Archive for June, 2011

29 and Counting

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

If you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook you probably know that today is my birthday, my 29th to be exact. This birthday is a common one for my family, my mom’s been celebrating her 29th for the past 27 years.

I never understood her aversion to getting older.

I always wanted to be older. I’m sure it comes from the fact that growing up every other phrase I heard was, “You’re too young to do that” or “Wait, till you’re older.” It sucked. I wanted to run, play and get in trouble with the big kids, but I was always too young. So, I made my own trouble… which I guess looking back was just as fun. ;)

Age is something that I hate discussing. I’ve been told I come across older than I am, which again, never bothered me. What bothers me is when people find out my age and then judge me. One minute I’m funny and intelligent and the next I’m naive and flighty. The absolute worse is when it happens in person. People may be able to control their voice and hide most of the expression of surprise, but their eyes give them away.

I usually just smile and start saying “like” in like every other sentence, or like, even every other word just to make them, like, more comfortable with their assessment or whatever. ;)

I’ve always had friends that are older than me, whether it’s by one or two years or by ten or twenty years. If you make me laugh, make me think, if you listen to me and don’t judge me, we’ll get along fine. I don’t care what year you were born just as much as I don’t care what color hair you have… or even if you have any left. :)

We’re all unique, we’ve all had different experiences that make us who we are. If you’re my friend I want to know those tidbits about you. Share your stories with me, tell me what it was like to grow up when and where you did. It’s one of the reasons why I have this blog. I want you to know about me, where I come from, so you can better understand what I write.

Want to hear some tidbits about me?

The majority of pictures of me growing up I have my mouth open… shocking, right? My parents joked that my 3 older brothers always wanted to hold me, play with me, coddle me. Then I learned to talk and they couldn’t get away fast enough. :)

Well, even before I could "talk" I was talkative ;)

 

I had the curliest hair growing up. Want proof?

 

It's a blurry, but you get the picture... Ha! Get it? I made a joke ;)

 

My family is a major part of my life. We haven’t always gotten along and there are still some problems that continue to upset me, but they’re my family. That won’t change no matter where they live, what they do or how they live. But that doesn’t mean I can’t sneak in a little revenge for all those brotherly pranks growing up and the times my parents wouldn’t let me do something I wanted to. :)

 

Ahh, 1982 was a good year for fashion

 

So, there you are, a couple of pictures and some facts about yours truly. I hope you enjoyed them.

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. When I blow out my 29 candles tonight my wish will be that my friends and family not only find what makes them happy, but that they have the courage, strength, spirit and speed to catch it and make it theirs. Happy Thursday, friends. Make it a good one!

Karen: 1 day old

Karen: 10,592 days old ;)

My Father’s Daughter

Friday, June 17th, 2011

This post was originally posted on the blog Have Coffee… Will Write that I shared with Susan Borath. With Father’s Day this weekend and us packing for a week in Avon, North Carolina I thought I’d cheat and just repost. Please forgive me!! I’ll be back next week with an new post :)

I am my father’s daughter… oh, look! A shiny paperclip!

That about says it all doesn’t it? Ok, not really, but its a good way to start a post about a girl who could never settle on anything. When kids were picking majors and planning their futures I was nervously flittering around hoping no one would stop me and ask me to pin down my future. However, in my defense, most of the kids that had “planned” out their future changed their majors six times in college, but that’s not the point.

The point is that for a long time I really wasn’t passionate about anything.

I was an average kid, got average grades, did average things. My friends on the other hand were the complete opposite. They were all in honors courses or in the gifted programs while I was happy pulling B’s in the college prep courses. I wish I could say that I could have done better if I just applied myself, but sadly, no. I did apply myself; I am just a ‘B’ kinda girl.

I excelled in one area, though, the stage. On the outside I declared myself as a theatre major, but I think deep down I knew nothing would come of it. Not that it wouldn’t if I didn’t “apply” myself, but because I wouldn’t pursue it. See, even then, when I thought my world was the stage just waiting for me to step onto it, I knew that acting wasn’t in my future. Not as a paycheck, anyways.

