Sunday, June 29, 2014

Wedding OBSESSED...

Okay.  Maybe it's the age I'm at.  Maybe it's because not only is my best friend engaged, but in my cohort of classmates, there were 4 brides-to-be (out of a total of 10 people).  Maybe it's because I have dreamed of the day I would don that big white dress and pledge my love to my forever partner since as long as I can remember.  Maybe it's because Pinterest makes everything so damn accessible.

Whatever the case, I have noticed that in the last few weeks, I have been brazenly, unabashedly, unforgivingly obsessed with planning a wedding that would lottery winnings to afford.  Seriously, my wedding board has more pins on it than any other board in my profile.  And that includes THREE separate food boards.

Honestly, as previously stated, I've dreamed of my I-Do-Day as long as I can remember.  Once upon a time, I even considered planning weddings as a career, so perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised by my recent antics.  Even my wonderful boyfriend has expressed that he is feeling pressure from me to… *ahem* put a ring on it.  Though I always try to remind him that I am the first to admit we're not ready for that commitment, I certainly understand his feelings based on the images he sees on the iPad in the lap next to him on the couch.

A glimpse at my "secret" wedding board, A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes
I have tried to pass off much of this recent obsession by purporting to attempt to be the best bridesmaid I can be for my bestie.  She has recently discovered a venue (after much searching) and now I can really begin to use my imagination.  It's true what I say, about doing most of my pinning for my friend's sake… I really am looking for ideas to inspire her wedding.  She lives in another city, and so getting together to even talk about dreamy, girly things like flowers and place settings is difficult.  Pinterest is (at the moment) really my best way to help her out, and let her know I'm here for her.  And okay, maybe I feel really bad about being upset that she's getting married first.  Maybe I'm trying to be supportive in the only way I'm able right now.  I am happy for her, I am happy for her, I am happy for her.  I AM.

Photo by a future in-law of the bride
But maybe… just maybe, I just really like looking at wedding stuff.  Do I find inspiration for my own future wedding?  All the time.  Do I pin helpful tips about etiquette, and timelines, and questions to ask?  Of course.  I send them to my friend first… but as Cher Horowitz would say, "there's no harm in looking for myself also."

I've been spending time with a recently married friend lately, and she mentioned to me that even after her big day, she is still on Pinterest, pinning wedding stuff for the wedding her future daughter might have.  This was extremely comforting to me, because it occurred to me that maybe I am just one of those women who really enjoys wedding stuff.  As I said before, I am completely aware that I am not ready to get married yet.  I am totally ready to throw the biggest party ever while wearing the most beautiful dress I can imagine, but I am level-headed enough to know the difference between the readiness for a wedding and the readiness for a marriage.  And I am NOT ready for marriage.

So as much as I don't want to pressure my wonderful partner to make a commitment before he is ready, I am hoping that one day, when I have a real reason to be looking at wedding inspiration, he will be thankful that I've done some research ahead of time.  And maybe I'll try harder to wait to look at all the shiny, pretty things, when he's not there to notice.

Monday, June 2, 2014

We Need to Bring Childhood Back to Our Children...

Greetings from limbo, Wonderers!  I know I've been gone a lot (which, actually, should not surprise anyone, given my posting habits) but I have something to share.  Very wordy, as always.

As I sit through the last days of my second student teaching placement (middle school has and always will be an awful place), doing my homework for grad school in the back of the classroom while students watch movies, period after dreadful period, it occurs to me that there is a sad trend happening to today's youth.  They are not being given a childhood.

There will be many, many people, I'm sure, to argue against my opinion.  But hear me out.

A student walked into the classroom earlier today wearing a classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt.  The totally tubular turtles from the 90s, not the radical warriors they are today.  Let me show you a couple images to bring this home to you:


90s TMNT:  Happy faces, welcoming round eyes, just a bunch of bros who like eating pizza and fighting crime.













TMNT Now:  Slitted eyes, angry expressions, definitely mid-combat.  These guys are mad.  And they're coming for YOU.  Excuse me, but, what the hell?






