August 27, 2010

What I Want vs. What I Got (It's like dueling banjos up in here!)

*I hope this post title did not get either of the two annoying songs in your head that I now have in my head.  My fingers are crossed.

What I want:
  • An unlimited Gift Card to Burpee
  • A weekend out of town
  • The Day Off
  • Sushi Delivery  for lunch
  • A Giant Pool and a Grotto to come home to tonight
  • Cocktails to have by said pool
  • A beautifully catered dinner on our lounge chairs by the pool
What I've Got:
  • Plenty of time to save for the stuff I want to plant in Fall
  • A weekend that includes pickling, reading, and wine-tasting
  • Hey, at least today is Friday
  • Homemade Chili for lunch, and that is free, yo!  (sort of)
  • The second set of landscapers coming by this afternoon to address our front and back yard.  No Porno Pool planned, but I am getting an Extreme Garden Makeover (yay!)
  • There is champagne in the fridge for when I get home from the gym tonight
  • Tandoori Chicken is in the fridge marinating, and I will happily (and let's be real, probably sweatily since I will be post-gym) chow down on it on my couch with Garrett.

All in all, things aren't exactly perfect, but on this Friday they are looking pretty good from where I am sitting.

August 23, 2010

August 23, 1998

I will type this date over and over again today.

August 23rd.

It is a normal Monday around here, there is nothing particularly notable happening. I will go to work, I will see some friends. I will hit the gym and cook dinner. I will take a long hot shower at the end of a full and productive day and although it will certainly feel relaxing it will never wash away the memory of this day 12 years ago.

The memory of my father sitting outside by the pool in his blue t-shirt and shorts, breathing in the fresh air pondering why he felt under the weather. The way he walked into the house with a look of fear on his face. The way his 6’4 frame crumpled to the ground quicker than my brain could process what was going on, the way the hue of his lips and face changed almost instantly and began to match his clothing.


Panic in the abstract it seems like it would be this quick heart palpitating adrenaline rush, but in real life, though panic does lights the fire, it is a slow, steady and painful burn. Time stops when you evaluate the fact that there is a person at your feet who isn’t breathing. The seconds tick by as your protector becomes the person who needs to be protected. You assume this new role with every fearful breath your own body takes. Emergency calls are placed but it’s like talking underwater -- these words that are coming out of your mouth are unrecognizable, you hear them, but they can’t be yours. This can’t actually be happening. In seconds there are strangers in your home, someone else is in charge. There are needles on the ground, sinking into the carpet. There is nothing quick about panic -- time actually seems to be moving in slow motion, so much so that you become aware of everything. The smells and the thickness of the air become overwhelming, but the more you breathe, the more you are reminded that not everyone is so lucky.

 Being told my father was gone in a bright white hospital that had sunshine busting through every single window was like a joke with the most offensive punch line. His heart stopped, there was nothing else we could do.  They call Time of Death and it feels like a bad television show.  I look at the clock and recognize it as the same clocks from elementary school.  I wonder if they all order from the same catalog.  I am clinging to anything familiar.  We sat side by side, my mom and I, in a sad little office in leathery uncomfortable chairs as we listened to the doctor.  Here is a pamphlet that explains what happens next.  I feel sad for whoever has to write those pamphlets.  Knowing their work is going to reach people when they are at their worst.  It's thankless.  The hospital will store the body until you can make funeral arrangements, do you know who you are going to call?

The body.

I wonder how they can call him a body while my mom crumples beside me, the second crumpling parent I’ve seen today. It is freezing and I am overwhelmed by the smell of chemicals. I am 19 with my whole life ahead of me, yet I can't even fathom what life will look like anymore in this moment. Do people often know who they are going to call in these situations? I can’t imagine people carrying around funeral home information in their purse, but maybe I am wrong.

Though I would like to believe I am, and have spent hours trying to convince others, I am not an adult. And today, I finally realize that. Today I woke up as a child, but that chapter has been slammed shut without my consent and all of that is now changing. You cannot remain a child when you have to leave one third of your family in this cold, dead environment, knowing that you will never see him again.  You cannot remain a child once you have experienced this kind of loss. 

