I have really great news! My mother and I are taking a seven day cruise of the Carribean during the first week of February! This is the first “Real” vacation that we have had in over 5 years. My dad is not going to be able to go because he recently started a new job (Hurray!). Although it’s kind of a shame dad can’t come, it will be great with just mom and me because we really get along great. I know this is going to sound corny, but our relationship is more “friend-to-friend” and not “mother-to-daughter.” She treats me like an equal without losing sight of her motherly obligations. That’s why I consider my mother to be such a great one.
Anyway, back to the cruise business. We are going to take a plane from New York to Miami! That’s the first step. Then from somewhere in Miami we are going to board the ship. Ours is called the “Celebration”! We are going to visit 3 different places, San Juan, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. I have always dreamed of going on a cruise and I have no idea how I’m going to survive the ten days untill we leave.
If it was possible to drop dead from too much anticipation, I wouldn’t be typing this right now. I still remember how excruciating those ten days felt leading up to the cruise. I was coming to the end of a miserable semester at school and couldn’t wait to get out of the city and go somewhere beautiful and relaxing.
The last “real” vacation I referred to was to Florida. I was nine years old and have two particularly vivid memories of that trip:
1. Meeting Minnie Mouse. To this day, the most awe-inspiring celebrity encounter I have ever had. Mom still has a photo of me and Minnie and Fluffy, a tiny stuffed bear I took everywhere with me in Florida. In that photo, I’m wearing one of my Dad’s sweaters which reaches to my knees and smiling as if I just reached the summit of Mt. Everest.
2. Trying sushi for the first time. Even though I grew up eating strange Russian food like pickled herring and shredded chicken and hardboiled eggs suspended in aspic, raw fish was still a foreign delicacy yet to be explored. Chinese was as exotic as my parents and I had eaten up to that point. Nobody knew what to order, so Mom and Dad pointed to the picture of the wooden boat on the menu. The miso soup was okay, but then things got scary. A carved ship the size of my torso was brought to the table laden with raw fish. It was about as appetizing to me as the live maggots Keifer Sutherland makes Jason Patric think he’s eating in The Lost Boys. (It would take years before I tried Japanese food again and nowadays I eat sushi at least once a week.)
Nonetheless, Florida was a blast and I had high hopes for this upcoming trip with Mom. The few reruns I saw of The Love Boat made cruising seem like non-stop fun. The only thing better than staying at a hotel was staying at a giant, floating hotel that takes you to different tropical places. I was psyched.
Tomorrow I am going to Elaine’s birthday party.
I want to try something new.
Well since the new year is coming, and the new decade, I want to write down my new years resolutions.
1) Go steady with Mitchell.
2) lose seven pounds.
3) kick my knuckle cracking and nail biting habits.
4) learn how to ride a bike. (I know that I won’t keep that one, but who really cares.)
5) talk my mom into letting me get second holes in my ears.
Well I geuss that does it. I hope I have a good year and decade.
Ah, resolutions. I don’t know where I got the idea to make this list, but it was probably inspired by something I saw on television (did the girls in The Facts of Life ever make resolutions? I’m thinking a strong maybe on that). This exercise sparked what would become a lifelong fondness for making lists, though I no longer make resolutions. Why should the calendar dictate personal self-improvement?
Back in the late 80’s (how sad it will be to usher in the 90’s. Can we have an acid washed moment of silence?) I think I misunderstood the idea of making resolutions with making a wish list. In the spirit of hindsight, I’d like to revise that list for my 12-year-old self. This is what is should have looked like:
1) Realize that being in a relationship is not always something one can control.
3) Now that the nails are safe, kick the cuticle-biting habit (it’s pretty gross).
4) Learn to drive (I probably won’t keep that one, either).
5) Thank mom for not letting me get that second pair of holes in my ears, because accessorizing with one pair is challenging enough.
Tomorrow, guess who’s house I’m going to????
I really hate that a$%hole now. Yesterday he actually had the nerve to call me! What a s@#&head!!!!!! Maybe it will be a little fun.
