2009 - Love, change and stupidity.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last year, only a few posts into my new blog, I posted the 2008 edition of "The things I know for sure. (I think.)" It remains one of my very, very favorites. This year, however, I'm going to switch things up a bit and really just want to sit and chat about 2009.

This was a lovely, life-changing year for me. It was also scary as hell.

Let's see... Where to begin? I finished up my graduate studies, as well as an internship providing therapy to the chronically mentally ill. My favorite line of my internship? When I had to tell a client, "You see, therapy isn't really about you convincing me you're the devil." I had my supervisor rolling with that one. So, after what felt like fourteen years, I received my Master's Degree in Psychology. {Perhaps even better, I did it next to a friend who stole my heart from the very first day of grad school, Jennifer Davila Beckwith - or as I like to call her, Beaver. She had me the moment she said to me in our first class, "I haven't even cracked this book once." Oh, Beaver, you're my girl. You've changed me in ways I can never wrap words around.}

The biggest, best and most challenging part of my year was packing my bags and moving to the desert. And all for love. just a small town girl in Las Vegas. It's almost comical and if you had told me a couple of years ago a move to Vegas would be in my future, I would have died laughing. In fact, on one of my last - and least favorite - trips here in 2006, I swore I would never come back. I think that's the thing I love most about life, you just never know what the universe has in store for you.

Moving away from my family and from my rainy, beautiful home has been, hands down, one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. There are days that the ache for my loved ones is palpable. However, what I can tell you I know for sure is that I have never been happier. Living with the person you love (a first for both my boyfriend and me) is really hard and takes, at least in my opinion, a tremendous amount of work and compromise. And, let's be honest, some days we'd both just rather watch 30 Rock, but we keep working on it and we keep growing. Oh, and we keep laughing. All the time. The decision to move here and live with Jenner has resulted in getting to have a slumber party every day with the person who makes me laugh the most, my best friend.

I think, overall, this year can be summed up in three words: Love, change and stupidity. Deciding to move away and start a new, neon life in what has to be the craziest city on the planet has probably been the dumbest move in the history of my life. The dumbest and the best, that is. I still get, "You moved to Vegas?!" all the time. Even my closest friends and family have had to start defending this choice to people (big shout out to my biggest supporter and bff, Carina). You know what, though? It's these brave, stupid choices we make - whether we're chasing love, or a dream, or simply ourselves - that change us into the people we want to be. I feel like, on the last day 0f 2009, I'm a lot closer to being that person.

Oh, and I'm really excited to say that big things are in store for 2010. I am on the brink of a career upgrade (one that I'm positively giddy about) and I see a whole lotta travel and writing, volunteer work and love on the horizon. Big dreams for the future, dreams I can't wait to share, but I've got a NYE (and a hell of a dress) to get ready for and I know you do too.

Thank you, thank you for being a part of my life this year. I can't tell you what this has meant to me. I wish you the happiest, healthiest and most hopeful of New Year's. Xoxo!

image via

A Photo Homage to the Holidays.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm newly back in Vegas and even though I'm really happy to be home (and especially with a very handsome feller), I already miss my family... Homesick heartache aside, however, I had a wonderful holiday and so hope that you all did as well. I've posted some photos from my trip home and can't wait to check out all your blogs and see your holiday pics soon.

Honestly, and yeah I know I'm biased, could the children in my family be ANY cuter?

This year might have been one of my favorite holidays to date. There is just something so special about celebrating with children. They eat up every single second and just roll around in the magic and the love of it all. My favorite moment of my trip home was when my brother-in-law Michael was reading Santa's note to Max and Jude on Christmas morning. In it, Santa thanked them for leaving out cookies and mentioned that Rudolph especially enjoyed the candy cane one. Max's eyes got big and wide and he excitedly yelled, "Dad, Rudolph is real!"

