Monday, November 24, 2008

"Your unexpected love provides my solitary's suicide..."

I am so sad that this weekend is over that I can barely type!

It was SUCH a fun weekend and so unusual for me, mainly in that I did not work and got to see friends and family like a normal person! And now, on Monday, I am feeling more chipper them I have felt in a long time. Maybe this means something...

Friday started off the festivities, as I got to have a girls night with my sisters- birth and law- to have dinner and see the movie "Twilight". We decided to really geek it up with matching tee-shirts (Marla did not partake, she was not up for the crowds so she only stayed for dinner and I'm going to take her to see it after she reads the book) along with the other teeny-boppers! Dinner was a blast- I even had a beer! It's always so much fun to hang out with the gals that I love, and it's no secret that I have been extremely blessed in the sisters I have ended up with! It's not like you get to choose what kind of siblings your mom is going to pop out or you marry in to! But we all know that Marla and I share a brain, and sometime I think that Shelly and Ann Marie are my REAL soulmates and Pete was just the hot guy that came with them! ;-) Ann Marie even provided the party favors- Vampire wine for everyone! How funny is that- I can't believe that they even make that, although I don't think it has anything to do with Twilight!

Anyway, the movie was AWESOME! I am one of those picky people who usually hates the movie version of the book- they never stay true enough to make me happy, which is why I have never been super happy with any of the Harry Potter movies. This one, they pretty much hit on the nose, and the liberties they did take did not stray too far from the book. Robert Pattinson, who played Edward Cullen...um, yeah. I'll take two, please. If you have read the book, you can imagine how hard it would be to cast someone as "perfect" as Edward, but they really nailed it here! I love movies that just kind of make you want to live inside the screen and be friends with all of the characters!

That was my Friday, Saturday we had a super busy day! That afternoon was the Annaprashana, or first rice ceremony for my good friend Amanda's daughter Salina! It was such a fun afternoon, not only did I get to see Amanda, her husband Arjun, and her beautiful kids Dylan and Salina, I got to reconnect with some other friends as well! It's so much fun to have an Indian friend- I love going to Arjun's families parties, his family is soooo sweet, and the food is always amazing! :-) It was also nice because I got to spend the day with Pete- we had a lazy morning together, then got to spend some quality time during the drive up and back. We get so little time together, so it was nice to have lots of time to just be us for a bit!

That night, we met up with my sister and her husband Steve to have dinner and then catch Craig Robinson from "The Office" in a show at Helium Comedy Club! We started with dinner at Cork in Westmont, right on Haddon Ave. The meal was FAB, I had this amazing seafood pot pie, it was the perfect thing for a cold night! We all enjoyed some yummy drinks, too! Then we headed off to the club for what was probably the funniest show I have ever seen! Craig Robinson was a musician in his previous life, so we did a very musical show with lots of singing and piano playing- a little different from typical stand-up comedy, but SOOOO funny! Within ten minutes of the show, my jaw, face, and stomach hurt from laughing so hard! It was a BLAST, and of course, since I am such a huge fan of the show "The Office" we HAD to hang out and meet him!




Sunday I had my family over for breafast (minus Pete, he had to work. Foo.). It went much more smoothly then the last time, since I got drunk off my butt on mimosa's in my nervousness about cooking! I went to Wegman's and got some lox, bagels, fixings, and made bacon and hash browns! It was all so yummy and easy, so I was happy and relaxed! My sister and her husband Steve ended up hanging out all day! It was such a nice, relaxing day, we just hung out and chatted and played video games and ate, and Steve put together our bookshelf for us! Pete got home from work, we all had dinner together, and then it was off to an early bedtime for all of us!

This really was the perfect weekend! I need to make time for this type of thing more often!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"I feel good, it's a fine day, the way the sun hits off the runway..."

One of my favorite books is Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It's a quirky, fun read about Rosenthals life and views, categorized into alphabetical order like, of course, an encyclopedia. I've passed it on to a few people who have all enjoyed it- sometimes, reading about someone alot like you, even if it's "not extraordinary", is just fun! One of the more geeky, very "me" high points in my life was getting an e-mail from Amy Rosenthal to a response I had contributed to the "Encyclopedia" website (because really, that's kind of cool!)!