It pleased me to see that the legacy of the original Turtles lives on.  I have no idea where she came across the shirt, whether she bought it or if it was a real, (dare I say) vintage t-shirt, passed down to her from the best uncle ever.  Either way, I appreciated the throwback to what was, in my humble opinion, a better time for kids.

How about the evolution of My Little Pony?


These are the original ponies.  Notice, the happy little scene the've put together here.  Look at their sweet, friendly faces.  Filled with innocence.  A rainbow, a flowering tree, a spacious meadow, and ponies that actually somewhat resemble ponies.










Then the ponies looked like this.  They still look like ponies.  A little more three-dimensional, a little bit shiny, but taken out of context.  Where's the grass?  And also, is it me, or did they get… sexier?  They're definitely flirting...


This is what they look like now.  Japanimation is very present as an influence for this animator.  And what exactly are they supposed to look like? Because from where I'm standing, they look like CatPigPonies.  And, a dragon?








Don't even get me started on Barbie's new body, or Ken with real hair.  I get that Mattel was trying to send a more positive message about body image to young girls, but with the media being what it is, and the Kardashians splashed on every magazine cover, what difference is one doll really making?  Not to mention that every Disney princess in the history of ever had a rack so round and perky it would make plastic surgeons drool, and nobody ever says "boo" about that...

Kids today are inundated with technology, and hyper-sexualized cartoons and video games.  I once got into a debate with an aide at my current student teaching placement about kindergarteners with cell phones.  Yes, I still call it a cell phone.  Why, oh why, does a five-year-old need a phone with them at all times?  The aide's argument was that the parent could have a change of plans, and maybe someone else would come to pick the child up from school, and with a phone, they can notify the child directly.  Or they can have the child explain the situation to the friend's parent picking them up from school.  I'm sorry, but I wouldn't trust a kindergartener as far as I could throw her if she up and told me that I was picking her up from school because her mommy said so.  Why would you ask such a small child to be accountable for his or her own schedule?  Why would you let them dictate their own schedule?  Whatever happened to letting the office know the situation and having someone inform the child?  Or the other parent?  Need I remind you, these children are FIVE YEARS OLD!?  Why would you expect them to have the same grip on life that you, a well-adjusted adult have spent so many years cultivating?

Even music today is less about love, happiness, and helping one another.  Now we have songs about humping, killing, booties, and "popping tags" at the thrift store.  Macklemore, really?  You wrote a song about STEALING CLOTHES FROM A THRIFT SHOP?  Most things in there don't cost more than $5 anyway!

School is harder.  Tests are harder.  Expectations are higher, and punishments are more severe in the long run.  My former second grade teacher once said (right when I first started my credentialing program) that her current kindergarten students are learning things I wouldn't have learned until at least first grade.  Did children just start getting born smarter?  I don't think so.  And now that there are so many ways to qualify for special education, those students that need help are getting left even further in the dust.

So let's band together and get the old narrative back.  Parents, listen up.  I get that you want your kids to like you, and be your friends.  But you're not supposed to be their friend.  You're supposed to be their parent.  So take the responsibility and let your kid be a kid.  Children deserve to have real childhoods.  Ones where they play outside on a jungle gym, instead of watching a Sim character play on one on their computer.  Playing board games instead of video games.  Using their imaginations to turn a cardboard box into the BEST toy they've ever had the pleasure of calling their own.  Kids don't have that anymore.  And they need it more than ever.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Best Friend Is Having My Pinterest Wedding…

…and I'm having a LOT of issues with it.

I wasn't sure if I should write this post or not.  It leaves me open to a lot of judgmental comments from people about one thing or another… most likely about how I probably could use an attitude adjustment. To any of you who feel the inclination… we don't judge here, so get out.  I should preface this whole post by saying this:

I am fully aware that I am not currently ready to get married.  I am in a relationship with the man I intend to spend the rest of my life with, but at this juncture in our lives, we are not in a position where marriage is something we realistically talk about.  We'd like to have a bit more stability in all areas of our lives before we make the big, legal commitment.  And I am 100% okay with that.