How do you go back to the house that is filled with him – with his warmth and his laughter, with his hamper full of just worn clothes and his pillow that still smelling like him? What do you do with his cologne on the bathroom counter, the one’s he let you pick out because you were his little girl and he always wanted your opinion? How do you look at his handwriting all over notes that he has left to you and left to himself? Notes that were once reminders and are now some of the only reminders left.

How does one do this at the age of 19?


For starters she puts her mother back in the car and drives her back home to the house. She puts one foot in front of the other and picks up the one remaining needle on the living room floor. She stops to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation and to cry at the devastation. She gives hugs and gets angry. She protects her memories as she falls off to sleep each night. She sees family and sees friends. Eventually she goes back to work. She hits the gym and she cooks dinner. She takes long, hot showers at the end of productive days.

But twelve years later, she still wakes up and can’t believe that he is gone.

August 18, 2010

Ask And You Shall Receive

Wasn't I just bitching that I wanted some inspirational resources about improving my writing?  I opened my Reader this morning and found this:  60 Tips to Improve Your Non Fiction Writing

I've been dying to get back to doing some yoga and today's Deal Ticket and Living Social Deal were both Yoga-centric.  (Though neither really worked out for me, I thought it was kind of a coincidence!)

Lately I've been trying to sell Garrett on the idea of getting bikes.  Not fancy bikes, just fun bikes -- we LOVE riding bikes yet we don't actually own bikes and I just think that's ridiculous, hence my prodding.  Today, I got an email from my old roommate that she is sending her old mountain bike up with her brother who is coming into town and he's going to drop it off at my house!  Hooray for giving away stuff you aren't using!  

Wanna join our bike gang?  We are pretty fierce?
(This picture is actually a picture from a biking wine tour with friends and family in Sonoma and while I'm doing some asking I'd just like to say right now, Universe, that I'd like another one of those, ok?)

I've been having a bit of wanderlust but bemoaning the fact that everything costs SO! MUCH! MONEY! but it turns out I have to do a bit of traveling for work and Garrett and I may turn that into a long weekend in Yosemite.  Also we are trying to plan sometime to go see his parents who live in New Mexico and all of a sudden it hit me -- Southwest Roadtrip, maybe?  A car rental, overnights with friends, and some downtime with parentals sound like a pretty affordable getaway, no?  Plus I keep forgetting that I am going to Chicago in November!  Well, not really forgetting, but now that it's getting closer it just seems so exciting!  Wanderlust, I will tame you.   

It feels so nice when things in life just align, you know?  Just wanted to take a minute to document my gratitude!

And of course brainstorm for some badass things to ask for -- what do you wish the Universe would drop in your lap?

August 16, 2010

Monday Musings

*I got up this morning and tried on a pair of jeans that used to be snug.  They fit!  And their pockets contained money, coffee coupons, and lip gloss.  HELLO, Best! Monday! Ever!

*I'm reading like a maniac right now and pretty much want to kiss my library on the mouth.  Granted, Elizabeth is laughing at my when I say that I'm sure, but for me -- Maniacal Reading!   Have you read anything life changing lately?  What's on your list to-read?  I must continue to obsessively add to my HOLD list at the library -- help a girl out! 

*While my reading is getting better, my writing is actually getting worse.  Lately I feel like my writing has gotten super lazy.  I actually felt embarrassed reading this article because it made me feel like a walking "DON'T" straight out of the pages of Glamour magazine...but you know, for writers.   I need to fix that.  Maybe a book?  Or writing workshop?  Any advice/ideas are welcome.  What do you do to get out of a writing rut?  I need to do something about it. 

*Um, this post is not it.   :) 

*Speaking of Glamour, I hate that magazine and it still comes to my house every month as a sad publisher replacement for my Domino subscription and I HATE HATE HATE IT AND WHEN WILL IT END??? It immediately goes into the recycling bin every time I get it.   