Those seven days were perfect... There was so much love and so much laughter, I almost didn't want it to ever end. I am my nephew Jude's very best friend and he runs to me screaming, "Attie, Attie, Attie!" and melts me. There were boardgames for days and one incredible family talent show where I killed it with my performance of C + C Music Factory's "Everybody Dance Now." I think the fam is still laughing about that one. There were at least a hundred rounds of Rock Band, several dips in the hot tub, talks with my mama and catching up with old friends.

And then, before any of us were ready, it was time to go home. It's these moments, however, no matter how infrequent or how few, that make our lives.

Peace, love and joy to all. Xoxo!

PS) Be sure to check out my nephew Jude saying, "Bye, bye, Attie." Seventeen seconds that break my heart...

A Year in Blogging.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hello, dear friends!

Earlier in the week, I had my one year blogiversary. (Hooray!)

On December 22nd, 2008 I started writing my blog, just a small town girl. Initially, the blog was born in the hopes of distracting myself from the cabin fever I was experiencing after being snowed in with my family for over a week. It all started with this post, but what began as an activity to keep me from going straight up bananas turned into so much more. In a matter of just a few days, I was hooked. In fact, I was in love with blogging.

Maybe I should share here that I have always fancied myself a bit of a writer. (A little fact I have not always been comfortable expressing.) Words are one of the great loves of my life and this blog has given me the opportunity and the freedom to express myself in ways I couldn't before. Now, trust me, as someone who had been in graduate school since the beginning of time (or at least since Brad and Jennifer were together), writing for fun was not an option for a very, very long time. just a small town girl gave me the space to indulge in writing solely for the sake and for the love of it... not for a grade, not for a paper, but just because.

So, here we are. A little over a year later and, oh, what a year it has been. just a small town girl has been here to document it all. From being hung over on hope, to struggling with whether or not to blog about my boyfriend, to writing about what I would tell my younger self (my very favorite post, fyi), to the art of being down in the dumps. From my penchant for fish faces to the great love of my parents to Death Cab for Cutie. Then, somewhere along the way, a few of you magically started reading what I really only wrote for myself and my mother. So, with a new audience (of around eleven), I introduced myself and blogged on. The death of the beloved Dorothy Zbornak. My decision to move to Las Vegas. The journey of my own love story. My love affair with Mexico. Shaking my booty to choreographed dances from the eighth grade. I wrote about it all.

Then I finished graduate school, packed my bags and moved to Vegas. I felt more hopeful and excited than I ever had before, but I also felt more scared. Through it all, I blogged. I fell in love with my new life and learned some crazy lessons in my new city. From the passing of MJ to writing a letter to Jon Gosselin to my pounding puppy clock, I blogged. I blogged about the Biggie Smalls to my Puff Daddy and the hurt I thought I would never get over. The words kept coming. My favorite place in Vegas (and my second favorite place). My facebook fantasy status updates. The trip that changed my life. The old lady version of myself. I wrote and I wrote, but no post meant more to me than this one.

One year and 143 posts later, I am still just as excited to sit down and blog as I was that first day. It may sound incredibly cheesy, and for that I'm sorry, but taking the time to write has changed my life. Yes, there are a few changes I want to make in the next year to le blog, but more than anything, just a small town girl feels like a home away from home, a little space in the world where I can truly be myself. Even if no one ever reads a single word I've written here, the act of writing brings me comfort, but the fact that I have become a part of a larger community of bloggers is nothing short of amazing.

So, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to come to my little blog and read a little or a lot and thank you for making me feel, more than anything else, less alone in the world.

Happy blogging to you!

... And so this is Christmas.
{War is over, if you want it.}

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry, merry Christmas. May this new year be filled with peace.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Today, Christmas Eve, has always been my very favorite day of the year. Even now, it just feels magical. Here's wishing you and yours the most magical and happy of days.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

- Frances P. Church, 1897

Love actually... is.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Almost a year ago, I posted this scene from the movie Love Actually on my blog, but back then only my mother read just a small town girl. So, today, I'm posting it again. If for no better reason than because sometimes, on days just like today, we need to be reminded that love actually is... all around.