That being said, there must be something in the water because more people than I've ever known at one time are all getting engaged right now.  I mean, seriously, it's like once a week.  I have started hiding them from my Facebook news feed.  And while I know my day will come, impatient as I may grow, I am starting to feel a little left out because I don't have the latest shiny accessory all the "cool girls" are wearing.

Let's start at the beginning…

Ever since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of getting married.  Yes.  I'm that girl.  I have been planning various iterations of my future wedding since I figured out it was a thing that some people did.  I dreamed of Edwardian princess style dresses, tiaras, flowers, cakes, you name it!  Over the years, my tastes have changed, and thus, my hypothetical weddings have too.  For example, I can proudly state that at 28 years old, I no longer want a bubblegum pink wedding, a tiara in my hair, or a giant ball gown with puffy sleeves that is not only white, but also pink, purple, and blue.  My seven-year-old self was ever so much more eccentric than I am.

However…

Since the birth of Pinterest (and no thanks to my cousin who first showed it to me), I have found a few more… realistic ideas about how I'd like my wedding to look.  Initially, I had promised myself that I would not plan another one of my future weddings until I had a reason to do so.  And then I got a boyfriend, and Pinterest introduced secret boards.  So that promise went to hell.  In a really fast car.

My secret wedding board on Pinterest is filled with images of cakes, and dresses, and rings.  With lace, and pearls, and twinkle lights.  With a definite bias toward a Parisian theme in colors of mint green, peach, and gray.  There are entirely too many pins on this board for any reasonably healthy 20-something who is not engaged.  Yet.

Moving on…

Roommate (remember her?) has recently found herself betrothed, and has enlisted me as a bridesmaid.  We won't go into detail about how I also have issues with her getting married before me for a number of reasons.  I have made peace with that issue and it isn't worth revisiting.  When she first got engaged, I found myself imagining her wedding.  What it would look like, and without question, how different it would be from my own.  I pictured her colors as blush pink, pale yellow, and, okay, gray.  It would be kind of rustic, in a cute, shabby chic kind of way.

"So, what kind of colors are you looking at?"

"I'm thinking mint, blush, and gray."  *picture me with steam coming out of my ears*

"Any venues you like?"

"I didn't expect to like it, but we're looking at this New Orleans style French courtyard downtown."

We went dress shopping this weekend.  The bride, her mother, myself, and one other bridesmaid.  She came out in a dress I would have chosen myself.  Strapless lace bodice with a drop waist, seamless A-line, full length dress, two layers of organza sprinkled with pieces of lace.  Put on her mother's veil, a necklace from the case, and the sales woman handed her a "faux-quet."  She looked beautiful.  Perfect. She cried.  I cried.  Things were emotional.  I felt all the feels.

My tears shifted internally to the realization that one day, I will be engaged, trying on dresses with my bridesmaids around me, but there will be no mother's veil.  There will be no mother at all.  It would have been the one moment in my life when I wouldn't have had to put up a fight to take her shopping with me, the moment my mom and I could bond like two squealing teenagers, the moment she'd cry when she saw me in "the dress."  And all of that is gone.  She won't be there to tell me how beautiful I look.  She won't be there to gasp with excitement as only she can.  She won't wear Diane Keaton's dress from Father of the Bride.

I never expected that this wedding would be this hard for me.

So go ahead.  Judge.  Tell me I'm a terrible, selfish bitch because I'm having issues with my best friend, getting married before me.  Tell me I'm a bad person because I'm horrifically jealous that my best friend is having my dream wedding.  Tell me I insult you because I'm upset that she gets to share this milestone with her mom, and I won't have that luxury.  Give it a shot.  I'm not listening anyway.  I'm too busy planning a whole NEW Pinterest wedding for myself.

