Tag Archives: love

On Love and Cancer and the Universe

It’s amazing how quickly a day can change.

This morning I woke up thinking about how great it felt to decide to make time for the things I want to do (build this space, gain experience, make a transition) and how quickly the internet can make things happen (Doni really is a Fairy Blogmother). I was looking forward to that plus my trip with AOhDub back to Tennessee for football and friends and food and fun this weekend. Things were honestly looking up (in spite of some eye-rolling revelations I had today about a boy thing that now seem beyond stupid).

Then, during a meeting my phone went off. It vibrated, then again, and again, signaling not the usual text from AOhDub but an actual call. A quick check told me it was J, one of my favorite people and my best friend in Tennessee. I didn’t think much of it– we’re staying at her and T’s place this weekend – until I listened to the message to find that they won’t be in town. Instead I found out that they’ll be down in Atlanta because T’s mom is being put on hospice care.

The news was a surprise but not a complete shock. She has been battling cancer for over three years. 15 months ago she was doing pretty well at J & T’s wedding but I know how quickly things can change with cancer. And part of the problem with living far away and not doing a good job of staying in touch is not knowing these things before they sneak up and cut you to your core.

Regardless, this is an amazing woman who laughs a lot and loves so hard it’s not even funny. I moved to TN and became T’s roommate sight unseen and before I knew it I had another mom there to keep an eye out for me while I was below the Mason-Dixon Line. While I lived in Knoxville she doted on me and J like her own daughters and when J and T got engaged and then married, she was over the moon to finally have a kid who would call her back and listen to her stories every time. This is a woman who scolded T for exclaiming “Dude!” to me on the phone because “she’s not a boy” (even better is the fact that he didn’t ever say dude before the Californian moved in). You won’t meet a sweeter lady and although she might gasp at my language the only thing I want to say is fuck cancer.

Life gets turned upside down sometimes. But those moments are often the only times we allow the universe to remind us of our own mortality. Of our own complete inability to make plans. Of the need to tell people how we feel and to get rid of toxic people and things from our lives.

So, I guess all I can say is, thanks universe, I hear you loud and clear. And everyone else, think of J, T and his parents this week (I know I will be, even while I’m willing the Vols to crush the Gators) and give everyone you love lots of hugs.

BiSC 2012: The One with ALL THE DANCING

As you probably know, I spent the weekend before last in Las Vegas with 59 other bloggers at Bloggers in Sin City (BiSC). When I first sat down to recap what was an amazing weekend, I didn’t know where to start, which is why it’s been over a week and I’m just now posting this. Also, apologies for the novel but it was just SO MUCH EVERYTHING.

The People
From the moment I walked up to Dominique and KlutzyBallerina outside McCarran the awesome, hilarious and high quality conversations never stopped. You know what else never stopped? The dancing. I’ve never seen a group of people dance as much as we did over a four-day period. Dancing in clubs, dancing in bars, dancing in buffets, dancing while eating, chair dancing, dancing on the backs of booths in the VIP section, dancing while waiting in line for roller coasters, dancing on the street and it was the best (and this is coming from an only semi-enthusiastic dancer). You name a place, we probably danced in it and we definitely won at dancing. Especially Mikael, who actually has the most booty-shakin’ booty in all of Vegas. The Flamingo Pool crowd says so and that’s basically like a Supreme Court ruling, right?

And as we were dancing and discussing horse porn and spending too much money to see the inside of a Vegas strip club (honestly, if I were there for the boobs, I would have demanded my money back because they were lacking), it became clear that these bloggers are just as funny, smart, caring, kind, quirky, energetic, interesting, geeky and talented as they are on the internet. I know it sounds surreal and it was, but I’m pretty sure that I could have a great conversation with every single one of the BiSC-uits (and I tried to do that too). I also loved that, despite the fact that some people knew each other already or were having their own mini-reunions, no one was surprised or offended when I elbowed my way into a circle or yelled my way into a conversation.

Oh and did I mention how fucking gorgeous everyone was? I mean, go out right now and gather 60 people off the street. You’re bound to get a few odd-looking ones, right? What about the first 60 people you can find who spend a lot of time on the internet? Yeah. Yet, somehow this group was so ridiculously good-looking. And not only that, they were also generous about complimenting everyone else. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t really need anyone to boost my confidence any further, but yet, there I was on both the giving and receiving* end of some genuine compliments (it’s really amazing that I was able to fit my big head through the front door when I got home). And did I tell you how we fucking killed it at Mad Men? You know that you’re doing it right when people yell your party theme at you as you walk down the street. The dresses, the suits, the pearls, the heels, we BiSC-uits clean up reeeeeeeal nice y’all.

