November 29, 2007

My Brother Vinny

Happy birthday, little brother! 23 will be a good year for you. I can feel it.

**If you haven’t noticed, the last few days of November are big for my family. There are birthdays and anniversaries all over the place. This makes for some sweet parties when Thanksgiving break falls over these 3 days.

Kevin and I are 19 months apart, almost to the day. Up until just this moment I had always thought we were 18 months apart. I had just never actually counted. Brother, you are one more month younger than me. Ha.

When Kevin came home from the hospital, he didn’t stay long. I don’t know if I was excited about having a little brother or if I hated the idea. No one has ever told me. I just know that I was pissed when he was taken back to the hospital and my mom and dad went with him. For a month.

The poor kid was having SEIZURES.

Of course, I remember none of this, but from what I hear it was a pretty scary time for everyone. I don’t know the reason he had them, I just know that all of the first born boys on my dad’s side of the family has had them. Unless you are the first born son of a middle child. Apparently, if the father didn’t have them at birth, then the kids won’t either. And we have yet to determine whether or not they skip girls (me) or if it really just skips the middle kid (also me…Michael was dad’s first and he had them too).

Basically, the best way to conclude whether or not a child with Wittmann blood will or will not have seizures is to throw all of our names onto a huge Sodoku board and try to figure it out. Good fucking luck with that.

So he comes home FINALLY right before Christmas and was a pretty chill kid (thanks in part to the mass amounts of drugs he was on to subdue the seizing), which was AWESOME for me. Someone smaller than me who didn’t argue EVER when I told him what to do? FUCKING RIGHT!

I talked for him constantly. The pediatrician finally told my mom that she needed to shut me the hell up if she ever wanted to hear Kevin speak.

Thus establishing Kevin’s trademark character attribute; the guy does not speak unless absolutely necessary. I don’t know if I did this to him as a child—I’ll take credit for it anyway, thankyouverymuch—or if this is something he inherited from my father (no dad, you have NOT always talked as much as you do now), but if you have ever spoken to him on the phone, you know how true this is.

Which is why my brother and I rarely call each other. My mom always asks if we’ve talked when we haven’t seen each other in a while. My answer is always one of two things; “he called to say hi…that was it,” or “no,” which she never understands. Why don’t you talk to each other more often?

Because we don’t need to. It’s not that we don’t want to. We talk when we’re together. We love hanging out together. We have a large circle of mutual friends and we always have a great time doing whatever it is we end up doing when we see each other. But talking on the phone constantly is just not necessary with us.

He knows I am there when he needs me, just as I know he is there when I need him. He’s cashed in on that before and knows it’s an unconditional event; we can tell each other anything , knowing the other won’t judge, or, on the RARE occasion that it actually happens, we can just call to talk. But the phone calls aren’t obligatory.

He’s a cool guy, my brother. He’s figuring himself out and it’s neat to watch. He’s in between Austin and Houston right now, and possibly going back up north in the spring. He’s struggled and he’s persevered and he’s asked ME for advice which is just too awesome to express. He’s going to be successful, this I know.

And I hope he calls me when he hits it big. Even if it’s just to say hi, and that’s it.

I love you Kevin!

November 28, 2007

Red beans and rice did miss her!

Oh. My. God.

If I could dance this is SO what I would do at my wedding. I am crying, I am laughing so hard. The girl's face is priceless!!


video

Love is Love's Reward

Today is my parent’s 26th wedding anniversary. Woo hoo! Good job to them. Being ALIVE for 26 years sometimes sounds exhausting to me, never mind actually sharing that life with someone else for that long without killing them.

They do it with style, though. They laugh and spend time together and are just so cool. How lucky am I to have parents that not only I, but all of my friends, consider COOL?

They were married in 1981 in my grandparent’s living room. Their wedding was a big party and from what I hear, a great time.

Now, 26 years later, they are still having a blast. I hope that after being married for 26 years my husband still looks at me the way my dad looks at my mom. And checks out my butt as frequently, too.

I love you guys! Happy Anniversary!