The day I tweeted about Chris Brown.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I was perusing the internet earlier today and read that Chris Brown is angry with the music industry for not doing more to promote his album. Of course he is. I mean, what an injustice. There are people starving all across the globe, children dying of AIDS..., but none of that can compare to an entitled, privileged millionaire kid who beat up his girlfriend one night, pissed off everybody who loved his music and now has an album that nobody wants. That, my friends, THAT is truly sad.

(long silence)

I'm assuming you all noted the sarcasm here, right? Okay, great. Just checking. Let me be the first to say that I loved Chris Brown. His song "Forever?" One of my favorites and used to be the ringtone when my boyfriend called. I watched him on Oprah and listened to him talk about the violence in his home growing up. I felt for him. I think we all did. He seemed like such a good kid.

We all know what happened next... Like you, I'm sure, I didn't believe it. I didn't want to believe it.

Now this is not a post about hating Chris Brown. I don't know him and don't know what kind of person he is. If anything, Chris Brown is a victim of domestic violence. Violence is systemic. It is a learned behavior that is often passed down in families. Chris was likely acting out what he saw growing up. Does that make it okay? Everybody now, "Hell, no."

Today I read that Mr. Brown has been tweeting about his anger at his lackluster album sales. This is what he said... "I'm tired of this sh*t. Major stores r blackballing my CD... What the f--- do I gotta do?" Hmmm... What do you gotta do, Chris? Let's think about this for a second. First of all, I think all of the proceeds of this latest album should have gone to a charity focused on eradicating violence against women. Yeah, I said it. All of them. Second, I think I speak for most of us when I say we don't want to see pictures of you jet-skiing and laughing the same week you beat the sh*t out of your girlfriend. Let's see... What else? Well, since you asked, Chris... Most of us are tired of hearing you whine about how Oprah should have been nicer to you and how the industry can kiss your a**. These are just a few of my ideas about things you can do. Public relations according to me.

So earlier in the day, I got angry and tweeted this... "Dear Chris Brown, Stop whining. We're not buying your album because you beat women... and because you're an a**hole." Yeah, Mom, I said it. I didn't think it was a particularly controversial tweet. It turns out, I thought wrong. Within a minute, and no I am not exaggerating, I got bombarded with replies from strangers. Here are a few of the responses I received:

- "No... You're the asshole."
- "He beat 1 woman!!! Not women."
- "Rihanna beat him first."
- "WOW! He doesn't beat women, just Rihanna's dumb ass."
- "He beat one woman, b*tch."

My apologies. He beat one woman. I've never heard that used to praise someone before, but, um, okay.

To be honest, I was stunned by these responses and a little hurt, but - hey - I'm all for freedom of speech. It just makes me so sad - and angry - to think that in this day and age we tolerate this kind of dialogue about women and make excuses to defend perpetrators and abusers. Luckily, we can make a very powerful statement with our checkbooks. So, Chris Brown, this is why I will not be purchasing your album. I really hope you get the help you so need.

I think I'll end this post by quoting a text I wrote to my best friend Carina, "Word to the wise... Never tweet that Chris Brown is an a**hole. Unless, of course, you like being called a dumb b*tch." Just a little warning for my readers.

She is me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Of all the people in all the world, I am most like my sister. She is my closest friend and the one person I think of as my companion through this life. There is no Kathleen without Monica, no Monica without Kathleen.

When we were little, we had the option of having our own rooms, but we decided to share. Why? Because we've always liked being together that much.

What else? In elementary school, she pushed a boy named Bubba down on the bus when he was mean to me. She made forts for my friends and me (just ask Carina). She taught me to scrunch my hair while blowing it dry with a diffuser and hanging upside down. (It was the eighties, folks.) She let me borrow even her best clothes. Sure, she convinced me that I once ate a slug when I was younger (even though I didn't), but I'll let that one slide. When we dropped her off at college, I cried the whole drive home. (It was an eight hour drive.) I was with her in the delivery room for the birth of both her babies and I've never been more proud of anyone.

Out of all the gifts our parents ever gave us, the biggest blessing was each other. They gave us a sister, a best friend and a biggest fan. We may not be twins in the traditional sense, but we may as well be. When she hurts, I hurt. When I hurt, she hurts. If there is such a thing as an other half, as a soul mate, she is mine.