The Places

View of Eiffel Tower from the VIP area

VIP…NBD

Vegas is the place to do all the things you’ve never done before or don’t usually do back home and I can’t think of a better place to let loose 60 bloggers for a weekend. Whether it was eating a dinner of mainly AMAHZING homemade meatballs at Spice Market buffet at Planet Hollywood** or guiding Katherine down the sidewalk while she closed her eyes to avoid the people dressed as creepy characters (like Hello Kitty, whose hands belonged to a man and seemed to constantly be texting) or running down the strip at 8 a.m. past still-drunk revelers, Vegas is the only backdrop you want for one of the best weekends of your life.

Not only were there TVs in the bathroom mirror, pink lighting and striped wallpaper in the Flamingo Go Room the delightful Laura and I shared, but we could also see the Bellagio fountains from our window, and, most importantly, the drapes were controlled by a wall switch which we took great pleasure in utilizing every time we were in the room.

I also can’t forget the 24 hours of buffet that we were provided, all of which included cotton candy at all meals (sorry Jenn for forcing myself onto your cotton candy because I was too stupid to get my own). And of course, the sundae bar and booze at Serendipity3 which gave us the energy and loose muscles to tear up the dance floor at Margaritaville. We also owned the dance floor at Diablo’s (where I noticed they have an all-you-can-drink daytime rooftop deck bar beer special that I’ll need to check out next time) for about four hours after an INCREDIBLE Zumanity show that was funny enough that people in the audience weren’t uncomfortable with the fact that people were rubbing their genitals together and wearing glitter g-strings on stage.

And the last place I’ll mention is the spectacular rooftop VIP section at Chateau in Paris. Nothing beats the view of the Eiffel Tower, the roped off dancing area, space for dancers atop the booths or people dressed as odd creatures and characters (see also: real life horse porn?).

The Things

Stunner of the Month koozie

Shades + koozies = love at first sight

If you want the greatest gift bag of your life, go to BiSC. I can’t name ALL of the sponsors who donated ALL of the awesome things, but I’ll give you an idea. The first thing I did when I took my gift bag back to my room was try to take a photo of my Bitter Baking Co. cookie but once I got it out of the wrapping, it was in my mouth (TWSS), which tells you how amazing it was. My pre-Mad Men drink combined my Vita Coco with my Skyy Coconut Vodka and I look forward to spending the summer rocking my Livefyre shades while keeping my beverages cold in my Stunner of the Month koozie. The Z Confections Salted Caramel Sauce is nearly gone (and tastes awesome with apples, because that makes it healthy right?) and it took less than 24 hours in Vegas for me to finish of all of my Le Bon Garcon caramels. And lastly, if anyone can either tell me where I can get more Relax & Refresh Balance Water (checked three local Whole Foods & Amazon with no luck) or just ship me some, my body would greatly appreciate it.

The People (Again)

Lauren in the Flamingo fountain

Just hanging out with some flamingos at 4 a.m. Classic BiSC

I can’t name everyone who I loved meeting because that would pretty much just be a list of all the attendees (who you can find here) but I can say that I was glad to let Caryn sleep on me in a strip club, thoroughly enjoyed being able to finally meet Amber, Drea, Sara, Rachael, Doni and Nicole in real life, loved talking whales and pups and life with Nic and am grateful that Laura was such a good sport and good sleeper when I wandered into our room every night at 4 a.m. I also probably owe Brad money, enjoyed watching Adam pick up all the small people, regret not spending enough time playing in the flamingo fountain with Lauren and Bob and can’t believe that I’m going to have to wait a year for Mikael and Berto to sing “Belle” to me at the Paris buffet again. And if I ever need someone to find me seats at a crowded In-N-Out or recommend the best legit Spirithood for my needs, Tiff and Nick are my first call.

I am grateful to the BiSC Run Clubbers (Nicole, Jayme, Terra & Swapp) for coming back to make sure I hadn’t died and for making me feel welcome despite my lack of speed and endurance and especially to Jayme for telling those guys that we were from the U.S. Women’s National Team. Oh and I can’t forget to thank Tara for also getting lost in Planet Hollywood and for introducing me to the Cat Paint app and Katherine for being the only BiSC-uit I met before the event and to both of those two for rooming with me on Wednesday night. And my trip wouldn’t have been the same without discussing the meaning of #bearclawvagina with Amanda, seeing shirtless photos of Brandy‘s dad at the Calgary Stampede and talking Georgia (the country) and sharing a love of all things T.J. Maxx & Ross with Jen. Also to everyone else who was awesome and I didn’t mention, I love you.

