Tag Archives: Family

Life Goes On in 2016

The past year has been quite a roller coaster of emotions.

Last year we were informed that my sister-in-law had major surgery the week of Christmas. What was suppose to be a three hour surgery turned in to a marathon eight hour surgery.

The year before we were told my sister-in-law had cervical cancer. She was informed while she was pregnant and decided to go through with the pregnancy and had a beautiful baby girl. After the birth she began her radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

In January of 2016 we had a tumultuous New Year’s when our old car broke down on the freeway and we finally called in our family favor and got a new car thanks to my brother-in-law who works for a car dealership. It was his wife who was sick. We had hardly spoken to him or his wife about her illness. It wasn’t until we spoke with some of his colleagues that we were reassured that he had people who he could talk to about what he and their family were going through. We had always been concerned and attempted to talk to them both about what was going on with them but they were always very private and guarded.

I never blamed them for not wanting to talk to us about it. What did we know? How could we even begin to understand what they were going through? We don’t have children. They both have kids from previous relationships and new baby girl together. We lived in the city and they lived in the suburbs. We lived very different lives beyond those small things and it felt like this made the divide even wider. My sister-in-law and I were similar in some ways, but very different people and saw the world very differently. We were cordial to each other but not very close. My husband and his brothers were close, but the wives were a different story. We tried. We attempted. We just never seemed to find anything in common except for loving our husbands and our families.

My sister-in-law had always been a little vain. I remember the first time we met at a Mother’s Day brunch for my mother-in-law and she complained about the one grey hair she found and was trying to hide it. She was always well dressed for any occasion, whereas I had reused the same black dress for over a dozen family weddings. She always bought thoughtful gifts and we tried to figure who we could afford to get gifts for every Christmas. We may not have always gotten along but I respected her for always doing her best for her children and family and making my brother-in-law happy.

Then the news got worse. Multiple hospital visits. Emergency surgeries. Wheelchairs. Hair wraps and wigs. A colostomy bag.

She was in the hospital for almost a week when Mother’s Day came along. The entire family visited her in the hospital for the holiday. That was when I finally realized things were not going to get better. She could no longer walk on her own. She couldn’t hug or hold her daughter without assistance. I finally saw how much hair she had lost.

The day after she was released from the hospital we celebrated their daughter’s second birthday party at their home with immediate family. If things weren’t already heart breaking that was the day I wanted to scream. I don’t know how she did it but she walked. She stood in front of that birthday cake and had us sing “Happy Birthday” several times in a row. She must have been on a giant cocktail of drugs and had the iron will of a giant to push through all the pain she must have been experiencing and do everything she could for her daughter. We all realized this would be the last birthday party she would be able to attend for any or her children.

The rest of the summer we spent every spare minute visiting and bringing groceries for the family. Every weekend. Every summer holiday. We spent every moment with our family knowing that every moment counted. August was the hardest month. There were a few days when she wouldn’t wake up because she was in so much pain. The family gathered in vigil fearing the worst.

Then she suddenly had a burst of energy and was requesting her favorite foods. One day I came by after work bringing groceries that included artichokes. They were her favorite and she began to tell me how she made a dipping sauce for them. She asked if I could make them for her. I had never successfully made artichokes in my life. I did my best to not fuck it up. She called out to me while I was over and we talked about foods we both liked and how to cook them. It was the best conversation I’d ever had with her. When I got home I broke down in tears.

They had a hospice nurse helping them for a few weeks, but then the nurse said there was nothing else they could do to help and they stopped coming by. I was fearful of the kids being home alone should something happen. I started to go by the house everyday. Cleaning. Playing with the two year-old. Talking to the boys. Talking to her.

The day she passed away she was surrounded by family in her home. We got a phone call at  4 am that it happened. We rushed over to be with the family. We were all there when the coroners came to take her. We spent the next week together in mourning. Some preparing for the funeral. Others just coming to terms living in world without her.

After the funeral and after the reception we ended the night at their home with all of our family singing karaoke. That night my two year-old niece learned how to sing Prince’s “Purple Rain” all by herself. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and the most heart breaking moment realizing her mother didn’t get to witness it. Some people mourn in silence. That evening we mourned singing together at the top of our lungs following my niece’s lead.