So, Monica, this one... this one is for you. I don't tell you often enough because I assume you must already know, but the world is better (especially my world) simply because you are in it. I miss you terribly and I love you always. Oh, and I'd still opt to share that room with you, staying up all night swapping stories and secrets until we're little old ladies.

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

- e.e. cummings

The Girl Effect.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My good friend (and one of the two amazing nannies to my beloved nephews) Laura introduced The Girl Effect to me via facebook. The Girl Effect is an organization and a movement devoted to helping adolescent girls in developing countries and, in turn, changing the world.

As much as I would love to blog more about my love of pop stars and puppies, the dresses I'm eyeing for New Year's Eve and the fact that both the best and worst part of my day today was taking myself out to eat at Applebees (yeah, I'm embarrassed), not today.

Let's not forget we have a world to save.

I urge you to check out their website and learn more.

Thank you, Britney.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thank you for putting down the cheetos, the booze and the clippers. (I would add the prescription meds, but I think the fact that you are now taking them - under a doc's orders, thank you very much - is a very, very good thing. Mental health, like hair, looks really good on you. It turns out, so does motherhood.)

If you can find your way back to happiness, I can't help but think there's hope for us all.

Thanksgiving Weekend.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Oh, Thanksgiving. You come and go so quickly.

This was my first Thanksgiving away from my family, unless you count the year I went to Amsterdam with my sister. Let's rephrase that. This was the first Thanksgiving I clearly remember that I spent away from my family. (Amsterdam is still a little hazy.)

I was lucky enough to spend this holiday with my Las Vegas family (my surrogates), Jenner's family. It was lovely and made me feel so thankful to be cared about by this great group of people.

(Before we left the house, I said, "Wow, we look like grownups.")

Other highlights of the weekend included:

- an Alias marathon (I swoon for Michael Vartan)

- eating the remainder of the cupcakes I made for a friend's birthday for breakfast, lunch and dinner

- talking to my two year old nephew on the phone and hearing him say "Auntie" and then sing Beyonce's "All the Single Ladies" to me

- DJ Hero

- dancing out at Lavo after having my boyfriend convince me that 12:30am is an acceptable time to leave the house for the evening

- grape vodka

- did I mention grape vodka?

- swinging my arms in the air to my song, Journey's "Don't Stop Believin"

- love, love and more love

Ahh, there is so much to be thankful for.

My name is Kathleen...
and I have a problem.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's more than a problem. It's an addiction.

Magazines. They're my crack. I can't get enough.

I'd like to sit here and tell you I only read Vogue, Vanity Fair and Time. Truthfully, I do read them. I don't discriminate. I'll read any glossy mag. Ranger Rick? I'm in.

The magazines that really get my hands shaking and my heart beating, however, are the celebrity gossip weeklies. I know, I know. It's embarrassing. I try to buy only the top tier of tabloids: People and Us Weekly. However, like any addict, sometimes I just need my fix. If I'm waiting in line at the grocery store and I see In Touch or, even worse, Star staring back at me, I start to sweat a little.

BRAD AND JEN'S SECRET RENDEZVOUS! I know it's not true and I don't even care. Grab it. JESSICA'S LONELY NIGHTS! Poor thing. Let me see. KENDRA'S BABY NURSERY! I don't give a sh*t, but... well, maybe for just a second.

So, yes, I have a problem and you know what they say. The first step is identifying it. I don't even want to admit that Thursday is my favorite day of the week because it's the day the new Us Weekly hits the shelves. (Except this week, this week it comes out today. Thank you, Thanksgiving! The cover this week? Jessica and Jennifer missing John! Score. Right after I finish this, I'm driving to Target and getting my greedy little hands on my own copy. And no, I am not joking.)

