Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post Xmas wrapup

I'm so bad at blogging for the same reason that I'm horrible at taking pictures during interesting things - I'm too busy DOING the interesting things. Okay, maybe things aren't always interesting, but they are almost always busy.

At the beginning of November Sprocket helped me put away the Halloween decorations and get out the winter things:




That was pretty exhausting so he got a pillow and a blanket and took a little nap. He thinks he's a person:



Then Corey and I did what we do each year to get into the holiday spirit. We put together our Operation Christmas Child boxes. I love this charity so much and we have a lot of fun putting boxes together thinking of the children who will be getting a Christmas present thanks to this wonderful organization.




This was also exhausting for my boys, so they cuddled up and took another nap. I am in love with this picture because a) it's the cutest thing this side of a baby in footie pajamas, and b) this is the first time I was actually able to sneak up with the camera and snap a shot without waking one or both of my guys up:



We spent Thanksgiving at my parents' house in Pinetop and enjoyed ourselves although we really missed my baby brother's company as he had to work. Unfortunately, I spend most of our time in Pinetop with terrible migraines thanks to the altitude so I don't have many pictures of the Thanksgiving feast itself, but rest assured it was lovely. Sprocket doesn't get much people food, but we have established that while he is a fan of turkey, broccoli elicits a much different response:




Last week my best friend in the world finished up her degree and was commissioned as an officer in the Navy, so I made my way out to San Diego to celebrate with her and attend the presentation. Unfortunately, both of my guys were sick (Corey with the stomach flu, and Sprocket was on a thirst strike until we bought him a cat water fountain) so I had to make the trip solo, but it was wonderful to see her and spend some time with her lovely family.





Once again we spent Christmas with my family in Pinetop (a ritual that I think will be changed next year as my altitude headache reared its ugly head in the worst way), and enjoyed having another white Christmas. Sprocket wasn't quite sure what to think of the snow at first, but after a few tentative bites he declared it both entertaining and delicious and spent quite a bit of time running amok in the back and front yards.



I think that catches you up on most things that have taken place in the last six weeks or so. Of course there have been other amazing, or disappointing, or confusing things, but I'll leave those for another post on another day. Right now I'm just enjoying the post Christmas high and the peace and quiet that can only mean that the puppy is taking another one of his naps on the couch. If only I could find the camera.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christmas traditions...


Just last week (literally) I was basking in the 90+ degree sunlight of my backyard, watching our neighborhood children trek over to the community pool while balancing noodles, inner tubes, snorkel gear and water wings precariously over their heads, and sprinting on tip-toe out to the mailbox because the driveway was hotter than my broiler.

This morning I sipped my hot white tea while wrapped up in a thick blanket, waiting for the heater to come on.

Only one conclusion can be derived from this sequence of events: Fall this year in Phoenix was a full 48 hours long and it is now Winter.

I hate the cold, but it's impossible to hate everything that Winter brings with it: pumpkin carving, turkey roasting, hot chocolate whisking, tree shopping, present wrapping glory. The only problem with the holidays in the valley is that we don't have autumn to help us ease our way into it. So now, before I could see it coming, plans need to be made.

For those of you who aren't readers of this blog, or who we don't talk to often (how unfortunate, we keep meaning to call), Corey and I have made it a tradition to adopt a family for Christmas. While we have made it a goal to be more thankful all year long for the rich blessings we have in our lives, Christmas is a time where we have found it particularly rewarding to wrap all of those thankful feelings up into a big gift and bless a less fortunate family. Especially with the current (and seemingly never ending) economic climate, one would think this would be an easy task. Unfortunately, it's not.

So, I am enlisting all the help I can get.

We are looking for a family in need of a little help this Christmas. It could be help buying some presents for their children so they have something under the tree, or it could be a load of firewood and a Christmas dinner. We aren't particular about the nature of the need, but we do have one large stipulation, which is where we went wrong last year.

The family must be in need. Not 'in want'. We are not looking for someone who is brokenhearted that they can't buy their kids the largest plasma TV for the playroom. We aren't looking for a family who will sneer at a Guess coat because they were holding out for a Prada one. And, we also aren't looking for a family that can't afford Christmas presents because they spend their entire paycheck on cigarettes, alcohol, and eating out.

I don't mean to sound snotty about it, but I am well aware that there are thousands of families just getting by for a multitude of legitimate reasons, and I have no interest in ignoring their needs so I can pay the electric bill of a lazy drug-addict who signed up for public assistance so he won't have to work.

Also, we simply can't afford to buy a family of six every new video game system just so they can keep up with their friends.

So, if you know anyone who is deserving of some help this Christmas please let us know. It can be as face-to-face or anonymous as the family is comfortable with, we just really want to help someone who needs it.

Thanks!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bad Blogger!


It's true - I'm a very bad blogger. It's not due to lack of conviction on my part, as I have sat down with the laptop approximately twenty times since my last post, but I just never manage to hit the "Publish" button.

There has not been much excitement in our little corner of the world, and a major part of that is Corey having been in Texas all month completing his instructor training for the new position. It's not the first time the Air Force has separated us, and God knows it won't be the last, but to say that I'm counting down the minutes until his return would be an understatement.

In the meantime, Sprocket and I have been at home trying to find some sort of routine in the chaos that is a puppy's first few months of life. So far, we've come to a stand-off in the area of sleeping habits as he would prefer to only sleep a few hours at night and then lounge around all day taking naps as he pleases. As this doesn't quite work for my schedule I have been a walking zombie, at least until noon, and not as much gets done as I would like. These are the days that I miss coffee. A lot.

He is growing quite well though, and once we got his sicknesses under control he has put on enough weight to make him a happy 24 pound, four month old lab. He is quite obviously mixed with a breed that has a less substantial bone structure than normal black labs, and we don't expect him to get anywhere near the 60-75 pounds that most full grown adults get to, but we would be foolish to think he would be a good guard dog at any weight. Sprocket has never met a person he didn't want to paw, lick, and nibble to death - regardless of the location, time of day/night, or just the fact that they look frightening.

I have some rather unfortunate medical tests and problems to deal with in the coming months, and it will be nice to get Corey home and establish a little order to our tumultuous world (as least as well as we can). Nothing life-threatening, but definitely emotionally draining, and I am very thankful for the thoughts and prayers of my family and friends in-the-know (and of course those who just send general good tidings our way).

As we get more resolution and perhaps some answers I will post more about the situation, but until then I am doing my best to find comfort in the blessings I DO have. It's sad and amazing to me how much we (and especially me) overlook the things we are gifted with while focusing on the things we can't and don't have. It's a daily struggle for me to remain on the positive side of the fence (perhaps Maleficent gifted me with pessimism) but I do appreciate the warmth that comes with good friends and family.

I hope that going into the holiday season this year all of us receive not only the gifts that we are asking for, but also the ones we need.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day of the Monkey


I post this with full knowledge that it may be a case of a proud parent thinking their child or pet is the cutest, smartest and best looking ball of adorableness on the planet when in reality it more resembles a clumsy ape than the Gerber baby. However, I am going to proceed with complete belief that Sprocket is the most precious puppy in the history of the world.

With a bladder the size of a walnut, Sprocket must be taken out every few hours to relieve himself and keep me from scrubbing pee out of the carpets. This works just fine during the day, but at night it is rough because my little puppy experiences an out of body experience when woken up from a deep sleep. In a zombie haze it takes him approximately five minutes to recognize a) that he is, in fact, a dog, and b) who we are and why we are waking him up and dragging him outside. He walks around in a daze, stumbling like a drunkard and running into walls on the way from his kennel to the sliding glass door. Sometimes I can scoop him up, carry him outside, and place him in the grass, and sometimes he seems intent to do it on his own.