Singing. Loving. Making new memories. Reliving old memories.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I haven’t thought about her. Remembered her. My niece is the living embodiment of her mother. Her memory lives on in her.


 

After the election these memories are even more important to me. Hearing how people are being treated and how words of hate are being used more and more against the people they are suppose to love makes it harder to stay silent.

Love each other. Cherish each other. This holiday season every memory counts.

 

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Newsflash: I didn’t change my name when I got married, and I probably never will.

Hola from marriedville! Don’t tell any one, but it’s just like regular life except people (mainly family, some friends) seemed to be freaked about me keeping my name.

I know it’s been almost a year since I updated anything on here. Besides my laptop sucking and trying to plan parties, packing all of my belongings, working a couple of jobs, and moving, its safe to say I’ve been preoccupied. 🙂

So what’s the big deal? We’ll, I’m not sure. I have however found 3 reasons to help people cope with my choice.

1) It’s my name. I’m keeping it.

I am not saying my family name is special, BUT it is how I see myself. I had always planned on keeping my name, it wasn’t a a secret. I’m not upset if people call me Mrs. Awesome. I just let it slide. I love that my husbands family calls me Mrs. because they want to see me as part of the family. Not having the same name does NOT make me not family. I LOVE my husbands family and they are always going to ask, “When do you think you’ll change your last name?” And I love them for it.

He is my lover and best friend and I will love him no matter what. Having the same name doesn’t mean I love him more, and having a different name doesn’t mean I love him less.

2) I am still married even if our names are different.

A lot of people think I want to go by Miss or Ms because I kept my name therefore am not allowed to be called Mrs. I. Don’t. Care. I’m not a grammar- nazi like some friends, but I did try to use proper name listings on our wedding invitations for other peoples sake. Even if I did spell one of my bridesmaids name wrong…don’t judge me.

3) IF/When we have kid(s) they will still know I’m their Mother..

THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

I’m sure they’ll be fine. My husband’s family have a tradition of adding the mothers maiden name as a middle name or a second middle name. I think it’s a great way to trace family heritage and keep a connection to your next of kin and it can be listed on their birth certificate. Kids and adults hate hyphenated names, and this way they can choose which names they want to use in the future. Choice sounds beautiful doesn’t it?

Plus, legally changing your name is a LOT of work. For our future possible progeny it will be easier to pick a last name kids want, like they sometimes do when they chose to go by their middle name instead of their legal first name, or when they sometimes go by nicknames.

I love thinking about the options my hypothetical progeny will have when we discuses this possibility! I know it makes some people squirm and uncomfortable with my choices. Guess what? Don’t. Give. One. Fuck. It’s our life, and our choice to live it that way.

Go live your own life people!

Now that I have that out of the way everyone can start asking me other silly married life questions. 🙂

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Miracle’s Are Possible – #EricFest! #WeHeartEric

Check out the article I was interviewed for about our fundraising event for our friend Eric! It brought me to tears (of happiness) and has reassured all of us involved that Eric will get at least some of the help he needs to get back on his feet once he is out of the hospital.

4th Street Community Bands Together to Turn One Man’s Health Crisis into Hope.

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Post-Wedding Post-Honeymoon Post-Drama

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It’s been a while since I’ve made the time to sit down with my digital thoughts. Between working two jobs, planning our wedding, and honeymoon I tried to keep myself on schedule, and still make time for us to enjoy our lives. Which meant not being online, and hanging out with people, drinking, smoking, and most importantly living our lives together.

I’m not gonna lie, it was an emotional roller coaster dealing with family drama, and other people trying to impose their own definition of what our wedding meant to them. A lot of emotions come up; some that have been hidden for years, and others that you’re forced to answer because of the circumstances. I always knew our wedding wouldn’t make a few people happy for a million little reasons. I also knew that no matter what we would still be together whether or not the wedding happened according to our plans.

Turns out…everything was awesome! 😉

Our venue day-of contact, photographer, DJ, and our friends and family said it was a well oiled machine, and some even complimented us on how well organized all the decorations were kept. At one point, we were running ahead of schedule! That made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. One of my bridesmaids was so impressed she hired me to be her Day-Of Coordinator for her wedding at the end of October! AND my new Sister-in-Law would like my help planning her Baby Shower (free of course, for family)!!!