A Very Matty Birthday

So I’m a day late. Not unusual with me. Sorry, Matt. HAPPY BIRTHDAY anyway!

You’ve been my friend for somewhere in the range of 8 years now and I can’t imagine my life with you in it. You started out as the ONE guy in the group that never made fun of me…oh, how times have changed.

You’ve stolen my car (numerous times), lived at my house, and made road trips to Seguin…in the middle of the night. I got you drunk for the first time when I abandoned you with the baseball boys before St. Patty’s in ‘03. My bad, dude. I still have the dolphin that you and Keith and Scott got me for my 17th birthday, along with all of the memories from the Spring Break trip in Padre.

You’ve become part of my family and I love you tons! I’m so very thankful that our friendship has stayed strong for this long.

Happy birthday, Gallagher!


I would have made you a cake to commemorate the special day, but we all know you wouldn’t have eaten it anyway… ;)

November 21, 2007

A Day of Thanks

I love the holidays!

I love everything about them. The shopping, the deciding, the returning, the wrapping, the food, the gifts and yes, even the family.

Especially the family.

My family is insane. Really. They are nuts.

But that is what makes them SO! MUCH! FUN! They welcome everyone, whether they know you or not, and within 15 minutes will have you rolling on the floor in a puddle of your own pee because you are laughing so hard you think you just might die. And you would die with a smile on your face, so see? They’re awesome.

My family is big. My mom is the middle of 5 kids, all of whom now have their own spouses and children and pets and issues, and my dad is the oldest of 3 with all of the same. Take off the shoes. It’s ok. I know there is a lot of math to be done there.

Holidays in California were always spent with ALL of the family. Occasionally there would be an aunt/uncle/cousin group missing because they were Air Force or Navy and living in some exotic locale like the Philippines or Hawaii for the year and couldn’t come home. But usually there were all of us, crammed into my grandmother’s 3 bedroom house, with food EVERYWHERE and babies crying and drunk aunts laughing and uncles filling up water bed mattresses with air for the kids and dogs to jump on.

We even celebrated Veteran’s Day like this. I’m not lying even a little when I say that any excuse for my whole family to get together was one big freaking party.

So you can imagine how sad our first big holiday in Texas was. It was Thanksgiving and we had been in Houston for about 2 and half months. I remember feeling like our 4-person family was so small. So tiny. How would we be able to celebrate without everyone else?

My mom cooked like she normally did, which meant we had Thanksgiving leftovers for 5 months because she cooked for 37 people instead of just the 4 of us. The cooking of the food was always a big deal in our family. I remember everyone getting together at my grandma’s house the night before Thanksgiving and helping out and it being LOUD. There was laughing and singing and dancing and yelling and it was fantastic.

It was just too quiet that first year, on the night before Thanksgiving. My mom was cooking, using her mom’s recipes and trying so desperately not to cry into the sweet potatoes. Kevin and I were moping around, as usual, and my dad was trying to keep everyone’s spirits up by convincing us that a holiday without the rest of the family would be fun and new and exciting. As you would expect, these attempts at perking us up were met with A LOT of eye rolling and heavy sighs.

As a last ditch effort to pull us out of the funk we were all in my dad threw my new Santana single, Smooth, into the CD player and started dancing around with my mom. And she laughed and started dancing too. Kevin and I held out through the first rotation of the song, gaping at my mom and dad like they were crazy, but when we realized my dad had set it on repeat and turned it up even louder than before, we folded and started jamming out with them.

That night is my first real happy memory of Texas. And it still amazes me that it came out of a time when we were all so sad and lonely for our family in another place.

Every year, no matter where we are living at the time, my brother and I get home with enough time to help cook the night before. We put on Santana and dance around the kitchen and celebrate the fact that all 4 of us are together again. And for that, I am so thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Eat more than you should, drink until your nose goes numb, and love the hell out of your family.

Because really, everyone needs a little crazy in their lives to be grateful for.

wut up dawg?

