Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010!

So 10 minutes left of this year and I am so ready for 2011. Death, near death, bad jobs, no jobs, stress, illness, and a lot of other bullshit. But time to wipe the slate clean and good things are coming my way in 2011! No resolutions, but I do want to be appreciative and less stressed next year. Oh, and maybe to blog more.

Happy 2011!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

30 random things, part 3

21. I drank way too much with Kyle and Rob and Saturday night.

22. I really wish I had more money to spend on Disney Vinylmation toys. Sad, I know. And generally speaking, I would probably rather collect vintage items, but there is something to be said for contemporary collections as well.

23. Rob and I both wish we could buy this painting for our living room, even though neither of us are from (or have been to) Hawaii.

24. I hate the snow. Except for the two weeks leading up to Christmas (or when it is close enough to drive to, but not so close that it interferes with my life). Which is why Denver weather sucks -snowstorm in October, why not? Blizzard in April, fantastic! An inch on Christmas, heavens, no! Once there was a massive blizzard a few days before Christmas, which was kind of nice. But then of course I was too busy complaining about the cold and the piles of snow that made parking nightmarish to take it all in. So now that the forecast is predicting 1-4 inches overnight, I can honestly say I will try my best to enjoy it.

25. I really love baking and cooking. Since I haven't been feeling well, I haven't been cooking as much I would prefer, and that makes me sad.

26. I am obsessed with smells... I am really paranoid about things smelling bad. For example, my dog. And as much as I love eating them, the smell of cooking onions. So I arm my self compulsively with candles and sents and fabreeze. And I really hate the way frozen food smells (Amy's organics are okay). Even if it tastes okay, I cannot smell the container after the fact. If I think something smells bad, I am not a rest until I have a chance to rectify the situation.

27. I really like reading. Everything - blogs, magazines, historical novels, non-fiction, how-tos, etc. The only genres I'm not crazy about are science-fiction/fantasy (Harry Potter excluded) and chick-lit. I really love John Steinbeck, Anthony Bourdain, Lisa See, Amy Tan, Mary Roach, Christopher Moore... I could go on for a while so I will stop there.

28. I hate seafood.

29. I have two siblings, a 20 year old sister and 16 year old brother.

30. I ahve a real problem with anxiety. As in there is way too much of it in my life.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

30 random things, part 2

11. I have been known to purchase and display personal photographs from antique malls and thrift stores. Creepy to some, but I would like to think of it as a way of honoring moments that may otherwise be forgotten. Likewise, I have an affinity for graveyards (learning about them and visiting them). I find most cemeteries to be peaceful, although I have had some odd experiences before. It's not a morbid fascination by any means, I just like to reflect on times and people who have come before. Plus I grew up Catholic so ghost were a pretty de rigueur fixture in my young life.

12. Rob and I try to eat at least 50% vegetarian (I think the kids these days call that flexitarian). That means between the two of us in the house, there is at least one vegetarian. I could never be a full-blown vegetarian - not so long as I live in a world with grass-fed beef and cured Italian meats. And Anthony Bourdain's scorn.

13. I know that my last name is a little, um, hilarious (see: Organ). I took Rob's last name when I got married because he asked me to, and I mostly don't mind. But I do mourn for all the names we will never be able to bestow upon our children...Sharon, Ophelia, Jr., Rosy, Pearl... (Go ahead, say those names out loud...)

14. Most people refuse to accept that my last name is Organ. I am always being asked to repeat myself. I think they are in disbelief ... like, maybe they just misheard me, and it's really Morgan. Or else they think it is Oregon, like the state. So now I always say, "Organ, like the donor." Yeah, I get a lot of strange looks.15. I know I could say "like the instrument." I choose not to.

16. Like most other white Americans, I am a mix of multiple European nationalities. However, despite the red hair and Irish last name, I am most notably Italian. And from a relatively recently immigrant family - My mother's maternal great-grandparents came to the US less than 100 years ago, making me a third generation American - a bit rare for a white kid. My father's grandparents were also immigrants.

17.. I'm an Aries... so that means my husband married an redheaded Italian-American Aries. On rare occasion, I have been known to be handful.

18. I am always cold. Always. Especially my hands and feet. I always think of my Granny who said "cold hand, warm heart."

19. My Granny had a red paper heart taped to her kitchen wall with the words "Ja Elske Die," which means "I Love You" in Danish. I want that as a tattoo some day. She always had olives (green and black) for us when we visited. She's been gone for a long time, and I miss her.

