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Archive for October, 2009

Because Boy’s parents are divorced, Thanksgiving has always been kind of hard for us because most of the time, it has meant running from place to place to make everyone happy. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving, but once we’d crammed our faces with three seperate dinners in the space of approximately 48 hours, the feeling we’d get afterwards (what I like to call “turkey bloat”) is horrible. We’d feel all tired and sore-stomached and by the time we got back home (we do not have a car so our schedule was left completely at the mercy of family members willing to drive us back into the city), it was almost like we hadn’t had a weekend at all.

So for the past two years, we’ve bailed on having a proper Thanksgiving weekend with all of the families and instead opted for raincheck dinners on different weekends and I have to say, it’s worked out pretty well. Not only does it allow us to really enjoy the meals, but I think it is a lot more relaxing, since we know it’s not going to be some sort of crazy gauntlet of stress and stuffing.

This year, our first of the Redo Thanksgiving dinners was this past weekend which could not have been more perfect timing. With everything that had been going on, I had almost forgotten about it when Boy reminded me on Friday afternoon, but having something to look forward to perked me up as it was definitely a more appealing prospect than sitting around the apartment feeling upset.

So Saturday afternoon, Boy and I grabbed what had to have been the world’s smallest car from the car rental place and hit the road to Logan and Charlotte’s place to have dinner with them and my Mother-in-Law.

tallmanThis is a fairly accurate representation of how Boy looked driving our little compact rental.

I could get into all the family related tidbits, but instead I’ll just highlight some of the best parts for you folks at home with a list:
1. Sending the boys out to get bread to go with dinner and having them return with the ingredients for Rice Crispy Squares and no bread at all (a second trip out was made).
2. Seeing pictures of my Father-in-Law (who was not present) when he was in his twenties. Polyester pants and a mustache!
3. Debating with Logan about who the best Ninja Turtle is. (I say Donatello, he says Raphael).
4. Playing Rock Band and hearing:
a. Logan dorkily yell “Bass Groove!” every two minutes.
b. My Mother-in-Law sing AC/DC’s Hells Bells in her best choir voice.
5. Eating a dinner of chicken wrapped in jalapeno harvarti cheese and proscuitto and hearing my husband say “It’s like the chicken and bacon were doing it and then the cheese laid down some ground rules and jumped in!” (He’s so classy.)
6. Finding out Charlotte has a secret thing for bad boys. (Colin Farrel!)
7.  Discussing whether or not Ralph Fiennes is sexy or scary. (I vote scary!)
8. Me overpouring my wine when my Mother-in Law admitted she had a thing for Robert Carlyle.

robert_carlyleWho loves you, baby?

I’m sure there are other things that happened after that as well, but unfortunately, I would not be the most reliable source as the excess of wine that ended up in my glass then ended up in me and I became happy and gushy Girl for much of the night.

In any case, long live Redo Thanksgiving! May every year bring more for us to be thankful for. 🙂

**In honour of my debate with Logan, here’s a little video I thought might be amusing – Twenty Something Normal Turtle!**

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After I wrote my last post, I kind of fell apart. I had managed to get through the writing of it and I had run off to the bathroom at work to shed some tears but I seriously thought I was okay to make it through the day.

This was not the case.

At about noon, Boy saw the post and called me to express his condolences. The night before, I had heard that Tassy wasn’t doing very well and I had been upset then, but hearing that she had passed made me feel like I had been emotionally dropkicked. Opening my mouth to talk felt difficult so with a strained and clipped voice, I tried to keep my sentences short and to the point.

“Yes, I know.”
“I am okay.”
“I will let you know.”

As I work in a very small office, my nearest coworker could hear my end of the conversation and came over to check on me.

“I know it’s none of my business but I could hear you talking and I just wanted to make sure you were okay,” she said. And then, she touched my shoulder.

The entire morning I had felt ready to burst and someone touching me was like releasing a valve so I let out a sharp, strangled sound (“Hurgh!”) and started to cry. It took me a minute or two of hot tears streaming down my face before I was even able to explain what had happened.

