Tuesday, December 29, 2009

And Now for Your Entertainment...

Why is it when people go to the movies they can't seem to abide by two simple rules:
  1. Turn off your cell phone. This means TURN IT OFF. Do not text, do not make a call, do not answer a call (if it's off, you shouldn't even be getting a call). If you can't handle 2 hours of cell-phone free entertainment, then you're probably not a good candidate for going to see movies in the theatre. Just rent them and stay at home (you'll be doing the rest of us a huge favor, really).
  2. SHUT UP! I didn't pay to listen to you talk about your boyfriend, the latte you had this morning at Starbucks, or how your brother knows someone who knows someone who is related to what's his face in the movie. I paid to watch the movie, free of your voice and commentary. So stuff that hole in your face with some popcorn or something (whatever it takes, just shut it).
Thanks for your cooperation.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Freakin Christmas

Christmas. BLEAH.

For the past several years, Christmas has taken a downhill turn in the Leo household. It first began the year Dallas and his girlfriend Lindsey broke up right before the holidays. Having lost who he thought was the love of his life, there was a dark rain cloud that followed my brother after every "Merry Christmas" that rang through our decked out hall.

The following year, Dallas got engaged to the same girl who had previously broken his heart just 12 months prior. Lindsey was the girl none of us thought he should be marrying. The day after Christmas, with rocks in our stomachs over the engagement, we all sat around the kitchen table listening to the argument that took place in the hallway between Dallas and Lindsey about another rock: how large her diamond should be (in Lindsey's mind, she was going to get exactly what she wanted or she wasn't going to be happy- yeah shocker). We were crossing our fingers that this fight would be their last instead of their first of many. Were we ever wrong.

That Christmas holds a special place in my heart... ruined by the fact that two people who were so wrong for each other were planning the "I Do's" and a future together.

The next Christmas I proceeded to bring my fiancé home for what I thought would be a wonderful year, only to have him and my entire family make me the brunt of every.single.joke. Now I can tease, and I can take being teased, but when I was expecting to come home for an exciting Christmas full of loving memories, I was quickly soured by the taste of sarcasm that never quit, long after the invited comedic timing.

I don't really remember the Christmas after that one, so that just goes to show you how memorable IT was. Except I believe that is the year I brought my new puppy home and our existing terrier went straight for her neck in the hallway, almost causing a puppy-dog-death.

Last year, both Michael and I were under the stress of closing on our new home (which happened to fall on Jan 5th) and waiting upon Michael's security clearance so he could go to work for homeland security.

These fond memories bring me to THIS year. Dallas is in the midst of a divorce (yeah, see above paragraphs about two people who should have never been married) so I didn't really expect a merry and bright holiday. I was planning on a nice quiet holiday at home with family, some movies, a card game or two, and just being together... LIKE FAMILIES DO AT CHRISTMAS. However what I got was the entire town of Price in my parents' house. When we first arrived, my dad had two clients who just HAD to have their animals measured (my dad measures for Pope n' Young). Why I ask you? WHY IN THE WORLD do you just HAVE to have your dead animal measured at my house on Christmas Eve? Don't you have anything better to be doing?

THEN the rest of the town that hadn't yet showed up decided to bombard my parents' kitchen. The drinking began at 5:30 and I don't believe it stopped until 1:30. It's kinda of weird to feel like a stranger in your own home, especially at Christmas. Our basement isn't really finished (it is, but not with a family room or anything) so there's really no place to escape the madness of 15 drunk people in your home that you don't really know. The way our house plan is arranged makes quiet time impossible. We have somewhat of an "open floor plan" so when there are 500 people in your kitchen, you can't really sit down to watch a movie or TV in the living room.

When there are 500 people in your kitchen (which is just off the dining room and family) you can't really sit down and visit with anyone without hearing drunken, unnecessary stories being told.

AND- on Christmas morning, when the phone starts ringing at 10:00 and the door bell starts ringing at 10:30, you can't really enjoy Christmas morning breakfast with the family.

It seriously makes me wonder- do these people who are bombarding our home, have families of their own to spend Christmas with? Don't they have a mother and father they'd like to have Christmas dinner with? I mean, they drove all the way to this God-forsaken town to visit someone other than us- so why are they not WITH THEIR FAMILY as I would like to be with mine?

Oh and I didn't mention that every single time the door bell would ring, 3 dogs would have to run from one end of the house to the other barking furiously not only AT the guests, but then one another.

In the rare but quiet moments that did exist today, my mother and I sat down and tried to watch a movie. That happened for all of 30 minutes. It was lovely while it lasted....oh wait, it didn't last. It was over before I could even start enjoying myself.

I guess in my mind, (and hopes, and wishes, and dreams that will probably never come true), Christmas will one day consist of 12 hours where I can actually sit down with my loved ones and spend time with them... either watching a movie, or playing a card game, or visiting, or WHATEVER.... but I'll actually be able to BE with them, instead of be a stranger within the four walls called "home".

