A Declaration of Faith

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I was thinking today about how there is very little I've hidden from you and even less I've lied about, which makes what I'm about to share, all the more scary and raw for me. (No I'm not pregnant, just to quell that anticipation.)

Since this past February, I have attended Temple (Jewish temple, that is) with Slappy nearly every Friday.

And I love it.

I cannot tell you how at peace I feel there. I cannot tell you how what I hear, and speak and see on the lines of books we use to pray each week has changed me. I have never felt closer to my faith, to God, than I do there. I have never believed what I have heard, spoken and seen more than I do at Temple.

And through these nearly 5 months I feel as though Slappy and I have grown together, and I feel very strongly, that this is the religious community I want to raise my children in.

I realize that this is a shock to some of you, that it is not such a shock to others, but it is a shock to even me how greatly I am considering conversion. I understand the gravity of the change and I yearn for it. I have no doubt that I would thrive as a Jew, that my future family would grow and feel like they belong there, but it's just not that simple.

The family I have now, the one I've known for 26 years, will not know or believe any of this. They won't see that my faith is more important than my allegiance to a religion I was born into. They won't see that my happiness and my future family will be well taken care of in this new religion. They won't see it.

But what they will see, incorrectly, is Slappy as the source. Even though he never has, nor never will, ask me to convert (hell, he doesn't even know I'm writing this right now), in their minds, my conversion would be his fault. In reality, it's because I found the religious home I have been looking for. It's because I've found somewhere that I feel, for the first time ever, whole. But that won't mater to them.

Nothing has been set into motion and nothing will be for some time. But I'd be lying to you, either outright or by omission if I didn't tell you that I will, very likely, be undergoing a major chance (in my personal life, the blog will be pretty unaffected) in the coming weeks and months, maybe even years.

I don't expect all of you to understand and I don't expect any of you to agree with the possible decision on the horizon. But I hope you can respect it and offer support in this transition.

The best laid plans

Monday, June 29, 2009

I have lots to tell you. I went to a ballet class tonight after an 8 year break. I have a sort of confession I want to make. I want to talk about how Slappy starts his first! day! as a doctor tomorrow.

But instead, I'm going to lie in bed and wallow in self-pity and pain for the headache I have. I had a horribly fierce on yesterday which improved some today and is now back...with a vengeance.

So instead of trying to figure out what to tell you tonight and what to shelve for the rest of this week, I'm writing about nothing. I'm writing about my intentions to write and how, due to ridiculous pain, I cannot see them through.

Hopefully tomorrow brings change. Preferably the good, less painful kind.


Open House

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Today, I hung (hanged?) up the last two pieces of artwork in our new apartment and as such, I christen it officially DONE. It only took us 3 and a half weeks, but hey, better slower than all hell than never. Would you like to see?

When you walk in the front door, this is what you see...
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To the left is the living room. On one wall there are a few (hundred) DVDs.
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And on the other wall is our brand spanking new couch. It's like a giant red teddy bear. Seriously, I could live on that couch. Happily.
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On the other side of the door is the dining room, also known as the staging area for the most dramatic cat fights.
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The dining room runs into the kitchen, also known as the greatest concentration of new wedding presents anywhere in the house. I LOVE IT.
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If you then went down the hallway you saw upon entry, you'd pass my Watermeter clock (which I love love love)
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and then stumble into our bedroom. This is the view from the door.
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The view from the front wall... (The answer to the question you're about to ask is 11 pillows. It's AWESOME.)
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The view from the bed...
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And our walk in closet, where only the classiest furniture gets used.
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Further down the hall you find the bathroom...
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with two sinks (thank God for no more facial hair filled sinks. Or sink. Slappy's can be filled to the brim with his beard hair, as long as I don't have to look into it, it's GREAT for me.)
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and one toilet, also known as kitten swimming pool.
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And of course, on your way out, you're likely to stumble upon two tired kitties. Because they have a knack for sleeping in only the least convenient places.
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And that's it. We're home. Finally.

Where blogging is said with finger quotes

Thursday, June 25, 2009

So, um, I have nothing to write about.

I have many more twitterable thoughts that I could list as I did last night, like how my groceries were just delivered to my door for free. Or how my foot mysteriously keeps erupting in painful pins and needles. Oh how I didn't realize that Michael Jackson was still alive (until today obviously), but nothing of any interest.

So I'm going to bombard you with pictures. Pictures of the tiny little ball of fur who has kept me from sleeping solidly for 11 days. The ball of fur I've chased back into the house twice, I've plucked out of the refrigerator, laundry closet, TOILET, bath tub and from underneath Karma's fat flaps more times than I can recall.

In case you wondered, we've moved from hostility (which included growling and hissing 24 hours a day) to fighting, that sometimes seems like playing and sometime seems like Jacques might lose his jugular vein. We pull Karma off of him all the time, but frankly, I can't blame her since he's decided that her tail is the BEST. TOY. EVER. If you bit my ass, I'd probably bite your neck too. So far there have been no true injuries and he is entirely and completely unphased by being constantly smothered.