20. I miss my other grandmother too, but she is in California. Totally preferable to the alternative. She is very sad these days and it breaks my heart.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

30 random things, part 1

This came to me as a Facebook note, but in the spirit of posting at least once a week just to keep in the habit of it, I thought I would write here.

1. My mom is in India for work at the moment and I am extremely jealous.

2. My mom's birthday was Monday. For her birthday, my mom got a pineapple up her nose (courtesy of her Indian counterparts). And a Nikon. And I totally stole this picture from her email.

3. My husband was born in Boulder, CO but grew up outside of Minneapolis, MN. Everyone thinks he is from California. I suspect that is because his wife is from California, he takes 95% of his vacations in the great state of CA, he has the Highway 101 sign and palm trees tattooed on his arm and our cars have In and Out and Santa Cruz stickers on them.

4. My poor little Czara had surgery on Monday (for an aural hematoma) and cried all night long. Of course I understood that she was in pain, so I let her sleep in my bed, spooned her all night long, and woke up every time she whimpered to gently comfort her back to sleep. And Rob thinks I spoil her.

5. I may or may not spoil my dogs.

6. I just bought a ton of vintage compacts on ebay. The only one I really wanted I was outbid on this morning. It was adorable, it had a little seahorse on the front. I am not a happy camper.

7.We went with a real Christmas Tree this year. Rob and I have discussed buying a palm tree Christmas tree. That would most likely be fake. For obvious reasons.

8.My house was built in 1953. We bought it in 2008, when it was 55 years young.

9. My favorite non-pet animal as a child were giraffes, but I also love flamingos, penguins, swallows, and seals/sea lions. Rob refers to seals as “his friends.” It’s adorable.

10. I'm 99% done with my Christmas shopping. Which is really bad because the earlier I get done, the more likely I am to go above and beyond my original gift game plan. I just can't stop myself.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Dude, I have shingles. Nice, huh? The upside is that I missed three days of work for vacation, then I had a four day weekend for Thanksgiving, then I went home on Monday after only an hour of work. Of course any remaining vacation time I had is all gone, but oh well, I have escaped cubicle hell for a while now.

I guess it was only a matter of time before my anxiety and stress level made me really sick... and I am. I left the doctors yesterday with 5 prescriptions (6 if you count the painkillers she called in the day before). On top of the painful, painful shingles, I have some issues with my breathing. I have felt sick for 2 months, but I have chalked it up to being stressed and not having made time for exercise, but it turns out I was really sick all along. So now I have daily inhalers for the first time in my life. Hopefully I can discontinue that once I go back to the doctors in two weeks because those are not my favorite. Also I had to get Valtrex. You know, the medicine that is advertised for genital herpes? Apparently since shingles is in the same family as herpes the medication works on both. I was quick to tell the pharmacist that I have shingles.

Anyway, despite being in pain and in a drug-induced daze, I have decided that I need to work on keeping my anxiety level down. My plan includes making time to explore various creative pursuits (since I used to be creative, motivated, and a self-starter but now I am mostly a whiny sulker) and I am going to start exercising regularly again. I might even take up yoga. I want to start using my instant netflix connection to watch yoga videos. Rob has even agreed to do it with me since he is a sucker for yoga anyway (he is a weird, weird little man - not because he likes yoga, but that only adds to it).

I'm done thinking for now, since I'm pretty sure I'm not doing that great job of it anyway right now, but I will leave you with a picture of my dogs. Benny has long thought of the picnic table as his personal observation deck, but Czara decided for the first time today that if it's good enough for Benny, it's good enough for her...
Oh, and I should mention that I think daytime TV sucks. Which was not the case 5 years ago. What has happened since then?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A few phone pictures from my trip

Disneyland was just starting to get decorated for Christmas, so it was a nice jump into the holidays. It was a great trip. My family (mostly) all got along and it was great to spend extended time with my siblings since I don't see them that much these days. I took over 800 pictures in 5 days, so I have a bit of work ahead of me to get them sorted and edited.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gin and Sin and other things

Yay for a long post with no pictures... wtf Blogger?

We didn't make it to Boolesque or even to a haunted house, but we did go out with some friends all dressed up on Saturday night.

Our neighbor from down the street, Dale, invited us to go out with his sister and another neighbor. Dale is into rockabilly, hot rods, and the occult (and is a tiki carving maniac) so Rob and I always have a great time hanging out with him, and Saturday was no exception.

Rob dressed up like a misfits-esque skeleton with a leather jacket, and I wore a big, elaborate slip as a dress and did dead/bloody make-up (I'm a little annoyed that we didn't take any pictures because for all our love for Halloween, this was the first time we dressed up in years). Dale was a zombie, and Sandy and Julie were witches.

