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.
Tag Archives: Friends
The end of September is upon us and we have hardly had the time to realize what an impact some people have had on our lives.
Shortly after returning from our Honeymoon we were informed that a local friend had fallen ill and was in the hospital. He had been sick when we saw him the day before our wedding and we gave him our love and a hug before we left town. Within a few days after seeing him in the hospital a small group of friends started planning ways to help him and his family with medical costs. What first was a small barbecue quickly became a collaborative effort of friends and local businesses pulling their resources and manpower to pitch in.
In just over a week we have received almost 100 people who have promised to donate, contribute, and most of all, help our friend Eric when he needs us the most. I’m excited and overwhelmed by the love and responses from people willing to come together and make our city feel like a small town.
My husband and I have lived, worked, and loved being part of Long Beach for almost 10 years. We haven’t known him as long as others, but I can’t imagine a life, or a world, without him in it.
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)!!!
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. 🙂
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.
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.
Since last week life has been a bit more hectic than usual.
Everyone is jumping in to help organize different events in Lisa’s honor, which has been amazing! There’s an art show being organized, a club night being finalized, I’m working out the bugs in the slide show that will be presented at the funeral services with the family. No pressure. Everything has been working out so far, then I ran in to a bit of hurdle when the video software didn’t want to recognize the music we selected….dammit! After running into the video problems last night I wanted to smash the computer, and kept running through ideas in my head about how to go about fixing the audio problem (we have a solution, no worries), but everything seemed futile at the moment. It had just been working fine, right before my friends got there for dinner, and just before I tried to show them the video it decided to stop. Great. Well, we’re working on it, and should have it fixed soon.
I’ve also had this knot of stress building in my left shoulder since last week and it has been coming and going. Some days I want to stab my shoulder in hopes it will destroy the knot, other days I just pop a few pills and try to make it go away. Usually when this type of stressful knot appears I go to a professional massage therapist to have it dealt with, but sadly the funds are low, and I have no time to spare until AFTER the funeral. By then the knot will disappear and act like it never happened, like a bad one night stand that gave me herpes…or something like that.
Last Friday I had a mild break down after I got home from work. Work is a bit of a soap opera at the moment, so when I arrived at the house with the sounds of a busy kitchen, video games, and music, all I wanted was some quite. My boyfriend had to leave for work soon and I suddenly had a feeling of utter and complete dread. I couldn’t function on my own some how. I felt suddenly compelled to hurt everyone within spitting distance, and expel them from my home. I realize they had done nothing wrong, or hurtful, but I wanted everyone to disappear so badly it hurt. I ran away to my bedroom and tried some breathing exercises and stretched my shoulders because I was still in excruciating pain. When the boyfriend came looking for me he tried to help me out and I shunned him. I didn’t want other people touching me either. He politely reminded me he was leaving soon for work….and then I lost it.
I started crying and complaining that I wanted to be alone, I wanted everyone out of my home (it didn’t matter that they lived there too), and I wanted peace and quite.
He sadly sat there in silence and rubbed my shoulder while I whined and cried at the same time. This week was a blur. Every day that’s gone by since Lisa’s died has been hard. Photos, music, video games, knitting, TV on my DVR, talking, drinking, smoking, having dinner with friends, and nothing seems to be able to make me feel better.
I keep trying to remember to “Be strong, that’s what Lisa would do,” but then my shoulders crumble in a ball of pain and all I can think about is smoking another bowl and popping a few pills.
2011 has started with a big slap to my face.
Besides the usual financial and car trouble I usually have this past weekend I was shocked to find out an old (very old) friend of mine died. Her name was Lisa. To write a small tribute doesn’t do her justice. She was vivacious, loud, positive, aggressive, and sometimes (with love) violent. She loved to bite the ones she loved (a trait I picked up from her), and we all took her love willingly. I was in shock when I first heard the news while I was at home. I didn’t want to believe what they were telling me, and I was in denial for a while until I got a second phone call from another friend confirming the news. I won’t go in to details about her death since it is still very painful for all of us to discuss it, and we want to respect the families wishes and not fuel the flames of idle gossip.
I met Lisa while I was in college at CSULB. I had already been working at my college newspaper, and some mutual friends wanted to check out the new Anime Club on campus. I was a bit nervous at first, because I secretly didn’t want to be outed as an Otaku. Then my friends told me it was tons of fun and I should come with them, just once, and see how I liked it. On my first visit to Anime Club I met a group of friends, now dubbed the LB Crew. From that first day onward all of us were inseparable. We did everything together. We had lunch, went shopping, went to the movies, watched anime, played video games, you name it we did, together!