This morning around five I got up and stirred him enough to wake him up and coax him out of his kennel, and I walked to the living room to open the door for him. Several minutes later he toppled into the dining room, lopsided from dragging something with him and sideswiping several walls on the way due to walking with his eyes closed. Squinting in the darkness I realized he was bringing his good friend Monkey out to go potty with him.

Since he is, by all intents and purposes, housetrained and a strictly indoor dog he knows what he has to do when he goes outside and I can only assume that he figured Monkey had been cooped up all night too and needed relief. He tottered to the door and marched outside, dragging Monkey along with him across the cement, down the stone pathway, and into the damp grass. He gingerly placed Monkey down in the grass, walked a few feet away to do his business, and then stared at Monkey for a few seconds, yawning, as if he was politely giving Monkey space and time. He then glanced at me, waiting for his pat on the head and "Good Boy!" that is part of his positive reinforcement, received it, and scooped Monkey back up and escorted him down the pathway, into the house and into the kennel where they curled up together and went back to sleep.

All of this took about five minutes and I am convinced none of it was conscious on his part.

Other than managing his cuteness, our little guy has had a busy time of it the last few weeks. Since getting him three weeks ago, he has made four trips to the vet, only to learn that he has two internal parasites, Giardia and Coccidia, common to puppies who are raised in, ahem, not so sanitary environments. We don't fault the rescue association from which we acquired him as I think they do the best they can as a non-profit, and as he resided before that at the county animal shelter there is no way of knowing where he picked up the bugs. We think he is on the up-and-up thanks to his medicine although it causes him to vomit so it is hard to tell. He's the first puppy we've seen who doesn't like to eat, so it has been quite a challenge to doctor up his food with gourmet treats to get him to devour it, and between his anorexia and gut bugs he's on the smaller side of the size range for his age and we're busy trying to fatten him up. I feel like the witch in the Hansel and Gretel fable as I squeeze his belly and weigh him on a daily basis trying to gauge whether or not he is putting on the weight, and resist the urge to slather his milk bones in butter. He may have to go stay with his deep fried grandparents in the south for a month or two if we can't get him a little chunkier.

Until then, we're thinking of making him a puppy runway model.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Transition to adulthood...

Of course I know I'm a grown up - I am the ripe old age of 27 after all - but sometimes the degree of grownupness sneaks up on me, and this weekend was one of those times.

- After a week of getting up every two hours to take Sprocket out, what I was most looking foward to on Friday night was not an exciting night out, or even an exciting night in; I was incredibly thrilled about the prospect of getting seven hours of sleep while Corey was on puppy duty.

- After a trip to the doctor yielded some very unwelcome news I wanted nothing more than to go to church on Sunday. Corey and I have been talking about it for a while now, but I think that was the proverbial straw and I needed to feel a little divine-ness and that I'm not really as forsaken as I sometimes imagine I must be.

- We decided on a non-denominational church that we felt was a good balance between the beliefs we were each brought up with, and got up to get dressed as we were both accustomed to. In my dress and heels I stood out like a sore thumb as the dress code for church now is somewhere between golf course casual and car wash classy. Jeans, cutoffs, tank tops, and T-shirts now classify as Sunday best. I was horrified.

- We budget all of our money to the penny so we can put a large amount in savings. This is not optional as I am the budget nazi at home. This week I'm dying to break our rules and make an unauthorized purchase: the new purple animal Dyson ball vacuum. I'm such a rebel.

- I just pulled a live spider out of the puppy's mouth without even cringing. This shocked even me.

- The smell of pot roast on Sunday made the house so inviting! No, I haven't started eating meat, but the smell makes me happy.

- Last but not least, every day I appreciate my mother and all of her parental nonsense more and more. I KNOW I must be getting old when this starts happening!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Meet Sprocket, the wonder dog


We have a new addition to our family to announce, and as you can see from the picture, it's not the kind that incubates for nine months.

This is Sprocket, part lab, part something the rescue organization couldn't identify, and 100% cute little black dog.

Sprocket came into our family by way of his new Daddy's weakness for cute little dogs with big brown eyes last Saturday from the HALO rescue organization. This non-profit rescues animals that are scheduled to be put down at other shelters and adopts them out at local pet store locations. Why our cute little man would be put down is any one's guess, although I am brokenhearted to understand that it is simply because of the overabundance of homeless animals in Maricopa County and the distinct lack of facilities and volunteers to care for them.

Depressed about the call he received from the radiologist identifying his foot as broken, the boy woke up Saturday morning and began moping around the house. Because we had been talking for months about getting a dog, I quietly transferred some money into our checking account and announced that it was time to go shopping for puppy amenities.

A few hours later we arrived home with dozens of bags containing treats, toys, a kennel, puppy food, and cleaning products (for housetraining mistakes) and embarked upon the journey of finding a new member of our family.

When we walked into the Petsmart we were told the adoptions were taking place in the center of the store and we were upset to find that the puppies available were all chihuahuas and other purse dogs. Dejected, we knew that this kind of dog would never fit in with us as we were sure we wanted a tough dog, good for hiking, walking, and wrestling on the living room floor on lazy Sunday afternoons. As we headed for the door to return home, we noticed a few people gathered around the entrance, one of whom was holding a tiny black pup who looked scared to death of the excitement that was going on around him. Before I knew it, the boy had scooped the baby up into his arms, and the puppy had promptly fallen asleep on his forearm. Lucky for us, this was a secondary rescue association and they were also adopting puppies out. Although I was hesitant to pick the smallest, youngest, quietest pup of the group, Corey was already in love with him, so I filled out the paperwork, wrote a check, and took my boys home.

He's now been with us a week and it is hard to remember a time when he wasn't here. Truly a baby at nine weeks old, he is much like an infant as he needs to be watched constantly and tended to every two hours so he doesn't have an accident in the house. Although things haven't been perfect and we've utilized our new carpet cleaner on several occasions, he is doing quite well at the house training and we're on our way to understanding 'sit' and 'shake' so far. He loves bacon treats, milkbones, and drinking water by the gallon and hates baths and mud. He is also quite the little charmer and enjoys the attention wherever we take him.

Labs are supposed to be quite good with kids so we're hoping that Sprocket becomes the bodyguard for our future children as he has already become my constant shadow during the day, following me from the bedroom, to the laundry room, to the kitchen, without making a noise. He adores sleeping on his daddy's lap (or back, or stomach) while they lay on the living room floor watching college football, and has seamlessly worked his way into our hearts, as if he was there all along.

Oh, and he has his daddy wrapped all the way around his little paw. What took me two years took him all of two minutes.

I guess that's just what happens when your husband falls in love with a dog.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Getting older every day...



Last week was the boy's thirtieth birthday. I'll let that sink in a moment.

30!!!

I remember back in the day, while playing with barbie dolls and EZ bake ovens, thinking that surely when I was thirty I would have the whole world figured out. There would be no stress, no complications, no hard decisions. Knowledge is power, and certainly by thirty I would know everything there is to know. Also, I figured that the beginning stages of Alzheimer's and arthritis would be setting in because, damn, thirty is old!!

He didn't seem to feel much older, or to be bothered by the milestone, so we headed up to celebrate with dear friends in Las Vegas.

Brandon and Kim have been good friends of Corey's for years now, and upon meeting them I immediately felt that I'd known them forever as well. I know that I can be a bit standoffish towards new people and I have high standards for friends, but to know these two is to love them so we are sure to have a good time when we see them.

Quietly, I was hoping that we wouldn't need a repeat performance of last year which involved copious amounts of whiskey and beer (on the boy's part, not mine) and sitting at the blackjack tables until dawn, but I was prepared to honor Corey's birthday wishes whatever they involved.