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One of my biggest fears was not being able to get back on my feet after the wedding and honeymoon. Now, I can’t even begin to say how excited I am to get back to work, start new adventures, and feel like I’m part of the world again. There were times when planning the wedding felt really isolating, and made it hard for people to relate (not everyone has to tackle a guest list and seating chart every week for over 2 months!). Luckily, I’ve had some practice from my previous line of work at a non-profit theatre company. I also had a few great friends and my Husband to thank for all their help and support over the last year and a half!

I just hope I can get back to hanging out with friends, playing board games, and eating burgers every week between all my new work. 🙂

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Epic Journey: Musical Chairs

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As any one who has had to plan a wedding of any size knows the first thing everyone freaks out about is the guest list. The cost, venue, or any other small number of things that can make you break out in hives. The guest list selection is one of the most humbling and nerve racking experiences every couple must face. It’s like a choice between cake or death* (see footnote).

When my fiance and I sat down and made a rough draft list it was daunting. We purposely had a long engagement so we could make a lot of decisions over time, and tried not to make snap decisions based on emotional knee jerk reactions. We both have large Catholic families…with lots of kids and other extended family. We had a hard time trying to figure out how to negotiate the scope of our list.

When we tell people how large our guest list is (only if they ask) their eyes get big. Then people begin to say, “Just elope!” Then we have to do a little dance and explanation of how that isn’t possible** (see below for short answer). Long answer: his family and our friends love to party and dance and they will make it feel like an awesome party. My personal reasons for not wanting, or ever imagining a large wedding, is due to my own family bringing drama to the table. Like our wedding favors, we had to adjust our settings every time we addressed the count of the guest list. Every few months the number and names changed, parents gave extended family members names, and we realized we left someone off the list by accident that we hadn’t seen in a while. Having a long engagement helped us deal with these small surprises over time.

Even after we made a final A and B guest list I had a few extra blank envelopes set aside just in case we had a few seats open up. Which they did, and not from friends or family we expected. Having a long engagement also opened up seats due to break-ups, travel arrangement issues for family and friends coming from out of town, and some life events in general. Sad to hear some are not able to attend, and happy I have the ability to strategically replace those empty seats with other people we love.

The dance of musical chairs has been an interesting aspect of wedding planning that I was afraid to tackle from the beginning. It was (literally) my worst nightmare. It is now over a year after our engagement and only two months away from the wedding. Planning and writing about this whole experience has been enlightening and an educational process. I would never wish this kind of societal torture on any of my friends, but maybe a few “frenemies.”

The latest development has been all the in-fighting happening in both our families. It’s gotten so dramatic we have a little over 3 tables worth of family, on both sides, who are requesting to be seated with their own group of people. To add to the complications I’ve also been instructed to seat them across the hall from each other for fear they will walk out and leave the reception. Drama.

I will say I am greatly disappointed to be given these types of requests and restrictions for what is suppose to be a day “about us,” and be made to feel like we’re the ones making it difficult for them to be able to attend in peace. You would think these “adults” would put their personal and petty feelings aside for one day to let us enjoy ourselves but I guess that was asking for too much.

*Eddie Izzard joke reference from Dressed to Kill

**Short Answer: His family and Mother would kill us.

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Don’t forget to watch me freak out on twitter and pretend I can accomplish all my Pinterests!

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Epic Journey: Bridal Shower Debacle

Last weekend I setup a small meet and greet with one of my bridesmaids and my grandparents, who are hosting the Bridal Shower. My bridesmaid Edith is one of my long time friends and happens to speak fluent Spanish. I asked her to meet with my grandparents to help my grandmother feel comfortable hosting this party full of strangers at her home since she only speaks Spanish (she understands English, she just refuses to speak it). A fellow Spanish speaker will also help her feel like she has a voice and involvement in the process so we don’t inadvertently make demands she is not comfortable with. I usually depend on my Mom to ensure proper translation, but my Mom tends to…embellish certain things and always finds a way to make things worse. My Mother has her own issues she’s constantly working out with her Mom.

