Archive for November, 2009

Things You Never Think About:

But should.

As a few of you may know I am in lovely city of Manchester, England on vacation.  And yes, I am having a splendid time, thanks for asking.

BUT early this morning Eric and I were suddenly awoken by what can only be called one of the most HORRENDOUS noises we have ever been subjected to – our apartment’s fire alarm.  Not really my idea of a fun Sunday morning, but it happened and I lived to tell about it.

So 4 AM comes to the sleeping city of Manchester (well, mostly sleeping) and our apartment building starts to make this siren/scream/ambulance type hybrid noise and both Eric and I shoot up in bed, both of us in an instant adrenaline rush (author’s note: Eric tried to save me from whatever impending doom we were going to come across by putting his arm against my chest to push me back in bed. He loves me!) and then he is up and out the bedroom.  First question we have besides, “WHAT in the hell is going on?!” is, “What does this alarm mean?  Fire?  Burglary?  Terrorist attack?  Last call at the bar? What? WHAT?!”  Then when we decide it must be a fire alarm, and NOT because we see plumes of smoke bellowing out of the building but, because that just seems the most likely (though the last call thing did rank a close second) we then try to decide if the noise is just in our apartment, or if it’s building wide.  So dressed in our pajamas which closely resemble shirts and underwear (okay, they were shirts and underwear) he peaks outside our door to see if there is anyone in the hallway as curious as we are…and yes, yes there is; one gentleman down the hall about 50 yards away looking about as confused as we are dressed in his pajamas (that actually were pajamas, good for him).  So the noise, it is decided, is building wide, next…

Back to the window to look for plumes of smoke and/or panicked bodies flinging themselves from the windows into the river below our apartment: nothing.  So the next big decision is, “What do we do?”  Do we continue to stand at our window in our shirts and underwear looking for signs of terror (we figure that the big crowd of people walking down the street calmly is also a good sign that our building is not on fire.  You would think that at least one of them would have pointed or yelled or something), or do we do the responsible thing and go downstairs and outside.  Oh, did I mention that we’re on the 21st floor?  Yeah, the 21st floor.  What the hell are we going to do if there really is a fire??!  For as little as I know about emergency situations I do know that if you’re in a building that is on fire you should NOT take the elevator, so where does that leave us?  Huffing down 21 flights of stairs in our pajamas at 4 AM only to probably bake at about the 10th floor?  Or become one of those “gotta-live!” types that throw themselves from the windows into the icy water below our building and hope that the water doesn’t break too many bones?  And that we don’t suffer hypothermia?  What in the world would we do?  These are the things you just never think about…

But should.

And after about 5 minutes the alarm goes off (which is great since we’re both back in bed trying to go to sleep) and aside from the horribly morbid thoughts I was having like, “What if the alarm only turned off because the fire melted it?!” we were both calm, relieved and happy to be going back to sleep.  So Eric tells me that true “preparedness” experts say that you should never stay above the 10th floor (thanks for telling me NOW!) because fire ladders only reach that high, not to mention the stairs issue.  And that in the event that there is a fire not only do they have a plan for evacuation that they’ve practiced numerous times, but that they also have fire masks to put on so that if they do happen to have to run through fire, or smoke, or what have you, their face won’t melt off and they won’t sear their lungs from the inside out.  Oh yeah, and that they would have a wet towel over their shoulders to stay as fire free as possible.

Really?

Because what my idea of safety was at 4 AM was to plug my ears and think about putting on my pajama pants, stepping into my boots, putting on my pea-coat and maybe run like the dickens.  Of course, I would also probably be the type of person to get bake alive in their room which a coroner would later decide cause of death was “stupidity,” but I don’t really feel like playing that scenario out and trying to figure an evacuation plan for it.

So think about that next time you’re 10 plus stories up.  And don’t forget your fire mask.

November 29, 2009 at 11:50 AM 2 comments

On Giving Thanks.

Once a year I sit and attempt to put together a string of words that I hope can do any justice to the overwhelming feeling of gratitude and love I feel.  And every year I type and erase, type and erase, over and over, because I am never easily satisfied with how much my words seem to convey, but sooner or later (usually much later) I finally come to an agreement that, “Yes,” the words I just filtered from my head to my fingertips are good enough; they feel the way I feel.

My life has been so filled-to-the-brim in goodness and love and support and amazing! that there just never seem to be the right words…and this year, oh this year, is proving to be even more difficult than usual.  It has been that fulfilling.

I am thankful for a uncountable number of reasons; reasons like…

A best friend that has made me laugh more than anyone or anything ever has for reasons that aren’t always intended to make me laugh; a best friend that I get to fall asleep and wake up next to for the rest of my life; a best friend that has never asked for anything more than love and honesty.