Also I have a new love!!! I’m over Francis (who hasn’t called since the date) and back on the track!
His name is J.D.
He’s 15 and gorgeous. I love him!!!!
Just a few little problems.
1. He lives in Staten Island and I live in Brooklyn.
2. He doesn’t know I’m alive!
3. He’s 15 and I’m almost 12.
But I can fix all that (not the age or Staten Isl thing but the rest!).
The way I got to know him is that he is my cousin Anna’s brother’s friend and when I went over to her house I saw him there!
God I love him a lot!!!!!!
I will make sure that very, very soon, J.D. will like me as much as I like him! (maybe even more!)
J.D., I love you!
Also, me and Elaine might start our own baby-sitting club! Isn’t that great!!!! It will be lots of fun!
Total word count: 189
Total number of exclamation marks: 42
Aside from my ludicrous idea of what love was (which clearly did not include getting to know the person or even speaking to him much), I had lofty goals. I set out to win the heart of an older man and to create a babysitting empire to rival the fictional one in Ann M. Martin’s Babysitters Club series.
Not only did these books enlighten me about diabetes, they also made me believe I could easily make money baby-sitting while having lots of fun doing it. Never mind that I had no experience watching children, no business acumen, and wasn’t even old enough to drive. I had enthusiasm and a library card that caused plenty of lofty delusions.
Mom put the kibosh on the baby-sitting scheme just as Elaine and I were brainstorming flier ideas. She did not want her 11-year-old daughter to be responsible for other families’ children and I can’t say I blame her. I was initially upset, but it did free up more time for me to concoct a scheme to get J.D.’s attention. That’s a story with another chapter to go…
Remember the Halloween parade we had? On the way back upstairs you dropped the egg on the stairs by accident and a teacher came in to tell us about it and if we knew anything to write on a piece of paper an annonamous note. Well I put your name down and even though I wasn’t the only one I am still very sorry.
I mean you should not have been carrying that egg even though it was for protection and I feel that it was sort of my responsibility to tell what I know and I’m sorry.
… … …
Dear 11-year-old Damiella,
Nobody likes a snitch. Chen-chi wasn’t like those hooligans who used Halloween as an excuse to pelt people with eggs and vandalize houses with shaving cream and toilet paper. If she was packing that egg as ammunition against a possible attack from these boys, that’s her business. If anything, you should be more sympathetic after last Halloween when Mom was accosted by young thugs who threatened to pelt her with Nair-filled eggs.
Chen-chi didn’t hurt anyone; she just made a mess on the stairs. You should have known better than to rat her out.
Today was the last day of school and I got a good report card. Also I had a fight with Nisa because she did not bring in this Certificate of Friendship we were making. I don’t know what is happening. It seems all of the sudden we are very very different. She is trying to be so perfect. I’m beginning to think she is a nerd. I hate her mother, she is such a bitch.
O well, I guess we are finaly relizing our differences. It’s about time anyway.
The difference between me and Nisa:
Her mother = bitch
My mother = not a bitch
I haven’t the foggiest what the certificate of friendship was all about, but I do remember Nisa’s mom and how strict, joyless, difficult, and unpleasant she could be. Any time Nisa was invited to a birthday party, her mother would buy a dictionary to offer as a gift. She demanded academic perfection from her daughter and limited the amount of time Nisa spent watching television, playing with friends, or having any other kind of fun.
I tolerated Nisa’s mother, because her daughter was one of the brightest and most imaginative girls I had ever met and was my childhood best friend. But there was one incident made me dislike her mom once and for all.
One day, she was cooking a foul-smelling soup and demanded that I try some of it. She spooned a bit of spongy gray matter and held it under my nose. I politely asked her to tell me what it was first, but she refused and insisted that I eat the stinky mysterious spoonful of yuck before me. I complied, and on top of having an awful rubbery texture, the stuff tasted even worse than it smelled.
“What was that?” I asked.
“Tripe,” Nisa’s mother smirked.
“What’s tripe?” I dreaded the answer.