In the end, of course her wedding would be my Pinterest dream wedding.  Of course we have similar tastes in wedding gowns.  Of course she would want her wedding in a French courtyard with twisty, rot-iron gates.  This is why we're best friends.  And I will stand up beside her on her wedding day, jealous out of my mind, simultaneously feeling all the hatred and love in the world for her.  I will keep her from crying, I will give her the pep talks, I will hold her dress while she's peeing.  She is my best friend, and no wedding will change that.  Not even if it was mine first.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

That One Time I Did a Juice Cleanse, OR Why I Hate Dieting

Ever-generous M bought us a juicer for Christmas, so over this past weekend, FAB and I decided to try a juice cleanse, along with one of our roommates.  Why, you may ask, would my foodie self who enjoys food so much decide to go on an all liquid diet? One, because we needed a good excuse to break in our delightful new toy.  Also because we needed to reverse our food intake a little after our holiday visit to FAB's family in Missouri.

*Note:  FAB added that he wanted this juice cleanse to help him eat healthier after we finished.  I told him I already eat healthy.  This, coming from a person who frequents Taco Bell, sparked an argument where he scoffed at me because I sometimes cook with butter and cream.  I maintain that cooking with butter does not mean I don't eat healthy.*

We decided do do this juice cleanse before we left the Midwest, and our research led to Joe Cross's three day juice cleanse, which can be found on Dr. Oz's website here.  The reason we chose this cleanse was mostly because it was very organized and came with specific recipes and a shopping list.  This particular cleanse allows for one solid food meal a day, for dinner, made only of fruits and veggies.  We ate sweet potato and carrot "fries" with a side of green beans.  We also watched Joe Cross's documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, which is available via Netflix.  I enjoyed the documentary far more than I enjoyed the juice cleanse.  Also, if you watch the documentary, I find Phil's story to be far more compelling than Joe's. 

I learned a lot over the course of the last three days.  Most specifically, though perhaps not surprisingly,  I learned that I do not like being on a juice cleanse.  Here is a list of things I learned.

1.  Not missing solid food is a lie.  Almost any juice cleanse will tell you that after the first day or two, you will not miss eating solid food.  I am here to tell you, that is a boldfaced lie.  From the moment I tasted the first juice, I already knew I was in for a long three days, and could not WAIT until the end of the day for my solid food dinner.  I am a girl who likes to eat, and chew, and enjoy food.  I do not like to drink my meals.

2.  I do not like kale.  Adding kale to anything will make it taste like the inside of a lawn mower.
Sometimes juice separates and makes density stripes!
3.  Be ready to commit.  When on this cleanse, there is really very little time to do anything else during the day.  When making juice (especially for three people), it takes a lot of time. You have to prep the food before it goes into the juicer (because juicers don't like things like apple cores and citrus rind), actually make the juice, clean the juicer, and drink the juice.  By the time you've finished drinking the juice you've just made, it's practically time to make the next one.  I can now tell you that over three days, that juicer was cleaned FIFTEEN TIMES.  That's five times a day.  It's a lot.
Kind of sad, that this beautiful plate of food...
…turns into this.
4.  The word "cleanse" actually means "empty."  This is kind of part of the commitment.  The time you are not spending making or drinking juice is most likely going to be spent in your bathroom.  I will spare you the ugly, uncomfortable, unladylike details, but I'll leave you with this:  what comes out of you is directly related to what goes in.  Sit on that for a while.