A family that has taught me to spread my wings despite the fact that they wished my wing span wasn’t so long, wasn’t destined to a place so far, and encouraged every step of it anyway; a family whose love I can feel from across an entire continent and ocean; a family that has never condemned me for me being true to myself but nourished it instead.

A circle of friends that I can cry with, laugh with, be a smart ass with, dance the night away with, dedicate shots with, or do nothing at all with; a circle of friends who has supported me through some of the toughest times of my life with love and empathy; a circle of friends who light up my life with the mere fact that they are in my life.

A new family that welcomed me into their house when I was little more than a stranger from across the country; a new family that has welcomed me into their hearts, their lives, their family; a new family that I am so eager to spend as much life with as possible, who are not a replacement family but a beautiful extension.

A past filled with overwhelming love, soul crushing heart-break, mile high successes, lifelong lessons and new discoveries, experiences and ideas; a past that has created a person I am proud to look at in the mirror; a past that doesn’t dictate my future, but silently helps guide my life.

A life in Italy that has opened up my eyes to a culture I may never have gotten to know; a life in Italy that has fed me some of the best food I could have ever imagined; a life in Italy that I get to share with one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, better than any honeymoon we could have tried to plan.

A future that has no limits; a future that I can design with my own hands; a future that will be graced with all of the people I cherish most in this life.

I am thankful for the sunrise and the sunset, one cat who races me to the bathroom to sit on my lap and another that sometimes sleeps with their eyes open, pizza so good I can’t believe it, laughter that makes my face ache, plane rides that bring me closer to those I love, coffee so strong you do shots of it instead of cups, Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions, old neighbors that brought some of the most beautiful children into my life and trusted me with them, new neighbors that welcomed me into their homes not as a guest but a member of their family even when they hardly knew me, mozzarella di bufala so fresh that I have to stop myself from drinking the milk off the plate, home-made popcorn, music that can bring tears to my eyes, a smile to my face, a flutter to my heart or a wiggle to my step, inside jokes that have bonded friendships for lifetimes, the ability to share myself with people in ways that aren’t limited to the spoken word, being surrounded by a culture so different from my own that is equal parts frustrating and inspiring, freedom, tea that pleases both my nose and my taste buds, the sound of the keyboard clanking underneath my fingertips…

I am thankful for a life that is unlike any others’; a life that is in my power to mold into anything I desire; a life that can’t make promises but still inspires greatness.

I am thankful, as I am every single day, for the fact that you have touched my life.  No matter how “small” that touch may seem to you, it has meant the world to me.  No matter how far you are or close you are, you are always in my heart.

It is you and the simple fact that you have graced my life with your presence that make me so grateful for every breath, every heart beat and every blink.  You, and you alone; your laughter, your smile, your words, your hugs, your everything.

Thank you for being a part of my life.  May your heart be as filled with as much overwhelming gratitude as mine.

All of my love and gratitude ❤

November 25, 2009 at 12:50 PM Leave a comment

On Doing it Right.

I just read another eloquent blog by my friend, the always lovely and inspiring justatitch, and it really hit something.  It reminded me of a lot of past thoughts and worries and insecurities.  It got me thinking, which is always dangerous, about those times I sit and wonder about whether or not I’m doing this life “right.”  What does that even mean?  But more, why do I sometimes feel like I’m not doing it right, despite the fact I’m not entirely sure there is a “right” way to do it?

I have always lived a relatively uneventful life.  I’ve called myself (and I’m sure others have also) boring, unadventurous and not spontaneous in the least.  Most of the time it causes me no discomfort; this is who I am, I’m happy and not lacking anything that I can’t overcome with a good talk with good company and a good hug.  But sometimes, just sometimes, I look around and wonder if this really is who I am; wonder what if I’m just a scared and insecure person who’s deluded herself into thinking this is what I want.  And on these occasions I look at the other people; the people who just stand out in a crowd because they exude some kind of other-worldly experience; the people who practically have other-worldly experience because they are adventurous and spontaneous and nothing-even-close-to-being-average and I sometimes envy them.  I envy them and then compare my life and think, “Wouldn’t that be nice…”

But would it?  I’m sure they have adventure and intrigue and excitement just oozing out of their pores, but is that what I really want?  I know for some people it should be what I want because it’s what they want, and surely they know what’s best.  I mean look at all they’ve done, all they’ve seen, all they’ve met and all the fun they’ve had, of course they would know what’s best.  Wouldn’t they?