Thankfully, his age must have kicked in somewhere during the last year and we enjoyed the weekend without much debauchery. We played with Chase (the world's cutest baby), went shopping, played (and watched in my case) enough Tiger Wood's golf to qualify for some kind of Playstation tournament, and ate at Hubert Keller's burger restaurant to celebrate. We did hit the tables for a while on Saturday night, and then ventured to seedy Fremont street on our way out of town to play some roulette, but all in all the gambling was a secondary point in the trip.

When we got home to celebrate his actual birthday my parents showed me up by buying the boy a new driver that he'd been lusting after since seeing it featured in last month's golf digest, but he also got a new golf bag, some golf clothes, a sand wedge...notice a theme?

I think he enjoyed himself, and I know that he handled the milestone much better than I will in a few years!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Updates

I don't have anything particularly interesting to post, but I hate the idea of having a blog and letting it sit idle 90% of the time. Most people I know understand that my life (and most others) is a series of monotonous events punctuated by the occasional excitement - so don't begrudge me a boring post now and then.

We are moved into our new place and even though we still have the small annoyance that we're renting, we are in love with it. The owners are considering selling, so there is a small chance we'll purchase it in a year, but if not I will enjoy cooking in my enormous new kitchen for the next 11 1/2 months. It truly is wonderful to have sunlight and space and GRASS, none of which we had at our previous residence. I have also yet to hear and see the ghetto bird circling my backyard with its spotlight beaming, so that is an additional plus.

This is the boy's last week in the job he's been doing for the past nine plus years and I know he's a bit melancholy about it. Ten years ago he was just a small town boy who wanted more out of life and thought it would be cool to work on F-16s. Now he's in the middle of a promising career and will be training the future crew chiefs of the air force and making a difference in their lives just like his instructors did for him. I know he'll be amazing at it and this is just another step to getting where he wants to go in the military, but I am definitely going to miss him for five weeks while he goes to instructor training in Texas!

We are taking baby steps towards finding a real medical diagnosis for what's going on with me, and I'm happy to be going in the right direction. The tests aren't generally fun, but I feel like I have doctors that are listening to me and taking my concerns seriously, which is a welcome relief. It appears that I may well have a systemic pain problem, but these are quite hard to diagnose correctly and I am not intersted in a doctor labeling me just to get me out of his office and medicated, so it is involving quite a lot of research and questions and requests on my part. I'm hoping that if I do in fact have the problem that they think I might, that I am able to be definitively diagnosed by a specialist and we can move on to treatment. What a thought!

If I could think of anything else remotely resembling intersting information I would write it, but this is where the monotonous part comes in. Sometimes the day to day stuff is nice though right? It could always be much worse...

Monday, July 27, 2009

The price of personal integrity


I used to believe in karma. I thought that when you were a good person who made good choices and affected the world in a positive way you would be repaid in kind. Maybe not tit for tat, but certainly that the world or universe or higher power would see your good deeds and pave your way a little.

My mom taught me the golden rule and I bought into the theory. Treat others as you'd want to be treated. Sounds fair, right? If you are nice to people, they will be nice to you back.

But wait, that's not the moral of the story at all, is it? The rule of karma doesn't talk about the payout, we just interject that of our own accord because we think that's what is fair and just.

Unfortunately, the world is not fair and just at all. The world is full of givers and takers at a ratio of 1:10. Takers rarely see their ways from outside themselves and become givers, and givers rarely sell their personal integrity to become takers. So, are we destined upon birth to become one or the other, and sentenced to a life within that role? Because I was brought up to believe that I am blessed and I should help those around me that are less fortunate, does that mean that they are fated to have things I cannot?

I know this all sounds very bitter, and truthfully I feel bitter about it on many occasions. I feel bitter when I see people take advantage of programs that were not designed to help them simply because they feel they deserve material things more than others. I feel bitter when I see the local adoption agencies struggle for funds because they have more unwanted and uncared for children than they can take care of. I feel bitter when I donate extra money to the electric company to help those who can't pay their bills only to hear that the people who can't pay their bills are in that predicament because their air conditioner is set at 65 degrees or their jacuzzi heater is on high.

The problem is that there are also those that are truly in need. There are mothers who cannot feed their children, not because they pay too much for cigarettes and booze, but because they were laid off or left an abusive relationship. There are veterans who are disabled and homeless, who hold signs at freeway entrances hoping to earn a few coins and purchase another gallon of water. There are dogs, ribs sticking through their skin, left chained in backyards to die in the heat because their owners left them when they moved.

They deserve to be takers. And the people that are giving deserve to be able to gift things knowing that they will make it to the hands of these who are truly needy.

The price of my personal integrity is high as of late and as much as I'd like to cut and run at times I fear that I'm a lost cause at this point. We could stop all of our contributions and live an easier life, but would I be able to lay my head down on my pillow and not see the faces of those I could have helped haunting me?

The food at restaurants doesn't taste as good when you know that there are those going hungry in your neighborhood, and a new pair of shoes puts you in excruciating pain when the man on the corner has holes in his soles.

So, it is better to be a taker? Is ignorance truly bliss? If you don't see that beggar at all does his plight weigh heavy on your mind?

I struggle with this daily as we decide how we are going to raise our children. Do we set the price of their personal integrity so high that they will wish they had been raised to be takers? Will my children resent that they don't have some of the same things that their friends have simply because we believe in giving and saving?

And, can givers even raise takers? When I look at the people I know they are definitely products of their upbringing and often turn out exactly as their parents are. So, do I sentence my children to a life of being caring and contributing, but also being confused as to why their friends are carefree with their ignorance and government checks?

How do you raise children that are both conscionable and happy, as it sometimes seems that these traits are mutually exclusive?

Moliere, one of my favorite writers of all time said, "Every good act is charity. A man's true wealth hereafter is the good that he does in this world to his fellows."

I hope he was right.

Monday, July 13, 2009

There's good news and there's bad news...

It's finally official and I can announce our good news to the world: Corey got the job he interviewed for and he will now be an instructor for the Air Force which comes with a 4-5 year committment to keep us stationed at Luke!

I'm not a HUGE fan of Phoenix, but it is nice to have peace of mind that we won't be transferred to somewhere random, Corey won't be deployed to the desert, and we won't be separated for a long period of time (other than his training course of six weeks which is coming up soon). Corey is also excited that my family will be close when we start a family as he thinks I'll be a neurotic mom.

The only downside to this announcement is that it came ONE day after we signed a lease to rent another home close to base. We love the house and will enjoy living in it, but had we known that we would be here for at least a few years we would have been looking at buying a house instead of renting again.

I know that it's probably not that prohibitive as it's going to take us a LOOONG time to choose a house to buy (we're very picky) and we wouldn't have wanted to stay in our current house much longer, but I hate the idea of living in someone else's house when we don't have to.

In less exciting news, I have a new doctor and I'm hoping that he will be able to help me treat whatever is going on with me. Unfortunately, I've spent the last two years suffering from various areas of pretty intense pain and at some point I have to wonder whether it's more than bad luck and something more systematic. I'm not "that girl" that's always sick, and I live a pretty healthy life, so the fact that I'm always in pain is pretty upsetting. I'd really like to have my life back, so if you could send me some good vibes I would appreciate it!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

...make lemonade.


We all know what you're supposed to do when life gives you lemons, but what do you do if you ARE a lemon? Or, as Corey asked me yesterday, "Are you sure your parents aren't first cousins?"

While I am quite certain that my parents are not blood relations, I do believe my mom must have imbibed some wonky cough syrup a few too many time while incubating me 27 years ago.