5.  You MUST adjust the portions.  I don't know what kind of tiny-ass produce Joe Cross was using, but his portions are WAY out of whack.  The first few juices we made were triple batches, as the recipes you will see on the website are for one juice for one person.  This made about a glass and a half, to two glasses of juice PER PERSON.  We later adjusted to making one and a half batches, sometimes adding an extra apple or cucumber to adjust for volume.  Adding apple and cucumber can only make it taste better.
One unadjusted portion of lawn mower juice, comin' right up!
6.  Juice cleanses are expensive.  We did a lot of shopping at Costco, and made up the difference from the grocery store.  Because the portion size is so crazy, we over-shopped and now have a lot of leftover fruit and veggies. But we threw away all the kale. 
Our refrigerator.  We also had a cooler filled with food that wouldn't fit in the fridge.
7.  Never EVER go on a juice cleanse (or any diet) when it's "that time of the month."  This is the second time FAB has suggested and started a diet right when I started my period.  It's partially my fault for not suggesting we postpone it until after, but the timing worked out really well relative to vacation time.  I don't normally have a sweet tooth.  I sort of lost it as I got older.  But with absolute certainty, all I want when I'm *ahem* having a visit with Aunt Flo, is chocolate, and candy, and all the foods I KNOW I shouldn't eat.  This juice cleanse turned me into a mean, irritable, whiny little dragon who did nothing but complain for three days.  I'm sorry FAB, for yelling at you.  The cotton pony made me do it.

Now, despite all these negative take-aways from the worst three days of the new year, I did learn a few more positive things from the juice.

1.  Developing a system is important.  Remember how I told you it takes a lot of time to prepare juice?  As long as you develop a system that works for you (this can be anything from how to cut certain vegetables to making the juice far enough in advance to refrigerate it because it tastes better cold), the time can be minimized.  FAB and I took turns washing the juicer, making the juice, cutting fruits and veggies, and we made sure to make juice ahead of time so it could be refrigerated.  Hint: If you are doing this cleanse, when making the third juice, use the bell peppers as a cavity for parsley or the parsley will fly up in your face, go easy on the onion, and add an extra lime.  Trust me.

2.  A change in energy.  Yes, as much as I hate to admit that this juice cleanse did anything for me, I did notice my levels of energy were higher.  My skin got slightly clearer, and I slept better at night.  I still wouldn't do it again.  FAB and our roommate lost like five pounds.  I lost like, two ounces.  Yes I was on my period, and bloated, and puffy, but juicing for three days is not gonna get you anywhere weight-loss wise, so unless you're a dude who's kind of athletic (my boys all play softball) don't expect to lose any poundage.

3.  I didn't get sick.  Fun fact:  During these three days, all of my roommates, including FAB, were sick, except me.  One even had the flu, and was basically quarantined to his bedroom.  I'm pretty sure that the juice cleanse helped FAB and our other roommate get over their illnesses (we even gave some of our extra juice to our flu-mate, who spent a lot of his time coming up with flu puns) a lot quicker.  I'm definitely sure that taking in this much liquid, with this many nutrients is the main reason that I experienced no symptoms of illness at any time.  Also probably because I work with kids every day and am developing immunities, but we'll pretend that's not a factor.

For the last part of this post, I want to explain for a minute why I hate the word "diet" and the concept of dieting in general.  The word "diet" inherently implies impermanence (I just LOVE alliteration).  When you go on a diet, for the most part, you are setting aside a finite amount of time where you will drastically change your eating habits, lose a bunch of water weight, and the day after you will allow yourself to eat whatever you want, causing you to gain back that weight almost immediately.  Also, because diets are temporary, and frequently force you to deprive yourself of certain foods, guaranteed, those are the only foods you will want to eat.  By not allowing yourself to indulge, you are more likely to cheat, thereby completely negating the purpose of your diet to begin with.  

If you want to lose weight, you need to change your eating habits.  Plain and simple.  Eat healthy food.  Exercise.  Make sure you're eating fruits, and veggies, along with proteins, and carbs, and dairy.  And manage your portion control.  Don't clean your plate, eat until you're full.  You want that ice cream bar, or extra piece of pizza?  Go ahead.  Go right ahead and have it.  Just make sure that you aren't making it a habit.  Don't deprive yourself of all the foods you love, make it a treat to eat them.  Everything in moderation, including moderation.  By eating right and making sure I was exercising even a little bit, I was able to lose 15-20 pounds in about four to six months.  Yes, I became a calorie counting fiend for a while, but even when I was counting those calories, I would allow for the occasional cookie, or scoop of ice cream.  Or a beer.  I have never had that much success on any "diet," ever.