Very, very lastly, I have to say that without Nicole, Doni and Rachael, this event would be nothing (and also wouldn’t exist). Thanks for being fucking rockstars, I want to dance all up on your sponsor-grabbing, event-planning, energizing, inclusive, loving, hilarious souls.

BiSC-uits, let’s do it all again next year (or sooner). I can’t wait to touch you all in real life again. Not in a creepy way. Unless that’s how you want it.

Everyone else, if this wasn’t enough for you, check out the #BiSC hashtag (especially on instagram) or any of the BiSC-uits’ favorited tweets to view a blogger unconference in all its glory.

* You guys, I honestly had to play it cool when my hero Nicole told me that she reads my blog comments out loud to her boyfriend. I mean, I hope I played it cool because I was having a total internet geek girl moment inside while sitting in a room of like 20 other genius bloggers. Nicole is my spirit animal and if she didn’t know it before, it’s now out there for the world to see.

** If someone can hook me up with the recipe for those meatballs, I could die a happy woman. The breadcrumbs on the outside weren’t mushy, the meat inside may have been ground turkey. I don’t know, I just dream about them every night.

No Guarantees

Disclaimer: If you’re not in the mood for something just outright fucking depressing turn back now and go visit these corgis being awesome and I’ll be back to my usual random ridiculousness soon.

You know how people (grown-ass women, mainly) say things like, “Don’t let me die alone” or “I’m never going to find anyone; when I die dogs are going to find me surrounded by Dove chocolate wrappers”? It always seems hilarious until your aunt is found by the police three days later in her apartment.

This isn’t meant to be a cry out for sympathy or empathy. I can’t say that I’ve even seen my dad’s sister in person in the last five years. I can’t claim that I was good to her in the time since I came back from grad school in Tennessee. Not responding to her text messages about women’s college basketball and not being able (or willing) to answer her phone calls during work was truly hurtful and uncalled for. To be honest, anyone who heard about the extent of our relationship since I became an adult and she became our “crazy aunt” might consider me disrespectful, mean or even despicable.

Regardless of how our connection had deteriorated, she was my dad’s only sister and she died alone. She died alone, probably scared and nobody was around to realize she was gone for three days. Her voicemail had to become full before anyone started to worry.

I know I should be thinking about all the good times with her (which are difficult for me to remember). The times when she babysat my brother and me, playing Pizza Party and Don’t Break the Ice until we dropped or at least until one of them cheated (or won) and I pouted, thrusting my bottom lip out in such a fashion that my aunt would threaten to cut my lip off and fry it up for breakfast – her only defense against a potential tantrum.

But instead of thinking about her life, a life that I realize I know very, very little about, in the end, all I can think about is her death. It’s not clear yet exactly what happened, but one can imagine nothing good could have happened when the police find you in your apartment three days after you’ve died.

And here’s the thing I can’t get out of my brain: she shouldn’t have been alone. She and her husband had been married for decades. Decades. According to popular culture and marriage lore, getting married not only solves all of your problems as a female, but also will be sure to prevent you from dying alone. Or at least from dying and nobody realizing it. How many times a week are we told that if we just find that special someone, we won’t be “found by the dogs” like Bridget Jones quips or discovered in bed surrounded by half-eaten cheese and bread?

If it wasn’t clear before, my aunt’s death has taught me once and for all that getting married or finding someone to be with forever doesn’t guarantee that you can avoid the troubling and, honestly, terrifying end which she met. It’s not right or fair that this is how she died. Her husband can’t be blamed for having to stay in a physical therapy clinic and the rest of us can’t blame ourselves for not even knowing what was going on in their lives right now. But I think we can all agree that nobody, not even our worst enemies, should be fated to die scared and alone.

So, in honor of my aunt, Sandi, who, even with her faults, was a loving and dedicated daughter, sister, wife, aunt and friend, let’s all remember that nothing is guaranteed. If that means we should do something that we’ve putting off, or tell someone something that we’ve been meaning to say, or just check in with someone who we should have caught up with a long time ago, then just do it. You never know where you might be in three days time.

The Obligatory Love Post

I’m one of those people that forgets that Valentine’s Day exists. I’ve never had any reason to celebrate it and I’m genuinely of the opinion that if you feel like you have to go all out on Valentine’s Day to make sure that your lover, spouse, partner, significant other, boyfriend, girlfriend, fuck buddy or what have you truly knows you love them, then you’re probably doing it wrong all the other days of the year.