When I finally managed to collect myself, I was told I was free to go home, but I said no because the last thing I felt like doing was going home to sit and be miserable. However, the longer I sat at my desk unable to think about anything else, the harder it became to stay composed. I couldn’t focus and my body was shaking with all of the contained emotions that threatened to spring forth from my eyes and throat at any moment. So, at around two, I managed to croak out my desire to depart and after throwing on my coat, I sprinted towards the subway.

There is nothing more embarassing than making a scene in a public space, so while I sat on the matted corduroy apolstery, I tried my best to concentrate on my damp even breathing and to fix my brimming eyes on the subway map.

10 more stops to go.
7 more stops to go.
5 more stops to go.

Finally when we got to my stop, I bolted off the subway car and made my way back towards the building where Boy and I live. As I walked, a song that I love came on my iPod and I felt my throat constrict with my happiness for the music and my sadness for Tassy.

“This is a hammer, this is a hymn,
This is a match to a ball of lies . . .”

I sped up my step and made my way into our building as my eyes blurred. I swiped my security fob maniacally in front of the lock and ran up the stairs to our apartment. And then, once the door closed behind me, I finally let myself explode the way I had want to all day. I dropped all of my things on the floor and made a gutteral bellowing noise as Boy swept me up in his arms where I remained for what felt like an hour,  just sobbing and shaking.

During this time, I don’t know when, my earbuds had dislodged, but I could still hear the tiny music playing from where they lay on the ground.

“This is the howling at the moon,
These are the arms you fell into,
I am a fire and I must burn today.”

I don’t remember at what point the music stopped or at what point Boy moved me from my ridgid standing position to the couch, but once we were seated, he kissed my salty cheeks and hugged me tightly to him.

“I’m sorry I don’t have more that I can say,” he told me.

“It’s okay,” I told him, “This feels just right.”

And it really did.

When we’re growing up, we’re always encouraged to seek out the most attractive and the most intelligent person we can as a partner because appearance and brainpower count for something. And while these are things of value, you will need more than that. Because there are times when you will feel tired and dulled and pulled apart by grief and during those times, beyond anything else, the thing you will want the most is a partner who will hold you and tell you it will be okay.

Take it from someone who knows, if you have that, everything else is just gravy.

*****

This is the song I was listening to that reminds me of Tassy. It’s by AA Bondy and it’s called “I Can See The Pines Are Dancing.” The video is random but it is a very beautiful song, so I recommend giving it a listen if you have the time.

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Tassy

 Even when you know something is coming, it can still feel like a punch to the gut.

My cousin Tassy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the winter/spring of 2008 and given four months to live, but being the spunky Greek ass kicker we all knew, she defied the odds and fought back. Sadly for all of us, that fight ended this morning when she passed away about two weeks short of her 42nd birthday.

Tassy was not my biological cousin (she was married to my cousin Derek) but she treated me and pretty much everyone else in her life like family. She was the type of person who was generous with her laughter and who would do just about anything she could to make others happy. She loved to travel and try new things and she was so ethusiastic and full of life that was hard not to be the same when you were around her.

The week before Boy and I got married, she called the apartment bubbling with excitement and offers to help with the wedding. She asked me questions about my dress and questions about Boy and made me promise if I needed anything I would call her because she was just a phone call away. I didn’t end up taking her up on it, but the phone call left an impression on me because she sounded so assured and confident, whereas up to that point, I had felt a little like a big ball of nerves. Well, I thought, if Tassy can be confident with everything that’s going on with her, I can be confident too.

And I was confident. Confident about the wedding and confident that Tas would get better because she was smart and strong and good and because, frankly, that was the only way it seemed fair.

Never in my life has it hurt so much to be wrong.

I don’t know what comes after life, but I remember seeing a movie once where everyone gets to live their best day over and over for the rest of eternity. So, I like to think that right now, Tassy is doing that and having the time of her life away from hospitals and tubes and all the other horrible things associated with being sick.

Maybe she’s on a rollercoaster or maybe she’s eating ice cream with her family or maybe she’s soaking up the sun on the beaches of Greece like she did when she went last year. Wherever she is, I hope she’s happy.