We started the night at a supposedly haunted bar called the Gin and Sin Speakeasy. It's very near 5 Points, which if you are from Denver you are aware that is not best part of town, and the building has been there since the late 1800s, so you can imagine the that there is quite a bit of history to the place. The story goes that it originally opened as a boarding house because of its proximity to the railroad. Eventually that transformed into a brothel and speakeasy during the 1920s, and has continued to operate as several different bars since then.

When we arrived there was a band playing and maybe 10 people at the bar total. We ordered some drinks listened to some music, and decided it was time to go upstairs to tour the brothel rooms.

For an extra fee, the bartender gave a mini tour of the upstairs. It was definitely creepy, no doubt about that. There was a room with blood spatter on the wall, a room where a serial killer was rumoured to have lived, and just an overall sense of unease. We were interrupted when another employee came upstairs and ended our tour suddenly, but I definitely want to go back, especially now that I know there have been real paranormal investigations held here. If you are interested in reading more about The Speakeasy and its haunted past, here is a great article.

From there we headed over to The Ship's Tavern, which is located in the historic (and again, supposedly haunted) Brown Palace. I love the Brown Palace. Rob and I spent our first weekend as a married couple here. The hotel opened in the late 1800s and has always catered to high-class society. I love the history of the hotel and always have a great time there, despite not being the intended clientele. And this time was even better, as were the only ones in the entire bar in costume! Nothing like a random scatteting of zombies among rich old people!

While we were there, we met a couple from Virginia who were on vacation. They were staying the night at the (haunted) Brown Palace and then moving on to the (haunted) Stanley Hotel for Halloween night. Around 1 am we all ventured over to Colfax where Dale, Sandy, and Julie ate at Pete's Kitchen, while Rob, our new Virginian friends, and I went to the Satire Lounge. Actually, Dale and company were supposed to be waiting in the looong line while we just grabbed a quick drink, but time must have gotten away from us because by the time we left the bar, they were all done eating and an even longer line had formed out the door.

We had a great time talking about ghosts, Virginia, Colorado, politics. Around 2 am, we took our new friends back to the Brown Palace and Rob and I headed home for a nice, long shower and some early morning scrambled eggs (I was bummed about missing out on Pete's).

The older we get (yep, 25 feels ancient with corporate jobs and a mortgage), the more rare nights like this have become, so we really appreciate when we do get out on the town. Of course that makes for a rather subdued Sunday (carving pumpkins and a quick meal with some other neighbors), but that is alright with us. We didn't get very many trick-or-treaters, which is a bummer, but at least now we have tons of candy left over!

Oh, I also have to add a quick note about the weather. It was nice all weekend long. I managed with only a light jacket on Saturday night. This time last year, we had already had a snow day. It's November and Denver has yet to see a real snowfall... I think this is the first time that has happened since I have lived here. So I have to say thanks to global warming, for allowing me to feel a real Autumn for the first time in forever!

I have a few other posts in mind relating to the fall, but who knows if I will really get around to it now that Halloween is past... although I guess pretty to the mountains and ghost stories have a place even beyond October...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Countdown to D-town

Actually D-land. Two weeks from today I will be Southern California Bound! It's the third annual Rock Around The Park! Last year was a blast and we are looking forward to another good time. We won't have quite as long to hang out in the area, but we will have time to fit in at least one beach trip.
Oh, and this year my parents and siblings are going as well. The last time we all went togther was nearly 10 years ago so this should be an awesome time.
I'm trying to stay pumped but I have a cold, which sucks. Especially right before Halloween. I think Rob and I are going to go to a Halloween-themed burlesque show( "Boolesesque") so I hope this sickness goes away quick.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Pit Bull Awareness Day

I love my pit bull! I love my little Czara too, but being half black lab and half boxer, she has a much higher level of social acceptance. And since today has been deemed Pit Bull Awareness Day by Pinups for Pit Bulls, I thought today would be a good time to discuss the breed discrimination in our region.

I live about 4 miles northwest of Denver, Colorado. Denver has one of the harshest breed ban laws on the books. The rule is you get caught with a pit bull once, you pay a fine upwards of $500 and promise that you will move your dog out of the city. If the dog is found in the city a second time, you pay another fine and the dog is destroyed. The ban has been in place off and on since the eighties, but about five years ago the city started cracking down something fierce. Dogs were being sent to the shelters left and right. Networks were created dedicated to getting dogs to more pit bull friendly cities, and many families moved out of Denver so that they could keep their family pets. That was about the time that Rob and I decided to rescue a pit bull.