When I was little, my mother said that I couldn't read these magazines because only trashy people read them. (Sorry, Mama, but you know you said it.) That's like saying, "Whatever you do, do not go on top of the roof and break dance. It's the most fun you'll ever have, but you'll get a reputation." The next thing you know, you're reading Break Dancing for Dummies and plotting a way to get on that damned roof. Right? Right. My mother said the same thing about soap operas and let's just be honest here, I faked an illness to stay home and watch Tad and Dixie get married on All My Children in the sixth grade.

It's like she programmed me to like this crap.

Years ago, my good friend Emily came to my house for a slumber party and as she was getting into bed, she tripped on something and dramatically fell on her heinie. What did she fall on? My ginormous stack of trashy magazines. We still laugh about that one.

Every December, I tell myself that as a resolution I will decrease my celebrity gossip intake. By January 15th, I'll buy anything. Tiger Beat? Why not? Anything to stop the cravings... Maybe this year I really will cut back. It's highly unlikely, but anything is possible. And, hey, there are worse vices a gal could have. Until then, bring it. I gotta run to Target now. Something's calling my name.

*My bff would like me to add that even when I have a subscription to one of my favorite mags, if it doesn't arrive in a timely fashion in my mailbox, I'll go and buy one anyway. Yeah, it's that bad and, yeah, I'm a little ashamed.

Dear Santa.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dear Santa,

Hey. How's it going? You're probably really busy, but I just thought I'd send you a little note. I know, I know. It's been a while and we haven't always been on the best of terms. I just don't like the idea of scaring children into thinking if they're not good, you won't come. Hey, it's not your fault though, big guy. We both know you always come. We also both know you happen to love all children, even the naughty ones.

So, um, since I've got your attention... Well, you see, I've been really good this year. Really. Good. I finished graduate school. I got my first post-MA job helping children. I took a chance and moved to Las Vegas for love. I'm always nice to old ladies and passing dogs. I play with the loud, bossy neighbor kids when they come to the pool and I even share my super cool floatie, even when I don't want to. I say please and thank you. I wave to babies (hey, just because they can't talk doesn't mean they don't want to be acknowledged) and I'm always nice to my mom (except when she asks how to work the DVD player... again).

Let's cut to the chase, shall we? This is what I want for Christmas.

Or this.

Jenner isn't sold on the idea just yet, but here's the thing... If you leave one of these under the tree for me, what exactly is he going to do? You see what I'm saying, Santa?

Just think about it. No pressure.

Give my love to the Mrs.

Xoxo, Kathleen

PS) I already have an uncle all lined up for my new Christmas present. Uncle Russy!

A girl and her waxer.
{A love story.}

Monday, November 16, 2009

So, I've been thinking about how to write this post for a few days now. There are many things I will never talk about on my blog just because it's not my style, but after much thought, I've decided the art of bikini maintenance isn't one of them. You see, last week, I had a friend date... with my waxer. Awkward? A little.

{Warning: If the words vagina or vajayjay make you uncomfortable, you may not want to read on. I'll understand, I promise. I have to put this warning out there, however, since my mother and my very favorite junior high teacher sometimes read this.}

From reading your blogs, it seems like a lot of us are struggling to make new friendships. Once we're out of high school/college/grad school, it can be harder and harder to find like-minded, loyal, sassy, fun, will-come-over-and-feed-you-ice-cream-when-you're-hurting kinda gals. Now, don't get me wrong, I have fantastic friends that I would jump in front of traffic for (you know who you are), but they don't live here in Las Vegas. And since I have a pretty unsocial job (just me and the kids I work with), it can be hard to meet people.

So, the other day, my bff Carina asked me to name my favorite people in Las Vegas. I rattled off a few friends of friends. Included Autumn Vegas, of course. Then I heard myself say out loud, "Oh, you know... Jenner. Jenner's parents. Jenner's dog. My waxer." Oh, man. That's when I knew I was in trouble. Carina had to tell me, "Um, Jenner and his dog don't count." Touche, Carina. However, I did excitedly shout out, "But I really do like my waxer! And we're going out next week." Long silence. "You're going out with your waxer?" Longer silence. "Yes."