My generation (Generation Y, as it’s been coined.  As in “WHY did I ever wear/listen/do/etc. that?!”  I wonder…) has been served a dose of, “YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!” that makes, in my humble opinion, people who don’t hunger for the wild and extreme and adventurous feel like they’re coming up short.  When you’re told from the time you were a child that, “You can do anything! Be anyone! Go anywhere!” don’t you sort of feel like you should DO, BE and GO everything, everyone and everywhere you could possible think of?  And then when you don’t, not because you’re afraid or insecure or miserable, but because you genuinely don’t want to, you feel like, “Huh…shouldn’t I want to do those things?  Be those people?  Go those places?  Is this (your) enough?”

It is enough.  It’s better than enough.  Because life isn’t about “doing and being and going” all possibilities; it’s about making your own choices.

It’s the choice to say, “Yes, I want to stay home with my children.”  “No, I don’t want to go to college.”  “So what if I never make it to Germany.”  “I don’t need to be doing everything, being everyone, and going everywhere to be happy.  I’m happy doing this, being me, and staying right here.”

And the best part is that I can sit here on my couch with a laptop on my lap and a cat behind my head, and one at my feet, waiting for Eric to come home so we can read and chat and laugh, and that makes me happy; this life makes me happy.  And while I’m completely aware that my life may seem boring and contrived and too ordinary for some, I am also aware that their lives are too hectic and too rootless and too extreme for me to ever be happy with calling that my life.  And that’s beautiful…

…I am doing this right.  And so are you.

November 24, 2009 at 2:04 PM Leave a comment

On reasons why I love him.

I’ve known my husband for three years.

Three years that have been filled with an impossible-to-count number of things that have all become reasons that I love him; reasons why I will be as much in love with him in 50  years when we’re playing the piano together at our anniversary party as I am today; as much in love with him as I was the day we looked into each others’ red and glossy eyes and said, “I do.”

I love him because he makes me laugh, all the time, no matter my mood.  I may pretend to not be amused with what he says from time to time to try and prove to him just how irritated I might be, but we both know that I’m fighting back a smile and that the heavy sigh I just let out is just a poorly muffled giggle.

I love him because he doesn’t underestimate my strength, my intelligence or my abilities.

I love him because when we’re apart he calls me before he goes to sleep.

I love him because of the way he pushes up his glasses.  He holds the frame of the lens with his thumb and pointer finger, all the other fingers raised and fanned out and he lifts them back to where he wants them.

I love him because he can change a tire in less than 10 minutes.

I love him because he doesn’t always agree with me and does it tactfully.

I love him because he always says, “I love you,” and not, “I love you, too.”

I love him because he doesn’t mind that when I find frogs in our front yard, I pick them up, show them to him, and name them before letting them go.

I love him because sometimes, out of no where, completely unrelated to anything we’ve talked about all day, he looks at me smiles and says, “I’m so glad you’re my wife.”  And I know that without a doubt he means it with every part of his heart.

I love him because he has always danced the fine line of pushing too much and not pushing enough so beautifully.  He knows what I’m capable of and isn’t afraid to let me know it.

I love him because he’s always figuring out better ways to do things.

I love him because he hugs me when I cry.  Even when I don’t ask him to give me one.

I love him because he asks me, “What are you thinking about?” when he knows I’m thinking about something and not sharing it with him.

I love him because he shares every part of himself with me, and wants me to share every part of myself with him.

I love him because his anal retentiveness matches my own.

I love him because he made me realize just how amazing cuddling can be.

I love him because he is 100% honest with me 100% of the time, and expects the same from me.

I love him because he loves romantic comedies.

I love him because he came up with the phrase, “Wanna-Bean.”

I love him because once when I asked him if he could figure out what was wrong with my computer, he looked at it and said, “You see that logo there (the “Windows” logo)…that’s what’s wrong.”

I love him for reasons I don’t even know yet.  I love him for all that he is, all that he makes me feel and all that I am with him.  I loved him before I knew I loved him, even though I always knew that I would love him.  And the moment that I kissed him I knew that his were lips that I wanted to kiss for the rest of my life.  And now I get to.

I’ve known my husband for three years.

And I’ve loved him for just as long.

November 23, 2009 at 5:18 PM 1 comment

On a Broken Heart.

A heart breaking is a strange thing. It is often silent to the world, but to your world it shatters glass with its piercing shriek. It leaves you paralyzed, but leaves your body feeling as if it had just ran a race. It is painful, but leaves you feeling entirely numb.

What I find most interesting about the broken heart is how instantaneously it can break, and how stealthily it does it. Often times I don’t even realize my heart had broke until I hear the crunching shards of its remains under my feet; and then you really feel it. I remember being a kid, playing and laughing and running about, only stopping to catch my breath to yell, “Tag! You’re it!” only to continue to run. I remember how at the end of the day you could look at your elbow, your knee, your hands and find scratches and scrapes and think, “Hey…when did that happen?” And up until that point, pain hadn’t even been a distant thought, let alone a reality, but at that moment, in that single moment of looking down and actually seeing the injury, pain was realized. A broken heart is sort of like that sometimes; you’re so caught up in everything that until you look down and see the broken pieces, you weren’t even aware that you were hurt.