(Pictured: sheer and complete loathing)
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What he does more than anything else, however, is sleep. All damn day because how on earth could he bite our faces all night long if he slept then? Right?

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(my favorite)
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(The dismount of this nap was not graceful for him nor painless for me.)
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And in case you wondered, he's 100% boy.

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Only, you know, sterile and stuff.

Things that are obnoxious

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alternate titles include:
-Things I could just twitter about but am blogging about because I have nothing else to tell you
-Things that are annoying me but probably not you because I am crazy crabby
-Random crap by number

In no particular order, the things that are currently bugging me:

1) Traffic. Look, I know I moved to Los Angeles and yes, I took a job far away from my house, but dude, the cars do not need to ALL slow down to make an s shaped turn on a 5 lane freeway. Really. You just don't. You could at least take the turn at 50 mph rather than 25. Some of us can make it at 80. Some of us would LOVE to make it at 80 at 7am on a weekday.

2) Buying a new car charger for my iPhone. Because OF COURSE my iPod touch charger wouldn't work. (I know, I know, and my diamond shoes are too tight. But still).

3) The morning.

4) Mark Sanford and everyone who has their panties in a twist about it. Unless we discover that he's been using government funds and totally not doing his job, then DUDE, who cares? Adultery is between a man, a wife and his mistress(es). He can sleep with the entire cast of Grey's Anatomy for all I care. It's still not my problem.

5) Dick Cheney. Not for any reason in particular, just his existence in the universe.

6) The freaking jerk at work who took my diet coke from the refrigerator at work this afternoon. The diet coke that I LABELED with my name AND initials to prevent just this situation. Dude. That is so not okay. Because at 5pm when I was STILL in my car (see #1) trying to get home and nearly falling asleep from getting up so early (see #3) I really could've used some effing caffeine.

7) My nocturnal kitten. Dude. It's dark out, leave me the hell alone.

8) The fact that I ordered a custom made gift for my campers and it finally arrived today...and the camp's name is spelled wrong. And the fact that it's probably my fault, but I have no way of knowing so I can't really call them up and complain. And because that is totally the kind of typo I would make.

9) The stickers on the back windows of cars with pictures of families. These don't actually bother me, per se, but rather, they worry me. All you need is one sick shit to look at that and target your family. I just feel like maybe you shouldn't advertise the fact that you have 4 little kids in your van.

10) #9. Because now I'm all kinds of depressed and weirded out by how little I trust other human beings.

11) That it's 10:02 and I should've been in bed 30 minutes ago.

12) Jillian Michaels.

Up and Down

Monday, June 22, 2009

Last weekend, in celebration of the 5th anniversary of the day I met Slappy, we went out and saw a movie. He has wanted to see The Hangover for a while (as do I), but I convinced him to see Up instead. I'm working with kids all summer and it seemed necessary to see the newest, latest, greatest Disney/Pixar baby.

And yea. Fuck you Disney.

Never in all my 26 years, have I cried so much in one movie. And I'm not a crier at all. I don't cry when tv shows get sad (um, Grey's Anatomy season finale? Pshaw. Not a tear shed.), I rarely cry in movies, however, without spoiling the plot for you, I have to admit that I was bawling like a baby within the first 15 minutes of the movie. Full on chin quivering, snot bubbling, gross ugly crying.

And then every time they'd do a flashback on the very sad thing, I'd start all over again. I must have cried about 10 days worth of fluid out when all was said and done.

As the movie credits rolled, Slappy looked over at me and asked me if I'd been crying. Um, yea, only for an hour and a half. And then he discovered that I was SO weepy from the movie that in purely mentioning the events that were so sad, he could get me to blubber again.

Oh, honey, did you cry when THIS HORRIBLE THING happened? (Nod and blubber) How about this tragically sad one? (Hiccup cry) What about this? And I cried. I cried again and again. I had to leave the movie before the credits rolled because I was such a snotty tearful mess, it was just absurd.

If you're looking for a sweet story filled with love and fluff, keep looking. If you're coming upon an emotional breakdown and you want to speed up the process, look no further. This movie is your depression maker. It is your tear producer. It is your newest way of thinking about how horrible life can be.

But, you know, with cartoons and stuff.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

I've written about my dad before and the tumultuous relationship we had, but my father has truly become one of my greatest cheerleaders. No one is more quick to tell me how proud they are of me. No one is more accepting of my life decisions. And no one is more willing to do anything I ask of them. If I asked my dad to jump he'd say "absolutely. And I'm so proud of you for delegating." Because that's how my dad is. He doesn't ask why. He doesn't complain. He just does.

When I'm feeling frustrated by a parental or family response about something important, he's my go to.