The inflammation in my pericardial sac has been quite stubborn, so I went for a follow up to my cardiologist to see what our next course of action is. He scheduled an echo cardiogram to get a view of my heart without ripping me open and found something rather interesting. I suffer from a congenital heart defect known as Patent Foramen Ovale, or more commonly referred to as a hole in my heart. As much as 20% of us are born with a membrane not yet closed in our hearts, but in most people it heals when we are very small - either naturally or due to medication or surgery. Unfortunately, mine did not.

The leak in my heart is small, and he is confident that not only does it have nothing to do with my current inflammation, but also that nothing needs to immediately be done about it.

Later in life if I develop problems like arrhythmia or palpitations, they will surgically repair it. It does put me at higher risk for stroke and causes migraines (which I suffer from) so I can elect to have the surgery now, but I think we will handle things one at a time.

In other (and much more exciting) news the boy is being promoted! For those of you that aren't familiar, the military world doesn't work the way the civilian world does as far as promotions go. There is a massive points system in place that decides who gets promoted and when, and it is based on a number of things - the largest percentage of points being assigned to a test that rivals the SATs. Last year he missed being promoted by a heartbreaking 3 points, but this year we celebrated at 6 in the morning when we found his name on the list for Tech Sargeant! Unfortunately since he is pretty young for this position, he will be one of the later people promoted (somewhere between 8-10 months from now), but it will make a huge difference in his day to day duties and we couldn't be more excited. We may also soon have another exciting Air Force announcement to make, but will wait until it is made official.

This weekend we will make our traditional 4th of July trek up the mountain to see the fireworks with my parents, and I am excited to have 4 full days to hang out with my husband rather than our normal rushed weekend.

We hope everyone else has a great long weekend and stays safe too!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The day the third baseman broke my heart


In psychology they teach you that your world view is cemented by the age of six. In my case, my professional sports view was also in place by an early age. I’ve been a Dallas Cowboys fan for as long as I can remember, and a Braves fan for almost as long as that.

It was hard not to be a Braves fan as a pre-teen girl when you saw David Justice come up to bat. The proverbial bad boy, there was an edge to him (you don’t have to tell that to Halle Barry) that made him seem dark, mysterious, and dreamy. Winning homeruns in the 1995 Championship and all over the news at the same time for his drama off the field made him seem as Danny Zucco-ish as could be. At the same time there was his counterpoint; the good boy to his bad: Chipper Jones. I always liked Chipper Jones when I was a kid, not because he was so cute (although he was) but because he was solid. A great baseball player, a charity volunteer, always smiling with his, “Awww, schucks, I’m just a small town boy” smile.

The days of David Justice passed, but I’m nothing if not loyal so I remained with the Braves through thick and thin. Like the Cowboys, we had some good years together in the 90’s, and Chipper came back year after year as one of the most consistently great baseball players in the league. Even though it wasn’t love at first sight, he grew on me and eventually became my all-time favorite baseball player who could do no wrong. Until last Sunday.

Feeling a little better, I dared to venture out when my Dad called and said he’d managed to snag some amazing tickets to the Diamondbacks/Braves game due to his fantastic marketing contacts. We try to at least make the Braves game every year and I knew I would be furious with myself if I missed it to lie in bed. Had I known what he meant by amazing tickets I would have gone even if I was having a heart attack.

The dugout box. It’s a suite attached to the dugout at field level. It means that I was sitting ten feet away from Chipper Jones, Bobby Cox, and every other member of my favorite franchise. It means that I reached out in front of me and felt the red clay, and looked over my left shoulder and gazed right into the visiting team locker room.

My dad gets amazing tickets all the time, but they’re usually up in the corporate suite level – far away from the action. Generally, I love this. Private bathrooms, catering and waitresses, separate elevators. But this was a different way to view things. Here we were right in the middle of the action. And while the magic of the game of baseball was even more prevalent, the magic surrounding our favorite multi-millionaire baseball players becomes tarnished a little when you’re sitting ten feet away.

After rushing to the team shop to buy a twelve dollar Sharpie, we sat poised to get autographs, talk to the team and basically become best friends with Chipper Jones so he would invite us to summer with he and his wife in Atlanta and go on the road for series’ in Toronto, New York, and Seattle.

Unfortunately, I was in no shape to be yelling to anyone so my darling husband took it upon himself to start the dialogue. Unfortunately again, my handsome husband does not have breasts like the blonde in the twelfth row behind the dugout had so he was, for the most part, ignored. Even after yelling, “Chipper, my wife loves you!!!” loud enough for the entire stadium to snicker, he still couldn’t manage to snag an autograph as Mr. Jones was too busy dipping into his chew can and spitting juice all over the dugout. In the sixth inning stretch Chipper disappeared into the locker room below and never reappeared, not even to shake hands after the game.

Not a total loss, Bobby Cox did toss us a game ball at the end and eventually Corey resigned to leave his post at the suite door, finally deciding that Chipper wasn’t coming back.

Crushed that my baseball boyfriend might not be as perfect and charming as I once thought, I managed to make it home and hit espn.com to see if there was some injury I didn’t know about that was plaguing my star and would cause him to snub the Diamondbacks like LeBron.

Although I did find a toe sprain record, (toe sprain?) I also found an interesting blurb on Wikipedia explaining why Chipper and his first wife got divorced while I was busy pining over David Justice – he had a two year affair with a Hooters waitress that resulted in a child. Who the hell has a two minute, let alone a two YEAR affair with a Hooters waitress? Checking out her assets is one thing, but engaging in a relationship is a completely separate offense even if you’re not married.

After being let down by countless athletes I was sure I had it right this time, but it turns out that it’s harder to find athletes with morals than you’d think. First Tony Romo with Nick Lachey’s sloppy seconds and now this? Devastating.

All I have left to cling to now is the goodness of Kurt Warner and the knowledge that, although unemployed, I do not have the job of cleaning up the dugout after MLB games.

Thank you God.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Not as crazy as everyone thinks.

Just a quick update to those of you that were planning to visit me in a white padded room: You'll have to wait a while longer. It turns out there is actually something physically wrong with me.

Pericarditis is inflammation of the sac surrounding your heart. It often occurs after a viral infection (like I had prior to this all starting), hurts worse when you are reclined, makes you short of breath, and becomes much worse when you breathe deeply or exercise. BINGO.

The diagnosis is simple and could have been made over a week ago if they hadn't decided instead that I was insane, but it's not as simple to fix. Unfortunately, inflammation is cured by anti-inflammatories and they don't exactly work overnight.

Thank you for the prayers if you're sending them my way - I can use all I can get until I start to get some relief.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hard times ahead...

It's difficult for me to write a serious post, as by nature I feel better being sarcastic, self-deprecating and exaggerative to add drama to a story. Unfortunately, the story I have now needs no dramatization.

Mental health problems carry such a stigma in our culture that even though my own personal education is in mental health I fall victim to it on a personal level. After my trip to the emergency room two weeks ago I blithely accepted the diagnosis of anxiety and tried to assure myself that it would resolve itself with time. Tingling in my limbs, sleeplessness AND fatigue, chest tightness and cold sweats are all telltale symptoms of anxiety issues and although I have my own personal problems with mistrust in the medical field (un/misdiagnosed cancer at 23, you think?) I comforted myself with the fact that I am in the lowest possible risk factor category for any kind of heart problems and that the many M.D.s I had consulted with knew what they're talking about.

So on Thursday of last week I put on my best tough face, donned my workout wear and decided that since my problems are of the psychological variety a little endorphin rush would do me some good. Water bottle in hand I headed to the track near my home to get my heart rate up to something beyond the excitement of a Dr. Phil episode (the highlight of the previous week), and all was well until somewhere between .3 and .4 of a mile when my chest pressure was starting to transform magically into something much more implicative of a chef's knife being plunged into my heart repeatedly.

