Laura had so much fun branting last night after her long unintentional life-interruptus hiatus that she’s going to keep going. First of all, she wants to thank the people who let her know that the photo of Hugh Jackman was what reeled them in and led them to, as more than one Facebook friend has said, “click through.” This is one of those admissions that is kind of dicey: just like the old “Wow! Did you lose a ton of weight?!?” this one points out the fact that the promise of fabulously hilarious or interesting prose wasn’t the big draw, but the photo of an unbearably gorgeous man was. But you know what? Laura doesn’t really give a shit. She’s just glad her cheap trick worked. Which is why she’s posting another photo of Hugh Jackman here. She figures, it worked once, why not post photos of Hugh Jackman in every brant?! Only today’s photo is just a shameless attempt at hooking readers. Check back soon for more photos of HJ along with relevant information about him and the time (2 times, actually! once while he was shooting Animal Husbandry, which is what it was called when she visited the set, and once on the red carpet for the premiere of Someone Like You, which is what it was called when it was released) Laura met him and recent hilarious sightings of the long-since discontinued DVD of the movie (hint: think cereal boxes in the supermarket).
While Laura’s assistant (ha ha, or, as the young people say, “LOL”) scours the Internet for another fab-foto of HJ, she’s going to continue on in her update…
9) As some of her more careful readers might have noticed, Laura made a passing reference to Ben having surgery yesterday. Due to her [previously branted-about] issues with “transparency” as it pertains to her branting, she’s not going to divulge what kind of surgery he had — she doesn’t want to be one of those people who uses her kid’s life as fodder, no matter how desperate she is for fodder (and believe me, she’s kind of desperate) — so all she’ll say is that he had some “corrective” surgery. The surgery took place at Children’s Hospital in Boston, down in the Bermuda Triangle of amazing medical facilities — Children’s Hospital, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Dana Farber Cancer Center — she thinks there’s even a few more of them — and it’s when you have to be in a hospital or have some kind of diagnostic test done that you really feel glad that you live near these places. Ben’s surgery was scheduled for noon, so, just like an airport arrival, they were told to show up 90 minutes early for processing. Once the minimal paperwork was completed, and once she’d chased Ben down and pulled him out from under one of the waiting room chairs — and after she promised that he could, after his surgery, open up one of his Hanukkah-slash-Christmas presents early (a used Gamecube with all the trimmings off of eBay for a steal!) — they were led into the pre-op area. As anyone who’s ever had surgery knows, this is the area where about 10-12 beds-on-wheels are parked in various bays with close-able curtains. You set up shop in one — change, get in the bed, and wait to be visited by about 22 different medical personnel: doctors, nurses, interns, residents, anesthesiologists, OR nurses, orderlies, etc. And since it’s Boston, just as Laura reported in her “Breast Brants” about her own surgery, all these hospitals are “teaching hospitals” which means you can basically double that number of people who are going to stop in with a clipboard and ask you twenty questions about which side your surgery is going to be on.
Not that Laura’s complaining! She loves how amazingly organized and prepared and smart and helpful and professional all the people who stopped by were — how sweet they were to Ben and how nice they were to her, knowing how difficult it is to know your little guy is going to be put out for a few hours and cut open, no matter how correctively (as opposed to more seriously). So you can imagine her surprise when one of the medical professionals who stopped by was a woman in a white coat offering up a selection of video games. Yes, video games. Gameboys, Nintendo DSs, and a variety of tiny game cartridges to pick from. You should have seen Ben’s face when they handed him a Nintendo and told him he could play all the way to the operating room. At first Laura was like, Hey? What about ME? Where’s MY Portable Electronic Distraction Device? But then she didn’t care, so thrilled was she to see that Ben was completely and utterly immersed in his game. In fact, he was so immersed that no matter what anybody came by to do — take his temperature, check his blood pressure, adjust his finger-oxygen-monitor — he barely looked up. All he did was stare at the Nintendo and move slightly to accommodate whatever pokers and prodders were poking and prodding.
They let Laura go with Ben into the OR — they put a blue scrub-style robe in her and a little poufy hat and a mask — and down the hall they went, Laura following Geisha-like behind the bed-on-wheels and the group of nurses and doctors — until they came to the OR itself. Laura, ever the concerned parent, was a little nervous at how bright and unflattering and harsh the glaring giant overhead lights were — in her haste to get to the hospital on time, she’d forgotten to put on any make-up or do anything with her hair besides put it up in one of those clippy-things — but then she realized her entire body was covered in scrub-ware so it wasn’t really an issue. Actually, she’s kidding about worrying about how she looked — she couldn’t have cared less, which is a whole other problem and brant — all she cared about was Ben on the table, with the little mask over his face breathing in the sleeping gas they were pumping in.
Anyway, all went well and Ben’s home recovering, playing endlessly with the Gamecube and being a really good sport about the fact that it really hurts to stand, sit, move, get up, walk, sleep, etc. and will for the next few days and possibly even the next few weeks.