Because when my sister was having a fit about me marrying a Jew (and a fit is probably the nicest way I could possibly put that), he told me he thought it was great and that our children would be so enlightened about different religions.

When my mom was having a fit about our wedding not being in good ole Bakersfield, my dad asked me all about the place we had chosen and ooed and ahhed about it. He reminded me of how much nicer the weather would be there and reaffirmed that as long as I was happy with my choice, it didn't matter what anyone else said.

When Slappy's family criticized our housing choice (because it has pools and barbecues and according to them, we really don't need that, and nevermind that it's just a perk and really we loved the complex...), my dad went online and looked at the site. He told us how amazing it looked and encouraged us to move where we would be happy.

I could literally go on and on about all the ways he has stepped up in my adulthood and how he has become this incredibly important figure in my life, but there simply aren't words to describe how much I love my father and how blessed I am to have him. His health has declined some this year and his frailty reminded me of how precious our relationship is and how much it means to me.

We had years of clashing where our relationship was ugly, but perhaps those years of trials and tribulations are what brought us to where we are today. More than ever, I can't wait to give him the grandchildren he so dearly wants and watch him give my children the love and support he has given me.

Happy Father's Day.

Targeting Intolerance

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Slappy and I had to run what is hopefully our last set of errands for house stuff at Target today. While Slappy was waiting for a sales associate to bring out another set of stackable plastic bins, I went to find myself a Shred DVD (which I'm fairly sure I'm going to hate when I actually put down these vanilla cinnamon sugar coated almonds and open it).

I found myself walking behind a group of 5 middle school/high school aged boys. I thought they were girls initially, because, DUDE, the boys in skinny jeans thing is terrible. I'm sorry, I don't even like skinny jeans on women, and they look RIDICULOUS on boys. Especially the flaming orange ones that one of the boys was sporting. And the long bleach blonde hair didn't help much.

Anyways, as these boys who were way too cool for everything walked down the aisles (an observation that had nothing to do with their clothes and everything to do with their actions. Please don't misunderstand, I noticed and didn't care for their outfits, but they would've been all but forgotten had it not been for what happened next.), I couldn't help but watch them. It was like a train wreck. Just as we got to the DVD section another boy walked up (wearing totally normal clothes) walking near his mom and he slowed and said hi to one of the boys.

The skinny jeans boy he'd said hi to waited until the normal pants boy's mom passed and then loud enough so I could hear, but quiet enough so the mom didn't notice called the boy a faggot.

I won't lie to you, my immediate reaction was to stop the skinny jeans boy and smack him upside the head. My second reaction was to stop him and SCREAM at him.

In the end, I didn't do anything. And on the one hand, I regret it because I wish I'd intervened. I wish I'd have ranted and raved and made a huge deal, one so huge that they'd remember it every time they uttered the word. So maybe the next time that they decided to bully a kid they'd remember that at least one person, one time, said it wasn't cool.

But on the other hand, I know that it would've made absolutely no difference at all. It saddens me to say and think this, but I think those boys are lost causes in this area. I can practically see them morphing into intolerant young adults and the intolerant asshole adults that plague so many of my days. And it just kills me.

When did bullying become this rampant and when did we start to valuing fashion and social status more than character? And how did we, as adults, let this happen? How didn't we teach our kids better?

And is it too late to fix this mistake?

Stop. It's the Fashion Police.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I just started the new job and therefore have had reason to interact with many young people. And dude, we have a fashion crisis on our hands. And I mean CRISIS.

Let me spell it out for you.

1. If your shorts are so short that they don't even have an in-seam, you shouldn't be wearing them. End of story. Those are not shorts, they're bloomers. They're beaver covers and that's it. They are not shorts and should not be worn in public. Period.

2. The '80s called. Even they don't want your LEGGINGS back. I'm sorry, but it's a stretch that they're socially acceptable with a dress or a hideous long shirt, but just with regular t-shirts? No no no. They're not flattering and while they may be comfortable, there are like 800,000 more types of pants that are equally comfortable and don't look like shit. Also, if you insist upon wearing these abominations, you may not tuck them into your shoes. Ever.

3. Tattoos. Look, I have two of them. And my feelings on them in general aside, how did you not think that getting one on your HAND was going to be a problem? Seriously. Who is going to hire you for a serious job when you are covered in tattoos? I get that they're a personal decision, but don't complain that you don't know how/why you have to cover them for work. It's not like ink spill on your hand, you chose them and now you must live with them.

4. The Femullet. The feminized glorified mullet. It's not okay. If, when you pull your hair into a pony tail the front looks exactly the same as when it's down, it's a mullet. Your layers shouldn't be 8 inches different in length unless your hair is at least 28 inches long.

5. No one will ever know that you're wearing shorts that are a size 10 instead of a size 8, so seriously, opt for the ones that don't make your stomach look like a mushroom cap. It's not cute.

