Monday, November 30, 2009
Mom and Grandma focused on the turkey, potatoes, gravy and stuffing and I managed to make two fabulous Nutter-Butter, Peanut-Butter pies (yup, the exact ones they serve at Outback Steakhouse). In addition to that I tried a new recipe for Epicurean Peas which turned out so tasty (hit me up if you want the recipe), candied yams, string bean casserole, clam dip with chips, 5 cup fruit salad, and deviled eggs.
It was a fest, a very yummy feast, and I've been eating leftovers ever since. Actually, yesterday I made a fabulous turkey noodle soup that we'll be eating most of this week.
Although the food was great, I have decided that Thanksgiving is a ton of work, for the women specifically. My father literally slept on the couch all day, half in and out of a daze while the football game roared in the background as all the women worked their butts off in the kitchen. How would it be? How would it be to sit/sleep around on a couch all day waiting for a meal, get up and eat the meal, and walk right back to the couch to lay down and have your after meal slumber? I personally have never had the luxury of experiencing this (unless sick) because I'm usually the one in the kitchen prepping the meal and cleaning it up afterwards.
Even when I was younger, there were dishes to be done, tables to clear off, and mom always needed help with something (and it's no wonder she did considering my father and brother were in the living room in front of the TV before a plate could hit the dishwasher). Yup, cooking and cleaning up the mess were always left up to me, Mom and Grandma. I think lightening would strike if my dad or brother were to lift a finger in the kitchen, let alone clean up the after meal mess.
So, future children of mine, listen up. I don't care if you're my daughter or son. You will be helping out in the kitchen. This means you will be helping set and clear the table and you will be helping with the dirty dishes. I don't care if the football game of a lifetime is on, if you eat it, you'll help clean up the mess. I'm no Donna Reed folks. Everyone will shoulder a load in my house hold.
And thanks to my hubby who helped me put up the Christmas tree this weekend, and who also cleaned up the kitchen and did laundry yesterday. Extra points for you (now if you could only get those rotting pumpkins off the back deck considering I've been asking you to do it for a month now) :)
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
As a marketing manager, I think it's funny that I'm supposed to help contribute to the bottom line and brainstorm fantastic marketing ideas that change the way we do business, when I'm cast away in a little neutral-colored box of a cubical all day, every day, week after week, month after month, year after year. This environment hardly fosters creativity (and as of lately, my productivity).
I'm tired. I'm tired of conforming to corporate America. Why? Because it sux. And it's unhealthy. And because it's probably one of the top three things that contributes to societal disease and poor health (both psychically and mentally). The human body houses a magnificent organ, the brain. Designed to think, process, create, evaluate, feel, remember, plan, and simply be. And yet society mentally sufferers from diseases like anxiety, depression, memory loss, lack of creativity, etc... I really think corporate America is to blame for much of this.
My brain is more alive and functioning on any given weekend than it is on a weekday. BECAUSE IT'S FREE! Free to think and be, free from three walls covered in textured tan cloth that's freckled with straight pins holding up colorless letters, notes, reminders and really nothing of any importance. I'm free from the computer monitor that I am forced to stare at from Monday through Friday, checking email and typing away the boring "same ole, same ole." On weekends, I'm free from constant emails and meeting reminders and messages of "high importance" and other rifraf. I can breathe in a space larger than a shoe box, it it works wonders on my body, folks.
I am slowly dying here. I'm 29 years old and I'm already wishing I were days away from my retirement. Call me crazy but I totally miss school. Even the educational system is somewhat better than the vanilla, corporate working-world. At least school encourages creativity and personal growth . All corporate America is interested in is the growth of companies. People are getting used, discarded and forgotten.
We've lost touch folks. And we've done it all for the sake of a pay check. That one piece of paper that controls our lives and destination, simply because we have bills. Bills to pay and debt to decrease. And unfortunately, as I try to escape the mundane existence of the work week, my debt increases in spontaneous escapades disguised as short-term solutions to help me escape the madness. And thus the cycle continues.
I've been sitting in a cubicle for almost 8 years now (which is probably a lot less than some people reading this but nonetheless, it's still 8 years too long). And I'm tired of it.
Monday, November 16, 2009
I usually wait until the day after Thanksgiving to put up everything. But this year I'm having the family to my house for Thanksgiving (which is going to be fun and exciting considering it's my first year in my home). And because I know my mother, grandmother, and I will be hitting the malls on Black Friday for Christmas shopping galore, I realized I wouldn't have that day to put up decorations. Therefore, I got a head start.
I didn't go all sorts of crazy. For example, my tree isn't up yet. Mainly because I'm putting it up on display in the formal living room in front of the bay window and I don't need the entire neighborhood seeing it and thinking that I've lost my mind (which wouldn't be far from the truth on some days). So yeah, I'll probably wait till next week to put that one up. Maybe I'll put it up on Saturday since I know there's another snow storm coming in. We'll see.