Before I sat down to write my NaNo novel I thought about all the things I’ve been through in my life; all the lessons I’ve learned, the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met. Then I cried because I felt pathetic.

Other than a few states along the Eastern seaboard I really haven’t travelled. I grew up in a small town, went to a private college where I commuted from home for most of it, married my high school sweetheart, moved a block and half away from my parents and am a stay at home mom. Not the exciting life a globe trotter or thrill seeker.

Fortunately for me, I am my father’s daughter.

My dad never went to college. He did a stint in the Air Force and travelled to some cool places, when he got out he worked as a sewing machine repair man.  After 30 years of loyalty his company laid him off without a pension forcing him to find work in local warehouses for various companies. He is currently working for Walgreen’s.

My father is not a doctor, or a lawyer or a person with PhD after his name. However, he is one of the smartest men I know. His knowledge on the most random of topics is astounding. I like to say that he knows a little bit of everything because its the truth.

After I mopped up my tears and wiped my nose on my sleeve (don’t ‘ew’ me, you know you do it sometimes) I sat back and really looked at my past experiences. Sure, I never really focused on an area of academia. It’s true that I used to be jealous of those around me that knew what they wanted to study, what they wanted to be when they got older. But what I didn’t realize that in my own way I was setting up my own future.

I love learning. I love learning about everything and anything I can get my hands on. If I find someone who is passionate about something I pull up a chair, open my mind and ask a million questions; or I shut my mouth, become a sponge and just absorb it all.

Over time I started to hear my father’s voice in my head asking the same questions. I realized that I’m following my father’s footsteps. I always looked at my inability to focus on something was a downfall; I’ve learned it’s one of my greatest assets.

We always joke that my dad could talk to a brick wall and get information out if it. He is the quintessential “people person.” My dad can get people to open up to him, share their stories, even if he just met the person. The amazing thing is, he’s truly interested.

He taught me that I don’t need to get on a plane to learn about distant lands or cultures. There’s a wealth of information at my fingertips through the internet, tv and even with the people around me. Through him I realized that the learning experience doesn’t end in the classroom. He reminds me that there is a great big world out there and its up to me to discover it, even it is through the Discovery or Travel Channels.

I’m glad that I was indecisive. It gave me room to explore everything not just something.

And if we ever play Trivia Pursuit, I call my dad as my partner. (Go ahead, you know you want to say it… No? I’ll say it for you… “Awwwwww.”)

Do you have an area of expertise? Did you always know what you wanted to do with your life? Was there someone in your life that inspired you to open your mind to new discoveries? Can you talk to inanimate objects?

 

Seeing The World Through Pink Glasses

Friday, June 10th, 2011

*Note:  The following post contains my raw thoughts and emotions about a very sensitive subject matter. My intention is not to upset anyone who has gone through this, is currently going through something like this or knows someone that has, but to share a side of me that most would not see.

Did I ever tell you that I hate the color pink? I think I really started to despise the color in the 8th grade. The formal was coming up and I picked out, what I thought, was a gorgeous silk pink dress. When I wore it I felt sophisticated, classy, all things that a 13 year old with frizzy hair, thick glasses and braces did not feel like on a daily basis. I felt so beautiful in the dress, until a friend came up to me while I was talking with a bunch of kids and decided to lecture me on why red-heads should not wear the color. It would be years again until I wore the color again.

But even before that little embarrassment I didn’t really care for the color. While girls would pick shades of pink to color with, I would lean towards purple when needing to pick a girly color. Much later, when I found out that I was having girls, I made it known to friends and family that I would prefer anything but a closet full of pink. Unfortunately for me, I could only hold that true for the first year or so of Lily’s life, then she discovered the Disney princesses and Barbies. I now start to twitch if I stay in our front room, which doubles as their play room, for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Why do I bring this up? Well, yesterday my hatred for the color pink was pushed over the edge.