And it feels broken. If I close my eyes and concentrate on the feeling, I’m sure I can feel the pieces; sharp and cold, and attacking your insides with every breath. You keep on breathing though, if only because you have no other choice, and every time you do you remind yourself with a painful sting that you will never be the same.

Never.

Even when the pieces are lovingly and carefully put back together, you are forever changed. Scars will appear where a once smooth and perfect surface used to be, and every time you see it you will remember how it used to be and how it will never be again.

But while I stare at the broken pieces of my heart, don’t think for one second that I am helpless. For it is in those moments that I can cut you most deep. Maybe that’s why hearts break…so that while you’re hurt and reeling from the pain you will have, at the very least, something with which to hurt another. After all, it is in those vulnerable, broken moments that you’re most likely to cut another, and what better to do it with than with a piece of you that hurts the most?

And what breaks a heart, exactly?

A lover saying, “I don’t know.”

An phone call that that was not returned.

Watching someone hurt so badly and you without a pain killer.

Not knowing.

Or even worse sometimes, knowing.

They all break a heart. And how lucky are we at the plethora of causes of one of the most painful experiences one will endure?

Incredibly.

It means that we are real. That we are alive. That we are surging with blood, and emotions, and love, and life, and all of the unbelievably beautiful gifts that life has been so gracious to give us. We are lucky.

So with every breath, with every stinging reminder of what won’t ever be the same, let it also be a reminder of how strong, and beautiful you are, and how, while things will never be the same, they can be better.

And they will be.

November 22, 2009 at 1:08 PM Leave a comment

Dear Heart,

I’m writing you this letter to let you know that you will be okay (better than, actually), that feeling broken, tattered and a little bruised is all a part of the process; just as death is just a part of life, and not the end of it. It’s really quite spectacular.

I know it’s hard to understand now, but it truly did happen for a reason. It may take some patience, but know that the reason will be revealed and that soon after, even understood. And if you let it, it will leave you exhilarated with that beaming feeling of life and love and growth. So let it. It’ll be more than worth the effort.

But please, make me one promise: allow it to make you better…not bitter. They may only be a vowel different, but they are worlds apart from each other in destination. And frankly, you deserve so much better than bitter. So much.

And lastly, I want to make you a promise: you will feel the flutter of love again. You will jump and flip and dance with the feeling that you live for, that feeling we all live for. And it will be great. So great.

You are that strong. You are that beautiful. You are that deserving.

Always yours,
Me

*****

This was something I wrote after my (then) boyfriend (and now husband) and I had broken up. It turned out to be one of the most therapeutic things I wrote during that time; a true warm hug for myself, and from myself. And while things turned out for the very best (I mean we’re in love and living in Italy!) I can still feel how much it hurt when I wrote this; still taste the salty tears that made their way to my mouth; sense the sickening pit of miserable in my stomach.

And that’s how I know this is a good one.

November 19, 2009 at 2:15 PM Leave a comment

On Bragging.

Someone recently asked me how life was in Italy, or more specifically, how was the “married” life? And I had to reply with the only sentence I could think of; one that would sufficiently describe how I feel about “married” life (a life I never really thought I would have): “It feels like I’m bragging when I talk about it…that’s how good it is.”

And truly, that’s how good it is.

I spent 23 years of my life in a perpetual state of waiting. I was never a dater, never in the mix of singles and good looking people trying to find someone to make them feel less alone, or a hand to hold, or a person just to pass the time with for now. I was, a term my mom coined just for me and my thoughts on relationships, a “long term thinker.” I didn’t want to date somebody I wasn’t going to marry. Period. And it was true, and much to the chagrin of the part of me that just wanted to be held and kissed right now.

So I think about those times; the times when I thought he didn’t exist; the times I wondered if he would even love me if he did exist; the times when I’d given up on hoping for the romantic-comedy love story I so passionately wanted and I think, “Life…you tricky little devil you…”

Three years ago I “wasted” an afternoon taking a personality test on eHarmony for poo and chuckles and came out with everything I can remember fantasizing about in my love story; the intensity, the awkwardness, the heart-break, the undying love that held the both of us together and then brought us back together and I am speechless. I never actually though it could come true…and now that it has I feel like I’m bragging…

My story might be nothing like the love story you dream up when you’re alone in your head, and that’s okay because this is my dream come true. And every day I am surprised by it, grateful for it and endlessly in awe of it.

I’m not one for bragging, but how can I not?

November 17, 2009 at 5:24 PM 1 comment

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