Benny, after he and Czara decided to play tug of war with a pillow. Who could hate this face?

At the time, we lived outside the Denver city limits in the suburb of Wheat Ridge, had no children, and had a landlord who completely okay with pit bulls, making us perfect candidates for a pit bull adoption. We brought home Benny in March of 2006 and we have not once regretted the decision (Okay, so we had a moment of doubt the first day we brought him home, when he decided he wanted to chase a rabbit in my in-laws neighborhood and broke the chain that was CEMENTED into their front porch).

Benny has been a great dog. He was 1 and 1/2 when we adopted him and obviously had been trained by his previous owner (he had been dropped off with another pit bull named Joon...doesn't sound like he came from a fighting family). He was affectionate, mild mannered, and mostly content just hanging out with us. We couldn't have asked for a better dog. When we decided it was time to bring home a puppy, he was awesome with her. He played with very gently and was completely aware that she was just a baby. I remember he biting his ears and rather than snapping at her in retaliation, he would just look at us as though to say "What have you got us into."

To this day they are best friends and sleep next to each other every night. Benny usually retreats to his kennel when he is tired. Rather than go into her own, often Czara follows Benny right into his, and they sleep like that all night (we never latch the kennel when they are both in there).

And while I realize that not every pit bull is like Benny, most of these dogs are amazing family pets with bad reputations. Pit bulls have been used to fight for well over 100 years, but the recent lack of standards with breeding and training have really put these dogs over the edge. While dog fighting is absolutely abhorrent, it has yielded several qualities that work well in family pets. First of all, these dogs have a high pain tolerance. For this reason pit bulls are known for being great with toddlers, as they aren't bothered by little fingers pinching and pulling. Second, historically, owners of fighting dogs wanted to be sure that they could walk into the middle of a dog fight and pick up their dog without getting attacked. This is huge. Most dogs in a fight are worked into such a frenzy that they will bite anything, even their owner's hand. Yet it is in a pit bull's DNA to never hurt a person. Yes, pit bulls can be dog aggressive, and this is something that responsible owners should be aware of. But pit bulls that attack humans are evidence of abuse and bad training, and not of the dog's intrinsic nature. In fact, pit bulls are far ahead of chihuahuas when it comes to temperance testing.

I understand that a pit bull can do devastating damage and have a tenacious bite thanks to some really well developed jaw muscles. But simply kicking all these dogs out of a city won't help the real issue - poor breeding and abuse.

Even now that the bully breeds are banned, Denver still boasts the highest number of reported dog bites in the metro area. And the cities that have seen an increase in pit bull population, such as Arvada and Boulder, have not seen an increase in reported bites. That goes to show that this law is not doing anything but causing undue stress and harm to innocent dogs. Well over a thousand dogs have been put down in the past 5 years and for what?

In the whole front range region it is nearly impossible to rent with a pit bull. When Rob and I decided that we wanted to move to a house with a yard for the dogs, the lack of available rentals that allowed pit bulls left us with only one option - to buy our own house. So at 23, that is exactly what we did. And we are happy and proud to be homeowners but we do still resent that we can't live in Denver and that we have to be careful even driving through Denver with Benny in the car!

It breaks my heart that these dogs have been abused for years and instead of being looked at like victims, they are considered criminals solely based on their appearance (did I mention that the test to determine whether a dog in question is a pit bull is visual? So that even Czara, with her boxy jaw and forehead wrinkles could potentially be at risk of being labeled a bully breed? Yeah, nice).

I understand that there does need to be laws to protect the public, but a breed specific ban is not the way to accomplish that. There needs to be a vicious dog law that does not discriminate based on appearance and rumored attributes, but rather focuses on proven aggression. Hopefully reform is coming soon. I know that I am not alone in feeling this way.

End rant.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Giveaway at The Rockabilly Socialite

I'm currently in a MS Access class... which is interesting, but I thought I deserved a break to check blogs and this is what I found.

Dollie at The Rockabilly Socialite is hosting a great giveaway! Up for grabs is over $100 worth of Besame makeup, which happens to be one of my favorite brands.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bad Blogger and 8 Questions

I know I am a bad blogger and I am really not surprised. Not sure why I thought that attempting something else time-consuming would be easy. While I read my favorite blogs every day, I have avoided actually writing because I feel bad that I am not good at this, I feel bad that no one reads it, and I feel bad that I sort of don't even want anyone to read it... It's almost embarrassing for me to admit to people I know that I even have one. I wanted to start this so I could write down all the thoughts that I have, but then I started to worry that someone would take something the wrong way and here I am, edited in yet another space. Because, work, facebook, and anywhere outside of my house isn't enough. Oh well.