My pal Foamy the Squirrel knows what I'm talking about…


Don't diet.  Eat right.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I Never Knew Selling Your House Was Such an Invasive Process...

Good evening, Wonderers.  As I mentioned in my last post, I'm trying to use blogging as a means of therapy (since I don't currently have time to take advantage of the free therapy sessions my mother's former therapist has offered to me), and since yesterday was a pretty awful day many ways around, I thought it would be a good excuse to write.

I'm not going to talk about driving out of my way to go to the Auto Club and deliver my request for a duplicate title to my car, only to find out that I only have to have my buyer fill out the reverse side of the request form because the form acts as the title.  And my registration is overdue.

I'm not going to talk about driving to two separate stores to find a hair catch for the shower drain, and how neither store had what I was looking for.  To be fair, one store had it, but they were out of stock.

I'm not going to talk about having to go to class on no sleep, filled with anxiety and frustration from 4-10pm.  Or how some of the girls in my cohort make me frustrated and jealous because they decided to take leaves of absence from work (or any number of other decisions to take responsibility and burden off their plates), whilst I'm watching my life fall apart around me.

What I'm going to talk about is the truly invasive, rapey process of selling a house.

Now, I'm not gonna say that I'm not extra emotional given the other circumstances of my life.  Doing pretty much anything is more difficult while simultaneously grieving the loss of my mother.  But I feel like I've been moving for the past three months and we are FINALLY down to the last week in my childhood home.

The thing that has affected me the most throughout this whole ordeal is the number of times I have been asked to LEAVE MY HOUSE.  I understand that it is easier to sell a house when the occupants are not there, but when all I want to do is curl into a ball and cry about everything that is happening in my life, being told to be anywhere but home is very upsetting.  Thankfully, the house was only on the market for four days before it was sold.  But since it has been sold, I have still been asked on multiple occasions to vacate the premises.  The buyers want to come by and look at the house again.  The buyers want to come make decisions about how they are going to "flip" it and sell it for a higher price.  As we are coming to the end of our move, my dad and I have been decidedly more emotional about leaving.  Yesterday was the straw that broke the camel's back.  Make no mistake, I didn't have an emotional outburst or throw a tantrum, or point a shotgun a la Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino.  But it certainly didn't make my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day any better.

Yesterday, I called my dad on my way home from work to let him know that I would be returning to the house for a few hours before class.  I wanted to get more things done.  He told me that the buyers were there with their crew, taking measurements and making decisions, and that he was not thrilled about their presence in the house.  After my aforementioned adventures in frustration, I returned to my home to find the buyer and their contractors still at the house.  They were there for an additional hour before leaving for the day.

Am I wrong, or is it kind of inconsiderate and horrible that these people couldn't wait another SEVEN days for us to be gone?  It is also particularly difficult to pack up your stuff when there are people wandering around your house from room to room, and making you all the more painfully aware that your house is not your home anymore.  It also feels a lot like being forcibly removed from the building by a corrupt security guard.  As if to say, "you may leave at our earliest convenience."  I have been sexually assaulted and felt less raped than that.

So my internal response to these people is this:  You want me to get out?  I have news for you, this is still my house for a few more days.  YOU get out.  Get the FUCK out of my house!

Moving sucks.  Grieving sucks.  Bad days suck.

Rant over.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

And The World Looks Different...

Hello Wonderers! (All one of you!)

I am trying to get back into the blog thing as a sort of therapeutic adventure in coping with my mom's death.  So here goes nothing.

Have you ever noticed that when you hit a major life milestone, you begin to see the world differently? The most notable, certainly the most commonly mentioned, of these events seems to be losing your virginity and suddenly finding yourself in a "new world," but it occurred to me that this effect is a much more frequent experience in our lives.

Think back to your childhood.  Way back...

After you said your first word, chances are, you quickly began to accumulate more words.  And the world looked different because you could finally, verbally express yourself.

When you took your first steps, you soon began to run.  And the world looked different because you suddenly realized you could go anywhere you wanted (as long as you were fast enough and the grown-ups couldn't catch you)!