Bella got spayed on Sunday. She is now what Kevin and Chandra lovingly refer to as an “empty vessel.” They call Abbi a “shell of a dog,” and frequently reference her as “hollow.” It’s quite hilarious. Until Abbi gets pissed about the comments and tries to bite your face off. Bella has a much bigger mouth than Abbi, so I am going to try and refrain from calling her those names while she is in the same room. Her bite would take off a hell of a lot more than the tip of my nose.

I started arranging for her to be spayed about a month ago. She is 7 months old, and I’m not completely certain when dogs go into heat, but I figured it was probably soon for her. And even though the carpet in our apartment is less than perfect I don’t need any new gross stains, if you know what I’m sayin’.

So I call our vet and set up an appointment and ask some questions about what we need to do beforehand to get her ready to be butchered. And since we are living on a crazy tight budget, I had to ask the money question.

“By the way, how much will it be?”

“Well how much does she weigh?”

“About 55 pounds.”

“Ok, then it will probably be around….um…300 or 350.”

“DOLLARS?!”

Needless to say, I started looking for other places to get her fixed. Turns out, the Humane Society spays and neuters animals for $60, AND they are open weekends. I made an appointment with them and then called my vet to cancel the one I had just made with her.

“No problem! The Humane Society is a great place to get it done. We’re more expensive because we’re a private practice, but she will be just fine with them. If anything seems off with her after the surgery, bring her in to us and we will see her for free. No problem at all.”

I love you, Heights Veterinary Clinic!

So I wake up Sunday, leave SK asleep in the apartment, and take unsuspecting little Bella down to get her womanly parts extracted. She was NOT happy as we sat there waiting for them to come get her. She had her tail between her legs, was shaking, and kept looking at me like, Lady, I can SMELL the badness that is this place. What the fuck am I doing here?!? I’m not exaggerating at all when I tell you that when they walked her back and she threw me one last sad, pleading look, my heart broke a little.

We picked her up that afternoon and after sitting in the waiting room for what felt like FOREVER they called our name and she came trotting out. TROTTING. Not kidding. Her tail was wagging, she had happy Bella face, and minus the goop around her eyes from being out for a few hours, she pretty much looked like she was coming off a sweet day at a doggie spa. Glad I spent my afternoon worrying while she spent hers getting massaged and pampered.

Once she got in the car though, she crashed out. She sat in the back seat with SK and really didn’t move at all. We laid her on the bed in the extra room when we got home and there she stayed all evening long. We even ate dinner on the bed right next to her and she never once lifted her head. She was so stoned.

She’s been sleeping in our room, in her kennel, so that I can hear her if she cries or starts to mess around with her stitches. They told me to check her stitches every day to make sure that they looked ok and weren’t doing anything weird or gross. Ew. So I check her stomach on Monday and I swear to God I can’t even see where they stitched her up! I’m guessing that’s good…? I mean, I can tell where the incision was made, but her stitches look pretty non-existent, and she doesn’t seem to be in any pain so I am happy with that. What I DID see though was odd…

She has a tat.

Yep. She has a tattoo! My 7 month old DOG has a tattoo. I don’t even have a tattoo! And to be quite honest with you, I have no fucking clue what it is. It is like a little circle with a cross through it. The weirdest thing, though, is that it’s nowhere close to where the stitch line is. It’s like 7 inches down from there, close to the inside of her right hind leg. WTF??

SK and I have been making up stories about what it could mean. Is she in a Humane Society cult? Did the doctor mess up and cut the wrong place? Is she now missing a kidney or something? Keep her away from the booze!

I like to think she did something crazy while waiting to be spayed. Like bit someone’s hand off as they were approaching her with the anesthesia. Because she was so wild and scary, they branded her for life. Now everyone will see her ink and know SHE is the crazy motherfucker that caused all the trouble on the south side of town.

Gangsta’ Bella in the house, ya’ll.

November 19, 2007

Whoops

Ok so apparently the link my last post didn't work. Try this:

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22556281-661,00.html

Maybe I messed it up when I renamed it. Not an HTML genius over here. For someone working in IT, I am helplessly IT-impaired.

November 16, 2007

Brainiac

Go to the link and let the little dancing girl tell you what you’re good at!