I did make it 2 miles (two VERY slow miles) with many stops along the way and then gave up to try some yoga at home.

The agony continued and I figured that a hot shower and some meditation would be like natural Valium and I'd calm down as soon as my body recovered from the Arizona temperatures and the actual physical exertion which hadn't been accomplished in weeks. Unfortunately, no such luck.

Here's where my stubbornness comes into play, yet again. For fear of hearing, "There is nothing wrong with you, go home!" again from the emergency room staff I sat up all night long in tremendous pain and figured I would mention it to my doctor, with whom I had a normal old appointment the following day.

However, when I showed up on base complaining of chest pain they chastised me for even going there (there are no emergency services on base) and told me there was nothing they could do. I must have looked completely desperate though, so my doctor saw me anyway, confirmed the anxiety diagnosis and gave me TWENTY(!) little magic white pills known to mortals as Xanax and known to us crazies as sweet, sweet relief.

Unfortunately, twenty pills that last 4-5 hours a piece don't take you all that far and I am now rationing them like mad until I can get in to see a psychiatrist that will figure out something better and less addictive.

The real struggle with this post is trying to figure out how to end it (The post, that is. This is not some drawn out suicide note). I'm lying here in bed, the pain in my chest hard, fast , red hot, and unrelenting, and the bottle of Xanax is sitting on the nightstand to my right. The temptation is real, but since I don't know how long it will be until I have something better/different/more effective I'm saving them for midnight so I can hopefully get some sleep.

To tell you that I'm 100% convinced this is all anxiety related would be a lie, but I do think it's important to write this and publicly heed my own advice and take my own knowledge to heart. The brain is an amazing mass of cells, and physical manifestations of feelings are nothing new or remarkable. Although I have no idea what I am specifically anxious about my body is sending me messages loud and clear that something is wrong, and I hope that if nothing else this will serve as a reminder to everyone to reads this (and to myself) that you should always listen to what your body and mind are telling you. Taking care of your mental health is every bit as important as your physical health, even though psychotherapy is often only considered an option for the truly sociopathic or alternately the bored wealthy Beverly Hills housewife. I have an amazing husband, a lovely home, a wonderful family and a shoe collection that takes up two closets. What could I possibly have to be anxious about?

If you need to talk to someone, do it. It could save you (literally) a lot of heartache, and quite a few strange looks when you tell doctors that there are six foot lobsters chasing you through the emergency room (I'll save that for another post entitled “The joys of intravenous Ativan” perhaps).

Friday, May 8, 2009

C.R.A.Z.Y.

I've always been a worrier, it's true. From a young age I'd lie in bed and devise elaborate plans entailing what I would do if robbers broke in, if I was abducted by aliens, or if the monsters under my bed broke loose from their chains.

Gradually, those fears gave way to other anxieties (although I will admit that probing by alien is still a bothersome thought) and the things that keep me up at night are now more along the lines of illness, wellness of family and friends and whether or not the duracell that powers my biological clock is running low.

Somewhere between losing my job and the wedding from hell my anxiety started to kick into overdrive and I stopped doing normal everyday things like eating and sleeping, and instead supplemented those with attempting to watch Law and Order reruns 24 hours a day (surprisingly doable thanks to TNT). I surmised that once we were hitched, the visitors had vacated our home, and I was back on my way to being gainfully employed I would calm down.

Unfortunately, this hasn't been the case. Although I did manage to find joy in churros and sticky buns during our honeymoon I still haven't been able to sleep like a normal person, much to the dismay of my charming and ever accommodating husband. Last Sunday his patience wore out though when I mentioned to him that not only had I been having chest pain for the entire week, but my left arm and left leg were now both numb. He swept me into the car and six hours, two blown veins, two EKGs and a quadruple dose of Ativan later it was determined that I had anxiety problems. Duh.

Although I still have the chest pressure and tingly limbs I am happy to note that I don't think I'm dying and I do have an appointment with a psychiatrist so I can be sufficiently medicated - at least enough to function on a daily basis.

My favorite quote of all time is something that Mother Teresa said: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." I try to keep that in mind when I get frustrated with other people, and it just occurred to me that I should also keep it in mind when it comes to myself. Sometimes I think we are harder on ourselves than anyone else possibly could be, and I am no exception to this.

However, if anything can clear the mind it is the cold crisp air of the mountain so we are headed up to spend Mother's Day in Pinetop this weekend and hopefully the lack of smog will scrub my mind clean and freshen up the cobwebs in my brain.

To all of you mothers out there I wish you the happiest of Mother's Days!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Downpour in the Desert - AKA - My wedding day


Hollywood loves to reference how little girls sit around and dream of their wedding day, but for me the daydreams didn’t really start until the beginning of the planning process. I read bridal magazines, followed wedding websites and basically aspired to be the Martha Stewart of planning my own wedding. I should have known better.

There hasn’t been much in my relationship with Corey that has been easy or perfect. There’s no sense in dwelling on the hardships now but we’ve had our share. The past few years should have been the indicator to me to not plan anything and just run to Vegas, but stubborn as I am I pretended that I could disrupt the flow of destiny.

Turmoil reared her ugly head early on the morning of the eleventh when I opened the curtains and saw the thunderheads surrounding the downtown area, spinning like the cauldron stirred by the three witches. Like Macbeth I had tempted fate, and lost.

The average rainfall in Phoenix for the entire month of April is .5 inches. On my wedding day it rained .6 inches by noon. By the time we arrived at the ceremony location the hair and makeup that had been painstakingly arranged for hours prior were limp, lifeless and smeared. My hand-beaded Acra ballgown was coated with about six inches of mud, sand and city slime before I even walked down the aisle. Our beautiful garden location was reduced to a 10x10 tent that our guests were huddled under, and the melodious din of the waterfall in the background could not be heard over the gusts of frigid wind and incessant thump of the rain on the vinyl ceiling.

Every girl’s dream. Sigh.

The platinum lining on our day was that we actually did get married. Our families made it here safely, our vows were beautiful and when I wasn’t crying crocodile tears of disappointment I was crying tears of happiness.

And my husband couldn’t have been more handsome or loving.

We survived. We survived our lovely imported modern art cake topper committing suicide an hour into the reception by flinging itself off of the cake and onto the tile floor to shatter into a million pieces and take half of the cake down with it. We survived an illness causing an early end to the reception, thusly skipping our first dances and necessitating that the bride and groom drive hours across town instead of retiring to their honeymoon suite. We survived stepfamilies in the same rooms for the first time in years, delayed airline flights, weeks without sleep, and even the flu on our honeymoon.

We survived and came out of it all married, and still happily so, and although we wouldn’t do it again for less than seven figures we are still happy that we did it. We are thankful that our families were able to attend, and thankful that at the very least we had a lovely reception dinner.

We are even thankful for those dozens of frustrating but well-meaning people that told us matter-of-factly that, “rain on your wedding day is good luck.” I have yet to meet a happily married couple who actually had rain on their wedding day, but that is beside the point. We make one.

So while our wedding day was a far cry from the ever after fairy tale image that I had envisioned while planning, it still accomplished what we set out to do: become husband and wife. And when we think about it, it was fitting that our wedding was less than perfect. The only thing that has been perfect when it comes to Corey and I has been our love and if I had to choose between an amazing wedding or an amazing marriage I would choose the marriage every time.

Thanks fate, we owe you one.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Three little words...

ELOPE!! ELOPE!! ELOPE!!

If you, or someone you love, is planning a wedding anytime in this milennium - ELOPE!

That is all.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Green eyed monsters


It's strange really - being laid off, that is. Even when I had known for weeks that it was coming, it was still eerie to have HR come into my office and close the door. Last Wednesday was my last day at work and although I've been in a bit of shock since then I've managed to embrace the silver lining that is extra time to take care of my ever-extending to-do list.