So I guess I will just continue with the idea that this is for me, and I will stop worry whether people are or aren't reading, especially because I'm not sure which is worse.

Here are eight questions that I took from Desiree's blog:

1. What was the first CD/tape/Album you ever bought with your own money?

Harvey Danger's cd. I was in seventh grade and had just discovered "rock" music. I grew up in California and hip hop was all the rage in 1997 in the East Bay. Thanks god for all those cute skater boys who taught me that there were a few other radio stations available!

2. What is your favorite piece of jewelry and why (wedding/e-rings don't count)?

Outside of my w/e rings, I have a lot of jewelry that I love... I have a ring that my mother gave me when I turned 16 that she was given when she turned 16, I have some jewelry that belonged to my father's mother that I love for both the vintage style and the sentimental attachment, and I have a rosary that my mother's parents gave me after my confirmation in the Catholic church. Even though I do not identify myself as religious (I consider myself one of those dreaded secular humanists), I love the rosary for what it represents. Safety, peace, family, tradition, and it is a very beautiful object in and of itself. And while it is NOT jewelry, I decided to put in this category anyway.

3. What's your favorite holiday & why?

Holidays have been different for me ever since my family moved to Colorado. Since we don't get to see our extended family but maybe once a summer, I am going to say that family reunion time is my favorite. Other than that, I love Halloween. I love monsters, vampires, the fall, decorating, bats, candy, scary stories...all of it. Of course I have to give an honorable mention to Christmas and to Independence Day, which I am only including because it is Rob's birthday and he would be sad if I didn't included at least in my top 4.

4. What sound or noise do you love?

I love the little snorty sounds that my Czara dog makes. Not sure why, since she is not a pug, but they are very cute none the less. I also love hearing young children talk, like my little toddler friend Mila. She says the cutest things in the most adorable way. Sure = Shu-wah!

5. What's your favorite curse word?

Umm, really? I love the brashness and versatility of fuck.

6. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

So many options out there! Of course, I wouldn't call HRIS my dream job so this isn't that hard of a question. I would love to be a pro photographer, a crafty business owner, a bakery owner, a chef, a psychiatrist, a historian, a teacher, or a travel/food show host (Tony Bourdain, if you need me, I am available immediately).

7. What profession would you not like to do?

Sales, police officer, or politician. I don't like presuming that I know what it best for you, and I hate confrontation.

8. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

"It's cool that you didn't believe. You were a good person, and that's enough for us."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Social d

At social d bit they are not on yet. Chaos.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Room Redo and other randomness

I've been really busy being stressed out so I haven't accomplished anything this week. Well, unless you count eating out a lot and falling asleep in front the TV every night an accomplishment.

This past weekend Rob and I cleaned our carpets and re-arranged our furniture. Here are some pictures of our progress. We are far from being done, but are too exhausted to care.

Sunday was my sister's birthday. She is officially no longer a teenager.

Oh and this is Rob enjoying some of her Boston Cream Pie. I'm a lucky girl.

... So,Rob and I have some decisions to make of both the critical and non-critical variety. How do you know which is the lesser of two evils?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Anthro giveaway

My poor dog was sick yesterday... or should I say my poor husband, since he was home first and so had to deal with the MESS.

So we were lazy last night and I don't have any of the pictures downloaded. Instead I am posting a link to a giveaway, for $50 to Anthropologie... very helpful for the upcoming Christmas season.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Blogging to you from a concert in downtown Denver. A favorite band from my husband's youth, Strung Out, is playing tonight. If you know me, you know tiey are not my favorite. So I am being that person, the girl on her phone. But I am in the back, and it is only the opening act.

Don't get me wrong, I love punk, but not this genre. Too poppy, but hey, too each his own. I owe this Rob, as we've blown them off every time they've been in town for the past 5 years.

We did some cool stuff this weekend, so I will be back wirh pictures soon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Featured on Sometimes Sweet

If you are interested on our (Rob and me) take on tattoos, head over this way.

One Night Stand Car Show

This took place in August (8/21/10, to be exact)... So I'm only a month late in posting these. This took place in Santa Nella, CA and we were able to attend with our friends, the Garcias, when we were on vacation out there. I took so many pictures, there is no way I can share them all. I love hot rods and in Denver there certainly is a vibrant scene, but we still tend to see the same cars over and over again. It was really nice to see some new cars. I did recognize a few from Viva Las Vegas and magazines, but most were brand new to my eyes!