One of her entries, under F, is the word Flahoolick. She uses this quote:

Flahoolick is an Irish word meaning openhanded, generous, expansive and oh much else....Anything can be flahoolick under certain conditions. Even water, supposing you were crawling on your hands and knees across the desert and in the broiling sun and came upon a waterfall though what it would be doing there we are not prepared to say. Lemon squash can be flahoolick if you are nine years old or inordinately fond of lemon squash. Draught beer is flahoolick; large linen napkins are flahoolick; long nightshirts are virtually always flahoolick. --Howard Gossage, advertising writer, 1917--1969


...and then goes on to explain "In the course of our daily generic routine, we seem programmed to seek out that which is flahoolick, to arm ourselves with flahoolick antibodies. Stopping for a cup of coffee on our way to work is an instant jolt of flahoolickness--and it goes beyond the caffeine: the tingle begins in the ordering of the coffee, the anticipation of the treat, the receiving, the way you feel walking out with the hot cardboard (crutch) in your hand. (Rosenthal)"

Here are the things I think are flahoolick:

*The secret language my sister Marla and I speak
*Laughing with my sisters
*the way the afternoon light makes the air glow
*when all the notes are pretty when I sing
*when I have been in Pete's arms and later, when we're apart, I can smell his scent on my skin
*hearing Anna sing Broadway songs she heard in my car
*getting real mail
*my obnoxious laugh
*watching Pete when he's talking with someone and really enjoying himself, he gets into a groove and looks so earnest!
*spending (lots of) money at Barnes and Noble, and reading the spoils of my spree!
*the general din created when all of my nieces and nephews are together
*opening gifts SLOOOOOOOOOWLY
*a PBG sandwich (Pete, Breezy and Gordie!)
*a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks
*Applebees nights with my girls
*sleeping late
*People and US Weekly magazines
*long showers
*using swear words
*Target
*my crazy, funny, weird, lovable family and friends


...and I am so thankful for ALL of it!

So, now, tell me. What do YOU think is flahoolick?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"...and what kind of God would serve this? We will cure this dirty old disease..."

I am happy to say that right now, I have a fully clean apartment! Even though I should have been resting instead of cleaning and that right now, I smell worse then I ever have in my life, I am happy to have clean, orderly surroundings! Our place has looked like a bomb hit it for well over a month now!

This was a busy weekend and an emotional weekend for all of us. My sister-in-law Shelly's school (she is a teacher) threw a Beef and Beer on Friday to benefit Shelly and Greg's daughters, who with Greg's loss are of course without a father, but on a practical level, are without his income (and had been for quite some time already throughout Greg's illness). Spearheaded by our awesome friend Bill, who also works with Shelly, he and their co-workers put on a fantastic night! The food was awesome, the beer was flowing, and the band, Friends, was SO cute and so much fun!!!

The next day, Greg's brothers Chris and Lou, along with their family, hosted another beef and beer (actually, it was more like buffalo wings and beer! Yum!) at a fun bar in Shamong called the Pic-a-Lilli Inn. It's a shame it's so far from us- it's a really fun place! There is the bar itself, but they also have a big outdoor area with a big screened-in bar! There was a huge crowd, and even though the ground was kind of wet and gross, everyone seemed to be having a good time! Sadly, they had to cancel the bonfire, since it was super-windy and nobody wanted to end up on the evening news talking about the forest fire in Shamong!

It was all to done to take care of Greg and Shelly's girls, and there was more love in those events then you would think possible (from most of the people, anyway. Meh. EXPECTRO PATRONUS!)Everyone was having fun and enjoying each other's company. The fact remains, though, that none of this would be going on if Greg was still with us, so it made all of the activities of the weekend a little bittersweet. Shelly's sweet, wonderful friend Kathy was missing Greg- he used to keep her company while Shelly and Kathy's husband Jeff would dance at events (neither Kathy nor Greg are dancers!). I kept thinking about how Greg and I would insult each other whenever there was a get-together (it's how the twisted interact, LOL!). Alot of us this weekend seemed to be thinking of the ways Greg filled the smaller spaces in our lives, and how they seem that much bigger without him. By the same token, the bigger spaces he filled- father, husband, son, brother, friend- seem cavernous.

While my heart is no longer carrying around the thousand-pound pain I felt when we first lost Greg, I am surprised to find that I can still feel the grief so sharply. Looking at mine and Pete's wedding pictures is difficult- it was one of the last times we were all together and having a good time! The main difference was that this weekend, thinking of Greg made me smile more often then it made me tear up (not that I will even pretend I didn't cry the whole way home on Friday night). This was an emotional weekend, but I am looking forward to putting myself back together and feeling like a person in the world again, instead of a person surrounded by sadness. I don't think Greg would want us to wallow- he used to be the first person to tell me that sometimes, things don't change, and that I had better either accept it or let myself turn into a person who can't move on.

I am not going to even pretend that I have been handling this well. I have been in a fog ever since Greg passed, and the only thing that's kept me afloat is knowing that I need to be there for my sisters, my nieces, and my friends, family and job. I look at Shelly and feel so weak, because without a reason to get out of bed, I could very well lie there all day, every day. I have never been good with sadness anyway, and I am one of those people who falls of the cliff, falls fast, and keeps falling. This weekend, though, was the last of the "events" surrounding Greg's death, and tomorrow, I want to start putting myself together, which is why I spent today cleaning our apartment like a psycho instead of resting.

So, wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"You know it gets the better of me sometimes..."

Ahhhh....

So, someone who is gaining as much weight as quickly as I have been should not admit this, but...