If that holiday ever comes to pass, I fear it will be because I refuse to drive to Price to (not) spend time with my family. I can easily be a stranger in my own home, alone on the holidays and probably enjoy myself more than I have the past 24 hours in this zoo.

Call me mean, selfish, bratty, cruel, I don't really care what you call it. I call it sad. Sad because I honestly haven't had a fond memory of Christmas in at least 5 years. At a time where there is so much to be thankful for, I honestly feel alone.

...And I shit you not, the door bell just rang. AGAIN.

Merry Freakin' Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I'm doing my best, stepping ever so lightly
To avoid the pin-prick of needles engulfing me whole
But a wrench is wrapped 'round my heart squeezing tightly
Forcing pain to spill out and splash upon my soul

A crimson pool now ripples, colliding with my spirit
I know I must face this hang-over without an elixir
And although there are moments I can barely hear it
I sense a bystander nearby whispering "Fix her"

Time speeds up but I walk aimlessly
Feeling backwards and numb
While the ghostly apparition taunts me shamelessly
I choke on the words "She's done"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Have Yourself a Little Merry...

So although I'm excited for some holiday vacation time away from the office, I'm not totally stoked about Christmas this year.

It's funny because it seems the older I get, the harder a time I have feeling the Christmas spirit. For Michael and I, this is our first Christmas in our new home, and all through November I was so excited to decorate for Christmas. I'm really happy with the way everything turned out, it's very cozy and warm, but that Christmas spirit is kind of missing this year.

I'm not sure if it's because I'm getting older and with each year comes the higher realization that Christmas is such a commercialized event, or if it's the fact that Michael and I don't have any little kiddos running around the house just yet (because c'mon, kids really are the ones to make Christmas exciting), or if it's because of all the blahs I've been surrounded by. Not sure if it's a little from Column A and a little from Column B combined with Column C, or if it's one particular thing specifically, but regardless of what it is... it isn't what I'm used to feeling around Christmas.

For the past three years, I've always anticipated the holidays because I knew that was when I would get to spend a solid two weeks (or at least close to two weeks) with Michael because I knew he'd be coming home to me for the holidays. When you have to go two to four months between visits, it's pretty damn exciting when you get to see one another. This year, Michael is already here-- and don't get me wrong, that's a WONDERFUL thing, but now I'm looking for that something else to provide Christmas excitement.

Two posts ago I wrote about how fragile life is in general. It's been a rough three months in terms of loss, and just all around dumpiness in terms of friends and family losing loved ones. And it seems that dark cloud didn't exclude us as I learned of the death of a relationship: My brother's relationship with his soon to be ex-wife.

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Dallas told us that he and his wife were getting a divorce. This came as quite a shock to Dallas as the decision wasn't a mutual one; rather, he was told by his soon to be ex that she wanted a divorce.

Now Dallas isn't perfect, and I'm sure he contributed to the conflict in the marriage (after all, there's two sides to every story and it takes two people to fall in- and out- of love). However, Dallas is my brother, and therefore my alliance is with him. I hate to see him heartbroken. I hate to see him so angry about all of this. I hate to see him disappointed that he has to move back in with mom and dad and live in the basement. So needless to say, going home for Christmas this year is going to be a tad bit depressing. Mom already warned me that they're not really in the Christmas spirit right now. She didn't even want to put the tree up because nobody feels like being festive, and I totally understand (although she put it up anyway in an attempt to be merry and bright).

So yeah, I'm not really looking forward to celebrating this year. I'm not really looking forward to driving home and experiencing first hand, the gloom that must be lingering among the festive packages and bows.

But that's life right? It's not always going to be good times. It's not always going to be perfect. But at least I have a family to drive home to. At least my brother is alive and well (although heartbroken and angry). At least we get to be together even though we aren't the merriest of families at the moment. We have to stick together through the good and the bad, Christmas or not. Because that's what families do.

Things could always be worse. I'm learning that as I get older (funny how that happens).

But a tiny little part of me (the selfish part of me) is wishing things could be a little merrier. After all, it is Christmas, right?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Straight No Chaser

I have been singing since I realized I had a voice. When I was a little girl, there would be mornings where I'd wake up and lay in bed singing to myself. My dad often came in to tell me he liked my song, or simply to ask what I was singing. In first grade I was one of the 6 soloists selected for the school Christmas play. That was a lot of fun.

I went on the join many choirs through the years. I spent all 4 years of college singing with both the Women's and Chamber choirs, touring Portland Oregon, and also performing in New York on Easter Sunday on the stage of Carnegie Hall.

Needless to say, I have a huge love in my heart for music. And I appreciate the talent, dedication, and hard work it takes to make a song take flight from the paper upon which it was written.

I guess that's why when I come across stuff like this, I can't help but share and exclaim "HOW AWESOME!!!"