We arrive and begin the discussion about how many people are attending, the shower theme (comic books and Super Heroes!!), tables, chairs, centerpieces, and everything was going smoothly. Then my Mom arrived and shortly after my Grandmother started asking questions about the guest list. Who’s invited? How many people are coming? Is your cousin ___ invited? *awkward pause* Um, no. She’s not invited, as of this moment, because we didn’t have room for her on the guest list and it would be rude to invite someone to the Bridal Shower and not the Wedding. Sorry to disappoint. This kick-starts the drama.

Photo of me in desperate need of a Whiskey Sour.

Photo of me in desperate need of a Whiskey Sour.

My Grandmother then proceeds to say that she’s family, and her grandchild too, so if she asks if she can come by it would be rude of her to deny her the opportunity to come visit. Apparently this cousin ASKED my Grandmother, over Easter while I wasn’t present and at work, if she was invited to the wedding… WTF?! This particular cousin has only kept in communication with my grandparents, has never said happy birthday, let alone congratulations to us since we’ve been engaged (over a year!). She stalks me on Facebook, Instagram, and any other way she can to keep tabs on the family without ever really talking to any one but my grandparents. I felt immediately upset that she would put my grandparents in that position and try insert themselves in the festivities without ever trying to talk to me or my fiance every time we’ve seen them at my grandparents home.

Suffice to say, my grandmother was a little upset, and my Mom didn’t help to defuse the situation. Eventually, after trying to reassure my Grandmother that despite my Cousins rude behavior I have tried to become a part of their lives, but they want nothing to do with me, and if they show up I can’t really do anything, it’s not my home. My Mom insisted on interrupting me and yelling and complaining, “She doesn’t care! She has no idea how they really are! She thinks these cousins are more important than you any way.” I had to raise my hands and ask my Mom to just stop. Stop with the negativity. She immediately became offended by my body language and stormed off upset that no one was listening to her. *sigh*

Edith, myself, and Melody. My oldest friends and the only reason I am sane during the wedding planning process.

Edith, myself, and Melody. My oldest friends and the only reason I am sane during the wedding planning process.

Luckily, my lovely and patient bridesmaid was there to help pick up the pieces before the Bridal Shower got cancelled because of hurt feelings that are beyond our control. We started discussing what we needed to do to prepare for the Bridal Shower, and discussed contacting my Mom after she had a few days to cool off. We promised to come by the following weekend to help her clean up the house and prepare for our guests. :) Which is why I’m EVER SO GRATEFUL to my bridesmaid Edith for enduring this debacle, and know that I never could have survived this incident without her by my side.

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Epic Journey: Family Memories

I know I promised to write about our selection process for our wedding photographer this week, but I got a bit distracted browsing the Offbeat Bride Tribe section and thought I should write a small piece about someone who has inspired me and our wedding theme. Depending on how the week goes I’ll do my best to post the photographer piece later this week. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Early on I had decided I didn’t want to be walked down the aisle by my Biological father because I have a Step-Father who I was closer to, and I didn’t want to be caught up having to explain WHY I was making this decision. I put my foot down (gently) and only told a few close friends and family. Then last Fall, just after becoming unemployed, I accompanied my Mother and Grandparents to the doctor’s office for his final doctor’s visit where they gave the official diagnosis that he was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s. It was heart breaking.

Over the last few months he’s gotten worse and my biggest fear is finding out he doesn’t remember me or our wedding. There’s a possibility that he may think I’m my Mother in the confusion. He loses his place in the middle of conversations, still tries to drive off and run errands (they revoked his driver’s license), and now refuses to go to the doctor for anything due to fear they’ll tell him something else is wrong with him.

Last month my Mother and I had a long conversation about some of the issues the family has been dealing with, trying to keep him safe, and how he is still in denial about the situation. She asked me, very politely, if I would consider having my Grandfather walk me down the aisle and I immediately accepted. I don’t know how it never occurred to me in the first place! It makes me extremely happy and sad to think that I could share this moment with my Grandfather, and at the same time that he may not remember it, or even live long enough to see us have children.