Sitting in the specialist’s office with little pink ribbons littering the walls I just wanted to throw up. I wanted to hop off the table and start picking off the ribbons with reckless abandon, but the nurses came in before I had the chance. They were cheerful, courteous, friendly and compassionate. I wanted to bash their fucking heads together and stuff the pale pink paper ribbons down their throats.

I kept thinking, I’m 28 I shouldn’t be here. I tried telling myself that I was here for just an ultrasound but it did nothing to make me feel better. I thought my dog just died, Eric is in San Francisco and I’m in the breast cancer specialist’s office by myself. As I sat on the paper clad table I shook my head at the fact that it was just the day before when I sat in my gynecologist’s office for my yearly and casually mentioned what I thought was a non-issue, thanks, in part, to my internet research.

I almost regretted saying “Hey, I got a question….” to my doctor because it led to “Hm, I’m sure it’s nothing, but let’s check it out.” Which brought me to sitting on another table about to get accosted by cold fingers… again.

My heart clenched. I thought I have two little girls that need their mommy.

The nurses did their thing and I was sent off for an ultrasound. Which wasn’t too bad; the bed was kinda comfy, the room was dark and the gel was warm. Is it weird to admit that I kinda liked that? :)

After the doctor read ultrasound she ordered a mammogram. I felt as if all the air left the room. My lungs constricted as tears stung my eyes. The nurse took me to the x-ray room and before I knew what was happening my boob was being squished between two plastic plates. The tech praised my flexibility and ability not to complain about the pain. I found myself smiling and reassuring her that I can handle it. I had an odd moment of “WHY THE HELL ARE YOU REASSURING HER?!?!” But that’s me. I’m scared out of my mind, but I need to make sure the tech is ok and comfortable with her job. Nice.

I waited for about 10 minutes after the tests. They took me to a small room; really if it was bigger than a broom closet I would be surprised. It had three chairs with a little table that held a light, that only lit that corner, and a tissue box. Oh, and the table had a little fake flower on it… pink. sigh

The doctor knocked on the door before she walked in with another nurse in tow. They looked solemn and their smiles were kind – I was scared shitless. The doctor sat to my right while the nurse settled into the chair to my left.

“I looked at your ultrasound and mammogram. And you’re fine. They both came back negative.”

I wanted to bitch slap her. Odd reaction, right? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been so relieved in my life, but the ambiance of the room and their demeanor had me figuring where I could go to find matching bandanas for the summer dresses I just bought.

I’m not out of the woods yet, due to my age and this abnormality I have a surgical consult next Tuesday, but really, it’s not cancer or anything serious so I am on cloud nine! I understand their want for me to be checked out by another professional and when it comes to my health, I’m a-okay with that.

(And just a side note: The doctors, nurses and techs at this hospital were first rate. Even though I was scared and wanted to inflict bodily harm as a way of dealing with fear, I did feel safe with them, cared for. They are truly special people to deal with this subject every day and I admire their strength and compassion.)

I don’t need to tell you what a scary and hellish experience this was. I lost an aunt to breast cancer several years ago and I know first-hand the heartache it causes. But, I learned a lot from these past two days.

Life is short, friends. Surround yourself with people that make you happy, that support you and pick you up when you’re down. But, don’t forget to be that person in return. Go out and enjoy life, you only get one turn on this roller coaster. (Unless you believe in reincarnation, then I guess you can pick a different ride. ;) )

There are some things you can’t control, accept that and focus on the ones that you can. Make things happen for yourself, strive to be the best, don’t dwell on your shortcomings (we all have them) but accept them as a part of who you are.

And, remember, that each day you wake up, is a good day. It’s better than not waking, right?

Now, get off the computer and go out and enjoy your life :)

Me and my girls this past Easter

 

My Chrissie Girl

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

It was Christmas Eve 2005, Eric and I were only married for two months; we didn’t have much money and we were still wrapping our minds around being married, owning a house and having to shovel our own walkways.