Spinach Artichoke Dip from Applebees (while consumed with some of my favorite girls at the table with me) makes me SOOOOOO happy!

I got the surprise treat of getting out of work early, so I headed over to my sister Marla's, where she and Carmen were waiting! We went to see my sister's new house, which is scheduled to be done one month for today! We also went to look at the sample home, so we could get an idea of what it will look like when it's done! After we decided where the pole will go (!) we jetted off to Applebees. Sadly, a traffic jam nearly caused me to pee my pants- we got there just in time! Yikes!

After I relieved myself, we had a great time eating and laughing and enjoying the company of each other and our favorite server Brian! And even though I do not condone stuffing one's self with junk food to make yourself feel better...well, sometimes it's AWESOME to stuff yourself with junk food to make yourself feel better!

Now I am home in my boiling hot apartment (Pete jacked the heat up for some reason!!!) unwinding after a lovely evening. My belly is full of yummies and my heart is full of the sisters and friends I am so lucky to have. There's a little space in my heart tonight for another sister, and I am sending her all of the love I can muster tonight.

Goodnight all, it's bedtime!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Step right up and visit ring number one! The show's just begun! Meet the President!"

It's early!

I agreed to come into work today super early so my employers could perform their civic duty and Rock the Vote, so I find myself with some quiet time to journal, as both of my girls are tucked up in their beds and the sun is just starting to peek out!

It's a pretty historic day for our country, as it's election day and we have an African-American presidential candidate and a female VP candidate! I feel like we're on the cusp of something big, no matter who is elected, although I certainly have my own hopes as to who that person will be! Sadly, when Pete and I exchanged vows, we promised to love, honor, cherish, and cancel out each others votes, as we have VERY different political views! The last presidential election, we didn't have civil conversation for a week, so this should be GOOD! Bickering aside though, it's actually one of the reasons I love him- he's passionate about the things he believes in! And I can't resist pushing his buttons, so it makes for alot of fun!

And that's my political commentary for today folks! Try not to take it in all at once lest you become overwhelmed!

It's already been a pretty busy week, and it's only Tuesday morning! I know that technically, Saturday was last week, but that was my nephew (I love saying that!) Robbie's first birthday! I can't believe he's already a year old! He's such a little love muffin and SOOOOOOO sweet! I remember every single thing about the day he was born- there was a little bit of a rough start! I didn't even get to see him that first day because he was in the NICU! A year ago, he was this little McNugget in an incubator and now he is this little hottie with the most adorable personality and sweet little face!

Sadly, his birthday shindig was preempted by a trip to the ER! What, he was waxing nostalgic for his birthplace or something??? But, he is fine and after the initial delay his costume party went off without a hitch! The kids were having a blast in their costumes, and I even managed to get dressed up. I put on a blonde wig, a crapload of make-up, a Tony Romo jersey, carried my fake Louis Vuitton, and went as Jessica Simpson. :-P

Sunday was the Race for Hope in Philadelphia! Marla, Carmen and I all walked together on a GORGEOUS fall day! It was a little chilly, but the colors along the Schuylkill River were spectacular, and seeing so many people together for such a good course was amazing! It was sobering, however, to see just how many people have been affected by brain tumors. I saw folks walking in memory of mothers, brothers, friends. I saw people wearing tee-shirts dedicated to a child lost to a brain tumor. It was almost enough to make you want to give up, until you looked out into the sea of people and saw tee shirts emblazoned with the best word ever- Survivor! In face, a very lovely man, himself a brain tumor survivor, took the picture of us you see here. I saw walkers with growing-in patches of hair, obviously shaved for a surgery or lost to chemo. But they were there and walking!

It was, of course, a little bittersweet. With every step I took I thought of Greg, Shelly, and their girls. It was hard not to feel a stab of jealousy when I saw a "survivor" tee. God, if Greg had been able to beat his tumor, I would have gotten him a "Survivor" tattoo! How did some people get to be so lucky and not Greg? Dangerous thoughts, I know. Going down that road is a sure way to the funny farm. Life is just not fair sometimes, and the number of memorial shirts I saw was a testament to that. Life is not fair.

Thankfully, though, there are little pockets of wonderful that take the edge off. Like thousands of people all walking on a beautiful fall day, fighting for the same cause. Like being blessed with sisters- by birth and by law- that you would lay down your life for. Like having a husband who may vote opposite you, but who also rubs your sore neck every time you ask! Like getting married and suddenly having not one, not two, but seven (twelve if you don't count technicalities)nieces and nephews who never cease to make your heart full! Having family and friends, a job that puts a roof over your head and Lean Cuisine in your freezer, an iPod filled with Broadway songs, Facebook flair, the invention of the blog, and my Coach bag. It's the big things and the little things, folks. It's what I have been holding to my heart to keep the darkness from taking it over. And I am so thankful for all of it.

Now, go vote!!!!!!