My gorgeous friend Ellen (can you believe she is a mom x3?)did my hair, which is why it looks so nice!

Week in Pictures

It's been a good week for the most part. I'm feeling a bit under the weather, but I've managed to get out despite that. Saturday Rob and I had breakfast at the Coral Room* and just hung out. On Sunday we stopped by a little Road Devil's show at a bowling alley. Last night we went to our good friends' wedding (after 7 years and 2 kids, it was much anticipated). And today, we went for breakfast at Snooze* and are back to lounging. Here is the photo evidence.**

*Coral Room and Snooze are both awesome restaurants that focus on local, organic, quality ingredients and are veggie-friendly. I highly recommend both if you are ever in the Denver area.

** Yeah, some of the photos are repeated. Because I am too lazy to go back and fix it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mobile blogging

Car shows and weddings and blog features, oh my. Luckily I have tomorrow off, so I can write more.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Giveaway at Va-Voom Vintage

Femme Fatale themed giveaway at Va-Voom Vintage. Check it out!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rock Around The Park

We are getting our plans in place to go to the third annual Rock Around The Park in November. Basically it's a "rockabilly day" at Disneyland. We went last year and had a blast and we can't wait to go again. I know that it is not for everyone, but we love Disneyland... It's good, clean, retro fun at it's finest, and even better when there are car shows and concerts to compliment the park!
It happens in Mid-November, which is great timing. The weather is perfect (well, it was last year- neither too warm nor too cold) and it is before the holiday rush hits (meaning hardly any long lines!). Not to mention that RATP is the first weekend that Disneyland is transformed for Christmas. That means the Huanted Mansion become Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleeping Beauty's Castle is covered in "snow," and there are a million other adorable details as well.
Last year it was just Tob and me (and some friends we met up with), but this year my parents and siblings will be joining us. Not that they are into the rockabilly aspect, but they have been looking forward to going to Disneyland as a family for the first time in nearly 10 years (I was 16, and my little brother was only 6! I can hardly wait! Hopefully Rob and I will have a chance to steal away for some beach time as well.

Dogs are like kids*

*Not really, and we know that, but Rob made the observation that we may be getting a little preview of what's to come...

1. We trip over toys in every room.
2. We are constantly covered in body fluids that aren't our own (we have droolers that happen to be kissers)
3. We are constantly yelling phrases such as "don't lick that," "in or out," and "don't put you foot in your ear."

Friday, September 10, 2010

That Uneasy Feeling

Do you ever think of something, only to forget your thought mere seconds later? And it leaves you with this highly uncomfortable feeling? Yeah, I have that going on right now.

I hate this uneasy feeling. I try to write thoughts down as soon as they come to me so that I can avoid that whole senario. I have enough anxiety for cause, I certainly don't need anxiety over something that probably isn't even an issue.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Mike Ness

I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season this morning! I love this time of year! Fall was always my favorite season, even in California where it is a much more subtle transition. But in Colorado, you can defintely tell there is a change in the air. Still really hot at times, but with a cold breeze here and there. And the sun is definitely shifting positions.

So here is my list of things to do this fall:

1. Drink tons of pumpkin spice items.

2. Really start crafting and sewing.

3. Take the dogs on evening walks.

4. Go to a haunted house.

5. Go to the mountains to see the Aspens change color.

Also, we are going to see our favorite band, Social Distortion, again in October. We saw them last month so I thought I would post a few (unedited) pictures. It was a great show at small venue in Boulder, The Boulder Theater. It's a neat little place, very art-deco. In October we will be seeing them the Fillmore in Denver, which is much larger.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What Sarah Said

And the happy posts continue...

Assisted living facilities also reek of piss and 409. But it is absolutely true, love is watching someone die. And that is true at 25 or 75.

My grandfather

My grandfather has Alzheimer's, and it is every bit and awful as it looks in the movies. Worse, actually. My grandfather was a smart guy. He was an engineer, had a master's from an ivy league school, and was a member of MENSA. And now he walks around a large room filled with other lost people, never really sure where he needs to go, but with an urgency that he must go now. My grandfather, who was quick to correct even the most minor mistake relating to the English language and who could speak Japanese, a fair amount of German, and even a bit of Old English, well now he can't even remember the word "sandwich."

We went to see him in his new home when we were in California a few weeks ago. My grandmother was caring for him at home until last December, when it all got to be too much. Too much watching him, cajoling him, arguing with him. Instead of taking care of her husband of 52 years, now she sits at home and cries. And he stays in his new home and wanders from corner to corner of the locked facility.