With a little over a month until the wedding I never cease to be amazed at how many details it takes to pull an event like this off. In fact, I have come to believe that this might be the most involved thing I take charge of in my life. Please don't misunderstand - I don't think it's the most difficult thing, but it is the most involved. The hard part is in the details: Out of town boxes, bathroom baskets, monogrammed aisle runners...I now understand why women recruit huge bridal parties to 'support' them on their big day. With only a maid of honor, and one that is out of state at that, my 'wedding favor assembly parties' are solo. In a way it's beneficial as I must make sure that every single thing I'm spending time on is worthwhile, but I also wouldn't be lying if I said I hadn't wished for three magical bridesmaids with Martha Stewart's craftiness and magic wands.

Other than my lack of employment and my stock in Michael's Arts and Crafts there have actually been deeper thoughts weighing on my conscience, lest you think I'm as shallow as a silhouette. Corey's stepfather has been getting increasingly ill in decreasing increments of time and I find myself busy making deals with God that they enroll him in a robot heart transplant trial. While I still feel that my life is incredibly blessed it seems so surreal that we have already had to deal with sick parents, lost jobs and cancer in our short relationship and young lives. I struggle daily with feelings of envy and jealously of friends and acquaintances I know who manage to make decisions that, despite how bad they may be, hardly ever yield consequences. Logically I know that their lives have nothing to do with me and have no effect on my decisions, but still I struggle. I often wonder if I'm the only one out there with these feelings and feel like such an awful person to acknowledge them. I suppose that this exemplifies one of the reasons why Corey is such a good influence and makes me want to be a better woman as he never envies anyone else anything. No matter what he sees that other people have he always manages to appreciate what we have and the way we got it. Sometimes the shortcut to things looks so appealing when we see others who have gotten there by cheating, but I'm happy to know that even when I'm tempted, the angel on my shoulder (who also happens to be my *almost* husband) encourages me to be the slow and steady tortoise that gets to the finish line by following the rules, regardless of who gets there before we do.

Good thing he's agreed to marry me - who knows where I'd be without the good influence (and the secondary income!).

Monday, March 2, 2009

Someone else's shoes

I’m sure you’ve already picked this up from my blog if you’ve read it before, but I have trouble sleeping. I have a disease that mostly manifests itself in the form of the pain of ice picks being shoved into my pelvis, and although I do have pills that calm the situation it is a definite crapshoot as to which days the prescriptions will work at all.

This has helped to lead me to a dangerous addiction; one which I am quite certain would have developed regardless of my affliction, but because of it the effects have been magnified.

I am addicted to reality television.

Thankfully none of it involves rock band buses, bachelor/ette(s), or amateur singing competitions, but my craving has taken the form of seedier and darker ‘entertainment’.

“Jon and Kate + 8”, “Intervention”, “Medical Mystery”, “The Biggest Loser”, and “A Baby Story”. These are my crack. I tell myself that I can quit at anytime, but the minute I lie down and feel the familiar cramping I set out to soothe myself with the tragedies, mysteries, monsters, addicts and lunatics that make their home on multi-national television.

The boy can’t wrap his brain around my fascination, but I suspect it has quite a bit to do with the fact that I studied psychology in college. I specifically focused on adolescent eating disorder therapy, but have always been utterly enchanted by the question of why people are the way they are.

The fact that Kate bosses Jon around to within an inch of my (and his, I hope) tolerance level is not the interesting part. What is intriguing is why she feels the need to mommy him. Was her own youth tumultuous? Was she lacking “love and companionship” a la the “Octomom” and so she seeks to create a permanent family dynamic within her home and relationship? Why does he put up with it? Does he come from a broken home? Does he suffer from extremely low self-esteem and codependency issues?

Why do people on “A Baby Story” continually bring infants into this world that they routinely cannot emotionally, physically, or financially provide for? These decisions and the factors that the subjects used to come to said decisions are the things that keep me from switching the television off and staring at my ceiling instead.

Even in my own life I run into people and find myself staring blankly at them (or my cell phone, or my email) as they explain to me decisions that they have made that are completely illogical. This is not to say that I think I am the be-all, end-all of all decision making in the world, but if you can’t pay your rent you shouldn’t have a child. If you can’t stand your boyfriend you shouldn’t get married, and if you routinely snort cocaine off of urinals in county rest stops you cannot control your addiction.

One of the most common responses that I hear to the criticism of illogical decisions is that God will provide. I hate this excuse more than any other, not because I am an atheist or because I believe that God doesn’t care; it is quite the opposite actually.

Not only do I believe in a fair, loving, and caring God, I am also quite certain the He provides in more ways than I recognize on a daily basis. However, I have yet to receive a check signed by J.C. himself with “provisions” written in the ‘note’ line.

When people say, as they are collecting welfare checks, or asking family members for money, that God is providing, I agree. He provided you with two arms and two legs and a brain. He provided you with the opportunity to grow up in a country that allows you freedom of religion, and the right to vote, and the right to work. He provided you with intelligence (sometimes) and the ability to understand that if you can’t pay your electric bill the company will shut off your power. He also provided you with the ability to know that when your power has been shut off, and you can’t afford food and rent for yourselves, you should not be bringing new life into this world.

I have been asked since my last post why I feel it necessary to have a large savings account before we start to have children. I have been chided and reminded that children don’t need onesies from Neiman Marcus to be well taken care of, as if I am waiting to plan my pregnancy around the spring ’10 baby collection release.

On the contrary, we choose to have a financial plan in place before having children so that we can plan for the unexpected. A totaled car, another health problem, a deployment, a special needs child...etc. I know that we cannot anticipate everything that could possibly happen in the future, but I believe a parent’s responsibility is to provide for his/her/their children to the best of their ability. If the best of your ability is to cash a state check and then spend the money at the bar while your children sit home with the babysitter that charges the lowest amount on Craigslist, I don’t think you should be a parent.

Lucky for you I don’t have a say in it. But, I will lie in bed at two in the morning and judge you for selling your story to TLC so you can visit the nail salon twice a week.

****************
On an unrelated side-note, last weekend my old friend from high school, Chris, took some pics of Corey and me to prepare for photographing our upcoming nuptials. He really is amazingly talented and I can’t wait to see what he takes at the wedding in LESS THAN SIX WEEKS!!! Argh!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Useless Ambien

It’s funny the things one thinks about during the long bouts of insomnia between two and four a.m. Of course lately it has been minute and ridiculous wedding details such as napkin rings and program ribbons (one of which woke me up in a cold sweat Saturday night) but other forms of randomness also work their way into my foggy barely-consciousness:

- Do we have bedbugs? I don’t think we have bedbugs, but something like 90% of people who DO have bedbugs don’t know it. This invariably leads to me grabbing my cell phone to use as a covert lighting source and searching under the blankets for tiny creatures while my love snores peacefully next to me.
- Is that the ghetto-bird I hear overhead? I really want to move, however moving sucks and is very expensive. I also really want a baby, but those suckers are even more expensive.
- If we ever had twins would being twice as happy outweigh being twice as tired? Is it better to be exhausted all at once, or over two different children’s infant stages?
- Why don’t Catholics believe in eternal marriage? If the boy and I make it to heaven I still want to be his wife.
- How do the sparkles in my lip gloss end up all over Corey’s face just from a quick hello kiss? He always looks like he skipped lunch to collect samples of stripper dust.
- How much damask is too much damask when it comes to wedding d├ęcor?
- Does Bobbi Brown seriously think that laid off corporate drones can afford to spend $42 on eyeliner?
- Why, when the entire world has joined the healthy eating/green living/animal rights movements, is it still so damn impossible for me to find a vegetarian Lean Cuisine in the frozen foods section of Safeway?