My grandparents had a huge library in their home (before it was remodeled) when I was growing up. My grandfather made all the shelving and cabinets himself. The walls were covered from floor to ceiling in books. My love of books and reading came from spending long summer afternoons pouring over my Grandfathers books, my mother reading me bed time stories, and my Uncle’s fascination with outer space and their collection of Astronomy books. Our wedding has a paper/book theme due to my Grandfather’s library and his love of books has rubbed off on me over the years. One Christmas I gave him a set of history books that he loved, and my Grandmother was a little annoyed and said, “Now he’s gonna be up all night reading and ignoring me!” She doesn’t like reading much. 🙂 My Aunts and uncles use to tell stories about me reading out loud to them from one of many books, even though I wasn’t old enough to read, or understand was the book was about.

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My Grandfather the Avid Reader

As hard as it is to write these words (I’ve had to stop several times to wipe away tears) I’m happy and hopeful for the love and inspiration my Grandfather has given me. I’m crossing my fingers that his health doesn’t deteriorate too quickly and I’m able to be walked down the aisle with one of my favorite people in the world, my Grandpa Campos. 🙂

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Bright Days Ahead, Dark Days Behind

August is almost half over and it’s already been too eventful.

We had our biggest fundraiser of the year at work on August 4th. The short version of that story is: we rock in the face of danger! We tried a new system, all digital, ran into a few glitches and pulled it off because we had an awesome team.

A few days after the event I had my yearly doctor’s visit and they asked if I wanted to get a Tetnis (sp?) and Pneumonia shot. “One arm or two,” the nurse asked. I figured it would be easier to have one working arm and said, “One arm.” I later learned that was a dumb decision.

I proceeded to run errands all day and clean our house in preparation of our road trip to Portland, Oregon for our friend Fred’s wedding. Wrong choice again. I didn’t realize it would hurt like a bitch AND give me faux pneumonia. By the time our friends came over that night I was in so much pain I could cry. I was still immobile by the next morning and had to call out sick from work and slept all day popping pain medication in between meals.

By Wednesday morning I was feeling more in control of my body and went back to work. However, by the time I got home my body started to revolt again from moving around all day and rewarded me with a migraine. “Fuck you”, my body was telling me, “I refuse to let you be productive.” This was our last might in Long Beach before we had to hit the road, and we barely packed a thing.

I tried my best to rest and make sure I wouldn’t continue to be sick with faux pneumonia on our road trip. Then late that night we got a call from our friend telling us that our friend Anna Oung had been found dead. We didn’t know any details at the time we heard the news, but we never suspected it be a suicide. The saddest part of this news is she had just given birth 3 months ago to their first child and now her husband is a single dad. 😦

My fiance knew Anna and her husband since they were in college together at CSULB. They were the happiest couple you’d ever met, and meant to be together. They got married about two years ago and seemed to have everything figured out. We hadn’t been very good about seeing them regularly because my fiance and I tend to work weekends and nights. We weren’t even aware they had moved back to Long Beach, or recently moved in with her parents while she was pregnant. It was only after her death we learned she suffered from postpartum psychosis and had been briefly hospitalized for her condition before she committed suicide. My fiance and I couldn’t make sense of the circumstances at first and were dumbstruck by all this new information. Meanwhile we had to prepare to drive to Oregon for a wedding.

By the next morning my arm felt almost 100% better and I was trying to get us back on track for our road trip. We both had work and came home to pack and clean up before heading out to drive. We planned to drive all through the night and then camp in Red Bluff on Friday to rest. We still couldn’t wrap our heads around Anna’s death and avoided reading more about it online, and tried to focus on the road.

The drive to Red Bluff wasn’t too bad, and we arrived just after 10am. However, we didn’t anticipate it being almost 110 degrees! It was so hot we couldn’t rest let alone enjoy our one day campsite. Every time we tried to rest we awoke in a pool of our own sweat. Bleh. We were able to sleep for a few hours but they weren’t restful. After dinner we decided we were never going to be comfortable enough to really rest and we started to become restless, so we decided to pack our camp and head back on the road and just try to check into our hotel a little early.

I had been a little anxious on the first leg of our trip, but nothing too bad. On the second part I was a bit more on edge and I didn’t know why. As we exited California and entered Oregon the road got more mountainous and curvy. My anxiety kicked it up a couple notches. I had forgotten to stay “medicated.” My eyes were glued to the road even though i wasn’t driving. I could not let myself relax. I was having a full-blown anxiety attack by 2am. We came to a rest area and decided to sleep until at least 6am before resuming the drive. I was so tired and grateful we stopped. I had hit a wall and was so panic-stricken that I needed to stop and rest. We both passed out immediately.