“Cow’s stomach.” Another smug smile from the bi-atch. “Would you like some more?”
My own stomach lurched. “No, thank you.”
I felt mildly betrayed by Nisa, that she hadn’t warned me about what I was going to eat, but her mother told her not to say anything. And while I can appreciate wanting to expand a child’s palate, doing it in such a sneaky way, and with organ meats, is a little mean. I mean, when my friends came over, Mom either made spaghetti and meatballs or let us order pizza. Mom didn’t make my friends eat any of our crazy Russian food unless they wanted to try it.
Nisa and I were able to get over this rough patch, but there would be conflict later on that couldn’t be smoothed away so easily.
Yesterday I went shopping and got these cool bangles and earings, plus Sun In. It turns your hair lighter with the sun.
The only thing I didn’t love was how young I was at the time, and therefore how limited I was in my hair experimentation. It took ages just to convince Mom to let me use hairspray, though once I got the green light I used enough Aqua Net to make my bangs virtually bulletproof. Crimping was also okay, but I had yet to convince her to allow me to get a perm. (My hair was pin-straight as a kid and I was desperate for it to be curly. Today, my hair has a natural wave to it and and I blow dry and flatiron it straight. Why are human beings so contrary???)
Bleaching or dying my hair was out of the question, but luckily Sun-In was allowed. Plain old lemon juice was never effective at lightening my hair in the summertime, but this stuff did the trick. Whenever we’d go to the beach, Mom would allow me to spray a moderate amount of this seemingly-magical concoction into my hair, and after a day of roasting outside, my naturally dirty blonde hair would have more golden highlights.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that every time Mom was distracted I’d sneak in a few extra sprays. I figured the blonder the better. I don’t know how it worked, but Sun-In did harness the sun’s power to lighten hair, at the cost of giving it a straw-like consistency, especially when sprayed in great quantities (what was the point of using only a little bit and getting a subtle effect?). Between the Sun-In, the crimping iron, and the hairspray, it was a wonder that I didn’t have a mane like Tina Turner or the Cowardly Lion, and that I didn’t fry all the hair on my preteen head.
In retrospect, I think Mom was pretty cool to allow me to torture my hair within the boundaries she had set. While I was still eager for more extreme chemical transformation to my tresses, for the time being I was happier being a little bit blonder.
So far my day is not the greatest. First of all, my mother probably won’t let me get bangs. I really really want to get them.
And I am not Marcela’s friend any more because she is such a fair-weathered friend and very much a bitch! I hate her, she always expects me to call her and Marcela started acting really stuck up because she skipped a grade.
She is definitely not coming to my party. I am beginning to hate Marcela even more than I hate Yanmei.
But when I went home for lunch my mom cut my bangs and they look great!
So much for Marcela being a lifesaver, those 50 names she helped obtain for my election petition now long forgotten. I didn’t think it was possible to hate anyone more than Yanmei at the time, but Marcela proved me wrong. In restrospect, I wonder how much of my ill will was caused by her being snobbish and wanting to distance herself from her former classmates and how much of it was my jealousy. I was offered the chance to skip fifth grade as well, but didn’t want to leave my friends and face a greater academic challenge, so I stayed where I was. It’s quite possible I felt some resentment toward Marcela for having the guts to do something I did not. It’s also possible that she was “very much a bitch.”
At least I was able to take comfort in the fact that I was able to finally convince my mother to allow me to get bangs. I don’t know why she resisted as long as it did. It might have had something to do with wanting to protect me from bad hair choices or from ruining the ozone layer with the copious amounts of hairspray I’d end up using in the late 1980’s. Whatever the reason, I managed to wear her down.
I was eager to get the bangs so that I could tease them up real big into a shrub-like curve on top of my head and tame them with tons (and tons, and tons) of Aqua Net. The look was even more, um… effective when the rest of my hair was crimped.
It’s nice to see that despite all the hostility toward Marcela, I was able to set aside my hatred long enough to rejoice over my new hair. All’s well that ends in embarrassing elementary school photos and the greenhouse effect.