Right v. Left

I was all set to write about how I saw the girl turning the direction that would make me left-brained and why that confused and upset me because I have always considered myself to be more right-brained, when all of a sudden she changed direction.

DOES THAT NOT BLOW YOUR MIND?!?!

All of sudden I look back up and she’s spinning the other way. Now, every time I look at her she is changing course. Not gonna lie…it’s starting to make me a little dizzy and sick.

So apparently I use both sides of my brain. Go ahead, call me a genius. I know.

Really, I have always thought I was more right-brained as those traits tend to lean more towards being artsy and imaginative and ouside-of-the-box thinking. Read: flighty. Which is exactly what I am. Most of the time. I love to read and would be happy if you put me in a corner all day with a book and some food. I routinely forget things I just said. I am not a fan of structure. I hate math and anything numbers-driven. I freaked out and cursed the science Gods when I took chemistry and found it to be Numbers Science.

WHAT?!

I had loved biology and all of the questions and theories behind the development of the species of the world. And then they sit me down in a class and give me a FORMULA to figure out how many protons and neutrons and electrons are in a certain element and if I get it wrong I am just WRONG, not kind of right, not going in the right direction, but WRONG.

I hate that box. The box with the ONE right answer. Hate it. Want to kick it and punch it and shred it and refuse to be placed in it EVER because HELLO—there is always more than one answer.

Which is why I have never thought I was left-brained. But then I see Silhouette Sally up there dancing in the left-brained direction and my self-perception shatters. Awesome. Thanks, Sal.

Thankfully, she started dancing the other way and all was right in my world again. But this then begs the question: am I REALLY as right-brained as I think I am? Really, I mean a wrong-way dancing silhouette just almost destroyed me, so obviously I am not as stable as I once thought, but that is neither here nor there. But am I truly right-brained?

I think that so often we want to see ourselves in such a way that we don’t really take the time to figure out how others see us, or how we really should see ourselves. I want to think that I am creative and artsy, but when you feel the need to SAY you’re a certain way, doesn’t that usually mean you’re really NOT that way at all, and just trying to make yourself FEEL like you are?

I am logical, which is left-brained. I have a crazy vocabulary, which I am proud of, which is also a left-brained trait. I am safe in that I won’t go jumping into oncoming traffic just for the rush, but not so safe that I would stay in a situation that made me unhappy just because it was comfortable. I can be detail-oriented, but usually you have to remind me it’s necessary. I can comprehend concepts and ideas typically on the first listening of said concept or idea. But I don’t think linear, and I am a procrastinator to the point that it’s almost ridiculous, and neatly arranged piles of ANYTHING cause me to break out in hives and will almost certainly send me flying off the handle.

So, clearly, I am still working on which side of my noggin is ultimately going to end up doing the driving. To the 4 readers I have, where do you fall on the left/right curve? Which way do you see her twirl? And really, it’s ok to admit it if, at first glance, you violently cuss her. Like I did.

November 15, 2007

So I'm a little slow...

Here is the the official Halloween picture (finally) of our little household. I'm thinking this would make a fabulous Christmas card. I was decked out to look like an 80's chick, thanks to Chandra and her Never-Ceases-to-Amaze-Me wardrobe. SK was Speed Racer, a costume he has had for a few years. Like the slippers? Yeah, he wore those to walk across the stage at his COLLEGE GRADUATION. Mmm hmm.

Happy (late) Halloween from Cheryl, Bella and Speed!
**Notice the drool all around Bella's mouth hole in her ghost costume. That's because until about 5 seconds prior to this picture being taken, she didn't HAVE a mouth hole. It was pretty gross.

November 10, 2007

Proof that I should never be allowed to have kids. And possibly even a dog.

Reason #1

As most of you know, Bella dressed up as a ghost for Halloween. A blue ghost, actually. Only because the only white pillowcases we have are nice ones and I didn’t want to cut one of those up.

Before you start gagging yourselves and saying how laaaaaame it is to dress your pets up for the night and yada yada yada….ok, who am I kidding? I know that like 4 people read this and that ALL OF YOU dressed your pets up too!

So I’ll just get to the pictures. Hee.

First, an action shot.