6. I don't want to see your boobs. No one does. Not through the shirt, not over the shirt, not beneath the shirt. We just don't. Wear a bra, buy a shirt that's not see through and keep them contained. I don't need to be slapped in the face with someone else's boobs. Not that I'll ever be slapped in the face with my own, but I don't want yours either.

7. Hair should only be like 2 colors, or if possible, 1. But none of those colors should be blue, pink, purple or so blond that even the toe headed kid in the corner needs sunglasses to look at it. Seriously, we all know that's fake.

I think that's it. Though it's worth mentioning that you especially shouldn't commit any of the above mentioned sins on a kid. Because it's like 800 times worse. They are too young and impressionable to be drowned in horrible fashion.

There. I feel better. Crotchety as all hell, but better. Just buy a mirror kids, that'll be a bigger help than any long list of fashion errors anyone could come up with. If you wonder if you look like crap, assume you do. And if you wonder if you shouldn't buy a certain outfit, you shouldn't. When in doubt, assume no.

Your friends and credit cards will thank you. So will my eyes. And that's seriously worth something.

Seeking Help

Monday, June 15, 2009

So, I could bore you to death about the fact that the only sounds I've heard in my house for the last 30 hours are cats hissing and growling. Or about the core meltdown I had last night in which I decided (in my head) that I'd ruined Karma (the older cat)'s life. Or about when the kitten slid into Slappy's catsup pile this morning in the most cartoonist fashion ever. But instead, I'm going to shift gears a little and talk about the serious.

I recently spoke with a younger family member (not giving specifics, less she ever reads this) who is struggling with her emotions and coping with her life. She has struggled for weeks and weeks and is finally going to speak to someone. And while I'm so happy to hear it, she's also down on herself for needing help. She feels like she's failed and she is too embarrassed to tell her friends.

I am no stranger to such problems, to such shame. In fact, I believe they're the best description of my freshman year of college that I could possibly come up with.

But I did it wrong. When I was so depressed and scared and overwhelmed with my life, I didn't seek help. It was offered. It was suggested. It was strongly advised by everyone. Yet, I still didn't speak to anyone. And a big part of this had to do with the fact that seeing a counselor and talking about my emotions would mean admitting that I had a problem. And no one wants to do that. No one wants to be different. No one wants to be abnormal.

So I did not seek help. I was forced to take antidepressants, which did level off my uncontrolled sadness, but did not teach me how to cope at all. It was like a bandaid for an extremely deep cut. It held the bleeding off, but didn't close up the cut in any way and as soon as the pills were gone, the sore opened up and bled wildly.

I had a similar experience when I started having crippling anxiety my senior year of college. I couldn't hardly eat, but I wanted NOTHING to do with a counselor. Once again, I took a medication, which helped tremendously, but gave me no life skills for coping whatsoever.

So when I finally tapered off the Xanax last month, after almost 5 years of it, I found myself wildly anxious all over again. I wake up in the middle of the night convinced that Slappy has died and I have to wait and see him breathe before I can go back to sleep. Every morning I wake up and run through my mind a list of potential bad things. I wonder if the cat is dead. I wonder if someone has broken into the house/car while I was asleep. I wonder if Slappy will wake up and be sick. I wonder, I wonder, I wonder.

I drive on any freeway, suddenly petrified of crashing. I anxiously watch the other drivers, afraid of what could happen. On the way home from work I imagine coming home to a dead cat due to a Carbon Monoxide leak. I think about the upcoming week and how bad it would be if I came down with some kind of bug. I worry about every single thing that could ever possibly happen.

I live my life feeling like the worst case scenario is always what's next. I live a life that is controlled by anxiety. And I hate it.

And I'm not going to do this anymore. Not like this. In July, when I have health insurance that is actually functional in California, I'm going to get help. I need to talk to someone. I need to learn how to deal with my worries in a useful way. I need to discover some way to cope that doesn't involve gulping down pills. And I need to find a way to quiet the anxiety, not just for today, not just with a bandaid, but maybe forever. I'm going to a counselor because I know I have a problem. Because I'm willing to admit that I'm not perfect. Because I'm willing to admit that I need help.

And I only hope that somewhere down the line, someone reads this and realizes that asking for help doesn't make you weak. It doesn't make you abnormal. It doesn't make you crazy.

But it just might make you better. And maybe that's something we should all be proud of working for.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

So, after days of pouring through your 51 comments with name suggestions, and after picking up our little ball of fur and energy, we have a name.

We decided that this little wonder cat...

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should be named...


If you don't know New Orleans, you probably won't understand this, but it's the name of my very favorite restaurant there. I had wanted to call him Crabby Jack (owned by the same person as Jacques-Imo's), but the kitten who was calm and timid at the shelter is one rambunctious kitty. And not even slightly crabby. He does everything like it should have exclamation points! all! the! time! It's pretty hilarious.

No one actually suggested this specific name here, but Stacey was the closest with Jacques, so Stacey, shoot me an email (overflowingbrain@gmail.com) and I'll get your prize out!