So what is up? Well, my mantle is decorated with red and white lights, large pearl and cappuccino colored bulbs, white wood cut outs of stars, pine cones, and holly berries. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care (I actually have a chimney now), and an old fashioned rocking horse and wooden sleigh sit on the hearth by the fire.
My staircase has garland wrapped around the railing also adorned with stars, snowflakes, holly berries, and pine cones. And I managed to whip out the Christmas-smelling candle. Michael pitched a mini fit in the family room yesterday stomping his feet on the floor while whining "And it has to smell like Christmas in here too?! That's just torture, cuz Christmas is like forever away!"
Did I mention I may never need children? My husband sorta fills that void at times.
I love how cozy the house feels. I totally enjoy bundling up at home on long winter nights, enjoying the lights, the smells, and the homey feeling that the holidays and all the decorations can bestow upon us.
Next up will be the Christmas music. I might bust that out on Saturday as I decorate the tree. I wonder what my hubby will think of that. I'm sure he'll flee to the man-cave where he can have control of the remote and watch football all day.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Billy was the type of friend that I could pick up with no matter where we left off. The last time I saw her it was like time hadn't passed. She looked the same, smiled the same, acted the same, and therefore, our friendship was the same. It never went anywhere. Even while we were off exploring life after high school, our friendship foundation stood solid.
Maybe that's why I'm having such a hard time with this. Death is never easy, but a death you can't understand is never going to get easier to accept. They say there are some things that only time can heal, and I think the loss of Billy is one of them.
I didn't recognize her beautiful face at her Vigil. I didn't know the person in that casket. I'm haunted by that. Was her illness so grave that it distorted the way she appeared even in death? Or was her process of death so stressful on her body that it changed her body beyond the point of recognition? I wish I knew. The morbid, humanly curious side of me wants to know what happened when she was in that room all alone. I think a part of me needs to know so I can put to rest these haunting images I have. If it can be explained away, I'll feel better.
Except really, I won't.
Today, I really feel that Billy is at peace. It's like she is settling into her new existence. Her body has been blessed and buried in it's final resting place, and Billy is resting now too. Except this time she can rest without taking her little white and yellow pills. She can actually rest without worrying about what tomorrow is going to bring, and the next day and the next day. She finally found peace.
I wish I could. Isn't it strange how the person who leaves us behind gets to be a peace, while we suffer the loss? Ironic isn't it? And yet, Billy wanted peace so badly that even though I'm hurting, I can't blame her for ultimately seeking what she was so desperate for.
Mental illness is such a strange disease. It's not like cancer. You can visually see the effects of cancer on a person. And not to discount cancer because it is a horrible disease (any disease that takes a human life is horrible), but I'm just trying to say that it's more difficult to see how mental illness can destroy a person. It's like the silent demon that haunts and torments.
I keep thinking of all the wonderful things people have had to say about Billy over the past week. And yes, we tend to memorialize the dead through words of compassion because that's what we do. We're human and that's what helps us to cope. But the kind words people had to say about Billy were so touching because they were true. They really were honestly true in her case. She loved with passion, she lived with passion, and she never failed to let anyone know that she cared about them. It's so heartbreaking to know that such an angelic person (despite her sailor mouth and sporadic nuances) was haunted by such demons. I think she fought the best she could, and in the end made a self sacrificing decision in what she thought was the best judgement, for her husband and two girls.
I fear these demons myself at times. Although I can safely say that I have not experienced half of what Billy ever went through, I do know I have felt empty, alone, and sad. But who hasn't right? I guess my question is how big is the grey area? Obviously mental illness isn't black or white. I think so many symptoms of this type of disease are also common symptoms of an anxiety or depression that we have all felt and one point or another in our lives. We're human. We're not always up, and we're not always down. But how do you know when these "common symptoms" become not so common and set you aside from "normal" emotions?
It's a scary thing. And I'm sure Billy was scared too. But because she completed suicide, and because she was such a strong-willed, determined person, a part of me has to acknowledge her courage. I would be afraid to be lying in a bed alone in some psychiatric unit and having thoughts about my death. I would scare myself to actually wrap bed sheets around my neck and stare death in the face. Billy wasn't. Perhaps she was so desperate for peace that the fear was not as great as the will to find eternal rest. Perhaps her decision brought her this peace and she knew it was the right thing for her. And perhaps she was so certain that this was the best thing for her family (although I would disagree with her) that she wasn't afraid of what she was about to do.
I wonder if before she prepared to die, if she thought about what her funeral would be like, who would be there, who would weep, and where they would lay her body to rest. I wonder if she thought about these things or even cared. And maybe she put all her faith and trust in her husband knowing that whatever he chose for her would be perfect.