The first day of school.  Now you have friends that are with you every day.  And the world looks different.

The day you turn 10.  Double digits!  13... Now you're officially a teenager!  18... Now you're an adult!  And the world, many times over, looks different.

Your first solo drive as a newly licensed driver.  Your first day of college.  Your college graduation.  Maybe your first grown-up job.  Your first significant relationship... the world looks different.

Recently, when my mom passed away, I noticed that once again, the world looked different.  There are things I am still learning to navigate without my mom around to help me.  There are still things I notice that make me sad she's not here.  The season premiere of Supernatural brought back a lot of her favorite characters, and she wasn't there to watch it with me.  This fall marks the 100th anniversary of Mallomars, her all time favorite seasonal cookie.  Even the Raiders are starting to suck less this football season, which I have to believe is somehow attributed to her.  I don't know what the world is like without my mom in it... and so it looks different.

And then, leaving little time to adjust to a mom-free world, I am now living with my boyfriend as of two days ago.  After selling our house and having only a month to vacate with no place to go, my dad and I found temporary crash pads... mine will just become slightly more permanent.  I can tell you with certainty, that my boyfriend has the best roommates in the world.  I fully expected to be living out of a suitcase, since the plan was for the four of us to move into a bigger place when I became financially capable.  Even though I moved in a little sooner than expected, the boys rearranged some of their things and made room for me, and most of my stuff.  True, there is plenty in storage, some of which may not come out until FAB and I have a place to ourselves, but I never thought I'd have my dresser, all of my shoes, my bathroom stuff, and many other things on the long list of probably-unnecessary-stuff-that-every-girl-needs.  I was at work the day after we'd moved me in, and suddenly thought to myself "I live with my boyfriend.  What?  That's weird..."

And y'know what?  The world looks different.


Room for all the things!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The World Keeps Turning...

WARNING: THIS POST IS MORBID, SAD, AND LONG.  HANG ON TIGHT, OR RUN AWAY NOW.

Hi. If you have seen FRIENDS, this is a classic Ross-ism, and it totally encompasses how I am feeling right now.  Instead of going into some long-winded list of excuses why I have basically ignored this blog for the better part of a year, let me just tell you that this year has not been an easy one and my life has basically exploded in every possible direction that it can.

Two weeks ago (yesterday), my mother passed away.  This was both quick, and unexpected.  She wasn't sick with a terminal ailment, and she definitely did NOT commit suicide.  I don't actually even have a cause of death.  She was awake in the morning, and then... she wasn't.  With everything that has been going on in our lives this year, it feels as though it was just too much for her to take, and so... she just left.  The entire experience was perhaps one of the most (if not THE most) traumatic of my lifetime.  I woke up that morning to go babysit for M's boys (potentially to be heretofore referred to as "the M&Ms"), walked into my parents' bedroom to wave goodbye to my then awake and alert mom, and when I returned only two hours later, I was watching fire trucks pull up to my house, and a team of men run through the door.  Needless to say, I parked as quickly as I could, and booked it into my house.  I watched as the men pulled my unconscious mother out of the bedroom and onto the empty dining room floor.  I watched them try several different techniques to revive her.  And, heart racing, I watched as my mother slipped away from me forever.

What has transpired over the last two weeks has been some of the most emotional (for lack of a better word) weirdness I have ever come to know.

For starters, there is no way to know when I will start crying.  Or what kind of cry it will be.  Sometimes it's a quiet stream of tears running down my face.  Sometimes it's an explosion of hard crying that lasts for a brief few minutes.  It's incredibly inconsistent and impossible to time, though I do notice that it happens more frequently in the evening, which is not surprising.  I even had a panic attack the other night, when it suddenly hit me all over again that my mother was no longer a part of my future.  FAB handled it beautifully, as I can only imagine what it's like to have your girlfriend of almost two years look into your eyes, confused and terrified, and kind of like she doesn't know who you are.