He and I were always close. When he was a father, my understanding is that he was never terribly hands-on, fulfilling the stereotype of the typical man of his time. He showed his love by going to work at a job that was stable but boring, and by taking his children on the requisite road trips. But when I was born, things were a little different. He changed my diapers. He took me on all his errands. He let me get away with things his children never would have. Even compared to the other grandchildren who followed me, I was always able to get away with more. Maybe it's because he felt protective of me due to some things that happened when I was born. Maybe it's because he and I are so alike and he knew it (I am so the nerd of the family). I don't know why exactly, but our connection was special.

When it hit me that he was indeed going to succumb to the awful reality that Alzheimer's is, I decided to write a letter telling him exactly what he meant to me and why. He framed that letter, and showed it to everyone everywhere he went. That letter lived in his office for the last few years. Now it is with him at his new home, along with a picture of him and grandmother, a few pictures from his 50th college reunion, and a picture of him, my grandmother, and me at my wedding.

Given that history, it's no surprise that everyone thought certainly I would the one face he would remember this time. But he didn't. My grandmother had me come close to him and she softly said, "Bill, remember? This is Nicole, this is your little girl." He gave me a polite but blank nod and an uncomfortable laugh, and I backed away. Those words struck me to my core. My mother is his only daughter, and they had given up the idea that he would remember her. He did remember one of his son's name, calling out "Frank!" but then, nothing. Yet there still was hope that he would remember me. There was a large group of us there that day (My grandmother, my parents, my siblings, my sister's boyfriend, my husband, one of my uncles, and three of my cousins), and everyone had tight mouths and wet eyes.

We stayed while my grandmother fed him his dinner, as she likes to do every day. The visit went on without incident. Well, aside from the confrontation from the resident bully and my uncle. It went something like this:

Bully to my grandfather: "You! Don't go there!"

My grandfather was looking out a window.

Uncle John to bully: "You better watch yourself."

Bully: "I do all the watching around here."

My uncle is not in the habit of yelling at the elderly but apparently this particular gentleman has taken a (vocal) dislike to my grandfather and nothing has been done to stop it so far. It was funny in a black humor kind of way.

I guess life goes on. But it is not easy to have to watch this happen to my grandparents, to my mom and her brothers. We were sitting with my grandmother a few days later and she asked Rob what the tattoo on his chest said. He responded, "I'm gonna live before I die."* My grandmother sucked in her breath sharply and was silent for a few minutes. I thought it was because she didn't care for tattoos but I proceeded to ask her what was wrong anyway. Her eyes watered and she simply said, "We were so young just a minute ago." I knew she got it. And I know that I get it now more than ever.

*Totally lyrics from a Social Distortion song.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Random Act of Kindness

Today Rob and I had a mini-picnic in a little mining town near Denver (Idaho Springs). We stopped at a park to eat and I immediately noticed an elderly man lying down in the grass. It was pretty windy and chilly, so I was a little concerned. I couldn't tell if he was homeless (I doubted it because he didn't seem to have any possessions with him), but it was clear that whatever the case, he was not in good condition. Given my overly empathetic nature, I kept my eye on him. I didn't approach him because he looked like he was sleeping, and besides, I wasn't sure what I would have said to him.

So we sat down and started eating. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed another picnicker approach the man. She checked to see if he was breathing, and then walked back to her husband and must have said something because immediately her husband went to his car and brought back a sleeping bag. The woman brought the bag over to the sleeping man, and began to put it around him. She helped him up so that she could place the bag under him, and then she began to rub his back and speak to him softly. I couldn't help but watch in awe and think that I was witnessing something amazing.

It brought a tear to my eye. That is how I want to live my life; to help others without the fear that so often paralyzes me. I've always dreamed of working with the homeless and the lonely. I've always been drawn to under-served populations and yet something has always held me back from actually acting on my feelings. But that woman's random act of kindness triggered something in me. Maybe it wasn't as big of a deal as I thought, but it really touched me and I am really glad I got to see that.

Time for a detox

I'm way overwhelmed these days. Actually, I believe the clinical term is burnt out. Rob and I really taking a long hard look at where our life is right now, and where we want it to be. So I've been a bad blogger. Especially bad considering how new to the game I am. Oh well, I can only try to do better in the future.

On a random note, Rob and I have started trying to do a nutritional detox once a month, partially to help with our overwhelmed-ness. We feel over-stimulated by chemicals, our jobs, the media, everything. Cutting out certain foods and focusing on clean livin' a few days a month really helps us to feel in control of our bodies.