In case you were wondering how Karma was reacting, the answer is NOT WELL. Jacques wants to be her best! friend! and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. See for yourself...

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And to keep yourself more entertained, a video. It's very dark, but if you listen closely you can hear the sounds of loathing from Karma and the complete indifference to those sounds that Jacques has.

Karma and Jacques-Imo from Overflowing Brain on Vimeo.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

First, the naming contest is officially closed. I have a good idea of what I'm going to name the little guy, but Slappy wants to spend some time with him Sunday before committing to anything, so we'll see. I'd ideally like to have the winner announced by Sunday night/Monday morning so just watch for that.

Tonight was the first night of work and the last time you'll hear me talk about it. I'm working, for the last time (sniff sniff) at the summer camp where Slappy and I met. This camp is an incredibly special place to me. I feel more at home there than I do virtually anywhere else (besides the four walls of my actual home). The people are incredible, the kids are incredible and everything just feels right there.

And tonight was a great night. This is my 5th summer working there and I've never left the first night feeling as energized as I did tonight. Though, nor have I left with a worse headache ever before either. The fact that I'm still alive is a true testament to my unwillingness to let this pain win. But dude, SO bad. Anyways, the people, old and new, were just on tonight and I really feel like this summer is going to be the best of my tenure there.

The main reason that I won't be talking about it, besides the fact that my boss the woman who hires and fires and signs my check but does not like to be called boss, reads here is that I feel fiercely protective of these kids. The hold a very important and big part of my heart and I'd never forgive myself if anything happened to them (like the time I nearly broke one of their arms and I kid you not, I did not sleep for days. DAYS people).

So I may casually mention that I went to work or that work is going well, but that will be the extent of it.

But not to worry, I don't need work to find crazy crap to write about. It finds me. And I've got a list of things I want to tell you, I'm just spreading them out.

My whining isn't close to coming to an end...

Name this cat!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Okay, so in honor of the fact that I've FINALLY determined what to send to the last contest winner from, um, a year ago, I'm hosting a new contest. But before I get to the details, Robin, if you're reading, send me your new address and I'll get your prizes shipped out asap. I'm SO sorry that I'm such a jerk. If it makes you feel better, Slappy guilt trips me about it all. the. time.

Onto the contest. Today, Slappy and I adopted a new kitten. We can't pick him up until Sunday because of some new rules that state that shelter kitties need to be spayed/neutered (or as they said, "altered") before they can be adopted, so the new kitty will be having that done this weekend.

Before you can choose names, you need to know a few things. First of all, this is not our first cat. We have one already, a beautiful and amazingly obese cat named Karma. See for yourself...

When she was a tiny baby kitten (1.25lbs to be exact)
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A little larger (and less appropriate...)
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And now. Um, a little bigger-ish. Yes, she's on a diet, no we're not over feeding her. No I absolutely do not want cat diet advice, that's what my MIL is bugging the bejeezus out of me useful for.
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So, we have this new little guy...
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He's SO sweet and cuddly, but he is without a name. Slappy had come up with the most adorable plan for the new kitty. He suggested that we get a female and call her Annie. As in Annie Versary. I know. But, we ended up with a boy and while we could do Andy, I just don't like it as much.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help us find a name for this critter. We do not want to match his name to Karma's, so scratch Nirvana, Moksha and Shiva off your list now. We also want to differ from the standard names like Smokey and Buster. But other than that, it's up to your creativity. If, by chance, we come up with the name ourselves, we'll give the prize to our favorite entry.

Speaking of prizes, what are you playing for? Well, after unloading my kitchen, I came across my favorite non-registry gift from our wedding. It was thoughtful and fun and will probably be among all the wedding gifts I give from now on. I believe mine are from Williams Sonoma, but they don't sell them online, so the winners (and Robin!) will be receiving 2 of these Cup-A-Cake Cupcake Takers!

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You can pick your colors and everything!

So, go forth, think about it and then leave your suggestions in the comments. We can't wait to sift through them and hopefully find a name for our kitten, who, for now is going by his sorcerer's name: He-who-must-be-named.

(The contest will go until Saturday at 12:01 am, please only leave names on this post. Comment with as many or few as you want, and make sure that you identify yourself somehow, even if you're commenting anonymously, so as to prevent my husband from cheating again. Because the pull of being ethical isn't enough.)

You're so complicated, you probably think this blog is about you

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dude, moving is a real pain. For seriously.

See, first of all, you don't know where anything is when you move to an entirely new state. You might drive around in a 16 foot Penske truck to 2 hours trying to find a Bed, Bath and Beyond and instead, you'll see the entirety of your new city, save for the one shopping center with the Bed, Bath and Beyond. You'll hit many curbs and swear at every car on the road and probably your husband.