I think it's safe to assume that we all feel a certain level of closeness and familiarity with our waxers. How could we not? I've had several waxers and for the most part, I've really liked them all.
  • Except for that one mean woman. I was actually afraid of her.
  • Oh, and then there was the time I accidentally told a bikini waxer that I was married because I couldn't understand what she was saying and before you knew it, I was embellishing on the story and explaining how my faux husband and I had just celebrated four years of marital bliss. That was weird, but seemed less awkward than explaining I had misheard her.
  • Oh, and then there was that other time I had four margaritas and saw my waxer out at a club and excitedly yelled out, "Hey, you're my vajayjay waxer!" Turns out, she wasn't. She was a classmate of mine in grad school. Whoops.

Okay, okay. So, I've mostly just really embarrassed myself with waxers. However, my new one is the best. I immediately liked her. We told each other far too much about our personal lives, laughed and I think we both even cried a little. (No, not because of the pain.) I knew right then and there, she just might have to be my new friend.

The question is: How do you ask someone if she wants to be your friend while she's tending to the maintenance of your nether regions? If you've been reading JASTG for long, you can probably guess that I did it in the most awkward manner possible. You know what? I probably did, but who cares. My new friend/waxer is also new to Las Vegas and we were both very excited about the possibility of a new girlfriend.

As I was getting ready to meet up with my new friend last week, Jenner asked me what we were going to do. I thought about it for a while and responded, "Well, we're going to have some tapas and some sangria and then I'll probably ask her to show me her vagina. You know, just to level the playing field."

No worries, dear readers. It was a great first friend date and nobody had to show the other their lady business.

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today is going to be so much fun! I've been planning little surprises for days...

I love our slumber party lifestyle and I love you.

(And only because I love you so much, I am not going to gush on and on here because it would embarrass you.) Xoxo

Topless Vampires
and Classic Rock.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How about that for a post title?

I've taken a few day inadvertent break from blogging only because I didn't really feel like I had much to share. Blogger's block, I guess. However, there's nothing like a bunch of topless vampires shimmying to Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" to inspire a gal. Right? Right.

My sister Debby came into town this week for an early birthday celebratory trip. This is the third time my big sis has visited since I moved here six months ago. Yep, that pretty much secures her title as best sister ever. You see, Debby loves Las Vegas and I love Debby. What else do I love? Shacking up in her hotel room and taking three bubble baths a day in her suite's jetted jacuzzi tub while watching the Kardashian wedding special on the bathroom's television. (I cried.)

Yes, there have been a few mishaps on this trip. Oh, like the time I got lost in Caesar's Palace for an hour (I'm sorry, but that place is almost too big) and forgot which room I was staying in. Floor after floor, that little key card wouldn't work. Oh, and my sister basically lost a tooth on this trip. Long story, but I did assure her it was just like in the movie The Hangover (which we plan on watching in the room later tonight).

The highlight of the trip? BITE. A topless vampire revue set to rock music. Only in Vegas. Let me explain, my sister is obsessed (sorry Debby, but you know it's true) with vampires. Twilight? Obviously. True Blood? Of course. She has also read countless other vampire series. So, when I learned about BITE, I knew I had to take her to see it for her birthday. Debby was such a good sport. She had no idea where I was taking her, but she was along for the ride. First, we had a lovely Italian dinner and a couple of prerequisite glasses of red wine. Then we were ready. Vampires? Bring it.

This was too much fun. Cheesy? Heck, yeah. Awesome? Definitely. The best part was rocking out to AC/DC with Deb. Those vampires shook us all night long (or at least for 70 minutes) and we loved it.

Reunited (and it feels so good).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A couple of weeks back, my friend Tera came into town to visit. I was really, really excited to see her, but I was also just a wee bit nervous. Why? Well, because we hadn't seen one another in... eight years. EIGHT. How does that even happen? You see, Tera was a part of the group I went to Africa with and the bond we forged on that amazing trip was lifelong. Period. But... she had moved to Laguna Beach and gotten married, I had done whatever it is I've been doing and we drifted apart. It happens. We wish it didn't, but it does. So, we reconnected through (what else?) Facebook and before you knew it, that pretty little lady (not so little actually, she's 6 feel tall) hopped on a plane to Vegas to reunite.