I’ve also taken to creating running lists in my head of all the wedding-related tasks I must accomplish in the next 47 days. Eleventy gagillion tissue paper pomanders must be made. A parasol, an aisle runner, and a tablecloth must be painted with our monogram. Five Manzanita centerpieces must be fitted into bases, adorned with crystals, and shellacked within an inch of their little branchy lives. I must find ties for the Best Man, my Dad, and my brother that match the shade of burgundy I have so carefully tinted in my mind. I cannot afford to import the gorgeous hand-dyed silk ties that I found online from India for $10,000,000 Rupees even though I have no real idea how much that is.

The boy and I have finally come to an agreement on how large our emergency fund must be before we start trying to conceive our first little bundle of joy, and the figure astounds me. How did it come to pass that in two generations what could purchase a house outright is now what one must save just for a rainy day? No matter how many coupons I cut, if I want a baby before I start to deal with the crippling pain of arthritis I’m going to have to find another job. Oh, and the guilt of being laid off has surprised me. I find myself apologizing for it repeatedly although I know that #1- It isn’t my fault, and #2 - Corey would never hold it against me even if it was my fault. This guilt was compounded when the boy decided last week to trade in his elephant sized 4x4 for something that gets more than 2 miles to the gallon and doesn’t take half a month’s salary to insure. This was his last tie to bachelorhood and his one true love before me and watching the boy say goodbye to his beloved truck broke my heart. I cling to the idea that when we both get to heaven I will be sitting shotgun (with an English Bulldog in my lap) in a two ton pickup that I needed a ladder to get into while the radio blasts Hank Williams and my husband runs over all the girly cars in his way. Good thing we’re not Catholic.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Love survey

I don’t normally use my blog for things like this, but what the heck?

♥ What are your middle names? Marie and Michael (we will have the same initials)

♥ How long have you been together? Married?
2 years together – married in 49 days!

♥ How long did you know each other before you started dating?
We had been introduced several months earlier, but didn’t really have a conversation beyond, “Hey, how’s it going?” until our first date.

♥ Who asked who out? A mutual friend of ours suggested I come over and hang out. I didn’t know it was a double date until later.

♥ How old are each of you? I’m 27 (ugh) and he’s 29.

♥ Whose siblings do/ did you see the most? Definitely mine. My brother lives across town and his siblings live across the country.

♥ Do you have any children together? Not yet, but we’re definitely looking forward to being parents!

♥ What about pets? We don’t really have the right setup for a puppy right now, but sooner or later the urge to get an English Bulldog will win out.

♥ Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple? My health problems.

♥ Did you go to the same school? Nope. U of Arizona and U of Tennessee.

♥ Are you from the same home town? Negative. Although they were both small and everybody was in your business so I’d say they were similar.

♥ Who is the smartest? Depends on the subject.

♥ Who is the most sensitive? Me. I cry. I cry a lot.

♥ Where do you eat out most as a couple? I’m guessing our most frequent stop is Subway, but if we’re talking about a real live restaurant I’d say Coup des Tartes.

♥ Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Tennessee is the furthest we’ve gone so far.

♥ Who has the craziest exes? I’ve got one nutjob of an ex that’s unbeatable!

♥ Who has the worst temper?
Neither of us have too much of a temper, but he’s definitely more laid back than I am.

♥ Who does the cooking? Me, of course. Sometimes I can get him to flip things or chop them though.

♥ Who is more social? Separate we’re each fairly social, but together we end up like cave-dwelling hermit people. I guess we just like each other’s company.

♥ Who is the neat-freak? While we both aspire to be neat-freaks, the clutter in our house has triumphed over us recently.

♥ Who is the more stubborn? Me. We’ve had contests.

♥ Who hogs the bed? He does. But to be fair, I sleep for about 2 hours each night so it doesn’t bother me too much.

♥ Who wakes up earlier? We wake up at the same time, but I dawdle in bed for a bit longer than he does.

♥ Where was your first date? Buca di Beppo and a terrible movie.

♥ Who has the bigger family? He’s got a ginormous family!.

♥ Do you get flowers often? Often enough that I feel spoiled, but not so often that it’s no longer special.

♥ How do you spend the holidays? We generally spend holidays with my family since they are closer, but we try to split things up when we can.

♥ Who is more jealous?
I am, by a mile.

♥ How long did it take to get serious? Ten minutes. Or, more accurately 245 cell phone hours while in different places. Thank you US Air Force.

♥ Who eats more? Corey can eat his weight in pizza. But, if it’s a veggie eating contest I think I could take him.

♥ Who does/ did the laundry?
We’re pretty equal with housework. Whoever has more time at home does it.

♥ Who’s better with the computer?
I am, since I sit in front of it ten hours a day.

♥ Who drives when you are together?
Usually him, which is nerve-wracking since directions befuddle the boy. I will admit that the GPS has helped the situation.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Changes in Attitude

The boy won. It doesn't happen very often, therefore I will ask for a moment of silence so you all can appreciate the levity of the situation.


...


Okay, that's good enough - he didn't win the lottery or anything.

What he did win was the argument that had been ongoing in our house since I found out my job has been extinguished. I wanted to scrap the wedding plans, cut our losses, and take off to Vegas with my parents while Corey wanted to go on with everything as planned. I argued that if we saved the money we planned to spend on the wedding, our lives wouldn't have to change at all in the interim between my old job and finding a new one. We could still eat at amazing restaurants, plan an abundant honeymoon, and shoe shop with abandon (okay, that's maybe not so much of a "we" thing, but you get the picture).

He argued that if we didn't have the wedding we'd been planning for months, I would regret it. And, as hard as it is to say, he is right.

So, we are now powering on. With two months left until our wedding there are pomanders to be made, aisle runners to be monogrammed, and pocketsquares to be sewn. I have a crisis with the centerpieces, and frustrations with envelope liners, but I will persist.

From this point on I am delving back into my wedding plans with reckless abandon and embracing the stress that comes with being a bride a mere 65 days away from her dream wedding.

It's true that when we write all of our checks and add everything up we won't have as much in our savings accounts as we would have had we run off and eloped, but I guess that's what you save for in the first place: to spend it.

Besides, all that brie and caviar was making it next to impossible to lose that ten pounds that every bride must effort to lose before her white gown is zipped up for the last time. Now that I think of it, this layoff may be a blessing in disguise.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I need a stimulus

I wrote this entry last week, but postponed posting it on the off chance that my job quandary was resolved and I was by now happily working away in a new(old) position. Unfortunately, I have the same amount of information, stability and happiness today regarding my employment as I did last Thursday so here is my update on the situation.


I have never interviewed for a job I didn’t get. But, there’s a first for everything, right?

Yesterday I sat awkwardly in a conference room with two people I trained (one of whom would be my boss – ugh), an HR representative, and a person that I clearly couldn’t stand when I was there and who judging by their facial expressions shows the same disdain for me.

“Tell us about a time you had a professional problem and how you overcame it,” they ask.

I want to stand on my chair and shout, “I could do this job in my sleep and pretty much did for a year which is why I was promoted, so let’s just use this time to get me up to speed on things and you can send the other interviewees home.”

Instead I say something I vaguely remember reading about in a pamphlet from high school FBLA mock interviews about patience, and preparedness, and determination. We move on.

This awkwardness goes on for another 20 minutes with the tension now clinging to the walls and the ceiling like smoke from burning bacon and I’m glancing continuously at my blackberry not only because it keeps going off and I can’t understand why I’m in such high demand if they don’t need my position anymore, but also because the clock is there and I’m counting the seconds of silence while they all take notes on me.

