2008 - The things I know for sure.
(I think.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Here is just a little snippet of the many things I've learned in this crazy, exhausting, joyous year:

- Second only to love, travel is the best part of life.

- Dorothy said it, "There's no place like home." I think she may have meant to add, "There's really no place like a warm beach."

- Graduate school is hard to start. It’s much harder to finish.

A bungalow-style apartment on the lake is lovely, even when it’s not.

- Being Auntie is one of the best jobs in the world.

Big wavy hair and a little lip gloss can go a long way to brighten your own day.

- Gossip Girl is an antidepressant.

Your friends are your life rafts.

- Turning 30 is far better than you can imagine.

If Britney Spears can put down the Cheetos and pull it up a notch, maybe I can too.

- A person can never be too poor to be generous.

- We all have issues - some big, some small, some of them deeply painful. The trick is not to let them define you.

We deserve to be talked to by our leaders with at least the assumption of intelligence.

- Volunteer work changes the constellations of your heart.

Love is scary and imperfect and may even make a fool out of you, but is worth the risk. What better reason to be made a fool of?

- Life gets harder with age, but it gets better.

It turns out, we do have the audacity to hope.

- Perennial single girls can fall in love.

Even in the gloomiest of times, joy is waiting for you around the corner. You just have to wait it out and find it.

Love. Hangover. (Damn you, Marley.)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Looking at my blog so far, there seems to be a singular theme: Love. Let's be honest, this has got to stop. Not entirely, of course, but to a certain degree. I have a friend (you know who you are, Cameron) who says he won’t read my blog if I don’t (and I’m paraphrasing here) take it down a notch. Before I put myself on a love writing diet, however, I must post an ode to Marley and what that damned dog taught me at the movie theater.

I recently dragged my sister out of the house to see the movie Marley and Me. While I love labs (seriously, who doesn't?), I’m not an all out dog person. I’m more of a “Hey, dog. How are you today? You look nice. It was great meeting you.” kinda gal. However, anyone who knows me knows that I am a Jennifer Aniston person. I can’t help it, she makes me happy.

The movie was good, not particularly great, but has struck a nerve with me and has been hard to forget. I will admit that I flat out sobbed, or as Oprah would say "ugly cried", for at least the last third of the movie. When it was over, my sister said that she heard someone bawling near us during the film and I had to tell her, “Um, that was me.” Since then, I’ve asked myself what it was about this movie that resonated with me so strongly. Whatever the reason for my reaction, that naughty yet lovable dog has left me thinking about life and death and, yes, love.

My frequent blogging on love is likely a product of the holidays and all those cookies. This love-fest of late is pretty uncharacteristic for me. It might be that there is an abundance of love in my life right now and for that, I know how very lucky I am. You see, I have always had a painfully acute understanding that love, like all things, ebbs and flows. Sometimes there's more and sometimes there's less. I am trying to learn to relish the times when you have more than you could ever hope for because they tend to balance out the darker times life inevitably hands us. I suppose this is the beauty and the heartbreak of being human.

Like anyone who has experienced great loss in their lives, I understand all too well the great gamble that is loving another. In the end, we lose the people and the animals and the things that mean the most to us. Children grow up. Relationships end. Parents die. I think about the losses in my own life: The pets, the friends, the grandparents, my dad... I believe that these losses are the hardest part of being alive, but the love… The love, somehow, makes it worth it.

(my sister and my dad)

So... To Marley, thank you. To the people of downtown Seattle who I may have inadvertently terrified due to my unprecedented (in both length and volume) movie theater crying jag, my apologies. To my dad and all the others I've lost, loving you and even losing you has made me a better and kinder and more loving human being. Last, but not least, to Cameron - I'll try to decrease my posts dedicated to love to once a week. I can't promise anything though.

A love letter to my blog.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Can I just say it? Can I just come right out and say it? I love blogging. I can't believe I didn't start sooner. Myspace and facebook were, and are, an often entertaining way to pass the time, but there seems to be very little room for any real heart, originality or substance. Now, don't get me wrong, I do not assume that anything I have written or will attempt to write here will be of any meaning to anyone other than myself and my biggest fan, my mother. However, whether or not anyone ever reads this, I have found this is something that makes me happy and makes me feel like the me I've always been, but sometimes forget to nurture. In the few days since I've started this blog on a snowed in and stir-crazy whim, I've found myself excited to do the one thing I love yet never do, write for no reason... for no grade, for no credit. Just because. (This is no small feat coming from someone who has been in graduate school since Brad and Jennifer were together.)

In the thirty years that I've been me, I've been many things: Daughter. Sister. Lover of all things Madonna. Friend. Best Friend. Student. Student. Student. Pop culture enthusiast. Traveler. Dreamer. Questioner. All around sensitive gal. Nanny. Big head of hair. Open-minded yet opinionated liberal. Believer in love. Therapist. Girlfriend. Uncoordinated yet spirited dancer. Auntie. Joyful, emotional, quirky me. Closeted writer.

So, after falling in love with blogging, I think it's time to come on out of the closet, to be out, loud and proud. I'm here, I'm a writer, get used to it.

Love actually... is.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It came just the same.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

This year, due to a crazy and very rare week of unrelenting Seattle snow, many of the presents I ordered for friends and family didn't arrive in time for Christmas. This was a disappointment because I love to give presents even more than I love to get them (and that's a lot). More than almost anything, I love giving a much researched gift to my red-headed nephew only to hear him say, "It's just what I always wanted, Auntie!" Granted, I once heard him say the same thing after he opened a Christmas package filled with styrofoam peanuts. (He is a very, very sweet boy.) To further complicate matters, the snow and icy roads resulted in this being the first Christmas I spent without my mother. The delayed presents were one thing, but the empty chair where my mother and her vodka should be was almost painful. You see, I subscribe to two holy holiday truths: 1) Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and 2) No matter how old you are, you miss your parents at Christmas.

In the end, however, the day was lovely. I woke up to snow and coffee and our traditional Christmas morning mimosa, in that order. Due to my mother's absence, I was in charge of the more-complicated-than-they-look crab cakes. I am proud to report they were a success and the number of things I can make is now up to an astounding four.

I suppose the real question is: What makes a Christmas merry? Yes, the snow helps, but I think the answer is what it tends to always be: love.

Love, family and mimosas.

He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same. And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!" And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more."

Love is all you need.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On days like and unlike today, this is all that matters.

A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Okay, sure, I just told my sister that I'm considering hanging myself from the ceiling with Christmas tinsel, but five days snowed in with your family can do that. Excluding the infrequent-yet-strong bouts of cabin fever, these days have been the stuff of Seattle miracles. Years from now, we'll look back and remember the days that no one went to work and everyone in the neighborhood played in the streets. These are the rare times when cookies replace your daily veggies and a cozy pair of slippers, a strong gin and tonic and, even though they occasionally drive you crazy, your family is all you need.