So enjoy. Even if you aren't a singer, you'll appreciate how HARD these guys work at what they do:


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


It's no secret that I suffer from anxiety. Even when I was a little girl I worried about the silliest things and had a hard time being patient.

Things haven't changed.

I still worry like crazy over things that are completely out of my control. And I'm not referring to little things like "What am I going to make for dinner?" or "What should I wear to work tomorrow?" No, I don't stress over the little things. It's the big things that keep me up at night.

Big things like:
  • What would I do if my parents were killed in a horrible car accident?
  • How would I cope with losing my husband?
  • When is my mom/dad going to come home from a doctor's appointment and announce they have some horrible, terminal illness?
  • What would I do if I lost one of my closest friends?

You see, the things I worry about aren't specifically about me per say, but more about the loss I might endure. I don't worry that I will get killed, or have some illness. No, I worry that someone I love will and that I'll then be left with nothing but a void in my life.

I don't know where these fears come from. I don't know why I can't just say to myself that I'm being silly and overreacting about something that is not likely to happen. I could say that. But then I'd be a total liar. Because things like this do happen. Because things like this happen to people I know. Because I don't have anything better to worry about, I guess.

The month of November has been a shitty one to say the least. Ironic that it's also the month where a holiday falls, a specific holiday that reminds us of all we have to be thankful for. I probably thought more this month about what I have to be thankful for, than I have any other month in my life. Why? Because the very things I fear were thrown in my face and seemed to be a constant reminder of just exactly what I have and haven't lost.

To be specific?

The loss of Billy. A loving, caring person whose pain seemed so unimaginable to her, that the only solution she could find peace in was suicide. And now I'm left reading facebook updates from her widowed husband about the void she's left in their life, and how it's just him and his two daughters left behind. My heart aches for that man every day.

The loss of Mindy's father. Mindy is a girl I grew up with. We were close all through school. She and I even competed on the same team that traveled to national competitions two years in a row. I had sleep overs at her house. I threw her a surprise party for her birthday one year. I love her sweet spirit and often we discuss our military husbands and how funny/ironic life can be. She's my age, her parents are my age. And she's now suffering from one of the things I fear the most. Five days before Thanksgiving, her father went on a bike ride just as he has done every night for years past. Only this time, he didn't come home from his ride. His body was found a day later in a ditch a little ways from his home. He suffered a massive heart attack. I've been thinking of Mindy and her mother so much these past few days. My heart hurts for them.

My old next door neighbor Iris. She was killed two weeks ago in a car accident in the canyon my family and I have traveled through for years (Spanish Fork). There were two others in the vehicle with her and they are fine, but Iris is gone. She leaves behind a husband, a daughter, and a son. I can't imagine what they are going through right now. Shock, pain, anger, sadness, and whatever else you feel when you grieve the loss of a loved one.

I could go on. There's more that saddens me, but I don't want that to be the point of this blog. If anything, I want to express how lucky I feel, how thankful I am that I have loved ones in my life who are healthy and full of spirit.

I want to express that I have a strong faith in Christ. Even though I'm not a church goer of any sorts, I know without a doubt that God exists. I always have. My mother told me that at the age of three I wanted to know all about God. I think that's a pretty darn young age to be thinking about such grand things, but I was a very curious little girl. I have always had a faith that nothing can touch. And although I don't question that faith, I can't explain why suffer from such anxieties. I guess it's because I'm learning, first hand, just how precious life is.

I remember being young and hearing sad stories of people who had died due to tragic circumstances and thinking to myself "That won't ever happen to my family." I had this sort of invincible outlook on life. We were a happy family, a strong family, and I guess in my young little mind, that meant we were excused from any tragic sadness and loss. And although my family has never personally experienced something like that (thank goodness), I now know we aren't exempt from these types of things. Perhaps in finally accepting this, I now fear the very things I used to think would never happen.

I don't know what changed in me as a person. I can't really relate these fears to any one specific event, or even a handful for that matter. The only thing I can think to relate it to is experience in life. It seems the older I get, the more I naturally know and learn. And with that knowledge comes the responsibility to handle that knowledge. As an adult, I think we're expected to maintain that sense of calm and level headedness even though we know the impossible is always possible. I've come to know and except that life can change in a tiny fragile second. And I can't control the unknown fates that lie before the rest of my life. The unknown and uncontrollable are always scary, to say the least. I just wish I didn't have to focus on that all the time. And for some reason I think the holidays- which I view as a specific time for the togetherness of family, friends, and spirit- always bring out a little extra anxiety in me, as I recognize just how much I have and how I could lose it all in seconds.

To get back to my main point, I am thankful. Thankful for what I have in friends and family. Thankful for what I haven't had in my life. Thankful for my life, and the loved ones around me. And to a point, thankful that I can recognize just how fragile my structured surroundings are. In knowing this, I'm reminded of just exactly how lucky I am.