Finally, they ask if I have any questions for them (I do not) and thank me for coming in, like I just answered their ad from the classifieds. Unfortunately, I still had business to do in the building, and with one of the people in the interview, so I had to wait downstairs for them to finish talking about me and my ‘skill set’. Twenty minutes later they emerged and the only one that would make eye contact with me is the one I needed to meet with regarding a marketing matter.

I’m going to throw up.

Then, using my amateur sleuthing skills I find out that there are at least three other internal applicants, one who happens to have been with the company for a substantially longer duration than I, and again I feel nauseous.

When the situation was fist presented to me my old position was tied up in a pretty package with a cute little bow and put on my desk like a consolation prize. “We don’t want to lose you so we’ve figured out a solution,” they said.

Then the explanation that even though they had this position for me I would basically have to ‘mock interview’ for it because of HR laws of equal rights. That eventually made its way to the position actually being posted to other applicants and suddenly I was going to have to prove to employees that I literally TRAINED this spring that I could do my old job.

Seriously?

So…anyone need a private chef?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The End of Eden


I’d consider the last week or so somewhat of a holding pattern. I’d been busying myself with everything wedding-related for quite a while now, but due to the (un)employment situation I’ve been forced to put those things on hold, if for no other reason than to preserve some sense of emotional control.

The truth is that it would be a ridiculously stupid move to continue with the plan of spending five figures on a single day with the economy in such peril and the chance of me finding a job that paid as well as my last slim to say the least. The other side of that vicious coin is that at this point my wedding day is like a movie I’ve seen a million previews for and can’t wait for opening day of. I see the details in my head: the flowers, the decorations, the ridiculously expensive but highly coveted candy buffet at the reception. I can almost hear the Swarovski toasting flutes clinking together and I’m starving for this wedding.

So, the solution is one that I’m not completely excited about but have essentially come to peace with: I have to interview for my previous job back. While I am grateful that my old boss (same corporation, but individual company rather than corporate as I am now) immediately broached this when she heard of the imminent demise of my job, (and has even agreed to make it a lateral move salary-wise) I am still not warm and fuzzy about the proposition of having my old job again. To be fair I think that 99.9% of this apprehension exists solely due to a past supervisor who is no longer with the company, and everyone I have spoken to has assured me that it is much different there and that my return would be celebrated, but there is still a part of me that feels very defeated and angry. I won’t elaborate on the work situation and persons involved in the dissolution of my job as this is a public blog and all I need is the wrong person to stumble upon it, but I will say that corporate politics are not for the faint of heart.

So, heads – I get the job, I pack up my office here and transfer to a desk a mile down the road, and our wedding is on as planned. Tails – one of the other ten million people interviewing for jobs right now takes the position, I pack up my office sometime soon (I’ve been given no final date), and our wedding takes place in a bowling alley in Glendale.

Cross your fingers for me – I hear the coin toss is taking place sometime next week.

Friday, January 16, 2009

There I was, minding my own business...

Life is funny. One day you're stressing about pomanders and monograms and cake tier flavors and the next you get hit by a bus on its way to the unemployment office.

Unfortunately, this morning I was invited to join the ranks of the other 7.5% of our dear countrymen who earned the privilege of being "let go" from their beloved employers. "Let go" in itself is quite the awkward phrase as it infers that you beseechingly begged permission to be separated from your paycheck and they, being ever so willing to grant your every wish, allowed you to do so.

Of course, the timing could be much better as I'm just about an inch away from a complete nervous breakdown as far as wedding planning and expenditures go, but I'm doing my best to hang in there at least until the boy gets back from his ill-timed work trip to Texas tomorrow morning. Tomorrow I can stress and cry and blubber "why me?" into my pillow. Tonight, I'm resilient.

My darling old friend Curly was so cute to say in a comment on this blog that I should be a writer, but I'm disappointed to find no monster.com listing for "random story-telling cynical blog author". Eh. I doubt it would have a corporate credit card anyway.

In any case, I just thought I would practice some "Secret"-type theory and put it out there into the universe that I would like to find a job that I can do from home and that involves baking cakes, sewing, cooking dinner for the boy, and giving appropriate attention to studying the "Lost" island and discovering all its secrets.

What's that? Oh, it's my mom calling. She says that the job does exist, but it's called a homemaker and it pays...well...nothing. Square one, I'm back.

To the Great Recession: I know I've been skeptical of your existence in the recent past but you've converted me into a believer. You can now rest assured that your goal of creating mass havoc on the working class has been accomplished. Please feel free to go bother Dubai at this point and leave America alone.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!




Saying goodbye to 2008 was simultaneously a thrilling event as well as a melancholy one. The year that gifted us with three surgeries, one chronic disease diagnosis, and a heartbreaking family funeral also came bundled with one beach vacation, two job promotions/transfers, and one ‘official’ proposal of my dreams.

But our own little world has endured nothing when compared to the trials and tribulations of the global environment: economic crisis’, health epidemics, malevolent acts of terrorism, poverty and human tragedy, coupled with bias-defying elections, random acts of kindness in the wake of natural disasters, miracles, and the constant presence of God/fate/karma/whichever higher power you may believe in.

As I think back over the past 366 days (lest you forget it was a leap year) I notice that although I can distinctly remember days that seemed they would never end – no matter how hard I begged for them to – now, looking back, they all seem to have raced by. Was it not just yesterday that we were saying goodbye to 2007? I can close my eyes and smell the hot cocoa from Zoolights in January, and the iodine in the operating room in May, and the Origins’ sunscreen mixed with ocean air and barbecue smoke from the beach in August. I can remember trying to catch my breath from laughing so hard playing Monopoly on the bedroom floor and from sobbing on the verge of hyperventilation after my Nana died. Each memory brings with it the feeling of: I will never be this happy/sad/scared/tired/heartbroken/relaxed again – knowing full well that those emotions will return again the moment I least expect them.

Welcoming 2009 is an emotional event in its own right. The year we will get married and (God willing) conceive our first child. The year Corey will turn 30. The year I will get so close to 3-0 that saying I’m in my mid-twenties will become less of a stretch and more of an outright lie.

I have no preconceived notions that 2009 will bring nothing but sunshine and lollipops and rainbows. I’m sure I will find myself sobbing in Corey’s arms uncontrollably, frustrated beyond belief at one or more doctors, and clutching the armrests of at least one jet thinking to myself that there is certainly a lot of turbulence on this flight. I will be petrified to bring a child into this screwed up world and I will be horrified by things I see on the news. I may even burn something in my ever-moody oven.

But there are also things that I will bring with me from 2008 to ease the transition:

1. A tetanus vaccination that will last until 2018 (a late night Christmas
present to myself)
2. Our wedding account which due to our copious saving attempts (and my
generous parents) is nearly complete.
3. An employer that has thus far offered me nothing but stability and room to
grow.
4. The world’s best mattress (at least compared to our old one).
5. The knowledge that using a coupon will neither kill nor deface me with a
permanent scarlet C (for cheap).
6. Enough of an emergency fund to feed/clothe/pay our bills for a while, or
just to run off to Fiji.
7. The daily reminder that no matter what else is going on, I was lucky enough to find the one person that makes it all worthwhile.

So although we are certain that 2009 won’t be any closer to perfection than its predecessor was, we welcomed the new year with open arms last Wednesday night and hopes that it will at least improve on the good that is already here. And just to be sure that 2008 went out on a sweet note, we dined at Coup des Tartes (which is our tradition, and also the site of our wedding reception) and enjoyed a four course meal of roasted sweet corn soup, brie brulee, pomegranate encrusted filet, roasted winter vegetable tagliatele, and various other wonders. It was the perfect way to usher in 2009 and say goodbye to 2008.

We hope you all had a sweet start to your new year too.