We awoke a new and were refreshed and ready to drive. My fiancé took the first shift and as soon as we crossed into Oregon and after the mountains we switched and I drove until we reached our hotel just south of Portland in Milwaukee. We got there a few hours early and our room wasn’t ready. 😦 Boo.

We wandered aimlessly and found a local comic book and collectibles shop, but it was mostly a Magic and toys shop. My fiancé wanted to see if he could buy stuff from the store online. We slowly made our way to a Starbucks for the free wi-fi until our room was ready. After we got settled at our hotel room our friends who were also in town called asking to meet up. We showered and changed and found our way into Portland and checkout their annual The Bite of Oregon festival. They bring all of northern, central, and southern Oregon together in one place where you can drink and eat the best of the best festival food and alcohol. It was only $5 to get in and $5 beers and wine at almost every booth. I abstained from the drinking since my allergies were on full alert, but my fiancé decided to break the diet and indulge in a few beers. It was nice to be walking around and enjoying the food and company of friends who all made the trip out there and hangout, catch up, and be merry.

We also met up with Fred’s brother, who came with our mutual friends from California. I was catching up with our old roommate when I hear Francis say something, but I can’t hear what exactly. I just turn around and he looks upset, like he’s been given bad news. I continue to hear Fred’s brother talk to my fiancé but I can’t hear what their saying. I decide to not worry for the moment and try to catch a moment to talk to him later. We get news the groom and bride and more friends are coming to meet up with us! Awesome.

We gorge on fruit covered in chocolate, more beers, and a few amazing fruit drinks. We tried really hard to stay away from fried food and too much junk food and did a pretty good job. We weren’t following the “diet” very well but we were at least trying to be good.

Later fiance and I was are walking alone behind the group and he tells me that Fred’s younger sister also committed suicide early last week. His sister had been struggling with coming out as a Lesbian and was very depressed. She was on college and hadn’t come out to her Mother or siblings. I didn’t know what to say. I was shocked, again. Two suicides in one week. I was so heart-broken to hear all this. And in just over 24 hours we would be attending a wedding as well. It just seems a little unreal. We did our best to be cheerful and cheer Fred up.

After a few hours in the sun I decided to head back to the hotel and leave the boys so they could go straight out for Fred’s bachelor party. Most of them were already on their way. I got a little lost trying to get back across the bridge to get to our hotel and probably made a legal U-Turn. Oh well. I got back just before nighttime and immediately passed out. With the hot weather and going in and out A/C my allergies were acting up something fierce. My fiance was fighting a stuffy nose and cough all weekend and I was on the verge of getting sick the day before the wedding. What a long, long week.

The day of the wedding we were hoping to have time to take a small trip in to Portland after we picked up our friends to go to the wedding. As usual we were all running a little behind schedule and my fiance and I over slept. No Powell’s Bookstore. No fancy coffee shops. No Portlandia sight-seeing. 😦 We had just enough time to pick up our friends, eat, and get dressed for the wedding.

It was a very small affair, but really beautiful. They had the ceremony and reception at the Amadeus Manor not too far from our hotel in Milwaukee. It over looks the river close by and had a perfect view of the hill-side. Unfortunately, their upstairs A/C broke and it was a little hotter than it should have been during the ceremony and reception. The building itself was really cute and built on the hillside. The bottom floor was where the bar and outside patio were for appetizers and cocktails, while the second floor was where the ceremony and reception took place. The third floor was where the bridal party got ready and the second set of restrooms were located. We had to make a break for the bar a patio a few times because we were all sweating up a storm from the heat. It stayed pretty consistently hot the whole time we were there. I guess it was fortunate there was no dance floor or dancing in general because we would have passed out.

The whole thing was over by 10pm, and we were some of the last people to leave the locale. It was still so early! Everyone else decided to continue celebrating by going out for more drinks, but we played it safe and headed back to out hotel room. We had to try to drag ourselves our of bed by 6am. Bleh.