*I have spent the last two weeks not eating sugar, flour, wheat, dairy and at the risk of sounding cliche (here come those lazy writing skills again) it has TOTALLY CHANGED MY LIFE.  And also, I lost 12 pounds!  Unintentionally.  I didn't give up all those things for weight loss, that was just a happy side effect.   I can't even wrap my brain around all of it so I'm going to put it down on paper over at Bodies in Motivation this week.  In case you missed my most recent post (that is totally not about the last 2 crazy weeks) head over and check it out and answer my question, would ya?

*I went back to the gym this weekend after a pretty long hiatus (I've been struggling with some Plantar Fasciitis pain in my left foot and taking it easy) and sweet baby jesus my whole body is so sore it is ridiculous.  I hate this feeling.  Wearing a bra hurts.  Not putting on the bra, though that hurts too, but actually wearing it, doing nothing, just sitting -- HURTS.  It hurts to sit, it hurts to stand, it hurts to go from sitting to standing and I'm pretty sure everyone around me is sick of the 48 chorus I've been repeating of "OHMYGOD - ow!"  It's a pretty pathetic sight, actually.  I'm thinking maybe this will force me back into Hot Yoga for some serious streeeeeetching.  A new studio opened up right by my house and I kind of want to check it out.  We'll see....

What's new with you, peeps?

August 12, 2010

August Goals

This is one of those times when having a blog makes me feel a little bit self conscious.  Because life right now?  Is kind of a snore.  But it is a delicious snore, I promise, and it is very much by design. 

You see July was a huge month for me.  I got back on the list making bandwagon set out to acheive a million things, and ended up doing quite a few.  While I was making that list last month I sort of forgot that there would be other things going on besides just Getting Stuff Done.  I do that sometimes, some call it having unrealistic expectations, I call it hoping for the best!  But there were definitely other things going on:  things like happy hours, wine nights, birthday parties, baby showers, time with family, small dinners at home --  Wonderful things!  But still things, you know?  Things that take time.  And energy.

And also while I was making that list last month I sort of forgot this one thing about myself, and it is the thing that I am perpetually forgetting when someone mentions cocktails, or a night out, or a party, or a new restaurant that we should try, or a weekend trip, or a good show at one of my favorite bars -- I Love To Be Alone.  I am a pretty outgoing person, I'm very much on the go by choice, so much so that I have to sometimes have to remind Garrett that I like being alone and he just gives me that raised eyebrow look that says you can't bullshit a bullshitter.  But it's true.  I love it.  I absolutely love being alone.

And sometimes I feel like I should whisper that.  Like it's a character flaw.

But the truth is, carving out alone time for myself has become harder and harder over the past few years.  I've met wonderful people, I've managed to find a partner who makes me swoon, I've moved in with him, my family is all finally all relatively close together -- there is so much abundance!  But sometimes amidst all that abundance I forget to carve out the time for my own recharging.  It's this fatal flaw that I have and I want to be better about it.  This week I have done a few things in pursuit of that recharge.  

The other night when Garrett was working late I had a 4 hour stretch of luxurious time to myself.  I beer-braised a chicken, roasted some vegetables, I organized my kitchen,  wrote in my journal, I did some laundry, I blasted the stereo, I made a pillow fort on my couch and watched Friday Night Lights.  I spent a good chunk of time just being, not trying to do something, produce something, read something on the internet, respond to something, email someone, call someone -- none of it.  I just did exactly what I felt like.  I collapsed into my bed later that night refreshed and ready to take on the week.

Yesterday I took the day off of work for absolutely no reason.  A Mental Health Day, I told my boss -- and that's just what it was.  I slept in.  Ate a leisurely breakfast.  Opened all the windows and doors in my house and drank coffee with a Delta Breeze blowing through the house that felt way more autumn than summer. I went to Target.  I went to the library.  I napped.  I read.  I didn't take the day off for any particular reason exept to do exactly what I felt like when I felt like it. 