Rest in peace, Tassy. We love you and miss you muchly.

Girl

tassygreeceNovember 8, 1967 – October 23, 2009

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Taking A Chance

As anyone who is an Office fan knows, last night was a big night as the subjects of everyone’s favourite workplace romance got hitched. I remember watching the season 2 finale and being so excited at them just kissing so the idea that they were getting married brought some serious tears to my eyes.

jimandpam

I think the thing I liked most about it was that it enforced the idea, albeit with fictional characters, that life is malleable and built on the chances we take. Sometimes those chances seem small or we don’t even realize their significant to us at the time, but they can turn out to have big consequences. By doing something, by saying something, we can shape our whole lives and turn them into what we’ve always wanted them to be.

When I first came across Boy, I thought he was cute so I took a chance, said hello and cracked a silly joke. He responded in turn, amused, and a few weeks later, he officially asked me out. Neither of us knew when we made the plans for that night that by taking that little chance on each other, that it would lead to a happy life and marriage, but I am glad it did.

niagara

So here’s to taking chances – you never know where they might lead. 😉

As a special little bonus, I’m including a short film I found on YouTube called Signs. As it is a little reminiscent of Jim and Pam, I thought it was appropriate.

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I’ve never really been a Desinty’s Child/Beyonce fan, but I fully admit that their songs have serious earworm capabilities to them. The summer that “Crazy in Love” came out, it got lodged in my head about 435, 670 times – not because I thought the song was amazing but because it was working some sort of catchiness algorythym.

Anyway, this morning I came across an awesome cover of Beyonce’s more recent aural epidemic and I thought I would share. Performed by the San Francisco based Pomplamoose Music, this cover of “Single Ladies” is presented with just the right amount of stripped down simplicity and humour (“Don’t make me sing this part of the song!”) to make it seriously listenable. So pop on your headphones and give it a whirl!

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Sesame Street Mad Men

It’s not quite Ernie and The Tapdancing Sheep funny, but it’s still pretty awesome. “Good work sycophants!”

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Okay, so times are tough for everyone right now. There’s a lot of belt tightening going on these days and that sucks. But some of the people it sucks most for these days are the people who live in high poverty communities. I mean how can you tighten a belt that’s already run out of notches?

school-bus

So for those of us who are lucky enough to have that little bit of disposable income, there’s a way to help. The lovely Sarah D. Bunting over at tomatonation.com is hosting a month long charity extravaganza in association with donorschoose.org. For those of you who have never heard of Donor Choose before, it’s an organization that puts donors together with specific projects in public schools. This is awesome because instead of donating to some weird amorphous organization and hoping that some of it filters down to kids, you’re able to cut through the crap and give straight to them. Your money will go directly to things like books and art supplies and science supplies and math equipment* which will end up in the hands of students who need them most.

If you just want to help, you can donate to the most urgent project or, if you have a geographical area or a school subject you always felt strongly about, you can kick your money towards that.

As for the money, there is no minimum dollar amount, so you don’t have to be a Rockefeller to participate. If you’ve got $20, $10, or even $5, that’s something great. Because what’s important is that, at the end of the day, some kid in Ohio or Texas or New York will get to create or experiment or learn because of you. And how can you not love that?

If you want to learn more about this whole shebang (including how Sars and other fabulous readers are awarding select prizes to contributors), you can go check out Tomato Nation overview page here or the Frequently Asked Questions page here. Or if you just want to get to the getting and donate already, you can go straight to the donation page here. The contest just kicked off today and already 2,448* students have been helped.

Because I love reading, I normally set aside about $ 50 a month for books for myself, but this month I’ve donated that money to Mrs. M’s classroom in Texas so that they can get to read kick-ass books like The Giving Tree and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

So skip a week of Starbucks, brownbag your lunch, dig through your couch cushions and kick a little cash towards this great cause because every little bit helps!

* I’m sorry, I couldn’t be more specific than math equipment because I’m not a math person. Protractor?
**As of 10:02 this morning.

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