I am now convinced staying in an air-conditioned hotel room fucked up my sinus’ and gave me a minor sinus infection. 😦

We are now in the last few hours of our road trip back home and it’s been hot as FUCK the whole time. Depending on how I feel tomorrow morning I may take another sick day…

In another week we will be attending Anna and Fred’s little Sister’s funeral. I still have a hard accepting that such smart, beautiful, and amazing people decided to take their own lives the same week, days apart. I wish things has been different for them. I wish they could have seen their baby grow up, their brother get married, and I mostly wish they had been happier. Despite all the ups and downs I hope all my friends and family never have to go through anything like this again.

The month isn’t over yet, and summers end is around the corner. I hope I can stay positive and healthy in the days to come because it’s gonna be a bumpy road for a bit.

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Whirlwind

This is the only word to best describe my life for the last couple of months.

  • my manager quit
  • wedding planning got serious
  • training/informing my new manager
  • assessing the budget of our large wedding
  • paper flower making tutorials in action
  • sold out performances for our current show
  • working massive overtime
  • putting out (metaphorical) fires at home and at work
  • coordinating bridesmaids
  • hosting parties
  • and finally, trying to breathe

So…I’ve been swamped to say the least. It has been the most rewarding past few months, but also the craziest. My manager quit, as you saw at the top of my list, so most of time at work has been spent picking up the slack and taking control of the front/box office. I am the last person there who has been with the organization for the last three years. Everyone else quit. Awesome! Right? No not really (insert sarcasm here). Luckily, I am the Master of My Domain! I wish I could be modest on this point, but I’m not. I’ve managed to pull the place together and keep it afloat. I tend to do well in stressful situations, and work well under pressure. On the other hand, I get a little impatient with people from time to time. 🙂

Besides work, which is boring to talk about, I managed to put out another fire with my mother-in-law, who was upset she had just realized that we were not getting married in a church, by a priest. Yeah….crisis averted. We had a heartfelt conversation and let her know that our plans were very clear from the beginning and this was going to happen our way. The way we had planned, since before we were engaged. She wasn’t happy, but she resigned to let us do what we wanted.

I’ve also neglected posting about my wedding crafts, as well as posting photos of our progress. Since I  also recently cracked my phone screen and lost a few photos of our work when I backed up my stuff and it wasn’t properly saved. *sad face* Phone is now fixed, and properly backed up, but I lost a few things. Nothing I can’t live without.

The biggest and best news is that we have SET A DATE! We finally got out venue, The Queen Mary in Long Beach, on September 7th, 2013!! Hallelujah! I apologize in advance if you are not invited. My fiance and I have large Catholic families, and too many friends. I cut our friends list in half just to keep the financial stress off our of parents who have been generous enough to pay for the whole endeavor. If we had a wedding the exact way I wanted it would have been done and over, with no one knowing anything had happened. Then we’d throw a party and SURPRISE! WE’RE MARRIED!!

In other good news, I have had the last two nights in a row off, during a show, due to working too much over time. This last month, and week, have been really difficult, but totally worth it.

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Belated, Yearly Obligatory Family Drama

Time and time again I am plagued by my families stress inducing melodrama. No matter how hard I try to keep myself out of it, they manage to suck me back in.

This year, like every year, my Mother and Grandmother fought over who wasn’t going to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. My Mom was supposed to be working all day, and my Grandma is too old to be cooking the entire dinner by herself, so this year I offered to make Thanksgiving dinner at our house. My first mistake. Before leaving for Spain I made plans to host a Test-Turkey Thanksgiving Potluck at our house. The Turkey came out perfect, everyone showed up and ate almost all the food, I got to see my friends and tell them all about Spain. It was tons of fun, which was great since the actual dinner went….not as planned.

The entire week before Thanksgiving my lovely Mother kept reminding me of how my grandparents might not show up because my Grandmother is a hermit and refused to go anywhere for the holidays, except the mall to shop. I had mentally prepared for my grandparents to not show up for dinner since they’re kinda kooky. No big deal. Then I got more reminders from my Mother about how to cook dinner and what to do. I took it all in and tried to stay positive, she’s only trying to be helpful. No big deal. Then I find out my Mother has decided she is going to come over to my house early to help me cook dinner. I didn’t ask for help, but I kept telling myself it’ll be fine. No big deal. Stay positive, my Mom will probably cook everything and I’ll just be watching her make everything. No big deal.