But Valentine’s Day doesn’t really bother me. I see no reason to get worked up, bitter, depressed or lonely and say things like I hate it or it’s a greeting card holiday, since I honestly don’t really ever remember it’s happening until someone reminds me.

Maybe it’s because I’m relatively secure in my singledom? Sure it’d be cool to date someone but it’s not a requirement in my life right now. I only really ever feel like I’m missing out on something when I’m working a 16-hour day and a co-worker’s boyfriend stops by to bring her a sandwich. So basically, I only want to date someone so that he can bring me food.

Plus, I’m not necessarily emotionally equipped for the kind of things that guys pull on Valentine’s Day. The one time I got roses from a boy, I panicked and later that night ended up with him crying on my couch and me pretending to know how to comfort: a) people who are crying, b) boys who are crying and c) people who are boys who are my boyfriend who are crying. FYI: making jokes is not how you comfort the last of those three.

So maybe what I’m saying is that the “grand gesture” isn’t really for me. If you love someone, then make it clear every day. I like to think that my actions every day tell my friends and family how much I love and appreciate them, so why shouldn’t that be the same with anyone I date or marry? Why should a lover, spouse, partner, significant other, boyfriend, girlfriend or what have you not just be a best friend with added benefits?

So, to you couples, I hope this Valentine’s Day reminds you to to keep up all that lovin’ every day of the year. And to everyone else, remember that being single is not the same as being alone. Plenty of people who aren’t single wish they still had that independence and ability to do what they want whenever they want. So take joy in the lack of obligation, forget about being bitter and depressed, celebrate Leslie Knope style and listen to Chelsea’s advice and learn how to love yourself (not like that, actually, yeah like that too).

And maybe hire someone to bring you food.

What Happens in Vegas, Will Probably End Up on My Blog

Hi Vegas! You look fab! See you soon!

If you haven’t heard, I’m all signed up to go to Vegas for Bloggers in Sin City this May. If you don’t know what Bloggers in Sin City (BiSC) is, basically, 60 bloggers, 4 days, awesome sponsors (like Paper’d – so excited for this app), fountain jumps, glitter and sparkles, buffets, parties, pool, booze guitars, turning your bloggy friends into your real life friends and having an unforgettable time. If that doesn’t tell you how awesome it’s going to be, check out the video and agenda. Plus, this event is so awesome they are running a contest to give one lucky BiSCuit their registration fee back! Hi, sign me up and also thanks Paper’d (for reals you guys, I’ve been anxiously awaiting this app for months).

Since I haven’t been to Vegas in over a year (and I’ve been dreaming of BiSC for 3 years), I’m beyond excited and after spending several hours reading up on all of the attendees (eight spots left as I write this aka REGISTER!) I’m fucking ecstatic, y’all. I have decided to spend the next 5 months reading blogs, tweeting at all the awesome bloggers and generally avoiding all productive activities. Basically what I’m saying is: ALL THE EXCITEMENT! Please be May NOW!

Thinking about this spectacular trip also reminds me of the three times I previously headed to Sin City for fun. As a result, I thought I should share with all my new best BiSC friends and anyone else, the amazing, ridiculous, gross and outrageous things that have happened to me in Vegas. BiSCuits, this is the bar that we’re aiming for and I have no doubt that we will blow so far past it that Vegas without BiSC will be much paler in comparison.

One of my many Vegas faces.

What Happens (to me) in Vegas:

  • went when I wasn’t yet 21 and got thrown off the casino floor within 3 minutes of arriving
  • shared two rooms with more than 40 coworkers from the student paper
  • slept under a desk (for safety – turned out to be smart)
  • snuck around multiple hotels stealth-drinking beer
  • rear ended someone in traffic after being ordered to kill a spider by my screaming passengers on the way there
  • had a stranger tickle my sweaty armpit in a club (THE ACTUAL WORST)
  • wore my first pair of heels and then promptly was forced to run across cobblestones outside of the Venetian in them
  • complained that my feet had actual holes in them
  • slept in my dress with sweatpants on and my legs halfway under a bed
  • got a speeding ticket on my way there
  • stayed in a suite for a bachelorette party where there was a TV that came. out. of. the. desk.
  • requested the huge whirlpool bathtub as my bed
  • wore the most painful shoes of my life and later became that girl walking through the hotel lobby barefoot
  • went to Chippendales, which had a high level of unintentional hilarity
  • wore a whistle around my neck and attempted to yell “Last chance fellas!” every hour on the hour, while pointing at the bride-to-be
  • ventured into the lazy river at MGM and somehow came out without any diseases
  • nearly missed our flight there

BiSCuits, your challenge has been laid out. Let’s do this shizz.

