Sunday, August 10, 2008

Distraction of Olympic Proportions

I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to come up here and spend some time at my parents' home. I always want to come and "relax" -- but as I am always told, and will invariably be told some time during this stay, "This is not a hotel. Make your bed. And go help your mother cook. You are not on vacation." (Never mind I can't cook a lick and my mother is the Queen [and Sentry] of her own kitchen and I am more Nuisance than Assistance...)

False advertising, I say! When I'm away in L.A., my parents want me here with them. "We miss you, honey, come stay with us!" Underneath that of course is the usually unsaid, "You don't have a job anyway yet, so it's cheaper if you live here with us." Today what did get said was, "We can save all the money we spend on you and use it for our 50th Wedding Anniversary Party next year!"

That's basically why I'm here this weekend for them -- to scout out a location for their big bash. Mom is getting a kick out of having these fabulous theme-parties because she has her own Personal Party Theme Designer Daughter Who'll Never Be Able to Pay Us Back So She Should Use That Creativity Thing for Something at her disposal. Forever.

Their 45th was in Honolulu and of course Hawaiian-themed; her 80th birthday was a Project Runway parody, complete with fashion show of her clothes since the 1950s because YES, SHE STILL HAS THEM. And now instead going on a cruise with the family like she originally vowed -- she's putting her finally-graduated-from-college only daughter to work. After all, I have no "permanent job" yet, remember. I guess in Tagalog that means "Our daughter has no life."

What to do this time -- I have no idea yet. What Mom loves is having some event that none of her Filipino friends have seen or done -- and that usually has to do with the fact that there is an overall theme, a program and entertainment, and definite audience participation. Many moons ago at my Dad's retirement party we had a fun sailor theme where everyone one red, white and blue and we handed out sailor hats and had a game of Jeopardy with the guests that was quite successful; last party they all played bingo while the "models" changed.

So one thing I really wanted to do is find a unique venue, something Filipinos in their barkada aren't used to going to -- like a museum or gallery or mansion -- or even a warehouse and turn into a some atmosphere. Cool, huh? Well, apparently all of that is out now because (1) all these folks are in their 70-80s so it better have easy access to beautiful bathrooms, (2) no buffet anymore because she wants them be seated and served (another age thing), and no spending on real estate because "Filipinos don't care about art anyway."

Okay. Guess I'll save that idea for one of my own parties. And I'm resigned to finding another boring hotel banquet room. UGH. And I'll have to re-examine that "Party Planner" tattoo that's stamped in the middle of my forehead again and hopefully get some inspiration...

Of course the one place I love is the boutique hotel W Silicon Valley here in Newark -- less than a mile away and a little secret that's not on the wedding circuit around here. I saw it a few months ago and fell in love with the contemporary space and fabulous, intimate lobby, a "for sure" for me if only my mother could keep it to 120 people! But no, apparently we're up to 200+ right now so onto the Boring Banquet Room Tour I go.

Actually I'm resigned to that now because I told my mother tonight that I wanted her to get out every damn (okay, I didn't say damn) expectation for her party out RIGHT NOW, one year before the thing, so I could address it. I didn't want to hear AFTER THE FACT: "I thought Frances would dance" or "I thought you would sing" or "I was hoping that would've been a better slideshow." AAAAAAAACCCCCKKKKK!

So tonight she said, "I just want something that everyone has fun at and they've never done before. Of course a nice video of all the old times..." and I'm thinking BORING! Unless I start out with a video that starts out with a voice over:

I'm sure you think you're going to have succumb to a video of my parents through their 50 years of marriage... but this is going to be a little different. This is a photo of them now -- and this is picture of them yesterday. Now let's get on with the games: bring in the elephants and the can-can girls!

HAHA I'm just kidding. But I have my work cut out for again, to make an event my ENTIRE FAMILY will be participating in, ages 9-49. Because remember I have no job and no life!

In actuality, I have a hell of a lot to do this August, and it's all creative work for other friends' parties, weddings and public appearances. Trying to bring that work here to do (my career all on a single jump drive!) when I'm on a back-ass sleep schedule and trying to coordinate with my early-rising parents is a nightmare. Why I am I here again?

Oh yeah. Funds.

I'm overwhelmed just typing this. Even the Olympics are no comfort right now.

A few days ago, playwright and prolific blogger Prince Gomilvilas wrote a wonderful essay for Asia Pacific Arts called "The Other Closet" about coming out to his Thai parents AS AN ARTIST. (Go read it here.)

One sentence got me (and I commented on it in his blog):

          I am a child of Asian Americans -- my parents trump all.

Which is truly why I'm here... and why they're still supporting me, no matter what. They threaten to cut me off every month; they scream, "We're on a fixed income, we have no more money!" and they worry who will take care of their single, poor, aging, oldest girl-child when they're gone. But it's a dance we've always done and will continue to do -- until I decide to grow up and cut that proverbial umbilical cord myself.

Call it co-dependent, dysfunctional and all that white people-12-step-psychological terminology you want -- it's the benefit of being my parents' daughter. I'm lucky, I know... but I'm sharpening the scalpel too. I know I'm going to cut bait -- soon. In the meantime, know any sexy hotels in Tri-City area for me to look at?

(BTW, today Dad was reading the Sunday paper's magazine insert and asked me, "Honey, what's a blog?" I told him it was short for web log -- like someone's diary on the Internet -- where people talk about personal things they care about. That seemed to appease him... whew!)