We try to stay healthy. We only buy meat every 4-6 weeks, and only grass-fed/free range. We eat conventional meat when we are out or with family to avoid alienating anyone, but we really try to to keep about 70% of our diet vegetarian, especially at home. We both enjoy a nice steak, but don't feel meat needs to be present at every meal (protein, yes). When we do our mini detox, we not only avoid meat, but also sugar, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol, and try to eat liver-healthy foods. We plan this well ahead of time so we are sure to still get all of our nutrients, and we usually do this between 3 days and a week at time.

Maybe it's only the placebo effect, but I really do feel much better by the end of it. Of course it is really hard for us to avoid coffee, beer, and chocolate, but for some reason, we still look forward to it!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Boring Dogs

Rob (as we were driving to work this morning): "Do you ever see someone else's dog and think how boring the dogs seems? I mean, what would they* have to talk about..."

*He was totally referring to the dog and the owner conversing.

*Because obviously, our dogs are conversational geniuses. Especially the little one. I cannot get her to shut up!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cute Giveaway

Hurry, it's almost over... O. at Secretly Loves Pink is giving away a custom prize!

I'm back...

I got in late last night and had to go into the office today, so while I had dreams of regaling you with tales of family drama, car shows, and other fascinating stories, it will probably be a few days before I have my act together enough to do so.

Especially since the Denver Modernism Show starts tonight. I plan on spending a fair amount time there this weekend. If that gets boring, lucky me, I have laundry and grocery shopping I can do. You know, just to keep things interesting.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This was supposed to be to a short post.

Ar 6pm today, I will be on a plane heading towards San Francisco. I am so ready for this.

Just about every August, my mom's side of the family gathers at my grandmother's house. My mom's side of the family (as well as my immediate family) used to all live in the East Bay, but noe rveryone has moved away. My mom's older brother, wife, and three kids moved to Portland, OR while my family moved to Denver, CO. My grandparents and my mom's two younger brothers moved out to the Central Valley (and her youngest brother eventually moved to Lebanon, OR).

The mostly annual trip is pretty hectic considering that everyone spends the night at my grandma's house (think wall to wall air mattresses), but it is always a really fun time to catch up with family and swim.

My cousin Jennifer and me at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk last year.

This year will be a little different for a few reasons. The first change is that my grandfather no longer lives my grandmother. He has alzeheimers, and this past year it progressed to the point where my grandmother could no longer care for him at home. I'll probably write about that later but I will say that it's been very hard dealing with that, especially since he and I were close, probably closer than he and any of the other grandkids. But the fact that he is out of the house may end up being easier on everyone else since the stress my grandmothers was under in the past few years made things tense at times.

My grandfather last year

The second big difference is that last year, Rob and I met some really great people that happen to live in the same town as my grandparents (cue "It's a Small World" music).
Since early 2009, Rob and I had planned on going to a rocakbilly event at Disneyland, Rock Around The Park. I didn't know anyone else that was planning on attending, so Rob suggested that I try to meet people online who would also be there. One of the names that I found on Facebook was Jorge Garcia. I sent him a message and his wife Ellen wrote back, and the rest is history. I don't think Rob and I have met another couple that we have ever clicked with so much. And to top it off, they lived in Turlock, a city that Rob and I were guarenteed to visit often.

Jorge, Ellen, Rob and Me at Disneyland. They are Disney fanatics!

We had an amazing time hanging out with them at RATP, and became good friends, talking frequently on the phone and through the internet. We ended up rooming with them at Viva Las Vegas the past April, and they had even planned a trip to Colorado this summer, which unfortunately fell through for various reasons. But this upcoming week, we will get plenty of Garcia time (especially because Rob and I couldn't go the same time as the rest of my family so everyone will be leaving a few days after we show up).

The Garcias and the Organs in Las Vegas
And I cannot stress this enough... I really need this vacation. This couldn't come at a better time.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thrill Rides at Lakeside

I'm behind. Way behind, actually. Life is so damn time-consuming. But I have a bunch of pictures that I finally went through and edited, so I feel like I should put them on display, despite my proclivity toward anachronism.

These are some photos I took at the Road Devil's car show, Thrill Rides at Lakeside, a few weeks back.

Lakeside is a historic amusement park (102 years old) very near my house outside of Denver. I took many pictures, which was actually quite the feat since they were trying to kick out anyone with what they deemed a professional camera. So basically, if your shit was big and black, they were asking you to leave (which on a side note, is not legal. I have been to places where photography was prohibited and to places where I had to sign a waiver relinquishing my rights to commercial use of the pictures but since neither policy was in place here, they really couldn't stop me. Hahahaahhahhhaaha).