And although these things were necessary and rejuvinating and decadent -- I fully acknowledge that they aren't super blog-worthy.  I didn't spend the last week at a conference, meeting people I felt like I already knew.  I wasn't having life changing experiences over fancy meals or breathtaking views.  I wasn't taking a trip, I wasn't crossing things off my Life List.  I wasn't taking gorgeous photographs of even more gorgeous writers.   I was just here.  Being myself.  Being quiet.  Honoring a part of me that doesn't get to the front of the line that often.  And honestly it was as rejuvenating as if I had been on the trip of a lifetime.  With less unpacking!  And I want more of that feeling.  And I think this August, I'm going to make that happen.  

August 04, 2010

July: Revisited

So I probably should have posted this, you know, on the first of the month but I like to think my lagging is more of a representation on how I'm going to treat August -- and that is being lazy.  It's last month of summer, and since the weather has been so fantastic (I can't even believe I am saying that) I want to enjoy that. Sure I will have goals (which I will probably post, you know, sometime) but I am definitely going to do a little more relaxing because man July was a busy one! Along with a 30th birthday extravaganza in Chico, a baby shower here in town, and a number of extra curricular work related things, I also managed to put a few other things on my list. 

Here were my intentions for July, and in blue how I actually measured up:

Health and Wellness

*Make Appointment with Naturopathic Doctor - Done! And I actually went to that appointment and it was awesome. I'll have to tell you about it.
*Make Appointment with Dermatologist to get skin checked - Done! Though I have a follow up appointment (eek!) because there were some "irregularities." That word sucks.
*Workout 15 times - I did not do this. And, um, let's just leave it at that for now :)
*Get Haircut - I also did not do this. I don't know what my mental block is with stupid haircuts, it takes me forever to make an appointment!
*Get Pedicure (Trust me, this counts as Wellness! haha) Oh HELL YES, and my "A Good Mandarin is Hard to Find" toenails thank me for it.


*Plan a Date Night Outing with Garrett - We sort of did this.  Actually, I have a whole post brewing in my head about how I feel about "date night" and those expectations.   
*Cook Dinner for Family or Friends at least twice - Yes!  I cooked a Surf and Turf extravaganza for my mom's birthday, and I did some cooking for Garrett and his uncles one weekend, and my mom and I had a girls weekend where we made some fun dinners.  Good cooking all around, this month. 
*Think of a thoughtful, creative present for my Mom's Birthday - I think I did that, you should ask my mom.  :)
*Have a Girls Night Out! - Well my official Girls Night Out was postponed, but my mom and I did have a girls weekend, so I think that counts!

Cooking and Baking

*Make Jam - Done!  And it was awful, or I totally would have blogged it.  I tried my hand at Nectarine Raspberry Freezer Jam, and although it was okay, I can officially say I hate Freezer Jam. 
*Meal Plan for the next 4 weeks - Done. 

Intellectual Pursuits

*Read and Review 4 books (on the blog or Goodreads) - Done! Are you on Goodreads?  Why are we not friends?
*Submit one piece of writing to a website that is not your own - Hey, did you hear?  I'm writing for Bodies In Motivation now.   

I postponed all of this until August

*Finish Coursework for 2nd Exam of Insurance Designation
*Schedule 2nd Exam
*Purchase Materials for 3rd Exam


*Paint Guest Bedroom - Nope.
*Clean Out Closet - Yep.
*Do a Goodwill Run  - Yep.
*Narrow Down Options for Landscape Contractors - Yep. 

Money and Budget

*Try (really I mean it, honestly, try) to keep grocery budget under $400 - Uh, to be revisited.  But mostly No, I did not keep our grocery budget under $400. 
*Revise Our Monthly Budget  - Also to be revisited another time

I have to say I feel pretty good overall.  I may have set my expectations pretty high as far as things to accomplish, but that definitely motivated me.  August is going to include a little more relaxing, but still a number of new and exciting things.  I'm looking forward to it!


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