I woke up to an empty spot beside me and smiled. A couple of years before we were married, Eric started bringing me fake cappuccino from WaWa on Christmas Eve because he knew I liked it. (We joke that it’s ‘fake’ because, um, it is, and that was before I discovered the holy power of actual coffee.)  So, when I woke to that empty spot I assumed that’s where he went. Smiling to myself I skipped downstairs thinking how lucky I was to marry such a wonderful man.

Two hours later I was pissed. Where the hell was he? Our first Christmas Eve in married freaking bliss and he’s no where to be found. And where the hell was my fake cappuccino? I heard the front door open and I stalked to the front hallway, a lecture brewing in my mind destined to bring him to his knees while making his ears bleed.

He stood in the front hallway with a goofy grin on his face. Before I could even take a breath to support my rant a little furry foot fell out from under his jacket. All conscious thought left me and I was left squealing like a little girl rambling off high-pitched nonsense. “Oh my God! A puuuuuuuuuupppyyyyyyyy!”

Eric revealed a small, shaking Shetland Sheepdog. One look into her tiny little face, with her ears bent forward and I was gone.

Chrissie Christmas Eve 2005

I mean, look at that picture, how could you not fall in love? I named her Chrissie since she was a Christmas Eve gift, creative, right?

Eric did his research into the breed, but being the type of person I am I needed to find out everything I could about Shelties. I found out that although Shelties are mostly known as sweet natured, most are timid around strangers and can sometimes be high-strung. Keeping this in mind I kept the house quiet and nurtured my little furry friend as well as I could.

But Chrissie had her own opinions what her breed should be like. She broke every rule in the Sheltie handbook. Instead of being afraid of strangers she’d run up to them and beg to be petted. We would joke that she would invite a robber in and show them where we hid everything for just one pat on the head.

Chrissie

Chrissie kept us on our toes that first year. We got her Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day we had to take her to the hospital. She was very lethargic and not eating, turned out she had pneumonia. Luckily, her recovery was swift and in about a week we were busy chasing a very active, pooping and eating machine.  When she was about six months old  I came home during my lunch break to find out that she had taken a liking to DVDs, and I don’t mean watching them.

One day I came home to find a movie out from the cabinet, with the DVD laying next to the open case. Chuckling, and a bit amazed that this little puppy was capable of doing such a thing, I put the DVD back in its case and away in the cabinet. The next day I came home for lunch and the same DVD is laying out of its case. Next to it is a second DVD case, open, no DVD. Thinking she carried it off somewhere I started to look for it, until I noticed that the first DVD… was half eaten. To this day, that second DVD has not been found, we think she ate it.

That same week, I came home from lunch to find my cute little cuddly puppy with an orange face. The damn dog got into a 2pd container of cheeseballs and ate ALL of it except for a handfull. She sat there with orange fur and had the nerve to look at me, then the container and back to me with a face that obviously read “…but I saved you some!”

Ah, good times. :)

So, why this random post about a dog? Well, friends, Chrissie hasn’t been her usual, bouncy, energetic self lately. This past Monday we noticed that her throat was severely swollen making it difficult her her to eat, breath and bark. (Honestly, we were ok with that last one.)

Thinking it was an allergic reaction of some sort we gave her Benadryl. The swelling decreased to a point, but not all the way. On Wednesday I went to pick her up and found lump after lump on her body. The next stop was the vet. We ruled out infection which leaves us leaning towards cancer. There is still a chance that it’s not and I’m trying not to give up hope, but I admit, it’s difficult.

I was never one to be gushy over dogs. They’re dogs. I had one growing up, I was devastated when he died, but he was a dog. Chrissie tore down that wall for me. She became a part of the family and rightfully so. I don’t know what the next few days will hold; truthfully, I don’t know what the next few hours will hold. But she’s here now and that’s all that matters.

Chrissie, in the front, and our other Sheltie, Roxie

Note: This post was published Friday, June 3rd. Saturday, June 4th we put our dear Chrissie girl to sleep. She was in too much pain and the prognosis was not good. If we had money to spare the treatment would have been extensive and expensive. As it turns out we do not have money and we didn’t want to see our once vibrant dog waste away to nothing. Rest in Peace Chrissie :)