We used a king-size pillowcase and I cut two front leg holes in it for her. I slipped it over her head, pulled her front legs through, and was in the process of trying to figure out where her little eye holes should go when she started running around like that. I guess she didn’t realize she couldn’t see…? She kept trying to run to us based on what she could hear. She wasn’t freaking out or anything, just trying to run and play like she would when she wasn’t Blind Pillowcase Wearing Dog.

Needless to say, SK and I were crying we were laughing THAT HARD.

Our Ghost Bella.


Reason #2

Today is Saturday and I am awake and SK isn’t. I got out of bed, took Bella downstairs, fed her and sat down to write this because I have been getting death threats about posting the Ghost Bella pictures and how if they weren’t up TODAY I would be sorry.

This really isn’t any different than our normal morning routine, except SK is always gone by now and usually Bella is chilling in the bathroom or our bedroom, chewing on a toy, while I get ready for work. I guess because of the pace at which I did everything this morning, which was significantly less rushed than on a work day, she knows today is different. And she knows SK is still here.

Right now she is alternately crying at our bedroom door and slamming her head into it, trying to get through to SK on the other side. How she knows he is in there, I don’t know. He’s not a snorer, the TV isn’t on…I guess she can hear him breathing? Scary.

Should I stop her from potential brain damage as a result of all the head bashing? I could. But watching her RUN FACE FIRST INTO MY BEDROOM DOOR is too hilarious right now.

I can hear the SPCA coming…

November 9, 2007

Overheard in Barnes & Noble

Scene: I am standing at the "Christmas Ideas" book table, looking through a book about snowflakes by some guy who apparently collected a shitload and then found a way to keep them frozen long enough to shine multicolored lights through them to illustrate how amazingly complex they are. Enter 2 Teenage Girls. They stop at the same table, and are on my right. One points to a book about the Kennedy family...Action.

Girl 1: “Do you think he’s hot?”

Girl 2: “Who?”

Girl 1: “Him. That Kennedy guy. JFK or whatever.”

Girl 2: “Gaaawd NO! Is he supposed to be hot?”

Girl 1: “I guess. He was back in the day.”

Girl 2: “Gross! Maybe he’s hot now though. You know, like one of those guys that gets hotter when he gets old.”

Girl 1: “Yeah, maybe.”

--Teenage Girl 2 catches me staring at them, with my mouth hanging open in utter disbelief.—

Girl 2: “What?”

Me: “Ummm, you know he’s dead now.”

Girl 1: “Really? I thought he was in movies and stuff.”

Me: “Um, no. There have been movies made ABOUT him. He was President.”

Girls 1 & 2: “REALLY?!”

On having it all together

From Free Will Astrology:
Contrary to what the Bible says, it won't be the meek who shall inherit the earth. On the other hand, the arrogant power mongers won't collect the legacy either. Neither the indecisive wimps nor the acquisitive bullies will contribute much to creating the New World.

Who, then, will inherit the earth? What kind of human beings are best-equipped to thrive in the evolving game of life? We say it will be the well-disciplined pleasure-seekers who are in vigorous dialogue with their own dark sides, who balance the masculine and feminine aspects of their natures, and who master the fine arts of working at their play and playing at their work.


Hmmm…looks like I won’t be inheriting the earth anytime soon. Honestly, I never really thought this was an opportunity for me anyway, but now that I know it’s really going to the people who have all of their shit together? Well, really—who saw that coming?

For me to become one of those people I think I need to grow up about 15 years. It’s odd because just when I think I am doing well and have everything in order and finally have a handle on things, I do something like overdraft my bank account by $300, or drink way too much on a week night, or be unnecessarily mean to someone I love. I definitely do not have all of my shit together.

I sometimes wonder where I derailed. When I was younger, I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up (a marine biologist), where I wanted to go to school (UC Santa Barbara, to major in marine biology), where I was going to live (on the beach in Santa Barbara, with a winter house in Hawaii), what my favorite animal was (dolphin) and even what my favorite color was (green). I don’t think the 14 year old me would be very impressed with the 24 year old me, and that bums me out.