PS – Any BiSCers in the Bay Areeeeeaaaaaa who want to meet up between now and May: let’s do it! Email me, tweet me, comment, something! EXCITEMENT!

The Terrible Twosome

So, I was thinking we should pack some tall boys in our purses to make this trip to the zoo better.

Today is my Partner In Crime’s birthday. Anna is the other half of The Terrible Twosome and has been since early 2004. And, before you ask, we didn’t give ourselves the name, but that’s another story for another time.

For a friendship that began as mutual dislike, at best, and mutual hatred and desire to choke a bitch, at worst, I’d say we’ve made some amazing progress since we first met at the radio station in the fall of my sophomore year.

Our friendship has evolved from drinking peppermint schnapps chased with Hansen’s raspberry soda (the only chaser we could find) to sloppy seconds (her) to bestie sweatshirts to slow-pitch softball to zamboni-ing green beer (me) to long car trips through Central California in vehicles equipped only with radio to Drinking Decathlon (champion) to Nigerian princes (me) to cross-country gchat drinking games to real jobs and the real world (although honestly, not much has changed).

We’ve survived her insistence that we listen to Christmas music year-round, drinking rum with dead ants in it, multiple Assassins water gun ambushes, a year sharing the smallest bedroom in Isla Vista – where we discovered that Cap’n Crunch starts to smell & look like tuna after sitting in a bowl long enough (her) – two years of living in the Dirty South (me), too much food and too many road trips and boys to count.

Looking back, it’s clear that our friendship was built and continues to thrive on sports, laughter and (mainly) booze. So, because it’s like your death birth birthday, let’s party like it’s Mardi Gras baby!

These tell you everything you need to know about our friendship.

Happy birthday buddy!

Love and Loss and the Stuff In Between

My grandmother has been in the hospital lately after breaking her hip in two places. Over the past three weeks, she’s been on morphine, OxyContin, Tylenol and under anesthesia for surgery.

You know what those drugs (maybe not Tylenol) will do to a person? Make them absolutely hilarious! I’m not talking about knock-knock jokes here, either, I’m talking about the delusions and false-rememberings of a person with the many memories of a life very well-lived.

There’s truly nothing like listening to my normally very composed and sweet grandmother tell drug-induced tales of getting married without any shoes on or about the high jinks she and her sister got up to at Stanford hospital just hours after surgery. It was also highly enjoyable to hear her tell my brother that I “look good as a blonde” when she’s actually referring to my mom. Or to have her respond “they’ll do” when asked how the sweet potatoes are and ask who made the gravy on her Thanksgiving lunch tray in the hospital.

But then I turn away and a second later she’s moaning in pain, calling for her mother. I can’t blame her, I imagine I’d be in tears and calling for someone, anyone to help me, if I had metal scaffolding and pins holding my hip together. Watching someone I love who is so strong, who I’ve never even seen shed a tear, cry out in pain and confusion and being unable to do anything to help her is one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had.

Then I look over at my grandfather and he can barely get his words out because he’s silently sobbing, and I realize that I know nothing about the worst feeling in the world. I’ve never known what it’s like to love someone like that, for more than 60 years, and see them in pain. I’ve never watched, helplessly, as my one and only slipped in and out of the real world and a drug-induced haze of partial memories. And I’ve never been so scared of losing someone that it paralyzed me, took away my words and brought me to my knees.

Seeing him (and her) like that got me thinking about love and all the other stuff that comes with it. Everyone knows the saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I’ve always agreed and I still do, but seeing the depth of pain radiating from my grandparents over the past three weeks has made me question it all.

Is being alone all that bad in comparison to what I’ve seen? Is it really worth it to find love and stick with it through thick and thin only to watch your love go through the slow and often painful process that is aging? Or to force them to do the same for you? Or is it just my single, selfish mind making me think being alone is a better choice?

Watching my grandparents over the last few weeks has been a challenge to what I imagine love is supposed to be. I’m not so naive that I thought love was always roses and puppies and happiness and smiles, but knowing that I might one day have to sit by helpless and watch that love in pain or even death, scares the hell out of me.

But then I think, it’d all be worth it, right? The memories – no matter how muddled they might become, the family – no matter how dysfunctional they might end up, and the happiness – no matter how much sadness might come along with it. They’d all be the product of a life well-lived and well-loved.

And perhaps, if it all comes down to pain and suffering and aging, knowing that I could be there to distract from the pain, ease the suffering and, well, tell them how young and spritely they still look, it’d be worth it in the end. The love. The loss. And all the stuff in between.

And at the very least, maybe we could get in a few good morphine-saturated anecdotes.