I won't apologize for writing these thoughts down. I'm being perfectly honest in what has been running through my mind all week (among more positive thoughts and memories of her, and trying to understand all this). I am just trying to cope I suppose, and this is one way I'm trying to do so.
Although there is so much I don't know about Billy's death, I do know that in her death she taught me that the only thing that's really important while we're here on Earth are the relationships we have with the people in our lives. How much we love them, how much we let them know we love them, how generous we are with them, and how we make them feel. Billy was a generous friend to me. She always had an ear or a helping hand. She always had a hug, a laugh and a smile. I hope when my time comes, whenever that may be, I will leave behind the kind of relationships with others that I had with Billy. And I do find comfort in having learned this lesson. I just wish it didn't take death in which to learn.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Billy- I miss you. There's no other way to say it. My heart aches right now and my mind is overflowing with images of our shared experiences. I never knew you were hurting as bad as you were and that makes me hurt for not knowing. I suspected you were having a rough go at things, but in knowing how strong you are and what a supportive husband you have, I figured this was a little bump in the road. One that would have a small effect on the overall grandness of your life.
I was so wrong. And I have regret that I didn't know how bad things were. I'm sorry.
You were so alive in life! You filled a room with your personality. I remember your blue eyes, always your blue eyes full of life and expression and a huge smile. Yes Billy, your eyes smiled.
And your laugh, I love your laugh. It was so infectious. It was such a healthy, uplifting, and cozy laugh. I felt at home around you. I should have told that. I guess I tried to express that during our experiences together. And we had so many that I will treasure.
The Timpanogos Story Telling festival! What a trip that was! The day we met Juston and the birth of new friendships- life-long friendships. And what great story tellers we were (Tom Hanks' and Steven Spielberg's daughters). Juston- thanks for playing along.
The Shakespearian festival in Cedar City. I love that we bought those fairy crowns for our heads with the colorful ribbons streaming down them and wore them all over to all the shows. I was having a hard time that week due to things going on in my family and you helped me to forget them and have a wonderful time. Remember the carriage ride we took that wasn't pulled by a horse but actually a man riding a bike? Crazy and fun all at the same time.
Agnes of God and our superior rankings. We kicked some major theatrical ass down at Emery High School. Gotta love it when the last two teams that are finalists for the toughest category in the competition are from Carbon High. High five's to both Morgan and Nick for being our competition. We did RJ proud that year. And ourselves. That was a tough scene and we mastered it beautifully if I say so myself. Go us :)
Be still my heart. Steel Magnolias was the best theatre experience I've ever had. And I love how you and I basically told RJ that it was how we wanted to end our senior year. It was the show we were going to do, no if's, and's, or but's. And I love how we already knew who was going to be who in the cast because WE cast the show by letting RJ know who was who. If only it really worked that way with all directors right? :) I couldn't have done that show without you. We were definitely a team, a good team, and you made that show a beautiful production. You will forever be Shelby in my eyes. I had no idea that years after that show I'd be crying real tears. I'm not ready, nor do I want to say goodbye, Billy. The timing just doesn't seem real. Although I know how spontaneous you were, this timing just dosn't seem right.
Elevator Rockettes in Time Square at the Marriott Marquis, what a kick in the pants. And the fact that even though there was a king-sized bed in our awesome grand-master suite (shared by six girls), I love that you and I had the lame little twin beds. You had the best idea ever to push them up against the glass wall that lined Time Square so we could fall asleep to the lights and sounds of New York. And how is it that not one girl in our room had a key and all the boys from our group (in the regular hotel room on the floor below us) did?! That was the best trip ever. Sure, there was the time we were startled a little bit by the crazy man that decided to chase us back to the hotel, but it made for a great story.
Oh, and thanks for standing by my side when I finally got sick of K.R. and told her to stick her cell phone and day planner where the sun don't shine. Who did she think she was to stuff the safe in our hotel room with all of her belongings when there were six of us total?! You gave me strength to stand up to her. And I won't ever forget how we jammed those (then totally awesome because they had "Mariott Marquis" embroidered on them) robes into our suit cases before leaving for Washington. Thanks Gloria, our awesome maid from Jamacia who watched her soaps while cleaning our room, for promising not to tell management.
I'm glad we finally figured out where all those pennies were coming from in the dining room too *cough* and Mr. Pennysworth (said with an English accent of course) was born. Enter Tracy and his watch that was so good at letting drama students know when it was time to get off the stage.
Oh, and having the all points bulletin put out on a 5'0 girl in a tan shirt and "mocha skirt" was just fabulous. How in the world did we manage to walk into the bathroom at the same time and walk out alone and looking for each other? Thanks for losing me... I was scared shitless as I sat there with my firecracker ice-pop in the middle of a tornado hoping to see some familiar faces on the steps of the Air and Space Museum. But you showed up with that infectious laugh, a warming smile and a huge hug. And then we immediately started laughing about how the entire employee base of the Smithsonian was on the lookout for a missing girl. Good to know you have friends who care about you enough to make sure you're found. Even it it does mean escalating the emergency in Washington DC of all places. I'm feelin' the love. (And getting our picture taken with the plastic Jesus on the steps of the US Capitol wasn't half bad either.)