This was us back in the day.

Um, what exactly was going on with our eyebrows?

In the weeks that have passed since Tera's visit, I've thought a lot about just what it is that makes her so special to me. First of all, there's zero pretense whatsoever. None. She is who she is and I looovve it. Second, this girl's excitement is just contagious. She was this way all those years ago and she's this way today. "Hey, Tera. Do you want to go downtown? Or maybe to Rain or to Ghostbar?" Her response is always the same, "YES!" This is the same girl who trekked miles and miles through a Botswana game park without a guide (not something I would suggest, fyi). Last, but not least, Tera may just be the best and easiest visitor I've ever had and I've had some fantastic guests. However, I was sick as a dog the day Tera arrived and didn't have the energy to do anything. Tera's response? "That's okay. I just want to see you!" Yeah right. She's a great liar and a great friend. When I dragged myself to her hotel, she ordered champagne and chocolate covered strawberries up to the room and we just lounged, laughed and caught up.

It's such a beautiful thing to be reunited with someone after years and years and just pick up exactly where you left off.

The next night I made a miraculous recovery and somehow stayed out until 5am. This is a feat even when I'm not getting over the flu, but that's Tera for you. She just makes things fun and before you know it, the sun's coming up and you're walking through an African game park with a herd of zebra following you.

The moral of this story? I love Tera. Wait, that isn't exactly a moral. Give me a second, give me just one second... I got it. True friendship isn't lessened by absence. It just waits - and sometimes waits and waits and waits - for you to meet again.

Oh, and one last thing. Don't eff with me when I have a fake tattoo on my face and Tera by my side. I hope this story doesn't make me sound like a whole lotta trouble, I promise I'm not, but downtown in the early hours of the morning, a girl refused to move as we were walking by. She actually said (loudly and rudely) as I tried to pass, "Nope, I'm not moving for you." Um, excuse me? So, I did what any self-respecting woman with a face tat would do. I smiled sweetly, picked her up, moved her out of the way and said thank you. In the most polite manner ever, I assure you (Mom). Weirdest. Thing. I'm not even remotely physically strong, but something came over me. Don't mess with a girl with a face tattoo and a friend who's 6 feet tall.

Post Halloween (photos & fun)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween has come and gone, but the photos - and the fun - remain. Below are just a few memories from this year.

I'm a little low on words today, but I will say this... Haunted houses are terrifying. Even, it turns out, for a gal who loves to be frightened. This was my first bonafide visit to a haunted house (unless you count haunted houses in my high school gym which be both know you don't) and it definitely lived up to the hype. Jenner actually had to physically move me through the house. At one point, around an especially scary ghoul, I firmly planted my feet on the ground, refused to move and screamed, "I DON'T LIKE HIM! I DON'T LIKE HIM!" Also heard, at a very high volume, out of my mouth? "If you don't hold my damned hand, we're breaking up!" Scared. Check. It was really, really fun though and I can't wait for next year. We're already planning our costumes. I hope your Halloween was fantastic (and I can't wait to see your photos!).

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hooray! Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year. (It must run in the family because my grandparents got married on Oct. 31st.) I hope yours is as candy-filled and spooky - or as non-spooky - as you want it to be. Xoxo - me

PS) The Shining is not only the scariest movie of all time (in my ever so humble opinion), but is also one of my very favorite movies. Dark and twisty? Check. I love this movie so much, I've already made mention of it on JASTG here. In the comments, my bff noted that I didn't mention "a certain 8th grade play." So, here goes nothing... In the eighth grade, my drama class put it on as a play and I played Wendy the wife. Oh, and Shawn Frye (only my crush for the entire year) played my husband, Jack. Sure he tried to kill me in the play, but I also got to kiss him on the cheek. Score. My screams actually brought out our school's concerned principal and superintendent. I hope Jenner is aware those same mighty lungs are accompanying him tonight to a haunted house.

Again, Happy Halloween!