Then, there are the questions.  Weird questions.  The strangest shit pops into my mind.  Does she know she died?  Did she know when it was happening, or did she just fall asleep and not wake up?  Did she dream about it?  Can she (her spirit) see me?  If she can see me, does she feel bad for what I'm going through, or what I had to watch?  If so, does it make her cry?  I have this, awful, denial-based feeling that she'll walk through the door, tears in her eyes, and come hold me and say "I'm so sorry you had to see that, it must have been terrible."  I'm fully aware that she isn't coming back... and yet, I wait for her, like she's on some extended vacation.

There's numbness.  A lot of numbness.  People talk, and offer condolences, and hugs, and all I see is their mouths moving.  I can't focus on almost anything - work, school, life in general - and I sometimes get the impression that I probably shouldn't be driving.  Sometimes, I don't want to even be touched.  It's a wonderful thing that so many people care enough about me to offer a tender embrace, but at times it gets downright claustrophobic, and it serves as more of a reminder that my mom is no longer with me than a symbol of care and concern.  And there's always the constant, nagging stream in the back of my mind, circling like a mantra in reverse - "my mom is dead, my mom is dead, my mom is dead."  People can talk about damn near anything, and in my mind, all I can think is "that's nice, my mom is dead," "oh, you had a bad day?  I don't have a mom anymore."  I don't want to throw myself a pity party, but I almost can't help it.

The strangest things will set off the waterworks.  Only a few days after she passed, I heard two Marvin Gaye songs, and one Stevie Wonder song on the radio, and I was convinced it was her doing.  I found myself crying.  The Beach Boys "All Summer Long."  She had this ridiculous way of singing along with it that I'll never forget.  Tears.  I don't even want to know what will happen if I listen to a recording of the infamous Muppet song "Manamana."  It might be the only time that song has ever made anyone cry.  Even remembering her reaction when I told her M wanted to take me (with FAB) on her trip to Paris.  She was so excited, she let out a scream like someone was trying to murder her.  Also... all the things she did that used to annoy me, I now miss.  I never thought I would miss her coming into my room when I had friends over to make a little conversation... and now I have one of her dresses (it happens to be my favorite) hanging on my bedroom door because it's almost like she's standing there.

I can't stop thinking of all the milestones she'll miss in my life.  She'll never see me get married.  She'll never hand-jive with her grandchildren.  She'll never even see me become a teacher.  And it extends further.  She won't watch me and FAB be on-camera diners on a Gordon Ramsay show.  She didn't see the absolute, unabashed joy on my face for the 110 seconds that *NSYNC reunited on the VMAs (a moment so powerful to me that for those few precious moments, my mom wasn't dead).  She won't get to see the Marvin Gaye movie with Jesse L. Martin (which she TOTALLY called way before it was even being discussed).  Hell, she didn't even make it to football season this year, and the house is so quiet without her passionate screaming for the Raiders, it's disturbing.

The hardest part of all of this is that the world doesn't stop, even for a tragedy like this one.  I took two weeks off of work, but I had to go back today because I can't just stop getting paid.  I still have to go to school (especially since it's the last two weeks of the quarter) two nights a week.  I still have to help my dad trash, donate, and pack up 30 years worth of stuff in the only home I've ever known so we can move out and prepare to sell it.  Let me tell you, having to get rid of my mom's stuff so soon after she passed was no picnic.  It almost feels like I don't have time to grieve.

My mom was an energy.  Every single person who ever knew her has said that in some way.  She was vivacious, and bright, and loud, and funny, and emotional, and unapologetically herself.  I have her smile.  I can hear her voice in mine.  It's because of her that I can spell, dance, and cook.  She taught me how to talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere.  She proofread my papers.  She got stains out of my clothes.  She taught me to appreciate the music of Motown.  She loved my boyfriend like a son before she even met him.  She is the reason for the namesake of this very blog.

My mom made a bigger impact on my life than she will ever know.  I only wish I could have told her.  One last hug.  One last "I love you."

I love you mom, and I will miss you, every day for the rest of my life.


My First Birthday

Meeting FAB's Parents