Once you're moved in and all oriented with your area, you must deal with the DMV. But, before you can deal with the DMV, you must deal with the insurance. And all the meanwhile, you are still trying to deal with the State of California to get your effing marriage license corrected now that it's been A YEAR so you can, you know, change your name and get a social security card since yours was stolen.

Oh, but wait, THERE'S MORE. Your husband's car is in his grandmother's name and is, of course, registered in Florida. His grandmother now lives 45 minutes away when the crowded freeways aren't crowded and she has severe Alzheimer's Disease, so the ability to get her to sign things is complicated. Your MIL has power of attorney, but is going to have her mother sign it anyways.

So then, you have to go to your apartment complex to get a copy of your lease. Then you have to get directions to the insurance place. Then you have to take all copies of everything important and go get insurance. Or at least a waiver telling the DMV that once your husband's car title is in his name, he'll have insurance. And also, learn a prayer that the DMV accepts said waiver.

And then you have to go to the DMV the next morning and hope and pray that you have all the necessary documentation to switch your registration (which you need to find soon...hmmmmm) to the state of California and your driver's license too. And you have to do all this switching in your maiden name because you spent 2 hours on the phone with the State of California's public records line and NEVER SPOKE TO ANYONE AT ALL and got hung up on SIX times.

And then? You can almost bet, or at least predict, that the marriage license will come in the mail in the next week so that you can get a social security card and DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN to change your effing name. Or, you know, it'll never come and you can never EVER get it changed.

Wait, what's that? Moving isn't usually this complicated? Well, I'll be damned. No literally, I'll be damned.

Hold me.

Happy Aniversary

Monday, June 8, 2009

I can't hardly believe it's been a year.

I mean, on the one hand, our wedding feels like 10 thousand years ago. Still the best day of my life, but the best day that happened eons ago. On the other hand, the idea of it having already been a full year since we exchanged vows and rings is mind boggling.

I have been running what I might say here through my mind for about a week. How can I best capture the ways I love you? How can I tell you (and the internets, because, let's face it, you kind of married them a year ago too) how happy I am to know that we are just at the very beginning of an amazing life together?

And here's what I came up with: You are the yin to my yang. (I'm nothing if not original.)

You are obsessive compulsive in a way that few people realize. That is, until they see our DVD collection, or look in your toolbox or your bookcase. You like order, whether it be alphabetical (DVDs), by right angles (the toolbox, garage and the moving van that was more tightly packed than 50 sardines in a thimble) or by date/age (your books, but also, those are alphabetical within the dating process. Or some other entirely complicated system I don't understand), you love your organization.

And me? I like my chaos. I like my stuff in general areas where I can find them. I love piles and stacks. I love messes.

And over the nearly 5 years we have been together, your organization has made me crazy, just as my messes have done to you. But your organization has been useful and I'd like to think that maybe, just maybe, I've made you a little less crazy about order. If not, I'll just keep moving your DVDs around when you aren't home. Heh.

You are focused, but you are calm. You knew you wanted to be a doctor, and with that in mind, you set up a plan, took your time, and here you are, a doctor. You didn't study every day, you didn't lose yourself to the stress, you managed it. You formulated plans, you determined how many pages you'd read, questions you'd do and hours you'd spend on your studies. And you succeeded. You matched in the ONLY spot for child neurology at a hospital in Southern California, an accomplishment that I could not possibly be more proud of.

I, on the other hand, run wildly in circles near any objective of mine. I don't plan very well, or sometimes I plan way TOO well, and yea, then there's the crazy. I don't calm down and see my goals, I just run full speed with a full head of steam.

You calm me when I need it and when I was sure I wouldn't get accepted to any programs for this year, you reassured me and celebrated every acceptance.

You are a minimalist (well, aside from anything technology related). You weigh pros and cons before buying anything, you feel guilty as soon as you spend money and you are careful to make sure your purchases are justified. You pay close attention to your bank balance and your credit cards and you never, ever miss a payment or pay a bill late.

I'm sure you can see where this is going. I shop haphazardly. I go here and there, and I do contemplate my purchases and I do feel guilt when I overspend, but the guilt lasts about 10 nanoseconds and then it's over. I think that the collection of 10 trillion post-its and 8 trillion sharpies would speak to my lack of sense er, minimalism.

(The very post-its and sharpies that were all over our house today spelling out Happy Anniversary in a rainbow of colors and designs. But, um, I still can't find the other N and I've been looking for 7 hours. I'll bet 10 dollars that you'll walk in and find it within 20 seconds. A perfect reason why I need you in my life.

Update: I never found it. He came in the door with a bouquet of beautiful purple flowers with a card that just said "N". Wily minx.)

Our spending neuroses keep us economically safe (okay, as safe as any family with almost 300k in student loans can be) and allow us to live comfortably, but also sanely. Or close, at least.

There are a multitude more examples of our fitting together that could fill up this whole blog.

You drink coffee, I drink tea.

You each cheeseburgers, I eat hamburgers.