I realized in high school that science was tough and that honestly, I wasn’t really that interested. That was hard for me to get used to, and I remember being really distraught about the fact that I wasn’t going to continue to take science classes after the required biology, chemistry and physics. I felt like a failure. It was my first real experience with “giving up” on a dream.

After that, I tried changing my attitude towards my future. I decided to let it come to me instead of trying to make myself fit into this vision of perfection that I was creating in my mind.

I have a very real problem with imagining how things “should be” and not realizing that the expectations I am setting for others and myself are really REALLY unrealistic. Ask my mom. Let her tell you about the many times when I was young and came out of my room BAWLING because the idea of the black socks with the blue dress that I had in my mind really didn’t look so good in real life. I am not kidding.

So I have tried to keep this mentality of “let life happen” going. Sometimes I am not so good at it and I get really disappointed with where I am. Most of the disappointment comes from where I am professionally, because 14 year old me really thought that we would be taking over the world by now. Or that we would have at least made our first billion.

But I am finding that it’s when I try to control everything that is going on in my life, that’s when it all falls apart. When I freak out and obsess, all it does it stress me out and I start taking out my frustrations on the parts of my life that are awesome and there is a severely damaging chain reaction that ensues.

I have been told numerous times in the past year “ if you want to make God laugh, make plans.” While I am not a religious person, this always makes me think. There is obviously something bigger out there, and while I am not sold on the idea of a life plan being previously mapped out for me, I know that I have a purpose. And I know that if I quit trying to MAKE things fit the way I want them to, I will someday be able to see what that purpose is.

I just need to chill out and be ok with the fact that I really don’t have my shit together. And that just because where I thought I would be at 14 is not where I am now, that doesn’t make me a sell out or a bad person. So what if I don’t inherit the Earth? I wasn’t ever one of the meek ones anyway.

I'm (ALREADY) dreaming of a white Christmas. So?

Today when I was listening to the radio on my way to work one of the DJ’s was bitching about how Christmas keeps coming earlier and earlier every year. He said he was floored that radio stations have already gone “all holiday” and are playing Christmas music at the beginning of November. He thought it was lame and that we should wait until AFTER Thanksgiving to start getting ready for the Christmas season.

To that I say SCREW YOU DUMB DJ.

If I could celebrate Christmas all year long I would. And I don’t mean just the feeling of Christmas because we all know we’re supposed to be nice and help out and extend the giving throughout the entire year and blah blah blah.

I mean that I would keep Christmas lights on my house forever. I would keep candles burning that smelled like apple pie and mistletoe and spice. I would keep a damn Christmas tree in my living room for 12 months straight if I could keep anything green alive for that long.

Christmas just makes you feel GOOD. It makes people happy. True it makes some people sad, but I have never understood those people.

I am going to start listening to Christmas music now. I will change the hold music in my office to Christmas tunes. Who cares if it’s not Thanksgiving yet? Not this girl.

Who’s with me? You know you want to do it…give in to your inner tacky sweater, reindeer earring wearer. Bah Humbug to the haters.

November 1, 2007

Kare Bear

Happy Birthday Karen! Here’s to Starbucks dates, wine nights, and endless hours of great conversation and laughter. Hope your day is wonderful!

xoxo

Yay November!

October is over and I really can’t tell you how big of a relief that is. Work has been insane. I won’t ever write about my work in this blog—I have read horror stories of people who used their public blogs as an outlet for their work woes, which is just really dumb because hello—we live in the Google Age, and were fired for it. Not that I think my boss or any of my coworkers read this, but it wouldn’t be hard for them to find it if they looked. So that’s all I’ll say. It has been INSANE.

And while I love Halloween, October just always feels like a very loooooooong month. It feels like it takes forever to get to the end of it and then BAM! BAM! BAM! It’s holiday city. And that makes me happy.

There are a lot of great things to look forward to this month—friend’s birthdays, my parent’s wedding anniversary, my brother’s birthday, THANKSGIVING, a few days off work, and then finally FINALLY putting up a Christmas tree and decorating.

I am so stoked.

Goodbye October!

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