Morning of Thanksgiving my Mom calls me asks if my boyfriend and pick up her husband, then take him to pick up grandparents, then take them to my house for dinner…..why? Her husband broke his ankle and can’t drive to pick up my grandparents, and he’s the only one who can get my crazy grandparents to leave their house for dinner. Problem #1 was that my boyfriend had planned on visiting his family before our dinner, so he was unable to pick any one up. Problem #2 was my Mother then complaining about the situation. Her response to this predicament was, “Great! I knew we shouldn’t have had dinner at your place! You never think about logistics.” Gee, thanks. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Mom. I asked her to bring her husband with her to my house so he could watch the football game and then go pick up my grandparents once my boyfriend got back, she begrudgingly gave in.

I didn’t know how to deal with this lovely bombshell the morning of Thanksgiving dinner, so I did the girly emotional thing and cried to my boyfriend. How could my Mother say this to me the morning of Thanksgiving? Why couldn’t she just be supportive? Why is my Mother acting crazy? It turns out she and her husband had a fight over the logistics, again, of which I had no knowledge of.

My boyfriend and I clean the entire house, get everything ready, move the table, get more chairs, and waited for my Mom to arrive to “help.” My boyfriend and I just finished eating breakfast when she showed up in a tizzy. She had a cloud hanging over her head the moment she entered to door. Moments later she began barking orders and complaining about how she was thanked for coming over to help, to which I replied, “I never asked you to help. You offered, I didn’t say no, and now you’re acting weird and stressing me out. Please calm down and sit, I’ll get things started.” To which she yelled back, “You don’t even have the oven on! How are you going to help? You haven’t gotten up to do anything.” From there it just got worse. I explained to her she needed to chill out and that I felt she hadn’t been very supportive and I needed her to stop being so rude. She refused, I got more upset, and then I told her she had to leave if she couldn’t calm down and be nice. BOMBSHELL!  She accused me of cussing her out, which didn’t happen, stormed out, and never came back. I was astonished she left, that she acted so bizarre, and most of all that she didn’t think she did anything wrong the entire time. That it was okay for my Mother to miss my first Thanksgiving dinner at my home. I was devastated and worst of all, my boyfriend couldn’t go to see his family because he was too busy consoling me and making sure I didn’t stay on the couch crying the entire night.

After a few moments of self loathing my boyfriend encouraged me to get off the couch and start cooking to occupy my mind, which helped. I hadn’t put the turkey in the oven yet and I still had an entire dinner to make, by myself. Despite the horrible fight I was still excited to make Thanksgiving dinner. A few hours later my Mom decided to text me that my Uncle would be bringing the rest of the family to dinner and that she and her husband were staying home. She had a headache and his foot was bothering him. Awesome. And by awesome I mean WTF!? She apologized via text message and assured me I would still be getting my iPhone 4s for Christmas, because you know, that’s what’s important to me (insert sarcasm).

Que to the crying for another ten minutes, and then back to finishing dinner. Focus on dinner. Focus on cleaning the kitchen. Focus on how good the food will taste. Anything to distract me from being disappointed on Thanksgiving. Que a few hours later and my Uncle, Brother, and family are running late. No big deal, they’re always late. Plus, due to the awesome events of the evening the turkey was running late on being done, so they saved me the trouble of having to worry about it still cooking. The moments turn in to anxious minutes, then an hour, than another.

Finally they arrive!

“Where is grandma and grandpa? Did they come with our other cousin?”

“Yeah…they’re not coming. They decided a few hours ago not to come. Where’s your Mom?”

“Yeah…she’s not coming either.”

Awesome. Luckily for me my Uncle was sympathetic to the “Mom Situation” and proceeded to tell me how dinner would be better without them because they would just stress everyone out and complain the whole time. He said my turkey was the best he’d ever had and they happily ate a bunch of food and took some home with them. It was only the six of us (my boyfriend and I, my Uncle, his Wife, his Daughter and my Brother), but it was the least (at the end of the night) stressful dinner we’ve ever had. I felt better after we had all eaten and had a few drinks with dinner. Even though the day didn’t go as planned I have learned one very important lesson: never volunteer to cook a holiday dinner for my family again. For now.

Every year I tell myself holidays with the family will get better, but some how they just get more complicated. Never again. I’ll just cook a pie next time.

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