You like mayo, I like mustard.

You like horror movies, I like chick flicks.

You could spend hours playing video games, I can spend hours reading (not that I don't play video games, but, you know...)

I think it's these differences that pull us together. We temper each other through good and bad, we find the balance that pulls us both from our extreme poles and into a normal level of care, concern or interest. Simply put, we make each other less crazy. Most of the time.

This year has not been a simple one. There have been trials, there have been fights, there have been big fights. There have been rough days and weeks and surely there will be more. There has been stress and trepidation, there have been victories and tears of joy. But there's just no one I'd rather fight with, obsess with, calm down, boost up, compliment, constructively (heh) criticize, celebrate with and of course, love with every fiber of my being than you.

Happy Anniversary babe. 1 down, a lifetime to go.

Living the dream

Saturday, June 6, 2009

So, still no internet. It's killing me a little inside. Really. I NEED YOU.

Yesterday Slappy's family came over and his mother and sister helped us pick out a couch. From the moment I sat on the one we bought, I was sold. It was everything anyone could ever want in a couch. It was soft (like sitting in a giant teddy bear), it had a chaise area where one can sleep and it still affords us room. It doesn't have a pull out bed like we'd planned, but frankly, sitting on the pull out area is not comfortable and there's lots of sleep space on the couch and in the rest of the room. And dude, the teddy bear thing.

Slappy's mother was on especially good and helpful behavior and suggested that the couch was too tall, which, I was confused by, but went with. We went and looked and others and eventually came back to the teddy bear couch. The only flaw of the couch is that because we're having it custom ordered (picked a different color, a burgundy red), we won't get it for TWO WEEKS. So, until then, we have our folding chairs in the living room, looking super classy and not at all white trashy.

We also finally found some dressers that fit perfectly for what we need and we'll be picking those up today. They're the right size and they have some storage, though no dresser in the world will hold all my clothes. After shopping we had an "Us and Them" party, which, if you say it fast enough sounds an awful lot like S and M, which is just not at all the same thing. Basically we opened 15 boxes Slappy's mom had and the 3 siblings took what they wanted and bartered for what everyone wanted. It, was lovely, was much less painful than it could've been.

Dinner, however, was EXACTLY as painful as it could've been, perhaps even more so. Astoundingly, my MIL only played a small part in that and it was my brother in law that made me want to gauge my eyes out with my fork. At least 3 times.

Today we have get to go back to Bed, Bath and Beyond to return 2 things we bought and don't need and pick up 30 billion more. And then we're having lunch with Slappy's brother (yes, the one from dinner last night, I'm keeping an open mind about today. No really. I am.), then we're driving up to see my family until tomorrow night.

And then, on Monday? We get internet. Oh, and we'll celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. But dude. The internet. (I'm kidding, you know that, right?). And maybe by then I'll have something more interesting to say. Chances aren't great for that, but go ahead and come back then anyways.

Hello Internets!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

We have landed!

We arrived in California late late Tuesday night, stayed in a nice hotel about an hour and a half from our new home and then Wednesday around noon, pulled our big-ass moving van up and signed our lease. And then we waited for about 4 hours and started unloading boxes. We'd like to personally thank mother nature for the RAIN yesterday because that was so incredibly necessary. Really.

But rain aside, it's wonderful. I LOVE our apartment. It's brand new, we're the first to live in it and there's something really cool about that. It's the first real place Slappy and I have had, as we shared the last place with housemates (oh, wait, I mentioned them once or twice? Weird). Now it's just us and our stuff. It's awesome.

Unpacking, for me at least, is like Christmas morning. We got a ton of great wedding gifts almost a year ago and have only opened the toothbrush, Panini Grill and Waffle Maker. So when we got all the kitchen boxes into the apartment, I had piles upon piles of brand. new. stuff. Seriously, like unwrapping gifts on Christmas.

Our unpacking is slightly hampered by a profound lack of important furniture. We can't unpack our clothes because we don't have dressers. We can't unpack DVDs (we have, um, 250...) because we have no shelving for them. Or, you know, trash cans.

And we can't put our desk and bookcase together because we don't know where we're putting them. We had a very serious conversation at 1 in the morning about the bookcase and how if we put it in one place, we'd both die in an earthquake, but in another place only one of us would, and how do you choose who to sacrifice? So, we need to find a better place AND buy some wall anchors.

We also have a profound lack of internet, which is why I have been missing. Thankfully our leasing office has an internet cafe with free wireless, so when I need a fix I want to check my mail, we can just walk down here. The internet should be here on Monday, along with television and an end to my withdrawals.

There is much left to be done, but I am so very happy to be here, even if a little sad about no longer being in New Orleans. This is a good change for us and it feels like we're truly beginning our real lives together. I'm so damn happy I can hardly stand myself.