Then there were the "secret agent" men who tried to take our cameras away for taking pictures outside of the White House as we were waiting in line for the tour. We talked them into posing for a picture and promised that we wouldn't share the film with anyone. How silly those five minutes were, and yet so memorable.
Speaking of pictures, we managed to take some awesome ones at the Korean Memorial and Vietnam Wall. "Freedom isn't Free" but you are now. And I hope you've found peace.
I'll forever smile over the fun we had in class with RJ, Rodney, call him what we will (and we did). I'll never forget the fun we had with your awesome impersonation of Nell (poor Anta-tay and his oopy-tay). I guess you're Tay'ayin in the win somewhere now. But I'm glad to know you're there :)
I have countless memories, stories, pictures, smiles, and just good times that I will forever hang on to. You are one of those spirits that a person can't forget. Full of fun, energy, love and life.
My heart is aching. It broke when I heard the news, and I don't think I'm ready to try and put it back together yet. I need to cry a little, hurt a little, and hold on to a past that is fleeting. I wish I would have known the extent of your pain. I wish I could have given you what you gave me so many years ago when I was so unsure of myself: Courage, strength, and confidence. I always admired you for those qualities. And beyond those things, your beauty as well.
I hurt that you were in so much pain, and I don't think I'll ever understand how you felt. I'll never understand why you did what you did. But I'll always love you for the person I knew you to be. I choose to remember the Billy I just wrote about. I choose to remember you as the person who touched everyone she met, in a good way, an amazing way.
I will miss you Billy. I already feel the loss of you not being here. Just last week I posted a quote from Steel Magnolias on your Facebook page, in fond memory of the good times we had during that show. And I laughed to myself as I posted it because I knew it would bring back inside jokes and funny memories for you too.
Closing night of Steel Magnolias, January 1998
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Before email existed, and the World Wide Web
When the only worry for the day was building the best sand castle
And if Mom cut the crusts off of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Before heartaches and monthly payments
When the only concern was what night game to play
And how long before Mom noticed it was bed time
Having faith again
Before understanding what hatred felt like
When bad guys were the ones you chased while playing cops and robbers
And there were fireflies to catch with your bare hands and old mason jars
Before people let you down
When the only question was who got to be the green Hungry Hippo
And He-man and Optimus Prime were the tried and true heroes
A child again
Before working a 40 work week
Taking naps on a blanket in the sun with a good book
And Dad provided quarters to purchase Long-Pops from the ice cream man
What it was like to feel alive
Before reality promised a different outcome
When wishes on falling stars were never wasted
And there were still fireflies left to catch
Monday, November 2, 2009
Michael and I didn't really do anything that exciting (which was fine by me considering the weekend before we carved a billion pumpkins and had a party). I was worn out and Michael was craving chili so we had a night in.
We ran a few errands earlier that day (lots of dressed up people at the Target), got our grocery shopping done, and came home. I started making Michael's request (a big ole pot of chili) while Michael ran to the video store and picked up some scary movies.
This was our first Halloween in our new home so we didn't know how many trick-or-treaters to expect. I wasn't planning on many considering the church up and around the corner from us had a "trunk-or-treat" the night before.
I'm glad the community plans activities that are safe for the children, but I also know how much fun I had as a child running from door to door gathering up as much candy as possible. My brother and I usually had to make at least one pit stop at home to dump out our bags as they were completely full before we set off to trick-or-treat the other half of the neighborhood. I grew up in a small town and we trick-or-treated old school style. This is how I want my kids to experience Halloween too. So I imagine that whenever this holiday falls on a Friday or Saturday night, we'll load up and head to my parents so my children can trick-or-treat the neighborhoods I did as a child. I just don't see how any trunk-or-treat can compete with the real thing.
As the chili was brewin, I also got to work on deviled eggs. I mean, is there a more approrpiate time than Halloween to have such eggs? In addition to this I also made up a chocolate zucchini cake which I must say turned out ever so tastey. I'll post the recipe on here.
KeeLee patroled the livingroom window from her guard post so I knew way in advance when little gobblins, devils, witches, and ghosts were making their way up my driveway. KeeLee was so riled up about all the little visitors that I think she thought Sunday was Halloween too. Every little noise she heard caused her to bark, growl, and run to the door with her tail wagging (she loves people).
After enjoying our Halloween fest, Michael and I popped in our first choice scary movie "The Orphan" which was quite disturbing. And after that, we went to bed.
Yup, exciting times and yet, I was more than satisfied with a quiet night in :)