We spent so much time together we all memorized each others school schedules so we knew who was available for lunch dates or movie outings. Our friend Ryan was the only one of us who didn’t live at home at the time and had an apartment in Long Beach not too far from campus. Thus began the LB Crews unofficial home base. Didn’t matter if Ryan was working or in school, we were at his home. Cooking, cleaning, planning, and having fun. We had marathons of Puzzle Fighter, Tetris, and Bust-A-Move instead of doing homework. We had our own Sushi and Prom themed parties where everyone did shots and took pictures with one another. We even helped pack all of Ryan’s things when he had to move out of his apartment! Everyone was there placing things in boxes while he was at work. By then it was Ryan, Shaun, and Lisa who decided to move in together in to another apartment in Long Beach. Her mother was NOT happy about her only daughter moving away from her parents, and we all knew how protective her mother was. She would warn us of her mothers wrath, but we all knew she loved both her parents. She was dedicated to her family and visited them every weekend, no matter what. She never talked about her father much, but some of us knew he was around and that she had two loving parents.
I was still living at home in ELA at the time they moved in together, but it didn’t take long before we were all meeting up at their place again. It was like a second home, a family of friends. We spent almost everyday, every weekend, every birthday together. It all seems like a blur of good times trying to remember all the silly things we did together. Lisa and I began to get closer, gossiping, chatting about our boy problems and trying to figure out our goals in life. I have one vivid memory of us walking to our respective classes together when she was lamenting some problems she was having with her boyfriend at the time, and I told her they would get through it together. I knew how much she loved him, and how much he loved her, and told her how sad I would be to see them breakup. I confided in her that she was one of my best friends and I wanted only the best for her, and I would support her no matter what. She seemed surprised by the revelation, but I meant every word.
I told her everything. As did a LOT of people. She loved to be there for people and listen to their problems. Lisa always had nice and positive things to say, and she never looked back, and encouraged all of us to do better. She was feisty and never held back her opinions on anything, and she had strong opinions on a lot of things. She loved fashion, design work, art, movies, and in my opinion, helped pen the term “Fashionista.” She used this term a lot before I heard it used any where else. Lisa lived with Ryan and Shaun for quite some time before she ventured out on her own and found another apartment two blocks away from the boys. At the time she planned to move in to the new apartment was also when she began to gain popularity with a group of online friends penned Otaku Booty. I was part of this online community for a little while, but Lisa and our other friends were all very popular on the site. Thus began her venture as an online socialite. She was amazing. She knew everyone, and I do mean everyone! Lisa was a multi-tasker. She could have five instant messaging conversations happening, two work projects going, and STILL keep talking to the person in the room with her. Lisa made friends easily, and began to help organize events which led us to gain more friends. They were dubbed (to us at least) the San Diego friends. Lisa never hesitated to visit our SD friends and would drive all over Southern California for all kinds of people she knew. From this online group of friends we made we all began to gather together (in real life) at parties and events where everyone was invited. And our circle of friends grew…
When Lisa found her new apartment one my other best friends named Melody also moved in with her, as well a friend she had made online named Umair, and unknown to her parents her boyfriend, at the time, Saul. The four of them made the place lively and comfortable. Lisa was always mad at Melody for saying they were roommates, not friends. I had brought Melody into the group of friends, by force, and she was immediately welcomed with open arms. I had also become closer to another friend from OB, who happened to be living close by in Long Beach, his name is Julian. With Lisa being busy with work and school, I began to get closer to Julian and Umair. I was also in the middle of a horrible breakup with a boyfriend, and needed to be around people and out of my house. I had already moved out of my parents house by then (a long side story on that later), and lived in Long Beach as well, a few blocks from everyone else. Lisa and I began to grow apart because we were both busy with school, life, and other diversions. I got closer and closer to Umair and Julian.
Then Julian moved to Seattle to live with a cousin and seek better job prospects, and shortly after his move all of us began to split apart.
Lisa loved being the center of attention, and since she was busy with school she began to get jealous that her housemates were hanging out with me, at her home, a lot. Now, in retrospect, I was there too much. However, I wasn’t working a lot, or in school, since I had run out of financial aid and couldn’t afford to attend college any more. I was also going through a rough time with my boyfriend at the time. Life sucked. So it hurt when suddenly Lisa banned me from the house. I knew it was bound to happen eventually, but it felt like I was banished from my second home. I tried to stay away, and not fuel the fire, but I couldn’t keep myself away from them for too long. I loved them. All of them. And especially Lisa. Even though I knew she was mad at me I couldn’t stay away. She was like a drug I couldn’t be without, and when I was away I felt alone and confused and didn’t know what do to with myself.
My friends were like my family.
Shortly after she had a falling out with Umair when he moved out, Lisa and I started to clash. Our spitfire personalities didn’t allow us to take a moment and realize what we were doing to each other. Some harsh words were written, exchanged, and passed along to others until finally we were no longer on speaking terms.