(p.s. The comments on the Unity post are amazing. You all have enlightened me and challenged my ideas. I appreciate it and maybe we'll do it again sometime. Maybe we should write to congress and tell them how to have kind discourse? All congressmen LOVE getting advice from bloggers. Trust me.)


Monday, June 1, 2009

So, after spending well over 12 hours in the car, I've had excessively large amounts of time to let my mind wander and therefore, you can blame Texas and it's 880 mile span for this post.

And I want to preface it with an explanation. I'm not trying to be antagonistic. I'm not even trying to stir a pot. I've been mulling this around in my head for a week now trying to understand it, trying to grapple with the entire topic, and I want to write it out, I want to converse with you about it. I'd love your participation in comments (not in a comment whore way, in a, I want your perspective way) and I'll do my best to respond tomorrow as my internet access allows.

Last week in California, the Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, which, with a 52% majority, revoked the right of homosexual couples to be married in the state of California. Gay marriage is an extremely hot topic these days and it's one that incites visceral responses on both ends of the spectrum. I, as I'm sure most of you are aware, am all for it. But I do understand that there are many who are against it. What I don't understand is why.

I don't necessarily want to go down the religious road on this, not because religion isn't an important matter, but because religion and government are not meant to be intertwined and if our whole basis for rejecting gay marriage is religion, then we need to seriously reassess what we're doing. Furthermore, I don't think that any church ever needs to recognize gay marriage. As a private entity, they have the right to carry on as if it doesn't exist. Marriage, in a strictly religious sense, can stay between a man and a woman. But this is still a matter of the state and that's what I'm trying to focus on.

I've heard the argument that it's tradition, that marriage has always been between and man and a woman. And of course, that's true. That in the history of the world, partnerships and marriage have been between a man and a woman, but is that really a reason to stop change? Until the 20th century, voting was traditionally something only white men could do, and yet, people pushed and now all citizens over 18 can vote. Was that progress wrong? It was defying tradition. It was letting different people have access to a right previously held by a specific group. Why is that different than marriage?

I've heard the argument that it's a slippery slope. That if we allow gay marriage, soon we will have to allow people to marry farm animals, etc. And I think that's just a little ridiculous. I have to go back to the voting argument. We let woman and non-whites vote, but did we extend the right to children? To animals? So why should we be worried about somehow accidentally having to extend marriage to people and farm animals? And more importantly, just how many people really want to marry farm animals? I just don't foresee that being a real problem.

I've also heard the argument that gay marriage will somehow increase pedophilia and this drives me bonkers. In a homosexual relationship, no one is being harmed by the union. No one (in the most normal sense of a relationship) is being taken advantage of, and therefore, the state has no reason to intervene. This is simply not the case with a child and I don't think that anyone would argue otherwise. We have laws protecting people who need it, but in a homosexual relationship, who needs protecting? Why do we believe that homosexuals are more pedophilic than heterosexuals? Why would marriage cause pedophilia to increase? Where is the relationship between those two?

I've heard the argument that gay couples should be allowed civil unions, while straight couples can continue with marriages. I understand that this placates a lot of people, but to me, it just harkens back to the days of Plessy v. Ferguson wherein African Americans were told that as long as they had their own facilities, it was okay for them to be forcibly separated from whites. How can a separate distinction be equal? How can we give second class rights to full citizens and pass them off as fair?

I know there has been outrage about gay teachers and their potential for spreading their ideals to children and this too baffles me. Shouldn't we be worried about all people who have personal agendas other than teaching curriculum? There's no reason why a homosexual cannot teach a child as effectively as a heterosexual. It's not sexual orientation that's the problem, it's the individual and their commitment to their job. No teacher, straight or gay, should be talking to children about matters of sexuality at school (save for gym/health class) and I doubt that there's any more of this with gay teachers than with straight ones.

Finally, and most frustratingly, I've heard that gay marriage will undermine straight marriage and families. And this is the one I just don't get the most. I don't understand how a gay couple getting married makes my marriage to Slappy any less special or important. I don't know why children can't thrive in a family with two fathers or two mothers. If so many children thrive in single parent families, shouldn't double parent families be even better? We have couples in stable relationships who want to have children, so why not? Because they might teach their children that being different is okay? Because they might teach them to believe that homosexuality is not wrong? Because these children might be more tolerant of people who are different? Which of these qualities is the despicable one?

As I said before, I'm truly not trying to be antagonistic here. I'm not. I just don't get it. I haven't heard one argument yet that outweighs the wrong of withholding a right from a group of people because of a demographic. If this were about race or gender there would be outrage, but because it is about sexual orientation, so many people are willing to walk away, unconcerned. I can't be one of those people.

I've said my shpiel, and now it's your turn. While you may never convince me of your argument, I'd sure love to hear it anyways. I think that being educated in other view points is extremely important if we're ever going to work together and find common ground. So please, tell me what you believe about gay marriage. As long as you keep it classy, I won't moderate comments. I'm really excited to hear what you have to say, so click below and let me know.