perfect. The show was amazing. In renewed my faith in radiohead.

2. – Prince – Staples Center. There is a reason why this guy is an icon. There is a reason why he has lasted so long. He is a man who knows how to put on a show. He is a man who performance aside gives impeccable musical output. He is the closest to technically perfect I have seen. I was in the 8th row and for a good solid 2.5 hours he stopped my heart.

1. REM - Irvine Meadows. I had four REM concerts to choose from. Each one was beautiful and memorable in their own right. However, I wanted to choose just one for my list and for some reason this one was the first that came to mind. It was not just the concert but also the events that surrounded the concert. We had an awesome tailgate party where I met some new friends and I got to go backstage for the first time. The show itself was pure REM gold.

Stay tuned for more best of lists.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The energizer bunny just keeps going and going and going…

The holidays are upon us again. Between dealing with overcrowded malls and irate customers you would think I would be on my last leg. Fear not my friends, I am not down for the count. Finals just ended today and I am now officially on winter break. My New York trip and consequently New York shopping spree are looming in the distance. Holiday love and cheer is in the air. My Chanukah presents were satisfactory. Everything is falling into place. Well almost.

I am at the moment sick and I only have Josh to blame. I can’t remember the last time I got more than four hours of sleep a night. I am still not done with my Chrismukkah shopping. And, I am falling into the big giant holiday stress abyss. No worries, though, I am still happy as a clam and it would take a lot to break me down.

I am really looking forward to New York. The whole family plus Josh are going for Shane’s Bar Mitzvah and then me and Josh have extended our stay for a few more days to make a sort of mini vacation out of it.

Before New York comes though we still have two holidays left. Christmas will involve family gathering hopping. New Years will involve a heavy dose of fun and resolutions. Gifts will be given and I have no doubt a dramatic story arc will play out in one way or another. It always does. We just have to love the holidays.

In other news….I am head over heels for Neil Gaimen. Everyone read him. Do the literature world a favor. Do your brain a favor and read this author. It is like a literary LCD trip. This reminds me that my annual best of lists will be coming to a blog near you. It is that time of year. We all know I have perfect taste so rest assured the lists will be informative.

I am sorry for the sporadic updates. Life has been busy right now. When I have time to breathe I am usually spending it…..yeah well…

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

So I changed my blog a bit. It is so purty now. You can also post comments which is neato. Feel free to rip me apart now! :)

Monday, December 06, 2004

A year end questionaire!

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
I took a road trip to New Mexico for an REM concert. :)

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I am not sure I remember what they were.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
no thank God, knock on wood!

5. What countries did you visit?
none, the wedding put a damper on my travel plans

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
Love, more travel, more adventures,

7. What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
October 16th that was the Irvine show. October 20th it was my first date.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting a full time job and being good at it.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I really did not have any failures. I don't believe in them

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing bad. Normal working out injury stuff.Hurt my back a bit.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
well the best thing was something bought for me which is my diamond right hand ring

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
too many people to name. my friends and family and Josh all treat me wonderful.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I don't let anyones behabior depress me

14. Where did most of your money go?
to clothes and cds and dvds :o

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

all my REM concerts I went to

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
Ascent of Man - REM, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own - U2, My Preogative - Britney

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i.happier or sadder? happier
ii. thinner or fatter? the same
iii. richer or poorer? ehhh the same

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish I would have done more traveling

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
spending money on clothes

20. How will you be spending the Winter?
shopping, traveling to NewYork, cuddling,

22. Did you fall in love in 2004?
with the world

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Lost and the OC

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don’t hate anybody

26. What was the best book you read?
The Dark Tower VII

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?/new artist for 2004?
Clinic, Secret Machines, Tv on the Radio

28. What did you want and get?
I always get everything I want. I got the person I wanted. I got the gifts I wanted too :)

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Garden State

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 23. I went to see The Delgados. I also had a birthday party. I also got taken to Disneyland. I also had a family lunch thing. I like birthdays

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
my mini REM tour. Meeting all the new people I met.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
always cute. hehe

33. What kept you sane?
not staying in even if I was tired. It kept my mind off of work hanging with my friends.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Michael Stipe and Johnny Depp.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
the elections

36. Who did you miss?
Rachelle and Lyndsey both moved away so I miss them all the time.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:

Every time you break a bone it grows back even stronger

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

"Wouldn't it be a lovely headline...'Life is Beautiful'..."

Sunday, December 05, 2004

So what follows is as much of a description of New Mexico that I can give as well as some cute pictures.

You know you are working too hard when you fall asleep watching movies on two different dates. Yeah I am turning into one of those people.

This past week has been one hell of a week. Which, incidentally is the reason I have not had time to post anything.

Got some clarity on a few things this week…some good clarity. Other than that I have been so busy with school, work, and life stuff that I really can’t remember the last time I got four hours of sleep in a night. More updates coming but for now, enjoy the pictures and the New Mex recap!

Me being me :)

Me being me :), originally uploaded by Rachelkap.

way into the night in New Mexico...drunk as a skunk! :)

Me and Naomi

Me and Naomi
Originally uploaded by Rachelkap.

Taken right before the concert. We are just so cute! hehe

Surreal…but nice.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that in the past week, I could finally pay off my damn credit card debt!

Bare with me, this could get crazy. I have not written in a long time due to the fact that for the past week or so my life has been a whirlwind of the most pleasurable magnitude. Don’t worry…I will sleep next year.

Last weekend Steve, Naomi, Josh and I embarked upon our road trip to New Mexico to catch R.E.M’s final North American show. After planning on leaving at 5:00 and actually getting on the road at 7:00 we stopped at some motel in the middle of the night in middle of nowhere to catch some Z’s. You know a motel is interesting when the name on the front is “Route 66” and next door is the Road kill Café. It was getting cold and after Josh turned on the air-conditioning thinking it was the heater, and then finally found something that might look like a heater, we managed to get some sleep. Well by some sleep I mean a couple hours. There seems to have been some slight snoring coming from the other room. Hehe.

We got into New Mexico in the afternoon of the next day and I have to say that Kelly and Donna’s house is just fabulous. You know a house is good when you automatically feel comfortable and at home. Kelly and Donna were the most amazing hosts and it was so good to see them again. Their kids are adorable and just what I imagined them to be.

So we finally get to the concert and of course REM put on one hell of a show. It is such a shame I don’t get to see them again until London next summer, but I consider myself lucky anyway. After the show we managed to party at Kelly and Donna’s until the wee hours of the morning….or at least until I passed out on the stairs and had to be put to bed. The party was…surreal but nice.

Then the snow came…
I tried to have a snowball fight in the morning. That did not work. We wanted to get out of town by 9:00 AM. That did not work. There was black ice on the roads and I had to flirt with a cop just so he would let us pass a roadblock. For a few hours we even had to snail along at half speed. However, 13 hours later we made it back home safe and sound. The road trip was over. The experience still fresh in our minds. The happiness and pleasure feeling set to last a long long time.

At the moment I am still bathing in the afterglow of the trip (among other things). Sometimes things happen that we bundle up into these little pockets of time. We can go back and think about these pockets always with a smile on our face. New Mexico is now in a little pocket of time.

Me and Joshy

Me and Joshy
Originally uploaded by Rachelkap.

Yeah I was a little drunk in this picture. In fact, the memory of when this picture was taken is slightly blurry. But damn it is a cute picture!