{image via MSN}

The things I will do when I'm old...
and a few things I will not.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I've been doing a lot of thinking these last couple of weeks... about the things that matter and the things that don't. Probably like many of you, I often get worked up over the little things that, in the grand scheme of things, really don't mean diddly squat. (Man, I sound just like my mother.) So, lately, when I'm trying to find some perspective, I ask myself what I will think when I'm an old, kooky lady. (I plan to be kooky when I'm old, fyi.)

So, without further adieu...

Someday when I am old and rocking in my chair (Madonna music playing in the background, slippers on my feet and a stiff drink in hand) and looking back on my life, I think I will...

- miss my mother and long for the conversations about life we once had.

- tell stories about all the silly, brave, hopeful, sad things I once did for love.

- be incredibly grateful for every single laugh line and the masterpiece they've left on my face.

- steal my grandchildren's candy. (Let's just be honest here.)

- stay in bed all morning reading... with only my coffee and the rain to keep me company.

- treasure my youthful memories of staying out until 4am feeling reckless and alive, but gracefully and happily trade them in for raising a family, loving one good man and getting to know, year after year and wrinkle after wrinkle, who I really am.

- travel the world rocking the babies that people forgot to love.

- eat a lot of pie.

- dance... a lot. For no reason. Even when it makes people uncomfortable. They'll say, "Old lady's dancing again in the supermarket." And they'll be right.

- wish I had loved myself just a little more when I was younger.

When I am old and looking back on my life, I know I will never...

- wish I'd been less generous with my heart.

- wish I'd made more money.

- wish I'd been skinnier.

This list is only just beginning, but I've been thinking about it for days. I want to challenge myself to think about the things that will matter to me when I am old, the things I want to cultivate and care for and the things I want to let slip away.

If there are things you would add to your own list, I would love to hear them.

{image via we heart it}

I love my family. {Vegas Edition}

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

For many reasons, I am a lucky, lucky lady. There is no bigger result of my luck than my lovely, silly family. As a unit, we've been through a lot. Losing my father broke all of our hearts and secretly I worried we'd never find the joy we once knew. However, somehow over the years, although there is never a day we don't miss him, we found our way back to happiness. Where there was once love..., it has remained. It has grown stronger and more resilient while our family has shifted and changed. Where my father once was, there are now two little boys. Where there were tears, there still sometimes are, but there is laughter and there is fun.

Moving to Las Vegas has been wonderful, but being separated from my family has been really, really hard on me. Want to know the upside? Missing them has just made me appreciate and adore them all the more. Proof? The night before they flew into town the week before last, I couldn't sleep. The excitement usually reserved for Christmas Eve is now saved for seeing my family. I can't help but think that's pretty cool.

This trip consisted of eating, drinking, telling stories, swimming, loving, laughing and being together. We took my nephews to Circus Circus where Max was crowned the big winner of the day and we watched a circus act or two... We went to The Excalibur and saw the Knights at the Round Table. It was too much fun and the boys were amazed... We celebrated my sister's birthday, went to the Bellagio for a champagne buffet brunch (hellooo, tipsy before noon) and to the art museum... We went out to dinner, walked up and down Fremont Street and went out with Jenner.

After seeing this tree at the Bellagio, Max said, "I'm allergic to talking trees."

I'm sorry Mom, but I think this is the funniest picture in the world.

I think it's safe to assume Jenner and my sister get along.

This trip was f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c. and I was devastated when my family had to leave, especially Jude and Las Vegas's biggest new fan, *Max. At one point, he looked at me and said, "Auntie, Las Vegas is a lot more fun-ner than Seattle." True that, kid. True that. When you throw the Bailey clan together in this city (with a couple of handsome fellers with different last names), good times will be had. It's that simple. (*Max also basically learned to read on this trip. What did he read? The word jail. His father spelled it out while telling a story and Max said, "Does that spell jail? I noticed that j-a-i-l spells jail, Dad." Um, wow.)

So, just one more time, I am a lucky lady. Thank you, family, for this trip, for our enduring love through everything and for all the laughs. I love you.