One last [semi] interesting tidbit to add to the surgery story is that Children’s Hospital is the same hospital that Laura had her emergency ruptured appendectomy (this is like Starbucks — do you say emergency ruptured appendectomy or ruptured emergency appendectomy or grande ruptured 2% emergency chai appendectomy?) way back in 1967. As she mentioned recently, that emergency surgery took place at the height of Boston’s Blizzard of ’67 when she was four (yes, ok, all you geniuses can do the math and figure out Laura’s age now –29 [“LOL”]). Just another weird by-product of moving back to where you grew up the way Laura did.
10) Last week, Laura went to a party — the annual Holiday party thrown by Q Division, a Somerville-based recording studio co-owned by the brilliant Mike Denneen. Mike Denneen, besides being the husband of the amazing Jen Trynin (more on her later — sheesh! it’s exhausting to have all these talented friends to work into brants!), is one of the best music producers in the business, with a list of artists that includes Aimee Mann, Fountains of Wayne, Letters to Cleo, and The Click 5. Before Laura tells you the weather-related part of this story — which, come to think of it, really isn’t so interesting so she’ll just say it now — big surprise: it was fucking (458) POURING the night of the party which totally sucked, though it was fun to go to the party and spend some time with a new friend, Simone Beck, lead singer for a local band called “Sugar Snow” [more on her, too!]) — she’ll go back in time and tell you the Mike Denneen-Jen Trynin story.
Back in 2003 or thereabouts, the then-owner of Newtonville Books, Tim Huggins, asked if Laura would do him a favor: meet with a friend of his who was writing a book about her short-lived but stellar career as a musician. Laura, frequently asked to do such favors, and a big believer, when she has time, in, if you’ll pardon the goofy expression, “paying it forward,” agreed. Most of the time these kinds of meetings are awkward because at the end of the coffee date the manuscript she gets handed usually isn’t very good and then she has to figure out a way to help the person understand that getting an agent might be really really hard if not sort of impossible.
But this time was different. Laura met Jen at the Starbucks in Newton Centre and Jen, ever the super-cool musician, walked in wearing a pair of fabulous Gucci sunglasses. They were even more fabulous because Jen referred to them as throwbacks to the time when she had money — something Laura often says about her own 10-year-old cashmere pea-coat or giant 6-ply tomato-red pashmina or diamond-drop earrings — and instantly she had a crush on Jen who was hilarious and brilliant and funny and, she should mention, about 8 months pregnant. They traded stories about their careers, made jokes about the relativity of success and failure, compared Hebrew School and Jewish-Parent stories, and then parted ways with the promise of another coffee date. When Laura got home she tore open the manilla envelope and started reading Jen’s pages which were unbelievably good and for once she knew that her help was completely unnecessary — she gave Jen the names of a few excellent agents and within a matter of weeks she signed on with one and got her manuscript in shape to submit to publishers — Everything I’m Cracked Up To Be, which was eventually published to fantastic reviews.
She also listened to Jen’s two CDs, Gun Shy Trigger Happy and Cockamamie and got addicted to them immediately: Jen, she decided very quickly, was a genius.
A few months later, Jen was so grateful for the “help” Laura had given her, despite the fact that she hadn’t really helped her that much — that she offered to help Laura out in return in any way possible. Laura couldn’t think of any help she needed that she wasn’t already getting and paying hourly for, but when Jen offered that her husband could help her wire her Victorian house for wireless computing — something Laura barely even knew existed at the time! — she of course agreed. And so Jen and Mike showed up, and Mike proceeded to crawl around on his hands and knees on the third floorof Laura’s old house, hooking up wires and cords and other things that looked electronic. Several trips to Radio Shack later and several hours on her lemon of an iMac, and she was networked and ready for a a wirelessly connected laptop (again, this was big news back then). Laura was, of course, incredibly grateful for his help, but didn’t think much more about Mike Denneen until a few months later when, at a book gathering, someone pointed him out and said to Laura, in hushed reverent tones, “Look, that’s Mike Denneen.” She nodded and told the person that Mike was a really nice guy who was great at putting computer stuff together. Which is when the person looked at her like she was a fucking (459) nut job. Putting together computer stuff? the person said before filling Laura in on his “day job.” Despite the fact that this happened years ago, every time Laura sees Mike, like last week at his cool party, she can’t help but remember her idiocy.
p.s. About the photo of HJ — Laura has no idea exactly when it was taken or whom exactly to credit — she apologizes in advance to her two extremely talented professional photographer friends, Miranda Penn Turin and Karen Pike, both from Newton and both to be mentioned in more detail later–but she’s going to go ahead and post it anyway because, I mean, seriously, when was the last time you saw a picture like that? Besides, without it, all potential copyright infringement issues notwithstanding, you wouldn’t be reading her brant right now….