I was alone. Lost without my friends, and without my confidant. Sure, Melody is my best friend, but Lisa was there, everyday, up until we stopped talking. It was the beginning of the end.
I kept my distance because I didn’t want to cross paths with her wrath, our friends kept us separated because they didn’t want to take sides or see us fight. In the end what really kept us apart was our stubbornness and pride. I regret not sucking it up and confronting her with our issues so we could move on as friends. I regret not being there for her when Saul and her broke up. I regret not seeing her graduate from college. I mostly regret not being there for the last birthday she celebrated without me.
Over the last two years I started to reconnect with my old college friends and LB Crew, and every time we got together I felt she should be there as well. I even had thoughts of reaching out to her in hopes of having her at my 30th birthday party next month, and now she’ll never get to celebrate her own 30th birthday.
These past few days have been hard on us all. Each of us is coping in their own way. I will always miss and love Lisa no matter what, and I hope I can live my life to the fullest like she would have done. She never looked back and worked her hardest to be the best, and I hope I can do the same in her honor.
About a month ago I got to reconnect to an old childhood friend from East Los Angeles. She and I had found each other on Facebook (like you do) and was in town visiting her mother who still lives in our old neighborhood. So we planned ahead and decided to meet up while she was in town. She came to meet me in Long Beach, with her new girlfriend and the girlfriends two daughters, so we could eat, drink, and talk. We visited the coffee shop my boyfriend works at and talked over coffee and hot chocolate with the kids. I happened to have a few photos of us right before she left Southern California for Bakersfield and started showing them to her girlfriend and the kids.
It was a blast from the past!
Recently she posted a comment (I’m not a FB stalker I swear!) on FB about missing her father around this time of year. He passed away years ago while I was in high school. I still remember the day she came to see me at my home, behind my grandfather’s Barbershop, and I still remember the look on her face. I asked what was wrong and all she said was, “My father’s died.” I immediately grabbed and hugged her and started to cry. We stood there in the doorway crying for what seemed like forever. Afterward she told me he had died of an apparent heart attack. They suspected he was having an affair and tried the new drug (at the time) Viagra. He was driving at the time of the heart attack and the police found his car on the side of the freeway with him the driver’s seat not responding.
Despite the alleged affair he was a good man, loving father, and a wonderful person to me. Growing up I had to take the bus to high school and while waiting for the bus one day my friend and her parents drove by and offered me a ride. Unknown to me at the time, they had a routine of picking up donuts and coffee before driving my friend and I to school. Being nervous and slightly obsessive about being on time to school I, at first, started to become frantic every time we went to the donut shop. However, over time they continued to offer me a ride to school and I always said yes, even if we were going to be late. I started to appreciate the time I spent with her and her family at the donut shop and loved hanging out with them, all the time, even after school. I was a constant that her parents appreciated. Being strict Catholic and Mexican parents she wasn’t allowed to be around boys, at all, and being female I was always welcome in to their home. She was even allowed to hang out at my home without her parents being overly possessive (which they were). Her mother was especially protective and wouldn’t even allow male friends to call her at home. Her mother would hang up on all of them if they tried to contact her. Which is where I came in. I would be the messenger between her and the small number of boyfriends she had through high school.
Of course, after she graduated high school (she is two years older than me) and started classes at the East Los Angeles Community College (ELAC) we still stayed in touch. She was my only friend who drove at the time so all of us would pile in to her car blast the Beastie Boys songs and sing to the lyrics as we cruised down Hollywood Blvd, or our neighborhood. We hung out at the only Starbucks in ELA and became Mallrats at the Montebello Mall. We spent all of our free time together. This was also the time she came out to us, her close friends, as a lesbian. I had no idea, but was never bothered by the news. She also confided in us that her father knew she was gay before he died, even her church Priest knew, but not her mother. Right after she graduated high school and started at ELAC she started to live a double life. Her outside home life: open, out of the closet, and free. Her home life: closeted, secretive, and restricted. Her mother was so in the dark about her homosexuality that my friend had her girlfriend sleep over many many times and her mother never suspected a thing! She got away with a lot in those days. We all did.
I was the only girl in our small group who didn’t have strict religious parents so my home was a haven for a lot of my friends who had bad family lives. My mother knew her parents, and her parents trusted my mother and I. Thinking back on that time in my life I realized I could have done a lot worse. Of course I lied to my parents some times, but I was always home at the end of the night and my grades never faltered. I don’t have very many close childhood friends, but the ones I do have are very important to me. Growing up in ELA all of my friends had religious and strict parents. It was inescapable. We covered for each other, we kept secrets for each other, we looked out for one another. We were close.
I miss those days, but what I miss more are my friends.